January Newsletter 2015

It is good to see so many faces back from the Bacchanalian festivities at New Year.

Today is supposed to be one of the most depressing days of the year, but the sun is shining, so just how bad can it be?

Well now you’re bored; those resolutions are becoming a pain in the behind, and worse; you are SOBER.

Week three of; “Not a drop will pass my lips”, waking in the morning, wondering as Winston Churchill nearly put it, looking at himself in the mirror; “I was drunk, Miss, but this morning I am sober, and you are still ugly!”

And even worse;  you’ve been back at work a couple of weeks and just to show how bored everyone really was; the Swiss, yes the Swiss of all people; decided to do something dramatic to shake everyone up a little.

Had the St Bernard been doing the rounds, doling out the Schnapps?

No, they didn’t delay a train, make a cuckoo clock that sang out of tune or wittily divert a ski slope so a Russian Oligarch and his family ended up in the middle of Andorra.

No, what they did was to remove the cap that pegged the Swiss Franc to the Euro! Whoops, panic set in across the global markets, and a Rolex watch quadrupled in price. OK, not really.

It had the immediate effect of making beans on toast in a mountain side restaurant in Gstaad £100. My goodness I should Coco, that’ll be an extra £50.

Well who’d have thought it from the Swiss?

I have been in Italy visiting Bologna, Florence and Pitti Uomo.

Pitti Uomo I have discussed before; but it is a trade show devoted to menswear, dare I say men’s fashion? Well I daren’t say it again!

This is the first group of ‘Fashionistas’ I saw, sporting the latest craze for ‘Boy Band Chic’ where Louis Walsh meets Conchita Wurst.

Boy Band Chic

Boy Band Chic

For those amongst you, who sport a beard, please accept my apologies in advance for any offence I may will cause.

I wore a suit on the two days I attended, when I would have felt more at home dressed as Santa Lycra.

One hall denied me access because I wasn’t looking “Lumbersexual” enough.

WHAT?????????

I looked around, it wasn’t an osteopath’s convention, it wasn’t that dark, no one was bent double wearing some sort of weird harness, holding their back and muttering under their breath “I’m never doing that again”.

Apparently it means a particular look, a hipster beard, check shirt, hat and short trousers and heavy boots. Now at this point I am losing the will to dress again, but I can see men with earrings, sunglasses indoors, bracelets, braces and all the other requirements.

Monty Python clearly got it right with the ‘Lumberjack Song’. Michael Palin sings:

I cut down trees, I skip and jump,
I like to press wild flowers.
I put on women’s clothing,
And hang around in bars.

I chop down trees, I wear high heels,
Suspenders and a bra.
I wish I’d been a girlie
Just like my dear papa.

I am now prepared for this eventuality, I have bought a false beard to carry in my pocket for a fashion emergency, and if you happen to notice that my trouser pocket is bulging, and a few stray hairs can be seen at the pocket opening despite my use of Captain Fawcett’s Moustache wax, fear not; I believe that that if it don’t fit, don’t force it.

Hahahaha. Sorry, couldn’t resist. I knew I’d get that joke in eventually. It’s only been 4 years of toil.

Anyway I have added my twist on the ‘Hipster/Lumbersexual’ look, false beard included and added a photo, and you’ll be happy to see it doesn’t involve Lycra.

Anyway here’s one for The Sartorialist!

Hipster

Hipster

I know if you didn’t know it was me you’d never know. I took this indoors as you know I would never want to be seen in the street incognito!

Anyway, enough fashion nonsense, dahlinks. You don’t read my newsletter for fashion news or advice. I just post that when it comes in,  and given current evidence I haven’t got a clue about anything related to clothing of any shape or form.

I was ill during my trip to Italy, but I did have a dinner with Emanuele to celebrate his birthday, but after that I was consigned to bed for days, not because of food or alcohol, but with a very nasty cold.

However in celebration of Emanuele, here is our annual photo.

Emanuele

Emanuele et moi

I am Xerxes, and earlier I was lain on a chaise longue, minions scurrying here and there peeling me grapes, applying fresh gilt to my skin in order that I might blind anyone who wants an audience with me and my magnificence, and no that is not a euphemism.

Sat humbly at the end of my super sofa, is DJ Dave Cam.

