Take a Moment to Remember

During these days of festivity its worth taking a few moments out to reflect that whilst we may be surrounded by our family and friends who love us there are those families who are incomplete. At least 40,000 UK military forces are deployed overseas, many in dangerous areas of conflict such as Afghanistan.

Whilst we sit safe and warm, our nation has been at war for nearly 11 years – but for many its a silent war, one which crops up on the television once in while and in the dispatches listing the killed or injured.

For others its a daily battle, it is as real and as visceral the Blitz, they prey every day that those they love simply make it through today, tomorrow and the next day.

We may have lost sight of the objective, disagree with their purpose, berate the politicians who send them into harms way and baulk at the financial cost of operating a enormous armed forces operation – but they are still there, and still fighting, and still trying to survive to see their loved ones again.

Just to hammer the point home, enjoy this Christmas number one single – sung by the wives of those currently deployed.

The Christmas Elf

A few weeks ago a colleague of ours at work died. I cannot claim to have worked with her on a regular basis, but I knew her and I was saddened by her death. The weirdest thing was that she wasn’t, on the face of it, ill in any way. She didn’t have a car crash, or get murdered, or have a piano fall on her whilst walking through the street. She simply died. She went home from work one evening, went to bed and died.

Something about this seems grossly unfair. People don’t just die, something has to happen first right? No, apparently not, people can just die – for no good reason at all.

This is called Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. We’re doing some bits and pieces at work for fun and for charity this Christmas, and we picked the charity that researches this phenomenon as the one to donate the money to. It’s here if you fancy making a donation.

I’m going to work dressed a bit like a elf for the day – I’ve roped Ros into making me a massive Elf hat… but the outfit so far is….

Now this has got to be worth a couple of quid?

Awesome Androgyny

I’ve made several intimations in my postings on fashion that mens and womens clothing designs are getting closer and closer to each other. Yes folks, androgyny is in – but just what do I mean by that? What is androgyny?

Well the little dictionary on my mac says its ‘of indeterminate gender’, however dictionary definitions rarely capture the nuances of anything, let alone issues of sexuality, gender identification and definition. Therefore, I’m going to set the terms of reference for this particular post thus:

Clothing and style choices that introduce an element of ambiguity about ones gender.

Key here is ‘an element of’ – by this I meant that it doesn’t have to be crossdressing or an attempt to look entirely like the opposite gender, merely that a little bit of playfulness and fluidity is introduced into the equation.

Now there are people who identify themselves as androgynous on as their definition of themselves on the gender spectrum, if you’re interested in that then http://www.genderfork.com is a good place to start, but here we’re talking about the style choice only.

What has kicked off this post? Well its the news that Andrej Pejic was chosen as the model for a range of push-up bras for the dutch company Hema. Andrej Pejic is the one of the premier womens clothing models at the moment, fronting designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Marc Jacobs and he got much acclaim at the 2011 Paris shows. Yes – that wasn’t a typo. He. Andreij is a man.

This is fine, but it highlights one particular issue – designers are designing womens clothes that look their best then modelled by a man. Now Andreij Pejic is a particularly feminine looking man, but he is not a transexual, he has had no surgery or augmentation and therefore the clothes he models are designed to fit a shape that is unobtainable (and probably undesirable) for the vast majority of women. This is a giant signifier of the gradual unification of mens and womens clothing trends.

Now obviously this is at the most extreme end of the trend – but the same phenomenon can be seen right down at the consumer end of the market – most noticeable to me recently was outerwear or coats. I needed one, so I was searching through the usual haunts of Topman/Shop, River Island and the like and here are some examples of some strikingly androgynous styles…from relatively mainstream retailers…

Check out all the gold buttons, the sharp shoulders and the slight pinching at the waist, not to mention the belt. This is a pretty feminine coat, but not so much so that it looks like an womans coat, but it could be…

And here is the other side of the coin, this one being from Topshop – a womanswear retailer.

Womens fashion has always been better at integrating more masculine styles into ostensibly quite feminine clothes. For example:

At first glance this is clearly womens clothing, but have a look at those shoes – they not dainty, they’re big and stompy and an adaptable of mens office shoes in terms of the stitching detail. The dress too, its straight, with very little flare or embellishment, and bag looks like something a Doctor would have carried around in the 1950’s.

Look back up at the t-shirt. Looks like a mans t-shirt, but again a closer look reveals a dropped neckline, which is way more common on womens tops, its relatively long, and the sleeves are pretty short.

The perception therefore of whether something is ostensibly masculine depends largely on the model, and thus this is the key to androgynous fashion: it would probably look good on either gender.

Is this just a British thing? Let me know what you think.

The Worlds Longest Ident

What’s an ident? Well its that little bit between tv shows that reminds you what channel you’re watching.

They normally last between 5 and 30 seconds like the one below for BBC1.

However, Christmas is ratings war and whilst the winner is always the BBC the others try hard to steal a march. So, in order to remind the punters that they have the TV market sewn up, the BBC has come up with an epic ident for BBC One for the Christmas period to parade their celebrities in front of us – in case we’d forgotten that the majority of the TV personalities we know and love work for them! The newscasters are in there too!

Enjoy.

