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Scott Duffield

FashionLifestyle

Christmas Gift Guide : For the Special Guy in Your Life

posted by Scott Duffield December 2, 2014 1 Comment

I usually hate men’s gift guides. They’re either full of gimmicky rubbish (can we please give up on whiskey stones already?) or super cool, super expensive stuff that I could only justify putting on my own gift list if I found out that Richard Branson is actually my uncle. There’s no middle ground – nothing that I actually want that my friends and family could actually afford.

That’s why I’m keeping this guide super practical. These are quality gifts that would last you well beyond January. They’re things you’ll use every day, which I think is important in a gift.

In hindsight, I kind of dropped the ball on the inexpensive criteria. Things got a little more expensive than I hoped. But most of these products are small batch or handmade, so I think your friends and family will appreciate why they’re paying a little extra.

 Shokunin Kitchen Knives

Shokunin Kitchen Knives

Best Made

We’ll take it as a given that you want a Best Made axe. We all do. I want one for display and another that I actually use. But use it when? I can’t remember the last time I cut anything with an axe. I can’t even remember being in a situation where I thought, “Gee, this would go a lot better if I had an axe.”

So I’m adjusting my expectations this Christmas and turning my blade lust to this set of four Shokunin Kitchen Knives. These knives are super sharp – literally and figuratively. They’re made in Japan to Best Made’s high standards, so you know they’ll pass the mustard if you get a craving to put on a bloody apron and deconstruct an entire sow.

Ceramic Flask

christmas gift guide for guys

Misc Goods Co

It doesn’t matter whether it’s scotch, brandy or raspberry cooler. Drinks just taste better when you’re sipping them from your very own flask. I’m not big on stainless steel flasks though. Even the plain ones just look like they’re waiting for someone to slap on a big old Johnnie Walker or V8 Supercars logo.

Misc Goods Co have really stepped the quality up with their ceramic flask. It really is the classiest way to drink on the sly in public. The lustrous white ceramic is offset by leather and brass accents. Your liquor is held in place with an actual cork stopper. They’re like little baby stoneware growlers – so cute!

Derby City Money Clip

mens gift guide

General Manufacturing Co

Are you still carrying your cash around in a wallet like some sort of animal? We’ve all moved on to money clips now. This Derby City money clip is a seriously good-looking clasp for your cash. Made of white or standard brass, it’s got a bit of an art deco feel to it that I really appreciate. The good people at General Manufacturing Co suggest it can take up to 20 notes. 20 notes? Do I look like Rockefeller? As long as it holds my license, Medicare card and Subway loyalty card, I’m set.

Daypack

Daypack

Topo Designs

Man, I love a good backpack. My partner thinks I need to adjust my swagger when I wear one, but I don’t let that get me down. (Apparently I look like a kid excited for his first day of kindy).

My next backpack is going to be a Topo Design Daypack. It looks classy on the outside and has heaps of room on the inside. There’s enough special pockets, clasps and hardware to make it practical, but not so many that you start feeling like you’re packing for some tactical assault mission. The daypack is available in olive, clay, navy or black and, if you’re really confident, you also have the choice of two different camo patterns.

 Waxed Canvas Wall Pocket

Wall Pocket

Peg and Awl

 

I’m not a neat person. My desk always looks like it’s just been turned over by crims. On bad days, it looks like the police came through afterwards and dusted for prints. It wasn’t a problem when I worked in an office, but my stationary organising skills are putting some serious strain on my relationship now that I work from home.

This waxed canvas wall pocket could keep me from becoming single. There’s a pocket or slot for everything. The design is inspired by the form and function of antique work aprons, and it actually looks good enough to be hung on the wall. There’s four or five pocket versions, depending on how much junk you have. I’m probably going to get two five pocket versions and hang them side-by-side.

Well, that’s what I hope Santa packs in his sack for me this year. I hope it’s what you’re after too.

Have you seen anything awesome that should be on this list? Let me know.

 

Lifestyle

Brisbane’s Top Suburbs for the Hippest of Investors

posted by Scott Duffield December 1, 2014 0 comments

Brisbane is well and truly starting to compete with Australia’s bigger, more trendy cities in food, fashion and culture. But don’t think that you’ve got to be based in the Fortitude Valley, West End or New Farm to experience the culture and class. Even some of our older suburbs are starting to look hip and happening.

If you’re looking for a new place to base your digs, here are Brisbane Threads’ suggestions for the hippest living. How did we come up with our list? We used our unrivalled knowledge of local cultural hotspots, paired with BOQ information on home loan and purchase price trends. Enjoy!

brisbane suburbs

Kelvin Grove

Do you like uni students? Well, they’re everywhere in Kelvin Grove. They pretty much clear out on the weekend though so you can enjoy all the Kelvin Grove Urban Village has to offer – food, culture, markets and shopping. This suburb has a great mix of old character homes and trendy new apartments.

What to do: Room 60, The Village Markets, La Boite Theatre

Toowong

This is the only suburb on the list with its very own David Jones (if you’re into that sort of thing). If you’re anything like me, you might not have considered Toowong just based on the busyness of those intersections around Toowong Village. But there’s actually quite a few quiet, leafy streets hidden away.

