Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays the WASPy Ivy jerk Freddie Miles in “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” was found dead today of an apparent drug overdose.
I’d been out all afternoon and heard the news while shooting the breeze at the neighborhood wine shop.
“Ripley” is one of my favorite movies. I watch it at least once a year. I was crushed when its director, Anthony Minghella, died a few years ago, as he also made “The English Patient,” another one of my favorite films. I wondered how many great movies I’d be missing because of the loss.
But the gifted actor Hoffman has apparently died of a drug overdose, and my reaction was quite different. It was the first time in my life I recall feeling angry at the loss of a celebrity — and I mean angry at the celebrity himself. — CC
To counter the over-the-top commercialization of the Super Bowl, I thought we’d take a look at football from an angle more related to culture than commerce.
These football programs come from the shop Collectable Ivy and boast some great concept art. The one above, from 1930, is my favorite. (Continue)
Ralph Lauren’s fall collection just went up online and is full of the very items we’ve been discussing lately. OK, we haven’t been discussing three-piece suits lately, but we’ve got a piece on vests coming up soon. (Continue)
By now you’re all familiar with my learning golf on Brooks Brothers’s simulator. In fact, when comment-leaver “woofboxer” was visiting New York recently, he knew right where to find me.
Apparently I’m one of a diminishing number of adults inclined to take up the sport later in life. Golf has lost 5 million players over the past decade, especially among young people, and the industry is seriously concerned. So last week new initiative called Hack Golf was launched. Its founders are asking the golfing public how to make the sport more fun.
“More fun?” I respond in a piece that runs on the op-ed pages of today’s Wall Street Journal. “Whoever said golf was supposed to be fun?”
Is learning the violin fun? Is becoming a competitive chess player fun? Minigolf, with its colored balls and Ferris wheels, is fun. But the satisfaction derived from real golf is much more profound than the word “fun” would suggest. Golf is something like rock climbing, except the risk is not a shattered back but a bruised ego.
It’s for those who, however laid back they might otherwise be, have an alpha streak that keeps them impervious to the ritual humiliation the sport inflicts. Golf is beyond fun: It is the ultimate sporting test of physical coordination, mental focus, strategy and nerves. “It takes a special kind of person to play golf,” an instructor at Golf Manhattan once told me, since for those who take it up later in life, “it’s just too hard.”
Head over here to access the full essay. — CC
Update: In case you encounter a pay wall using the link above, here’s the text of the piece:
Whoever Said Golf Was Supposed To Be Fun?
Gimmicks to appeal to young people send the wrong message. Face it, the sport is cruel.
By CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Representatives from the golf and business industries last week unveiled HackGolf.org, an initiative designed to address the calamity of the sport’s rapidly diminishing number of participants. The sport has lost five million players in the U.S. over the past decade, according to the National Golf Foundation, including a 30% drop in golfers age 18-34. Since conventional ideas—such as encouraging faster play through a television ad campaign and youth programs such as The First Tee—have done little to halt the decline of golf in America, Hack Golf aims to crowdsource random and radical ideas as a way of thinking outside the tee box. GPS nanotechnology on golf balls, for example, would certainly make finding them easier.In the keynote presentation at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Hack Golf founders Mark King, CEO of TaylorMade Golf, and associates Joe Beditz, CEO of the National Golf Foundation and business strategist Gary Hamel, asked what the industry can do to make golf more fun. They’re asking the wrong question, because whoever said golf was supposed to be fun? (Continue)
I’ll confess to popping the collars on all my overcoats, including my raincoat, most of the time. Not for preppy reasons: I just can’t seem to shake that 19th century influence.
Zach of Newton Street vintage recently posted about popped polos — polo coats, that is — which got us thinking about finally mentioning there’s a tumblr site entirely devoted to polo coats and their cousins.
We haven’t done a poll in a while, so let’s see how the numbers break down among you guys when it comes to popping wool, cashmere and camelhair collars, as opposed to cotton piqué:
It’s certainly been polo coat weather lately. I’m heading into town in mine, worn lazy-Sunday style with grey flannels, boat shoes, turtleneck under buttondown, vintage-varsity-styled shawl cardigan from RL, and a baseball cap from the Newport Jazz Festival.
And no, I’m not wearing such a getup to church. — CC
We received a message from Beckett Simonon, a shoe company that launched in 2012, touting its new collection of shoes atimed at the budget-conscious guy who still wants quality. The shoes, which are made in India, feature Goodyear-welt construction, a durable manufacturing process associated with shoes priced much higher.
Here’s an extract from the company’s press release:
“We see a huge gap in the men’s footwear market. It’s outrageous that well-made leather shoes retail above $300. We operate without the complex layers of big businesses (no middlemen, no distributors, no expensive physical stores, etc.) so we can offer the same quality products for a much more affordable price,” says Andres Niño, CEO and co-founder of Beckett Simonon. “By selling directly to consumers we bypass the traditional retail markup, around 2.5X, so we are technically selling to consumers at wholesale prices.” Beckett Simonon is the only online footwear company to sell Goodyear Welted construction shoes under $139, setting them apart from competitors with equivalent craftsmanship and materials but retailing above $300.
As the American gold-standard in quality shoe construction, Goodyear Welt construction holds together the sole, insole and upper sole with one thick stitch and a leather welt. Between the insole and outsole is a cork layer that creates a custom-like footbed, which makes the shoe breathable and flexible.
Beckett Simonon’s longwings, pictured above, are just $139. The color is too light for me personally (and I’m not a longwing fan anyway), and I’d recommend swapping out the laces, but they certainly seem to fill an opening in the shoe market. Not every new grad or frugal trad can follow the “Official Preppy Handbook’s” advice and invest a week’s salary in a pair of Church’s shoes. — CC