Kex, Reykjavik

Ginsberg was intoning to me as I urinated. That’s the kind of sentence I wish finished with the word ‘again’, but alas. He was broadcast to me through a speaker secured above the toilet door. It looked like it may have formed part of the Titanic’s emergency equipment; the speaker, not the door.

Kex Bar IcelandKex is an old cookie factory. Its bar area is huge and folksy. I opened my tablet to work on my novel. I am gunning for the world.

The novel was not there.

Two chapters were, but other chapters, chapters I had been working on in Iceland, were not. This was worrying. I hoped they would be returned to me as soon as I next got online.

So I decided to not think about it and read a chapter of The World According to Garp over a pot of coffee. The tip jar, a money box pig, was overflowing; I left a couple of hundred króna at his trotters. The coffee was strong and therefore good.

Early Friday afternoon is not busy in Kex on the second day of Iceland’s Summer. We sat listening to Bob Dylan and Elliott Smith under the eyes of anatomically correct paintings of birds and the pockmarked industrial-cum-artistic-space concrete ceiling.

I decided to put off worrying about the book a little more by ordering a bowl of Potato and Smoked Haddock Soup and a Pilsner. One barman had a big beard and looked calm. The other was shaven and busy. Having the time to notice these changes makes me realise I am travelling differently with age.

Kex Magnetic Poetry Wall IcelandWhen you travel in your 30s you do not partake of the magnetic poetry lift shaft or the interestingly arranged books on the bookshelves. You drink beer and read the thing you brought with you; write the thing you hope exists online somewhere still. That’s the nature of experience. Constantly starting new things results in nothing being done. Nothing good at least .

In a new country new things are happening to your brain without you asking for them. You no longer feel the need to bring something back to define a new you.

I won’t be hooking ancient speakers up in my bathroom and piping in beat poetry. I will, however, be trying my hand at that mackerel and potato soup.

Lebowski Bar, Reykjavik

“Do you want salt on the rim?” she said.

I jumped. She shouted it across the bar at me just as Joaquin Phoenix saw the green man in Signs. Then there was a man standing next to John Goodman putting bullets in teenagers in Red State. The gunshots were so loud they could have been real. At that point, I didn’t know that those were the names of the films. I had only just realised I had walked in to the Lebowski Bar‘s Thursday night film quiz. I did want salt on the rim.

Lebowski Bar, Reykjavik - bowling on the wall

Bowling at 90 degrees in the Lebowski Bar, Reykjavik.

The drink menu was filled with milk-based cocktails, the bar’s hat tipped to The Dude‘s booze of choice; the White Russian. Ruth wanted to go off menu, so I ordered her a margarita, and picked for myself a caprahinia from the smattering of non-milk cocktails on the menu. The caprahinia was A grade, but Ruth described the margarita as “a martini with tequila and cointreau, no lemon, no syrup”. Not a margarita at all then, but still good in Ruth’s opinion.

“But I think if you had a few it might burn a hole in your throat,” she said.

The film quiz continued at its incredible volume. Entry was free, but we decided to let the quiz unfold for us as entertainment and shirked the urge to find a competitive element in the evening.

On the next round we decided to embrace the chaos and order White Russians. The result made me question what I had been doing with my life so far. It wasn’t milk, it was cream. And dude, it was amazing. So amazing that I ordered a second as the answers to the film quiz were delivered and the pixie hair cut friends of the quiz master retreated to the back room to dance to Otis Redding and Cliff Richard.

The cream overdose spilled us out onto Laugavegur, where we hunted down a taxi driver who spends some time as a chef. He bemoaned the current digging up of Reykjavik Roads, but got us back to the hotel for under 2,000 ISK and admitted to “like talking”, so it seemed we were all winners that evening.

The Grand Budapest Hotel Film Fashion: JP Jopling

The Grand Budapest Hotel was Wes Anderson’s 2014 romp, featuring the usual signatures we’ve come to expect.

JP Jopling in Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Look the Film’s return…

I had the honour of watching the film with one Peter Raben, who I count as one of three fans of the Look the Film series in the world (the second being me, and third being a stranger I have to convince myself is looking on). So taking the honourable Mr Raben as my inspiration, Look the Film is back, bringing you the JP Jopling style from The Grand Budapest Hotel.

