Style Icon: Ryan Gosling

After a little break (I’m still recovering from knee surgery so cut me some slack!) I’m returning with a different Style Icon. Back in OCtober Sarah focused on Gary Barlow but I’m here looking at GQ’s favourite man ever (besides Cary Grant): Ryan Gosling*. Whatever you think of Gosling (should he be a new HCGI?), there’s no doubting his ability to wear a great suit. Here is a selection of my favourites from the past few years.

Wearing Ferragamo at Cinema For Peace at Cannes in 2011 Full disclosure? I’m not too sure about the white shoes but I can let that slide overall. The care that has gone into this outfit should be commended. The check on the Ferragamo suit is brilliant – I love it. Gosling is never afraid to move away from traditional black or navy blue suits and this is a great example. Everything else is very simple so that the look isn’t overpowering and fussy. Plus, you gotta love the glasses.

Wearing Gucci for the New York premiere of 'Crazy, Stupid, Love' in 2011 Another non-traditional suit, this time a Gucci. Again we have a slim cut suit with accessories paired down to allow for the striking check. I think the shoes might be suede and this kind of makes me love them even more…

Wearing Nicolas Ghesquière at the Cannes photocall for 'Drive' in 2011 Now a show-stopping burgundy Nicolas Ghesquière tuxedo for Cannes. The cut is similar to the previous two suits – he knows what shape works for him. And, again, no real accessories apart from a lovely bow tie. It’s yet another example of Gosling’s classic, simple elegance.

Wearing Burberry for the Los Angeles premiere of 'Drive' in 2011 Here we have a navy blue Burberry suit but the real shining stars of this outfit are the socks and shoes. There aren’t many actors that would wear visible red socks to a red carpet event. Complete with loafers so there’s no chance of missing them! At this stage it feels a little redundant to talk about the great suit and its slim fit…

Wearing Ferragamo (with a Lanvin shirt) at the 2011 Golden Globes A full on velvet Ferragamo tuxedo. Sometimes having that much velvet can be overpowering but Gosling wears it simply. Of course. The velvet lapels are a little disconcerting if only because you can’t really see their definition. Would a pocket square have killed him? Just to lighten it up a little?

Wearing Gucci at the Toronto International Film Festival Premiere of 'The Ides of March' in 2011 Another example of avoiding the traditional. For me, the lapels are a tad too wide. Not by much but they jut seem more prominent than lapels on his other suits. This could be down to the edging stitching and essentially be an optical illusion…

Wearing Gucci at the Hua Hin International Film Festival in 2011 Smart, slim, slick. What else is there to say?

Wearing Gucci at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Gangster Squad' in 2012 This burnt orange Gucci three-piece took me a while to like. But it really is a great, unusual suit and the three-piece vibe is perfect for the Gangster Squad premiere. Dress for your event!

Wearing Gucci at the Los Angeles premiere of 'The Ides of March' in 2011 Green? If you say so Gos. It works. This is possibly the only man who could pull off a Gatsby-esque pink suit in real life…

Wearing Ferragamo at the Cannes Film Festival of 'Drive' in 2011The pièce de résistance. Ferragamo. Blue tuxedo. Satin lapels, satin covered buttons, satin pocket welts. Red socks just revealed. Super shiny black shoes. Shirt studs. Midnight blue (?) bow tie. What’s not to love?

S x

*No proof of this statement whatsoever.

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Saturday Special: Oreo Shut-Yer-Mouths

HOLA!

It’s time for the Saturday Special. Last week, Sarah gave us a brilliant recipe for sausage and cider pie, but this week we’re targeting those of you with a sweet tooth.

