Debonair man about town and Editor of The Chap, a temple to style and substance, shows us around his web.

What is ‘a chap’? More to the point, what is The Chap? Debonair man-about-town Gustav Temple suggests that the first designation is somewhat in the eye of the beholder, but that it might combine close attention to sartorial detail, a witty and slightly offbeat attitude towards life and erudition worn lightly. All of these can be found in his jauntily irreverent magazine, which he founded in 1999 and continues to edit and publish today. It celebrated its hundredth issue last year (naturally featuring Chap hero Terry-Thomas as its cover star) and continues to attract a fervent group of international fans – including none other than Alec Baldwin. Temple was both flattered and faintly perplexed to be contacted by Baldwin’s PA while the great man was filming in Belfast. It transpired that he had read about a tailor in the previous issue and wished to pay him a visit.

When he’s not assisting Hollywood royalty with their enquiries, Temple divides his time between London and East Sussex, where he lives with his children. Something of a one-man band when it comes to his title, with hix high-profile regular contributors who include Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer and wine expert Olly Smith, he has managed to make himself the centre of a coterie of like-minded eccentrics whose wit and wisdom is only matched by the very sharpest of suits.

While Gustav, in Chap guise, is to be found on all the usual forms of social media, and his online emporium is one of the internet’s most diverting places to browse, he has a healthily sceptical attitude towards what he sees as the flim-flammery of the web. He tells us about why he’s not a fan of ebooks, his love of Ubers and what the best digital advice he’s ever received is.

My favourite website...

Rex Features is the site on which I spend the most time for my work, ogling photographs of anyone from Ava Gardner to Terry-Thomas, some of which end up in the Chap Magazine.

My favourite app...

It has to be Uber, as it has taken the misery out of watching the meter escalate during a three-minute cab journey in a Hansom Carriage, and also means one may linger in one’s debauched destination until the very last minute.



My favourite blog...

DameTown. Penned by Sarah ‘Dixie’ Laite, ‘a not-so-bad bitch, and self-styled Mayor of DameTown’, this is a finely-written tribute to all the Hollywood badass ladies of the Golden Age, written in the hard-boiled language of the era but with a modern feminist spin. It makes you fall in love instantly with Tallulah Bankhead, Jean Harlow, Dorothy Lamour etc.

My Internet hero...

The whole WordPress concept of thousands of talented dweebs all over the world collectively and continually constructing a user-friendly platform for millions of the world’s websites has made the job, for techno-unsavvy folk like me, of running a web site a thousand times easier than it used to be. It also means you can look at pages full of internet code and pretend you understand it.

My favourite podcast...

I prefer the randomness of the wireless, especially Radio 4, where one can lurch from heartfelt tributes to Fenella Fielding to an hour-long documentary about the history of the lift, all in the space of one two-hour tea break.

My favourite YouTuber...

The ones who show you how to fix a boiler or how to dispose of a wasp’s nest are the only YouTubers I ever look to for guidance. Very informative they are too!

My most recent buy online...

I prefer shops staffed by people in brown overalls who call you ‘sir’. Online shopping isn’t quite as quaint, though much cheaper.

Last book you downloaded or read...

I never read kindle or e-books, and enjoy the challenge of storing vast amounts of paperback novels which one can never discard, just in case the urge ever arrives to re-read (which it rarely does). I recently finished the last in my long run of novels by Patricia Highsmith, Ripley’s Game, with the realisation that her stories and characters are a kind of addiction, despite being rather lacklustre on the prose front.

Favourite tweeter...

SartorialThug posts hilarious comments on everything from beer-drinking competitions from the 1970s to sharp observations of the absurdity of hipster culture. Naturally, I have commissioned him to write a column.



Favourite Instagrammer...

Pinsent tailoring. This anachronistic tailor and costumier, being a true dandy, only posts photographs of himself, but without the concomitant vanity or pompousness one would expect. He also, surprisingly, doesn’t bang on about his sexuality or ‘identity’ (though a cursory glance at his profile reveals no great secrets).

Favourite tech gadget...

Does a kettle count? I do use it rather a lot.

The most useful gadget on your desk...

My Yard-O-Led fountain pen and a bottle of green Onoto ink.

First thing/app you look at on your mobile when you wake up/in the morning?

I delay looking at the damn thing for as long as possible. Those few hours are like a glimpse of some ancient Valhalla.

The last thing you binge-watched...

Friends – though I should add completely passively, as my daughter watches it on constant repeat. I sometimes feel as if my children also include Joey, Chandler etc and have almost reached the stage of shouting at them on the screen to ‘grow up!’

Social media allowed me to meet...

Some absolute weirdos. There is something very scary about encountering someone with whom you have had only social media contact until then. The ‘relationship’ has accelerated to a degree that starting all over again with chitchat can be entirely unsuccessful.



The best digital advice I've been given…

Always to remember that it isn’t the real world, and that on our deathbeds we are unlikely to be recalling an enlightening few hours on Instagram or an exciting browse on eBay for a vintage Tootal tie.

My screensaver is…

Unfortunately rarely employed, so I’m not sure what it is.

My pet online hate…

People who post rants on Twitter directly to Donald Trump, Boris Johnson etc, as if the recipient gives a flying hoot what they think. Oh and people who use the EU flag superimposed on their faces on their Facebook profiles, as if it will have any effect whatsoever on anything.

As someone who runs a business at least in part online, what are your best bits of advice/ most interesting things you’ve learned?

The one thing that seems to have been consistent is that the fun stuff can happen on or offline (writing features, interviews, meeting people for lunch, reviewing art exhibitions, travel) whereas the making money stuff, unfortunately, seems to take place only online or on a computer screen.

By Nancy Alsop
April 2020

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