A Rake's Progress through Keele

A Journal of, and Practical Guide to, University Life as a Dandy

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chap Olympiad 2007

The Chap Olympics provided me with a perfect opportunity to update this dormant blog, especially as I emerged as this year's champion and winner of the coveted Golden Cravat.

The day begin with the filming of the sketch in which the Geovictwardian's founder (or more accurately, revealer) Albion challenges the arch-cad Atters "on the plains of Troy, or is it the playing fields of Eton?", a scene sadly cut from the final take of the Hendrick's video (that can be found here: http://www.urbanjunkies.com/).

atters v albion

This was followed by the magnificent Opening Ceremony. This began with a lap around Bedford Square Gardens behind last year's champion - Fruity - carrying the Union Flag, followed by the lighting of the Olympic Pipe (an oversized briar filled with potent Navy Shag) which was passed to each competitor, and finally the placement of the ceremonial Olympic Pipe next to a bottle of Hendrick's on a pedestal by the organiser, Gustav Temple. After this, the Geovictwardians erected the base camp, before heading the refreshment tents to collect our share of the plentiful free G&T provided by Hendrick's.

geovictwardian base

For the Geovictwardians, the day's events commenced with the Martini Relay. For this, each member of the team had to stroll (running and perspiring are penalised by the judge as "ungentlemanly" activities) to a table containing the ingredients for a Hendrick's martini. Each must then carry out his role (first person does ice; the next does the vermouth; the third adds the Hendrick's Gin; and the fourth pours it into the glass, adds an olive, then presents it to the judge). Unfortunately the judge, Fruity, took a dislike to our martini (perhaps a result of the bribe openly offered to him by the team before ours). This, however, left more martini for me - about which I can hardly complain.

martini relay1

martini relay2

martini relay3

Immediately after completing the Martini relay, the Geovictwardian team was recalled for the Pipe Relay. In this iconicly anarcho-dandyist relay, our team had to pass a briar pipe from the start line to a team member reclining in a chair, then to the last team member (reading a copy of the Telegraph and stationed by an emergency G&T ) who must carry it across the finishing tape while keeping it still lit. Albion, our second team member, became distracted in the stylish manner that is so characteristic of Geovictwardians, by engaging in a cane duel with an opposing Chap midway down the track!

pipe relay1

pipe relay2

My beloved Kat and I also took part in the Bounder's Race. This race required me to saunter up to Kat, then deliver an outrageous (yet flirtatious) comment, resulting in a loud slap followed by a wry small. However, as Geovictwardians, we felt further flair needed to be added to our performance - so I then proceeded to doff my tricorne to, and flirt with, the next lady in line, after which Kat chased me down the length of the course striking me with her gloves. This attracted a most pleasing audience reaction, with an audible and touching chorus of "ah" resulting from our make up embrace after the race had concluded. Atters, however, inevitably triumphed.

me and kat

Geovictwardians also took part in several other events, including the Three-Legged Trouser Limbo, Steeplechase, and (periwig) Curling. The final event - the Free-style Dash (in which competitors must bring their own non-motorised transport) saw the conclusion of the mighty duel between Atters and Albion. Albion was mounted on his trusty hobby-dragon steed "Snap", while Atters used various forms of transport - including a go-kart that failed to start, and a stretcher carried by a harem of attractive ladies. Albion triumphed over Atters, as Atters became distracted by a burlesque streaker and never crossed the finish line.

Albion dash

At the end of the day, the awards ceremony to award the coveted Gold, Silver, and Bronze cravats, took place. To my suprise and great excitement I, Frisax, was awarded the Gold Cravat for overall winner. After recieving the Gold Cravat, I retired to the Museum Tavern with a number of Chaps and New Sheridanites.



Most photographs courtesy of Fiona Campbell, some from the Sheridan Club's FlickR.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Geovictwardian Wardrobe: a practical guide.

For the Geovictwardian student broadening his knowledge in a venerable university, or the Geovictwardian at work in the noble pursuit of a job well done, the problem of maintaining sartorial elegance in the face of draconian dress codes and the rigours of working life poses a constant dilemma.

But do not despair! There are a number of options available to the imaginative and creative dandy, and I will list some of these here.

The Hybrid Shirt

I devised this design to provide a versatile and stylish garment for student life.
The diagram below (shown for the left cuff) demonstrates how to make this simple modification, so that you can switch from a casual button cuff to elegant cufflinks at a moment’s notice.