Messy but delicious as all hell

Messy but delicious as all hell

I’d seen a couple of recipes for a number of different variations on the Oreo cake theme – ‘Oreo cheesecake cupcakes’ looked particularly delicious – but my concentration span means that I lose interest in the process quickly and just end up vamping.  So instead of studying recipes, I just decided to do what I know, and then drop a god damn Oreo in the bottom and be done with it, while giving them a name that allows me to combine my hatred for the term ‘cupcake’ with my love for telling people to shut up. And when you put one of these in your mouth, you’ll realise why they call it a cake-hole, and you WILL shut the hell up.  Here’s how I did it:

Yields: 16 Shut-Yer-Mouths

For the cake mix:

  • 4oz self-raising flour
  • 4oz softened butter
  • 3oz sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten, room temperature

For the buttercream frosting:

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 20ml milk (whole milk works best)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • *Optional* 20g cocoa powder (see recipe)

Other ingredients:

  • Chocolate spread (any variety, they’re your god damn cakes)
  • Regular Oreos

Hit it.

1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 4

2. In a large bowl, combine the softened butter with the sugar. Most cake recipes call for equal parts sugar, butter and flour, but I have opted to use a little bit less sugar; this is because when the recipe is complete and the cupcakes are decorated and complete, the overall impact is intensely sweet so I figure we can lose a bit of sugar in the cake mix. You seriously won’t miss it. Luckily that means you won’t need to eat that many – although you may still want to… Mix the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and smooth.

3. Gradually add the beaten eggs and flour, alternating between the two to avoid the mixture from curdling or becoming too dry respectively. If your mixture does become too dry, you can add a little milk.

4. Set the mixture aside for a moment, and line up your cupcake moulds or cases ready for baking.

5. In each case, place one Oreo – it should cover the bottom of a standard cupcake mould. Neat, huh?

6. Pour the cupcake mixture into each mould or case, filling them to roughly 2/3 capacity.

7. Bake these in the oven at gas mark 4 for approximately 15 minutes (but keep an eye on them, you know, don’t just take my word for it…)

While they’re cooking, you can work on the buttercream frosting. There ain’t no rest for the wicked!  Now, there are some options for what you can do with this part of the recipe (or you can skip down to #8 to continue with the cake recipe)

The basic buttercream frosting (thanks to @SearleyPants for this, by the way!) requires you to beat the the icing sugar and butter, preferably in an electric mixer on medium speed, and then turn to a low speed and gradually add milk and vanilla.  Then you turn it up to high speed again for a few minutes to get that fluffy, light texture. Lovely!

The amendments and additions you can make are pretty yummy too.  At the initial stage of beating the icing sugar and butter, you can throw in the cocoa powder (20g for the measurements in this recipe, scale up or down in relation to the amount of cupcakes you want to yield).  This will give you a heart-achingly delicious chocolate buttercream – seriously, I dare you not to lick the spoon…

Or you could go down the Oreo route. Twist and separate the Oreos and remove the vanilla filling.  Pop that in with the icing sugar and butter while it’s whizzing round.  Then, using a mini crusher or the classic ‘rolling pin + freezer bag’ comb, smash up some Oreos – the rolling pin is preferably because you can picture your enemy’s face and bash out some aggression. It’s up to you how finely you crush them up though – I wanted mine to have a bit of texture, makes a change from the normal smooth icing you get on cakes, plus they’re delicious Oreo biscuits, how can you go wrong?  But if you want them smoother, keep blitzing them until the crumbs are finer, and then you can either throw them into the mixer (at the very end) or fold them in with a spoon or whisk (preferably with the larger pieces, if you ask me).  Once that’s all combined, set this aside – if you store it in the fridge for too long, it’ll get too hard to spread, so be wary of that. Store it somewhere cool.

Get those cakes out of the oven, and it’s time for the next step.

8. With the cakes out of the oven, allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.

9. Once cooled, take a sharp knife and carefully cut a piece out of the top of the cupcake – it’s up to you how deep or shallow or wide or narrow this piece is, maybe you’ll decide when you see the next step…

10. Fill the hollowed out part of the cupcake with the chocolate spread.  Yep. Fill it up.  I know some people who will find some way of putting the top back on, or cutting the top down to a flat piece and covering just the top of the chocolate part – again, this is up to you. I went for the latter, but whatever you do will be fine.

11. Time to ice the cupcakes – be generous with the buttercream frosting, because it’s delicious and you deserve it.

Don’t forget to get tested for diabetes at some point in the week following ingestion of these cakes.

