Saturday, 20 September 2014

The British Beard & Moustache Championships 2014

In which G.M. Norton hands over the reins to his new No. 2 for a hairy update.

Following Mr. Ryan Pike’s summer guest spot on The Chap Olympiad, he has now filed his latest report. This time, it concerns The British Beard & Moustache Championships held last weekend.

The Pike Report

The city of Bath is well known for its magnificent architecture and culture, the Roman presence, the magnificent Abbey which marks over 100 years of history and the splendid catacomb of shops, cafes and bars that line the winding back streets. This weekend the city was more vibrant than ever as not only did it host a local rugby game filling the streets with supporters dressed in blue, white and black but also a Jane Austin convention which saw many don period costume and parade through the town, transforming the area to a time long forgotten.
However besides all this splendour, there was another very important occasion hosted by the city. Early risers strolling through the Pavillion Gardens about 0930 will have noticed a curious array of ladies and gents assembling for a parade, the men all having some form of facial hair and many of the ladies wearing fake, homemade beards and moustaches. Not an everyday sight you may well say, but the 13th September marked the occasion of the second British Beard and Moustache Championships which is held every two years (the previous event being held in Brighton in 2012). 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Real-life dandy: Shaun Gordon

In which G.M. Norton interviews an extraordinary tie-maker and all-round natty dresser.


I first came across Shaun Gordon on Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer’s Twittering page. He had attended the launch for a new tie collection by an immaculately-dressed gentleman described as “not your average tie-maker”.
Aware of Mr. B’s commendable taste in neckwear (have you seen the Gentleman Rhymer’s own range of Partridge-esque club ties?), I was instantly intrigued so proceeded to this tie-maker’s webular site. His name of course, was Mr. Shaun Gordon and as was evident in a matter of milliseconds, he makes exceedingly good ties.
Mesmerising ties aside, what struck me about Mr. Gordon was how incredibly dapper he is. What’s more, he makes it seem so effortless. Upon joining Instagram at the beginning of the year, I made the commendable decision to follow this most dashing of dandies. So, when I was considering which sartorially elegant gentleman to feature for the next ‘real-life dandy’ feature, I naturally thought of Shaun. Being the thoroughly decent chap that he is, he agreed to take part and here are the results.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The terrible twos

In which G.M. Norton celebrates Norton of Morton’s second birthday.

This next week marks a pretty momentous event in the old calendar, for the 8th September means it is precisely two years since Norton of Morton came to life.
I do so enjoy reminiscing when I reach an important milestone. Take last year’s 1st birthday celebrations for instance, where I received a telegram from Her Majesty the Queen.
Or marking a year of my handlebar moustache with a time capsule ceremony.
I almost let this periodical’s second birthday pass by with no fanfare. I didn’t even get my chums, Puttin’ On The Blitz! to sing a jolly tune in celebration. 
But then, when I started to list all the things that had happened over twelve extraordinary months, I couldn’t resist. So, here are my highlights.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Marko John’s - guaranteed to blow your socks off

In which G.M. Norton gets heady about hosiery.

As a keen sock lover, I was overjoyed to be sent a rather splendid pair of socks for review by Marko John’s. If you’re not familiar with Marko John’s, they’ve been making socks in Blighty since 1895. A dashed long time, I’m sure you’ll agree!

Gift box

They make a fine selection of brightly coloured foot friends, for both ladies and gentlemen. Admittedly, the ladies range of knee-socks are limited to three colour options, but they are lovely nonetheless.

Knee-length ladies socks

Gentlemen, on the other hand (or should that be ‘foot’?) are treated to a whole array of options to suit different tastes. I counted 30 different striped pairs, which are my favourite, along with nine different ‘top and tailed’ pairs.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Review: BeauFort London moustache finishing wax and case

In which G.M. Norton makes the discovery of a lifetime – the finest moustache wax in all the land.


Recently, I was lucky enough to be given a new moustache wax to try from BeauFort London.

I first got wind of BeauFort London through the wonder that is the Twittering Device. Upon visiting their webular site, I was quite simply blown away by it. The imagery and language used is quite breath-taking and I hoped against hope that their flagship grooming product would live up to its promise.
Well, after testing it out in the varying weather conditions that is known as ‘the great British summer’, I am now in a position to share my opinion with you, dear readers.