Topshop Andre

Ok so I do wear slightly weird shoes and I promise that this will be the last post on the topic of heels for awhile – I’ll move onto something more interesting in due course. But before I do I wanted to share one last hurrah.

These black suede boots are the other of my recent purchases and I recently made them part of a casual party outfit to much acclaim. 

I think this works well because the black boots and black jeans sort of merge into one shape which then contrasts a bit with my tshirt and torso.

I would like to know what the world thinks though because I’d really like to start a trend – so please let me know.

Travel Nostalgia

There was a time when travel was a reason for travelling. When planes and trains and automobiles represented adventure, drama, and daring. Its often with a heavy heart that I board the train for the daily 100mph 9 minute ride to next town. That commute has made trains boring. The same scenery, the goods yard, the 2 bridges, the junction, the tunnel, Bramford, Great Blakenham, Needham fishing lakes, Neeham Market, the malt factory, the lawnmower factory and then Stowmarket station.

I yearn for the day when getting on the train was a big deal – when I was little my Nan and I would catch the train to Felixtowe, a 20 minute journey to the seaside. It cost her £1.25 for her 40p for me. Bargain. I was on one occasion allowed to ride up in the drivers cab and actually pull the lever that made the train go forward! Yes, an 8 year old boy drove a passenger train from Ipswich to Felixtowe.

Anyway, I was randomly browsing youtube for anything nostalgic to share, and I happened across this glorious piece of government propaganda for the former state monopoly railway company. You can tell its propaganda because it contains industrial imagery, glorious scenery and economic activity designed to remind people that we’re still a pretty respectable little country. Magnificent also because it conjured up that special little feeling of excitement, adventure and wonder that perhaps only children can truly experience.

Bringing you back to you… a commercial break

Yeah yeah I know I’m back on my old habits of posting about commercials but this one caught my eye enough to want to share it with you – the beleaguered reader who only stumbled on here by accident – you were probably looking for plane tickets to somewhere exciting like Fiji…. I’d like to go to Fiji, firstly because the word looks excellent when written… Fiji – just look at all those excellent dotted characters. Secondly because Queen Elizabeth II is technically queen of Fiji, or more properly Paramount Chief of Fiji.

But I digress…

This is an advert by a tea company called Twinnings, previously fronted by Stephen Fry, they’ve enjoyed a resurgence of late as people are spend more money on perceived upmarket or luxury brands to make up for the fact that no-one can afford to go on holiday.

The advert takes the form of a young woman in a rowing boat on chopping waters, and she’s clearly no enjoying herself. She valiantly fights the waters but loses her ores. As all hope seems lost, gulls swoop her little raft up and deposit her in the calm, she disembarks and merges with herself on the shore whilst drinking a cup tea – the strap line? Brings you back to you.

Very clever, beautifully animated, and the music by Charlene Soraia (downloadable from iTune) is an excellent fit.

Rock and Candy Lulu – Out in the World!

 

My girlfriend doesn’t really know know how to work my fancy-dan camera – but this is not a bad effort.

'Don't stand there staring at your feet'

I have a strange desired to jump i the air and play air-guitar, I think its caused by the shoes and skinny jeans, but I can’t be sure.

Have a good evening folks.

 

 

 

 

Wow – that got your attention

Hmm so the shoes seemed to get me quite a lot of blogosphere attention. Primarily from people want to see them in the real world.

I’m happy to oblige – if by real world you mean my living room. At some point (maybe at the weekend) I’ll do some proper pictures but for now these will have to do…

It's a long way down from up here....

...tada!

So…whats the conclusion? Ridiculous? Awesome? Insane? Dangerous? Too weird?

They’re surprisingly comfortable, the rubber sole makes them kinda bouncy and they’re pretty easy to walk in – I’ve already tested them out by putting some rubbish out. This is actually a decent test as it involves going down 2 flights of stairs then out across the street.

Let me know what you think!

More Ridiculous Footwear

I have a penchant for experimental clothes. I don’t get to play very much because the ultra designer stuff tends to be insanely expensive and my girlfriend is a student (again).

Every now and then I make a slight leap of faith and buy something outrageous in the vein hope that:

  • I’ll grow in self confidence sufficiently to wear such garment
  • That’ll it’ll look cool and interesting
  • That Ipswich becomes the sort of place where I won’t get beaten up for looking a little bit different
To that end I’ve recently tried to get ‘up there’ with the fashion kings by buying two pairs of heeled shoes – which as previous posts will tell you – is now highly fashionable.
Now eventually I’ll upload a few pictures of myself out and about modelling stuff, but for now you’ll need to make do with stock images.
These are from Topshop and cost £55, they’re actually jet matt black so on the bottom of black skinny jeans they look not far off this outfit…
…except that it cost me well under a 20th of the price. I’ve test driven this type of outfit with some friends and they didn’t seem totally freaked out.
Choice number two are Rock & Candy wedge boots which look exactly like a pair of converse with a crazy striped bit on the bottom.
Now the pink bit worries me a little because I’m not sure how thats going to work with the rest of my stuff, but public opinion from some work colleagues is that with the right other stuff I could ‘rock them’. I’ll let you all know how it goes.
Comments appreciated!