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21 August 2014

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Event review: The ninth annual Chap Olympiad

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Pimm’s and propriety on the lawn of Bedford Square: V&E waxed its moustache and pulled up its plus fours for an afternoon of anarcho dandyism, courtesy of The Chap.

Words: Damien Gabet

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I am sorry to inform you that at present, there remains only one place left in the country – Bournemouth, in case it is of concern – where a gentleman may send off to have his collar starched.

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It was this, among other matters of sartorial interest, that we learned while at The Chap magazine’s annual Olympiad. The madcap publication dedicates its pages to the intricacies of being a proper English dandy (or, indeed, dandette) and offers advice on eschewing the vulgarity of modern life. Hoodies and spray tans, for example, merit rebuke.

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The event, in case you’re wondering what the Dickens I’m talking about, comprises a combination of genuine British eccentrics and normal folk what like to dress up. They congregate on Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, to parade their finery and watch the bravest dandies compete in a line-up of ludicrous contests.

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One of our favourites this year was the Umbrella Jousting, where 
contestants mounted on bicycles charged at each other with brollies, protected by bowler hats and briefcases. The Tug of Hair – two teams, a 20-foot moustache – is also not to be missed. For those not involved (us included), there was the chance to play coconut shy, boules and hoopla.

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Beyond the sport, we took a few sociable laps of the square, stopping to speak to dashing him here and elegant her there. We accidentally joined the New Sheridan's Club a more regular congregation of tweedy minds –  and spoke to a fellow about his range of unusual bowties. Our exploration was fuelled by Bourne & Hollingsworth's range of trademark libations.

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While this, perhaps, isn’t classic Square Meal territory, you can buy tickets for light-hearted groups and, if nothing else, it’ll score you big points for originality. Just be carful you don’t go home with a crushed-velvet bowtie in your pocket. 


Best bit: Watching two contestants, trying to not play tennis against one another in a game of – you guessed it – Not Playing Tennis, was hilarious.

Room for improvement: If you don’t get there early, your view of the playing platform is very limited. A reshuffle of the space is necessary.

Suppliers: Bourne & Hollingsworth

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