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The New Edition

CHAP Autumn 21 has sparks flying, sea monsters rearing and men lounging about in pyjamas and dressing gowns. CHAP Autumn 21 finally tracked down the Sparks Brothers, while they sashayed about Cannes promoting not one, but two new feature films, Edgar Wrights documentary The Sparks Brothers and Leos Carax’s Annette. Ron and Russell Mael discuss the benefits of style over fashion, how afraid they were of the French film critics, where they buy their clothes and what makes them so annoyed about celebrities sponsored by fashion brands. David Evans of Grey Fox Blog recalls the effortless panache of Charlie Watts,… Keep Reading


Josephine Baker

Chris Sullivan traces the sensational career of the dirt poor girl from St Louis who went on to become the reigning queen of 1920s Paris and an international star. The sun was shining as best it could in Paris on the 15th April 1975. 20,000 people had lined the streets to watch Joséphine Baker’s funeral procession. Having already been awarded the Croix de Guerre, the Medal of the Resistance and named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for her part in the Resistance, she was honoured with a 21-gun salute, making her the first American woman to be buried… Keep Reading


Bright Young City

Chris Sullivan on how the end of WWI and the Spanish Flu pandemic brought about the birth of nightclub culture in 1920s London. The nightclub ethos as we now perceive it, with bars and dance floors on which men and women actually dance together, began in the 1920s. Before the era, aptly named the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, so-called ‘respectable’ women did not frequent late night venues, were not allowed into pubs and were not expected to trip the light fantastic. Their position in life was to make babies and clean the house. For the most part, the… Keep Reading

the sparks brothers

The Sparks Brothers

The release of Edgar Wright’s extraordinary and exciting documentary The Sparks Brothers, along with Leos Carax’s film Annette, gave CHAP French correspondent Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe the chance for a cheerful chinwag with two mighty brothers whose artistic, human and sartorial journey is a force to be reckoned with. In these forced globalisation times where, if we are not careful enough, we may all end up wearing, listening and eating the same things from Newcastle to Kuala Lumpur via Rouen, the Sparks’ long career represents a glimmer of hope. ‘Neither quite the same nor quite another’, to use Verlaine’s lines, The Sparks… Keep Reading


Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Gustav Temple meets the man declared by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s greatest explorer, to discuss climbing Everest and the Eiger while suffering from vertigo, discovering the Lost City of Ubar, being kicked out of the SAS for blowing up civilian property and using a sextant to navigate at the South Pole. The Royal Navy used to have a tradition of handing out a daily tot of rum to every crew member. Do you follow in this tradition on your polar expeditions? Alcohol in extreme cold conditions is not a good idea and we tried to avoid… Keep Reading


RIP Helen McCrory

As a tribute to the late actress, who died aged 52 on 16th April, Gustav Temple recalls an inspiring encounter with Helen McCrory in 2019, on the eve of Series 5 of Peaky Blinders. I interviewed Helen McCrory when the fifth season of Peaky Blinders was about to air in 2019. From such a huge star of stage and screen, I expected the familiar ‘luvvy’ personality and being called ‘darling’ interspersed with quotes from Shakespeare, but Helen was the complete opposite. When asked whether we had accurately described the type of cigarettes she smoked in character as Aunt Polly, she… Keep Reading


The King of Spin

With the sad loss of The Duke of Edinburgh also comes the loss of one of our finest cricketing royals. Steve Pittard salutes Prince Philip’s marvellous contribution to the princely pastime. The Corfu Compton first gave notice of his sporting prowess at Cheam prep school. The blue-blooded biffer – ‘highly unsympathetic to stonewalling’ – crashed a quickfire 19 coming in as last man. At Gordonstoun he captained the Ist XI, and had to contend with beastly Scottish pitches that had only just been grazed by sheep. The establishment only taught him how to waft the willow – gentlemen didn’t bowl… Keep Reading

Sir Richard Burton

Sir Richard Burton

On the bicentenary of Sir Richard Francis Burton’s birth, Chris Sullivan gallops through the extraordinary life of the notorious explorer, soldier, translator, writer, cartographer, orientalist, ethnologist, spy, diplomat, poet, geographer, expert fencer and sex obsessive. Can you imagine that, in the not too distant past, a thoroughgoing rogue might stand up in his club in the Haymarket and, after far too many whiskeys, pronounce that he was off to discover a country and, even though I’m sure that those who lived in said country knew of its existence, he would be applauded, funded, sent off amidst fanfare and acclaimed a hero before… Keep Reading


Street Life: Embracing the spirit of the flȃneur during lockdown

Sophie Gargett of The Dilettante explores the concept of the flâneur and asks what we can learn from it during the age of walking in lockdown “My former ennui had returned and I felt its weight even more heavily than I had before. I doubted whether further attempts at sociability would ever relieve me of it. What I required was not exactly solitude, but the opportunity to roam around freely, meeting people when I wished and taking leave of them when I wished.” – Gerard de Nerval “We have become a nation of urban ramblers!” a friend recently bemoaned to… Keep Reading


How To Read Patricia Highsmith

In the centenary of her birth, Gustav Temple provides a top five reading list for Patricia Highsmith, plus a reader advisory warning. This year marks the centenary of the birth of Patricia Highsmith, born on 19th January, 1921 in Fort Worth, Texas. It is impossible to guess how she would have reacted to recent political events in her native United States, but she most likely would have expressed a skewed, complex, controversial opinion that neither blessed nor condemned either the incoming or the outgoing president. Highsmith would certainly not have subscribed to the prevailing view of right triumphing over wrong,… Keep Reading


Honor Blackman

Gustav Temple recalls the actress who played Cathy Gale opposite John Steed in The Avengers and Pussy Galore in Goldfinger Honor Blackman’s arrival on the set of The Avengers in 1962, with a pistol in her garter and a full programme of Judo training under her belt, had taken a lot of meetings, discussions, agonising and resistance from the top brass at ITV. When original leading man Ian Hendry left the series, a new sidekick for Patrick Macnee’s John Steed was needed. It was producer Leonard White who suggested a female sidekick, backed up by series creator Sydney Newman, though… Keep Reading


Tiger Bay Blues

Chris Sullivan revisits what was once a den of vice, pleasure, danger and high thrills in the docklands area of Cardiff, and meets the residents who recall Tiger Bay’s glory days In the 19th Century, the moniker ‘Tiger Bay’ was used in popular literature and slang (especially by sailors) for any dock or seaside neighbourhood that had a notoriety for danger. But the most famous one, which spawned its most famous daughter, Shirley Bassey, is Cardiff’s Tiger Bay. Said chanteuse was born in Bute Street to a Nigerian father and Tyneside mother, but moved to the more salubrious Splott area… Keep Reading

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