The purpose of this particular blog is to document this crazy time we’re living in. I won’t say unprecedented because that’s a word for hacks.

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March 19th 2020 – day 1

scrapbooking on lockdown

Scrapbooking at 41 – all the best

First day of quarantine. Coronavirus has meant the UK is days away from an Italian-style lockdown. Shops are shutting. Restaurants closing. My flight to Indonesia just got cancelled. What a pisser.

In the news; Idris Elba has the virus, Tom Hanks, Prince of Monaco, Olga Kurylenko. Over 70s are in self-isolation. Arnold Schwarzenneger has brought his shetland ponies to the breakfast table. Sylvester Stallone is adapting a screenplay, Sam Neill has washed his shoes.

The missus is doing her Salvador Dali melting clock jigsaw. I’m working on a secret project that I can’t tell you about right now. Here’s me taking a break from that, doing some scrapbooking in my N.Peal ribbed army sweater.

March 20th – Hells Bells and Halle Berry

reading writing N.Peal Cashmere

Black and White – worth the fight

{In the photo above I’m wearing my gifted N.Peal Cashmere cardigan from the Goldfinger suite.}

The rich still play golf. I’ve been told the courses are still open in Virginia Water. Not everyone is on lockdown. Today even I managed to evade the cosseted feel of homely fake fires, 65 inch tele and Vietnamese tea as I ventured  into Central London on assignment. It was a long day, a big job, perhaps one of the last jobs available of this nature. I accepted the invitation with great alacrity.

In a voracious mood to make hay before the clouds ascend, I ploughed through the assignment (top secret) skipping lunch bar two bananas, (squashed) fillet steak sandwich and Mexican couscous that I simply drunk like Scooby Doo eats hot dogs in lieu of a fork or spoon. I didn’t drink liquid for 10 hours.

In the news Halle Berry is encouraging people to read, Serena Williams shared some videos of her in tutus and Zoe Ball gave blood. Cinemas closed, the District Line ran a 15 minute service and Southern Italy have told their health service to expect a Tsunami of infected patients next week. I haven’t checked the Coronavirus death-toll in Hounslow. I was told 24 were infected yesterday.

I’m reading The King of Carnaby Street, The Life of John Stephen by Jeremy Reed. When I read I always write down the long words, or words I like and haven’t used for a spell. I’ll crowbar them in conversation at some point.

Today’s words, parochialism, inscrutable, strategically, omnivorous, eulogised, temperate, voracious, intransigent, alacrity.

March 21st – Slow News and No News

checkered trousers

Exploiting the woofer

{In the photo above I’m wearing my new Sea Island Cotton Riviera Polo from Sunspel and my checkered trousers I had made in Hoi An.}

Sharing some thoughts from Adam Carolla. ‘We’ve all been given this prison sentence. Now some people go to prison and come out with a trade, or a college degree. Others come out with a face tattoo and a 40-a-day habit.’

I’ve been listening to his podcast for 10 years now. It got me through many a mundane day in the wood shop. Podcasts have become the locus of extolling ones opinions, observations, witticisms in the hope that millions will agree, take note and laugh heartily with you or at your expense.

Now more than ever as we enter a spell of panicked abeyance will people be looking to launch their own. Tomorrow I’ll write a list of all the gear you need to set one up to expedite the process.

In all honesty, in the litany of all my whimsical passion projects that launch and dissipate, the one mainstay has been the podcast I host with Matt Spaiser.

March 22nd – The Towels of James Bond

n.Peal cashmere zip through bomber

{Photo above I’m wearing the N.Peal Cashmere zip through bomber modelled on the one George Lazenby wore in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Available to buy here.).

Alcohol has now usurped toilet roll as the number one buy on the hoarders shopping list. Parks are to close. Dog walkers are to be limited to pavements. Parties to limited to two and people to be kept two metres apart as more stringent social distancing measures are put in place.

Today Matt Spaiser and I recorded a skit for David Zaritsky, I’m not sure if it will ever see the light of day.

Pete –

Matt I have an idea for a topic. You know I know a guy that knows a guy and I’m sure we can get the costume designer Suttirat to talk about her work on No Time to Die. What do you think?

Matt

I got a better idea. How about we do a feature on the towels of James Bond.

Pete –

The towels?

Matt –

Yeah I know people often talk about it But I don’t think anyone has covered it comprehensively.

Pete –

Matt I cant even think of what towels have been featured

Matt –

Well there’s the one where Bond takes off the towel and gets into bed with Tatiana
That’s a beautiful towel, lots of drape, and Connery wore a lot of towels in Shrublands and you know the best thing about those towels is they don’t look dated at all. You could still wear those towels today to health spas, yoga retreats

Roger’s in Live and Let Die are some of the best towels not just in Bond but in movie history. But you have to bear in mind also they’d seriously upped the budget for Bond in the seventies and that’s very evident in the towels. now by the time dalton took over his towels aren’t the best. They’re much more loose, they don’t really hang off the towel rail as well. But I know there are some people that love the Dalton towels. I think they were closest to the Fleming towels.