He’d searched out an audience with the greatest dictator the world has ever known, who has conquered more worlds than he has heard of, seen more baked beans than there are in a tin.

He’s put his sunglasses back on, his inability to frown or give any expression of any sorts means we have no idea what he feels about anything, and the glare from my golden glory is so strong that he is rendered inert,

Poof! a puff of smoke, and at his shoulder is ‘Little ol’ Nick’, whispering in Dave’s ear, “I can deliver you the Nation and Europe too. U keep the ones I don’t want, and we’ll get along famously.”

For heaven sake that’s the last time I touch J Collis Browne’s Linctus.

I”ve not been well, but I’ll never touch another drop of that, it’s back to the Absinthe minded faerie for me.

I was starting to hallucinate that we’d be stuck with an Italian style, rotating, coalition government, everyone fighting like rats in a sack, an unholy alliance between Nick Farage and the Scottish Nationals, with the Greens shining a light on it, via the open fridge door. You’d think they’d have they’d have looked at the efficiency rating stepped inside closed the door and been left in the cold, only later to be asked to appear on Gogglebox alongside DJ Dave for ‘Street Cred’.

Right, that really is enough linctus. No it’s not, yes it is, no it’s not. You two stop arguing with yourself, and pass the bottle here, it doesn’t really contain opiates does it?

Oh yes it does, oh, no it doesn’t, oh blimey, oh yes it does.

Mustn’t share this with the other personalities, they’ll all want a sip, and it is January and of course, “Not a drop will pass my lips”.

But no one said a thing about Cough Syrup!

I had to have photographic evidence that this was real and not a hallucination, but then I suppose only in Italy?

Polizia? Only in Italy!

Polizia?
Only in Italy!

And to finish, a liitle note to Neil and Scratch.

 “Scratchie, get well soon.”

Please read the last newsletter in tribute to Marie Eichner.

Copyright © 2015 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

June 2012 – Volpe Newsletter

This is a long one. Best to get that out of the way to begin with!

So much has happened this month. My, my, haven’t you all been so busy. It must mean the economy is on the way back, or you’ve all got so bored that some of you are actually doing something, asides from working.

Anyway, my plan was to meet up with Sam in the Cathay Lounge at Heathrow, we’d start drinking and continue until we were scraped onto the tarmac in Hong Kong. And if Mark had come along, we may never have survived the flight. Oh well, best laid plan of mice and men. Sam changed his plans and has headed for Paris. However, on the slight chance we both are in Hong Kong at the same time, we will try and do something en famile…

OK, slight problem, should I start again or just continue? Sam didn’t go to Paris, we are on the same flight, but as of yet we haven’t started drinking. I think we’ll take it easy and relax and catch up. We’re both going to have some work to do, and how else am I going to get the newsletter out? It is great to have Sam along, even if it’s so he can’t complain that it may be late. At least this time it might be his fault!!!

Anyway, I’m on the plane and only 11 hours to save the world! OK, OK to write the newsletter. It’s just that the former sounds so much more dramatic, and you know how I like a drama. And now the damn seat is broken, it’s completely flat and I’ve got to go and stand in the galley whilst they try to fix it at 2am, in the dark, with a toothpick. I should be catching up on my beauty sleep, wrapped up in my duvet, in my own individual little booth.

What am I doing in Hong Kong? I hear you all ask in unison.

Am I standing on top of a tall building in a typhoon? No really, you should see the video. A typhoon No. 8 signal passed through, so after dinner we strolled up onto the roof at David Tang’s Bank of China Restaurant to watch the passing typhoon. I was Batman to Hong Kong’s Gotham City. Oh, Adrian do get over yourself and the fantasy world in which you live.

No really; working is my response. Not to find new suppliers, as someone cruelly suggested. I am doing this for a friend who trusts my judgement. He has asked me out here to make suits for his wedding.  Mountain brought to Mohamed, perhaps. Fool? Clearly, but I won’t have a word said against him, and his fiancé has made it clear that she thinks I’m completely mad or worse. We’ve met, only the once, and since then she has avoided me. It was the pale blue suede jacket for a stag weekend he was going to in Ibiza that did it, very “Miami Vice”. Well it would, wouldn’t it?

