News Archive: Year One
News Archives: view stories from Year One of the Club (October 2006 to September 2007), Year Two (October 2007 to September 2008), Year Three (October 2008 to September 2009), Year Four (October 2009 to September 2010), Year Five (October 2010 to September 2011), Year Six (October 2011 to September 2012), Year Seven (October 2012 to September 2013), Year Eight (October 2013 to September 2014) and Year Nine (October 2014 to September 2015)
To see many splendid daguerreotypes documenting the Club’s antics, click here.
23rd September 2007
Christmas Party Date Established
The New Sheridan Club Christmas party will be held on Saturday 15th December. We have chosen the cellar bar of the Penderel’s Oak public house on High Holborn in London as the venue, mainly because it holds more than the Coach and Horses where we had the Last Gasper, our summer party, which became rather crowded towards the end. The Penderel’s Oak is actually a Wetherspoon’s pub, which might not sound that promising, but it actually has a good range of well-kept ales and the downstairs room we have hired is quite characterful. At the moment we are planning to give the whole evening a murder mystery theme and there will be the usual cornucopia of events, entertainments, competitions and, of course, the Grand Raffle. More details to follow…
Ties Look Set to Materialise
The arrival of the New Sheridan Club ties took a step close to reality when we realised that the number of people placing a pre-order, combined with existing club funds, meant that we just about had enough money to place the order. The ties will be silk and will have equal, broad diagonal stripes in black, red and silver, with a discrete repeating NSC logo manifesting itself in the weave of the black stripe. They will sell for a piffling £15 each (plus a bit for postage if you want me to mail it to you). If you fancy one (and have not already apprised me of the fact), propel me an email. Needless to say, you have to be a NSC Member to purchase a tie.
Indian Summer Enthrals All Comers
The National Army Museum, which has the wisdom to employ our own Tristan Langlois, had a special event on the weekend of the 15th and 16th September celebrating all things Indian, including food, story-telling and much more. I wasn’t able to make it myself, but Mr Scarheart reports: “A charming Sikh gentleman was showing the correct way to tie and wear a turban. As our own Chairman, Mr Torquil Arbuthnot, had a beard it was decided that he should have the experience of wearing one and 14 feet and nine inches of cloth later it was complete. Apparently it felt a little tight and restricted the hearing somewhat but the Sikh fellow said that you get used to this in time, and all agreed it suited him. Interestingly, if they are starched heavily they maintain their shape and can be kept like hats, so you can pop one on if you need to go down the shops and don't want to tie a brand new one on.” See the daguerrotype below.
To the right you can also see Mr Arbuthnot standing next to a mannequin of someone who is clearly an ancestor of his.
Third Film Night a Quiet Success
For our latest film night on Saturday 15th September, Maud Peasgood-Nonsuch kindly curated an evening dedicated to the British silent film industry. We kicked off with a documentary all about the subject revealing that, once again, several movie-making milestones generally passed off as American inventions were actually pioneered in Blighty. Then we saw Piccadilly, a masterpiece of the genre. We managed to overrun by half an hour, but the staff were good-natured about it. There were a number of new faces, including American visitor Mr Russell Scheidelman, who was so impressed by Piccadilly that he later told me he was thinking of showing it at his private bar. Yes, Mr Scheidelman not only has a bar in his house but he opens it to others (presumably to select friends rather than the general public) once a week. Clearly a good fellow to know, though he does live in Seattle, which would make regular visits awkward for most NSC Members…
13th September 2007
Boatmen Tell All
At September’s Club Night Robert Beckwith and Senior Sub told us all about their rowing trip last year when they, and Des Esseintes, re-enacted the voyage described in Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat. We learned all about the barometer which didn’t work, the chance purchase of a hunting horn which proved invaluable for attracting the attention of lock keepers and the difficulty of actually fitting three fully grown gents inside the boat at night (prompting Robert to sleep on the bank under an umbrella on one occasion and eventually to cheat and stay in a hotel for one night). I’m hoping to persuade the chaps in question to supply me with text and magic lantern slides for this website, but we shall see.
Sub (left) and Robert walk us through a slide of Jerome K. Jerome and his friends, on whom the Three Men in a Boat characters were based…
…To an appreciative audience.
Meanwhile the Curé gives Michael Cassidy a piece of his mind and Miss Hartley astonishingly puts up with Andy’s makeshift neckwear (as supplied by the Club to miscreants who turn up without a tie—let that be a warning to you all)
And Ensign Polyethyl risks all to show up in her FANY uniform. Hurrah! That’s Alfred on the left.
10th September 2007
British Tommies to Get a Taste of Home
The NSC is fervently apolitical organization, but it has been suggested that, as a club, we might take advantage of the Royal Mail’s recent decision to drop (for a limited time) its charges on certain parcels going out to Mesopotamia and Afghanistan, not least in the light of the fact that we have various ex and serving members of HM Forces in the Membership. So the Club is going to put together a few of “Comfy Boxes” to send out to Tommy Atkins in his dugout to remind him of Home.
To this end, the NSC Committee will be collecting any donations Members might wish to make at the September, October and November Club Nights to put towards these boxes. The most recent edition of the Club Newsletter contains details, or you can email Mr Scarheart directly for more gen.
