Saturday, 27 February 2016

Spivs on film

In which G.M. Norton looks at the Film Noir ne'er-do-wells.


Since sporting a pencil moustache, I've become fascinated by the 1940s spiv. You know the fellow - hat at a jaunty angle; loud tie; even louder shoes and a pin-stripe suit with lapels so broad, they almost reach the shoulder seams. 

A dashing figure, he lives by his wits selling ration coupons, chocolate, cigarettes and nylons. 
Yes, they're a small-time crook but they have a romantic charm about them.

Of course, the likes of Flash Harry in the St Trinian's films and Private Walker in Dad's Army are two such loveable rogues that spring to mind. 

Before these over-the-top wide boys appeared, the spiv characters were a little darker when portrayed in post-war British films. Please allow me to introduce to you five such characters, some of whom you may already have met.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Timex, gentlemen, please

In which G.M. Norton hails the humble Timex Weekender.


Some time ago, I put together a Chivalric Code, containing ten ways to be the perfect gentleman. Number eight was quite simple - to be punctual.

I must confess, this is the one that I struggle with the most. You see, I've always preferred an idle stroll to a brisk walk. Without pointing the finger of blame as it is ultimately my responsibility, children also have a habit of slowing the pace somewhat.

That's why a watch is so important. After all, one must know precisely how many minutes one is late. 

I'm the proud owner of three pocket watches, yet possess only three wristwatches. A paltry effort, I'm sure you agree.
Thankfully, one of the wristwatches is a Timex Weekender. 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

New shoes! As seen on monks!

In which G.M. Norton adds to his burgeoning shoe collection.


As regular readers will attest, I love my shoes. Last week, I took delivery of a new pair.

I can almost hear you now, “Norton, old thing. You don’t need any more shoes!”

Well, yes. Yes, I do.
You see, a pair of monk strap shoes has been missing from my collection. Thankfully, the good chaps at Samuel Windsor sensed my plight and rectified the situation by sending me a pair from their classic collection.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Review: Live at the Bull & Gate by Carradine's Cockney Sing-a-long

In which G.M. Norton has the cockney sing-a-long brought to him.


As I was born and remain in T'North of England, cockney sing-a-longs around the ol' Joanna just don't happen around these parts. 

As a young whippersnapper, the bright lights of London was confined to reading Sherlock Holmes detective mysteries and watching the likes of Only Fools & Horses and Goodnight Sweetheart. 

Funnily enough, both these television comedies do in fact feature cockney knees-ups. Uncle Albert in Only Fools enjoyed tickling the ivories (although not many at the Nag's Head seemed to enjoy it quite as much). Gary Sparrow, played by Nicholas Lyndhurst in Goodnight Sweetheart (as well as Rodney Trotter in Only Fools...do keep up at the back) was also fond of a few songs around the piano. So much so, that the time travelling womanising bigamist had the audacity to pass off well-known hits from the future as his own ditties.  
Anyway, what on earth am I wittering on about? Well my chum, Tom Carradine has brought out a live album of sing-a-long classics. If for some strange reason you remember everything I ever write about, cast your mind back to November 2014 when I first introduced you to Tom's musical enterprise, Carradine's Cockney Sing-a-longs.