Mr B, The Gentleman Rhymer
Mr B is on a self-proclaimed mission 'to introduce hip-hop to the Queen's English'. To whit, the world has a new musical form: Chap Hop. Armed with his prized banjolele and array of bespoke suits, he charms audiences worldwide with his lyrical stylings addressing matters of civility, cricket and all things English. His video 'Chap Hop History' is a global YouTube sensation. His most recent offering, Can't Stop, Shan't Stop, was released in 2013 and was preceded by The Tweed Album, O.G. Original Gentleman, I Say, and Flattery Not Included. We interrupted his afternoon tea with some startlingly intrusive questioning, which he sportingly indulged, as is the mark of a true gentleman.
As Chap-Hop's leading ambassador, are you called on to travel with much regularity?
I travel almost constantly. Lady C barely gets to see me, bless her.
What are your preferred modes of transportation - both around town and if you have to cross an ocean?
When traveling about Blighty I tend to take the automobile. I do enjoy the train to France or occasionally a ferry, if I'm feeling whimsical. I can force myself to enjoy a flight when I have to.
Does Chap Hop have a global message of any kind? Do you feel it translates easily when you reach foreign climes?
I do find that my demeanor tends to translate rather well, even if the people have no idea what I'm on about. They can see I am a Gentleman and that is what matters, first and foremost.
Which have been your favourite places to visit and why?
Crikey, there have been so many. I couldn't possibly name a favourite over here, for fear of offending those I have missed out, but I did thoroughly enjoy New York and San Francisco. They appear to be places where anything is possible. Japan was wonderful as well. The politeness and enthusiasm in the face of such confusion was a joy to behold.
Tell us about your packing M.O. Are you a light traveler or do you pack for every conceivable social occasion? What do you never travel without?
I travel as light as is humanly possible, thus my penchant for small musical instruments such as the banjolele. That said, one must have as much event-appropriate clobber as possible, just in case, so what starts light swiftly becomes a somewhat heavy load. Tweed is not a lightweight cloth, you know.
Is the banjolele an easy instrument to travel with? I imagine it keeps you quite mobile and built for speed. Compared to a tuba, for instance. What drew you to it?
You are absolutely correct. The banjolele fits in one's hand luggage, so you don't have to spend the first part of your arrival trying to piece the thing together again.
What necessities do you miss about England when you're abroad - either goods and services or more abstract parts of our culture?
Proper tea, of course. Old Johnny Foreigner is getting better at it, but they have a ways to go yet!
Similarly, which parts of English culture do you most enjoy showing off to overseas visitors who come to see you?
Chap-Hop! 'Tis my mission and my pleasure.
Is there anywhere on your travel wish-list that you'd like to take Chap Hop to but haven't had the opportunity yet?
I've not been to the furthest colonies as yet. I may try and visit Australia and New Zealand in the not too distant future, although I do fear they are not quite ready for this level of elegance...
Finally, what do you consider the most important virtues when traveling on any kind of shared transport - planes especially?
Only enter into conversation upon descent into your destination, otherwise one may be left with eight hours of some dreadful bore's life story. I shudder at the very thought. And don't tell the crew you're carrying a musical instrument or they may ask for you to give your fellow passengers a bit of a turn.They may not all appreciate it. I know I wouldn't.
You can find out more about Mr B on his spiffing website, and purchase his wares at his marvelous online store.