Waveney Cleanses the Airwaves
In addition to his roles as aspirant parliamentarian and earnest student type (and Disraeli impersonator), NSC stalwart the Earl of Waveney has also been spinning the wheels of steel. His weekly show, Say It With Music, has been airing on Siren, the University of Lincoln’s radio station, and in it he plays popular music from the 1920s, 30s and 40s as well as classical music, especially British composers from the same period and British Light Classics. You’re unlikely to be able to tune your radiogram into the signal unless you live within 30 miles of the transmitter, but you can also access the station via the interweb. He takes the microphone every Sunday at 2pm.
2nd September 2007
FANYs Celebrate 70 Years of Tough Love
Our own Ensign Polyethyl organised a party on Wednesday 29th August to celebrate 70 glorious years of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY for short) a bunch of hearty ladies who volunteer to patch up British troops in times of war. If Polyethyl herself (for whom no wound ever seems to be that serious and the woundee clearly a malingerer) is anything to go by, they must be an intimidating force. The party had a 1930s Africa theme so pith helmets were in abundance and one lady even came dressed as a zebra. The fact that no one shot her is a true testament to the conviviality of the evening. Thanks for the good Ensign for her sterling work organising this, toiling behind the bar and knocking up all the grub.
To find out more about FANY have a butcher’s here.
Face Fungus Foiled Again!
The third annual Tashes cricket match took place on Saturday 18th August—and for the third year running the Clean-Shaven Players thrashed the Hirsute Gentlemen, though any sane person can deduce that their failure to win had nothing to do with being either facially hairy or gentlemen. I put the victory down to the splendid haka performed by the smooth team. The rain held off until we were safely in the pub at the end of the day, but it was gloomy and rather parky, so we actually got on with the business of playing cricket rather than just lying around peeling grapes for each other and getting trolleyed on absinthe. However the wind was so strong that it not only affected the trajectory of the ball but also whipped some of the fake moustaches off, so the Hirsute Gentlemen actually became less hirsute as the day went on.
Still, it was a good match, and actually quite close. Ability was varied but the standard was higher than in previous years. A full match report will apparently appear at some point, but to get a flavour of the thing you can see some daguerrotypes at the Club’s flickr page.
The hirsute gentlemen pledge not to balls it up again this year. It didn’t help. Meanwhile, Fruity puts on a rare burst of speed.
In the face of ever-darkening skies, the chaps applaud a toothsome ball
Everyone puts on a rictus for the official photo
4th August 2007
New Sheridan Barbershop Quartet Soothes the Savage Beast*
Our Turn at the August Club Night was the mighty barbershop quartet who were scheduled to perform at the Last Gasper but had to pull out when the tenor fell ill. So last Wednesday we were treated to five glorious, and mostly tobacco-related, tunes. It is rare that the bohemian babble of a NSC knees-up is graced by such dulcet melodies; the room fell silent, save only for the occasional plop of a monocle dropping into a pint of mild from an eye widened in rapture; many Members openly wept. Perhaps it was for the best that the treat was limited to five songs, or else I fear the haunting beauty would have driven some, overcome by emotion, to open a vein. Many thanks to Captain Coppice, Dame Fforbes, Miss Hartley and Andy the Tenor.
As if the day weren’t special enough, we were also graced with the presence of none other than the Registrar himself of the Sheridan Club Chap Room website, upon whom we formally bestowed Honorary Membership for his services to Chapdom. For the occasion a special gilt-edged Membership Card had been crudely constructed. Truly a moving evening.
*Scarheart, that is.
The New Sheridan Barbershop Quartet, proof that the Devil does indeed have all the best tunes
Grinning idiot Hartley (right) presents the Registrar with his gilt-edged Honorary Membership Card; meanwhile Scarheart talks rubbish to new members and all is right right with the world
NSC Saves Pimm’s Regatta From Damp Squid
The Pimm’s Urban Regatta on 26th July was a new event that surfaced after a Chap spotted it and raised the alert. Although it was very short notice, the NSC boldly decided to enter—the offer of some free Pimm’s helped no small amount. The idea is that teams of two or four race in “boats” that actually have not bottom: you carry them along on foot, Flintstones-style. We had the choice of building our own craft or borrowing one of theirs. Cleverly we chose both.
When the day rolled around the rain was heavy so there were fears (in this Health-and-Safety-obsessed world) that it would be called off. Fortunately the deluge dried up before kick-off at 6pm and a good group of NSC Members assembled, some issued with small NSC Naval Jacks to wave. There was excitement in the air, especially as there was talk of the first prize being a year’s supply of Pimm’s. With a daily bottles for breakfast, lunch, dinner and one for bed that would be a lot of grog…
Our craft was a modest bark constructed from two NSC banners and two flexible tent poles, lashed together by all the string in the world and suspended on the shoulders of Mr Scarheart and Mr Arbuthnot by trouser braces. Essentially it was a walking horizontal sandwich board advertising the Club. In the very first race of the day, HMS New Sheridan was pitted against two ladies in a canoe who, despite the inclement weather, had South Sea garlands around their necks. Despite their Lotus-Eater attire, they displayed an unseemly haste to complete the race (two laps round a rather undignified obstacle course made out of bales of straw) and easily outstripped the more decorous pace of the NSC hearties, who drew the line at one lap. Obviously, the Club had been knobbled, as there is no way that HMS New Sheridan would even contemplate beating two young ladies. So the craft gently paddled round the course, doffing hats, smiling at the crowd and exchanging pleasantries.
