Chap Olympiad

I knew I needed to be England this month. Alas, I missed the Chap Olympiad held this weekend in Bedford Square, London. Billed as a sporting event that consists of “athletic ineptitude and immaculate trouser creases,” the Chap Olympiad is an odd celebration of early 20th century style with late 21st century subcultures. Chap culture (there’s a magazine here) is like someone spliced a Wes Anderson film, Gilmore Girls, and steampunk together into a zanny reinterpretation of both the figure of the gentleman and masculine roles today. It’s nostalgic in its appeal, but nostalgia for what is the central question–for a Monty Python view of life? for tea and crumpets solidarity?, for pre-Second World War innocence? (which isn’t really innocence; rather, it’s more whistling in the dark before the inevitable strikes). The tweed, the hats, the 1930s dresses, and riding boots all evoke a B-explorer film with no one actually going anywhere. It all seems like a lot of good, clean, Pimm’s fueled fun. The Guardian has a slide show here.

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