Chap Shop Sale

Posted By on September 9, 2016

Final reductions are still available from our end-of-stock clearance sale.

In October 2016 The Chap Shop will be opening a new on-line emporium of gentlemanly requisites. Until then, to make way for an exciting new range of stock, all currently held items must be sold, so we have reduced most of our prices by half on objects of desire that include pocket squares, back issues, books and CDs. Snap up these last-minute bargains throughout the rest of September by visiting

Chap Olympiad at Goodwood

Posted By on September 9, 2016

From Friday 9th until Sunday 10th September, the Chap will be hosting a scaled-down, but equally spectacular, version of The Chap Olympiad at Goodwood Revival.

Situated among the luxurious hay bales nestled next to the Beer Tent in the Over the Road area, opposite the main entrance to Goodwood, one will find a team of elegantly dressed chaps and chapettes, ready to instruct the public in the noble arts of Tea Pursuit, Hop Skip and G&T and Umbrella Jousting.

Join us for the civilised mayhem, taking place at 11am, 2pm and 5pm daily over all three days of the festival of vintage car racing, and you could leave Goodwood with more than just the sound of roaring engines in your ears.

There will also be a stall in the same location, selling all the items currently in our on-line sale, including pocket squares, back issues, CDs and books. Snap up these last-minute bargains before a complete re-stock for our new on-line emporium of gentlemanly requisites, opening in October 2016.

The Chap Loves – Spencers Trousers

Posted By on September 8, 2016

While the well-turned ankle of a lady is a pleasure for all eternity, the nude leg of a Chap has more in common with pulled pork than the shimmering delight of a Michelangelo sculpture. The unsheathed shank is a reckless fellow, falling upon the chattering classes like an Assyrian horde, scattering children, disheveling ladies and confusing pets.

But this anarchic activity can be mastered. All that is required are trousers. With a modicum of thought and a peck of effort, one can reach an outcome that marries both utilitarian necessity and the demands of good taste. But simply stretching your legs in the direction of the local High Street and hoping for the best is certain to return you home with a face full of sorrow and a bag full of regret. Such is the nature of ‘off-the-peg’ clothing: built for an industry average that isn’t you, they trail compromise in their wake.

Yet the road to well-trousered salvation is neither so rocky to travel nor difficult to uncover. Cupped in the calloused hands of the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire are Spencers Trousers. For almost a century, Spencers have been offering a solution to a Chap’s sartorial woes in the form of made-to-measure trews, hand-cut, built to last, and at a price that would draw a blush from your average pair of fashion kecks. When Reggie Spencer first set up the company, as the dust was beginning to settle on the ruins of the First World War, he had a mind to produce cloth for a newly minted aeronautical industry. But this moment had passed almost before his idea took shape, for plane design and power had moved on apace, with aluminium becoming the aircraft covering of choice. One dream crushed, but another, slightly more prosaic ambition, took its place. Trousers.

Major Beard Exhibition

Posted By on September 6, 2016

The Florence Nightingale Museum in London is to stage a major new exhibition about beards.

THE AGE OF THE BEARD: Putting on a Brave Face in Victorian Britain is the first major exhibition about the history of hirsute Victorian Britain. Highlights will include “Bluebeard” – an adult pantomime, on 13th, 14th and 15th December; from the authors of the new series of popular adult Ladybird books, A Guide to Beards in Popular Culture, on 26th January 2017. Further talks include Lucinda Hawksley on “Why I Hate Beards” on 9th February 2017 and a special Victorian-themed quiz night hosted by Matt Brown on 23rd February 2017. Chaps and Chapettes wishing to attend may do so for HALF the normal entrance fee, simply by presenting this advert on their field telephone, or quoting “To Beard or not to Beard” at reception.

The exhibition runs from 17th November 2016-30th April 2017 at
The Florence Nightingale Museum
St Thomas’ Hospital
2 Lambeth Palace Road
Tel +44 (0)20 7188 4400

As The Leaves Turn To Gold, I’ve Got Music That’s Old— The September Pilsner’s Picks!

Posted By on September 2, 2016

Yes, friends, summer is winding down, but I’m still winding up the old Victrola. Notable in this month’s “grab bag,” a great example of Duke Ellington’s early “jungle sound,” featuring the growling, snarling, low-down plunger-muted trumpet of the great Bubber Miley. Also, the aptly-named British theater organist Sidney Torch burns up the keyboard of a Mighty Wurlitzer, and don’t miss the pure, driving New Orleans collective improvisation sound of Sam Morgan’s Jazz Band. This kind of music is the “true coin,” the genuine roots of jazz.