Frankly, the Pimm’s PR monkeys had not managed to raise that many competitors, so a second NSC team was hastily prepared, using one of the organisers’ boats. But before they had a chance to test their mettle, the event was called off. It seems that the rain had so waterlogged the area that (admittedly after a lady had apparently slipped and dislocated a shoulder) it was considered unsafe. So all we could do was drink more Pimm’s, pose for the cameras and receive warm handshakes for making the event far more decorative and fun than it would otherwise have been.
The winners received massive bouquets and everyone got a litre bottle of Pimm’s.
Team NSC gird their loins to sign up, then doff their hats for the cameras
HMS Sheridan shows the land lubbers how it’s done
Missing the race itself due to namby-pamby safety fears, the NSC B-Team nevertheless maintains its dignity in the victory parade
Film Night Overcomes Technical Setbacks
The second NSC Film Night was held on Saturday 21st of July at the same venue as last time, a gastro pub in Bermondsey called the Garrison. The main feature was The Party a strange Peter Sellers vehicle in which he plays a bumbling Indian film extra who is accidentally invited to a swanky Hollywood party. Very much of its time, and largely improvised on set, it is low on plot and high on slapstick. It seems to be a product of an hysterical idea that behind Hollywood doors vast amounts of debauchery and immorality was festering away (in which Sellers’ character is, of course, naēve but upright).
We were hoping to show some GPO films from the 1930s before the main feature but the ancient technology of VHS confounded the staff and eventually we gave up and went straight on the second of our planned films, the Laurel and Hardy short The Music Box. You know, the famous one where they’re trying to deliver a piano. Many in the room were surprised to be reminded just how funny it is.
Following the widespread dissatisfaction with the canapés last time, in the interval many of us simply dined off the set menu, which was very good, although this option inevitably meant spending more money!
Congratulations to Captain Coppice for suggesting The Party. If you would like to curate an NSC Film Night then please do get in touch.
16th July 2007
Gentleman Amateurism the Victor in Fourth Chap Olympics
Last Saturday London’s Bedford Square Gardens played host for a second time to The Chap and Hendrick’s Olympics, jointly organised by The Chap magazine and Hendrick’s gin. Several hundred spectators flocked to watch such feats of Chappist élan as the Martini Knockout Relay (in which teams create a martini cocktail, the winner not being the first to finish but the one creating the finest drink), Necktie Kwon Do (two warriors locked in combat armed only with their mastery of tie knots) and Bounders, wherein gents approach ladies and vie to be the first to get slapped. (From where I was standing, Atters may not have been the fastest but he made up for it in quantity, netting several slaps about the chops and knee to the groin for good measure.)
Sadly there was no Shouting at Foreigners this year, but there were several new games, such as Curling, where a perouke is propelled along the course, with teams feverishly grooming the grass to guide its course. More to the point, Hendrick’s provided each guest with a goodly quantity of free gin to help get things off with a bang. In fact Hendrick’s had gone to extraordinary lengths to raise the public profile of the whole thing, with a series of promotional videos beforehand and swarm of photographers and film crews present on the day. NSC member Fruity Hatfield-Peverel was judging and, as the booze flowed, his judgements became more creative. At one point he was threatening to declare himself the overall winner, but clearly he was dissuaded—I think Frisax won this year’s Gold Cravat of the Victor Ludorum.
Gustav Temple lights the Olympic Pipe; contestants grapple in Necktie Kwon Do
The Hop, Skip and G&T event, in which spillage is everything
5th July 2007
Waveney Off His Trolley
The Earl of Waveney delivered an informative and strangely moving elegy to trams everywhere, and the London tram system in particular, at last night’s monthly Club Night. From early horse-drawn ones, to steam trams, internal combustion jobs up to electric ones, plus trolley buses too, we were treated to all kinds of detail and a wealth of illustrations. Sadly his short film on the bygone tram system was rendered even shorter when the DVD drive went doolally.
We were also treated to an enormous bundle of Imperial Telegrams luggage tags—proper brown card and string jobs, each complete with a genuine vintage stamp. (Of course, given that they all had the Imperial Telegrams website stamped on the other side, if you were foolish enough to put them on your luggage and then lost said luggage, it would presumably be delivered to them rather than to you.)
I was also rather touched to be presented with a set of handsome cufflinks in recognition of the work I did organising the Last Gasper—honestly, chaps, it’s all part of the job. Many thanks to all who were in on this!
Of course, we rather missed a trick with this Club Night. Given the date on which it took place, we should really have issued all comers with a black armband upon arrival, to mark the loss of our American Colonies…
The Earl of Waveney speaks out… and Miss Minna discusses the price of eggs with Mrs Palmer-Lewis
Horatio models one of the Imperial Telegrams luggage tags
2nd July 2007
Last Gasper Leaves Them Breathless
On Saturday night the NSC held its summer party. To mark the fact that it was the last night before the ban on smoking in public places came into force, the evening was dedicated to tobacco in all its guises. By any measure it was a riotous success: the venue had double the capacity of our last party, in December, yet at the event’s peak it was still full. Eleven new Members joined up during the course of events, and we confidently trust that they will (a) remember and (b) still feel that it was a good idea.
