Wednesday 29 September 2010


Shane Meadows' foray into Television This Is England '86 was an interesting one, it almost harked back to the era it portrayed and before with a real authentic 'play for today' type feel to it. It was similar to The Blackstuff from Alan Bleasdale and it's spin off series from way back when. Actually we're rather short on good homegrown Television nowadays - unlike across the pond which is the polar opposite with heavyweight essential series' like The Soprano's, The Wire, Deadwood, Mad Men and now even Martin Scorsese's getting involved with Boardwalk Empire. Over here we're rather starved. More recently Channel 4's Red Riding hit the right note, as did zombie satire Dead Set and for comedy I thought Misfits was more than watchable. Personally I'm no great fan of Skins and I'm not keen on Shameless at all (even though one of it's writer's Jack Thorne was on board for this.) though both seem to have had success. I've seen this follow up to Shane Meadows' 2006 film hailed in the Guardian as being up there with the likes of Jimmy McGovern's The Street! Well it's all about opinions but I didn't like that much, I thought it was over the top, far-fetched and too contrived. I'd rather say it rubs shoulders with the likes of the excellent and yet annoyingly abruptly ended real life drama The Cops or heavyweight masterpiece Our Friends in the North both from BBC2. Earlier than that you have some great TV to choose from Edge of Darkness, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy and Smiley's People starring Alec Guinness, we used to have the Play for Today features as mentioned above that brought us some truly amazing works from the likes of Alan Clarke - Made in Britain, The Firm and The Road. Mike Leigh's Nuts in May and Meantime and the aforementioned Blackstuff, which along the way made household names from it's cast, some of which went all the way to Hollywood. See we can do decent TV it just only comes around once in a few years. So it was more than welcome when This Is England '86 was announced as a potential project, what only seems not too long ago, such is the fast turnaround for TV that it's seemingly come and gone very quickly. So what of it then and how did it fare?
Well there's no denying the original film had plenty of scope for more and the decision to do a four part follow up for TV made it very interesting indeed. We catch up with Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) and his old friends a few years later. It's 1986 Shaun has just done his last exam and awaits a bleak future in Thatcher's Britain. Since the incident with Combo (Stephen Graham) Shaun had grown apart and lost touch with the original group of friends who took him under their wing but a chance encounter in hospital see's him reunited.
On the whole this was very good stuff. Enjoyable, tense, gripping and at times overpowering stuff. I thought the last two episodes directed by Shane Meadows were better than the opening two which seemed to have far too much light relief bordering on slapstick which for me didn't fit with the tone of the original subject matter. Though the first was always about re-acquainting everyone I guess, so fair do's.

That was one of the minor points, there were a few niggling bits I wasn't keen on. I'm not one to pour scorn on minor details like others have pissed and moaned about - the double glazing, modern ring pulls, Band t-shirts that are fourteen years too early or if they got this or that date wrong, was that a modern car 4 miles away? give over! There were a few errors in there, sure but that's just superficial, not integral to the script or not really important when you've got a good storyline developing and most of the above can be put down to the time constraints and modest TV budgets. Some have taken great joy in criticising it. Whilst there are a few question marks, at the end of the day we've been given some decent telly which everyone I know has made a point of sitting down to watch each week, which rarely happens these days.
My other main gripe that did and continues to baffle me somewhat were the characters of Banjo and Meggy. Fast forward a few years and how are Meggy and Banjo part of the young friends gang? I know over time things change, Harvey was a perfect example of this as are the fact other members of the original gang aren't there now. Friends do grow apart, move on over time - it happens. But with these two I find it's something I'm rather uneasy with? The fact they're 15/20 years older than the rest is one argument, the other is in the film Banjo arrives on the scene with Combo after being in prison with him (Meggy's around already, but it's not explained how and why he's friends with the gang) and throughout the course of the original film they are exposed a pair of horrible, vile bigots. Meggy is seen going off with the breakaway gang, spraying racist graffiti and attempting to shit on the floor of Mr Sandhu's shop, Shaun and Gadget have been taken in by Combo, but they are children, what's Meggy's excuse?
The last we see of them in fact is Meggy egging Combo on when he's beating the life out of Milky (Andrew Shim) and Banjo holding Shaun down, with Banjo proclaiming he 'wants a part of it, he wants in' even that is too much for Combo who glasses him and throws them both out declaring them as pieces of shit. They were! So how in the years that have passed have they now become part of this gang and mellowed into this light hearted almost comedy double act? Baking cakes for Woody (Joe Gilgun) and Lol's (Vicky McClure) wedding? For instance, during the fight with Flip (Perry Fitzpatrick) and co in episode three, technically Banjo should've just strolled forward and put Flip on his arse. Because in the film he's a big horrible bastard. No?
I don't know, I don't like to pick holes but that bit is one that irked me.

