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Friday Cool - The Coolest Bond

Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on January 18, 2013 at 2:35 AM Comments comments (0)

There have been lots of actors who have played Bond. Sean Connery, Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and currently Daniel Craig. They have all been "cool" in their day and all reflected the times when the films were made.  Roger Moore was a late 70s early 80s Bond and these were very different times to the Sixties and Nineties and today. 

Today we are keen to look back and judge the coolness of the eras by today's measurements and as a consequence Connery is perhaps judged the coolest of all Bonds. Skyfall though is the absolute box office smash, so perhaps Danieg Craig is challenging Connery for the title of the coolest Bond.

I think it is too soon to judge but it is fun being caught between the two!

Wall To Wall Friday Cool

Friday Cool - David Bowie's Back in Berlin

Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on January 11, 2013 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Picture Source

David Bowie's New Song Back In Berlin

Source Kristen Allen - Spiegel Online

David Bowie's surprise new song deals heavily with the time he spent in Berlin as a young musician, a brief period that has become part of the German capital's identity. But what does the melancholy tune reveal about his memories of the city?

Music fans around the world got a special surprise this week with the unexpected release of a new single by rock legend David Bowie, but perhaps nowhere were they more excited than in Berlin.

The track, entitled "Where Are We Now?" is about Bowie's time in the divided German capital in the late 1970s, when he lived in the Schöneberg district with fellow rocker Iggy Pop, and worked with Brian Eno to produce some of the most memorable music of his career. They came to escape the glamor and drugs in Los Angeles and New York with limited success, and their escapades in West Berlin helped establish the city's reputation as a scrappy artist's haven. And what could say "cool" better than "Bowie was here"? Released on Tuesday, the artist's 66th birthday, it is Bowie's first new song in a decade, and a complete surprise to the music industry after his near complete retreat from public life. Along with the announcement of a new studio album, "The Next Day," to be released in March, it was classic Bowie showmanship that ignited a major buzz on Twitter, Facebook and news sites about the influential artist's comeback. Even more exciting for Germans, though, is the fact that it reveals just what a great impact their beloved city appears to have had on him.

"David Bowie Pays Homage to Berlin," mass-circulation daily Bild raved. "David Bowie is Among Us Again," wrote the Berliner Zeitung. "David Bowie Is Back, and Singing About Berlin," gushed the city's Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.

'He Still Has a Presence Here'

"It's really cool that Bowie is addressing his time in Berlin. It's a great city," says Berlin native Thilo Schmied, a Bowie aficionado who has been leading tours about the capital's rock and pop history with Fritz Music Tours for some eight years. "I think what fascinated him about Berlin was the past, even before the Nazis, the golden era when everything was possible culturally and artistically."

Schmied says that it is the period between 1976 and 1978 when David Bowie and Iggy Pop intermittently stayed in Berlin that most interests people taking the tour. During that time Bowie recorded three albums -- "Low," "Heroes" and "Lodger" -- which he later dubbed his "Berlin Trilogy," even though the latter album was actually produced in Switzerland and New York. Much of the work that he and Iggy Pop did in West Berlin was at the now legendary Hansa Studio, next to the Berlin Wall, where a litany of artists including U2, Depeche Mode, David Byrne and Nick Cave have also recorded.

"He still has a presence here, and that's why so many people want to come and see where David Bowie recorded," a studio employee said on Wednesday. With the release of "Where Are We Now?", a fresh wave of Bowie fans may soon be making the pilgrimage to Berlin and the studio, he registered with a typically sarcastic Berliner expletive.

A Creative Source

The new song was recorded in New York with long-time collaborator Tony Visconti, with whom Bowie also worked in Berlin. It is soft and spare, with an elegiac quality that makes it clear Bowie is grappling with the past. The video, directed by Tony Oursler, features Bowie's face, along with that of a mysterious woman, superimposed onto a Siamese twin doll. A projector beams black and white video footage of Berlin onto a screen in the background. According to Bowie's website, the scene that surrounds the two is footage of the auto repair shop located below his former Berlin apartment.

Bowie sings about the old haunts where he and friends used to hang out, like the now defunct bar Dschungel on Nürnbergerstrasse. Another lyric, in which he refers to taking a train from Potsdamer Platz -- an impossibility when Berlin was divided -- raises the question of whether the song was inspired by a more recent visit to the city. Along his path down memory lane, he's "just walking the dead," Bowie sings.

"Berlin was always a creative source for him," Romy Haag, a German entertainer who was linked romantically to Bowie in the 1970s, told Bild. "One can sense his homesickness and how good he felt here."

