28 March 2011
Our Harry attributes the return of the Young Fogey to the Royal Wedding. Total nonsense. More likely certain hacks desperate for byline have decided to resurrect the type in order to take advantage of the current media cycle. Because in truth the Young Fogey never left us. Instead he settled within the field of politics, the City, field sports, and academia, where he happily remains today. He marches in the ranks of the Countryside Alliance, UKIP, and the Traditional Britain Group. Young Fogeys visit London establishments such as the New Sheridan Club "to meet, to quaff ale, chat about this and that, admire each other's tweed suits and listen to wind-up gramophones." You might even spot him at Steampunk parties. Journalistic projects such as The Chap and select electronic newspaper columns have kept the flame burning through the long night of the last decade-and-a-half, providing a home for Young Fogey dissidents and betweeded non-conformists alike. This past September the American political journal Foreign Policy published for the clueless and uninformed an analytical piece on Young Fogeys. Well-fingered copies of The Young Fogey Handbook are flying off the shelves of rare book dealers from here to Chipping Norton. As the world painfully returns to archaic, human, eternal values, the triumphant hour of the Young Fogey approaches. The Young Fogey isn't back; he never left in the first place!
Read for yourself:
The Royal Wedding effect kicks in–the Young Fogey is back!
by Harry Mount, Daily Telegraph, 28 March 2011
A combination of the Royal Wedding and a Coalition run by public schoolboys has had an interesting side-effect – the return of the Young Fogeys, those young men who wear four-piece tweed suits, read the old Prayer Book and travel around by sit-up-and-beg bicycle, equipped with wicker basket and bicycle clips.
It’s an intriguing sociological phenomenon. In 2003, I wrote an article for the Spectator, saying that the Young Fogey had died.
“They’re playing rap music in the jewellery department at Christie’s South Kensington,” I wrote, “In T.M. Lewin, the Jermyn Street shirtmakers, you can dip into a fridge by the cufflinks counter and have a frozen mini-Mars while you are leafing through the chocolate corduroy jackets. Goodbye, braces with old-fashioned fasteners and trouser waistbands strapped perilously close to the nipple line. Farewell, frockcoats cut for long-dead Victorians. No more the endless pairs of black brogues. Hello, suit of modern cut. Hello, moccasins. Hello, loafers.”
It turns out – to quote Evelyn Waugh, a Fogey deity – that I was preaching a panegyric over an empty coffin.
These things go in cycles. The Young Fogey died out in the 2000s – through a combination of a New Labour government, and a tide of international money that obliterated all talk of monocles, wind-up gramophones and discussions over how many buttons you should have on your jacket cuff. The recession, the anarchists on the streets of London, the collapse of the brave new modern world… all of it sends wistful hearts harking back to a supposed golden age of sound, thornproof tweed jackets, stout brogues and a teddy bear stuffed into the armpit.
© Telegraph Media Group Limited