Where Crumble goes.........

One of the really cool things about this summer, and the unusually hot weather, is the way our girls have thrown themselves into the current fashion for all things Sixties with unbridled enthusiasm. I'm observing from afar with similar unbridled enthusiasm, for the Sixties that I remember growing up in as a child was just about all in black and white in my memory........... I kid you not. Even so, as a five year old the last thing I was interested in was what clothes girls were wearing. I lived in a world of lace up leather shoes that hurt like buggery for the first three months, shorts, balaclava's and two-sizes-too-big duffel coats and avoiding the big boys in 4b.

But, and I'm just putting it out there, the Fashionista's weren't the first to generate this revival, no Sir. May I draw your attention to the epic 2011 "Ken & Barbie," Haslemere Rugby Club rugby tour to Gloucestershire and the proud winner of the Best Dressed Tourist Award, (my first sporting award and quite fairly awarded I thought because I took a change of dress for the evening).

Cracking fashion the Crumble way

Cracking fashion the Crumble way

Quick tip for the girls here loves; the high heel thing doesn't really work with short skirts, well not unless you have legs like Cyd Charisse. Follow my lead and stick to flats as I'm demonstrating above.

Where Crumble goes, the fashion world follows.

Go Glasgow!

Well, I sat down last night in front of the television with a bottle of red aggravator looking forward in a ghoulish sort of way to laughing and cringing my way through the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in a re run of the bloody awful Olympic Opening Ceremony. Strangely.... I found myself getting drawn in and enjoying it.

Ok, some of it was a bit shortbread tin and heather kitsch but actually, that's what most people want and expect. There were some low points, obviously there were. Susan Boyle managed to leave most people with bleeding ears and the Pipes & Drums could have done with another 50 mins of exposure but then that's just me. Most teams looked as if they’d dressed themselves after ram raiding TK Max or clearing the shelves of a closing down charity shop. The biggest home nations obviously won gold and silver here. The English team came out looking like a bunch of cheap 1970’s gigolo’s and the Scots were apparently dressed by an art student working on a theme of “throw up you can wear” and a healthy supply of Perthshire tearoom curtains. Odd isn’t it that the best dressed teams seemed to come from the smallest countries.

The highlights for me included that amazing violinist, Nicola Benedetti (who goes straight to the top of the TMC list), and most of the girls in the Welsh team who just looked terrific; I may now have to support Wales except in rugby sevens were I sincerely hope they crash, burn and fail to score a single point and exit the competition never to play the game ever again. Actually, I shouldn't knock the Welsh, if only because they brushed all the winging about the accommodation aside at the Dehli Games, got on the plane and got on with the job.

I thought the charity thing was a cool idea and was happy to chuck a fiver in the pot. All in all, its set the stage really well and has to be the best Commonwealth ceremony ever. Big congratulations to Glasgow who everyone seems to agree this morning are the knock down winners of the Games and deservedly so.

The best thing about the Games though, which I genuinely hope are a massive success, is that they deliver a healthy poke in the eye with a sharp stick to most of the self obsessed and cynical short term Charlies in Westminster who have done the square root of bugger all to support the Commonwealth over the past fifty years. The Commonwealth only exists because of the dogged perseverance and patience of the Queen whose vision for the Commonwealth has seen off generation after generation of doubting politicians to the point where we might rightly ask, "has it indeed ever been stronger and is not its role more relevant today than ever it has been?" The second biggest Commonwealth supporter is of course the Duke of Edinburgh and I'm putting my stake in the ground as the third. With so much tension and strife in the world the Commonwealth is an interesting and useful diplomatic back channel outside the usual power blocks but one which retains individual State independence and importantly, integrity through the leadership and patronage of HM. Its a family of shared blood, history and values which very much ought to be celebrated and not ignored or treated like some embarrassing anachronism. 

The opening parade of the massed pipes and drums at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, August 2008.

Oh and just in case anyone else felt short changed by the Ceremony organisers and their parsimonious use of the pipes & drums here you go, enjoy!

Apple iPhone 5S Just Became Cool

Mulling over the new iPhone 5S?  

Watch the clip above and mull no more. Apple hooked up with Burberry and shot their recent fashion show with a 5S which I suppose means Apple paid for the fashion show. 

The results are off the chart. Cool stuff after 0.55s and prepare to be stunned by the Slo-Mo which is a game changer. 


Scent of a Screamer


So, there I was concerned about being the reluctant recipient of unwanted frivolous tat disguised as birthday gifts and to my very pleasant surprise Mrs Flashbang hit the target square on with the first delicately wrapped package. 

Years ago, when living the bachelor life, an old Army friend came to stay at the flat for the weekend. He stayed for three years. One of the characteristics of living with Tim was the never ending stream of pretty girls who used to grace the flat. One, and goodness knows where he found her, was something big in advertising in Manhattan and whenever she flew in, I flew out. Thing is, she was a screamer and I couldn't get a wink of sleep whenever she was in town. Poor Tim was a wreck after every visit and in fact, it used to take both of us days to recover from her exertions. She talked a lot too; non stop in fact and even worse, she didn't much like our local pub so it was inevitable that she'd eventually get the heave which was a relief to me, the load bearing furniture, our local landlord who saw his beer sales enjoy an immediate recovery and most of all Tim who I don't think has ever quite recovered. 