I’ve decided to take a more catwalk approach to LTF from here on in, so we start with a Daks leather jacket, as reported from Milan Fashion Week 2013 on The Fashionisto (can’t find a listed priced on this number, but I’d plump for a clean £1,000 at a guess). The knee length cut brings out a suitably bad-guys-in-WWII look for what has to be Anderson’s most menacing character to date. The slow chase scene between Willem Defoe’s JP Jopling and Jeff Goldblum was a highlight for me in The Grand Budapest Hotel – funny, but Jopling’s dark wardrobe and underbite fangs gave it a suitable creepiness.

On the sorry excuse for trousers I have used, take your pick from the following:

  • I have no idea where you could possibly buy such impossibly short trousers, or
  • I am pretending to have no idea where you could possibly buy such impossibly short trousers.

As a result I have plumped for some Rick Owens DRKSHDW Men’s Black Prisoner Drawstring Trousers, £252.00 at Oki-Ni. They have a suitably short look, and while not being quite smart enough, they would give an extra layer of warmth when the elasticated cuffs (are they still called cuffs when they are all the way down there?) are stuffed into your jackboots.

Speaking of which, Ali Express offered up these Retro Combat Boots, which was probably exactly what wardrobe asked for when prepping for the film ($48.15 – £28.99). Now, as retail websites go Ali Express looks a little down market (who am I to scoff, I’ve referenced products from Surplus & Outdoors in the past) but here’s what I realised – The Grand Budapest Hotel is most definitely a winter film and we are creeping slowly towards summer, so I’m taking what I can get.

I stole a polo neck from the Versace Autumn/Winter 14-15 catwalk rundown via GQ (see image 22 – glancing on Amazon I would hazard a guess at this setting you back around £141.75) and finished up with gloves from Merola gloves found on Mr Porter (£135).

Total Cost: £1557.74 (not including the price of a fang-graft, which I am pretty sure you can’t get on the NHS).

Check out my JP Jopling Pinterest board to marvel at just how short those trousers really were.

Look the Film: The Artist – Oscar Hopeful

The Artist, Oscar favourite, is about to be swept away in the language of glamour, winning and heartwarmingness.

The Artist, Oscar Nominee

The Artist, Oscar anyone?

But let’s take a moment to reflect on how cool its mute protagonist looked even when he was down on his luck.

As George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) slid from silent movie star into forgotten hero he managed to pull off a look of suave dejectedness.

Smooth depression.

Refined poopypants.

And you, pleb, at home or on the bus, wherever you are reading this, can achieve it too.

Destined for an Oscar this year?

No, you’re not, so get ready to be glimpsed in your practised, dark broody face by getting your hands on a tailored cotton two-button suit blazer (£129, Banana Republic). It’s the defining feature of this look, largely unstructured, casual. For the full effect only do up the top button, dump your hands in the pockets and stalk around looking serious. Actually, for the full effect spend about a week sleeping in it and expose it to burning celluloid fumes.

You suave bastard, you might also want to pick up a Autograph Pure Cotton Slim Fit Stripe Shirt (£29.50, M&S) in blue mix (remember, only the film is in black and white, not the whole world). Keep a couple of buttons undone to show your innate manliness hasn’t deserted you in desperate times. Keep the whole thing casual with some Bottega Veneta Straight-Leg Corduroy Trousers (£385, Mr Porter) and Ask the Missus Nagoya2 brown leather shoes (£69.99, Office).

And chin up, things may still improve. The future of The Artist, Oscar nominee, is certainly looking pretty bright.


Tailored cotton two-button suit blazer – £129
Autograph Pure Cotton Slim Fit Stripe Shirt – £29.50
Bottega Veneta Straight-Leg Corduroy Trousers – £385
Ask the Missus Nagoya2 brown leather shoes – £69.99

Total: £613.49

Look the Film: Ghostbusters


Five Minutes. I gave it five minutes before I buckled.

“A beige boiler suit?” I asked myself. “How am I going to work a beige boiler suit into a blog dedicated to the already flimsy notion of finding high street clothes to evoke my favourite on-screen characters?”

So here it is, the Ghostbusters getup compromised to an Olive Green Military Style (£17.99, Surplus & Outdoors) coverall which is much more day-at-the-races than the plain beige from the film. My first reaction is to be amazed at what the boiler suit does… it makes an entire outfit, IN ONE GO! The hands are even in the pockets, meaning I don’t have to go sourcing and placing those. This could save me hours of research, I’m already envisaging the fat proto-Italian mechanic from Speed Racer, the garage scene from Grease, Dean Jones as Jim Douglas in the original The Love Bug.

