Baubles, Bangles & Beads. February 2018.

Dear Rowley,

Invariably, anyone who says they are ‘a bit mad’ or ‘eccentric’ turns out to be the bore of the century. Similarly, men who pronounce themselves ‘rakish’ do so at their peril if they are happily married and sprogged-up. Your Rake card is torn up the minute you get hitched. Evelyn Waugh described rake incarnate Brian Howard as a creature who ‘fights and f**** and gets disgustingly drunk’. Those are the criteria for living a rakish life.

So few of the men’s style press seem to live with any, well,  style. It’s all very well wearing the gear but if you haven’t been seduced, paralytically drunk or cautioned by the police in the past month then you are not a randy dandy.

Being a rake has nothing to do with money and buying expensive junk. A true rake lives on the precipice of bankruptcy and lets money burn a hole through his canvassed pockets. I know I can go from zero money to hero spender on the turn of a coin.

The night before I am weeping int0 my hot Bovril then when the cash machine fairy pays out I’m down Hatchards buying the latest hardbacks, popping into Fortum & Mason for some delicate charcuterie and blowing the budget on essentials like Vogue Menthols and a case of Chablis. I would blame it on manic depression if I ever thought the bank manager would believe me.

The founder editor of The Rake Mr Christian B. Barker is a rake incarnate who seems to have smuggled his rakishness beyond marriage and children. We salute you, Mr Barker. But looking at the masthead now it resembles a Parish magazine for boys who have grown-up, sired children and now live vicariously writing about what they no longer do.

I was a founder editor-at-large of The Rake and loved every minute of my time working underneath Mr Barker … no comments please Rowley. I like editors who love my work, never ask silly subs to question me and buys regular Dukes martinis as a thank you for my endeavours.

Having been incredibly down on journalism in recent years I am getting rather a thrill diving back in. Last week I had a cracking piece in Country Life about the great Stickpin revival. The layouts were gorgeous and featured masterpieces in the inventory of Bentley & Skinner and Wrtski. I would kill for the c.1935 Tiffany emerald umbrella stickpin with tassels of articulated diamonds representing the rain. How pretty a lapel pin he would make.

I am enjoying promoting the stickpin on Jewellery for Gentlemen even though my shop is offline until I feel a bit better after ‘the troubles’ of January. Burglaries take it out on you. Now we have locks like DeBeers’s diamond vault and CCTV in what is laughably called ‘the common parts’. Talk about stable doors but I I do feel safer now.

Well, what else is new on the Rialto? I signed the contract with Thames & Hudson to write the Henry Poole & Co monograph and will happily start it in a few months’ time when I am feeling less exhausted and languid. Lovely word, languid, no?

I’ve been beavering on the Henry Poole texts but won’t deliver until June so there’s plenty of time to work up some amazing picture files so that Pete and I can get stuck in come June. I never have had a prolonged stretch of time off work. This time the three months is on doctor’s orders and I am enjoying the relaxation immensely.

It has always been my dream to take a month out to go somewhere hot and work on my Grindr novel Tomster, KitPlay, Starboi & Me. I love the story I am cooking based on true life experiences but need a ramrod straight plot to run through the cheap thrills and jokes. I spent much of my childhood own Menorca and that’s where I am going to lay my hat in May.

Did I tell you I had highlights put in at Rush the other day? Well the 80s are back so I thought I would revisit the blonde fringe that I had in my New Romantic days. Next thing you know I will be customising a Levi’s crop jacket with button badges and diamanté brooches. What a hoot!

I enjoyed the 1980s, didn’t you Rowley? Mrs Thatcher was in power, Dynasty was on the box and I had yet to lose my virginity in the early years. I used to love shopping for fash-on on Fargate in Sheffield and bought some absolute doozies.

Crime of fashion was ‘the look’ at Birkdale school discos: drainpipe jeans, fluorescent socks, brothel creepers, a black shirt, white leather tie and a maroon sleeveless knit. All this with bleached blonde Limahl hair and a touch of mascara. Those were the days.

I also recall buying unstructured jackers made in purple and blue plaid and those amazing black and white check cowboy shirts made in voile. I also loved a shaggy black bomber jacket that I wore with a diamanté brooch and a permed fringe when I grew bored of being a blonde.

Funny, shopping has never been as fun since the 80s until I discovered Uniqlo. Uniqlo is great fashion, great design, cheap as chips and washes well. I love Uniqlo and this is not a sponsored message. I now only wear Uniqlo and Savile Row plus Dunlop cheapo sneakers. Dunlop even do a £15 racing green welly at Sports Direct and boy do we need wellies with the snow covering London right now.

I am rather getting back into fashion of late and have been dashing to Harrods, Harvey Nicks, Liberty and Selfridges to criti the edit of designer schmutter they have stocked. Mr DeMille, I might be ready for my comeback.