Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Rock'n'Roll Royalty

Regular readers will be aware of the beneficent avuncular role our main clothier Huddersfield Fine Worsted plays in our life these days. So when HM the Queen decided a jolly way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her coronation was to invite all the Royal Warrant Holders - suppliers of goods to the Royal Household - to the gardens of Buckingham Palace, they invited us to ride through the gates on their coat tails. So on Thursday July 12th we first rode the bus over the bridge then walked across St. James' Park to the big house on the far side of the lake.

It was blazing hot as we walked around the gardens and chatted with folk from other companies, from Walker's Shortbread to Bentley Cars. We introduced ourselves to James from Lock & Co., the hatters of St. James and he said, "I know Earl of Bedlam!" 

We reminded him that we had posted a picture to their Facebook page of Rollo wearing one of our Tectonic suits, styled with a vintage shellacked coke of theirs, and he exclaimed that he had liked it very much. So that was worth the bus fare on its own.

Next we nosed around the beautiful Bentleys and noticed a familiar set of tools - including a fork, that I imagined someone had inadvertently left out after lunch. Noel Thompson, their master craftsman from Crewe, explained that Bentley invented a fancy machine to make the holes for the leather steering wheel covers to be stitched together, as the slightest bit too tight or slack can cause blisters for the driver. But it never got it as correct and comfortable for the human hand to hold as a human hand and the tines of a fork! Then he let me have a go at stitching it myself and presented me with a piece of their lovely leather embossed with the winged "B".

I got to have a go (and yes, it's been a while since I had my blond swoosh roots done)

Me and Noel with one I made earlier

My feet were on fire by the end of the afternoon, I could have done with soaking them in the little stream that feeds the huge lake in the Queen's back garden, or getting a lift home in one of the spare old cars that were left lying around all over the place like Steptoe's yard.

Then at 4.30pm we all had to troop out in order to return again a few hours later for the concert. I asked a policeman if we could just climb a tree and hide there til showtime. "We will find you Ma'am," he assured me.
Once home - luckily only the other side of Westminster Bridge - I could barely contemplate putting my shoes back on but anaesthetised with a glass of wine, I did and I was glad of it. It was a beautiful evening. Chris Evans was filming the One Show live and we presented him with a business card, saying we considered he goes rather well with our company name. He scrutinised it and laughed, "LOVE IT!!"

Dame Kyrie Te Kanawa sang the National Anthem - not in my key - but wearing my kinda pink. People were politely enthusiastic during the concert, we had to wait to the following night to let our hair down.

There are often extended pauses 

between blogs as I generally await the conclusion to some project or escapade in order to post the full story in one chunk. You will know if you dip into our Facebook page that we are in the process of launching our first series of silk scarves and pocket squares. And if you didn't already, please be persuaded to give our page a thumbs up "Like":

While we have been engaged in the artwork and trying to get clearances from the chosen subjects where required, we took on a charming new client, Miss. Curbishley. We are making her a trouser suit for school. 

As I wrote on our Facebook page, she is, as you can see above, a beautiful girl born into an environment of some cool privilege. This might, you could be forgiven for expecting, have engendered a sense of entitlement and a certain aloof reserve. However her heart is as warm as her face is lovely and much credit for this must of course go to her mum and dad. Bill, her papa, is a legendary figure in the music and film world. He manages The Who and Judas Priest and used to look after Jimmy Page & Robert Plant . He produced those peaks of British cinema -"Tommy", "Quadrophenia" and "McVicar". His latest film project, "The Railway Man", stars Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. 

And the enthusiasm and support of her mummy has thoroughly refreshed and reinvigorated our spirits. When we showed her the artwork for the scarves, Marcela helped the project along by pre-ordering a sumptuously large Clara Bow, as indeed did Madame Randolfi-Favel, head knitwear designer at Prada. When I mentioned we were still trying to get Keith Richards' blessing on his portrait in order to proceed she not only offered me a ticket for the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park but said they would take on presenting it on our behalf. In my fevered imagination I pictured Bill getting backstage just as they were about to go on, Keith going "Wow, that's cool man", putting it round his neck and amblin' out to the roar of the crowd. Well. It didn't quite go like that. But take it on trust that we are sat with baited breath on some word back this week. Which is a diversion from my usual whole-book-not chapters blogging technique, but if we're suffering in the heat of suspense then you can jolly well join us in it.

So there was I on that beautiful evening last Saturday, hair down, hippie dress on, in the posh pen at the front of the stage, feeling thirty years younger in the company of my youthful companions - Miss. Curbishley and her two pals - when a chap in the crowd handed me a cold beer and a compliment, as the only woman who had co-ordinated her eye colour with her dress - red (no, cornflower blue). My cup, or my beer bottle anyway, did bubble over at that point. Then he added, "Are you their chaperone?" 
Bubble burst.
But the beer tasted so good that I merely smiled benignly.

In the course of the Hunt for The Keef we found ourselves a few months back at the private view of Ronnie Wood's exhibition at his gallery on Bruton Street, Mayfair 
A nice man made conversation with us, we figured he mustn't know anybody, so we kept him company for a while. Watching the BBC coverage of Glastonbury the other week, we shrieked and pointed at the screen, for there he was on stage, one-time member of the band returned, Mick Taylor. 

On another day we were on Savile Row to collect fabric from Holland & Sherry (for Ms. Curbishley's suit indeed). In the little lift on the way back down I ran through our Priority To-do list for the day, top of which was "Find Keef". The lift doors opened and there was Ronnie Wood waiting to get in as we got out. I am not normally stunned or mute but I returned his friendly grin with a slack jaw. And then he was gone.

Not Keith
Swinging with the Stones in Hyde Park
Here's some pix of our quarry:

My lovely chaperones. NOT the other way round. And not, obviously, Keith.

KEITH!!! Was the flash of red our scarf??!! No.

Mick Jagger walking over the crowd but if it's not Keith walking toward me then it's not helpful

Not Keith, but Ronnie. Surprisingly fine painter as well, but not Keith.

Keith looked like he was having a good time, and I certainly was

Not only is it Keith but it is SMILEY Keith (we had worried he didn't look too chipper at Glastonbury)

Not only Keith, but Keith with our pal Mick Taylor

Attention seeker

Keith and Charlie, who also look surprisingly happy, possibly as this may be their last gig and he won't have to tour 
What it is we're trying to get to him, Anna McNeil's beautiful portrait that we commissioned, printed on silk satin crepe, as yet unhemmed in this picture

So we hope to have the full and concluded story of our first series of silk scarves, Les Fool'ards de Bedlam, wrapped up and posted soon. Don't go wandering off now!