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oxford
The Chap Travels

The Oxford Belfry

Gustav Temple finds that, forced to eschew the pleasures of a European city break, Oxford delivers just as edifying an experience Taking one’s annual summer holiday during a global pandemic produces one or two changes to one’s usual habits. Images of the azure skies, Gothic cathedrals and café terraces of Europe and beyond are somewhat tainted by the visions of deserted airports, sudden flight cancellations and quarantine measures upon one’s return to Blighty. It seems a much safer bet to remain within the boundaries of our own isles, and also affords the opportunity to explore the uncharted waters on our… Keep Reading

homme-de caron
Features

Creams, colognes and after-shaves

Part Two of Chris Sullivan’s history of male grooming The first rudimentary form of shaving cream was documented in Sumer, Mesopotamia (now Southern Iraq), around 3000 BC, which combined wood alkali and animal fat. Further shaving creams remained essentially unchanged from the Romans to the Renaissance, and it wasn’t until the 18th century that men started using a badger hairbrush to apply the soap. Shaving cream as we now know it first cropped up in the 1840s in England, Vroom and Fowler’s Walnut Oil Military Shaving Soap being one of the first widely available foaming tablets on the market. Since… Keep Reading

rudolph-valentino
Features

The Genteel Art of Male Grooming

Chris Sullivan looks back at the history of male grooming to ensure that post-lockdown man is ready to spruce himself up After months of lockdown, whereby a chap has been bereft of haircut, a barber’s wet shave and, for some, a manicure, many of Britain’s menfolk now resemble Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid in Harry Potter or Giant Haystacks, rather than Terry Thomas. As such, a touch – or rather a large slab – of personal grooming is in order for the well dressed Man-Who-Can-Now-Be-About-Town, while a little investigation is certainly also in order, to remind us all of the… Keep Reading

Features

Chaps of the War

On the 75th anniversary of VE Day, a celebration of the most eccentric, daring, heroic chaps who fought on their own terms and displayed remarkable sangfroid in the face of the enemy DIGBY TATHAM-WARTER Formerly of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, Major Tatham-Warter commanded the 2nd Parachute Battalion’s ‘A’ Company. ‘A’ Company were selected to spearhead the 2nd Battalion’s march to Arnhem bridge because Lt-Colonel Frost regarded Digby as a thruster, and not one to hang around – thereby making him the ideal choice to lead in an operation that depended on speed. Having captured the bridge and during… Keep Reading

olly smith
Features/The Chap Drinks

Whisky Galore

Olly Smith sings fulsome praises to the grandfather of all gentlemanly drinks, Whisky In John Landis’ 1983 comedy Trading Places, the villainous duo of Mortimer and Randolph Duke attempt to lure Eddie Murphy into their limousine by proffering a small bottle with the words “whisky – all you want!”. As a child, this always struck me as an intriguing gambit. Could any drink possibly be so good that one could be irresistibly drawn to it like a magnet tugging on the very metal of a robot’s brain? Some years later, I was taught never to resist the dram’s allure by… Keep Reading

rev-leslie-skinner
Features

Rev Leslie Skinner

“Caught up with RHQ at Enscheide by mid morning. Went down main street to see how things were going. Odd elements of German infantry being winkled out. Half way down main street firing broke out on both ends so I dived into a shop for cover. It was a barbers shop, so I had a haircut while waiting for things to simmer down.” Excerpt from the Rev Leslie Skinner’s war diary: 3rd April 1945 When Leslie Skinner landed on Gold Beach on 6th June, 1944, with the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry, he had two missions: officially he was senior chaplain to… Keep Reading

jerez
The Chap Travels

Jerez de La Frontera

“Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service.” Captain Willard, Apocalypse Now My mission was not to find a colonel in the Vietnamese jungle who had gone mad and to kill him, but to catch up with an old friend who had not been seen in Soho since the death of our own Colonel Kurtz, Sebastian Horsley. Shortly after the great dandy’s funeral in June 2010, Paul Lawford disappeared from Soho in a wisp of cigar smoke. His flat on Meard Street had… Keep Reading

marilyn-monroe
Features

Marilyn Monroe

One of the biggest challenges in writing about someone like Marilyn Monroe is that people have been writing obsessively about her for almost a century. Books on her famous lovers, confirmed or rumoured, are generally the first thing one comes across. Another focus is her impact on fashion. There’s rather a lot on her reputation for being difficult on set, her tragic life and conspiracy theories about her death. The first problem with writing on such a complicated person is having to leave so much out – Marilyn’s work in the Civil Rights Movement; how she pressured one of Hollywood’s… Keep Reading

spearpoint-collar
Features

Spearpoint Collars

The man’s shirt collar has been shrinking over the years. Not only shrinking, but also it’s been running away from the knot of your tie. You can see it clear as day; those collar points are spreading farther and farther apart. I believe part of this is caused by the erroneous notion that the “fashion elite” like to press on the public, that there are certain collars that work best with certain face shapes, and they have a ritualistic standard that is all you should follow. Now I’m not completely disputing that there is some balance between face shape and… Keep Reading

ava-gardner
Features

Ava Gardner

Ava Gardner loved drinking, staying up all night, sex, jazz, four-letter words, dogs, driving fast and Frank Sinatra. Her luminescent white skin, jet black hair, emerald green eyes, feline grace and dancer’s elegance was known to have stopped even the most hardened casting couch-abusing Hollywood producer dead in his tracks. She was thoroughly unimpressed with the movie business, considered acting not only silly but an embarrassing torment tolerated only to fund her extravagant lifestyle, was the prototype jet setting hedonist who, pursued by paparazzi, was constantly in the headlines for fighting and drinking and staying up all night. I’d say… Keep Reading

Features

Trubshawe!

Michael Trubshawe’s entrance into the life of David Niven was as sensational as any of Niven’s stage or film entrances. Niven was stationed in Malta with the Highland Light Infantry between 1929 and 1931 as a very young officer. His reception by the other officers had been rather frosty – one refusing to speak to him all the way to Malta from Tilbury Docks. Once he’d acquitted himself on the cricket ground, things got slightly better, until one day: “Suddenly, an ear-splitting belch rent the air. I spun around and perceived a truly amazing sight. Trubshawe was approaching. Six feet… Keep Reading

kind-hearts-and-coronets
Features/Reviews

Kind Hearts and Coronets

“It is so difficult to make a neat job of killing people with whom one is not on friendly terms.” Such is the laconic lament uttered by Dennis Price in his guise as Louis Mazzini in Kind Hearts & Coronets, the Ealing Comedy Classic. Louis is the peerless peer (oft by his own hand) who methodically bumps off a variety of relatives (all played by Sir Alec Guinness) to secure a dukedom. In light of the 70th Anniversary re-release by StudioCanal, The Chap felt that a review of the film itself was in order. I have personally been enamoured with… Keep Reading

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