By now I’m sure you all know what was on offer—if not, scroll down to some of the promotional paragraphs logged on this page. Everything seemed to be much appreciated—all 24 tins of snuff at the Snuff Bar were broached (and all but six were pilfered at the evening’s end!) The Trumper’s products in the bathrooms went down very well indeed. I shall endeavour to make this a regular feature of future parties. The Shisha Corner kept busy all evening, despite an early technical hiccup when the pipe fell over, sending burning charcoal all over the place. All the competitions were entered into with gusto by the guests, leading up to a mood of palpable tension as the Grand Raffle took place.
I’d like to extend a warm and hearty thank you to all our performers—Niall Spooner-Harvey, David Saxby and the New Sheridan Barbershop Quartet (who sadly had to perform as a trio owing to the tenor’s coming down with shingles)—and also to our landlord, Giles Webster, whose complete enthusiasm for the event was one of the main reasons we chose the venue. His final contribution, among many, was to suggest another competition—to guess the weight of all the ashtray contents for the evening. I haven’t heard back from him yet, but there is a box of cigars (kindly donated by Captain Coppice) awaiting the guesser who came closest.
In addition to the few photos here, you can see many more at the Club’s account at Flickr.com here.
Winner of the Best Pipe prize and the “Pin the Cigar on Winston Churchill” competition
Measuring girth in the Smoke-Ring Blowing Competition
7th June 2007
Satan Revealed in All His Glory
At last night’s Club Night Lord Rupert (he of the flaming antlers) told us all about Satanism, a religion he has followed since he was a small boy. He was at pains to stress that there was no virgin-sacrificing involved and it was mostly about free will. We were also intrigued to hear just how many interesting demons there are upon whom one may call for help, though sadly none was summoned on this occasion (and indeed Rupert revealed that he has never actually felt the need to try and petition one). However, we were all given name stickers identifying ourselves as demonic ministers, priests and other infernal stormtroopers of one sort or another. I seem to recall I was a Commander of the Order of the Fly, which sounds pretty cool and I shall be putting it on my business cards from now on. Anyway, the room had been gaily decorated with Satanic glyphs and sigils, and I rather expected to find, as we left the pub, that it had been transported to some Lovecraftian alien moonscape. But it had not.
In addition to Satanic revelry we were able to celebrate the 246th birthday or our glorious leader Mr Arbuthnot (all beings make merry on pain of death!) with a cake supplied by Miss Minna. Mr Nathaniel Slipper made a rare appearance, three new members joined up and a good time was had by all.
Lord Rupert addresses the rapt masses…and, later, our illustrious Chairman blows out the candles on his cake
1st June 2007
Last Gasper Preparations Enter Final Straight
Most of the pieces are now in place for The Last Gasper, our summer party on Saturday 30th June. Hundreds of flyers are being distributed, mainly in vintage clothing shops and mostly in London. To have a look at the flyer, click on the images below. If you can think of somewhere really cunning to station some, please let us know.
However, attractions continue to be added since the flyers were printed—our own Niall Spooner-Harvey has agreed to pen and declaim a specially commissioned ode for the evening, and further raffle prizes have been added, including a book on fine cigars and more vintage smoking paraphernalia. A consignment of German Rauchbier smoked beer should be on hand, plus a variety of cigars and cigarettes on sale for the evening. There is also a possible alcohol sponsorship in the offing…
As mentioned before, if you’d like to dine with us (and I recommend that you do) please email me so that the chef has an idea of numbers.
14th May 2007
South London Pubs Touched by Foppish Grace
On Saturday afternoon a number of public houses in the Bermondsey area were privileged to be attended by a squadron of NSC hearties. Mr Ian White organised a splendid pub crawl—the beer was fine, the hostelries welcoming and the locals slack-jawed at our arrival. Many NSC calling cards were dispensed to curious enquirers; one gentleman was so taken by our élan that he bought the whole company a drink—thanks, Barry! (I think Barry’s wife was somewhat less convinced and wouldn’t accept that anyone would dress that way out of general choice, rather than as some trick or stunt…) A big thank-you to Mr White!
In the presence of so many umbrellas, Mr Horatio Scotney-Le Cheyne is overcome by a transcendent sense of grace
8th May 2007
Punting Team Probe Man’s Heart of Darkness
A couple of weeks ago a NSC picnic party punted nervously up Oxford’s great grey-green greasy Cherwell. They needn’t have been nervous as, for the third year in a row, it astonishingly failed to rain on us. Mind you, the river was strangely clogged with detritus and at points it seemed we could venture no further, leaving us to contemplate a Fitzcarraldo-style cross-country punt-hauling wheeze. Fortunately we hacked our way through the undergrowth and made it to the Happy Punting Grounds where we moored and picnicked heartily. The heartiness was greatly aided by Viscount Rushen’s enormous bottle of champagne.
Rupert in his element (i.e. with a glass of absinthe) and Waveney practising his moves for that post-election celebration. (Sadly not to be, as it turned out, though I believe he received more votes than any other Conservative.)
Finally reaching the Elysian Fields, the party chow down
4th May 2007
Camouflage Explained and Lainie Toasted
We were privileged at the May Club Night on two accounts—first we were lucky enough to have an illustrated address from Mr Tim Newark on the history of camouflage. Mr Newark is the author of many books on the subject, including the one to accompany the exhibition currently on show at the Imperial War Museum. He took us from the very beginnings of camouflage (on which point I am pleased to say he disagrees violently with the curator of the exhibition) up to recent intrigues, such as the fact that the “chocolate chip” pattern that was so unpopular with US troops in the first Gulf War was not actually abandoned as thought: the thousands of uniforms were in fact stored until the current Iraq conflict, at which point they were given to the new Iraqi army.
