14th May 2022 saw the second instalment of the dandified stroll without destination.
This year, after two years of not being permitted to wander anywhere, with or without destination, a large number of flaneurs pressed their pantaloons, polished their canes and cultivated new buttonholes again, in preparation for the second instalment of The Grand Flaneur Walk.
At midday under the glorious sunshine on Saturday 14th May, sixty five impeccably turned-out Chaps and Chapettes assembled by the statue of Beau Brummell at the entrance to Piccadilly Arcade, to hear a short tract on the flaneur read by Gustav Temple to set the dandy heart ablaze.
With the words of Charles Baudelaire ringing in their ears, the flaneurs spent a long time displaying their fabulous costumes and preparing themselves for the gruelling task ahead – namely to walk a few hundred yards around the corner for a bracing cup of coffee from the kind folk at The Gentlemen Baristas on the corner of St James’s Street and Piccadilly.
From thence the flanerie proper commenced, and our intrepid flaneurs and flaneuses made it all the way to the Guinea Grill pub in Mayfair, where a long pause was taken for refreshments. This convivial break was only cut short by the outbursts of an unruly mob of soccer fans, preparing themselves for a football match they probably weren’t attending later by pouring lager continually down their throats. When they saw the quantity of walking canes being carried by the flaneurs, they kept their observations on the Chaps’ peacockery to themselves.
The flaneurs were then turned away from the Golden Eagle on Marylebone Lane, because there were “too many of you”; yet around the corner, the aptly named Angel in the Fields welcomed them with open arms into its fabulous stained-glass interior. This was where debate hotly ensued among the flaneurs, as to whether the heat, by then at its fiercest, was too much for a further 45 minutes’ walk to Camden, where libations awaited them at the Camden Watch Company.
Half the flaneurs braved the beating sun on Regent’s Park, while the other half, concerned about undue creasing to the raiment, boarded an omnibus. Needless to say, the flaneurs on foot got there first; such is the exquisite, random, unpredictable nature of true flanerie.
The Chap wishes to extend a hearty thank you to all those who took part, and especially to the generous folk at the Camden Watch Company, who attended to our weary travellers with what they needed most after their long walk: sparkling wine, sausage rolls and the gentle strains of 1930s swing music. The Grand Flaneur Walk proved that, even in today’s obsession with rigid schedules, appointments and not wasting time, a simple walk with no particular destination by 65 dandies can reclaim the simplest of pleasures and turn it into a Happening.