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All the Nice Things That Summer Would Bring

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.


Hearing the ice cubes crack and water swirl as a bottle of rosé is removed from the ice bucket; watching the same bottle sweat condensed water and feeling the wine dry your mouth and cool your throat – these are experiences reserved for summer. As it slowly wakes up we could spend this article unpacking man’s love of warm weather and look at how Summer is ingrained within our biology. But that’s all heavy stuff, and I know, dear reader, you don’t want an anthropological analysis right now. You want a few hundred words of easy reading to accompany that rosé and kill time while the barbecue heats up. And this writer is not above giving the people what they want. So let’s take a look at the best things about summer:

Music:

In the winter I can be locked away, brooding over Tom Waits. But when summer arrives, you can finally let Juan Wauters and Van Morrison soundtrack your long evenings. Music becomes lighter and should be about capturing the feeling the Kinks talk about in Sunny Afternoon. 

My picks: Juan Wauters and Aaron Frazer. 

TV:

You’re not watching it. You’re outside living life. Anyone who keeps themselves up to date with the latest news channels in summer is not enjoying their summer. Avoid these people and the UK General Election to maximise summer fun. 

My picks: the only acceptable summer watching – Wimbledon.  

Drinking:

As you seek refreshment at every turn, it’s time to retire the Irish coffees and focus on things which go well with ice. All beer should be cold and your wine should turn pink. 

My picks: that red diesel answer to rocket fuel – a Negroni. But this is a personal taste issue: just make sure whatever you bring, you bring enough to share. And if you’re asked to bring ice to the party, bring more than one bag. 

Fashion:

I personally look better in winter, but I am pale and Irish. That does not stop me from appreciating what I start to see around me: linens, sunglasses, open shirts. For a few brief months, we all get to live the life of an uber-stylish European gentleman ready to spring onto the set of The Talented Mr Ripley. 

My picks: denim shorts, a black t shirt (slightly too small) with a Batman logo and a pair of
chequered classic slip-on vans. Finish it off with imitation wayfarers. Letters to Gents Cafe are welcome if you feel any of these choices are wrong.

Outdoor activities:

Some sports are seasonal: Tennis (a sport I am sadly too strong for), fishing, barbecuing and sunbathing all make their comeback in summer. The good news is – most of these activities don’t require practice to keep up your skill level so you should pick up right where you left off last year with most of them. 

My picks: Fly fishing. For the perfect day, I recommend doing as I do in life and finding a partner who ensures your blood alcohol level doesn’t reach dangerous lows during this high-octane pursuit. Interestingly, I don’t recommend this same fastidious commitment to keeping it high when spearfishing. Something I learned the hard way last summer. 

And there you have it. I would love to come up with a clever way to end the article, but we both know that you put your screen away after paragraph 4 and began attending to the more important business of that rosé. And if you are still reading, then stop, the sun is out. Come back to this when you need the inspiration to pull you out of your hangover tomorrow.


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