Our second privilege was to be able to raise a toast to Ms Lainie Petersen, who has just finished her degree. Ms Petersen was not present, living as she does in Chicago, but she had kindly wired through funds to buy everyone in the room a glass of port, hence the extreme glee on all our faces:
Here’s to Ms Lainie Petersen and her newly acquired qualifications!
Signing the Register with the ancestral dip pen causes just the right amount of chaos
Dancing breaks out… and, yes, Erik really is wearing shorts.
24th April 2007
Pope Compensates for Bureaucratic Balls-Up
Mr Torquil Arbuthnot writes: The April meeting of the Club took place in the Wheatsheaf as usual. However, due to a double booking, we were relegated to the downstairs bar, where our attire and banter attracted many respectful enquiries from those propping up the bar. The affable landlord also treated members to a free initial drink, thereby more than atoning for his mistake with the booking. Ms Evadne Raccat gave a thoroughly enthralling talk on portrait images of Mr Alexander Pope (author of such poetical works as ‘The Dunciad’ and ‘The Rape of the Lock’), lavishly illustrated with many excellent magic lantern slides. A hearty clap on the back to Ms Raccat for her talk.
England’s Patron Saint Still Revered in Southwark
Mr Torquil Arbuthnot writes: Mr Tristan Langlois decided to revive a tradition from his past, when every year he held a party at the George Inn on Borough High Street to celebrate St George’s Day. He explained to revellers: “My Saint George’s Day Hop was very much in keeping with the theme, a Dickensian revelry with songs, dancing, turns, recitations, skits, mumming, morris dancing, pipes smoked and pewter tankards raised to old Saint G. This year, with a bit of luck, we’ll reach the same heady heights of Victorian bacchanalia.” And indeed thirty or so stout English yeomen and yeowomen turned up at the George and quaffed many a foaming pint of English ale. Mr Langlois kicked off the revels by reciting an eighteenth century poem about St George slaying the dragon. Then Mrs Samantha Langlois produced a piĖata* in the shape of a dragon, and hung it from the inn’s balcony. Revellers were then blindfolded and allowed three thwacks at the piĖata with a wooden sword. Artemis Scarheart and Torquil Arbuthnot administered telling blows, but it was Mr Robert Beckwith, his Crusader blood coursing through his veins, who stepped up and sabred off the dragon’s head with a mighty swipe. Afterwards someone recited Shakespeare’s stirring Henry V speech on the eve of Agincourt, and two ladies sang louche Scottish ditties. Throughout the evening those gathered would break into stirring songs such as ‘Come Landlord Fill the Flowing Bowl’, ‘Spanish Ladies’, ‘Rule, Britannia’, Jerusalem’, and ‘O’er the Hills and Far Away’.
*The piĖata is a papier-maché container, usually in the shape of an animal or person, suspended on a rope from a tree branch or ceiling that is filled with sweets and toys and is used during celebrations. A succession of blindfolded, stick-wielding children will try to break the piĖata in order to collect the goodies inside of it. It originates in Mexico and is believed to be Aztec in origin.
The throng croaks out some patriotic dirges
The lovingly-crafted piĖata dragon, before NSC Members helpfully smashed it to pieces
17th April 2007
Athletes Required for Olympic Promotion
Mr Gustav Temple, illustrious editor of The Chap has sent out a “call to charms”, inviting amateur gamesmen to help promote the highlight of year’s sporting calendar. “What with the Olympiad being held on Saturday 14th July,” he explains, “Hendrick’s, the sponsors, are beginning to flex their marketing muscles. To this end, they want to make a short film to be circulated in dark rooms around the country. Required are six ‘athletes’ to prance about in a gymnasium. Not sure whether there'll be a proper fee or just expenses yet.” Willing souls can contact Mr Temple at email@example.com.
13th April 2007
The Last Gasper Begins to Take Shape
Plans are under way for the Club’s summer party, dubbed The Last Gasper as it will be marking the last day before the introduction of the ban on smoking in public places. Mark the date of Saturday 30th June in your diaries if you have not already done so. See the Events page for details as they unfold, but we are taking over a nice Victorian pub in Clerkenwell and cramming the evening with tobacco-related events, competitions and freebies. There will also be an Edwardian period dinner menu for those who wish to dine—the pub has an award-winning chef.
10th April 2007
Sun God Smiles on First Picnic of the Season
Last Sunday a marvellous picnic was enjoyed by ten or so Members in London’s Hyde Park. It was jolly sunny and a good time was had by all. It was interesting to discover that out of this small group three Members could juggle. I only really mention this as an excuse to include these pictures…
To see a Quicktime video of Mr Ian White juggling champagne bottles, click here.
