It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but , for Gustav Temple and Vic Darkwood, the only way to survive in this pent-up modern world is to wile away the day reclining on your chaise longue, reading poetry and preferably smoking a large pipe.
The co-founders and authors of The Chap, a quarterly magazine that – since 1998 – has protested against an ‘indifferent and inelegant’ society, have now gathered their objections to modern day living in The Chap Manifesto.
Upset by the absence of individuality in contemporary street culture, Mr Temple and Mr Darkwood aim to promote and encourage readers to revolutionise their day-to-day dress and behaviour around the keyword: elegance.
‘We observe a tweedy, formal style of dress but we’re not a couple of toffs,’ elaborates Mr Temple. ‘We’re city dwellers without a lot of money, but our aim is to promote the ideal of looking as good as you can on as little money as you have.
Refined dress does not require copying your outfit from television’s current period drama: it is more a question of borrowing items from whichever period appeals, be it the eighteenth century or present day.
However, stress both Mr Temple and Mr Darkwood, the outward appearance is not only a question of the clothes you wear, grooming and etiquette are just as important to get right. ‘The modern man (and woman) is too caught up in solipsism and in comfort zones. We encourage people to consider first the comfort of others. Being courteous to complete strangers means there is a possibility that at some stage that courtesy comes back to you: it’s very karmic.
As well as suggesting that we should spend at least an hour in the bathroom each morning, and take as many long lunches as possible,The Chap Manifesto is unequivocally anti-sport. ‘The image of an idling sloth appeals a lot. With the possible exception of badminton, we’re totally against the idea of playing, or worse, watching sports. The only sport for a true gentleman is smoking.’
Espousing a philosophy of combining modern day society with traditional old-fashioned values, the authors underline their desire to strike a balance between the two. ‘We have included a chapter in the book on how to be a good house-husband,’ said Temple. ‘But we recognise,’ he continued, ‘that doffing your hat to a pretty lady would be going too far.’