Modern men, tattoos, beards and a beautiful air of inherent bohemian.
I began to think of artistic sources again this morning. Tattoos came to mind and the extent of modern day body art. I began to think holistically and how younger guys are adopting the bearded bohemian look alongside old style denim/cord/tweed/linen fashion, extensive jewellery, and appendages that seemed to have no considerations for boundaries. Almost steam punk in nature, but with a gentler, softer edge. I Googled and was surprised at the extent of what this base allows the brave and expressive to wear. Even older guys were there with a look that they were either absolute naturals to adopt and present in a manner like they’ve worn this stuff for years. Or maybe they have worn it in eccentricity values for years. Individuals that are comfortable in their skins. We have such individuals around our area. Machynlleth provides the nature of individualism that can be outstandingly beautiful or just plain kooky.
I’m a fan of this new 5Bs (bohemian, beards, body art, booze and baccy) look. It’s worn by all ages and it can be carried off with aplomb. It also has the ability to stretch the ball game and push the look into ‘individualised quirky land’. Almost like an earthier version of Japanese youth street wear evident in Harajuku . The 5Bs are a lovely fashion adoption to stretch how you can declare yourself as an individual. It’s as if men have taken back their identities. I’m older now and have been experimental and dressed accordingly through the ages in styles of hippy, bohemian, skinhead, suede head, glam rock, punk, new romantic, grunge and then…….I thought I’m a bit old now. Better act and look my age. But how to. Didn’t want a shirt, v-neck acrylic sweater and trousers from M and S, with a pair of shiny shoes.
So, when I saw Johnny Depp in the film “The Ninth Gate” I thought ‘That look rocks my boat’. Very bohemian, comfortable and filled with iconic add ons. Rough around the edges, but not so scruffy it looks like you’ve grabbed the look from the bottom of the wash basket, sniffed it, shrugged your shoulders and put it on, then sprayed the whole ensemble with a can of ‘whatever rocked your boat spray’ when you visit your local town and visit your local Supersavers. Lynx Oud Wood and Vanilla or Lynx Tobacco and Amber are my latest likes. Strange choice. Got sucked into the packaging design and bought two because I got a better reduced price. Anyway….back to the Ninth Gate.
The Ninth Gate Imagery? It was like I’d been there before in dress sense. And I own those wonderful accessories. Fountain pens (Mont Blanc – well it was an Agatha Christie limited edition ballpoint if I remember correctly…. but I can change with artistic license); a 19th Century medical Depose magnifying glass (for looking closely at patient’s wounds) which Johnny Depp used to look at ancient script in ‘The Book of the Nine Gates’ which was part written by LCF (wait for the penny to drop) and is central to the film’s theme; red/blue accountants pencil which I use for my Nursing hangovers to highlight the important tasks from the ‘can wait’ ones; the central ‘book detective’s iconic bag which is carried everywhere’…..a man bag basically, but what a man bag!!! …. a French military musette ml35 which have become as rare as hen’s teeth (and now I actually own one!!), a pair of Algha gold filled round spectacles, a leather journal that didn’t have Filofax neatness and organised OCD, but a mish mash of inclusions surrounded by a chunky piece of leather….and film scenic inclusions of a plethora of amazing European cultural imagery. And lots of booze and baccy. Clothes included woollen ties, heavy cotton shirts, baggy linen jackets, baggy linen, cotton and cord trousers. And the combination of silvery hair at the temples and that goatee. Basically, bohemian splendour which oozed imagined smells of aromatic cigars/cigarettes, caramelised Jack Daniels and the leathery earthy aroma you get from old books. I’d been there and done that most of my younger life. I dreamed of being an old fashioned teacher you see.
So, dressed as I was in that uncomfortable stage of my 50s decade in life. I thought about what to wear. The whole atmosphere of the film helped me change my identity enormously. I thought of my past again. Looking at Dean Corso’s (the Johnny Depp character) clothes I began to think, ‘Hey! I had red socks as a suede head in the 1970s’, linen baggy jackets like James ‘Sonny’ Crockett in Miami Vice in the 80s. I owned fountain pens including a Mont Blanc alongside my Swan Mabi Todd’s, had that magnifying glass, loved books, I began to think, ‘I actually dressed like an old man when I was 18’. I wore Harris tweed and cord jackets, woollen waistcoats, baggy needle cord trousers like the ones made by Holt Renfrew, St. Hilaire flannel shirts, Oxford brogues, suede desert ankle boots and had a collection of knitted ties. Ties were dropped at times in favour of love beads and various necklaces bought from a hippy shop called “I am”. Amazing shop now long gone. I wanted to be a bohemian with an acoustic guitar, drinking whiskey, espresso and smoke Gauloise. Tried one of the latter, went green and never bothered about that accessory again.