This last one stops the self-indulgent rant; that Jim Douglas was a pretty cool guy. Watch this space.

My second reaction is that this is going to need some serious accessories. But first, to keep things stark, we are sticking in a pair of Black Doc Marten 1460 Boots (£90, Doc Martens). Hard wearing and iconic, they look close to what Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray et al. were wearing, and they are what I would want to be in if there was a danger of getting slimed.

Onward with the frivolities, I can let a boiler suit pass but up with skater’s elbow pads I will not put. It would be accurate, sure. But at the expense of making you look like you are in costume (which is definitely not what we are about here) or like you are on your way home from laying floor boards – obviously there is nothing wrong with the noble floor board laying profession, but this is your clothes money we are playing with here… if you want to look like that go and train up.

So the compromise is to round the corner where Ghostbusting Peter Venkman meets Parapsychology Professor Peter Venkman and sew on some Dritz Suede Elbow Patches in Beige (£4.12, Create For Less). And while you are in the creative mindset, you will also need to apply some belt loops to facilitate the wearing of an ASOS Suede Chino Belt (£15, ASOS).

Rather than gluing some egg cartons together and strapping them to your back, you can evoke the proton pack with a Shore Leave Black Canvas Backpack (£55, Urban Outfitters).

The notion gets flimsier.

Look the Film: TinTin

TinTin's Fashion


If we’re talking TinTin and fashion, there’s no point in paying attention to the recent film. The effort to modernize the look has stripped a lot of the charm of Hergé’s originals so Look the Film returned to the source material, and quickly found out that it’s impossible to find a decent pair of plus fours on the high street.

Luckily, the fashion god created golf clothing stores, which is where we find the Corduroy Men’s Plus Four Golf Trousers Chocolate (£47.50, Sport a la Mode) with free Free Long Socks. Yes! Free Long Socks! FREE! That’s one less item of clothing I have to look up.

Ahhhh, TinTin. How do you define his look? Part boy detective, part Nazi Youth member. Either way, there’s never a lot of attention given to his footwear. The PosteGiacomo lace tan leather shoes (£99.99, office) are fitting, didn’t take me long to find and don’t cost the earth – so they’ll do. He’s a kid, so apparently I’m not allowed to put him in a Marks and Spencer shirt (although that’s probably his price range, seeing as he never pockets any of the spoils himself, the dull, do-gooding little tyke). Instead he’s gone for a younger look with a Brushed Cotton Shirt (£50, Cos) and black Eythorne Tie (£45, Aubin and Wills).

One of his defining aesthetics is a flash of cardigan colour, often in a baby blue but sometime like this yellow Polo Ralph Lauren Cashmere V-Neck Cardigan (£405, Ralph Lauren).

Not that anyone will appreciate it (as he seems to spend most of his time with a drunken sailor) but he layers on top of this with a Kitsuné Two Button Corduroy Jacket (£575, mrporter), and finishes the look in the same store with a Holborn Trench Coat (£155, mrporter).

PosteGiacomo lace tan leather shoes – £99.99
Corduroy Men’s Plus Four Golf Trousers Chocolate with FREE LONG SOCKS – £47.50
Brushed Cotton Shirt – £50
Eythorne Tie – £45
Polo Ralph Lauren Cashmere V-Neck Cardigan – £405
Kitsuné Two Button Corduroy Jacket – £575
Holborn Trench Coat – £155

Total: £1,377.49

Look the Film: The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski

Is there a chance that just because Look the Film prescribes wearing jimjam bottoms when getting about, so you can get a costume like The Dude from The Big Lebowski, you will do it? Yes there’s a chance. A slim chance.

It’s not that mooching through the Sunday morning coffee circuit in your pyjama bottoms because of a Cohen Brothers film is ridiculous. God no. It’s that it’s already coming. It has already been decided that it is coming.

Read that back. The people who make these decisions think that WE WILL BE WEARING PYJAMAS IN THE STREET. Unironically too, as witnessed in the Topman Design spring/summer 2012 catwalks, matching all-over pattern PJs with blazers and sockless loafers. By the time winter recedes next year you will never have to get changed again. That’s enough of the mock outrage. Clearly I can’t wait.