The rest of the program is pretty good, too— if I do say so myself (“plink, plunk, I pluck my guitar…”)

An Antipodean Invention: Splendid Teapot Racing!

Posted By on August 17, 2016

This blogpost is dedicated to Donna Rose, the lady who inspired Countess Simona to create the sport of Splendid Teapot Racing. For the story of how it transpired, read on.

Splendid Teapot Racing is a Steampunk sport for all to enjoy! Originating from New Zealand in 2014, it was born of the steamy imagination of Countess Simona of Splendid Teapot Racing. With the initial racing vehicle ‘The Salty Sea Dog’ re-made from a classic 1950’s/60’s aluminum canteen teapot and a ‘junker’ radio controlled base by Captain Various, it hasn’t taken long for the craze to spread.
Captain Various with the very first racing teapot ‘The Salty Sea Dog’, made by him!
Image:  Courtesy of Splendid Teapot Racing
TheLadyArbitrates at SteampunkWayOfLife had the pleasure of interviewing Countess Simona, the Founder of Splendid Teapot Racing, earlier this week.

Tune back in to our blog on the weekend when we’ll post the most amusing movie snippets from the interview!

What is Splendid Teapot Racing?

Splendid Teapot Racing is a superb exposition of the creativity, speed and agility latent in all teapots that sit gathering dust on shelves everywhere.
Three of the inaugural competing Teapot Racing Vehicles at the 2015 Steampunk NZ Festival Oamaru, New Zealand: Salty Sea Dog, Stanley and Ol’ Smokey. These have three different bases and demonstrate significant in situ hints for success in teapot racing: wheel size, clearance (max 30 cm wide x 30 cm high x 40 cm long including all protruding parts of the chassis such as flags etc.) and a low centre of gravity.Image: Courtesy of Splendid Teapot Racing
Splendid Teapot Racing competitions are a call to all makers – amateurs and professionals alike. The Countess Simona describes it as a spectator sport which is “just silly enough”. She is firmly of the opinion that the more mayhem and absurdity ensues, the more entertaining the event.

Entrants are required to create a teapot-centric chassis, accessorised at the pleasure of the inventor, and mount this to a radio-controlled ‘vehicle’. Given that there are hobbyists with a range of expertise (and widely varying budgets) when it comes to radio controlled vehicles, racers are separated into 2 classes: ‘High Performance’ and ‘Junker’. The ‘High Performance’ class is for those hobbyists with electronics/robotics expertise and the budget to purchase and modify hobby shop calibre radio controlled vehicles for the base of their teapot chassis. The ‘Junker’ class of races are for those participants who use radio controlled devices such as one may pick up at Kmart or a junk shop for the base of their teapot chassis. Countess Simona has fashioned it thus in order to make the sport as participatory as possible and to ‘level the playing field’ so that those with the greatest expertise and budget for radio controlled devices don’t walk away with all the prizes!

That being said, those top ranking contestants in the High Performance class such as Colonel Hawthorne make it through the racing course very rapidly! The Colonel currently holds the record of 21 seconds (or thereabouts) for course completion with his racing teapot.

Latest Issue Sensation!

Posted By on August 15, 2016

The Chap’s latest sterling edition makes the unprecedented move of putting a lady on the cover for the second time in a row.

The lady in question is Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, who we decided was such a stylish icon that her life deserved an in-depth profile. This was a lady who wrote articles about Baudelaire, in between setting fashion trends and avoiding photographers all her life. In a dramatic contrast, we visited Margate to see what gentrification had taken place there, and found that it had all happened in a wonderful hotel called the Walpole Bay. Heading further afield, Laszlo Krass filed his report on an 1855 Cembalo Scrivano from the Caffe Quadri in Venice, while Tom Cutler advised on mastering the art of conversation.

Our main interview is with “Jolly” Olly Smith, wine connoisseur, bee-keeper and Bond expert, who discussed all these topics as well as Pingu and the paranormal with Michael “Atters” Attree. We display a selection of photographs of the most dapper chaps and handsome gals at this year’s Chap Olympiad, as well as showing the winner and runners-up in our Peaky Blinders competition.

Sartorial features include the khaki trouser, the neck scarf and the work boot, along with a rugged ramble to road-test a new interpretation of the country jacket by English Utopia. Cricketing headwear is inspected, with the conclusion that crash helmets are a little over-the-top.