26th March 2007
Overseas Visitor Gets the Royal Treatment
Miss Hartley writes: One of the (many) benefits of being a member of the New Sheridan Club is that if one has the misfortune to live abroad, on the happy occasion of visiting Blighty, one will be treated as a guest of honour. We were lucky to have our first ever Overseas Guest of Honour on Friday 23rd March, in the shape of Sir James M. III. Of course we made it a challenge for him by arranging to meet at the New Piccadilly Café, which is hard even for a Londoner to find. However, after rescuing him from the middle of Piccadilly Circus a welcoming committee of ten chaps and chapettes joined him for a slap up meal. I believe that Sir James was most impressed at being able to enjoy a cigarette in the café while waiting for one’s ham, egg and chips. Sadly we had to point out that this happy state of affairs wouldn’t last for long. After dinner we grabbed a couple of hackney carriages and whisked Sir James off to the Dover Castle (it would have been too cruel to expect him to find his way there as well) where we were joined by several more chaps and a convivial evening was had by all. We then escorted Sir James back to the London Underground and pointed him in the vague direction of Earls Court. (This is where his hotel was located—we weren’t just doing it as a prank). Sir James continues to reside in London for the week while seeking an apprenticeship with a tailor and we hope to meet up with him again before he heads back to the “Windy City”.
12th March 2007
Earl Puts Fascists in the Picture
At last Wednesday’s Club Night the Earl of Essex presented a fascinating rogues’ gallery of British Fascists from the 1930s. The magic lantern show even had the barman rapt, standing on tiptoe to see it. At least I hope he was enjoying it and not merely taking notes to pass on to the authorities—I couldn’t help noticing that the projector screen depicting images of Hitler and Moseley, flanked as it was by our splendid NSC banners (in black, white and red), might have given the casual passer-by the wrong idea… Anyway, it was a highly engaging talk and a most convivial meeting, with several new faces present whom I hope we will see again.
Gentleman Adventurer Seeks Help
Our own Actuarius is once again entering the charity road race The Scumball Rally in his turbo-charged banger Banshee. The race takes place in Europe, of all places, and the drivers depart Blighty from Dover on Friday 20th April, with the race finishing somewhere on the Continent on the Sunday. Last year his navigator was our very own Treasurer Mr Artemis Scarheart. However, this year Scarheart has savagely betrayed his team-mate to enter the race with another driver. We’re all very proud of him. Instead, that absolute brick Miss Chrissy Goodrick-Meech has agreed to help Actuarius out in the navigator’s seat. The race raises money for the charity Winston’s Wish and each team needs to cobble together a monkey. (Not literally a monkey, obviously. That would be silly. I meant a “monkey” as in £500, as all us Cockneys know.) If you’d like to sponsor them, go to this website here. (If you can’t now get the idea of monkeys out of your head, have a look here.) For more on the race, see here.
Actuarius (left) with last year’s navigator, the turncoat Scarheart
4th March 2007
Lunar Eclipse Prompts Bacchanalian Revelry
Robert Beckwith (whom you might know better as Edwin Fischer-Price) organised a splendid day of frolics on Saturday. We took in a modernist architectural masterpiece in the afternoon, strolled around the heath working out how to skirt the mud pools without soiling our brogues and in the evening crawled around various fine pubs in Hampstead (well, fine apart from the one where they wouldn’t allow pipe or cigar smoking). Robert even managed to lay on an eclipse of the moon. Under its blood-red watchful eye we quaffed ale and sucked on pipe stems. I even had my likeness taken by a charming (OK, drunk) young Frenchwoman who then presented me with the finished drawing. In fact many locals were much curious about us, to the extent that we ran out of NSC calling cards. These snaps should give you a flavour of the day:
The sweet fumes of Erik’s pipe help him deal with the horror of Chuckles’ clothes
Benjamin looks like he’s done something wrong. And a rare photo of Maud Peasgood-Nonsuch
Captain Coppice happily tunes out while Miss Hartley blathers animatedly
I don’t even know where the pineapple came from but Viscount Rushen is happy
1st March 2007
Members to Be Immortalised in Oils
Well, in pixels, anyway. Following our announcement about the new Portrait Service (see News item for 9th February below) we have had our first three takers (actually, Laurence did his own), so I’ve added a Portraits page to this site where we can display the results.
18th February 2007
Moving Pictures May Catch On—Official
Last night the Club put on a magic lantern show for 30 Members lucky enough to get places. It was an experiment in holding a Club Film Night and I think it went pretty well. The venue was a smallish downstairs room in a gastropub in Bermondsey, equipped with a video projector and big screen. We watched A Matter of Life and Death and School for Scoundrels on DVD, each given an excellent and informative introduction by our Chairman, Mr Arbuthnot, and, as an unexpected bonus, Fruity Metcalfe-Peverel brought along a rousing wartime information film, exhorting young ladies to Do Their Bit by enlisting to make Spitfires. I was surprised to see any lady Members still left in the room by the end of it, not dashing off to knock up a kite out of old tobacco tins and used nylons.
The catering arrangements left a bit to be desired—the quantities were niggardly and some Members managed to eat scarcely a few morsels before it was all gone. We shall have to make alternative victual arrangements next time.
An idea for future film nights might be to offer curatorship, as it were, to individual Members, who perhaps felt they had films to offer that were neglected classics or particularly suitable for this Club. If you have any suggestions, please email me at the usual place, firstname.lastname@example.org.
9th February 2007
Glorious New Benefits of Membership
Please note that there are now two new good reasons to be a Member of the New Sheridan Club. First of all, in addition to being issued with your fetching lapel badge, you are now able to purchase additional/replacement badges for the paltry sum of £3. These are still only available to full Members, of course. Moreover, please note that Members are requested not to buy them to give to non-Members—but I’m sure no Member of the club needs to be told that.
