Saturday, 31 January 2015

Mad Dogs and Servicemen: Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart

In which G.M. Norton regales you with the extraordinary tale of an extraordinary war hero.


As a child, I remember watching the 1977 James Bond film adventure and being struck by two things. One was the beauty of Bond Girl, Barbara Bach (later wife of Ringo Starr) and the other was the seemingly indestructible juggernaut of a henchman, Jaws.

No matter what was thrown at him, Jaws, played by Richard Kiel, somehow managed to survive. 

Little did I know that a real-life Jaws figure existed. Although, rather than sporting metal teeth, this extraordinary human being wore an eye patch instead after being shot in the face.

The chap in question is one Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart. 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Great Scot! Celebrating the original Mr B

In which G.M. Norton raises a glass of whisky to Mr Robert Burns.


Long before the celebrated Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer impressed us with his lyrical expression, there was another Mr B who was much lauded for his skilful way with words and song – Mr Robert Burns.

Tomorrow evening marks Burns Night - an annual celebration of the music and words of Scotland’s favourite son. Of course, it’s also the perfect excuse for the heavy consumption of whisky, providing a ray of light on an otherwise dark and gloomy first month of the year. 

Robert Burns was born in Ayrshire on 25th January 1759 and during his short life (only reaching 37 years of age), he won the hearts of the world with some of Scotland’s most enduring verse and ballads. His body of work touched on love, freedom and humanity, making him as relevant today as he was during his lifetime.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Winter brogues

In which G.M. Norton encourages chaps to be safe this winter and wear their rubbers.


I love a good pair of shoes. Whenever I have a spare moment, usually between the hours of 9-5, I can’t resist visiting various shoemaker websites and admiring their finely crafted leather goods.

Naturally, leather soled shoes are the preferred choice for any self-respecting gentleman but I must confess to being an advocate of the rubber soled variety. 
 
I realise that some may frown upon such creations and that just the thought of a rubber soled shoe is enough to send a shiver down the spine of any thoroughbred chap.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Picture perfect

In which G.M. Norton poses for pictorials.


I’m tickled pink to be able to share with you some daguerreotypes of your humble protagonist from a recent photo shoot at the acclaimed Doll House Photography in Birmingham.

As well as the honour of seeing Norton of Morton crowned the Best Vintage Fashion & Lifestyle Blog at the National Vintage Awards 2014, there was also a prize on offer – a free photo shoot at Doll House.

Doll House specialise in pin-up and boudoir photography so you could be forgiven for thinking that not many chaps walk through the studio doors. As I discovered though, the very talented lady behind the lens, Chrissy Sparks, doesn't just take photos of ladies in lingerie. Oh no! In fact, she had recently welcomed a male stripping troupe to be photographed.

Since relinquishing my lip weasel in the name of love, I thought the photo shoot would be an ideal opportunity to get some professionally-taken shots sans moustache.

Dismissing the donning of corsets and suspender belts, I brought along some of my favourite items of gentlemanly apparel.

I was keen for the pictorials to hark back to a bygone age, with a little of the film noir about them. I also wanted to capture a dash of humour too. I compiled a few photo ideas on Pinterest which I shared with Chrissy before the day of the photo shoot.

Upon arriving at the photo studio in the heart of Birmingham’s renowned Jewellery Quarter, I was taken to a private changing area where I proceeded to unload all my worldly belongings that I'd brought along.

As you can see from the first pictorial below, my tweed suit and fedora soon came out, along with a detachable collar and tunic shirt from Darcy Clothing. The neckwear is a New Sheridan Club tie. Since making this my profile pictorial on the Twittering Device a few days ago, it’s been commented that it has a touch of The Third Man about it.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Smouldering Siren: Vikki 'The Back' Dougan

In which G.M. Norton takes a look back at ‘The Back’.

 

Here at Norton of Morton HQ, I like to do things a little differently. Now we’ve reached a new year, rather than look back over the last 12 months, I’d like to look at an actual ‘back’ – namely, a back belonging to my latest Smouldering Siren, 1950s model and aspiring actress, Vikki Dougan.
There’s been something of a hiatus since I last enlisted a lovely lady into my pantheon of Smouldering Sirens so I’m glad to see it return, starting with Vikki.
In order to make a name for herself, Vikki Dougan caused quite a commotion during the 1950s for wearing daring backless dresses to various Hollywood soirees. The plunging frocks gained so much news attention for the starlet that she was quickly nicknamed ‘The Back’. Apparently, such was the furore over her controversial spinal column that she was even asked to leave one particular party by the host. Given that people commented that she made ‘the best exits in town’, that rumpus was most likely a publicity stunt as well.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas time, social media and wine

In which G.M. Norton is his usual hypocritical self. Bah Humbug.


