Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Pour Homme has moved!

This blog is no longer operating from this address.

Please visit: http://blogpourhomme.wordpress.com/

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Live Review: The Automatic - Audio Brighton 27/03/10

The last time this reviewer saw the Automatic live it was June 2006 and the Welsh four piece were ending a frantic 18 months of touring with a first album closing, homecoming gig in the heart of the valleys. Fast forward four years and The Automatic take to the stage Audio stage with a change of personnel (yelping keyboardist Pennie replaced by former Yourcodenameis:milo man Paul Mullen after the first album), and a recently released third record in tow.

Opening with latest single ‘Interstate’, the Automatic power through a set heavy with new album material, vocal harmonies and powerful guitars sounding more mature, and more alive than they ever have. Of course, the old material is greeted by the biggest cheers - ‘Raoul‘, ‘That’s What She Said’ and ‘Recover’ have been slyly reworked without losing their sing-a-long brilliance - but even the lads themselves don‘t seem to mind. Closing the triumphant set with powerhouse anthem ‘Steve McQueen’ wearing large rubber animal heads, even a bear, a horse, a pig and a penguin can’t hide the band from the adulation of the Brighton crowd.

The Automatic have come along way since the first album boom of 2006, buoyed by the recording and self-release of their third album, they’re a tighter, louder and dare I say it, a better band than they’ve ever been. To show you just how far they’ve come, I nearly made it the whole review without mentioning that song.

New album 'Tear The Signs Down' is available now.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Who the man?

I love this new advertising campaign from French Connection. With an emphasis on guys to ‘man up’ their wardrobe this spring, this campaign certainly follows the trend. It’s simple, eye-catching and the guy has an EPIC beard, how much more manly can you get?

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

England Footballer Plays Away From Home

Back when I was a wee lad running round the fields of the West Country, long before I discovered girls, music and how to appreciate fine cider, I lived and breathed football. To this day it’s one of my true passions, but it’s not often I get to mention my first love in the same breath as more ‘cultured’ pastimes like fashion and music. That was until February when the most unlikely of occasions, an England kit launch, changed all that.

While we all watched John Terry and Ashley Cole’s personal and professional lives unravel before our eyes, kit manufacturers Umbro were busy making a bloody good job of promoting the new England away kit for the upcoming World Cup. In previous years the first public glimpse of the new kit has been at a press conference, modelled by an uncomfortable looking group of players. But this year Umbro gave the debut honours to Kasabian, an English rock band playing 'away from home’ in Paris, with front man Tom Meighan returning to the stage for the encore wearing the new ‘66 inspired England away strip.

Meighan (who’s Irish decent we‘ll try to ignore) told nme.com. "They said they wanted to take it away from the footballers for once and do something up to date. They wanted to combine with rock n roll. They're two powerful things... I'm honoured to wear it."

Two powerful things indeed, and as fashion makes that three, I say hats of to Umbro for giving us a shirt that’s genuinely wearable and something outside of the ‘WAG culture’ actually worth talking about.

The new England shirt is available now from all good sports stores (and some rubbish ones as well) and will be worn this summer by World Cup winner’s England. Well, we can all dream.

The future's bright, the future's grooming

Over the last two years working and writing within the grooming industry I’ve been lucky enough to sit down with some of the industry’s most respected insiders, picking up mountains of product knowledge along the way. In the coming months I hope to pass on some of this valuable information to my faithful blog readers, because at the end of the day, we all want to look our best whether we believe the industry hype or not.

This week saw my grooming writer debut over at fashionbeans.com and my first instalment of grooming advice, so check it out and let me know what you think.



Sunday, 28 February 2010

If Carlsberg made high street stores...

If you follow me on Twitter then you’ll know that I few weeks ago I visited the H&M store on Grand Via Madrid and left with a stripy t-shirt and a new favourite store.

This place was unbelievable. The clothes on the shelves we no different to your standard H&M, but the store itself was very different. Decked out like a Victorian palace the entrance hall had a huge chandelier and two winding staircases while the centre piece of the menswear department rivalled the Royal Palace just down the road. I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures, even if I did get told (3 times) not to by security. The things I do for my blog!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Spring/Summer Trend: All American

The uber-stylish fashionbeans.com is one of the best online resources around for fashion conscious men. With a selection of articles and blogs, there’s something for everyone, from the bargain hunters to the designer addicts. Not content of just providing a good read, it’s also a style source that gives the reader the option to browse and buy the latest collections and discover the best grooming products.

I’ve been an avid reader of fashionbeans for a while now, so when the opportunity came about for me to contribute an article, I jumped at the chance. My first blog has been published this week, which you can see here, and the plan is to make this a regular thing….so watch this space.

I’ll keep you up to date with all the goings on via twitter so if you’re not already a follower, check out my twitter page.