Secondly, in keeping with our demiurge-like status, the Committee commissioned handsome portraits of ourselves, which you can view on the Contacts page. (Don’t worry this didn’t actually cost any of our precious Club funds.) Rather pleased with the result—and now that we have experience of actually doing it—we’ve decided to offer a Portrait Service to Members, free of charge. As you can see, the idea was to find a suitable painting that somehow represented how we saw ourselves, or would like to be seen, then to photograph the subject in a similar pose and finally to interpolate it into the original painting, using Science. If you fancy a similar portrait of yourself, then ideally find a painting or photograph into which you would like your likeness to be syringed. As long as we can get hold of a reasonably high-resolution copy of the source image then we can do the rest. And if you can’t quite think of the right picture to start with, then have a chat with the Committee and perhaps we can suggest something.
Club Night Graced by Spirit of Calliope
On the Club Night of 7th February our Turn was the effervescent Niall Spooner-Harvey who bathed our souls in sweet poetry, such as his evergreen classic, All My Cats Are Dead. Mr Spooner-Harvey’s poetry performances have earned him countless awards and many enemies.
Inspired by the readings, we decided to hold an impromptu “limerick slam”, with the victor ludorum receiving a tin of Wilson’s of Sharrow “Queen’s Extra Strong” snuff. It went, perhaps appropriately, to Padre Ian McDowell who, for a man of the cloth, knows a impressive number of extraordinarily filthy limericks.
Armed with his newly-won snuff, the Padre sets about corrupting the youth
16th January 2007
Membership Page Updated
I’ve made a few additions to the Membership page. Apart from a rather fetching photograph of the Member’s lapel badge, there are a couple of notes near the end. One is at the behest of our esteemed Treasurer, who also edits the monthly newsletter and asks that I encourage members to contribute to this. If you have any articles, poems, political tracts, philosophical questions, etc, please direct them to email@example.com.
We also decided drunkenly the other day that it would be nice to make it an official policy that if Members unfortunate enough to dwell overseas should happen actually to visit England, then the Club should treat them as guests of honour, carrying them around on our shoulders to the peal of hearty huzzahs, insisting they marry our daughters, that sort of thing. It may never happen, but here’s hoping.
14th January 2007
Vintage Fashion Fair Offers Hope to Ladies
Your correspondent happened to amble by the London Vintage Fashion, Textiles and Accessories Fair in Hammersmith Town Hall today, so I thought I’d let you know what it was like. The thing started at 8am and I note that tickets were £10 before 10am, dropping to £5 thereafter until the fair ended at 5pm. I assume that had I stirred my bones and left the house before lunchtime I would have found that the early part of the day was full of dealers snapping up bargains from provincial traders before selling them on to punters in Camden Passage and Portobello Road for ten times as much. But this is speculation. By 2.30pm when I arrived it was not crowded yet there seemed to be a very great deal of stock on offer.
The vast majority of it is for Ladies (though I still managed to buy two pairs of cufflinks and a tie and found the prices very reasonable), which must be a boon to all those females who despair of Old Hat and the like for ladies’ clobber. Plenty of shoes, hats and handbags were on offer, vast amounts of trinketry, compacts and accessories, and also a great deal of buttons, beads, trimmings, folderols and furbelows for those in the habit of stitching their own clothing. Lots of lace too. And if you’re in the market for a fur stole or coat you’ll find many such items here. I didn’t inspect the price tags, though I noticed one stall with a sign indicating that all their fur stoles were going for £12 that day.
I think the oldest item I spotted was from the 1830s, while other traders offered artefacts dating from as late as the 1980s, which seems like yesterday to me but I guess must hold some romance and mystery for youngsters in their teens and early twenties…
13th January 2007
Could any member not in possession of a copy of the Club Regulations please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’ve just manufactured some more and, by my reckoning, there must be at least ten members who don’t have a copy. Be aware that any member can be stopped in the corridor at any time and quizzed by the Committee on any aspect of the rules, so you would do well to study them hard. (Failure to come up with a satisfactory answer will result in punishment—you’ll have to walk ten times round the Club wearing an ill-fitting polyester suit, swigging from a bottle of “WKD”.)
On another matter, if member Lord Flasheart happens to read this, can he please email me with a correct email address. The one in the Club ledger doesn’t seem to work.
10th January 2007
Stonebarrow CD—Orders Now Being Taken
As some of you will remember (or may have heard) most of our time at Stonebarrow was spent with an aural backdrop of gramophone records, most of which had been brought along by Fruity. Well, now you can relive the glamour (yes, I’m thinking of Waveney throwing up into the fireplace) with a limited edition1 compact disc, recorded from the very same gramophone records, complete with pops and crackles (though mercifully without the foghorn sound of Fruity’s record player feeding back). All your favourites are there, including The Music Goes Round and Round, The Man on the Flying Trapeze and I Love Bananas (Because They Have No Bones). Moreover, whereas at Stonebarrow you were mostly subjected to the same few tunes over and over again, this compilation contains no fewer than 28 tracks (almost and hour and twenty minutes of toe-tapping boogaloo), including a rare and precious field recording of our own Niall Spooner-Harvey singing his specially commissioned number, The Sheridan Christmas House, with the rest of us croaking along on the chorus. Not a pristine, hi-fi recording, but frankly that’s how it sounded at the time.