Take the cuff of any normal shirt, and open it out (1.1). Pierce the material of the cuff beside the button, so that the button is between the new incision and the button hole (1.2). Widen and button hole the new incision if desired. Take a pair of bar cufflinks (i.e. the type with the pivoting bar at one end and decoration on the other, as in 1.3). Insert these, bar end first, into the outside of the original button hole (1.4), then fold the cuff round and push the bar end through the inside of the new button hole (1.5). Pivot the bar so that the cufflink does not slip back trough the holes (1.6).


While in some professions, such as lawyers, bankers, and undertakers, you may be lucky enough to be able to adopt a bowler or top hat as part of an official or unofficial uniform. In the majority of workplaces and places of education, however, such headwear (though stylish) may act as a barrier to communication and even earn outright ridicule from those of poor taste. Thankfully, alternatives do exist that are both stylish and practical. By far the best of these are the trilby, and the humble flat cap. Various designs of the former are particularly prevalent at the moment, and can be obtained at reasonable prices (for both men and women) at most women’s clothing stores, from some Marks and Spencer’s stores, and from hire shops/formal wear shops.

The sartorial crime that is the baseball cap; and woollen hats bearing fashionable logos should be given a wide berth by any man (or woman) of taste.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cheese and Port Society:- a successful mission

My ambassadorial mission to the Cheese and Port Society, Keele university's principal venue for fine food and drink and exquisite conversation, was even more enjoyable than I anticipated.

After presenting a bottle of port as a goodwill offering to the society president, my beloved Kat and I indulged in interesting conversation with friends from the KRAP (Keele's rock music society), RPG (roleplaying) society, fencing club, and likeminded individuals from the guests - the French Society.

After a while sampling the fine selection of ports and cheeses, and meeting such pillars of university life as the society president; and the secretaries of the Keele Conservative and Labour parties, there were short but entertaining speeches and toasts.

Finally, a musically inclided member of the society struck up "Jerusalem" on the piano, and we sang one (on my request two) verses. Having thoroughly enjoyed the first Port and Cheese social of this year, I presented the president with the geovictwardian society calling card, and left with my beau for the KRAP social.


your correspondant, Frisax, in the
Holly Cross kitchen before embarking
on the ambassadorial mission to
the Cheese and Port Society.
photography: Lisa, Holly Cross, Keele

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

filler - The Essential Geovictwardian Student Drinks Cabinet

Unfortunately, buried beneath the weight of work, social commitments, and a looming essay deadline, I can only provide this paltry filler after the long period of inactivity.
Nevertheless, the information contained within this entry is vital, as it deals with the matter of alcohol, a subject that is dear to every student's heart.

Thanks must go to Albion for his learned recommendations on this matter.

For a Geovictwardian, the drinks in his drinks cabinet (or the shelf on the bookshelf that fulfils that purpose) should be divided between those for three main purposes.

  1. Personal private consumption. This should for the discerning gentleman consist of Black Bottle scotch whiskey (a fine blended scotch that provides the benefits and fine taste of single malt Islay whiskeys at a fraction of the cost), or for the more effiminate or refined gentleman, Bombay Sapphire.

  1. Private entertaining of female company. There can only be one form of drink suitable for this role for the Geovictwardian:- gin. The best gins for the job are Bombay Sapphire (looks good on the drinks tray, can be drunk neat, can be blended wonderfully with Rose's Lime Juice to make a real Gimlet), or Sloe Gin (which also works well for outdoor consumption for you more active country folks, when poured into a hipflask). Of course, with its links to our friends in the New Sheridan Club/Chap, and their association with the Chap Olympics, it goes without saying that Hendrick's has already well established itself as a drink for those with dandyist tendancies.

  1. Entertaining large groups, parties, and social club meetings. For this, the true Geovictwardian will overlook the vulgar popular alcopops and vodka, and the basic ales and lagers, instead choosing cider (long seen as the mark of the discerning student). By far the finest cider is Scrumpy, though for those discouraged by its lethal potency, Weston's provides a decent substitute, as do any (cloudy) cider from Herefordshire or Somerset, and even Old English will do at a pinch.

