A non-Idiot’s Guide to Idiot Advice on Getting Dressed.

Most Western men I see, and particularly Australian men for that matter, are not very good at dressing themselves. They’re not good at dressing for the office, or smart casual, or formal wear, or anything really. Maybe they’re good at swimwear, but they often fail that as well. I used to be a very average dresser, although at least I knew that I had style issues and I tried to do something about them in a lame sort of way. But it wasn’t until I moved to Italy that I got my sartorial act together. You have to when you’re constantly surrounded by superbly dressed Italian men.

A couple of weeks ago there was an article on Taki’s Mag called ‘An Idiot’s Guide to Getting Dressed.’ The problem is that it was written by an idiot. The writer spent the first few paragraphs describing how he berated some young schmuck on his cheap and tacky dress sense, but then spends the rest of the two page piece outlining how to dress as cheaply as possible. I mean, pocket squares made out of tissue paper anyone?

I, of course, am not bothered by this imbecile and his terrible advice, but then I thought that guys out there might actually take him seriously. Oh, the horror. So let me deconstruct his article for you so you don’t fall into any of the terrible fashion time-bombs this guy has lain down. Original quotes are in italics. Continue reading “A non-Idiot’s Guide to Idiot Advice on Getting Dressed.”

The Tour Guide Terror – part 2

The thing about going to local markets, and it can be anywhere in the world, is that you know that they are going to be absolute rubbish. Go to a so-called ‘market’ in Australia and it will have the same stalls selling the same items. Crappy bags and holders, terrible jewelery, awful clothing, infantile ceramics, the usual hodgepodge of Aboriginal knock-offs, supposed artwork that would make any year 9 art teacher go weak with despair, skin and ‘beauty’ products manufactured from unidentifiable products that do anything but clean and purify, and of course cutting boards, because you have to be remarkably talented in the art of woodworking to make a fucking cutting board.

Thankfully the Thai market had no Australian Aboriginal products, but the end result was the same. Walk the length of the market and then back on the other side and the chances of you wanting to voluntarily part with any money are woefully slim. I was on the lookout for two items, however; some fresh limes that I could use with my lovely bottle of Boodles gin and some cigarettes. Specifically I was after unfiltered cigarettes. Lucky Strike and Camel are the two best options. You can’t get unfiltered ciggies in Australia because Nanny State and all that. My other requirement is that the packet be free of any nasty pictures of death in horrible ways. I prefer my death served up clean and pure, thank you very much.

The limes were a dead duck. There wasn’t a single purveyor of fresh produce. Not even un-fresh produce. Just no produce at all. And cigarettes were nowhere to be found. The only interesting thing, apart from the architecture, was the buskers. We counted three buskers, all local Thai people. They were uniformly awful but what was interesting was that in front of each busker was a scattering of a few dozen chairs. These were all filled with locals who were politely listening and applauding the performances. Considering that every Thai seemed to have a smartphone, it was touching to see this obvious appreciation of local musicianship. Even if the most popular song of the night was ‘Country Roads’.

We met back at the van after an hour. Stuffed back inside we hurtled through the inner-city to an enormous lot packed with hundreds of stalls under a common roof. Our guide offered us 90 minutes of viewing pleasure, but there was an instantaneous protest from all four couples and we beat him back down to 50 minutes. The cooked food section of the market was overwhelming, but once again there was no fresh produce. I ended up bartering with a woman behind a little stall for four miserable whole limes. I noticed many locals walking around puffing clouds of smoke but where they purchased their cancer sticks remained a mystery to me.

My wife pointed across the road to a 7-11. Braving the hurtling traffic we scurried across only to find a broad selection of cigarettes with photos of diseased organs even more objectively horrifying than those found in Australia. I was at a loss for words. But my wife managed to purchase a cashmere scarf from the only original vendor in the place we could find, so it wasn’t a total dead loss.

We arrived back at the hotel after 11pm and even our talkative tour guide had run out of things to say.

“Did you learn many things tonight?” I asked his sleepy apprentice.

“Yes, yes! Many things!” His smile was brave in the circumstances.

I briefly pondered asking him what exactly he had learned but I realised that this would be too cruel, even for me. We barely managed a ‘good night’ to the other couples. All of us had the 1000 yard stare acquired only in serious combat or serious tour guide hell.

The Tour Guide Terror – part 1.

You never really meet your fellow guests when you’re on holiday. You may nod and smile at them on your way to breakfast, or observe them from across the pool, (what is it with women of a certain age and awful tattoos?), but they are only ever on your periphery, relegated into easily identifiable brackets: the old hairy sun-burnt guy; the hottest girl in the hotel; the Isis undercover agent quickly being seduced by Western decadence and cocktails.

That is until you find yourself trapped together on an organised tour. Continue reading “The Tour Guide Terror – part 1.”

The Gin Diary.

I am on holiday. Somewhere in Thailand. I cannot tell you where as I do not want my hordes of fans to descend on me, besieging me with demands to sign their vulvas. I also don’t want Isis to discover my whereabouts as I have been known to be highly critical of their sartorial weaknesses which are many and hideous. How on earth they imagined that wearing black pajamas and demented eighties head bands would inspire millions of would-be fiends is beyond me. And kudos to the the guy who thought of wearing black in the middle of the fucking desert. Continue reading “The Gin Diary.”