The summer issue of Gentleman’s Journal is always designed with a sun lounger in mind. As we compile it, we imagine a reader somewhere, draped like a Roman god with a gentle hangover and violently colourful shorts, dipping in and out of the thing between games of backgammon and bottles of those tiny little green beers you only seem to get on the bottom shelf of French supermarkets. Sometimes he might like a quick hit of society intrigue to sustain him between dozes; at others, he might like a meaty long read to drown out the tropical house someone is playing off the miniature Bose.
And though the sun lounger dream wobbled dreadfully at the start of this year, there is hope still — through things called ‘air bridges’, apparently, and makeshift rooftop hammocks, and rosé-soaked London parks, and the English Riviera (sounds much better than ‘the seaside’, doesn’t it?) This issue does a nifty job in all of those places, and more.
There’s a brilliant piece on the late Peter Beard, with some never-before-seen imagery of the adventurer and artist captured by his friend and collaborator Guillaume Bonn. There is a superb romp through the sordid, swampy history of Palm Beach by Stuart Heritage. There’s a wonderful English style story from James Harvey-Kelly.
There’s an intriguing interview with the usually taciturn Jesse Eisenberg, ten years on from The Social Network. There’s a new dissection of everyone’s favourite psychopath, Patrick Bateman, that updates the murderous yuppie for 2020. There’s a photographic ode to the pub, prologued by landlord and local hero, James Blunt. There is, of course, a barnstorming conversation with one Lewis Hamilton, which pinballs between deep space, vegan burgers and the racing driver’s self-confessed “weirdisms” with glorious abandon.
And then, in the middle of it all, there’s a new section called House Notes, which is supposed to read like the notice board at the most interesting private members club imaginable. There are essays and anecdotes, recipes and hangover cures, quotes and arguments — all contributed by friends of the magazine from around the world.
You might overhear a lengthy breakdown of the wall game, that most esoteric and English of sports; a debate over which is better — Neil Diamond or real diamonds; a recipe for a particularly sociable penne all’amatriciana; an argument against grumpy James Bonds; the inside line on the Mille Miglia; the confessions of a wine detective; a lament on hangovers; an ode to stolen ashtrays. It is, in short, perfect fodder for a horizontal afternoon in the sun.
So the stories are bigger, yes — but so is the thing itself. We’ve taken the opportunity during this prolonged hiatus to re-design and re-package the magazine entirely — something we haven’t done for several years. You’ll have to see it in the flesh to truly appreciate it — but suffice to say it’s our heftiest, broadest, heaviest and loveliest iteration yet. You can subscribe here, if you don’t believe me. See you all by the pool.