'Very, Very Depressing'

But another friend from that era disagrees. Watching the video, Claudia Skoda says she felt "unsettled." The German fashion designer, who says she was "good friends" with Bowie during his Berlin years, spending many evenings frequenting places like Dschungel or going out for Chinese food, found it all a bit too sad.


"It's somehow very, very depressing," she says. "I have the feeling he's not doing well right now and is perhaps a bit melancholy and thinking back on what Berlin was to him."A number of media have recently reported on suspicions that Bowie, who suffered a heart attack in 2004, may be seriously ill. Following the release of the song, however, both his management and record label remained tight-lipped, not responding to interview requests. There is also no word about whether the new album will be accompanied by a tour. His website simply says: "David is the kind of artist who writes and performs what he wants when he wants … when he has something to say as opposed to something to sell. Today he definitely has something to say."

Regardless whether Bowie returns to the German capital on tour, this week Berliners can bask in the glow of his attention once again. "We were proud back then that he'd come to the city, too," says Skoda. "That was something special."


One of the most striking books we have read in recent times is The Moment by Douglas Kennedy, which is set around the time the Bowie spent in Berlin. It all kind of puts Berlin on the map for us as a cool place to visit. This Friday Cool feature then is recognition of the cool icon that is Bowie and the uber coolness of Berlin.

 Finally, the V & A in london is doing an exhibition on Bowie in March.

Friday Cool - The Pocket Square

Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on January 4, 2013 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Do two things:

  1. Wear one
  2. Wear it with style.

Friday Cool - The Gentleman's Shave

Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on December 28, 2012 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Why wet shave? Primarily a wet shave results in a closer shave compared to that of an electric razor. However it is also the very ritual of wet shaving that people enjoy. The preparation, the scents and the strong link to the past that is associated with using high quality wet shaving products can turn what is often viewed as a chore into something pleasurable and a rewarding ritual. Most men feel that their skin condition improves remarkably from the exfoliating nature of a wet shave and the moisturizing temperament of the products used.

A first-rate close shave is all about preparation and the right tools for the job. By following these pointers you will experience your ultimate shave:

  • Shave after the shower or wrap a hot soaking wet face towel across the face for 30 seconds. The hot water loosens up the pores and softens the hair for a closer shave.
  • Run your shaving brush under the hot tap until the head becomes heavy with water. Next lightly shake out approximately two thirds of the water that the brush head has retained - too much water will dilute shaving cream and if you are using shave soap it will hamper your efforts at building up a nice thick lather.
  • The definitive way to whip up a thick lather and protect the life of your shaving brush is to flick your brush back and forth across the soap bowl. Do not be tempted to only go around in circles! Bristle is very fine, badger bristle even more so, and if you whip up a lather by going round and round in circles everyday, week after week and month after month the individual strands of bristle will get wound tighter and tighter. Eventually this would cause them to snap and fall out. So if you are to take away one crucial piece of advice on prolonging the life of a shaving brush it would be this - whip up a lather by flicking the brush head up and down or side to side and occasionally in circles but NEVER solely in circles! I guarantee this will aid the life of your brush.
  • If you are using shave cream dip the tip of the brush lightly into the tub and lather up directly onto your skin in an upward motion.
  • Shave with the grain of your beard or stubble - generally this is in a downward direction. As long as your razor blade is changed regularly (we suggest once a week) you can simply glide the razor across your skin using minimal pressure.
  • For an extra close shave or any stubborn hair, reapply your lather or cream and shave sideways across the skin in short strokes. Under the jaw line you may like to shave against the grain and draw the razor upwards, again applying minimal pressure. Use your fingers to feel for any obstinate areas of growth - hair grows in different directions around the neck area.
  • Rinse your face with clean warm water to close the pores, and pat the skin dry and apply a suitable moisturizer.
  • Finally, rinse your brush under the tap, shake off excess water, and to prolong the life of the brush, turn upside down on the stand to prevent water settling in the base.

Kent are the first choice for shaving products for the discerning gentleman.

Kent's Heritage

G B Kent & Sons Ltd, manufacturers of brushes since the eighteenth century is one of the oldest established companies in Great Britain.

Kent Brushes (as they are now more commonly known) was founded in 1777 by William Kent in the reign of George III. Kent holds a pre-eminent place in the history of brush making, with an unbroken record of excellence in the quality of its production which has been recognised by the granting of Royal Warrants for nine reigns.

The Kent family continued to run the company for six generations until 1932 when the last of the three Kent brothers passed away. This is when Mr Eric L.H Cosby, owner of Cosby Brushes Ltd, entered into an association with G.B Kent & Sons. A new chapter was then opened in Kent's long history, and since that time the company has been under the creative and dynamic direction of the Cosby family.

