Saturday, 28 March 2015

G.M. Norton & The Chocolate Factory

In which G.M. Norton delves into chocolate in the name of research.

I have quite a soft spot for chocolate. Or most food stuff for that matter, if I’m completely honest. But I do have a sweet tooth.

A few weeks ago, I was invited along to a chocolate masterclass by the kind people at Joe Blogs (not to be confused with the infamous Joe Bloggs). For reasons unknown, I neglected to reply. I think I was pre-occupied with something or other, which is no excuse at all. Usually I pride myself on my speedy response to electronic missives. I still feel guilty now.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

World Pasty Championships 2015

In which G.M. Norton sees his periodical positively dripping with pasty goodness. 

Never let it be said, chums, that this periodical is formulaic and lacking in variety. To prove it, this week's offering is on the subject of pasties, brought to you by my roving reporter, Mr Ryan Pike. Regular visitors will remember reading about his adventures at last year's Chap Olympiad and the British Beard & Moustache Championships

Go tell them, Pike. 
The Pike Report
Going back to my childhood days, I can honestly say that I have always had a soft spot for the Cornish Pasty. In latter years, it has become a small obsession of mine to hunt out pasty purveyors wherever I am in the country and to my mind it is the ultimate fast food in that not only are they very tasty but totally portable when one is on the move with very little time at hand. I was therefore very intrigued to learn that each year there is a ‘World Pasty Championship’ held in Cornwall (where else?) not too far away from St. Piran’s Day.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Norton of Morton becomes editor at In Retrospect magazine

In which G.M. Norton is handed the keys to the In Retrospect kingdom.

Rather exciting news today, chumrades. Much to my delight, I am now an editor at a printed publication of particular note in the vintage world. I refer specifically to that renowned modern magazine for old fashioned people: In Retrospect.

For those who read and digest every tiny morsel of information that I impart, I have been a contributor for In Retrospect since it’s humble beginnings as a digital-only magazine. At the beginning of 2015, co-founder Becca asked if I would assume her position of Copy Editor while she concentrated on the momental task of having a baby. 
As an aspiring gentleman, I willingly stepped into the breach, along with a couple of other contributors that showed extra willing. The results of our handiwork are there for you to see and read in issue 2.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Style icon: Captain Hastings

In which G.M. Norton has the audacity to add a fictional character to his list of Style Icons.

What-ho, chumrades! It occurred to me that it’s been a jolly long time since I last proclaimed an expertly attired chap as one of my Style Icons. On the list that includes Cary Grant, Sir Roger Moore, Terry-Thomas and Sir Michael Caine, the last person to be added was one Patrick Grant.

By a strange occurrence, since granting admittance for the formerly bearded tailor and star of the Great British Sewing Bee, your favourite protagonist has grown his own face whiskers. 

As a side note, now Mr Grant is sporting the lone moustache, don’t you think he resembles a long-lost relation to Basil Fawlty?
Anyway, I am blathering on and I still haven’t formally introduced the main subject of this week’s periodical posting (ignoring the whopping great title up above). Please step forward Captain Arthur Hastings OBE, the naive foil to the narcissistic Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

It came out all write in the end

In which G.M. Norton urges you to get the latest copy of In Retrospect magazine.

As a keen writer, I feel fortunate to have written for four published magazines to date.

It all began with Pretty Nostalgic, the beautifully crafted magazine-book. Sadly, after penning three gentleman’s guides, my involvement with them seems to have reached a natural end.

Then there was the short-lived His Vintage Life, the little brother of Her Vintage Life. Why they can’t just have one publication aimed at both sexes still confuses me. Featured in two out of three issues, at least they had the decency to inform me of their demise by letter. 

Ernest Journal arrived on the scene last year, put together by the former editor of Pretty Nostalgic. I have a soft spot for Ernest. So far, I've been fortunate to review soaps, colognes and shaving paraphernalia. My bathroom has never smelled so good.

The fourth and final publication is In Retrospect, created by a vintage loving and passionate holy trinity of Mat Keller, Becca Mountfield and Alex Backhouse. Their vision made perfect sense - to produce a truly vintage publication, penned by people that are genuinely interested in vintage. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

The perfect winter warmers

In which G.M. Norton sings the praises of his super slipovers.

With spring on the horizon, it will soon be time to retire my winter wardrobe that has served me so well.

During the autumn and winter months, a chap of my ilk naturally reaches for the knitwear. In my case, my growing collection of Fair Isle slipovers. Not only do they offer an extra layer of warmth but they look pretty darn good too.

So before they are lovingly stored away until the trees perform their customary striptease, I thought I would share them with you.
I’m now the proud owner of five Fair Isle knits. The first is one you’ve already made the acquaintance of, a Darcy Clothing special, providing the perfect mix of autumnal colours. This is a very versatile little number.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Family at war

In which G.M. Norton finds himself all at sea.

Last weekend, my beloved and I scooped up the two children and set sail for a day at the Imperial War Museum North.
The Imperial War Museum North is based at The Quays in Salford, home to the likes of the BBC and Coronation Street. There are a few war museums dotted around the country, including two in Londinium.
With February half-term on the horizon, we were invited for a special preview of some family ‘War at Sea’ activities. This included listening and taking part in a lovely story about a boy’s adventure on the high seas, along with making a message in a bottle and peering through telescopes. 

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Haunted with happiness

In which G.M. Norton recalls the scariest day of his life.

Today marks a happy but poignant day for your favourite protagonist – the birth of my youngest daughter.

There are three candles planted in her birthday cake this year. To look at her now, you would never guess that the day of her arrival into the world was the most harrowing experience of my life. 

I will never forget the moment her blue body slithered out of my beloved and into the arms of a team of nurses. No cry. No sign of life. More medics rushed into the room where they crowded round a table that my darling daughter was lying down upon. It was the longest five minutes I’ve ever experienced as they tried to resuscitate this precious baby. Our baby.

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.