Quite simply, and before I start to wax lyrical, I am astounded. There, I’ve said it.
Firstly, what sets BeauFort London’s finishing wax apart from the start is the exquisite case that the wax is enclosed in. Other makes of moustache wax either come in a disposable screw-top tin or tube, reminiscent of toothpaste. Tins and tubes just don’t cut the mustard with BeauFort London. Oh no!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

What I wore on Wednesday

In which G.M. Norton wears some clothes.

I've been asked by one or two people to share a little more of the gentlemanly attire that I wear.

So, without further preamble, and to keep my promise (we Nortons never break a promise), here is the outfit I cobbled together on Wednesday.
I am happy, honestly. I'm simply trying to appear 'nonchalant'. The result is perhaps 'constipated', instead.

Now, did I do anything on Wednesday? Well, yes I did actually. After a day at the office, I visited a factory in the city of Salford. The factory is one of the last surviving clothing manufacturers in the country and home to the Private White V.C. menswear brand. I had a delightful tour for a feature which will appear in the first-ever printed edition of In Retrospect magazine.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Review: Tavus cravat from Cravat Club

In which G.M. Norton goes crazy about cravats.

I simply adore cravats. They allow the wearer to still be properly attired even when the shirt collar is open. Cravats also conjure up associations of a winking Leslie Phillips or David Niven, which for me, is only a good thing!
So you can imagine my joy when I received a cravat to review from Cravat Club.

If you’re not familiar with Cravat Club then I recommend you visit their electronic site and immerse yourself in the world of cravats (unsurprisingly) and more recently, pocket squares.
I’ve been casting furtive glances at their collection of silk accessories for quite some time. Aside from the array of interesting patterns and colours available, what sets Cravat Club apart from its competitors is that each and every one of their products is made in England. So not only do you get to ooze style and sophistication but you get to wear something made and produced right here in Blighty.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

On film: The Lady Vanishes

In which G.M. Norton agrees that a million Mexicans can’t be wrong.

I recently had the pleasure of watching The Lady Vanishes, a 1938 Hitchcock film caper about espionage, the disappearance of an elderly lady and cricket.

Marking the peak of Hitchcock’s British period, it is an exquisitely crafted cinematic treasure, boasting a collection of super acting talent including Dame May Whitty as the vanishing lady. 

It was the penultimate picture that Hitch made in Britain before his celebrated move to Hollywood.

Given the identity of the person directing proceedings, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that the plot is of the suspense variety, with just a dash of romantic froth for good measure and lots of comic moments to help ease the tension.

The film begins in the fictional European country of Bandrika, which is the sort of quaint yet suspicious setting that Hergé would place Tintin and Captain Haddock in. 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Review: The Legends London Maximum Hold Hair Gel

In which G.M. Norton tests out a new hair product that makes big bold claims.

I’m a pomade man. I wear it every day and it gives me the look that I desire. So when I received a missive from the interestingly named The Legends London, offering me the chance to test out their new hair gel, I had my doubts.

Over the course of my life, my experience of hair gel has never really been very positive so the mere mention of the word ‘gel’ doesn’t have terribly good associations with me.

Pomade on the other hand is a safe word, a dependable word.

I have an inquisitive nature though so as the hair gel that The Legends were offering was completely free, I thought, why the devil not?

A few days later and the 220ml tub was in my hands, ready to give the hair gel its first outing. As first impressions go, I was quite taken with the red retro design. It wasn’t one of those achingly modern tubs that I associate with hair gel.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Chap Olympiad 2014: a field report

In which G.M. Norton invites a Handlebar Club chum to recount his Chap Olympiad experience.
Last Saturday, the 10th Chap Olympiad was held at Bedford Square Gardens in Londinium - an annual event where ladies and gentlemen gather for a wonderfully eccentric day of picnics, hobnobbing and competing for Chappish glory in 'sporting' challenges.

Sadly, my moustache and I were unable to make it but rather than let such a glorious soiree saunter by without this periodical marking it in some way, I devised a plan.
As you may have already gathered, I enjoy plotting and scheming, so I made the inspired decision to invite a Chap Olympiad attendee to pen a little something on the gregarious goings-on.
Enter, my chum and fellow Handlebar Club member, Mr. Ryan Pike.
Handlebar Club members including Ryan (far left) and Michael "Atters" Attree (centre)
Please sit back, pour yourself a tumbler of your favourite tipple and enjoy Mr. Pike's account of his experience at the Chap event of the year.
Over to you, Ryan.