In a small corner of Heaton, not far from the bustle of Byker’s betting shops, is Al’s Musique Boutique and Gentleman’s Emporium, a retro haven for the Geordie Gentleman, selling all-sorts of oddities, kitsch curiosities and vintage collectables.
If you haven’t been to Al’s place then you simply must. You can borrow my bicycle. Go on… take it. Better still, arrive in your classic Beauford as Al’s boutique is a veritable treasure trove for the vintage groom, selling everything a chap needs for his wedding day – cufflinks, braces, bow-ties, tweed corsages, spats, pocket watches and pipes. “And would you like a detachable collar with that, sir?” Al also offers a tailoring service using the finest tweeds to create bespoke suits that will still be worn and loved long after the the wedding dress has been boxed and put in the attic. Happily, he is now selling his wares online which is well worth a look, and there’s loads on his Facebook page too.
Al’s personal style is a walking advert for the shop. Rarely is he seen without a perfectly folded turn-up or heavy tweed overcoat, so it was with great pleasure that I spent a Sunday morning with Al (the one with the fine beard) and his friend Jason as they went about their gentlemanly business, where else but in the pub for a pie and a pint.