If you’d like to own one of these Heirloom CertifiedTM compact discs, then email me at email@example.com so I know how many to manufacture. I’m afraid there’ll be a charge of £3 per disc to cover manufacturing costs, postage, cigars and the like, with any excess going towards club funds2. You can either post me a cheque, transfer funds direct if you bank online or press some grubby coins into my hands the next time our paths cross.
1 Limited to how many I can flog.
2 Specifically the NSC Committee Members’ Portrait Fund.
9th January 2007
Miss Peasgood-Nonsuch to Cross the Andes By Frog!*
One of our number is setting off to trek across the Andes on the 22nd, to raise money for the Prince’s Trust. “It may sound like some kind of exciting adventure holiday,” she admonishes sternly, “but believe me, it isn't. It's what they call a ‘challenge event’; its going to be cold, I will ache all over, the food will be awful and I'm going to get altitude sickness.” That’s the spirit, old girl!
The team will be making their epic journey on a caravan of specially-trained frogs bred in a secret underground laboratory beneath the Prince’s Highgrove estate. It will be the first time anyone has attempted to cross the mountain range riding an amphibian.*
Perhaps you’d like to contribute to Maud’s sponsorship? As she has met all her travel expenses already herself, all donations will go directly towards The Trust's work with disadvantaged young people, helping them overcome barriers to work, education and training. You can donate online at http://www.justgiving.com/hollyadavies. It’s a jolly good cause!
More importantly, we’ll be sending her on her way with a hangover, as we’re planning a boozy send-off on Friday 19th January. See the Events page.
(*Sorry, not frogs. Horses, apparently.)
3rd January 2007
Conte Proves to Have Fine Set of Pipes
The Conte di Lignano Sabbiadoro serenaded us all with some Mozart arias at the January NSC Club Night, much to the delight of all present. Alas, since the club Steinway has had to be pawned to bail Scarheart out of clink yet again, the Conte’s limber-fingered accompanist had to make do with an electrical simulacrum, but it all went swimmingly. Looked a bit like this:
28th December 2006
Stonebarrow Manor Still Stands
The imposing Stonebarrow Manor has resisted the predations of 23 Chaps and Chapesses for six whole days. Despite the grouchy landlord’s implausible insistence that we had used five months’ worth of Calor gas for the cooker in the few days we were there, the house itself shrugged off our infestation robustly. In fact the whole of Charmouth, the charming Dorset seaside town where the manor is located, proved impervious to our presence. The county bridge, with its ancient sign claiming that anyone damaging it would be punished by “transportation for life”, was naturally a red rag to a bull and every evening after dinner the gents would saunter down to the bridge in evening wear and give the bridge a good kick. Even Viscount Rushen swinging maniacally on the sign for Stonebarrow Lane could cause it no harm. The locals seemed amiably curious about us (not a pitchfork in sight, even when a squadron of men in top hats invaded the pub), but then I suppose we boosted the economy for the time we were there.
So what did we do for six days? Mostly we ate, drank, smoked, stared into the roaring log fire and listened to the same gramophone records interminably. We were divided into catering teams (each named after a Wonder of the Ancient World) each of which applied itself wholeheartedly for a day, ensuring a high standard of grub. There was a certain amount of horse riding (once we had managed to locate the stables—one group famously managed to wander for over an hour, mostly across country, trying to find the bally nags) and ambling along the stony beach looking for fossils. And of course one day was designated as “Christmas Day”, with roast turkey and all the trimmings, plus stockings, “secret Santa” present-giving and all the associated bonhomie. A topping time. I have a feeling plans are already being made for next year…
10th December 2006
The Beau Brummell Boogie Takes World By Storm
On Saturday 9th December, the NSC’s Christmas party took place at the RamPage public house in Great Queen Street in London. It was so well attended that the venue could not have comfortably held any more people—we shall have to find a bigger place next time! A great time was had by all; there were many new faces along with some very welcome familiar ones. We on the Committee would like to thank you all for your support for our fledgling club.
The day began at the India Club, a strangely charming slum on the Strand where we quaffed beer and scoffed curry. In the afternoon the Committee’s own Torquil Arbuthnot took us on an excellent guided tour of the haunts of Beau Brummell, on which we learned a great deal about the glamorous life and miserable death of the man immortalised in bronze at the end of Piccadilly Arcade.
After an impromptu pint at the Grapes in Shepherd Market we hurried on to the New Piccadilly Café for a slap-up supper before bowling on to the RamPage. For some snaps of the day, see here.
At 10.30 we had the Grand Raffle, where over £500 worth of goodies were distributed. A special “thank you” goes to the companies who supplied the prizes: Blackstone Lewis Tailoring, the Vintage Shirt Company, eAbsinthe.com and Trumper’s. You can learn more about these stirling organisations on our Links page.
8th December 2006
The spiffing New Sheridan Club enamel lapel badges are now with us from the manufacturer. And very handsome they look too. On its first outing at Wednesday’s NSC Club Night, my own badge was immediately admired by the antipodean barmaid—who asked if she could buy one. Needless to say, they are not for sale; ownership is a privilege exclusive to members. All members who make it to the Beau Brummell Boogie on Saturday will be issued with their badge then, along with their NSC calling cards.
Third Club Night a Roaring Success
On Wednesday 6th December we met once more in the charmingly panelled upstairs room of the Wheatsheaf public house. There was a good turn-out of thirty or so, including a number of new faces, and Comtesse Besson—appropriately attired herself—treated us to a splendid talk on the details and origins of the strange outfits worn by English barristers.