I did put him Neil’s way if he was in need of a tattoo. Talking of Neil, there was a picture of him and Scratch (his faithful canine companion) on Facebook, sunning themselves on a beach. He said he was only there a couple of hours, but I did notice a darker hue to his skin whilst chatting on Skype. He can still be such a rebel. I shall try to get there at some point and have my name engraved somewhere so I don’t forget who I am. Neil doesn’t do “shades”, nothing beats a good glare, and Neil can glare with the best of them. Sometimes I think he really enjoys scaring prospective customers by staring at them, or it might be a test. If they can withstand his withering glance, then they are able to the pain that will follow as he wields his needle!

Sadly Neil will be in London this weekend, at some celeb wedding or other. So we will miss each other. He will arrive with Ryanair, and stay in a tent in a field, I will not. He didn’t like that. I didn’t realise he was getting married.

I was in Florence 2 weeks ago for Pitti Uomo, a menswear trade fair. Given my comments about the state and price of accommodation there in the past, I was pleasantly surprised. OK, I happened to be staying there at the same time as Madonna, who I must say made a real pest of herself, by knocking on my door all hours of the day and night, a la Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

I stayed in a very inexpensive bed and breakfast called Relais del Duomo. It was great, even though it was 36C outside, I didn’t even need to use the air conditioning! Clean and tidy, central and importantly very quiet, well apart from the bells of the Duomo. Really, if I want to be woken at that time I have Sunil. He, who lives in a different time zone to the rest of the world, compiled of 24 hours of work and 1 hour of sleep. Except Sunil don’t live int shoebox int middle ot road (Yorkshire accent). I normally set the alarm to wake me, but Sunil can be guaranteed to pre-empt it by at least a couple of hours.

Now I have a recommendation for you if you are travelling to Florence, it is a restaurant called “Trattoria Gabriello” and it is in via della Condotta. The owner Rita is wonderful. It seems to be one of the few original trattorias left in the centre, and at least there were some locals eating there, and not just infested by tourists like myself. I’m a snob like that, always a tourist, never a traveller. I ate there on Tuesday and the food is simple, and well cooked. She was being helped by her best friend Alessandra. We should all have friends like Alessandra, she took the time to talk to, and make everyone feel very welcome, whilst helping Rita because she wants to. Perhaps “Ale” is not the best waitress in the world, but she has other skills, she says she is working on her English, I feel, that with a little practice she’ll be fine. She also says she is a great driver, the scar on her forehead and the photo of her “totalled” Porsche on her phone may tell a different story!

Dear Michael was in Italy at the same time as part of his gardening leave. He went to Naples to see some friends and improve his Italian. We would chat by text, his main preoccupations appeared to be the heat, and why he wasn’t going brown. The feet of an albino cadaver were the words he used on the day before he left. However, I feel the highlight of his trip was the fact that these feet and his legs made a cameo appearance alongside Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster in the Daily Mail, now only if they lived next door to him, what treats would lie in store for them!

Michael also has a very sweet tooth, but he is a cheap choccie kind of man, more “Fruit & Nut” than “Charbonnet and Walker”, and that says more about Michael than you can imagine. But he arrived back in London clutching a box of chocolates for us from a shop in Naples called “Gay Odin”. As Gillian said, I’m not sure what the Norse God’s reaction to being called gay would be.

Now in every box of chocolates, there is always one! This box, full of Michael’s specially selected goodies contained the worst chocolate I have ever tasted. Each of us who tasted it, curious to the others reaction, was the same. It was made of dark chocolate, so no problem there, but when you bit into it, your mouth was filled with Brut 33. It tasted like the after shave and it smelt like the after shave, all that was missing was Henry Cooper saying “Go on son, stop coughing, it looks like you’ll splash it all over”.

In Italy they put liquers into all sorts of strange shaped bottles in order to trick you into buying them. Being from Naples I expected this chocolate to be filled with Limoncello, not Brut.

After reaching for and finding the wrong bottle to fill this handmade confection, perhaps Giacomo is out on a date somewhere, the faint smell of lemons upon his cheeks. I must ask Michael which he prefers.

And finally congratulations are in order to Eugenia for getting engaged, I know she will be very happy, and finally to Greg the “Cougar Magnet” as well. He has found someone younger to be with and Farah is beautiful. What did you put in her drink, I must try it myself…..

 

Copyright © 2012 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

January 2011 – Volpe Newsletter

As we are well into January, how many of you made New Year resolutions? And did you keep them, stumble from the course, or fall spectacularly head first into the gutter?