I won't dwell on the bits I didn't like because what we had here is a clever and on the whole thoroughly decent follow up to the acclaimed film. It was enjoyable more so when it got dark and real and it did get dark! Shane Meadows isn't new, some of the responses and reactions to this series coming from celebrities and the like who have only discovered him is a bit sickly, it's more attention that is overdue for sure, though it makes me chuckle some what. I was there in the late 90s watching his films in empty cinemas (if they were lucky to get a limited release). People who haven't checked out his previous work really should. Checking his forum I find myself frustrated by these types who've only just come across him and come out with nonsense, take Lol's horrible father for instance. He's played with horrible, vile menace rather well by Johnny Harris who's been in a number of TV and film work, most notably the impressive gritty debut from Paul Andrew Williams London to Brighton, yet some people there have said such priceless ignorant stuff like Paddy Considine or even Eddie Marsan was great as Mick. It's not difficult to read up and check things is it? I'm a bit of a film geek in all honesty but even so, you don't require an extensive knowledge to know your onions.
Anyway I'm ranting now and I've strayed right the fuck away, so back to the series. I look forward to watching this uninterrupted without those annoying adverts and a week in between to really enjoy it properly, so the dvd is ordered. I thought the characters of Flip and Mick were a welcome addition to the story, both classic Meadows characters, with Flip being unintentionally hilarious at times, shades of Considine's Morrell in Meadows' a Room for Romeo Brass for me.
I think watching it as a whole piece it will be much more complete. I do think the comedic stuff was a little too much though at times it was admittedly funny, even when way over the top Flip was on screen, he did have a presence. But, as mentioned above when it got dark it got real it was intense and there was some seriously good stuff on offer. Shane and his cast and crew dealt with some nasty subjects with great aplomb and deserve applause, As an ensemble they were all decent, Thomas Turgoose had never acted when he made his debut in the film and he's grown with it, he was spot on as was Vicky McClure as tormented Lol. Stephen Graham's appearance may have only been brief but he certainly has a presence.
The controversial rape scene involving Mick and the character Trev (Danielle Watson) was (as horrible as it was) rather outstanding and both actors should be applauded for that, it was handled incredibly well. It seemed to feel so much more real because they knew each other and because it was Trev as the victim. I'd joked she'd not had a lot to say in both the film and the series and had hoped before it was over she might get the chance. She was also notably the only character who had remained loyal to the seemingly flirtatious phase of being a an actual skin. Given she'd done and said very little seemed to make that scene all the more harrowing and she was spot on in the last two episodes, it made you feel even worse for her such was the realism! Combo's return and his redemption was absolutely bang on, faultless. In the end you could argue Shaun finally came of age, obviously Lol conquered her demons and can fight on presumably back with Woody, but what of the rest? it didn't really conclude it for everyone, okay life doesn't - but what becomes of the rest of the group? is Trev forever damaged by evil Mick? Does Harvey continue to get beaten up by his abusive father which we only saw glimpses of, does Meggy realise he has a son? Some loose ends there, look forward to This is England '90 I reckon. it's been mooted already and with a possible 'Madchester vibe'
The biggest success story though will come from the two harrowing scenes, Ofcom were rushed off their feet after Epsiode Three. Controversy, complaints, criticism and of course the most important part - people and victims speaking out. It made the press, got people talking, the main point being it worked! Good television is about entertainment, great television has a point and can even make a difference in the real world. YHN

Monday 27 September 2010


We have just 2 'one offs' of the recently released Subbuteo Dresser up for grabs. We have a Large and an XXL only coming on Burgundy t-shirts which will never be given a general release, so there you have it, a real rarity. Sizing and the spiel can be seen here.
To be in with a chance of winning one all you have to do is email mark the subject COMP and leave your name and size preference. Or leave a comment on the Facebook link.
Winners will be announced by the end of the week.

