Where have all the gentlemen gone?

Matthew Steeples laments the loss of one of what once set London apart: Manners and gentlemen

 

In September in London, “normality” – if such ever exists – is meant to resume. The ‘Silly Season’ is supposed to end but yesterday, on 1st September, anything but such was apparent.

 

Where have all the gentlemen gone?
The late Sir Peter O’Sullevan and Omar Sharif were two gentlemen whom it was always a pleasure to encounter in The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

 

With streets still peppered with yellow Bentleys (nobody would object to a yellow Ferrari but a yellow Bentley, yes, a yellow Bentley; certainly not) and gaudy pink G-Wagens, shisha remained all the rage and perfume still strongly wafted. The Arabs paraded and Russians flashed their cash; bodyguards pushed little old ladies out of the paths of their charges, loud music blared from rickshaws and all in all, I noted the aura in Knightsbridge and South Kensington to be nothing but dreadful.

 

An English voice is rare now in this neighbourhood and with the sad passing of such legends – and true gentlemen, wherever they may have originated from – such as Sir Peter O’Sullevan and Omar Sharif, a wonderful thing has passed. One simply has to ask: “Where have all the gentlemen gone?”

 

 

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18 COMMENTS

  1. A lady and I were once standing immediately adjacent and about to enter a taxi in the Old Brompton Road when a gang of four shaved and perfumed Saudi or Gulf princelings interposed themselves and grabbed it. What does one do – start a fight?

  2. Of course, if Cameron had the cojones to tax non doms and overseas residents properly then the problem would diminish. They enjoy our security and rule of law and should pony up to pay their share of the costs.

  3. On the subject of gentlemen; although I never met Omar Sharif, I knew Sir Peter quite well

    Another undoubted gentleman – Ian Shuttleworth died during the summer

    A Service of Remembrance is being held for Ian in Cowes – augmented by the Royal Yacht Squadron where he was a very popular member, on the 25th September

  4. Whilst cultural enrichment and diversity may be wonderful in moderation, when it usurps our own culture it’s positively damaging. London bears no resemblance to when I worked there 40 years ago and the change has not been a positive one in my view.

    • Sadly, you are correct. To me London fell apart when the Hyde Park Hotel was taken over by the Forte family. It was rather like the Basil Street Hotel; elegantly tired.
      I am sure my friend Glenmore will have remembered what a wonderful institution it used to be.
      Not a Johnny Foreigner in sight-apart from colonial cousins and Indian grandee’s

  5. One should also be asking where have all the ladies gone? .. With the rise of the ladette or what should have been called vulgar, loud mouthed slags and the ever diminishing talking in a low tone rather than gaudy mouthed and over bearing chav accents it is now a thing of the past to meet a nice quiet lady or even mild mannered woman!

  6. Matthew, I can only apologise but I couldn’t live in London forever. Rest assured though, there are still gentlemen alive and well in Sussex (East!)

    • Glenmore
      You have beaten me to it!
      Amusingly, I saw that an Asprey family member had started some sort of shop up and called it ‘William Asprey Esquire’! Clearly, no one had ever taught him the finer points of etiquette.
      I rather like Osbert Sitwell’s partial description of a gentleman….” A gentleman is only ever deliberately rude”.

  7. Matthew, sometimes I wish you had a ‘like’ button so one could register support of a post without having to offer long and unnecessary words in approbation. Could your techie chappy take a looka at the idea?

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