In general, wines are to be avoided for all but the largest social events, as the need for the entire bottle to be consumed in one sitting once opened encourages drunkeness. Cheap ciders, especially "white lightning" should be avoided at all costs, as their quality justifies their consumption only by the lowest level of the social order, "chav" society.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Student's room is his castle - Geovictwardian accomadation

Assegai and shield decoration

Georgian prints

The blank canvas

Facing a lifestyle that will inevitably result in compromising some of his/her Geovictwardian character, a Geovictwardian student should at least make his/her residence for the next three years reflect the ideal's diminished lustre.

Facing the blank canvas that is his room, he or she will must likely first consider the warderobe - cornerstone as it is of any dandyism based lifestyle. As well as such functional garments as shirts, casual trousers (never jeans, never. Why after all would you want to look like a railway navvy?) and even the infamous "t-shirt", to preserve some vestige of my past identity I included two vital complete geovictwardian ensembles - the special occasion garments of morning jacket, tricorne, boots etc; and the "casual" look of velvet spencer jacket, trilby, and cavalry slacks; the cane also was essential.

Next, as any Geovictwardian will try to stay as aware of the modern world around him (in order to adapt his life philosophy to changing circumstances), a communications hub of laptop, TV , and phone had to be set up.

Finally, decor. Although Halls of Residence walls present much alteration - hangin indispensible Georgian prints, and an elegant Assegai and Shield wall decoration were both possible and essential.

More to come later, but for now I must go and explore my Halls and introduce myself to the new society.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Inventory - a Geovictwardian checklist

Inspired by the student handbook's to do list, I decided to produce a Geovictwardian interpretation:-

Before you arrive

  • Pre-select Complementary Study Modules. Those courses which lend themselves best to the Geovictwardian lifestyle include those which embrace the finest aspects of modern technology (Computer Programming, Using IT, Website Construction, Inventions in Society etc); philosophical skills (Human and Moral Agency, Philosophical Topics, Critical thinking etc) ; social and political skills (Entrepeneurship, Representing Students, Strategic Thinking); or the arts (Drama, Creative Writing, Journalism, etc). Over exposure to foreign cultures (such as modern languages); complex mathematical and scientific courses; or anything dealing with complex financial management (especially since many great historical dandies lived splendidly and in serious debt - like most students in fact) are best avoided.
  • Print Calling Cards. Although most universities provide a student ID card, no self respecting lady or gentleman would leave without this far more elegant form of identification.
  • Reject Student Loan. Not compulsory, as it is equally acceptable to spend this securing the finest accomadation, or through drinking and gambling, a more genuine Geovictwardian approach is to have wealthy relatives pay your way through university, or take up an appropriate job to pay for it yourself.

When you arrive:

  • Collect Keys, Furnish Residence Elegantly. On arrival, a Geovictwardian will furnish his or her residence with such neccessities as clocks, hat stands, mirrors etc. This will be covered in greater detail in a later entry.
  • Announce your arrival. During the Regency, any new person of substance arriving in an area would announce his or herself by distributing calling cards to anyone of social standing, and inviting especially worthy individuals to a reception with fine drinks. An excellent way to introduce yourself to your new community is to do likewise - a simple yet elegant calling card bearing your name and room number slipped beneath each door in your block works admirably.
  • Locate essential local establishments and soirees. To live life to the full a Geovictwardian, like any student, must discover the location and opening of essential venues such as local pubs in town, the best SU bars and restaurants, live comedy/rock or jazz music/cabaret nights.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

An Introduction

Welcome to the beginning of the sartorial, academic, and social adventure that is student life seen through the eyes of my elegant alter ego: Frisax.

But first, a little background for those confused ladies and gentlemen who may have stumbled across this bizarre journal. I am a young gentleman of 18, about to embark on a three year course at Keele studying Law and Criminology. After meeting Albion at a fencing club, I became an advocate of the Geovictwardian ideal, and now must find a way to adapt the elegant and dramatic dandy style to utilitarian and studious university life.

The inspiration must fairly be shared between Albion (to whose Geovictwardian movement I proudly belong); Beau Brummel (without whom, arguably, there would be no dandyism and no "fashion"); and to the wonderfully inspired and talented photographer Fiona Campbell.

Now, the journal itself. As well as providing anecdotes similar to those to be found in the rich lives of George Bryan Brummell and William Hickey, I intend to provide a guide to such vital aspects of student life as:-

-Geovictwardian accomadation
-Fresher's Week societies
-The Geovictwardian approach to 'student chic' fashion
-The essential dandy drinks menu
-and more...