Monday, 22 February 2010

NME Awards Tour - Brighton Dome 15/2/10

The NME Awards Tour isn’t just any tour, it’s one of the prestigious tours in British music. A launch pad for some of the best artists of the last decade, these tours are often the last chance many of us get to rub shoulders with the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers and Bloc Party before they shoot to arena-sized super stardom. So it goes without saying that as the doors of the Brighton Dome swung open I was eagerly awaiting the class of 2010.

Almost a year to the day since Florence Welch and her machine sprung onto the stage bound for the top (Florence actually picked up a Brit award the very next evening), The Drums took the highly coveted opening slot. If topping every ‘2010 ones to watch’ list had pilled on the pressure then the boys from New York didn’t let it show. Flying through a 7 song set, a delightful combination of corking tunes (notably ‘Don’t Be A Jerk, Johnny‘) and indie-oddball charm they whipped the ever growing crowd in to a frenzy. Closing with crowd favourite ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ the Drums leave on wave of euphoria safe in the knowledge that they can add Brighton to their list ’town’s conquered’ as they make their way to the top.

Of the three support acts, The Big Pink (you know, “those girls fall like dominooooos”) were the ones backed by a fair chunk of mainstream radio playlist action. But all that did was boost them way too high in my estimations. Right from the off the wall of synth-based noise began, over powering everything in its wake, continuing without pausing for breath right to the opening bars of set finale ‘Dominos’. Their lyrics unrecognisable, the band (lead singer aside) looking like a bunch of grumpy, grungy teenagers and the crowd looking increasingly uninterested (again, until Dominos kicked in). Maybe it was the sound system, maybe it was an off night, maybe I just didn’t ’get it’ but I was left feeling that The Big Pink and their hit tune have much more in common with their pizza-selling name sake. On the surface you may think you want a slice, but as soon as it’s over you’ll be left feeling stuffed and unsatisfied.

Reviewing Bombay Bicycle Club without mentioning how young they look, is like mentioning Pete Doherty without the drug scandal, but as the third band of the evening hit the Dome I’m struck by how the base player would look more at home in the playground that on tour. But don’t let their boyish looks fool you, the London boys are seriously good. While ‘Evening/Morning’ may well steal the award for anthem of the night, the stand out thing about Bombay Bicycle Club is how they’re a band who visibly enjoy every second on stage (they even finish the night with an impromptu banjo jam at the front of the venue). And they’re not the only ones, the Brighton crowd join them in a smile-a-thon from start to finish that ensures the evening is set for a grand the finale.

Proving in 2009, along with The Horrors and Noah And The Whale, that the ‘difficult second album’ really isn’t that difficult, headliners The Maccabees take to their hometown stage like they’ve been working to this moment their whole lives. Backed by a three piece brass section, the boys a different proposition to the band we fell in love with in mid 2007 - they’re louder, they’re sharper and they’ve matured into a impressive live act. They haven’t lost any of their lovable charm (as a stunning rendition of ‘Toothpaste Kisses’ proves), but they just seem more comfortable in their own skin. After a triumphant set that includes new album greats like ‘No Kind Words’ alongside a beefier crowd favourite ’Precious Time’ , there isn’t a soul in the house who isn’t wowed by the group who formed just a few short yards up the road.

As the final notes of ’Love You Better’ float into the night sky, Orlando beams “Even you guys in the seats at the top are stood up, it means so much to us to know that you‘re all having a good time“. Well Orlando, if tonight‘s performance is anything to go by, you boys are a shining example of how the nice guys don’t always finish last.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Summer Lovin'

As I sat, head on hand, staring longingly out of the window at the miserable February abyss I saw the light at the end of a grey rainy tunnel. Like an epiphany from a higher being (twitter) I found salvation in the form of the Topman LTD collection. Sophisticated, affordable and above all stylish, it reminded me of a time when I wasn’t wearing a scarf and coat everyday, a time when my only worry was finding a spot in the pub garden. So if you too are fed up of chunky knit or uninspired by winter coats - all is not lost, because it’ll only be a matter of weeks before we can all dress like this…

and sit in a field with a cider and listen to music like this…

More from The Drums
More from Topman LTD

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Style Icon: David Bowie

He hasn’t released an album in 7 years and we‘ve barely heard a peep from his New York hide out, yet David Bowie is as much an icon as he’s ever been. His impact on modern day music is unquestionable, but it’s the relevance of his style that’s just as intriguing. I didn’t have to look to far to find his high street fashion footprint.

This Ben Sherman suit has more than an air of Bowie about it, the rolled sleeves, the pastel shirt, it all points to the thin white duke.

Zara pretty much hit the nail on the head with this second outfit. The finish of the suit has a subtle ‘glam rock’ sheen and 80’s Bowie feel but the cut and accessories modernise the entire look.

As for Bowie on a budget, look no further than Duck Egg Skinny Trousers from Topman. Pair them with a plain white shirt and you’ve got Bowie's style in a nut shell.

