Instant Improver

Samuel L Jackson’s guide to Father’s Day gifts

Put down that plain-ass sweater. It’s time to get your dad something that makes him feel like what he is: the coolest motherf*cker you know 

Things you realise as you get older: the importance of a pension, blue WKD isn’t an acceptable drink to order with dinner, your dad is way cooler than you gave him credit for.

And who better to extol the virtues of dads than the planet’s ultimate bad-ass sexagenarian and superdad, Samuel L Jackson?

As you might be able to guess, he’s not exactly the most laid back of fathers.

“A lot of people think cool dads are the dads who let their kids smoke, or drink, or talk any way they want. They aren’t. Cool dads are the ones who’ve established a relationship with their kids, where they can come to talk to them about anything, because they’ll get an honest opinion rather than an authoritarian answer. Cool dads are the ones who are perfectly integrated into their kids’ lives. And their friends think they’re cool because they’ll actually talk to them. I asked my daughters’ friends about things, like what music they were listening to, even though I didn’t like much of it.

“The world is set up in a certain way and if kids haven’t been out there just yet, they really don’t know what they’re talking about. I hear kids talking about their parents ‘disrespecting’ them and I’m like, ‘Excuse me?’ You earn respect. Before I paid my own way, why should I expect my parents to respect me? I didn’t run sh*t. They ran it.

“I always wanted my daughter to have two parents, so she could understand what a stable relationship was. My mom was a single parent, but I saw that from my grandparents – they were together and married for 67 years.

“My daughter was raised with lots of lessons about who we were, where we came from. And when people ask me why I work so much, I tell them that when I was a kid, all the adults in the house went to work in the morning. I just assumed that’s what grown people did. Fortunately for me, I have a cool-ass job that I don’t mind going to. When my daughter asked me what she should do for a career, I said she should pick something that makes her want to get up every day, not feel like she has to get up every day. Granted, she wasn’t under the same pressure that other people are, but she works hard. She wants to take care of herself. At some point everything I have will be hers, but she has to learn how to manage it. So many people would waste it because they never learned how to work or how to have a boss. That’s important.”

The natural question is: what about when his daughter brought boys home?

“Her dad’s a bad motherf*cker, so when they come in the house they try saying ‘hi’, so I’m like ‘Why are you talking to me? I know why you’re here. We’re not friends. Let’s understand that. You hurt her, you break her heart – you got to deal with me.’ There were a few boys that I didn’t like who I banned from the house.”

Spoken like a true bad-ass dad.

And if your dad is similarly wise and deserving, you shouldn’t need an excuse to mark your thanks to him. But as Father’s Day is imminent, now seems as good a time as any.

Do what Sam says

And go get dad and yourself checked out

“If guys get a bruise or a bump, they tend to figure it’ll go away; tough it out. They don’t understand that if you smoke, you don’t just get lung cancer, you can get all kinds of cancer. You can get testicular cancer, or stomach cancer, or breast cancer. Most men don’t realise they can even get breast cancer. Being in the sun, you can get melanoma on your skin, that’s cancer. Our campaign is about getting men to be aware of their bodies the way women are.

“It comes from how we were raised. You get a bump or a bruise – suck it up. If you’re hurt, play through it. Man up. Walk it off. And that’s what we always do. We don’t tell our friends, ‘Man I’ve been feeling bad for a week,’ or ‘I’ve been p*ssing blood.’ If you get testicular cancer, you don’t tell your friend ‘My balls hurt.’ A lot of men would rather talk about erectile dysfunction than cancer.

“And nobody tells their friends, ‘Yeah man, I had a rectal exam today.’ But let’s change that. Any time, dude. Any age. Get that done. Go now.”

Samuel L Jackson is Chairman of One For The Boys, which unites men in the fight against male cancer

(Photography: CHRISTIAN AMMANN)

  • Samuel L Jackson's guide to Father's Day gifts

    Invest in a one-off watch

    Sam says:

    "The most expensive watch I own is a Franck Muller limited-edition with diamonds on the bezel. I wear it twice a year. I prefer everyday working-man watches. I’ve been thinking about getting an Apple Watch, but I’ll wait until they make a few more generations of it."

  • Samuel L Jackson's guide to Father's Day gifts 1

    Harold Pinchbeck

    The oldest of the brands here, its watches’ looks reflect that classic heritage

    £599

    haroldpinchbeck.co.uk

  • Samuel L Jackson's guide to Father's Day gifts 2

    Uniform Wares

    For us, this M-Line M42 watch is the one to best demonstrate Uniform Wares’ minimalist principles.

    £710

    uniformwares.com

  • Samuel L Jackson's guide to Father's Day gifts 3

    WT Author

    This limited-edition 1914 model is inspired by First World War-era wristwatches, and is available in four colours.

    £350

    wtauthor.com

  • Samuel L Jackson's guide to Father's Day gifts 4

    Make him smell like his dream car

    Sam says:

    “I don’t wear fragrances. I use oil on my body – I use old suntan lotion because
    I don’t want a melanoma on the golf course. The only fragrance I am, then, is coconut. I must smell like shampoo. I get in elevators and I just can’t breathe.”

  • Samuel L Jackson's guide to Father's Day gifts 5

    Bentley Infinite Intense

    Befitting of Bentley’s luxury, this pops with spicy Siamese benzoin.

    £65

    beautybase.com

  • Samuel L Jackson's guide to Father's Day gifts 6

    Ferrari Bright Neroli

    For special occasions, with notes of orange blossom, neroli essence and rosemary.

    £75

    harrods.com

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    Jaguar Signature Of Excellence

    A rich blend of nutmeg, bergamot and petitgrain.

    £70

    harrods.com

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    Mercedes-Benz Eau de Toilette Intense

    This fresh update adds dry wood notes to the original fragrance’s fresh amber feel. 

    £53

    harrods.com

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    Teach him a skill (because it’s never too late to learn)

    Sam says:

    “I learned to fight for Star Wars; 97 moves. I’ve learned to play cello, piano and guitar. I’ve been trained to shoot guns by every law enforcement agency on the planet. I like that.”

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    Learn to cook with the best

    If you’re going to seek guidance at rustling up a feed, why not go to the best? Cooking The Roux Way sees Michel Roux Jr host courses where he’ll take you through three dishes, none of which will be beans on toast. Be quick, though – vacancies are very limited.

    cactuskitchens.co.uk

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    Master the written word

    As we at ShortList can attest, writing is a gateway to a life of riches and pleasure. So seek guidance from the pros – since we’re busy we’ll direct you to The Guardian, offering classes on everything from screenwriting to children’s books.

    theguardian.com/guardian-masterclasses

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    Make your own axe

    Learning to play the guitar is one thing, but we can guarantee that the satisfaction of doing so is 17.3 per cent higher (ish) if you’ve made your own guitar first – and this will teach you how. Brian May made his own guitar, and his hair is mental.

    thecass.com/courses