Pete –

How about this, I know a guy that knows a guy and I think we can get Daniel Craig on the phone. Lets ask him about his personal style, why he likes Tom Ford.

Matt –

You know I don’t think people will be interested in that. You know whats a better idea? The Frantic Ties Bond Never Wore. There’s a scene in Live and Let Die where Bond choses some ties and discards the more frantic ones. I get a lot of people on my blog ask me about those.

March 23rd – The Dogs Pyjamas

{Photo above – wearing Claes Goran pin stripe trouser pyjama trousers and a Sunspel Pima cotton tee).

If you go far enough east on the district line you will encounter a cornucopia of assholes in all shapes and sizes. I’m too tired to regale all of them now, but it’s a sliding scale the further east you go.

I utilised the joyless commute, transcribed interviews Matt Spaiser and I conducted with Lindy Hemming, Jody Tillen and Umberto Angelino from Gunnersbury to Mile End and back. If you’re an Indie kid from the nineties, the words Mile End are inseparable from the imagery that Pulp ingeniously conjured from their titular song.

The lift is always full of piss, the fifth floor landing smells of fish (not just on Friday, every single other day.)

Below the kids come out tonight, they kick a ball and have a fight and maybe shoot somebody if they lose at pool.

Ooh, it’s a mess alright, yes it’s Mile End.

Further thoughts on pyjamas. Listening to the Casino Royale audiobook, narrated by Dan Stephens I learnt this about Bond and his thoughts on pyjamas.

‘Bond had always disliked pyjamas and had always slept naked until in Hong Kong, at the end of the war, he had come across the perfect compromise. This was a pyjama coat which came almost down to the knees it had no buttons but a loose belt around the waist. The sleeves were wide and short ending just above the elbow. The result was cool and comfortable.’

March 24th – Your news is my news..

Currently, London belongs to the construction workers and the homeless. The only way to differentiate is by a high visibility jacket. No other workers, with the exception of building security, street cleaners, tube workers can be seen on the streets. All the conversations, (in modest huddles) I eavesdropped in passing were of Government payouts and expenditure brackets. People simply fell between the cracks.

In the news Mike Ashley remains intransigent to closures, keeping the lights on at Sports Direct. Greta Thunberg confirms she has a cold. It’s the closest thing we’ve had to climate change news for weeks. Similarly, there is little talk of Bond anywhere.

Last week I asked Matt Spaiser ahead of our interview with Nick Sullivan, Creative Director of Esquire, ‘What’s a topical New York news story?’ Ahead of any interview I like to get up to speed on the current climate that our guests would be facing. Knowing Nick was a repatriated New Yorker I sought Matt to give me the skinny.

Matt replied, ‘There’s only one thing in the news. On all station. It will be the same as your news’.

On the fifth floor at Craven House, across from Holborn station, I download Live and Let Die on Audible. A few chapters fly by, unremarkable yet somehow, poised.

I sketched out a loose transcription of the attire he had to submit for the Americanisation at the hands of the FBI.

“A tailor had come to measure him for two single breasted suits in dark blue light weight worsted, Bond had firmly refused anything more dashing. and a haberdasher had bought chilli white nylon shirts with long points to the collars.

He had to accept half a dozen unusually patterned foolard ties, dark socks with fancy clocks 2-3 display-kerchiefs for his breast pocket nylon vests and pants called t-shirts and shorts.

A comfortable lightweight camelhair overcoat with over buttressed shoulders a plain grey snapped brim fedora with a thin black ribbon and two pairs of hand stitched and very comfortable black moccasin casuals. He also acquired a swank tie clip in the shape of a whip. An alligator skin billfold from mark cross a plain zippo lighter.

A plastic travel pack containing razor hairbrush and toothbrush a pair of horn rimmed glasses with plain lenses a various other oddments and finally a lightweight heartman skymay suitcase to contain all these things.” – Chapter 3. Ian Fleming

I caught an empty train home. I doubt there will be any more call outs.

March 25th – Commute to Ghost Town

Empty Streets of London

Today outside the Royal Exchange

The contracts arrived today. After some hustle, some chess and close to three years of constant door knocking. More on that later.

In the news Sam Neill is playing the Ukulele on Twitter and asking for requests. I ask for him to regale the story on how he auditioned for the role of James Bond. He didn’t respond.

Prince Charles has the Coronavirus.

Wednesday is also Podcast Day. The usual tedium of editing, followed by transcription then social sharing. It’s a ball-ache, but I would never be able to delegate these duties. Luckily it’s a good one today. Thomas, the Fleming Never Dies chap on Instagram calls in to discuss military wear.

