Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. It’s a goddamn Bruce Willis movie’

A Note from the Editor

Christmas is, above all, a time for reflection, contemplation and good will to your fellow man. Unless the fellow man in question happens to think Die Hard isn’t a Christmas film. That fellow man deserves coal. I mean, not to get downright academic about it all, but the film is a pretty clear cut case of self-betterment and the suffering of the individual in the service of the many, not to mention a blatant censure of widespread, institutionalised avarice. To that end, Die Hard is practically A Christmas Carol. You know, if Dickens was into blood-stained vests and

I can see why there’s so much resistance to the idea. I mean, if the semantic and interpretive boundaries are left lax enough, any film watched at Christmas is, by loose definition, a Christmas film. But where does that end, fair reader? Where does that end? Did I get sidetracked? Apologies. Happy Holidays from everyone here at The Essential Journal. Go eat a mince pie, make awkward conversation with the ‘old fashioned’ (you know what I mean) family member you’ve been avoiding all year, and above all, heed this one, solitary pearl of festive wisdom: Bruce Willis knows nothing and it’s not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls from the Nakatomi Plaza.


Where we’ve been Visiting


A city of dreamers, believers and over-achievers, the people of Toronto aren’t ones to sit still and wait for the next big thing to come to them. From developing their own cold brew coffee to opening boutique mens and womenswear stores, and printing colloquial-humoured tees to mixing the next queue-for-’em-cocktails, it’s a city built on the side-hustle. On a recent visit, the first in 4 and half years, this was as evident as ever with the likes of Pilot coffee roasters having expanded their cold brew production and menswear store Park & Province firmly establishing itself on the fashion front. Elsewhere, the craft beer scene is no longer just about Bellwoods Brewery – as delicious as it continues to be – with Left Field and Burdock now hot on the scene, whilst Paris Paris pioneers the natural wine revolution alongside its indulgent-yet-wipe-your-hands-on-your-jeans food offering. Be sure to grab yourself a souvenir ‘Turonno’ tee from The Button Machine, as you bid farewell to the city and jump on the UP Express to Pearson International.

Where we’ve been Eating


Already well-established across the UK, Dishoom has finally opened its (rather ornate) doors in Manchester. Drawing heavy inspiration from the freemasonry of Bombay, Dishoom have set up shop in the newly-renovated, Grade II-listed, Masonic Hall of Manchester’s Spinningfields district. With a superlative food and drinks menu that more than matches the grandiose settings of the restaurant itself, Dishoom is a powerhouse of all-day, all-night revelry that’s sure to serve up something spectacular regardless of the time. Dishoom’s bacon naan breakfast rolls and East India Gimlets are not to be missed, but maybe refrain from trying them at the same time.

What we’ve been Watching


A rootin’-tootin’ Netflix original from none other than the Coen brothers (The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men), The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is, by turns, hilarious and harrowing. An audacious anthology of tales from the once Wild West, the film comprises six vignettes from the American frontier. Each short is not only unique in tone and theme, but boasts some impressive performances from a star-studded cast. For longtime fans of the Coen’s work, expect healthy doses of the duo’s typical visual flare and oddball humour. And for the newcomers: well, welcome to the party. Where on Earth have you been?

What we’ve been Listening to


Jessie Ware hosts a podcast about food, family, and the beautiful art of having a chat, direct from her very own dinner table. Each week, guests for the music world, culture and politics all pop in for a chin wag, accompanied by Jessie and her chef extraordinaire mum Lennie. The chat is based all around food. A specific dish is cooked and the guest is interviewed in a very informal manner. Of course sitting around the table and eating whilst having a gossip about life helps spill some home truths and a vast range of exclusivities. This specific episode (S4 EP 8) saw British fashion icon Sir Paul Smith drop by for a natter. Jessie explores the history of Smith’s start-up in the world of fashion amongst a few other things along the way. 

Where we’ve been Drinking


It’s not easy to balance the calm cool of the speciality coffee shop with the frantic, hustle and bustle of the Central London cocktail bar, but Caravan Coffee do the job with admirable style and ease. Housed in the former BBC Radio 1 HQ, Caravan Coffee’s Fitzrovia shop offers signature, all-day dining and a menu replete with what they themselves refer to as ‘well-travelled’ flavours. 

While we can’t vouch the itinerant nature of their flavours, we can say that their pizzas are something special. Well worth a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood.   

The Primer Image


When one of our favourite fashion designers lists one of our favourite directors as a key influence on a collection, our ears instantly prick up. Universal Works this Autumn/Winter invited you to holiday with them at the best hotel you had never stayed in. Unfortunately, you never will stay in it. A figment of their imagination David, Steph and co. built a wardrobe full of wonder inspired by a Wes Anderson-like hotel, filled with flamboyant characters and care-free guests, form those who arrived and never left to those who are merely passing through to those in uniform who make the place tick. The sun never disappears behind clouds at Hotel de Luxe, nor does the snow ever melt. If only we could have featured the getaway under the ‘Where’ve been staying’. For now, we’ll wear it.

Words by Will HALBERT & Thomas SUMNER