A few days after he said the last goodbye Tim threw a bottle of aftershave over to me which had been a gift from the Screamer. He didn't like it, I did and I've used it ever since. I think it's very possibly the best aftershave in the world. If you're a man and you don't believe me just buy some, try it and wait for the reaction from the Missus. If you're a girl and you're looking for a last minute gift then just trust old Crumble and buy some for the Old Man.

Just think, there could be hundreds and blokes out there on Christmas day smelling like Mental Crumble and wondering why the wife / girlfriend has started screaming......

Dress Advice For Young Officers


........... and moving on we have Col Barry Jenkins RA to thank for this jaunty reminder on dress and turnout. Let's face it, we're all getting a bit slack. I'm disappointed he didn't allude to hats though. Hats and when and where to wear them can be something of a sartorial minefield for the young officer although I would guess that the requirement for a young officer to have a trilby in his locker is much diminished since my day. Actually, not many of us had one even then and then we only wore them for the Gunner Point to Point............ Anyway, bat on Barry; it's splendid stuff,


"Please pass to all RA Staff at RMAS – Ty

Adjutants, Thank you for supporting Officer Recruiting events this term and, specifically, for sending your Young Officers to host the RMAS Officer Cadets at next week's Expression of Interest Evening and Ex ARTY OBSERVER.

I am taking this opportunity to remind you of the importance of your subalterns presenting the correct image of the Royal Artillery at these events. The individual officers have already received their instructions which include specific details on dress; however, I do expect the regiments to take responsibility for ensuring that these instructions are adhered to.

Dress Guidance

Please find below some sartorial pointers for your subalterns on hosting duties and indeed all your officers (M&F) who may wish to consider the more general dress points found below:

  • (M)A good, clean well pressed suit with a Gunner Zigzag tie for the men and (F) suits with the Gunner brooch (worn on the left lapel) for the ladies.
  • Only the middle button of a 3 button (M) suit is fastened. It is a coat not a tunic. If your suit has a belt, so be it, but a slim elegant leather suit belt and not a Harley Davidson Buckle Belt is to accompany it.
  • (M) Long socks that do not show your flaky, spindly hairy twiglet like shin and absolutely not a selection of ghastly cartoon characters. There is nothing evenly remotely funny about having Poundland crackers fight for your custom as your tailor.
  • Black (after 7 pm) brogue/Oxford type shoes, polished and in good repair or a good quality slip on loafer are fine, but anything resembling 4WD with a heavy tread and a big fat square toe won’t do justice to your well cut suit…you wouldn’t put ketchup on a Dover sole. As a rough rule of thumb, if your footwear is in anyway similar to that seen on a Balkans’ coffee shop waiter then Q4 applies.
  • The shirt must be pressed and if wearing a suit (or blazer) then it shouldn’t have a pocket and MUST fit correctly at the neck. Pockets carry Cross pens as used by NASA scientists and whilst we are a technical/combat arm we aren’t there yet. Black, red or other dark ‘Emo’ colours are to be swiftly and safely consigned to the Camp Esperanca deep hole recycling facility.
  • Double cuff shirts are not mandatory; however, the quality of the shirt is the main factor. If you must wear a silvery/grey Gary Lineker number then make sure it is a really good one and wear it with confidence. If however, it looks like a nylon prop from the OPTAG dressing up box then recycle it (safely) and go traditional with a Jermyn Street number.
  • The tie should be correctly tied, close to the collar and checked regularly. The knot must not be big fat Grange Hill special or be seen adorning the neck of a semi finalist on the Apprentice (M&F). The tie should just reach over the waist belt, not 6 inches above or below.
  • You are to be freshly shaved when attending any evening function and enough has been said about sideburns. Make up (F) should not be over excessive and most importantly, hair should be tidy and presentable. The whole ‘train crash survivor’ clambering up the embankment look. is unattractive and inelegant.
  • Oh yes, diving watches/laptop/GPS type watches furiously scrunched up against your shirt cuff look awful. Try and use a thin elegant dress watch – even Sekonda has some relatively pleasant ones.. The same type of gShock watch is cracking for CS95 but should not be worn with SD, black tie or mess dress.

These are elements of dress guidance and they are not hard and fast, Edwardian or even particularly contemporary but they just set a rough line on where our YOs should be heading. We are a broad church and we should not exclusively ape the armed wing of Boden, Primark, Fat Face or New and Lingwood, but I am constantly amazed by what some think is acceptable dress. It is not just the quality but the untidy scruffy manner in which it is worn –this must sharpen up. I would rather discover a Gunner officer through his witty, polite and engaging conversation than clocking his cloning through his dress, but please disseminate this lick of polish onto our fantastic, brave and impressive cohort of young officers.

