Thursday, 31 July 2008

Since my titfer left me, it's found a new place to dwell...

Hatbreak Hotel: Graham King and... er.... another King celebrate at Sun Studios

This picture has all the elements that make for a great P40B signature shot. Note the historic location - the studio in Memphis where Elvis Presley recorded his first track. And note the efforts that Graham is making to create a new piece of history in the American heartland.

The shot is just one of a number taken on a semi-wild excursion by birthday fans Gabby, Tim, Graham and Jane around the southern states of the US. They've done such an incredible job that I thought they deserved their own web page. Tap your feet and hold on to your hats, as you take a whistlestop tour around Tennessee.

This titfer was last seen in Austin, Texas and is set to go wild very soon.

Location: Memphis, TN, United States of America
Date: 23rd July 08
Hat No: 14
Status: Semi Wild

I'm just wild about number two

My old friend Andy has a plan for titfer two. He's conducting an officially authorised experiment to see if he can turn it wild by abandoning it somewhere with a note. I know this isn't really how it's all supposed to work, but the 40 White Hats Project is designed to be fun and I'm not getting too uptight about all the rules and regs. If he makes a success of it, maybe other titfers could go wild in public places too. Place of abandonment is, at this stage, still unclear. I'll keep you posted on developments.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

To hat and to hold

Do you take this hat? Bride Dyanne and husband Mark share a touching titfer moment.

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something contemporary, stylish and branded with the logo of a major forthcoming birthday event.

We have to wonder whether Dyanne and Mark will set a trend for weddings around the UK and perhaps beyond. Veils are so yesterday. White titfers are the new black.

Titfer No 1 is unusual in that it's been photographed in the UK, took a trip to Italy and then returned to Blighty under the careful supervision of P40B fan Aliche. But the numero uno is about to go wild, folks, so watch this space.

Location: Unknown wedding party venue, UK
Date: 27th July 08
Hat No: 1
Status: Semi Wild

Friday, 25 July 2008


This hairdresser's ain't big enough for the both of us: Brent swaps his ten-gallon hat for a branded P40B equivalent. Click to enlarge.

With this latest picture, it's difficult to tell whether we're entering a salon or a saloon. Brent - from Bar Hairdressing in Clerkenwell, London - plans to blast us with hot air, six-shooter style. Perched on his head is the four hat, which seems to be doing the rounds of this fashionable part of the British capital. But where the titfer will head next is by no means cut and dried. Reliable sources inform me that Bar is the place to go if you're looking for great hair. And they'll even throw in some drinks and a relaxing massage. Afterwards, I'm off to raduno, darling, for a drop of Pol Roger 1998.

Location: London, UK
Date: 25th July 08
Hat No: 4
Status: Semi Wild

Thursday, 24 July 2008

23 goes wild!

Flight of fancy: Aussie pilot Brady gives a thumbs up for the first hat to go officially 'wild'. Click to enlarge.

Every titfer secretly hopes to become a star. The truth, however (with apologies to the Bard) is that some hats are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.

Number 23 has many claims to fame. It's currently the piece of branded headgear to have changed hands the most times. It was the first hat to send a picture of itself from a non-European location. And now it's calling up Norris McWhirter once again with the first genuinely 'wild' shot.

For new readers, I better clarify what I mean by wild. Put simply, it's a status applied to hats that are in the hands of people the original recipient doesn't know. Claire and Rob (see previous post) met Brady and his girlfriend Leasa at a cookery course in Vietnam. And it's that chance meeting which saw the hat wing its way to Hong Kong - the former UK territory which is now a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China.

I've asked Brady to see if he can find a way of continuing this great success story. But I can go to sleep tonight with a smile on my face. Because I've been wished happy birthday by a complete stranger on the other side of the world. And that's what the whole P40B phenomenon is all about.

Location: Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China
Date: 24th July 08
Hat No: 23
Status: Wild

First titfer to fly long-haul

Here comes the bride: a P40B hat is spotted at a traditional temple in Ho Chi Minh City. Click to enlarge.

