Saturday, 16 September 2017

Norty joins The British Beard Club!

In which G.M. Norton joins the brethren of bearded brothers.

Since chopping off the over-sized soup strainer and relinquishing my membership to the prestigious Handlebar Club, I've felt a little lost. There's something about being in a gang. Alas, the gangs that congregate where I live aren't really the sort of fellows that I'd like to spend time with, or vice versa.

So a couple of weeks ago, I applied to become a member of the British Beard Club and I'm tickled pink that they granted me admittance. 

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Norton of Morton turns 5 today!

In which G.M. Norton feels paternal pride.

Today marks the fifth anniversary of Norton of Morton.

As is tradition, every year I devote a periodical post to my blog's birthday as quite frankly, I'm amazed that it's still running.

For five years, I've published a new entry on the same day and time every week without fail.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Mad Dogs and Servicemen: Peter Freuchen

In which G.M. Norton introduces you to possibly the most extraordinary person ever.

As my little introduction suggests, I was recently alerted to an extraordinary human being who died on this very day 60 years ago. His name? Peter Freuchen.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Review: Madcap England velvet breed jacket

In which G.M. Norton unleashes his 1960s dandy.

When I was five years old, I was interviewed by the local newspaper (goodness knows why). One of the questions posed to me was the old favourite, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. My response was that a career in the police force beckoned. Possibly influenced by a plastic toy policeman that was strewn across my bedroom floor, while his motorcycle lay on its side, wheels spinning.
As the years passed by, my career aspirations have changed somewhat. 

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Big head strikes again

In which G.M. Norton insists that he's a wallflower really.

Over the years, my silly face has appeared on billboards, the back end of buses, and in the lost and found section of the local newspaper. Now though, the matter has really got out of hand.

Sauntering to the office one morning and what should I be greeted with? Well, I'm going to tell you. A ten foot banner of your favourite protagonist, draped over the town hall. 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Saul Bass: credit where credit is due

In which G.M. Norton admires the iconic work of Saul Bass.

As I've mentioned many times before, I'm an enormous Alfred Hitchcock nut. There's just something about his films that keep my attention, resulting in me watching them again and again. The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, Rebecca, Rear Window - they're all absolutely marvellous.

Hitchcock's three films from 1958 to 1960 stand out in particular, which is a combination of the director's signature style added to the haunting film scores by Bernard Herrmann and the film title sequences by Saul Bass that sets the scene for each story so well.
A graphic designer by trade, Saul Bass wisely used his skills for films across four decades, beginning in 1955 with The Man with the Golden Arm, through to the 1995 crime caper, Casino.

Vertigo (1958)

Saul Bass first collaborated with Hitchcock on the haunting Vertigo with James Stewart and Kim Novak in the leading roles. The opening title sequence begins with an intense close-up shot of Kim Novak's eyes, with the audience left to wonder just what is making her pupils dilate so much as Herrmann's film score adds to the feeling of uneasiness. Things don't ease up as it ends with Hitchcock's name spiralling out of Novak's eye.

North by Northwest (1959)

I've previously lauded North by Northwest, starring the fellow idolised by millions, Mr Cary Grant. This is probably my favourite Bass title sequence out of the three Hitchcock films. The green screen is overlaid by blue wireframes set at an angle as different credits quickly race across the screen. Eventually, the wireframe slowly fades and is replaced by the side of a New York office building, and the hustle and bustle of city workers below.

Psycho (1960)

Then there's Psycho. Set to an intense film score by Herrmann, doing a sterling job yet again, the opening sequence features a series of horizontal lines choppily moving across the screen. It all adds an air of high anxiety, setting the tone for what was to follow. I'm on edge just thinking about it.

Saul Bass was a true pioneer, changing the way films were introduced so that the title sequence conveyed the mood of the story that was about to unfold. Clever stuff.

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'

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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Vintage Smiths watch

In which G.M. Norton feels ready to take on the world. 

I recently managed to purloin a vintage Smiths Deluxe watch. Made in England at their Cheltenham factory, Smiths watches have a truly fascinating history. Edmund Hillary wore a Smiths Deluxe (the A404) when he climbed Mount Everest in 1953. And when Vivian Fuchs and Edmund Hillary successfully led the Trans-Antarctic Expedition across Antarctica in 1958, the entire team also had Smiths Deluxe watches strapped to their wrists (the A454). 

My vintage Smiths watch is the A460, which replaced the A454 (although they are identical in every way, except that the A460 is shock-proofed). 

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Cravat Week

In which G.M. Norton embarks on a sartorial mission.

This week, on the spur of the moment, I decided to embark on a personal mission to wear a cravat every single day of the week. Rather cleverly, I called this Cravat Week (I believe in simplicity!). Naturally, I documented this on my Instagram page, which is packed full of my sartorial endeavours.

Here’s a snap of each cravat from Monday to today.

Paisley cravat from eBay

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Potty about pins

In which G.M. Norton reveals his extensive pin badge collection.

My name is Norty and I have an addiction. I can't stop acquiring pin badges which adorn the lapels on my jacket.

This is how my collection of lapel pins currently stands. I tried counting them, but I lost count so I gave up, poured myself a generous gin and just admired them instead.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Sun’s out, mag’s out

In which G.M. Norton celebrates issue 11 of the best magazine in existence.

Rejoice, chumrades, for the new summer issue of the most noble of publications, In Retrospect magazine, is now out and available to squander your spending money on.

We’re now on issue 11, which is packed to the rafters with tip-top articles from chalk hill figures, vintage motorbikes, classic toys and Viva Las Vegas.