He also talks candidly about current living conditions in China, but I edit that out for the sake of brevity. The interview is already a fortnight old and the landscape has inevitably changed since then.

The commute to ghost town

Is there anything more rewarding that properly indexing your external hard drive? I had 30 mins of sweet isolated personal hard drive time on the commute to Cannon Street. Of course, one gets inevitably derailed when fumbling through the detritus of discarded phone memories.

Photos that fell between the cracks of suitable taxonomy. Something not quite in focus, nor relevant enough to a particular audience unless one was to build a narrative around it.

Like the one below. I could look at this photo for hours.

woman by microphone

Anastasia being asked to pose by the microphone

March 26th – Welcome to Shitsville

I’m a firm believer in early indicators that will determine the fate of your day. For example, if the morning train stops on the platform and you’ve found yourself equidistant between both carriage doors. Or the dog has shat up the carpet during the night because he was given chicken that was ‘on the turn’ the day before.

Throughout the day Roger terrorised the carpet leaving no inch unsullied with the sloppiest-drippiest shits, that subsequently enmeshed in the tassels of the rug and the rug itself. Anastasia had procured the rug on one of her many travels. Perhaps Marrakech.

If I were to ask her I’m afraid she’d ask why, then swiftly conclude that I’m penning some awful tripe about Roger’s profane treatment of the rug.

Let’s not mention how the cat expressed his antipathy for the litter tray as he took a shit on my desk and even had the audacity to hang around, no remorse. We’ll just fluff them up and take cute pictures, tickle their stomachs, comment on other little fur demons that get away with murder.

So my day was filled with shit from start to finish. Few other lows and highs paled in comparison.

In the news the Brits applauded the NHS. Even Daniel Craig. Who must be going out of his mind with no social media. Imagine self-isolation with zero social media.

I call up Spaiser. I tell him we need to speak to EON about the project. It’s time to bring them in on the deal. He agrees.

March 27th – Oddments

I’m dispatched to Sainsbury’s and wait in a line that runs serpentine around the car park like organised cattle, chevroned by a guesstimated two metres metres apart. I wish I got a photo.

I fill the time with impromptu calls and texts, all project related. After continuous rebukes and horn-locking with some well-respected members of the Bond Glitterati, I message Spaiser ‘at this rate the ‘fuck you’ list is getting longer than the acknowledgements’.

In other news: Boris Johnson has the Coronavirus.

I forgot to tell you. Yesterday I bought a swank tie clip in the shape of a whip for 26 GBP. As described in the book Live and Let Die, one of the oddments that Bond procured during his time in New York. (See above). Credit to David Evans from Grey Fox Blog for sourcing me one on Etsy.

Now I’ll have to start wearing ties. Mum is putting together the entire look together in a drawing after I assembled a mood board. More on that later.

29th March – She Served up Gizmo

It’s hard to imagine that one can experience such emotional vicissitudes simply sitting at a desk, watching other grown-ups online discuss all things Bond. David Zaritsky from The Bond Experience, Joe Darlington of Being James Bond and Harris Thomas of Dressing Like Bond put on a 3.5 hours of box office entertainment. Thank you gentlemen.

Amongst the topics many content creators were asked to contribute a 2 minute video on how to pass the time as Bond Fans amidst Self-Isolation. (See March 22nd).

After seeing Kyle’s from Easy Smiles, Expensive Watches I text Spaiser ‘We should have done better’.

‘No one will beat Kyle’s’ Matt replied. ‘We’re also doing an episode on the Towels of James Bond now’.  There appears to have been an indomitable enthusiasm for the topic since our video was aired. ‘Jesus’. I agree, why not.  I guess some part of me secretly wanted to.

click to shop

I somewhat embarrassingly won a Rogue Territory Waxed Ridgeline Supply Jacket, (worn by Daniel Craig in No Time to Die) in a trivia. I run around the flat in giddish excitement. Then, shit. The guilt. How much piss will this boil on social media? Enough people hate my guts as is with the brand freebies being generously splurged my way.

I jump on a call with Zaritsky the next day. ‘Put it back in the mixer. Let someone else have a chance of winning this thing.’

David deflects my refutation, asks for address and says ‘Done. You were first, you won. You’re getting this jacket’.

The missus rolls out lunch. It looks like Gizmo ate after midnight. She tells me I can’t share the video anywhere but she never looks at my blog so I’m safe posting it here. Luckily it tastes better than it looks.

In the news social distancing could be pegged back ’til September. I wet hoover the carpet that’s been decimated by Roger and his dicky stomach. I suggest to Bobby Morelli that we get Matt Jones of Hemingsworth on the podcast. He agrees to make the approach.