the Brighton SOURCE (May 2006)
Atters Attree, the only man in Brighton with the balls to sport facial topiary worthy of a true English gentlrman, grants a rare audience to SOURCE.
You're the youngest committee member of London's infamous Handlebar Club. Can you tell us about it?
The HBC was hatched in 1947 by comedian Jimmy "Wacko" Edwards and we meet monthly to display our hirsute beauties. Club etiquette demands gentlemanly conduct., the wearing of a club tie and an ability to bore outsiders with tales of the Empire and deceased comedians. It's glorious British buffoonery and many of these chaps are quite absurd. One splendid fellow is practically fused to his Penny Farthing. Women can join, of course, although they need to stand before our committee and have their "graspable extremities" tugged.
And you've won an award for your moustache?
I proudly won the English Moustache Style category at the European Beard And Moustache Championships in Milan in 2003. Most contestants take it far too seriously though, particularly the Germans. The whole event is like a caddish Ealing comedy: they'll spy on you to see what style you're picking and one lederhosen-clad rotter gave me a tube of wax that had bleach in it!
What does your role as grooming editor for The Chap magazine entail?
Humiliation usually. I perform in little shows here and there. The Chap editor Gustav and I launched our Children In Tweed campaign recently, with Gustav noting how "One hacking jacket could raise the self-esteem of an entire housing estate". We were an instant success with the youth of Hackney. But how their cherubic little faces dropped when we handed one a jacket of tweed. They thought we'd said, "who wants a packet of weed?" Alas, the future smells of stale chewing gum. Jensen Interceptors, the film If, the sound of leather on gravel and Jo Grant flashing her knickers at a Dalek are all but distant memories. distant memories.
What keeps you out of mischief?
Nothing, my hobbies are totally mischief-inspired. When I have time, I frequent local auctions and Séances for creative arousal. For many years I have aspired ot be the world's worst paranormal investigator and now it's official: as Flux Magazine's recently appointed paranormal editor, my serialised supernatural photographs are positively levitating with waggish misconduct. I also run an emporium at Snooper's Paradise selling Victorian ephemera, dinosaur bone monocles and unsavoury bygone twaddle. It's a cracking way to openly hoard, like a demented museum curator.
What advice would you give those trying to cultivate a set of whiskers, as fine as your own?
Always keep your moustache well groomed and waxed and avoid female barbers – if there's one thing I've learned it's not to let some dizzy novice bear my smasher; one snip and you're a bloody surrealist. The moustache snood (net) is also essential as it prevents kinkage and dribblage during slumber.
Is it true you're helping host the World Beard And Moustache Championships in Brighton next year?
Helping? I'm the bloody chairman! Yes, September 2007 will be a hirsute extravaganza with bands, celebrities, eccentrics, the world's media, squabbles, parking tickets and a spectacular parade through our noble city. The council is being superbly cooperative and we've hired the Brighton Centre for our prestigious, award ceremony.
Any words of wisdom for the scruffy masses?
How about "a goatee may go a-wandering but it'll not return a ram "?