A Week With Omar - 002
I am feeling unusually contemplative today.
For those of my London based readers, you will both empathise and sympathise with the fucking crazy weather we’ve been having, couple that with the heart breaking situation in the Ukraine, old boy Boris getting fined, Trudeau censoring the media and something very close to my heart, the vote of no confidence against Imran Khan, things aren’g going swimmingly to say the least.
However, today I sit here, perched on a little table outside my favourite coffee house and with every second I feel the heat of the sun on my skin, a worry melts away and the gentle breeze blows away any remnants of anxiety.
The lesson I have learnt while writing this is not a new one, but one I feel we must all continue to remind ourselves of, we must all be grateful for what we have.
This singular thought, I must say, makes me a much happier person.
With the start of Ramadan - of which I would like to offer a belated Ramadan Mubarak to my observing readers - I haven’t been able to get up to much, without my vital morning coffee, the elixir that allows me to transform from a slobbering mess to this vaguely put together thing that you all know as Omar, my general productivity has unfortunately decreased.
Regardless, I have still tried to keep myself as active, engaged and occupied as possible while being mindful not to push myself, so I do have a lot to report!
You all know me by now, I am a huge fan of sport.
There is something about the perfect blend of competition, teamwork and dedication that I find unmatched, both spectating and partaking!
However, something I haven't spoken about before on this platform is my love of combat sports, in particular boxing. As a self proclaimed movie buff you can’t be a boxing fan and not talk about Rocky, in fact, Stallone’s endearing character Rocky Balboa was almost certainly the reason I became obsessive over the sport.
I remember being a child and shadow boxing like a lunatic across the living room, slipping the jab and and waiting for Mickey to come out and call me a bum.
There have been many boxing movies to succeed the Rocky franchise but only a few im afraid that have hit me in the feels I am overjoyed to say that another was added to that list two days ago.
Million Dollar Baby will forever now reside in that category of film of which The Pursuit of Happiness and Shindlers List sit for me, in a little box with a label attached reading ‘only to be opened once my poor little heart can manage it’.
For those who haven't seen Million Dollar Baby, its a movie made in 2004 staring Clint Eastwood, Hillary Swank and Morgan Freeman, need I say more?
I mean, fuck!
Ive been sitting here for 10 minutes now trying to articulate how I feel about this movie but every word, every sentence doesn't seem to do it justice.
The plot follows the story of an amateur female boxer (Hillary Swank) trying to escape the bleak reality of her present and forge a brighter future, her story collides with that of a gym owner, trainer and manager Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) and thusly their journey begins.
Without ruining the movie for you because YOU WILL watch it, tonight, right?
Along with starring in the movie, Eastwood is also the director and I must say, what this movie shows to me is that content isn’t everything, its how you present that content through sublime acting, extraordinary screen writing and cinematographical presentation.
There are themes being explored through out this film that have undoubtedly been explored to the nth degree in many other productions, but what I find truly hauntingly captivating is the way Eastwood shrouds the plot in a blanket of truth.
What do I mean by that?
I guess what I mean is every movie has a degree of dramatism, its that fairy tale wall that exists between the movie and the audience, a reminder that what youre watching is make belief.
For some reason this movie makes me forget that, it blurs the boundaries between the movie world and my existence. I feel so emotionally attached to Maggie (Hillary Swank) that I feel my heart twist, turn, rip and break during her ups and downs. If you want to understand what great filmmaking is, please watch this.
For those of you who are following me on my cigar journey I feel as though I had a little break through moment this week, a Eureka moment if you will.
Although I did an entire episode with my dear friend Jimmy about what to smoke as a beginner I feel as though I can, with total confidence, say what I feel is the best first cigar to smoke.
The H. Upmann Regalias.
H. Upmann Regalias Taken on Nikon Z6
Recently I have been in the exceptionally fortunate position to be helping my friends choose and smoke their first cigars. What I have found is - particularly if the person has never smoked tobacco products - is a Robusto size cigar, like the commonly recommended Hoyo Epicure No 2, tends to make a first time smoker retire as they are getting in to the final third.
On the other hand, when I hand a petite corona size cigar to a first timer, regardless of their lack of experience every single time the cigar is smoked down to the nub with the smoker feeling fulfilled and appeased!
But wait a second peeps, I'm not talking about any petite corona here, I'm talking about the H Upmann Regalias, a light to medium smoke that provides you with an abridged experience of what a fine cuban cigar can do.
H. Upmann Regalias Taken on Nikon Z6
The Regalias is actually a personal favourite of mine, in fact H Upmann is a brand very close to my heart as it was the first cigar I ever had, the half corona to be precise, although a great first cigar I found to be a little too short and always left me wishing there was an extra inch.
Thats what she said.
For me I find the Regalias has a signature cedary, slightly spicy sweetness to it that ramps up in in strength as you smoke through it but never becomes overwhelming. For those of you who are tentative about that first cigar, look no further, this is the one.
I was going to finish it right there but im far too excited to not at least mention this. I guess this is a little plug for an upcoming episode but do you guys remember the episode I did with Danilo Basille from Clements and Church?
Well ever since that episode, the response has been so monumental from you guys that it has encouraged me to find excuses in my life to wear blazers and suits. The education Danilo has given me about fabrics, tailoring techniques and spending time with the Clements items I own has given me a new outlook on what a great garment should be and trust me when I say this, I have no biases here, I am not paid to say this but Clements and Church are now my favourite mens tailoring brand.
In preparation for another episode with Danilo I got another freaking suit, and what a beauty it is. I feel I am starting to really grasp what makes a great suit..
Clements and Church Navy Blazer Taken on Nikon Z6
There are innumerable product categories I can think of where calling a product great is really just a subjective thing, its down to taste or personal preference, however, when it comes to tailored garments like a Clements and Church suit there are specific and demonstrable aspects that should be present to regard it as a great item.
What do I think makes a great suit?
Its an item in equal measures of the tangibles and intangibles, great fabric, hand finishing, functional button holes, Milanese lapel hole, pick stitching but an item not made to a beautiful pattern is now a garment that on paper should be perfect but unfortunately looks like a piece of shit. Some how Clements and Church have been able to create tailored garments that encompass all of the above features on the check list coupled with perhaps the most perfect off the rack fit I've had the pleasure to wear.
As a value proposition you have to think of it in relative terms, an equivalent garment made with all the afore mentioned features from a brand like Brunello Cucinelli would run you upwards of 5 or 6k, from Clements it would be under 2k. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still a lot of money, but remember my dear Watson, we must think in relative terms, and to me, as it should be to you, thats one hell of a deal.
So tell me friends, how are you finding the week with Omar series? Is it something you are enjoying? Are there things you would like to see? Are there things you don't like? Please do let me know!
As always, stay safe and stay curious.