EDIT:  I just made some of these with a whipped cream topping, using the same technique of crushing up Oreos and folding them in.  Oh my god, you guys. Oh. My. God.  Do it.  DEFINITELY DO IT.

8 Things To Do Before You Turn 24 In Less Than A Week

As I turn 24 quite soon, I realise  that I haven’t achieved half the things I wanted to before this day came around – like “earning my age in my wage” as my brother helpfully pointed out once.

cat 2

Everyone should have a list like this relevant to their age, so then you can achieve nothing on it and have something to talk about the next time you find yourself in a social situation. Like in the staff kitchen at work. How awful.

Here are some suggestions.

Learn how to swear in a different language

Knowing how to say “I’ll have a beer, please” in Spanish is so 2005. Get the dirty words out. The more obscure the language the better. Extensive research has revealed to me the following (may not be accurate):

Kacken zee ahf deh levanah – Yiddish for “go take a shit on the moon”

Ode Oshi – Yoruba for “Stupid fuck”. (As my entire family speak Yoruba I might crack this one out at the next family BBQ and accept any beatings that come after.)

Tell Marlon Wayans he sucks

Whether that be in person, via Twitter or through interpretive dance, let him know he’s the worst person. Do mention, in his defence, the first fifteen minutes of Little Man were funny – but even then it was because of Tracy Morgan and not him.

Be able to execute this perfectly

Both the dunk and the backflips. If you really look at it it’s not that hard. You’ve probably done it drunk once.

Go straight up to that one person you fancy the pants off of and continue to not tell them you fancy the pants off of them

Let’s not get excited. 24 isn’t that old and you could have a lot of years ahead of you to live with the embarrassment of letting that person know. Bottling things up FTW.

Eat seven brioche rolls in one sitting

This I did do! Didn’t even feel bad about it afterwards.

Go to an event you usually wouldn’t be seen dead at

Is your friend the type to hold parties where everyone gets together and exchanges sprigs of lavender as part of some pagan ritual while REM plays in the background? Don’t be a dick and turn up. You might enjoy it.

Start up a covers band

You know that one song you love? You and a few friends/ambitious strangers can do it so much better. Who knows, you could come up with such gems as this.

Be thankful for shit

I know, a serious one to finish. But despite not being where you’d like to be, things could actually be far far worse. You have a lot to be grateful for so focus on the good things. Your family for example, or your friends, your academic achievements, the fact you live within walking distance of a Costo – could be anything. Be positive.

@thatmissdeen

He Could Get It…Joel Kinnaman

The first Joel, the angel did say “SWEET DAMN!”

WHY? I must admit that this one took me a while, as Sweden-born Joel here tended to resemble drug-addled livestock. However, with a bit of outside persuasion I have seen the light and the light is GLORIOUS.

How did he go from “that guy who got strangled by Ryan Reynolds in Safe House” to the forefront of Team DTSFT’s affections? Those pretty, brown, moo-cow eyes were a very good start. The spacious hands are another. His mouth is a third.  Fourthly? THE VOICE. Mon dieu, that voice! So dirty and chill it’ll make the back of your neck turn into iced-mocha. Keep up the good work, sir.

DTSFT Men’s Column #8 – Barbecue

It’s the start of another week, and I hope that you’re all enjoying this beautiful weather.  It’s the kind of weather that prompts people to get together and have parties, barbecues and spontaneous fun at the park, and this week’s question should strike a chord with some of you guys out there.  It comes from Schneykjavik in Reykjavík, who asks:

“Please to tell me, what is best for to serve in barbecue, because I not eat steak?”

You better Schneyk yourself before you Reyk yourself, boy (credit that joke to my bro Geo).  I had to settle down with a mug of coffee and some world-class scientists to decipher just what the hell you were talking about, Schneykky, but we eventually managed to work it out.  You want to know what is best for to serve in – god dammit, Schneyks, I mean you want to know what you can serve at your barbecue for your guests that don’t eat steak.

sirloin

I understand the problem, buddy.  I am one of those people that doesn’t really like steak; when I go to a barbecue, I stick to the hot dogs, burgers and chicken – it’s not as if that’s not enough choice.  Stock up on some chicken drumsticks, marinate them in some oil and spices, cook them in the oven and then stick them on the grill to give them that smokey barbecue flavour. Burgers and hot dogs speak for themselves really, just whack ‘em on the barbie and you’re more or less sorted.