Although I know there are already quite a few titfers outside Europe (see the Hatlas), we've yet to receive the photographic evidence. The P40B Award for the first picture from the wider world therefore goes to two newlyweds, Rob and Claire. Although they're honeymooning in Asia, they've still found time to email me from the Mekong Delta, which I'm sure we'd all agree is above and beyond the call of duty. By my reckoning, temperatures are likely to be well into the nineties in Vietnam at this time of year, so the branded headgear may well be helping to keep the bride and groom cool. Entering completely into the spirit of this signature P40B project, Claire and Rob passed hat 23 to someone they met on their travels. More on this in the next post. For the moment, it's a case of going, going, Saigon.

Location: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Date: 24th July 08
Hat No: 23
Status: Semi Wild

Birthday power at the Leaning Tower

Birthday fan Aliche recently took her extended family to Italy. She returned with what we can safely say are the only shots of Pisa ever to feature P40B branded headgear. The muscular arm belongs to boyf Chopkins, but I think he must be standing at some kind of funny angle, as the unusual tower behind him appears to be a little lopsided.
Hatastrophe in the making: Chopkins only just prevents the Leaning Tower from falling on his titfer. Click to enlarge.

Location: Pisa, Italy
Date: 24th July 08
Hat No: 1
Status: Semi Wild

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Astronomical clock ticks towards an important birthday

Lucky for some: hat number 13 is modelled in the heart of ancient Tübingen. Click to enlarge.

When I first saw this photo, I thought an extension had been added to the P40B headgear, but on closer inspection I realised that I was looking at a parasol, designed to shelter the residents of Tübingen from the glare of the mid-summer sun. The picturesque and historic German town -twinned with Durham in the UK - is a short drive south of Stuttgart.

Here's Vanessa taking time out from her job with (and the pressures of a recent house move) to ensure that Germany joins Denmark, Spain and Italy as a documented centre of European birthday celebrations. She's posing in front of the Rathaus, which she tells me houses an astronomical clock. I've no idea how much it cost, but it was astronomical.

As an American citizen, Vanessa is keen to get the weißer Hut over to the land of the free and home of the brave. Citizens of Baton Rouge, Louisiana are duly warned.

Location: Tübingen, southern Germany
Date: 19th July 08
Hat No: 13
Status: Controlled Release

Friday, 18 July 2008

There's one item of clothing that has to stay on

It's very hot in southern Italy and I'm sure this is the reason that Giusy has removed some items of clothing for the picture. You'll notice, however, that she wouldn't be seen without her branded headgear. The Italians are very fussy about their labels. If it's not Dolce & Gabbana, it simply has to be P40B.

If you're trying to get a geographical fix on this particular snap, think of the "boot" at the bottom of Italy and then think of the sole. It's a nice little spot on the Med called Soverato.

If my geography's correct, this is as far south as a P40B cappello has yet been pictured. The date/time stamp is a nice touch and adds a degree of authenticity not yet seen on this website. Well done, Elisa.

Location: Soverato, southern Italy
Hat No: 21
Date: As per time stamp
Status: Semi Wild

P40B goes back to the roots of civilisation

Historia emocionante: P40B investigator Marcus goes in search of Fred Flintstone

As some readers may know, this birthday of mine is going to be celebrated in various timeframes. My steampunk blog, for instance, places P40B in 1888. Things were so much simpler in those days, weren't they?

Birthday fan Marcus has decided to go even further back in time. Right to the cradle of modern civilisation, in fact. He tells me that this shot is taken at Cueva de la Pileta, near Benaojan in southern Spain, which is known in the local lingo as a "yacimiento arqueológico". Apparently it's the first place in Europe where homo sapiens put in an appearance. And without that seminal event, there would be no internet and no P40B. And probably no Starbucks or ITV1 either.

Previously on the P40B tour, this titfer paid a visit to the Alhambra - a significant piece of Moorish architecture and major tourist attraction, south of Granada. It was also on display during the battle of wills between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

With such an illustrious history attached to it, the eight hat has a lot to live up to. Perhaps that's why it's popped itself on a plane to Shanghai. We look forward to hearing from it again before the Olympics get under way.