The relatively cheap nature of these Autograph Pure Cotton Stripe Woven Pyjama Bottoms (£19.50, M&S) with their vertical stripes set the tone for Jeff Bridge’s defining character. Rumour has it The Dude’s outfit was largely provided by Bridge’s own wardrobe, but you can bet his signature cardigan didn’t come in at the price you would need to shell out for the Polo Ralph Lauren Beacon Plaid Overshirt (£220.00, ASOS). At least you can drop the brand name next time you are in the executive boxes at the rugby. In your pyjama bottoms.

A basic Tri-Blend Short Sleeve Deep V-Neck in purple Tri-Cranberry (£22.00, American Apparel) will complete the look up top, and it will come as no surprise to subscribers to Look the Film that The Dude’s shoes already have billions of pixels worth of blog posts dedicated to them. Strangely, considering The Dude’s lazy/zen type character, they are Otomix Taekwondo Shoes (£11.77, Otomix). Discontinued, at the time of writing this pair come from the States, and are only available in a men’s size 4… so good luck with that. These Adidas Martial Arts Shoes (£36.92, MartialArtsMart) will pass as substitutes, but they also come from the States (where I can only imagine the market for shoes dedicated to beating people up is a little bigger than it is here) so whatever postage I have put below here is not accurate, but rather a poorly researched guess.

Otomix Taekwondo Shoes – £11.77
Autograph Pure Cotton Stripe Woven Pyjama Bottoms – £19.50
Tri-Blend Short Sleeve Deep V-Neck in Tri-Cranberry – £22.00
Polo Ralph Lauren Beacon Plaid Overshirt – £220.00

Total: £273.27

Total including postage (UK): £292.17

Look the Film: Amelie

The Audrey Tatou Outfit


With the tenth anniversary of Amelie upon us, for a sense of occasion (and for a sense of how a sense of occasion might be used to drive people to read this blog) Look the Film makes its first foray into womenswear. Oh man, the going is tougher in that particular dressing room. For one, disparaging remarks about a woman’s preoccupation with shoes ring quite hollow when compared to dude-love for the particulars of a cult film wardrobe.

Long story short: no one has done my work for me.

After a period of thrashing around uselessly on the Clarks website, my girlfriend glimpsed the screen and pointed out that Audrey Tatou was gliding impishly around Montmartre in a pair of Docs. True enough, the Dr Martens Brook Shoe (£90, Dr Martens) seems a close fit, offsetting the delicacies of the skirt, cardigan and jacket combo along with some nice chunky socks. For these, a two pair pack of Women Heattech Socks (£8.90, UNIQLO) will do you, but remember to roll down for extra chunk.

Leaving the unthreatening world of Doc Martens behind, I’m suddenly in new territory. I am trying to pick a skirt. This one’s the same length, but the wrong colour. This one’s the right colour but the wrong texture. This one’s a good length and colour but Angie from finance has the same one so there is no way I can wear it to the Christmas party. In the end, the Whistles Carrie Pleat Midi Skirt (£125, ASOS) gives length and colour, but introduces pleats where pleats should not be.

The costume design duo of Madeline Fontaine and Emma Lebail would probably be furious with my choice of Paige Peplum Cardigan (£40, Monsoon) in place of the delicate lacy number worn by Amelie Poulain. But that’s nothing compared to my rage when I discovered that the cardigan I spent about two hours looking for would be almost completely covered by the Patch Pocket Blazer (£49.99, ZARA).

This cobbling together is an homage to a single Audrey Tatou outfit from Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s classic. There are countless ensembles in there which add perfectly to the delicacy and stubbornness of Amelie, while reflecting a slightly rose-tinted view of Paris. So there’s plenty more scope there for this cack-handed approach to outfit recreation – but after this experience I might just leave it until the film’s 20th anniversary.

Dr Martens Brook Shoe – £90
Women Heattech Socks (two pairs) – £8.90
Whistles Carrie Pleat Midi Skirt – £125
Paige Peplum Cardigan – £40
Patch Pocket Blazer – £49.99

Total: £313.89

Total including postage (UK): £317.84

Look the Film: Blade Runner

The Blade Runner Outfit

Blade Runner

The shoes maketh the replicant hunter, and very little delving in the world of Blade Runner reveals another thriving subset of movieshoe love. Frame grabs from the film can be used to discover Rick Deckard’s make of shoe. Thankfully, some fanatic has done the job for me, and it turns out the costume duo of Michael Kaplan and  Charles Knode used some modified Stan Smith’s, like the old basketball referees used to wear. It is still possible to get your hands on the Adidas Originals Stan Smith II (£57.00, JD Sports), but you might want to run around in the rain at night to make them feel like they are really from Ridley Scott’s vision of the future.