So the iPad is perfect for my insomnia. I promised myself it wouldn’t take over my life, and yet here I am writing the newsletter on it. It just keeps me awake longer. OK, so I’ll sleep when I’m dead. You can spend the small hours searching for apps, most of which you’ll never use. But it means I can lie on the sofa tapping blindly at the screen, whilst watching the news in 15 minutes, every 15 minutes. So between 2.30am and 6.00am, I get to hear about Silvio’s Ruby blues 14 times, oh joy.

Now some of you have complained about the brevity of my January teaser. Shame on you, I had the VAT return to do, and some of you should know better. Yes Greg, I mean you. You begged to be on the mailing list only to complain bitterly that the teaser wasn’t long enough and then regularly bring your mother in to torture me. But what goes around comes around. She kindly explained how you had removed your trousers in front of an Upper Class Virgin, the words might be slightly jumbled, but worse was to follow: your mother mistaken for your Cougar? As you said, does she look younger, or do you look older?

Anyway back to Silvio, which seems the most unlikely side of him the Italians will see. It’s a case of the devil you know, but it appears that even Papa Razzi is starting to flag, or perhaps lose track of the indefatigable appetite of the diminutive ex cruiseship crooner. And I use the word diminutive with pride. I too, am diminutive. OK, I won that bet. I managed to use that word 3 times, so much for drinking games. I play them with decaff espresso shots (just ask Jake), rather than alcohol, just to keep me awake. It is rumoured that Kiefer used to play a similar game whilst filming 24, damn it Chloe! “I’ll have another Jack Daniels”, before wrestling a Christmas tree to the ground, trousers round his ankles. But he showed he was a gent, by offering to pay for the damage.

OK, it’s not quite in the league of Charlie Sheen, or my personal favourites Robert Downey Jr driving his Porsche naked and throwing imaginary rats out of the car, and my friend Martin snorkelling naked in the snow in Verbier, and yes there is photographic evidence. Guys, some of you have some serious catching up to do.

However I bumped into a friend, who we will call James (because that’s his name). I was leaving The Wolseley after a hearty breakfast with Don, a close friend who once nearly laid waste to Keira Knightley, but that’s another story. James was always a bit of a party animal and after having been “driven” in his Gallardo, driven been the description I will give the experience. James was in London for a 3 day bender, because:  “the bright lights of Geneva, just weren’t bright enough any more.” At this point he was starting to flag and was craving coffee and a large eggs Benedict, I could have stayed to see the outcome, but I just had to be somewhere else.

Like the drinking games, I could try to start each paragraph with a letter that in some special code would make a word. No, stop trying to work out some hidden meaning in mine, before long you’ll be trying to play your old LPs backwards in an attempt to conjure up the devil, and I left Silvio where he belongs, a couple of paragraphs ago. It’s 3.30am and I’m now too tired to even try and be clever. Settle down at the back. I know what you’re going to say and it’s neither clever nor funny.

Sam passed through London this week and managed to pop in for a few hours between flights.  Bangkok-London-Hong Kong back-to-back in less than three days. As you said mate, I wouldn’t normally use that expression, but he’s an Aussie, “living the dream”, or perhaps 11K a year and £2.60 an hour is just too tempting. Big up Willie Walsh and the new cabin crew contract. There you go, guys, I got your protest vote in.

As you know, I have been in Bologna. It is still the best city in Italy to eat in. However each day I took the train into Florence for the Pitti Uomo trade fair. A mere 35 minutes or that’s what they tell you, not quite time keeping to Swiss standards. In four journeys, no less than 10 minutes late each time, but as my friend Fabio told us over lunch, it’s the Italian way. Rome to Milan in three hours, or at least in three Italian hours, because it’s a matter of pride that it just has to be 3 hours.

At Drogheria della Rosa Emanuele did us proud. Greeted like long lost friends, fed and watered within the limits of my waistband. After Sunday lunch we staggered to the airport clutching a white truffle. Emanuele has made his special kind of dining experience: his food, wine and company of the highest order, all rounded off with a semifreddo. Excuse me, titter ye not, did I hear Frankie Howerd?

Product of the month is the X-mini speaker, which I use for my iPad. Jake’s bored with this, but they are awesome and I suspect he’s slightly envious.