Despite announcing in 2006 that he was “fed up with the industry” it’s been rumoured that he’s set to make a comeback at this year’s festivals, and Simon Cowell has even hinted at (God forbid) having him as an X Factor guest tutor - but what ever David Bowie's next move is, the whole world will be paying very close attention.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Rule Britannia

High street style, particularly for men, is something I often fall out of love with. At times I find it becomes repetitive and consequently I am often driven to independent or vintage stores to find style without breaking the bank. Topman, for all its mainstream pitfalls, often sets the precedent for high street style, particularly the flagship Oxford Street store and this week saw the launch of their ‘latest trend’ for spring 2010 - Button Down Heroes.

Taking inspiration from the ska movement of the 80’s this trend includes casual wear staples as well as subtle tailored pieces to create a very British feel. However, on the whole, this trend isn’t very groundbreaking. There’s no outlandish fits or colours and there’s nothing here that you won’t have seen before. But I think that’s what I love about it. Everything you had in your wardrobe from last year, can easily be adapted to put you at the very forefront of the trend. Subtle details like fastening the top button on shirts or polo’s, and adding braces can totally transformation the look or feel of an outfit. To prove just how easy it is, I’ve put together a couple of outfits with the basic items I already own, updating them to fit with the current trend.

Outfit one is easy, all I’ve done is take a simple polo and fasten the top button. This one’s actually Gola, which with its roots in 80’s sportswear fits perfectly.

The second outfit is an extension of the first. Perfect for both a date or evening drinks, I’ve just added a some knitwear to smarten the look but you could just as easily add a cardigan.

Finally, the smarter of the three looks which is ideal for the office. A mod inspired check shirt (needless to say the top button is fastened!) is teamed with a trench coat, an outerwear staple that was all over the high street last Autumn. You could also add a pair of braces to make this look a little more quirky and even more 80’s.

Hats off to Topman for bringing our attention to a trend that’s stylish, obtainable and most importantly - very very British.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Geek o'clock

Last week I went digital, not with my tv, but with my watch. And not just digital, I went retro too. Time, date, a stop watch AND an alarm, all with a hint of uber geek about it - who needs technology?

Friday, 22 January 2010

As seen on screen

TV ads featuring music (and by music I mean actual songs not awful marketing jingles) can go one of two ways. Either it ruins a song or an artist you love (see the numerous ads featuring Florence and the Machine) or you fall head over heels with a song you would have never heard otherwise. Last week I heard ‘Beasts’ by Slow Moving Millie in the latest Virgin Media advert – simply stunning.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Taper Jean Boys

There aren’t many things I love more than fashion and the Kings of Leon, so when I heard that the Kings had teamed up with French brand Surface to Air to release a clothing range, I was more excited than a fat kid in a chocolate shop.

From previewing the collection I can tell you that much like everything else the KOL have produced, the clothing range is pretty good. The bandana I can lose, but I would defiantly welcome any of the other items into my wardrobe.

But unlike their music, there has to be a few negatives from me. One gripe I have is that the collection isn’t exactly a groundbreaking. Where as their music is edgy and fresh, with a nod to classic rock and roll, their clothing range is (dare I say it?) a little bit dated. And it’s limited too, if you don’t want to look like you’re in the Kings of Leon (luckily I do!) then there isn’t much in it for you.

Then there’s the price. Now I understand that where there’s designer fashion, there’s the designer price tag, but with the range mirroring a large chunk of the Topman winter collection, I fail to see where the added value comes from. The cheapest item in the range, the bandana, will set you back £65, whilst at the top end, the leather jacket comes in at a whopping £739. Too big a price to pay if you ask me.

While I’ll admit to being a big fan of the clothes themselves, unfortunately when it comes to the range, I’ll have to say that the negatives out weigh the positives. Surface to Air seem to have missed everything I love about the band - their raw, gritty, authentic style and that aura that only the KOL have - and replaced it something that is trying too hard to be cool. What‘s unique about their style can‘t be bought (even at those prices), it‘s something that you‘re either born with, or you learn from years of being one of the greatest rock bands of a generation.

The S2A x KOL collection goes on sale from January 25th at surfacetoair.com and kingsofleon.com.

Let's all meet up in the year 2010.

Chuffed to bits with my new velvet blazer, I decided to wear it to work. If only I'd known that I was diving head first into an office full of Jarvis Cocker jokes.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

I want one of those...

Stumbled upon this cracking nautical jumper today while indulging in some web based window shopping. Now I know what you’re thinking, nautical drowned some time towards the end of 2009, but judging by what I’ve seen from the up coming collections, this might well make its way into my wardrobe (fundage permitting).

Like what you see? Check it out on the UNIQLO website.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

In the beginning…

New year, new decade so why not a new blog? Welcome to Pour Homme, I hope you enjoy your stay.

Over the coming weeks, months (and if I don’t run out of things to say) years, this page will play host to my inner workings. Everything I love, despise, crave, think, feel, taste and experience I will share with you in an attempt to provide a creative out let for me, and an interesting read for you lot.

If you need to contact me, you can do so at the following address: contactpourhomme@googlemail.com