What to do: SOL Breads, The Walrus Club, Nowhere Espresso

Mitchelton

It’s no longer daggy! Over the last couple of years, yuppies have been busy buying up the old little homes and gentrifying the pants off of Mitchelton. The news has started to reach entrepreneurial hipsters, with trendy little cafes and stores pushing their way between the fish and chip shops and lawn mower repair stores on Blackwood St.

What to do: Jan Powers Farmers Markets, Delicatezza, The Gypsies Wagon

Holland Park

Holland Park is affluent and chic, full of stunning Victorian townhouses, high-class retail and restaurants, and a 22 hectare semi-wild woodland park. Wait, no – that’s the one in London. Our Holland Park is just as good though. It’s another one of those burgeoning suburbs, with old workers cottages getting facelifts right next door to chic apartment complexes. It’s the Mitchelton of the South!

What to do: The Rare Pear, Stomp Espresso

Camp Hill

Ask the locals and they’ll tell you Camp Hill is just like New Farm was twenty years ago. All I really remember about New Farm that far back was playing on the old steam train. Anyway, Camp Hill is a picturesque suburb full of big leafy trees and charming little cottages. There’s a café, shopping and cultural scene, but it’s not so overrun with crossfitters and trendy mummas.

What to do: Fig Tree Deli, In A Pickle, Has Beans

Culture

Gasp! : Who Knew the Resources Sector Could be Funny?

posted by Scott Duffield November 23, 2014 0 comments

ben elton gasp!

Ben Elton has been on my “I need to check him out properly” list for years. I’ve got about four of his books on the bookshelf that I picked up from beachside second hand stores but I’ve never actually gotten around to reading them.

So naturally, I jumped at the chance to see Elton’s Gasp! when the review opportunity came across the Brisbane Threads desk. Gasp! is actually a rewritten version of his first stage production, Gasping. I thought this must be a good sign – terrible things don’t get revisited, do they?

The rewrite sets the production in Australia, where greedy mining company Lockheart Industries is searching for a new resource to capitalise on now that our wide brown land has been completely stripped of coal. Some bright spark comes up with the idea of harvesting oxygen, purifying it and then selling it as a premium product to the world’s wheezy asthmatics and sneezy allergy sufferers. Unsurprisingly, corporate greed soon kicks in with major consequences for all the oxygen breathers out there – if you want to breathe, you’ve got to pay. Reads like a page out of some kombucha-drinking, Greens-voting leftie’s nightmare journal, right?

Gasp! explores some pretty big themes – greed, corporate responsibility, environmental sustainability, the onus on individual consumers – but it does so deftly. It’s still really good entertainment, not some Michael Moore or Inconvenient Truth style lecture-mentary. (That’s a portmanteau of lecture and documentary that I will be trademarking as soon as I finish this review).

This is helped by the fact that Gasp! is very funny. Elton has managed to write almost every current trend and issue into the script. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he actually worked with the writing team from Mad As Hell. If you’re not into those current affairs-y jokes, there’s also a part where an older gent shows his bum. So yeah, it pretty much caters to everyone.

If you’re a theatre buff, I guess you’ll want to know about the individual performances, set design, lighting design, media design and all that other theatre-type stuff, right? Good, good, good and good, as far as I can tell with my limited experience. Want more detail than that? Well, go find yourself a real theatre review blog then, chum!

Gasp! was great. The jokes were funny, the plot was engaging and the actors did good acting. It was actually so entertaining that I’m going to put the brakes on Game of Thrones and pull one of those Ben Elton books off the shelf. He’s earned my attention.

For the record, I would also like to note that I planned to title this review “Theatre Production Gasping At Straws” if the production was bad. It’s kind of a shame they did such a great job, hey?

Gasp! is a joint production of Queensland Theatre Company and Western Australia’s Black Swan State Theatre Company, written by Ben Elton and directed by Wesley Enoch. The production is showing at QPAC Playhouse until 7 Dec 2014. Tickets available for purchase here

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CultureLifestyle

Pride – I Saw A Movie About Solidarity On My Own And Enjoyed It

posted by Scott Duffield October 30, 2014 0 comments

I described Pride to my partner as one of Britain’s best offers in reality-centred, feel-good entertainment, like if you crossed Billy Elliot with The Full Monty. This made her laugh because apparently that’s just how the marketing collateral described the film. Great minds, hey?

It’s the true story of an unlikely friendship between the residents of a small Welsh mining town and a group of gay and lesbian activists. Drawing on their own experience as an oppressed minority, the activists help the town financially and emotionally through the height of the 1984 British miners’ strike.

Pride reminded me a little bit of our beloved Kurilpa Bridge – there’s a lot of support going on out where everyone can see it. Out homosexuals support closeted homosexuals. Unions support miners. Homosexuals support miners. Miners support homosexuals. Confident lesbians support dissatisfied housewives. I might not have felt this theme so strongly if I didn’t see the film on my own. My partner was ‘unwell’ and no one else could join at late notice. Even my own Mother had ‘plans’. Solidarity forever!

