Glorious men. George Marsden's list.

Mar 26, 2013

Lennon last interviewLast week fellow Monsieur London blogger and close friend, James Gray, wrote up a list of cool icons. He described them as “a list of champions that are universally recognised for being damn slick”. The list was, in his words, “not too controversial or clearly [his] own”.

 And I’ll admit, it’s not a bad list, as far as inane internet lists go. It’s a bit safe though, and if there is one thing we can learn from the gentlemen listed below it’s that safe isn’t that cool. Furthermore, I’m not going to call mine a cool list, because, frankly, the people in it would probably not be proud of their coolness. This will be my list of glory.

John Lennon. James started with a Stone, so I’ll begin with a Beatle. John Lennon was predominantly a musician, it’s why he became famous and it’s the reason his family will be living richly for centuries to come. It’s not though, what makes him glorious, and it’s not really why I like him. For me, it’s what he stands for that makes him worthy of a place on this list. You can go to Eastern Europe, Asia or the Americas and you’ll be able to buy a postcard with his face on it and a salute to peace and love. I was in Prague and a homeless guy tried to flog me a piece of card with the lyrics of “imagine” scribbled on it. It’s astonishing how relevant and loved his message is decades later. It’s also worth mentioning, seeing as this is a menswear blog, that his style was phenomenal and iconic. The round glasses, the long hair and the relaxed suits… pretty much anyone could look like a revolutionary thinker in those threads.

Christopher Hitchens. I’m pretty certain Hitch wouldn’t be hugely chirpy about being placed on a cool list, he’s actually the main reason I took the cool away, he’d consider it a little elementary and childish. If he was looking over me in his next life, which, if you believe his books, he’s almost definitely not, he’d be displeased by being labelled cool. And I don’t like the idea of being a man to displease Hitch. I suppose if John Lennon is up against Keith, Hitch will be paired against Noam, and that, I’m afraid, is an easy win for Hitch. While I’ll admit, Noam is quite genius, Hitch could light up a room, and have you hanging on his every word, which is something Noam cannot maintain. He was not fearful of anyone, and did absolutely what he thought was right, regardless. He was glorious until the end, and refused to ever give up on his mission of outwitting fundamentalists.

I realise, at this point, that my list isn’t as controversial as I suggested it would be in the opening paragraph. For this reason, I’m going to be a little more questionable with my next choices. Bare this in mind.

 V for Vendetta

V. So, you might say V isn’t actually a person, but I don’t really care. I can have heroes that are fictional can’t I? That doesn’t make me any less of a gent. V is the most glorious of all the superheroes. He fuses intellect with badass rebellion and fighting skills, which is ultimately a great combo and only ever leads to glory. If there was a formula for what makes someone great in my books, you would take brain capacity and disobedience of the “man” and you’d always end up with someone quite alright.

Harry Styles. Pop stars of the 21st Century are essentially just plasticine models moulded by the regulating hands of Simon Cowell. Winning the Xfactor isn’t a ticket to freedom and hand jobs from backing dancers; it’s a sentence you’ll be serving under the watchful eye of record execs and the man… If you look in the right places though, you’ll find soldiers fighting back against the war of conformity. And I believe Mr Styles, singer in the piss weak band One Direction, is one of them.

He’s 19 years old, born in 1994 for fuck sake. People born in the mid 90’s don’t know what life was like before the internet and mobile phones, the first cds this generation bought were by the Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs which is ridiculous. So for a human being to be born in the mid 90s and be rich and famous through their own means is unfair but also commendable. When I was 19, 8 cans of Strongbow for £5 and a fresher’s ball at Oceana. That was the best night I spent as a 19 year old, quite cool, right? But you step in Harry’s shoes and you’ll be front row at New York fashion week, fucking America’s sweetheart and dining with Alain De Botton. This, I admit, doesn’t make him cool but I’ll have no qualms in conceding that it makes him cooler than me at 19.

Portman Leon

Natalie Portman. Justifying Harry Styles needed a lot of work, but with this choice I don’t think I’ll need to try so hard. Miss Portman, the angel faced Harvard graduate, makes the list mostly because I wanted to include a woman. And, of all the women, she’s perhaps the most glorious one (apart from my fiancée). She was already fantastic for her roles in Leon, Black Swan and V for Vendetta but then I saw her do this rap and now, she’s just next level.  She told the New York Post “I don’t care if college ruins m career, I’d rather be smart than a movie star”, which is right down with my formula. 

So there you have it, five people I wouldn’t mind hanging out with, but which one is my favourite? Well, I think I’ll reserve judgement on that but if you mix the five together I think you’d come out with something pretty fucking gloriously cool.


George Marsden


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