Location: Benajoan, southern Spain
Date: 18th July 08
Hat No: 8
Status: Controlled Release

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Starting gun fired for hat 23

Barrel of laughs: Fi takes aim while sporting her stylish P40B titfer. Click to enlarge.

Fiona lives in a very smart and sophisticated part of south-west London. To my certain knowledge there's an Iceland, a newsagent and a couple of charity shops within close walking distance of her home. The last armed robbery in the neigbourhood was probably a couple of weeks ago at least. Why, then, does she insist on carrying a double-barrelled shotgun with her at all times?

Here she is on one of her frequent training weekends in the country, under the watchful eye of ex army regulars. The instructors dress up as hoodies and wear baseball caps to add to the realism of the exercise, so it seems perfectly natural for eager students to bring their own headgear along too. A couple of birthday blasts from her shooter and Fi's tormentors are sent scurrying into the undergrowth. Back in Whitton, they'd be retreating down the alley between the high street and the car park by the library.

Titfer 23 is now with a honeymooning couple in Thailand. I'll be vetting the pictures very carefully, as this is a family website.

Location: Withheld for security reasons
Date: 16th July 08
Hat No: 23
Status: Controlled Release

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Jurassic Park!

Budleigh, can you spare me the time? The Gabster takes a break from her artistic schedule to pose with a P40B hat on the Devon coastline.

My old friend Gabby emails from Devon, which is a seasidy place tucked away in the very south-westernmost corner of Britain. Apparently, it's divided up into different parts, one of which is called Budleigh Salterton Super Mare or Budsalt Supe for short. The location is a Jurassic Coast World Heritage site, which I think means they plan to shoot Jurassic Park IV there. If you look closely, you'll see very small dinosaurs paddling in the background and a couple of lighting blokes trying to introduce some artificial sun.

As a practising artist, Gabby knows how to match colours, which explains how the stripes of the beach hut are eerily similar to the Pantone reference of the distinctive P40B logo. Or maybe she repainted the hut and plans to enter it for the Turner Prize next year? Either way, I'm delighted that a titfer has made it to such a picturesque part of the UK and understand that it is set to travel even further afield.

As we speak, the hat is being packed into a suitcase that's heading for Texas. Is it possible to do tours of the Southfork ranch that featured in the popular 80s TV show Dallas? If so, please try to get a snap with a waxwork of Miss Ellie. "Why, ma'am, you are looking the real southern belle today, if you don't mind me sayin'. Is that a Stetson you have on? Or are you celebrating someone's birthday?"

Location: Devon, UK
Date: 13th Jul 08
Hat No: 14
Status: Controlled Release

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Waiting for my hat to come

American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz is so fond of hats that he's actually created a t-shirt which says "Fond of Hats". I wonder if he saw Nathalie's when she smuggled it into his recent concert at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, west London?

"This number goes out to all the fans of P40B around the world. You mean everything to me. I love you all! Hey, Phil, have a great birthday in November, dude!"

That's the kind of thing that Jason might have said on stage. On the other hand, he might not.

Hathalie, as she's now known, tells me that this musical titfer has already arrived in Thailand. Perhaps it will be worn at a gig in Bangkok?

Location: Shepherd's Bush, London, UK
Date: 10 July 08
Hat No: 20
Status: Controlled Release

Put your foot down and insist on a great P40B shot

My other car's a Fiat Punto: Ropey shows the prestige nature of the P40B brand. Click to enlarge.

As a media planner and buyer, my old friend Ropey does pretty well for himself and has amassed a collection of stylish motors over the years. Two more and he'll overtake David Beckham. Most of the vehicles are permanently garaged, but once in a while he'll take a couple out for a quick spin. And what better opportunity to show off the three hat? Unfortunately, while trying to drive two of his supercars simultaneously, Ropey had a bit of a prang and was thrown clear on the drive of his manor house in Essex. His special forces training thankfully came into play and he rolled himself straight into the recovery position.

Location: Ropey's front drive, Essex, UK
Date: 10th July 08
Hat No: 3
Status: Controlled Release

It is Spain... honest...