Today, Mr Alan H.L Cosby, grandson to Eric Cosby is the Managing Director and Chairman, with his wife, son and one of his three daughters working for the business. The company headquarters moved from London to their existing factory in Apsley, Hertfordshire on the 6th February 1984, and remains there to this day.

The company continues to retain the craftsmanship and unprecedented quality that is Kent's reputation. Even in today's fast moving, mass-produced assembly, Kent are proud to still be manufacturing many of their original brushes by hand.

Nevertheless, Kent Brushes is committed to developing and enhancing its products with every step they take. Kent harness the latest hi-tech manufacturing processes, whilst building on the time-honoured traditional methods to create the world's finest example of each and every brush that leaves their factory.

The Royal Warrant is as old as the Monarchy and was created as a way of recognising the skills of small companies who produced products for the Royal Households. Besides specialist items such as crowns, jewellery and robes, ordinary household products were also required from kitchen utensils, furniture and brushes. Kent received their first warrant from George III and since then have received warrants continuously from monarchs up to the present day.

The accolade of supplying the Royal Household was, and remains, a sign of excellence, a recognition to be proud of and one that is unequalled anywhere in the world. This warrant gives Kent the right to display the royal coat of arms discreetly on their products, packaging, stationery and company vehicles.

A company's Royal Warrant is reviewed every five years and Kent brushes have held a warrant consistently for 9 reigns.

Friday Cool - The Christmas Jumper

Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on December 19, 2012 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Oops. Last Friday was Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children so without doubt that was the coolest Friday to wear your Christmas Jumper.  In truth though such campaigns have made the Christmas Jumper a legitimate fashion item in its own right.  The Be Square and Be Cool Brigade have legitimised this look but more importantly are you on trend enough to carry off the look that was reserved exclusively for Dad's of a certain age.

The picture above shows how it is done, below shows River Island's version and finally, the last picture is proof that the man with the Christmas jumper always gets the girl. For many tomorrow (Friday Cool) is the last day of work, so wear your Christmas jumper, not just with pride but with style too!

Friday Cool - The Power of Love

Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on December 15, 2012 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

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"The Power Of Love"

I'll protect you from the hooded claw

Keep the vampires from your door

Feels like fire

I'm so in love with you

Dreams are like angels

They keep bad at bay-bad at bay

Love is the light

Scaring darkness away-yeah

I'm so in love with you

Purge the soul

Make love your goal

(1) The power of love

A force from above

Cleaning my soul

Flame on burn desire

Love with tongues of fire

Purge the soul

Make love your goal

I'll protect you from the hooded claw

Keep the vampires from your door

When the chips are down I'll be around

With my undying, death-defying

Love for you

Envy will hurt itself

Let yourself be beautiful

Sparkling love, flowers

And pearls and pretty girls

Love is like an energy

Rushin' rushin' inside of me

[Repeat 1]

This time we go sublime

Lovers entwine-divine divine

Love is danger, love is pleasure

Love is pure-the only treasure

I'm so in love with you

Purge the soul

Make love your goal

The power of love

A force from above

Cleaning my soul

The power of love

A force from above

A sky-scraping dove

Flame on burn desire

Love with tongues of fire

Purge the soul

Make love your goal

I'll protect you from the hooded claw

Keep the vampires from your door

This year, the department store John Lewis has again opted for a cover version – Gabrielle Alpin's piano-led interpretation of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 1984 hit The Power of Love. It's a soothing, pleasant enough version and good enough to make me download it from iTunes,  but there is something a little watered down, a tad lifeless about Alpin's version; a gentle offering of the song, its focus seeming to fall on atmosphere rather than the lyrical content. With Holly Johnson's version every syllable of the lyrics  claws its way into your soul, cleaning and purging all other words from your mind as you take in and assimilate the words. In truth this is why Aspin's version works better with John Lewis' Xmas video than the original would, as the atmosphere imbued into the song by her rendition compliments the visual delight of the advert. The song adds to the flavour but does not dominate the story unfolding in front of your eyes. With the Frankie Goes to Hollywood version, the song could dominate the image.

Without doubt the original in this case will always be the best, but credit to John lewis  Gabrielle Alpin's version works brilliantly with the very visual demonstration of love unfolding on screen as the Snowman's unboundless love faces down every peril in his quest for a gift for his beloved.

"I always felt like The Power of Love was the record that would save me in this life," Holly Johnson once said. "There is a Biblical aspect to its spirituality and passion; the fact that love is the only thing that matters in the end." Something to ponder as we slide into the Christmas shopping frenzy. Is your demonstration of love going to measure up to the Snowman's this year?  Have you really gone that extra mile for that special gift? Shame on you if you haven't!

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