But there’s a larger issue at steak here (chuckles gently to herself).  Your email suggests that the person who won’t be eating steak at your barbecue is you.  And you’re a man.  Do you mean to tell me that you’re a man who doesn’t eat steak?

[EDIT]

I had abandoned this post, due to my disgust at what I was facing. For several days I was taken ill, spending two days and two nights in the infirmary under the watch of a stern matron, who thwarted my many attempts at contact with the outside world. Luckily, I escaped on the third morning, and found my way home.  Upon arriving home I went to check up on DTSFT and found this post in the drafts section.  I bravely endeavoured to complete my advice so that I may post it.  Here is what I have come up with:

Advice For Men Who Don’t Eat Steak (or, ‘So You’ve Decided To Become A Tortoise’)

‘Man shall not live on bread alone’

So sayeth The Bible (I got halfway through that book, but then I bumped into a friend who was wearing a crucifix and it totally spoilt the ending for me), and so sayeth I.  Bread is a delicious way to facilitate foods which ordinarily cannot be eaten with your bare hands – although, ironically, anything can be picked up and eaten if you have bear hands. Go figure.  But there’s nothing exciting about bread on its own, really, and it lacks any nutritional value.  Which is why steak exists.

3r4vhb

How are you going to become a muscular beast of a man if you’re not getting enough protein, bruh? Steak is the way to biceps and glutes – the glutes hook the chicks, the strong biceps reel them in. And I know you asked me about what to serve at a barbecue, not how to get the ladies, but I can read between the lines and I know that what you’re really looking for is a sure fire way to impress the ladies.  If you want to be a Schneyksy beast, you’ve got to eat a meaty feast.  There’s no alternative. The steaks (chuckles again) are way too high.

52 Books in 2013 – July Update Part 1

 Good glavin, I’ve closed the gap with this month’s beautiful sunshine to thank for it.  I’m going do this July update across two posts, because otherwise it would be really long.  Here’s the first four books for July.

Book 23: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

the-god-of-small-things-arundhati-royRecommended to me by my good friend when we saw it in HMV, one of those stupidly cheap paperbacks that always drew me in as opposed to the over-priced CDs and DVDs YEAH, I SAID IT. Anyway, I had the book for about a year and a half before deciding to give it a shot as part of my challenge. Something about the beautiful weather seemed to make a novel set in India more appealing in the moment, and the rich descriptive prose from the opening pages give a strong sense of the sights and smells that greet Rahel as she returns to her home town.  This is one of those books which supposedly has a shocking event, although there are in fact several events which take place throughout the family’s history that are upsetting and dramatic in their own right; at the start there is reference to the death of a young girl, so as the events of the book unravel we are aware that this is coming.  But there are so many other elements woven into this story, and Roy’s writing manages to create a vivid image of India in both the late 1960s and the early 1990s, the two settings which the book alternates between.  The novel centres around the lives of Rahel and her twin brother Esta, and their lives before and after a series of events which throw their lives into disarray when they are separated for over twenty years. The caste system, religion, business, poverty, and sex are all explored in the past and present, and what many of the characters seem to want is to break traditions and become more than their circumstance dictates they should be – there’s a Rhodes scholar, an Untouchable who defies the social structures and talks with Touchables and is also a Marxist, and even the twins’ mother who divorced her violent husband.  It would be wrong for me to mention what those various events in the book are, but needless to say that some of them are upsetting, especially when they’re happening to children; and the climactic events from the 1960s which – thanks to some meddling from a bitter relative – gather more speed than necessary, the outcome is brutal and tragic, and has a lasting effect on the twins who grow up to be complicated individuals in different ways.

I enjoyed reading the book, although I had to ask my mum a couple of times when Malayalam words were used mid-sentence without explanation, but this didn’t ruin the reading experience; in fact, I’d say to some extent it enhanced the feeling of ‘being there’, if that makes sense.

