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'The Chaps' out in force 'civilising the city'

Betty Boo | 16.10.2004 16:24 | Social Struggles

A group of ladies and gentlemen were out in London today counteracting the vulgarities of everyday life, immaculately dressed in suits, tweed and smart hats, sporting waxed moustaches and pipes, doffing their caps to passersbys.

In a bid to civilise the city about 30 odd ladies and gentlemen were seen today at around 1pm lined up outside Tottenham Court Road tube station entrance, doffing their hats to people emerging from the station and wishing them a good afternoon. They were holding signs informing people that they were "chaps" out on the street to "civilise the city" and that people were entering a "doffing zone"

Once the "doffing" session at Tottenham Court Road was completed, the group moved on to Oxford Circus. The ladies and gentlemen were advised to avert their eyes from the vulgarities they were going to witness on the way. Police following them were overheard discussing whether this group was likely to be peaceful or not! How vulgar! Once at Oxford Circus, they again lined up outside the tube station entrance and doffed and greeted passersby and indulged in a few "Tally Hos".

These finely dressed folk were keen to greet all people, but announced that they may discriminate against people wearing sportswear and trainers. People were urged to indulge in tweeds and fine wines, and warned that by entering the tube station they were entering the belly of the beast. They were last seen doffing their hats on the way towards Piccadilly Circus.

Betty Boo


Hide the following 6 comments


17.10.2004 13:54

When I started to read the article on the hat doffing in central London I thought it was a great idea. I do feel that in London we don't make the effort to engage with other inhabitants of the city that we meet or pass in the street. However, when I read the last paragraph, "but announced that they may discriminate against people wearing sportswear and trainers", I was completely dismayed. For goodness sake, are you not going to be friendly to other human beings who, for whatever reasons (and you don't know those reasons), are wearing clothes that you disapprove of! I do understand the political and environmental reasons behind not buying certain brands but I find this form of behaviour elitist and, actually, quite facist. This kind of behaviour doesn't help anyone and it isn't "civilised". I may have missed the point totally and, if I have, please accept my apologies.


Jimmy, don't be dim...

17.10.2004 18:12

Yes, Jimmy you've missed the point. Wake up and smell the Zapatista blend, eh?

agent green

Agent Green's Comments

18.10.2004 08:35

Agent Green Wouldnt it have been better to explain the point of your mission to Jimmy? You just left a sarcastic note that will probably not mean anything to him So you've probably just shut someone else out and maybe he's just not as aware or educated as you but not dim


I missed the point

18.10.2004 19:49

Clearly, I missed the point and I did and do apologise for it. I didn't understand the point of these actions and still don't. That isn't a criticism of those who conceived the idea, it's probably quite brilliant but I just didn't get it! The answer from Agent Green felt quite insulting but that's just probably my ego feeling a little bruised because I didn't understand the point of it. Thanks to Gregg for asking for an explanation for me. Please, Agent Green, I would appreciate your input so that I can "get it". To call me dim is to stoop to the level of educated conservatives, please don't do that. I am left wing and working class. There are enough wars across the globe without starting another small wordy one here. Again, I apologise for my feisty and wrong initial reaction. Peace.


Civilsing The City

24.10.2004 16:43

Hello there,

As one of the people involved may I attempt to shed a little light. Although, may I first say that these are my views and my views alone.
The protest was simply intended to bring a little niciety and pleasantness to London's streets for an afternoon and to question the way in which people behave towards each other.
Unlike previous revolutions which used beards and violence as there power base we have chosen to use civility and the well creased trouser as our main assault on the trans-global corporate facism that currently beseiges the world. One could argue that by appropriating the aesthetic of the establishment we aim to disempower it.
The truth is that it is not in the interests of advertisers and corporations for people to be happy and friendly. Caring about your neighbours and the people around you just doesn't give you the requisite degree of unhappiness to be a successful consumer.
As for the sportswear angle. I have no problem with sportswear when worn by those who play sports. But the reality is that within our society it is a matter of fashion and that this fashion supports a global capitalist superstructure which condemns millions of people to virtual slavery in the nations where these clothes are manufactured.
In truth the whole protest was very friendly, people with baseball caps were shown, in a very light-hearted way, how to doff and even offered trilbys.
By encouraging people to wear tweed we are encouraging them to wear hard wearing clothes, manufactured by people who live in countries with labour laws. We are also encouraging people to think for themselves and, at the same time, injecting a much needed dose of situationist humour into the dialogue.
The daily situation of people slaving away at souless jobs to be able to afford poor quality, ugly clothes which are made at the sacrifice of another person's freedom is absurd.
Surely the most efficient way to fight absurdity is with more of the same?

Long live the charmed uprising!


Michael MolyneauxSwann
mail e-mail: dandy.fop@(remove me)

Agreeable Cause

15.10.2005 15:53

Can I first give a little background on why I have to comment on what these people are trying to achieve, I have recently left the Parachute Regt after 12 years service ( Not exactly renouned for politeness and doffing) however I'm dissmayed at the levels of ignorance in civvy street, I now work in an organisation of typical UK stature and civilisation seems a million miles away from where it should be! I have trained Phase 1 recruits and preach to them the Army code of principles Self Respect, Respect for others, Integrity, Selfless comittment, moral courage and a few others but todays society lacks manners and respect for society in general, What these individuals are doing is the start of a long road to restoring the country back to where it once stood. However in this cultural diversial society I some what feel that it may be thing of the past which is some what beyond the capabilities of parents and people in general to educate their children to respect and teach the art of manners. On leaving the Army I know that they have installed manners, and politeness and above all moral courage to stand up and be counted when most needed. It doesn't take the earth to say Hello in the Morning!

Airborne Dave
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