Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The most stylish man in television history

Long before the present time, where all that is required of male action hero is overdeveloped biceps and a tight T-shirt, there was The Avengers, possibly the coolest TV series in history. Its undisputed lead was John Steed, given life by Patrick McNee.

John Steed is always dressed in the best that English menswear has to offer, while the series is set in a hyper-English England that didn’t even exist at the time the series was created.

The 1967 season of the series is The Avengers at its absolute apex, as it makes the transition to glorious, gaudy colour, and co-starts Diana Rigg as Mrs. Peel. Not least because Diana Rigg, who would later become the only “Bond babe” to actually marry Mr. Bond, is a worthy partner to Mr. Steed in both capability, charm and dress sense.

As can hopefully be seen in this introduction to the 1967 season, this is style on a level that will probably never be seen on television again.

And here’s the introduction that was used for the American market:

John Steed manages to have perfect manners without ever being stuffy, and dress immaculately without ever seeming overdressed. While it is impossible for a humble man such as His Lordship to achieve this, at least it's something to strive for once in a while.

John Steed fandom has taken the somewhat inappropriate moniker “Steedophilia”. And while Lord Bassington-Bassington absolutely disapproves of this (who wants to be known as a “Steedophile?”), he can’t help but frequent websites such as this. And he has, of course, purchased a bamboo-handled umbrella.

The music of a past that never was

As someone who has always felt slightly out of place in the modern world, Lord Bassington-Bassington easily sympathizes with people who long for the past and express this in various creative ways.

As such, he is greatly heartened by musical phenomena such as Sepiachord.

While it is too early in His Lordships’s research into this phenomenon to pass any definitive judgment on it, he finds it appropriate to share with his reader something that is lifted from the Sepiachord website, and which looks vaguely like a manifesto (but without the senseless and vulgar political ideas that often infest manifestoes).

What is Sepiachord?

Sepiachord is the "genre that doesn't exist".

It is to music what "steampunk" is to literature and cinema: something that looks back to the past to comment on the present while looking sideways at the future. A cubist aural experience.

As goth & glam are the bastards of David Bowie, Sepiachord is the made from the genetic material sown by Tom Waits.

Sepiachord is assembled like a clockwork orchestra, from such elements of music
Sinister Circus, Cabaret Macabre, Chamber Pop, Organic Goth, Celtic/Gypsy Punk,
Mutant Americana, Ghost Town Country.

It is the music our grandparents or great-grandparents would have listened to, if they were as off-set as we are.

As someone who has always tried to be like his grandfather, ever since he realized as a teenager that his grandfather was a way better dresser than his teenaged peers, His Lordship is hoping to offer his support to these fine people in the near future.

Welcome to the Chronicles

Ladies and gentlemen - and others:

Welcome to the chronicles of Lord Bassington-Bassington, Lord of Little Storping in the Swuff. Little Storping is a quaint and charming township which is hard to place on a map, but seems to be located somewhere between England’s Lake District and the outskirts of the Norwegian capital.

As His Lordship spends far too much time sniffing out interesting things in music, books, films and so on, this blog is primarily intended to be a log of His explorations.

I, your humble chronicler, is merely His Lordship’s secretary. I’d refer to myself as the Watson to his Lordship’s Holmes, if that weren’t such a gross exaggeration of my own mental faculties and literary skill.

So who is Lord Bassington-Bassington? To introduce him, I could do worse than borrow the text from His Lordship’s MySpace page:

While born into a family rich in talent and learning, Lord Bassington-Bassington has so far displayed little of either. As a result, His Lordship yearns for what he calls "the good old days", a time when gentlemen could be admired for their lineage and spend their lives as amateurs and dilettantes.

Due to these yearnings, elitist statements such as ”if it’s not a Basset, it’s just a dog”, and the fact that his lordly title is in dispute (to put it mildly), it has been claimed that Lord Bassington-Bassington suffers from ideas above his station. Such accusations are flatly denied by the good Lord, who claims that “quite the contrary – We are rather down-to-earth”.

While he might seem haughty and snobbish, he is not so. Such an impression is rather a result of him being sorely lacking in the social graces, the result of much time spent alone with his muzzle buried in books, or exploring films and phonographic records.

In his manners and appearance, he aspires to be an old-fashioned gentleman and dandy. These tendencies are, however, curtailed by a natural laziness and lack of ready funds to spend on footwear and overcoats.

Philosophically, Lord Bassington-Bassington occupies an obscure space somewhere between the Enlightenment and Romanticism. While this might seem like a philosophically stimulating place to be, in practice it just means that he's a few hundred years out of date. He is an Atheist, and while this means he has no hopes of going to Dog Heaven, he is consoled that there is no Dog Hell to fear. He tends, however, to sympathize with decent, intelligent people of all religious persuasions.

Through the club by the name of The Heretical Cellar, Lord Bassington-Bassington has found a way to inflict his interests upon the public. The club is devoted to lectures about strange and obscure subjects, as well as concerts, and the Lord occasionally spins music there.

Despite all his shortcomings, and to the astonishment of all that know him (and most of all to himself), Lord Bassington-Bassington has managed to become married to a Lady rich in all the virtues he himself lacks.

So, good Sirs and Madams, welcome to Lord Bassington-Bassington's world.

(His Lordship captured in a moment of rare enthusiasm. Lord Bassington-Bassington would also like to express his hope that the fine gentlemen who created this photograph, fellow canine Baron von Bulldog and human camera maestro Marcel Lelienhof, will allow him to use it for his blog, which is surely the very definition of a non-profit endeavour).