Book 24: Joyland by Stephen King

joylandThe first of two books in July that were gifts from my brother, this one having been free from his work after I hassled him to get one for me, thanks bro!

So, this is Stephen King’s second novel for Hard Case Crime, and it was more or less what I was expecting from him; I know, I know, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the cover for this really does give you a good idea of what the book is going to be like.  It’s Stephen King quality yet it’s also pretty typical of the kind of pulp, airport fiction that libraries always seem to be selling for 20p.  Well, they used to, anyway.

Joyland is a classic sort of murder mystery story, in which Devin Jones, a young college student still reeling from a recent break-up, takes a summer job at an amusement park in the early 1970s, where he meets a range of kooky characters including a self-proclaimed psychic who warns Devin of people he will meet in the near future, and tells him about the ghost of a murder girl who still appears to Joyland customers in the haunted house ride.  It’s kind of a corny horror cliche, more akin to Scooby-Doo than Stephen King, and in comparison to King’s other supernatural outings this was kind of weak and predictable; Devin becomes obsessed with the possibility of seeing the ghost and is jealous when his skeptic friend sees it instead of him.  Meanwhile, he strikes up a friendship with a terminally ill boy and his initially cold mother, and his reputation at Joyland grows – he saves a young customer’s life and becomes the go-to guy to ‘wear the fur’, i.e. parade around as the park’s mascot.  Devin strives to solve the mystery of the murder while trying to figure out what he wants out of life, and while the ending was predictable (if you’ve read even just one Point Horror or Point Crime book, you’ll see the culprit right away) it wasn’t an unsatisfying read.  In fact, it was an easy, guilty pleasure.

Book 25: Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin

pb-fordlandiaGoodreads tells me that this book has been on my ‘reading shelf’ since February, which was when I started it. Oh my god.  No, I’m not a super slow reader, I actually got about 60 pages into the book and found it to be heavy going, perhaps too heavy going for somebody at the start of a challenge to read 52 books in one year.  But given that for most of July all I’ve done is sit in the sunshine and read, I decided to pick this one back up and power through – it’s not as if I wasn’t interested in the subject matter.

Fordlandia charts Henry Ford’s endeavour to establish a rubber plant in the Amazon. I’ll let that sink in for a minute.  The book starts by setting up a fair representation of Ford; he was surely an enterprising man, equipped with great engineering skills and a desire to be successful; but Grandin does not shy away from Ford’s less admirable traits such as his tendency to be cruel toward his son Edsel, and his blatant anti-Semitism.  When I first picked up the book, I was intrigued by the idea of this abandoned city in the Amazon, designed to appear and function just like an American suburb.  The reason I struggled with the book at first is because after the initial chapters which describe Ford’s early life and ambitions, from his childhood on a Detroit farm to his life at the top of his game as a car manufacturer, revolutionising the mechanics of factory construction by honing the assembly-line process, the book spends what I feel was a little too long on the exploits of Ford’s representatives who were sent there to make connections and scout locations, and many of whom were untrustworthy and in some cases corrupt.  This was why I put the book down in the first place; it wasn’t that this section of the book was boring, it was more that it didn’t seem to be going anywhere.

But once it got going, it was incredibly interesting, particularly because throughout the book I kept thinking “Well, things will be fine when Ford actually goes there himself, seeing as he has the magic touch”, but like the residents (past and present) I was disappointed to find that he wasn’t coming. Isn’t that incredible?  He spent an impossible amount of money, cleared acres of rainforest, destroyed the homes of a handful of natives and countless creatures, employed hundreds of workers and moved them with their families into Fordlandia, all to create his vision of a perfect American suburb transplanted into the Amazon. And he never once set foot there.  I have to admire Ford’s ambition and his logic that higher wages would increase productivity and sales, but some of his developments confused and sort of annoyed me; enforcing American ways of life on the Brazilians he employed, like front gardens on every house that had to be kept in pristine condition, and lunches that were initially provided by the factory but then later taken out of the workers’ wages, at times it was clear that many of the decisions were made without concern for the staff.  This book – when I finally managed to get back into it – was incredibly interesting, and if you’re interested in history or American history in particular, I’d definitely recommend this.

