Handlebar Club

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Committee member Michael "Atters" Attree sporting the ubiquitous hirsute appendage and club tie. Attree has been hailed by The Guardian as the Handlebar Club's "most rakish member".[1]

The Handlebar Club is an association of aficionados of the handlebar moustache, based in London.[2] The club's sole requirement for membership is "a hirsute appendage of the upper lip and with graspable extremities";[2] beards are absolutely forbidden.[3] The club engages in activism to assuage discrimination against the handlebarred as well as competitive facial hair tourneys, and has inspired the foundation of transatlantic and Scandinavian counterparts.[2][3][4] The club declares itself to be at war with a society that demands people choose "the bland, the boring and the generic";[1] a club chant includes the proposition that being kissed by a smooth face is akin to "meat without the salt".[5]

The world's oldest whisker club,[6] the Handlebar Club was founded in a London pub in April 1947 by a convivial gathering of ten, including raconteurs Jimmy Edwards and Frank Muir as well as sports commentator Raymond Glendenning. Their stated intention was to show that "men with moustaches are men of good character",[7] and the mustachioed cohort resolved to meet monthly for "sport, conviviality" and charitable engagements.[3][8] Enormous moustaches were quite popular among the flying officers of the Royal Air Force in the Second World War, and in founding the club Edwards sought to perpetuate the custom.[9] The Strand Magazine greeted the establishment as "an indication that Handlebars have outlived their time", interpreting the preponderance of "men with a distinctive type of face-wear" banding together as a sign of weakness.[10]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Delaney, Sam (September 25, 2004). "Growing interest". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  2. ^ a b c "London’s Handlebar Club campaigns against sacking of Indian airline steward". The Economic Times. 16 Feb 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  3. ^ a b c Peterkin, Allan (2001). One Thousand Beards. Arsenal Pulp Press. pp. 159–160. ISBN 1-55152-107-5. 
  4. ^ Shephard, Arla (July 11, 2008). "Mustaches and beards face off in friendly contest". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  5. ^ Lowbridge, Caroline (November 1, 2008). "Ex-city PC with a handle on facial hair!". Nottingham Evening Post. 
  6. ^ "Germany lead world - by a whisker". Daily News. December 28, 2004. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  7. ^ Between Ourselves (Winnipeg: Trans-Canada Airlines). 1948. 
  8. ^ Harrison, Brian (2004). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 469. ISBN 0-19-861372-5. 
  9. ^ Warner, Jack (1975). Jack of All Trades. W.H. Allen / Virgin Books. p. 87. ISBN 0-491-01952-1. OCLC 1529779. 
  10. ^ The Strand Magazine (George Newnes) 114 (682). October 1947. 

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