This Is Us

The Man From the Hornet writes… This August we’re looking at stylish musicians here on The Hornet.

By way of a prelude, Bill Hornets, The Guv’nor, takes a look at music on a much grander scale. Over to Bill…


Bill Hornets The Guv'nor

The link below is to a short film of a friend of Michal our Style Management. It was shot over ten years ago. It shows 8-year-old Aristo Sham’s mastery of Chopin…


Have a look (we don’t have the appropriate permissions to post the video here but you can watch it on YouTube)…

The Ukraine, Gaza, the news…


Then this, which shows man is above all the killing, the violence, the hate, the deceit.


That’s what this little boy is saying (though he doesn’t know it): Man is beautiful, we are capable of great things.


At the end of the little film, I think all he’s concerned about… “Is it tea time and are there any cakes?”


Play it again, and say to yourself: “This is us.”



The Guv’nor








R.I.P James Garner: The First Man I Knew Who Had An Answering Machine


The Man From The Hornet writes…

Sad to learn that the great movie actor James Garner has passed away. He was 86.

As a journalist writing about men’s style issues here at The Hornet, I often find cause to reference Mr Garner’s finest hour: The Great Escape. By way of example, here’s a note on Mr Garner’s rather splendid white pullover in that movie.

The lethal hooch scene – in which only the Yanks and the Scots are tough enough to drink the stuff! – remains a favourite movie moment:

The often maligned Grand Prix (1966) is another of my great Garner favourites. Like so many cinema “flops” it went on to have a cult afterlife with TV and video audiences. Outstanding costumes supervised by Sydney Guilaroff, whose other work includes North by Northwest, The Graduate and Singing in the Rain – all impeccably dressed movies.


Here’s the trailer…

I first came across Garner when he played Jim Rockford in TV’s The Rockford Files back in the 70s. His down-at-heel private eye was a departure for the time: a world-weary ex-con who lives in a trailer with his old dad. As close to kitchen sink drama as mainstream US TV ever dared. Action packed and, of course with that great actor’s comic timing, very funny. The only touch of “glamour” – for me watching here in the deeply unglamorous UK of the 1970s – was found in the opening credits: Jim Rockford had an answering machine to take his phone calls. An astonishing exoticism when many homes here were still without a telephone.


It’s early Sunday morning here as I blog and my first thought was: what rotten news for a Sunday morning.

But it was only the work of a moment to remember my favourite moments from his long career. And tonight The Great Escape is going in the DVD player. Any excuse.

RIP Mr Garner, and thanks for the memories.




The Greatest Beard of All Time?

The Man From The Hornet writes…


Am I the only one baffled by the recent fad for wilderness-style beards among young men?


I suppose that it can be filed under “T” for “try everything once”. (Although in the facial hair department the mo’ that’s no longer known as the Toothbrush Moustache is still pretty much out of bounds.)


I’m calling them Wilderness Beards in ignorance of any “official” name. Are they called Wilderness Beards? It’s as good a name as any – vast, long, rambling, bushy affairs, large enough to harbour entire club sandwiches, let alone crumbs.


I think they look particularly eccentric on young, slim men. I’m always reminded of English cricket legend W.G Grace, who at least had the frame to match the beard. Here he is…


WG Grace

William Gilbert Grace was born on this day – 18th July – in 1848. An amateur cricketer, he is still regarded as one of the all time greats.


Away from the field of play, Grace was a medical man. As a doctor, the great man would diagnose his patients twice over: once to find what ailed them; and again to ascertain whether they could afford to pay. If they came up wanting in the latter, Grace would simply neglect to send them a bill.


Oddly, for such a big man, he had something of a shrill voice. Toward the end of his life (he died in 1915) he is said to have played his part in the war effort by taking to his garden and shouting at passing Zeppelins and shaking his fist at the blighters.


Cricket Jumpers





Shoes! Shoes! Shoes!

Bill Hornets (on the occasion of his birthday, no less!) writes…


What is it that fascinates me about shoes?


Hornets currently carries over one hundred and fifty pairs of vintage shoes. Bespoke, Classic, Famous Names, Designer, Period and the unusual. Oh, boots too.


I just had a text from one of our suppliers. He has four pairs of crocs (crocodile) and eight other good English shoes. I can’t wait to see them.


It is said that women look at men’s shoes to see how successful they are. I know men look at other men’s shoes, as it tells you a lot about a man. Not so much his background, as style, good taste, confidence, creativeness and success in a particular field. All these things – like manners can – be acquired. Shoes can tell you these things and more. Yes there are confident shoes, just as there are outrageous pop star shoes.


English shooting or country shoes are not only practical, they are very pleasing to the eye.


Suede brogues in a good Cape Buck are beautiful. In my study on display are a pair of fifties brown and white co-respondent shoes and a pair of old shooting boots. Hanging in one of the shops are well-used football, rugby and cricket boots from the thirties.


I’m carrying on a bit, so that’s it for now, but don’t worry I’ll be back on the subject. I haven’t even mentioned the shoe makers in Northampton yet, or the best bespoke shoe maker in London, or the top designer shoes, or… No I’ll shut up.


No, just one more thing. Can you begin to see my fascination?… I’m really going to stop now.


That is all








Dress Like A Man – Part Four

Bill Hornets writes…


I’m happy to see in the latest menswear collections, proper suits are back. Those horror suits that made men look slight and clownish were, I promise you, not masculine.


They were very good for the designers who churned out tens of thousands of them as they saved so much money on cloth, but they weren’t good for guys.


In short, those body-hugging garments were ‘girly’. If you want to look like a girl, wear a dress. Some guys look good in dresses…


Grayson Perry

– not many, but some do. Otherwise look like a guy.


That is all.


Bill Hornets.


Dress Like A Man – Part Three

Bill Hornets writes…


What we don’t have here at Hornets are those cheap-looking mass-produced, skimpy suits with short jackets, arms and legs, Oliver Twist poor house suits that make guys look like Norman Wisdom. (For you overseas Horneteers who may not be familiar with the late Norman Wisdom, a knockabout comic actor whose suits were too small as he’d grown out of them, here he is…)



These suits are most unflattering if you are over twenty.


Let’s face it, these suits are most unflattering if you are UNDER twenty.


(Continued tomorrow…)