Whilst light hearted pse pass on these tips– if in doubt follow TRHs Princes William and Harry for civilian clothing direction (all apart from that one off tea cosy incident)."


Colonel Barry has probably done more for Gunner officer recruitment with that memo since Montgomery enlightened the rest of the world on how cool Gunners are! 

UBS do Dressing Up

In a time served weary sort of way, I thought I'd seen it all but the capacity of banks to surprise with their next folly should never really be underestimated.

Step forward UBS, and I promise I haven't seen anything like this in an adult life spent in either the Army or the City, with their "UBS Corporate Wear Dress Guide For Women and Men."

Oh I'm loving this. "Clothes make the man or the women, as the saying goes. People are primarily influenced by visual stimuli. The colour anthracite emits competence, warmth and seriousness; the perfection in a person's appearance to the outside world can create an atmosphere of internal tranquility and security."  Well, thats where I've been going wrong all these years. There I was thinking that competence, service and integrity mattered when all the time I should just have been wearing anthracite.

Oh God help us, they're bloody serious,

 "These guidelines are mandatory and apply to all persons employed by UBS who wear Corporate Wear at their place of work. Line managers are responsible for compliance with and monitoring the Corporate Wear appearance.

But hey, these guys are detail orientated and there are some wonderful nuggets of advice, (for men and women), who are sartorially challenged.

"When you are in corporate wear you must never wear the blouse or shirt too tight: no part of your bosum must be visible, as this would look vulgar."

"Flesh coloured underwear must be worn beneath a white blouse"

I guess the guys in capital markets must be in a real tizz about what to wear tomorrow now.......

Moving swiftly on, the guide then covers scarves, belts, shoes, jewelry, glasses, religious symbols and got to love the "visible tattoos / piercings or ankle chains are considered unfashionable and are not business like."

Obviously, most of us like to think that we have a passing familiarity with personal health and hygiene but the UBS experts feel their staff need a little more shepherding, "

"Hands that have not been cared for, or peeling or chipped nail varnish, create a clear impression of negligence regarding one’s personal appearance."

There was a time in the City when such an appearance might have been regarded as a result of a proper chap having spent the weekend in the garden, shooting or fishing.

On they go, driving a truck without brakes through the inner and personal considerations of their staff as they dress in the morning, (in a bloody hurry in my case, not at UBS obviously,  lest the 06:15 by some miracle be on time and leave Platform 2 without me), with these gems from Nanny,

"The perfume you use must only be noticed at arm’s length or less by another person. Perfume, just like any deodorant, must never be over-applied. It is also advisable to change to different ones quite often so that your own sense of smell does not have a chance of getting too accustomed to a particular scent. That way, you will have a better idea of how much to apply."

"When your work involves customer contact, you must not smoke. In addition, avoid smoky restaurants and cafes during your lunch break. Avoid eating anything containing garlic or onions. Even chlorophyll tablets will do little to remedy the situation. Chewing gum may help to clean your teeth; but when you are with other people it can have an unpleasant impact."

................ I think we're getting some clues where this is going.... but here's another one for the capital markets guys....

"Your stockings must match the color of your Corporate Wear and must be plain. Tights or stockings that are of a slightly darker shade than a skirt or trousers will make your legs appear longer. During summer you may wear thin, skin-colored stockings with a skirt or trousers. If you do so, it is very important that you and your colleagues all dress the same. You must always wear dark stockings under a pair of trousers. If there is any disagreement on the color, your line manager will decide. A pair of tights must always be worn with a skirt, even during hot weather. You are not permitted to wear opaque stockings, mesh stockings or any stockings with a patterned or shiny surface or with any kind of decoration."


........... and on they drone on; frankly, at this point I'd be seething with contempt for whoever in the firm sanctioned paying for this dribble but scanning over the bit about suits, shirts and shoes for men we quickly drill down to the real culprits here...... guys at UBS I'm doing you a favour, I've uncovered the fifth columnists... check this out..

“The breast pocket of your shirt must be kept empty, apart from a ballpoint pen or badge.

In principle, a suit is not complete unless the shirt cuffs are visible – as far as possible avoid the “chic féderal“ look.

You must undo your tie completely each time you have worn it, and then either hang it up or coil it up loosely.

Never tuck the ends of your tie in the waist of your trousers.

When talking to a customer or anyone else, you must take off your sunglasses in order to maintain eye contact – never put your sunglasses on the top of your head.”

 And the killer………………

 “We recommend that you always wear a t-shirt: it looks better, is more hygienic and will contribute to your personal well-being.”

"Did you know that a smile is good for your circulation and will pump more blood and oxygen into your brain? This will, in turn, produce more happiness hormones."

Yes, I rather think that confirms the case for the prosecution. Sorry UBS guys; you're obviously being dressed by an American. Chin up now.................

Meanwhile let's hope this grand initiative will be just the thing shareholders have been waiting for to put some oomph behind the moribund share price........ (oops, no pun intended).