THE BELSTAFF CULTURE CLUB
Over almost 100 years we have built a brand for those with a natural curiosity; who seek out the unfamiliar and always take the chance to explore the unconventional path. When it comes to culture that spirit holds true. Whether that’s a piece of cinema from another world and time or an obscure novel with a universal message, we’re interested in the interesting.
Welcome to the Belstaff Culture Club: a treasure trove ﬁlled with some of culture’s lesser-known, unconventional gems. Lovingly curated by Belstaffers, our friends and distinct voices from the world of culture, let us entertain and inspire you with our vibrant weekly calendar of content based on ﬁlm, music, books, food and drink.
This week we’re joined by Jim Sturgess, perhaps best known for his role as Jude in the 2007 musical romance drama Across the Universe. With a long list of co-stars that reads like a who’s who of Hollywood, the British actor has shared the silver screen with Anne Hathaway in the film adaptation of much-loved book One Day, and starred opposite Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in cult hit Cloud Atlas to name but a few. More recently, Jim has appeared in the Apple TV+ series Home Before Dark. And what better topic to hear from such an accomplished actor than this week’s addition to the Belstaff Culture Club: Jim’s undiscovered gems.
Dir Alison Maclean
I remember picking this film up on VHS back in the day purely because I liked the artwork, and it had a few actors that I liked. It was the first time I had seen (a young) Billy Crudup in anything, and I fell in love with his performance. He’s such an underrated actor. The film itself has so much heart and it weaves so effortlessly between drama, comedy, the surreal, the divine and a twisted relationship movie. It’s got an amazing cast with Samantha Morton, Michael Shannon, Holly Hunter and Dennis Hopper, and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s actually seen it.
Dir Mark Webber
Mark Webber has always been a really engaging actor to watch but he’s also a really interesting film maker. This was the first film I saw of his and I was so impressed with what he brought to the screen. The film touches on different people’s lives, all struggling to survive in modern America. Honest people being held back by a system that is not in place to help them. Mark has gone on to make some fiercely independent films using his own life as the subject and his own family as the cast. It’s amazing to see him put his life on the line like that. He’s definitely an undiscovered talent.
Dir Scott Kalvert
This is probably one of Leonardo Di Caprio’s lesser known films, but it stood out to me since I watched it in my twenties. It’s taken from the real life diaries of writer and poet Jim Carroll, growing up playing basketball and getting into drugs at a Catholic school in New York. The film follows a group of young hotshot hopefuls whose lives and dreams are interrupted when they begin experimenting with drugs, and the destructive road that it takes them on. There are scenes in the movie that will stay with me for life. If you’re a fan of Leonardo Di Caprio and you’ve not seen it, it’s definitely one to seek out.
Dir Bernardo Bertolucci
I loved this movie when I discovered it as a young man. It conjured up all those heightened romantic ideas of living in Paris as a young artist. Living in that bohemian way, falling in love with people and with life. That moment in time when you are open to influence and so easily swept away. It’s set at the end of the sixties during the student riots and tells the story of a young American student who befriends a Parisian girl and her twin brother, both living alone in their parents apartment for the summer. It becomes a complicated love triangle as all three of them start to lose sense of themselves and the outside world around them. Definitely the kind of film that makes you want to move to Paris and never come back.
Dir Alan Clark
I remember properly discovering British cinema when I went to University in Manchester. It was so different to a lot of the American films I was used to watching and this film in particular stood out. I remember being so excited at how unapologetically real and ugly it looked. I was getting into acting and performing around that time and to see a very young Tim Roth be so electric on screen definitely furthered my interest. This film created a gateway into so many other great British films and showed me a world in cinema that was much closer to the world outside my front door. Films like this showed me that cinema didn’t have to be shiny to get my attention.
BLOCKBUSTER COMFORTOur classic cotton tees, vintage-inspired sweatshirts and more are the perfect accompaniment to time spent relaxing with a hidden gem.
PREVIOUS CULTURAL DISCOVERIES
Kick-starting life in the kitchen at the tender age of 16 as the Gleneagle Hotel’s first apprentice chef, Adam Handling’s culinary career has skyrocketed since. Named Chef of the Year in 2019 by Food and Travel Magazine, Handling’s most recent addition to a growing clutch of establishments is Ugly Butterfly, is a zero-waste restaurant and champagne bar in Chelsea, London. <br> Since lockdown, Adam has been supporting Hospitality for Heroes, a not-for-profit that supplies NHS staff with free, healthy meals. If you’re looking for something new to turn your hand to, or to introduce a recipe to your repertoire, here’s Adam’s go-to pick-me-up.
Prep time 30 minutes
· 9 sausages (can substitute vegetarian sausages if desired)
· 1 bunch picked sage
· 6 onions, thinly sliced
· 7 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
· 1 bunch picked rosemary
· 250ml Madeira
· 125ml red wine
· 500ml beef stock
· 50ml Worcestershire sauce
· 30ml soy sauce
· 1 cup plain flour
· 1 cup whole milk
· 1 cup eggs (approx. six)
Preheat the oven to 250°C. Put the sausages into a hot tin with some oil and brown them in the oven for 10 minutes
For the gravy, put the onions, garlic and rosemary into a pan with hot oil and cook on a medium heat until they start changing colour. Add salt to take the moisture out and allow the onions to caramelise properly. Cook them for 6 minutes, add the Madeira and let it reduce.
Once reduced, repeat the method with the red wine. Add the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat down and let it cook slowly for approximately 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and add 30ml of soy sauce to achieve a strong umami flavour.
For the Yorkshire pudding batter, sift the flour into a bowl. Add the milk and eggs and whisk it all together. Sift everything again to ensure no broken egg shell remains in the mix. Refrigerate the mixture until ready to use.
Add the sage to the sausages, to crisp it up. Pour the Yorkshire pudding mixture over the sausage and sage. Cook for 10 minutes at 250°C. Portion and serve – best with potato mash.