Book 26: Mission Earth #4: An Alien Affair by L. Ron Hubbard

missionearthAfter having a great time with Fordlandia, I decided to ruin this streak of beautiful weather and great literature by reading an actual novel by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology and all-round total weirdo.  My brother bought this for me from Australia several years ago as a jokey gift because of my interest in Scientology (not as a participant, might I add), and I’d never had the urge to read it until a few weeks ago, when I thought “Hey, I’ll play a little joke on myself and put myself in a really bad mood by reading this book with a stupid title written by a stupid man”.

Oh my god, you guys – it’s, like, so bad.  Imagine I wrote all my reviews and posts that way, sneaking ‘like’ into every other sentence for no reason.  It would be a lazy thing to do, and that’s exactly how I’d describe Hubbard’s writing – lazy, shoddy, boring.  It’s a confusing plot, partly because this is book number 4 in a ‘dekalogy’ (Hubbard’s term coined to mean ‘series of ten’), but even if I was masochistic enough to find the other 9 books in the series and read them, I imagine I’d still be left angry and offended by how terrible the writing is.  Oh, and I did attempt to read the plot summary on Wikipedia but even that was so boring I ended up playing Tetris.  The plot, from what I can recall (I have, as people often do after a traumatic experience, blocked out most of what I read for the sake of my sanity), is centred around an alien, Soltan Gris, who is on Earth to track down and kill some guy named Heller for whatever damn reason, I don’t even care to be honest.  The start of the book involves Heller taking part in a circuit car race in New York (I think) where his car is kitted out with something that could be constituted as cheating, and basically everyone wants to kill Heller but they never manage it.  Also Gris keeps losing money, he owes loads in credit card debts that his girlfriend has built up through her penchant for shiny things.  What is supposed to be a fast-paced adrenaline-fuelled car-chase is astonishingly boring and repetitive, and it seems that Hubbard must have known this because during this part and any other ‘exciting’ moments he attempts to make it seem like there’s something going on by punctuating every! Sentence! Or! Clause! With! An! Exclamation! Mark! There’s a subplot involving population control, in which some kind of corporation is trying to turn people into homosexuals, and turn heterosexuals into pariahs.  The puns and names in this book are cringe-inducingly transparent and unfunny, such as Delbert John Rockecenter (a play on John Davison Rockefeller), investigative journalist Bob Hoodward (for Woodward); and there’s also many references to how useless and destructive psychology and psychiatry are, thrown in for good measure – I suppose Hubbard couldn’t help himself, considering that this entire book is a self-indulgent mess from start to finish. Oh and I’d say that my favourite part is near to the end, when Gris manages to go home and get fixed up by doctors after being brutally savaged by two lesbians intent on turning him into a homosexual.  The doctors fix him up and sort him out with a super-size dick, which is immediately put to good use with the young nurse who JUST CAN’T HELP HERSELF.

Honestly, the book was so bad that it went beyond funny and into downright frustrating.  Urgh.  My lack of respect for any of Hubbard’s fans or followers has reached new levels.

I’ll have the second one up on August 1st.  See you then…

What’s The Score? – Cabin In The Woods

cabininthewoods

I finally got round to working on a third What’s The Score, and I decided to look at a DTSFT favourite, The Cabin in the Woods.  The music for this film was consists of a compilation soundtrack for most of the first half and an original score by David Julyan, a composer who has experience with darker and horror film scores, having composed for The Descent and Eden Lake as well as a few Christopher Nolan films.  Plus he’s British – I love to hear about successful British composers having a great career in Hollywood! As ever, please don’t read this if you haven’t seen the film, because there will inevitably be spoilers right from the start.  Unlike with Hunger Games and The Godfather, I was unable to find individual Youtube videos for each musical cue in the film, but hopefully this embedded Spotify player will work for you.  If it doesn’t, then here is a link to three videos that contain all the tracks:

Tracks 1-7

Tracks 8-12

Tracks 13-18

Let’s go…

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