Watching Mad Men is like a bittersweet holiday romance. Once a year it crashes into our lives with the force of a bee hived juggernaut. We swoon, we discuss it endlessly and then suddenly its over. Leaving a Don Draper sized hole in our lives. Sure we can watch reruns but like staring at old photographs it just makes the longing more intense. With the next series not due to hit our screens until March 2012 here are my ten tips of what we can do to keep the flame alive while we wait.
1.Buy A Barbie
Sure we may have thought we had “put childish things aside” once we had our own bank account and membership to the AA but Mattel’s limited edition Joan, Don, Betty and Roger Barbie doll’s are actually far too expensive and fabulous to be considered children’s toys and just think its your game and you can make anything happen including a romance between Joan and Don. It’s doll destiny.
2.Read Saturday Night Sunday Morning
First published in 1958 Alan Sillitoes anti hero Arthur Seaton could have been the prototype for Don Draper if Don Draper had found himself working in a factory in fifties Nottingham rather than gliding through the corridors of Sterling Cooper. A womaniser with a dubious moral compass who believes laws are for breaking, he is shocking yet also charismatic. You can’t help wondering if you too would have fallen for his rough charms. The film version of the book is also a treat staring a quite beautiful Albert Finney
3.Watch A Kind Of Loving
This 1962 film staring Alan Bates and June Ritchie as two young lovers in 1960’s Yorkshire is perfect for getting your Betty Draper clothing fix. Ingrid the films passive aggressive leading lady looks absolutely fabulous and the story sums up the dichotomy of the emerging modern world of the sixties still being tethered quite tightly by the lack of available contraception and the old fashioned values of no sex before marriage
Available from www.whsmith.co.uk
The Mac team have created the entire make up for the Mad Men ladies and apparently use Mac Fluid line in Blacktrack for Betty Drapers eyes. The gel formula makes applying the liner a doddle and its smudge proof so less risk of looking like a panda after one too many martinis during one your Mad Men inspired working lunches.
If you own an Xbox 360 or a PS3 you can play Rockstars latest release Featuring Mad Men’s Aaron Staton (Ken Cosgrove in the series) as Cole Phelps an LAPD detective investigating a series of horrific murders in 1947. With its trilby hats and noir styling it’s the closet thing to a vintage inspired computer game on the market.
Designed in collaboration with the shows costume designer Janie Bryant the collection features nearly 65 pieces including high-waisted skirts, chic tailored dresses and my own personal favorite leopard print pumps with matching cardigans, its never been easier to channel your inner Joan or Betty and the boys haven’t been neglected either with sharp suits, crisp shirts and fedoras included making featuring in your real life version of Mad Men even easier.
If much of the draw of Mad Men for you is the clothes check out “The Fashion File: Advice, Tips and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of 'Mad Men.”This amazing book by Janie Bryant walks readers through the dressing room of the show and discusses the design process behind each characters wardrobe. Its also offers tips on how to create your own vintage inspired looks and how to successfully marry original pieces with new items to create that Mad Men flavour.
8 Make An Old Fashioned
When it comes to liquor Don Draper is a lover of the hard stuff, and his main drink of choice at home, in the office and always in the company of a beautiful woman is an Old Fashioned. Bitter and complex but strangely enjoyable, its not unlike Don Draper himself and very easy to make.
2 dashes aromatic bitters available at www.drinksdirect.co.uk
½ tsp sugar dissolved with water and bitters
1½ oz of bourbon
1 orange slice
1 lemon wedge
Fill glass with ice. Add cherry, orange slice and lemon wedge. Pour in bourbon. Serve in a rocks glass over ice.
9. Listen to the soundtrack
The story and performances in Mad Men are so compelling its easy to forget the music but the Mad Men soundtracks transport you back to the 60’s in an instant. The music from series one is particularly good and captures the innocence of the early episodes when all is well between Don and Betty and Sterling Cooper rules the roost in the brave new world of advertising. From Ella Fitzgerald’s “Manhattan” to the beauty of Julie London’s Fly me to the moon it all sums up the glamour of the period. The inclusion of the David Carbonara track Babylon, which is used when Don visits the Beatnik club in Greenwich Village, is a subtle reminder that Dons character will turn out to be much darker than it first appears
For a real fix of 1960’s nostalgia there are some great exhibitions throughout the UK. From the Land Of Lost Content in Shropshire www.lolc.org.uk to the 50’s Cae Dai Trust museum at Denbigh www.fiftiesmuseum.org and of course the V & A in London is bursting at the seams with fabulous period pieces www.vam.ac.uk/ if only museums had been this interesting at school. Beehive your hair, apply some liquid eyeliner and soak up the history.