Pride is based on true events. Knowing this makes it easier to follow along with some of the most supportive, most saccharine moments. The primary offender is the scene where scene Dominic West (the guy from The Wire and 300) does a disco dance in the Union Hall that makes the entire town renounce their homophobic ways. Maybe I’m too much of a cynic, but I struggle to believe that a retired coal miner would watch a middle-aged man gyrate his hips on top of a table and think, “You know, I didn’t like the gays yesterday, but I think they may actually be alright!” I guess it did happen though.

pride1

 Don’t let the above paragraph fool you into thinking that I didn’t enjoy Pride. I really did. It was entertaining (there’s a scene where old ladies talk about sex and go to gay dance clubs), moving (I’ve already talked about all the support, right?) and educational (I now know more about the struggle of both the working class and the LGBT movement). I don’t think you could ask for more from a film.

Pride was released in Australia today. You should go check it out at your preferred Palace Cinema if you’re after a laugh and cheery exploration of humanity’s good side. Ask my friends or family if you need a date – I know for a fact that they haven’t seen it yet.

*** Author’s note: I am totally unaware of what is politically correct when talking about LGBT. Please let me know if my ignorance has caused offence!

Fashion

T.M. Lewin Brisbane Flagship Store Opening

posted by Scott Duffield September 19, 2014 0 comments

michaelgreves_22

You’re bound to have heard of T.M. Lewin if you’re a guy who works in an office that requires you to wear clothes. It’s a very old clothing company that specialises in getting men looking good for business. They’ve been tailoring shirts, suits and ties since 1898 and, if you believe the marketing copy on their website, were actually the early pioneers of the modern, button-down business shirt.

T.M. Lewin have recently opened their very first dedicated shopfront in Brisbane, situated in Rowes Arcade opposite Queens Plaza. There’s a lot of money being spent at the moment to dress up Rowes Arcade, reinventing the tired, old space as a stylish shopping precinct.  I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of this flagship store, which is actually one of the first fashion retailers to take up residence in the renewed Arcade. Other retailers should look out – T.M. Lewin have really set a high benchmark.

The store itself is nearly as handsome as the guys T.M.Lewin use in their catalogue. They’ve kept with the aesthetic you’d expect from a high-end tailor with London origins – it’s very classy and very masculine. There’s dark wood panelling on the walls, rich leather sofas and bentwood chairs in the dressing rooms. But there are also modern touches throughout – striking steel accents on the display furniture and large slabs of marble on the floor and counters.

The store was packed for the launch. All sorts of well dressed men – I met a few bankers, designers, lawyers, architects and a guy in IT – had poured in with the promise of free beer, free food and a free shirt (T.M. Lewin were very generous – they also gave me a tie and a pair of cufflinks). Despite the overall busyness, it didn’t take long before I was in the capable hands of a sales assistant. She was very personable and with a few quick flourishes with her tape measure, could recommend exactly which shirt would suit my body type.

There are two things that really impressed me here. Firstly, the sales assistant was so helpful and professional, even on what could perhaps be T.M. Lewin’s busiest night ever. I can only imagine how much better the service is on a regular shopping day.

Secondly, they actually found me a shirt that fit perfectly. That mightn’t be a big deal to a lot of guys, but my years of over indulgence have started to take their toll and I now sport what I assume is a rather charming pot belly. It makes me look cheerful and content, but makes shopping for clothes a real pain. Shirts that fit my neck, arms and shoulders often struggle around the middle. And what’s great for my middle is usually too long and billowy in the arms. It’s my own little cross to bear.

But no such trouble with T.M. Lewin. They suggested a slim fit shirt that honestly made me feel like a million dollars. It was perfect around the waist and had just the right sleeve length. I was not alone in my satisfaction. I shared the fitting area with a guy who looked like he lifted weights for a living and super tall, super thin guy. The sales assistants found perfect fits for them as well.

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I think their success is in the wide range of sizes and cuts that are available. They’ve got four different cuts on offer for dress shirts (from regular to super fitted) with endless combinations of neck and sleeve sizes.

It seemed like T.M. Lewin had shirts in every conceivable fabric colour and pattern, within the limits of good taste. It sounds cheesy but they’ve really catered for everyone, whether you need something vibrant to say Senior Creative Director or something a little more reserved to say Special Counsel.

I’ve burned through most of my word count talking about how T.M. Lewin sells shirts that make young guys with big bellies feel great, and I think that’s generally alright. It would be remiss of me though not to say that they also sell a range of suits, casual wear, belts, ties, and cufflinks. They also sell a very stylish wooden-handled umbrella that made me say, “I should probably spend a lot of money on this wooden-handled umbrella.”

It only took one night and one shirt to make me a T.M. Lewin convert. I hope the sales assistants liked me as much as I liked them – we’re going to be seeing each other a lot more from now on.

 

You can visit the new T.M. Lewin store at Rowes Arcade, Shop 2, 235 Edward Street or check out their range at www.tmlewin.com.au.

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