This is Richie Dowling - an old friend from 90s London - who now hangs out in the land of sangria, bull fighting and highly successful national football squads. He and his son Samuel are fascinated by the P40B phenomenon and were quick to step in with a photo.

But how can we be sure that "la titfa" is actually in Spain? Well, the clues are all there in the picture. Richie sports the designer stubble beloved of the Galicia locals. The bed or couch in the background looks distinctly continental. And the mosquito net at the window is a sure sign we're in a part of the world troubled by the effects of global warming.

Muchas gracias, Richie. Let's hope this hat now starts to travel right around el mundo.
El sombrero grande: a young fan shows his appreciation of the 40 White Hats initiative.

Location: La Coruña, Galicia, Spain
Date: 10th July 08
Hat No: 10
Status: Semi Wild

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

But where's Archie?

P40B goes five star without any help from Adobe: Princess relaxes at the Celtic Manor, near Newport. Click to enlarge.

Here's my friend Anita. You'll remember that I told you about her in my previous posts. She was the one who designed the attractive P40B logo and then started sending me pictures of her border terrier, Archie, wearing Photoshopped hats. Now she's done the right thing and mailed a genuine snap of herself in official branded headgear to (I'd sent her off to a five-star resort in Wales called the Celtic Manor. Told her she ought to treat herself.)

Good on you, Princess. It's now time for that hat to go semi-wild among trusted friends and close family members. And after that, who knows?

Location: South Wales, UK
Date: 9th July 08
Hat No: 26
Status: Controlled Release

Monday, 7 July 2008

Go semi wild.

When I talk about hats being "wild", I mean they're spreading a little bit like a virus -randomly from person to person. We haven't quite got to that stage yet, although I'm sure it's not far away. Below, you'll see some 'semi wild' hat action in central London, where the P40B titfers are being passed among groups of friends and work colleagues. It's a great teambuilding activity and may soon replace those terrible outward bound courses in Wales that they make people go on.

By my reckoning, as many as three of the branded chapeaux may be in play here. But soon, they'll all be going their separate ways. The tears are welling up even as I talk about it.
P40Beanbag: Sarah snoozes during a well-earned break. 40 winks, of course.
Fashion statement: Natalia discovers that the stylish P40B headgear sets off her designer outfit perfectly.
P80B: it's double trouble as Em and Jules strut their birthday stuff.
"I have a feeling someone may have just put a branded hat on my head..." Finance guru Richard takes a break from his spreadsheets to pose for 40 White Hats.

Location: London, UK

Date: 7th July 08

Hats possibly involved: Nos 4, 5 and 6

Status: Semi wild

There's nothing cooler than a P40B titfer

Next stop Legoland: Hat 17 visits wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen...

I thought my friend Roger had said he'd be taking a photo of hat 17 in a nice bar. I obviously need to have my ears syringed again. What's worrying me is that I've already taken one P40B fan to task for wearing her hat in the shower. Now I find myself having to warn against the perils of sub-zero temperatures. Remember, the hats come from China and were manufactured out of cotton and polyester. I'm not sure how many extremes they can tolerate.

This is, however, the first photographic evidence of a titfer making it outside the UK. So hats off to Roger. But not for long, because we know that 70% of our body heat escapes through our heads.

This hat deserves a break in the sun. I hear whispers that it may be off to southern Italy, so keep checking back on the web's No 1 site for branded birthday headgear.

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Date: 6th July 08
Hat No: 17
Status: Controlled Release

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Look closely and you'll spot Amy Winehouse

Hat 12 is on controlled release to my friend Simon, who's posing here high above Camden Town in London. Top marks for the view. I'm sure that if you click to enlarge and then use a zoom tool, you'll be able to see Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse making their way over the bridge in the background. Nothing, however, should detract from the P40B titfer, which is soon to become as recognisable a feature of NW1 as the slebs themselves. Simon has big plans for the twelve hat and tells me that it may be heading for the States via Tenerife. Watch this space.

