I remember first meeting Mark a few years back at Jacket Required and thinking after our brief chat ‘what a lovely man’ as I examined the pockets of a nearby Filson jacket. To the uninitiated, Manc, ex-pat Mark now lives in Sri Lanka where he spends his time lazing around in the sun oh and making proper nice (bespoke) shirts, tees, shorts, trousers, belts and even record boxes all inspired by his South East Asia surroundings and in his own idiosyncratic ‘TukTuk’ style. Despite being incredibly jealous of his looks, business, personality, shirt collection and living arrangements, I thought it only fair I ask him about his favourite five. What a surprise, his answers are as cool, considered and colourful as one of his fruity shirts, makes you sick doesn’t it? Anyway….
Item Of Clothing
John Smedley Sea Island Cotton Polo. Great collar, super soft fabric, fits well, and washes like a dream. I probably own about 20-30 different colour variations – by far the most amount of the same brand/product I own (apart from our shirts). When I was a student I’d make a monthly pilgrimage from Manchester to Matlock so I could stock up on their Factory Outlet ‘knock offs’ – a pleasant drive out, an excuse to abscond from lectures, and you’d come back with a shed load of Smedley polo’s. Them were the days.
I struggle with books. I love the idea of being a literary fiend, but it’s just not in my make-up – I get distracted too easily. The only books that generally keep me attention are music orientated. Mark E Smith’s autobiography is probably one of my favourite books I’ve read of late; very amusing and brimming/over flowing with cynicism. I’m currently reading Nile Rodgers’s autobiography, which is a good insight into dealing with crack/heroin addicted parents as a kid; just in case anyone’s struggling with that. And I’ve got Mick Fleetwood’s autobiography lined up next – I’m expecting some insightful tales into Stevie Nicks’ leftfield approach to cocaine use.
I’m a big music/vinyl geek so this is a tough one. I’ve never been one to pigeonhole myself to one genre, but if I had to, I’d say Balearic (which kind of encompasses lots of genres under the one genre anyway – just to confuse matters). Some current-ish favourites off the top of my head are Com Truise, Kindness, Land of Light, Wild Nothing, anything on the Claremont 56 label, and pretty much all the mixes up on the Test Pressing site. And very excited for the new Boards Of Canada album.
Massively into Tadanori Yokoo and that whole 60’s pop culture, psychedelic thing. “The Complete Works Of Tandaro Yokoo” book is an amazing collection of his art, a must buy for anyone into that era and style of work. There’s a couple of Sri Lankan contemporary artists that I feel compelled to mention; Vajira Gunwardena & Sanjeewa Kumara. Both have exhibited in London of late, and have a not too dissimilar style to Tandori Yokoo – colourful, mystical, psychedelic, ace.
It’s got to be Sri Lanka. I’ve been based here for 6 years now, and it really is a wonderful place; great people, great landscapes, great beaches, great weather, and if you’re into that kind of thing, great curries (unfortunately, I’m not). The one downside is the lack of opportunities (i.e never) to wear decent knitwear or jackets. Oh, and the local beer is crap.