And now? I’m in my 60’s. Startlingly….Younger guys are looking at dressing in a way I present myself as a mix of now and from my younger self with said bohemian influence. I grew a moustache and added goatee beard last November in support of Movember and Prostate Cancer awareness. I loved the goatee. My wife hated it. I still have it. My wife still hates it.
It’s a strange phenomena in the way we present ourselves. Every day at work, I wear what is akin to a heavier duty pair of pyjamas. I rue the day when I had to swap my white male nurse top with epaulets, Dr. Marten comfortable shoes and sharp creased trousers for a pale blue baggy uncomfortable uniform. Manchester City colours too. I’m a United fan. It looks like we all work in the surgical theatre field. Of course, uniforms are worn in an arena where infection control is paramount, and scrubs can be washed at high degrees and are cleaner lines and more practical. So, I wear them, but don’t have to necessarily like them. Good article below.
Tattoos? Don’t have one let alone a body full. I remember in surgery seeing a girl who had undergone bone repair in the lower leg saying she was embarrassed that her beautiful lower leg tattoo (a singular mammal, so no intricate imagery to hide mismatch) had been re-sewn all wonky. It was plain to see that it didn’t match up. The second operation to remove the fixing metalwork was performed by a different surgeon. I remember him saying, ‘let’s put this beautiful artwork back together properly shall we. We don’t want her conscious of a horrible result to show off in the summertime do we?’ Or words to that effect. What a star! The girl was over the moon. I’d trust him to perform surgery on me anytime if he pays that amount of attention to the finer details. Which reminds me. The theatre team had fountain pen and ink envy. They all had their favourite pen/ink combinations which they used to write in the medical/surgical history taking notes. Discussion surrounding pens and ink. A line of artisan inks in a cupboard with familiar and unfamiliar names. Pens that cost a fortune.
And smell? Important alongside the presentation of attire. My current favourite and actual all time favourite now? Ironically called “Booze and Baccy”.
I was introduced to the Booze and Baccy when I bought this eau de parfum in the Lake District. If I wasn’t on holiday with lovely saved up holiday pocket money to spend, I would have probably ignored it at £65 a bottle. My instincts were that the bottle of Captain Fawcett I bought years ago was one I really liked at the time. When it ran out, I didn’t pursue a replacement. I think a bottle of Woods of Windsor replaced it. So, as I remembered the Captain range had an old fashioned element and maybe this would be the same. Soon as the tester of Booze and Baccy dried on the skin, I was hooked.
On reflection, it is the best £65 I’ve spent for well being and feeling great. Instantly my favourite smell of all time. You have to be prepared for the earthy intensity of this range. Very much an autumn/winter mood about it. It moves through various odours as the day goes by. It’s a smell that you have to be confident to wear. People say older guys suit this aroma. Having lived, they can carry it off. But I think the younger, bohemian guys, artists, bikers, musicians, which I’ve spoken about could easily carry it off. Ricki Hall, the model who put this synergy together, is Bohemian, so probably is the best example. He put the odour balance together didn’t he? Beard, tattoos and cool persona.
Me. Older, still aesthetically in my mind younger, fits in his skin and is comfortable with Booze and Baccy amongst my now re-adopted tweed, cord, denim, wrist bangle bracelets and Buddhist necklace and other discrete necklace jewellery with obligatory hat for colder snaps. I wear these, drink espresso followed by Jack Daniels whilst listening to my favourite music and reading my current favourite author (David Mitchell…not the comedian, the other one! Ghostwritten, Cloud Atlas, etc.).
What am I trying to say? Well, I’m not in midlife crisis, I’m too old now. I couldn’t get away wearing what others in their eccentricities can carry off well. But, I have to say, presenting yourself in such a way that makes you feel comfortable, but still individual, in your skin is very addictive.
I think that a combination of presentation of ourselves as a holistic entity in regard to clothes/aromatic accompaniments/music/book/drink/foods/whatever surrounds the psyche at given moments and these are an important part of how memories stick….Whatever hits your limbic system with a punch. It’s your memory in the making. So…..creating those memories can be realised aplenty from the synergy of clothes and accessories and all that surrounds within the timeframe that is the day or night, days or weeks, months or years. Go on. Try it. Indulge in the time you wore flared trousers, cheese cloth shirts with butterfly collars, listened to the Bay City Rollers or David Cassidy and drank sweet sickly cider from a plastic brown bottle.
I didn’t do that by the way! I mean listen to the BCRs. But….I did listen to David Cassidy. Amazing voice.