Is there something missing from your life? We may have the answer.
Behold, a list of items no man should have to live without. Here, you’ll find things that embody what it is to be male, and others that remind us it’s OK to shed a tear once in a while. There’s stuff to wake us up, put us to sleep, make Sunday afternoons great, make Monday mornings bearable, and things that should be with you every day of the week. There are bits that won’t last long, and pieces that’ll last forever. There’s also one that might cut off a couple of your fingers if you’re not careful.
There’s a grand total of 33 to get through, so let us begin…
At least one vinyl album from the 70s
Back when rock stars were rock stars. Hell-raising, rule-breaking, middle-fingering, TV-smashing, hotel-trashing rock stars.
Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here (1975), prices vary, discogs.com
A scarily sharp Japanese steel knife
If you’re beaten by a stubborn tomato in the kitchen, then you’re beaten by life. One expensive knife is all you need to get serious on your chopping board and feel like a five-star master chef. Buy right, and you’ll never need to buy again, so don’t feel too afraid to raise that top end of the budget slightly.
Saji Craft Santoku, £499, japaneseknigecompany.com
A watch with hands
Finding a smart analogue watch doesn’t have to mean spending four figures. Cost-effective classiness can be found in timepieces from Daniel Wellington, Larsson and Jennings, Mondaine, Timex, Shinola, Corniche and Uniform Wares.
Shinola The Runwell, £645, mrporter.com
Reading about the author having to pull down his friend’s blown-up remains from a tree will give you some sense of perspective, of that we’re sure.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, £8.99, waterstones.com
A hidden N64 and copy of Goldeneye
It doesn’t have to be out and plugged in beside your TV, but imagine how happy you’d be if your best mate suddenly called to say “She’s gone away for the weekend, fancy an all-day multiplayer session in the Facility?”.
Goldeneye, prices from £9.96, amazon.co.uk
A BBQ you have to light with a match
We’re all for life getting simpler – Netflix telling you what to watch next and e-mails straight to your pocket is all good with us. But hitting a button to light a BBQ is not. Keep in touch with your inner caveman and grill your slabs of meat over man-made fire, and let that charcoal smokiness take your cookout to another level. Don’t let a machine come between you and your flame-kissed steaks.
Weber Original Kettle, £179, johnlewis.com
A chair that makes you feel at home
Kettle on, papers out, football live, feet up. Weekend won.
Chill Armchair, £1995, heals.com
A collection of cost-free souvenirs
Forget dodgy t-shirts and crappy fridge magnets – bring back something from your travels that has a story. Why not collect a beer mat from every bar you visited while traipsing across America? Or pocket a menu from all the amazing eateries you and your missus chowed down at in Italy? Cost-free, conversation-starting memories, right there.
Free, all over the world
The king of hot sauce. You’ve not lived until you’ve had it on a bacon sandwich.
Flying Goose Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce, £2.50, ocado.com
Aftershave that you’ve chosen yourself
Something as individual as your scent shouldn’t be decided by anyone else other than you. Brave the first floor of your local department store and find a smell that suits based on what you like. You’re a big boy now, after all.
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Eau de Parfum, £145, Selfridges.com
An Anglepoise lamp
Forget expensive paperweights and cost-the-Earth stationary. A man’s home desk should be three things – tidy, meticulously arranged, and lit up by a classic lamp. Sure, you can get a new Anglepoise from the high street, but a second-hand old school model will have stacks of design charm, and a slightly more manageable price.
Original 1227 Brass Desk Lamp, £235, anglepoise.com
A stack of heavy coffee table books
Looking to up your coffee table book collection? Major publisher Gestalten’s online store has the answer. Feel inspired to sack it all off and live in a wooden cabin for the rest of your life with Hide and Seek: The Architecture of Cabins and Hide-Outs; get ready to become a meat master after reading Crafted Meat; and vow to never drink bad booze ever again thanks to Barley & Hops: The Craft Beer Book. There are pages and pages and pages of betterment in these weighty tomes.
Crafted Meat, €39.90, shop.gestalten.com
Electric clippers (that aren’t for your face)
Your trouser garden should be closer to Wembley’s pristine pitch than the unforgiving Amazon rainforest. Get a tool that can tackle the job at hand, and keep your southern jungle tamed.
Wahl Classic Edition Grooming Gift Set, £69.99, boots.com
A means to make great coffee
You wouldn’t accept crappy coffee from your local coffee shop, so why accept it at home? Get your caffeine out of anything other than a jar, and you’re starting your day right.
Hario V60 Drip Decanter, £25, hario.co.uk
A tiny cactus or three
If you can’t look after this resilient little bastard, then how are you going to look after you? Think of it as the canary that sings when you need to start taking a bit more responsibility for yourself and your loved ones, as well as your tiny plants.