Friday 24 September 2010


A new batch of button badges, these come attached to our swingtags, mostly at random, usually they reference film or popular culture and occasionally we even splice the odd bit of political philosophy - which you can proudly prick to your lapels like Rick from the Young Ones.

Wednesday 22 September 2010


It's about that time for another update post...
Firstly, stocks have been refreshed on the following selected lines : Flick To Kick Orange. Navy and Bottle of Life Through a Tinted Lens, Party People and the latest The Subb Dresser tee. In addition to recent releases of The Crest Pocket tee, Northern Soul and the new Bowie Low colour.

Coming Soon : As well as the forthcoming 'Weir3' hat, which should be with us in around 4-6 weeks
- we've also got two new T-Shirts on the way...
Street Fighting Man which is a fusion of several original Paris riot posters is due in a few weeks time and a little further down the line we'll have another Subb Dresser tee. Like our current Subb-Dresser 'Colin' - this one sees another collab with Section76 and Oneupmanship, I say it's one of the best pieces of artwork we've done and if our name 'The Casual Connoisseur' was to be depicted in art form as a dapper dresser - then, well I guess this would be he, more details when we get them!

Is that it or was there anything else? Oh yeah The Woodbank Polo continues to fly out, so if you're thinking about getting one remember they might not be around for too long.
Oh and finally, that brings us onto the Cagoules, we previewed them recently, they're currently being worked on with colours being selected, due to the smaller volume of quantities, that the suppliers are used to - we're looking at around 120-60 pieces all in. Limited Edition as always and split over 3-4 colours all being well. We anticipate they may take a few months to be produced and delivered so please be patient and watch this space for further updates as and when we get them! YHN

Sunday 19 September 2010


English, Irish, Scots (no, not another shit joke) need not apply. You might have spotted some rather Casual Connoisseur looking stuff knocking about of late, well, don't be alarmed there's no squashed toes here, we were comissioned to produce them for a Welsh comrade. We are a global brand with global appeal so please don't think we're English traitors. Wales don't get a lot to shout about football wise, so beating England many moons ago is something they can milk until the cows have gone home and got in bed! And so they have in the form of an ace (if you're Welsh) CC produced t-shirt, check it out.
Our England Heroes tee still available too at a great price, easily the coolest England t-shirt from summer.

Friday 17 September 2010


We've just received back some yarn wrappings for the forthcoming Weir bobble hat, this year there will be a choice of three colours, but once again very limited. Picking colours for these was more difficult than you might think, a hard task choosing and an even harder one matching to a Pantone chart. We're not going to harp on about inspirations and themes as to be honest there aren't any. We just picked what we thought will look dead smart.
There's the subtle and the funky - a proper old school ski hat style with Gold, Navy and a dash of neon pink, it reminds us of mountaineers standing out in the snow. There's a sensible Navy, Grey and Yellow always a good colour combo, it reminds us of the 80's, then there's a Dark Brown, White and a tangy light blue, this says snow covered peaks to me, teaming icy colours with the ever reliable dark brown. The nights are drawing in, the weather has dropped, Out when it's time to put the heating on. CD

Thursday 16 September 2010


I've seen these crop up on various blogs recently and I first thought it was a piss take, maybe it still is?
I'd be more sceptical if this was early April. But I must admit, I quite like them, they shouldn't appeal, their a bit tacky, a classic tinkered with, but I think they're cool, I like the fact the normally static croc has been played with a bit. In celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Charles Schulz's Peanuts, sees a rather unlikely collab with Lacoste, everyone's favourite cartoon beagle and his pals get in on the act. It reminds me of something Clark Griswold might wear down the shops, so for that reason I like it.
The fact these are very limited and only available in one store means the chances of owning one is pretty slim, and no, I've not been drinking. CD