With the advent of social media, Christmas is becoming an endless stream of photographs containing Christmas trees, turkey dinners and piles of presents to announce the sudden visit and departure of every pogonophile’s wet dream, Mr. Father Christmas.
I’ve neglected to share such visual delights with people. Perhaps for fear of not having the best decorated tree, or because there weren’t enough stuffing balls on the plate I was carefully capturing on camera. Or perhaps I was just too busy enjoying the festivities with my family. I certainly preferred the good old-fashioned option of eating my Christmas dinner while it was hot rather than spend an aching amount of time trying to find the best composition to show it in it's best light.
At this juncture, I probably sound a little grumpy. I’m not, really. Just a little perplexed. I’m all for social media, it really is a wonderful beast but I feel it has the potential to expose me a little too much at times (especially after the infamous gap-in-the-trouser incident).
Anyway, now I’ve finished bemoaning modern technology on this electronic periodical, which you are probably reading on your fanciful new electronic device, I shall be a complete hypocrite and share some of the gifts that I found in my stocking. Because, my dear chum, that is how one rolls.
First up is the complete DVD collection of two of my favourite comedy shows – O-O-O-O-Open All Hours and Dad's Army. Hours of titters to follow.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Fifteen festive favourites (well, fourteen)

In which G.M. Norton answers questions about Christmas. 

 
A highly contagious epidemic has been spreading recently. Thankfully, I don't mean anything as nasty as the Norovirus. However, given that it involves blogging types, bile is known to come out of both ends at times (I include myself in this, I hasten to add).
 
The epidemic to which I am referring involves bloggers sharing fifteen of their favourite Christmassy things and then passing the cracker-shaped baton on to other bloggers to share their festive-related nonsense. Such a lark. I was tagged by the lovely Charlie off of Gin Fuelled Bluestocking.
 
So, without further comparisons to illnesses made in poor taste, here are my fourteen festive favourites (I omitted one about my 'favourite Christmas candle scent' because I'm in that kind of mood). 
 
Favourite festive food
 
Guilt-free cheese and crackers, washed down with a large glass of Port. I don't feel I need to elaborate any further.


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Mad Dogs and Servicemen: "Mad Jack" Churchill

In which G.M. Norton celebrates the soldier who went to World War Two armed with a sword and a bow and arrow.


If you’ve not already made his acquaintance, please allow me to introduce you to Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, or “Mad Jack” as he was known.

Churchill (no relation to Sir Winston) was a soldier in Second World War, whose exploits on the battlefield are the epitome of military romanticism.
Mad Jack

A highly-decorated soldier, Jack survived multiple explosions; successfully escaped from two prisoner of war camps; captured more than forty Nazis during a single raid, armed with just his sword; and became the only British soldier during Second World War to kill the enemy with a bow and arrow.

As Jack wryly commented, “Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.”

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Give the gift of socks this Christmas

In which G.M. Norton explains how a gift of socks can be a joy to behold on Christmas morning.


Socks, the thoughtless yet practical Christmas gift for chaps who quite frankly, would still very much appreciate a train set. Due to such disappointing experiences, men have mastered the art of feigning gratitude for nondescript socks, probably purloined on a whim while stood in a department store queue.
Such a sorry episode is doing the sock a great disservice though. Cheap and nasty socks are an abomination. Dare I mention them, but novelty socks or those with days of the week emblazoned across are even more ghastly!
In truth though, if you are having trouble deciding what gift to present to the male of the species, then a luxurious pair of socks is a darn fine option. I would genuinely love to wake up on Christmas morning, and after consuming the traditional glass of dry sherry, be presented with an exquisitely wrapped parcel containing a pair of super soft socks.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Magazine madness

In which G.M. Norton finds his musings printed in two magazines.


I enjoy writing so when the chance presents itself to pen a little something for a magazine, I readily accept the invitation. Not content with making it into one printed magazine though, I find myself in two at the same time.

The first is for In Retrospect magazine. As regular readers may be aware, I've contributed to three digital editions to date, as their menswear style aficionado. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise money to crank up the printing press, the first ever printed In Retrospect is available to buy from this Monday, 1st December 2014.

Inside it, you will find a feature by myself on Private White VC. Private White was a soldier during the First World War who inspired a Manchester menswear brand, now ably led by his great-grandson, James Eden.