Fresh from Look the Film: Mon Oncle, the No Wale Corduroy Slim Fit Jeans (£29.90, Uniqlo) make an appearance here, although this time in Dark Brown. At this stage of his career, Harrison Ford was impossibly handsome, which a lot of people attributed to a mixture of genetics and attitude. Looking closer however, it is clear to see that in Blade Runner he wears a rather thin belt, which I personally think did most of the work. It’s not cheap, but the A.P.C Slim Leather Belt (£140, Mr Porter) can give you the same aesthetic advantage over the rest of your gender.

Being such a dark film, it wasn’t until I started researching this piece that I realised if there had been one nice, clear sunny day in Los Angeles in 2019, Deckard would have lost the trench coat and found himself dressed remarkably like Steve Martin in The Jerk. The slight yokel look can be bought through the introduction of the Suit Twin Pocket Contrast Check Yoke Shirt (£70.00, ASOS) which clashes with/accentuates (delete where appropriate) the Black and Red Stripe Silk Tie (£35, KJ Beckett). I thought the square ended tie was a recent invention until I took a closer look here. It turns out people have been making themselves look like fools for decades – so in this version I provide you with a tie with a point.

Speaking of that extra layer needed for miserable future Los Angeles, the Wool Lined Trench Coat (£695, Burberry) provides folds, flaps and a big enough collar to make you believe you too have the right to judge the humanity of others. It also costs enough to make that magic belt look like a steal.

Adidas Originals Stan Smith II – £57
No Wale Corduroy Slim Fit Jeans – £29.90
A.P.C Slim Leather Belt – £140
Suit Twin Pocket Contrast Check Yoke Shirt – £70
Black and Red Stripe Silk Tie – £35
Wool Lined Trench Coat – £695

Total: £1,026.90

Total including postage (UK): £1,042.85

Look the Film: White Men Can’t Jump

White Men Can't Jump

The purpose of a Look the Film dedicated to making you look like a chump is obscure even to me.

But here it is regardless.

It might be that 90s dorkism is about to make a roaring return. It might be an homage to the warmer months when you could (theoretically) get away with dressing like this. It might be because a friend requested it and I had no better ideas to hand. I digress, here we go, how to dress like Woody Harrelson’s chump from White Men Can’t Jump.

And on first look, surprise surprise, there has already been a direct basketball boot tie-in from Nike. The Nike Hyperlite was launched in 2009, with the simple white outer and flash of neon yellow across the sole’s heel. Alas, it seems no cynical movie/shoe combo is going to be easy for Look the Film, with these no longer available. Forgoing the defining yellow streak, the Nike Court Force Hi (£45, JD Sports), offers a subtly grey shoe, dorky enough to make even Woody Harrelson look like a herbert.

And so began a search for socks: so grey and 90s they look capable of producing a pong hitherto particular to adolescent boys. After an exhaustive(ish) search for this grey/red stripe combo I reached a compromise (or was defeated and settled for) Light Grey Striped socks (£12.00, TopMan). This way we can pay homage to the Nike’s missing yellow by selecting the yellow topped pair from the five pack.

A caveat: never buy shorts like those in this picture. Certainly never buy them to play basketball in. The Quiksilver Murf 22’s (£45, mimic the trashiness of Billy Hoyle’s b-ball shark, but are otherwise inexcusable. Some classic 90s layering is needed up top, with a French Terry Drop-Shoulder Sweatshirt (£39, American Apparel) forming a base layer for the lack-of-sense-defining Parental Advisory T-shirt (£14.99, to play on top of.

A bigger caveat: I do not endorse the wearing of caps. I just give thanks that I live in a world where finding a cap as bad as the one in White Men Can’t Jump is this difficult. I spent hours trying to find a pig ugly, tie dyed multicolour hat, and I settled on this Lady’s Union Jack Pink Heart Design Diamante Baseball Cap (£5.36, Universal Textiles). A travesty.

Nike Court Force Hi – £45
Light Grey Striped socks (Five pairs) – £12.00
Quiksilver Murf 22’s – £45
French Terry Drop-Shoulder Sweatshirt – £39
Parental Advisory T-shirt – £14.99
Lady’s Union Jack Pink Heart Design Diamante Baseball Cap – £5.36

Total: £161.35

Total including postage (UK): 177.82

As an alternative you could slice open a basketball, stuff £177.82 into it and kick it into the ocean.