To answer a couple of your questions ...
2. skip the preshave oil.
3. soap or cream? Yes. Because. (Well, you'll eventually try both and decide which you like better personally. I'd say start with a cream for slightly easier lathering ... any one from TOBS that strikes your fancy would be good.)
4. Brush, until the B&B Essential comes out, I'd say start with a Crabtree & Evelyn $35 brush.
Be there or be square. Only I can do both!
I've got a cat named Beefeater and a dog named Beefeater, and two goldfish called Beefeater and Beefeater. There's Beefeater my hamster and Beefeater my horse, and my piglet, known as Beefeater of course.
Veteran of the Great Irisch Moos Campaign of 2008-09