To order the latest edition or subscribe, please visit

Hillman Aero Minx

Posted By on August 13, 2016

I couldn’t find any mention of one of the greatest but least known of British streamlined cars so her
e are a few examples of the Hillman Aero Minx. Hillman unveiled this very pretty car at the London Motor Show of 1932 and was a complete departure for the company, best known for producing reliable but unexciting family saloons to that point. The 1933 model with its helmet front wings with no running boards had a very short run, the design being changed to one with full wings and running boards and no examples of this first pattern are known to exist. Two examples of the later 1934 model do exist and I show both of them here. The lack of a first pattern car prompted me to create one for myself from the remains of a wrecked tourer bodied Aero. After four years I have not quite finished her but am getting very close and I show her returning from the workshop of the guys who skinned the body for me. Incidentally the same team are I believe currently putting together an exact replica of the Edsel Ford 1934 roadster. Hope you enjoy the Aeros.


Posted By on August 10, 2016

Good Steampunkers, we love a classic novel. From Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth to HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds, the inspiration drawn for so many things steampunk – from cosplay to video game worlds, from gadget creation to event theming – is indisputable. 

And so, in the late 20th century, authors such as KW Jeter and Tim Powers brought us new, powerful works of fiction. Time travel is still an ever-present theme and with the passage of time, they and others brought us re-imagined historical figures and started immortalising the cross-cultural human milieu and its effect on steampunk sensibilities by finely drawn characterisation.

Yet, the steampunk imagination did not stop there. New voices continue to add their voices and visions – hopeful and macabre. The capacity to locate these new soothsayers is unparalleled through the portals known to us as the interwebs. Through time, space and place, the tenacious thought tentacles of new writers and media makers reach out and take hold of our imaginations as they birth potent alternative realities.

With that in mind, we aim to bring you news on the latest whereabouts of emergent steampunk prophets!

Gallery of Curiosities showcase ‘a fiction podcast of weird, curious and horrible stories’. You can download podcasts to enjoy at your leisure. 

Images that reference the obvious inspiration behind this publisher of new media’s clever name – the Cabinet of Curiosities – immediately spring to mind:

Image Credit: Domenico Remps [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Posted By on August 7, 2016

Absinthe Salon

Good Steampunkers, we proudly bring you our review of a fine establishment in Sydney, Australia:

Absinthe Salon

What is Steampunk?

Posted By on August 4, 2016

What is Steampunk?

This is our definition of ‘steampunk’: ‘steampunk’ refers to a fusion of steam-era aesthetics and/or principles with futuristic ideas about human existence in the space-time continuum, informed by the possibilities offered by ongoing scientific endeavour when joined to the imagination. Steampunk is brought to life by the power of dreamers with nostalgic notions, who are supported by a deep knowledge of past eras, deftly knitting together science-inspired visions of the future.

Image Credit: Thomas Veyrat

Let’s deconstruct it.

JW Keter by Photo by Gemnerd 2011

Steampunk is a neologism which (arguably) was coined in the 1980’s. It apparently arose from the mind of science fiction author KW Jeter who was searching for an accurate description of his works.

But this is an origin story and if you’re interested, you can read about it here[1]. It still does not flesh out the meaning of ‘steampunk’ as it exists now after the pummeling we culture vultures give it. Thanks to us makers and appreciators and cosplayers and consumers, ‘steampunk’ is now a richly contested term. Let’s contest it a little more!

Image Credit: Shanna Jones Photography Yatzer Truth Coffee Shop Cape Town. Used under Creative Commons 4.0

The term ‘steampunk’ is largely used as an adjective.

Steampunk is used to describe speculative worlds, environments, communities and the attributes of people and things that exist within these. Those who adopt steampunk inspired identities often adopt affectations from their favourite eras: manners, mannerisms, speech patterns and communication styles. It adds to the flavor and experience. In delightful ways, it cross-fertilises the past with the digital age.

Hot Music At The Height Of A Hot Summer— It’s The August Pilsner’s Picks!

Posted By on August 1, 2016

Hot music, plus a little vaudevillian hokum from Billy Murray and some good old-fashioned song-belting from Sophie Tucker. Also of interest are the two equally great but very different renditions of “China Boy” made twelve years apart, which really show how much the style of jazz had changed (or evolved) over that time. By the way, it’s just as well that they’re both instrumentals, because the lyrics of that tune would definitely fail any modern “political correctness” fest.

The August Picks are a day early, because the ol’ Panther is so swamped at work that he figured that he’d better get the playlist up today rather than trying to do it tomorrow when he’d probably be too exhausted to even change the Victrola needle, much less turn the crank. Enjoy!