Right coffee, wrong cup

Antwerp

When did doing things differently become more important than doing them well?

A coffee in a cafe this morning; first things first – the waitress was lovely. Second: the coffee itself was fine.

But.

It came in a sort of stoneware-pottery-cup without a handle. Aesthetically not my thing – each to their own – but who thought it was a good idea to un-invent the cup handle? This cup contained very hot liquid. I couldn’t pick it up.

Did the person who chose this vessel for coffee think a handle was superfluous? Simply unnecessary decoration? An optional feature on a coffee cup?

While sitting there patiently waiting for the dumb thing to cool sufficiently for me to pick it up, I had visions of a future tv antiques program, a man in a bowtie holding up cup with handle: “Ah yes, an early twenty first century coffee cup. In those days they still used handles!” cue applause and laughter from audience with thick skin on their fingers. And scald marks.

At least the coffee was hot, which it had to be to dissolve the lumpy brown sugar they gave me; de rigueur these days but utterly useless in anything smaller than a mug And certainly no good in an espresso, a fact which has escaped all the twenty year old guys in check shirts and tattoos who think they invented coffee.


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£5.00

Get ahead, get a hat

Antwerp

Time was, in my youth, that my hat habit engendered derision among passers by – while the late 70s and early 80s were certainly something of a sartorial kill-zone, it’s also true that the young are exaggeratedly sensitive to criticism, so it’s very possible my recollections are clouded.

There’s also the remote chance that I looked like a twat.

Nevertheless, I persevered. I may not be an everyday hat wearer – in a world unused to hats they can be an inconvenience; have you noticed that hat racks and hooks have disappeared? – but I’ve always had hats and I do wear them, so it’s good to see something of a hat renaissance occurring.

Granted, most of today’s gents, if they wear anything, wear a cap; but it’s still a step in the right direction, and it’s led to a headwear rehabilitation. How much of this is due to Peaky Blinders is unclear.

My most recent hat is definitely not a cap. It’s the aristocrat of daytime hats, distinguished by association with the likes of Winston Churchill and Al Capone: a homberg.

It instills nothing but awe and admiration in today’s passerby.


Buy me a drink and I’ll tell you some lies

£5.00