Cactaceae, £4.50 for three, ikea.com
Decent vodka in the freezer
In reality, it’s not the best place to keep your Russian firewater, but a frosted bottle straight from the ice box is far more likely to impress that new lady on the scene than just pulling it out from the back of your cupboard.
Chase vodka, £48, williamschase.co.uk
A box of Maldon sea salt
The most essential £1.80 you’ll ever spend.
Maldon Sea Salt, £1.80, tesco.com
A well-ironed Oxford shirt or two
Your wardrobe is incomplete without at least one. Go for blue and/or white, and you’ll never be far from nailing the dress code.
Norse Projects Anton Melange Oxford Shirt, £100, endclothing.com
A mug that nobody else in your house uses
Hands off, everyone.
Stoneware Mug (volcanic), £14, lecreuset.co.uk
Beat-to-hell leather boots
You don’t have to wear them everyday, but when you do, make sure you’re going somewhere that’ll give them a run for their money. Just get outside and throw whatever you can at your rock-solid adventure-hungry sole savers.
Fracap M120 Sacrponcino Boot, £199, endclothing.com
A copy of Blade Runner on DVD
Not only does it teach us that we can have some pretty major flaws yet still be a hero, but Roy Batty’s ‘Tears in Rain’ monologue proves it’s OK for a man to take a sucker punch right in the feels every now and again.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut, £8.99, shop.bfi.org.uk
A dinner catcher
Plucking a little fishy from the water and putting him on a plate within a matter of hours is a feeling like no other. Make an excuse to get to the coast armed with this spinning rod and see for yourself (bonus points if you cook him over a fire you’ve built yourself).
Savage Gear Roadrunner XLNT Travel Spinning Rod, £74.99, farlows.co.uk
Go-anywhere do-anything jeans
Slim fit dark indigo denim is where you want your legs to be at. Drop a slice of your salary on a pair of Levi’s 511s, and wear them until you can wear them no more (then repeat).
Levis 511s, £95, levi.com
A splash-out sound system
It’s going to hit your wallet hard, but you’ll kick yourself for not investing earlier once you’ve cranked it up, chilled out, and drowned out the complaining neighbours banging on the wall next door.
Sonos 3-Room Starter Kit, £617, sonos.com
An excuse-stopping running wind stopper
We’ve got news for you, pal - you’re in England. The weather’s never going to be perfect for running in England. Stick two fingers to the sky by donning an all-conditions weather beater and getting outdoors to train your body into peak condition. “Oh, but it’s raaaining” doesn’t cut it.
Nike Impossibly Light Crackled Running Jacket, £100, store.nike.com
A dusty bottle of scotch
The Old Man paying you a visit? Repay all those years of cheering you on from the side lines, dropping you off at your mate’s house, and perpetually embarrassing you in front of your new girlfriends by cracking open something a little special when he rocks up. Add just a couple of drops of water to each drink to prove to him you know what you’re doing.
Balvenie 10 Year Old Founder’s Reserve, £99.95, thewhiskyexchange.com
Tweezers that didn’t fall out of a cracker
Exactly why nose hairs decide to double in length once you hit 25, we may never know, but we do know it’s a good idea to keep them at bay with some proper tweezers. Yanking them out with a cheapo pair is a pain no man should ever have to handle.
Tweezerman Midnight Sky Slant Tweezers, £21, asos.com
A party-saving knitted tie
Unsure quite how far everyone else is going to go with the ‘smart-casual’ dress code? Always, always take along one of these, just in case. It’ll take your shirt, jeans and trainers combo up a notch in seconds, without overstepping the mark.
Italian Cotton Knit Tie, £59.50, jcrew.com
A wooden-handled brolly
Handbag-sized umbrellas and ones with big sports brands do not count.
London Undercover City Gent Woodland Camo, £115, present-london.com
A permanently filled wash bag
All those little bathroom essentials you’ve stolen from hotels over the years? Keep them together in something as nice as this. You never know when you’ll need to flee the country in a hurry.
Hershel Supply Co Chapter Wash Bag, £25, asos.com
One crystal-cut tumbler
If the occasion deserves a wee dram of the good stuff, then complete the manly ceremony of pouring one out with glassware that’ll do your drink justice. You reckon Steve McQueen, JFK or Don Draper drank their poison out of anything other than the best? Hell no, and neither should you.
Waterford Crystal Lismore Double Old Fashioned Tumbler, £55, johnlewis.com
The means to put up and tear down a shelf
There are some things no man should ‘call a guy out’ for. At least, not until you’ve given fixing whatever it is you’ve broken your best shot with these tools first.
Homebase 70 Piece Household Tool Kit, £39.99, homebase.co.uk
The means to bleed a radiator
Clock-Style Radiator Air Vent Key, £1.99, homebase.co.uk