Location: London, UK
Date: 5th July 08
Hat No: 12
Status: Controlled Release

A hat in a Southend bush is worth two in Shepherds Bush

Hat number 2 is on the second leg of its journey, having travelled from central London to Southend-on-Sea. For the benefit of readers from outside the UK, this town - as you might have guessed - is a coastal resort, renowned for having the longest "pleasure pier" in the world. Presumably there are other piers elsewhere that are longer, but give people no pleasure. The gentleman posing is my old friend Andy, which means the hat can only be classed as 'semi wild' at this stage. But he's enlisted support from his two lads, which just goes to show that the P40B brand can reach out to all generations.
"When I'm 40, will I be as crazy as Phil, Dad?"
It's a birthday slam dunk: P40B sporting fun in Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Location: Essex, UK

Date: 5th July 08

Friday, 4 July 2008

Hat is lost over south London

All long campaigns have their casualties. I anticipated that some hats would disappear off the radar or maybe return damaged from their mission. No one prepared me, however, for a branded titfer going missing quite so soon.

News has arrived from the Purley Way in Croydon that hat number 16 never reached its destination. It was travelling by Royal Mail on controlled release at the start of its journey. The headgear hadn't even reached the stage of going 'wild' or viral.

I knew the envelope was a bit c**p, but the same packaging has provided adequate protection for hats landing in Essex, Exeter and as far afield as southern Germany. This one couldn't even make it ten miles.

What are the implications of this early loss? Well, I understand the importance of maintaining the integrity of the project. It's 40 white hats, not 39. You'll be glad to hear that I have a few replacements back at base and we'll attempt this sortie once again.

There's only one potential problem. What if some postie - driven perhaps by greed and seeing ebay riches flashing in front of his eyes - has taken possession of the original hat 16? And what if it starts to recirculate? We would face the anomaly of two hat 16s being in existence and 41 hats travelling the world.

One part of me says this potential scenario doesn't seem right and that I should do everything in my power to avoid it. The other says that I should get a life. It's only a bit of fun for God's sake. Extra hat, extra schmat.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Hats latest

Here's the story so far.

Large numbers of hats distributed. Plenty are loose in London, but one has already arrived in southern Germany and another is heading to Copenhagen, Denmark today. Remember, the aim is to get them travelling all around the world. Most will start their lives in Europe, but one or two lucky ones get a 'headstart' via airmail to New Zealand and the USA.

We're in the early stages of the project - the "controlled release" of the titfers - but I anticipate a number of photos arriving over the next week. If you scroll down the page, you'll notice that hats 1, 2 and 4 have already seen action.

Just between you and me, I've had some media interest from a radio station. It's early doors, but this is a highly exciting development. The more people get to hear about the hats, the closer I get to my overall objective: a 40th birthday party that's shared by people right across the globe.

It's that dog again

Paws for thought: Archie helps his mistress design the eye-catching P40B logo.

I criticised my friend Princess earlier for using Photoshop. She's rightly pointed out that normal rules don't apply to her, as she's the person responsible for creating the distinctive P40B logo (with a little help from her terrier, Archie). I should be bigging her up rather than dissing her, so let me set the record straight.

Her real name is Anita (I only get to call her Princess because we've known each other for years) and if you need any art direction or graphic design sorting, I'm happy to point you her way. Perhaps you have a 40th birthday coming up and are keen to turn it into major worldwide event? If so, she's your woman.

Hats now sprinkled around London

Here's a lady who not only understands the importance of the P40B project, but also knows how to keep her hat clean. For reasons of confidentiality, we'll refer to her only as "H" and mention that she's in possession of hat number 4. I must stress, however, that this branded headgear is handwash only and needs to pass undamaged from one person to another. 55% cotton. 45% polyester. Made in China.

Location: North London, UK
Date: 3rd July 08

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Barking up the wrong tree

My friend Princess from Sussex has submitted this charming portrait of her pooch Archie. As you can see, he's an avid fan of P40B. But I'm smelling a rat even more readily than the border terrier himself. You see, Princess hasn't yet even taken delivery of hat number 26. Which means Archie can't possibly be wearing the real thing.

Let me make things quite clear from the outset. Photoshop is cheating and cheating is bad.

Location: An Apple Mac hard drive
Date: 2nd July 08