The Age Of Young Fogeys

May 13, 2015

The Age of Young Fogeys

British readers are likely familiar with the term young fogey, a joke-y pejorative aimed at a movement form the late 1970s/early 1980s of young people reacting against modernism by reaching back to celebrate the taste of Victorian and Georgian England. The movement (not entirely dead) was primarily concerned with architecture and design rather than clothing, but this photo of fogey Gavin Stamp from The Englishman’s Room shows off why a guy could find the past interesting in the face of cold, clean-lined modernism. Fogeys put the conserve in conservative, and were looking for something warmer, more colorful and deep, more elegant if decaying, the more archaic the better. Their preferred dress was probably exemplified by the costumes in Brideshead Revisited, and who can argue with the appeal of tweed suits and teddy bears? Setting themselves up as righteous defenders of the past, the fogeys were ripe for ridicule, and following in the footsteps of the Preppy Handbook and its British equivalent, they were. A lot.

Stamp himself is marvelously aphoristic, like an architectural Morrissey:

  • “There is nothing like destruction–or the threat of destruction–to make people value things.”
  • “With a few rare and special exceptions, I prefer my architects dead.” 
  • “I would rather have lots of moderately good things than one exceptional object.”
  • “As regards the pictures, I like anything, providing it is of a building"
  • “As for the furniture … the important thing is that tables should be
    able to bear the weight of piles of books  and that chairs should
    perform as filing cabinets.“


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