We listened so often we memorized lyrics like the secret readers in Fahrenheit 451, at least the lyrics to the songs Stipe enunciated. Famously elusive, mumbled and indirect, many of his songs were like codes, with meanings no more than roundabout guesses. All that and more came back hearing that snatch of song, and reading Grace Elizabeth Hale’s incredible Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture. In it she not only clearly and thoroughly tells the fascinating story of the Athens scene around University of Georgia that gave rise to R.E.M. and so many other acts, she captures and conveys the liberation, joy and sweetness of youth.
One of the joys of custom clothing, they used to say, is that is supposed to last forever. Any English teacher would immediately ask, who are “they”? The reassuring voice of others that lured us down this path, the sybarite chorus of lazy fashion journalists and bored copywriters, repeating every few articles or press releases the same tropes about a kind of clothing that had become both incredibly rare and, generally, deterrently expensive a few decades ago.
It never ceases to amuse me. The portion of what we call classic men’s clothing that cannot claim a military origin (as do trenchcoats, khakis, raglan sleeves, cardigans, duffel coats, desert boots, wristwatches, and on and on and on) must pretend to a pedigree both butch and aristocratic: sport, generally involving horses.
Like Poole’s neighbor and contemporary Gieves & Hawkes, Poole has followed up a studiously dry, detailed tome from several decades ago with a heavier, flashier collection of pictures and monographs on famous customers, including their recorded lifetime spend at Henry Poole (with helpful conversion into current-day values) and signature garment.