Tuesday 14 September 2010


We've always had square eyes here at CC towers, so taking advantage of some rather good prices at the moment, here's a few recent film pick ups, is the normal dvd on it's arse? It seems to be very cheap at the moment! I hope not as I've amassed quite the collection, 'spose it'll be like vinyl one day and be dead cool to have far too many on your shelves, I hope. We still get our films from the likes of HMV, Fopp or Play and not from some Oriental in the back of a pub, by the way.
Pictured above is a nice selection of the odd mainstream, arty farty Euro, World Cinema and some classic 'Jack Nicholson' - recently released at the cinny in cleaned up glory Five Easy Pieces cheaper to purchase online for a couple of quid, not seen it yet and the more unseen film the Passenger, the UK release Bunny and the Bull.......which despite it's Mighty Boosh connections (I'm not a fan) was an enjoyable, quirky film.
Eastbound and Down which I was told I should watch about two years ago and never got around to it, it was good telly, very funny at times. In Bruges which I've not yet seen (deliberately), even though everyone else in the world has, and laughed at and it's even been on telly. Random Italian hooligan fare Ultra' from 1991, A bit more Jarmusch I've not seen, a couple more I'd not have bothered with but for them being less than the price of a pint, slice-of-life in the way of Princesses a nice Spanish prostitution flick, Ultranova an award winning Belgian film from 2005, and the ever reliable Paul Giamatti in Cold Souls, a bit of a geeky Malcolm McDowell talkathon and even Kick-Ass which was surprising fun! Also, Deadwood boxset, not seen this yet, but heard good things about it, coming recommended, worth a punt for twenty five quid! Join us next time for some more thrilling film based fun. YHN

Friday 10 September 2010


In the pipeline, here is a first look at The Casual Connoisseur's first foray into outerwear, starting with the simple rain jacket, we are passionate about good quality old school outdoor wear here at CC, in the north of England and an area famous for it's drizzle cagoules are an essential item for us. We wanted to maintain that passion with a nice technical coat for all seasons, retaining a sense of cool along the way with a classic look and feel and with modern technology. Produced by specialists in this field and with the blessing of those who originally did this style, this should hopefully be released in the near future, all being well.
With details, colours, prices all T.B.C. CD

Wednesday 8 September 2010


As we approach the colder months, what better than an essential undergarment? everybody needs a plain white tee amongst their layers, but we've put a pocket on ours and added our cool coat of arms, with a fairly well sized chest pocket for your cigarettes/notepads/pens. Also available in Navy too. It's out now.

Tuesday 7 September 2010


Our friends over at tuk tuk have released some spiffing new shirtings for A/W 10 coming in lovely colour blocks, Chambray and Oxford. take a look at their site for even more stuff such as some rather dapper chambray luggage with colourful checked lining amongst other things. YHN


As we first reported back in May tonight sees the start of the next chapter in Shane Meadows' This Is England story. With a 4 part follow up to the original film. We're long time fans of Meadows work going right back to watching his breakthrough film 24/7 when it first came out, not to mention the culty Dead Man's Shoes, Once Upon a time in the Midlands and our personal fave, A Room for Romeo Brass.
This adaptation of the 2006 film will hopefully be some good telly, a break from the monotony of reality TV and shit Quiz shows that dominate the channels. Click here for a decent write up.
This is England '86, Tues, 10pm, Channel 4

Monday 6 September 2010



Union Square.

New York Harbor/Liberty Island.

The Mets v The Florida Marlins.
Some cracking sticker pics sent in from Grant, via a recent trip to the Big Apple. Featuring downtown Broadway, George Washington at Union Sq, and the Statue of Liberty.
Oh, crikey we've got that Alicia Keys song going round and round our heads again now. Don't forget, if you've got any sticker pics to send them in, be creative, the more obscure or cool the better.

Sunday 5 September 2010


This looks rather ace, Directed by Gaspar Noé, no stranger to controversial, yet innovative cinema with his previous works (Seul contre tous/I Stand Alone) and Irréversible, Enter the Void set in Tokyo and focuses on Oscar (Nathaniel Brown) a young American drug dealer who gets shot by the police, but continues to watch over his sister Linda (Paz de la Huerta) as a ghost. The camera follows Oscar from behind his head during scenes in which he is alive; after his death, the view hovers over Tokyo through walls and across buildings. The film makes heavy use of imagery inspired by experimental cinema and psychedelic drug experiences.CD

Friday 3 September 2010


As we mentioned way back in January, the New Balance Pub pack are now released.

These are pretty damn cool too, New Balance x UNDFTD Sonic 574, a limited edition fleece sneaker inspired by retro sweatshirts from the 80’s complete with varsity style “N” detailing. I don't wear trainers all that much these days, but NB's are the ones I'd look at first, always doing it properly. YHN