Do you wanna be in my gang?


Do we seek solace mixing with people who on joining a group or club revert to stereotype? “I never want to be a member of a club which would let me in,” may be a classic Groucho Marx line and a cliché but for good reason... It’s true. I have been very lucky to have been invited as a guest to several clubs and they break down into the following seven categories.  Back to school There are a handful of Gentlemen’s Clubs in London holding a male only policy. They are all in Pall Mall and St. James and distinctly different to other Gentleman's clubs that can only operate by having scantily club members of the opposite sex. The London Gentleman’s club is really just public school (private school in the US) for boys who never grew up and miss nanny. The place runs on old fashioned rules. The Nanny organises the social desk and membership fees but that’s the only woman you will see. You better turn up in a tie, shoes polished, nails clipped and hair brushed. Yes, you can drink, but do not get rowdy. Most of the food is what I call nursery menu. A perfect lunch would be: Windsor soup, Steak and Kidney Pudding, Jam Roly-Poly, & Welsh Rarebit. Conversation through the meal with other members sharing your refectory style table equally as stodgy and bland. This is followed with a port and a snooze reading yesterday’s The Times. These throw-back establishments work on handed down privilege, who you know and how you behave. I am sorry to delude new members who have fought their way up in society through hard work and brains to join but… Old Biffo and Squiffy in the corner still look down on you as nouveau riche; the same way they dismissed Johnny Foreigner as a new boy at Rugby or that boy with the flash watch as parents “working in trade”. Back to Basics Health clubs. No frills. Over sophisticated gym equipment and eye wateringly expensive juices, drinks and rabbit food. Staff preachy and superior with bodies buffed to within an inch of their lives. Off peak these caverns of sweat are filled with the bored and rich. These poor souls have nothing else to do except cheat on their partner and sneak off for plastic surgery to show the results of all the dieting and training they pretend to follow. Peak time it’s just an overcrowded dating agency.  Back to the Future The Lovie playroom. Media based haunts are filled with overloud voices recalling their last meeting with Brad and Angelina, how genuine the Spielberg’s are and what a shame about Amy’s drug abuse. Always in slightly seedy parts of town set up by failed media wannabes who see this as their entree into the glitterati. The propeller head equivalent of techy clubs are full of earnest members trying to convince you to invest in some crypto crapto currency or hint they might get you into an angel start up fund with guaranteed returns. “So, you’ve invested yourself,” is a sure-fire way of getting rid of them... and leaving you with absolutely no one to talk to. Pointless. Back to the Wall The exclusive nightclub. Exclusive because there are only so many people willing to spend £10k a year for membership to an overcrowded noisy hell-hole that charges prices that are an insult and a door policy that admits only good-looking people with an IQ quota the same as their shoe size. To make it worse should you be insecure enough to have to order a five litre bottle of vodka or a jeroboam of champagne for £1,000, the staff bring attention to your vulgarity by having sparklers light up the bottles as they bring them to you and alert everyone else in the place who is tonight’s soft touch. If you have to go to one for a night of drug fueled fun, you never want them to have your real name anyway. Always make sure someone else is the member. Back in the saddle The Horsey Club. Filled with overweight florid faced men and woman who bray when they laugh. If you ask for the bridal suite it’s a large room full of saddles, riding crops and Gucci buckles and the last place you’d want to spend your honeymoon. If you can separate the bullshit from real horse manure you might get a good tip on a horse.  The Back Nine What can I say about a golf club except I don’t want to join one. Ever. It’s a chance for you to dress up like an extra from a Blaxploitation movie, though ethnic minority representation still remains low. Members may slice their tee shots to the left or right, but politics is invariably to the right. I speak with some experience here when in Myrtle Beach a club member made the mistake of asking me my opinion on abortion. “The obvious answer is it is not really a man’s decision; though if it were men who got pregnant, I suspect  termination would be so easy it would come from an ATM machine. “No religion recognises a miscarriage or the trauma that causes. So, until they do they cannot go on about the rights of a foetus.” He pulled a gun on me and called security to eject the “limey liberal pinko”!  Back Inside There is a great line in the TV series set in a woman’s prison Orange is the New Black with a character greeting a new inmate saying… “Welcome to the 1950s”. The speaker is not referring to the building or facilities. But to the clubs. The Narco Mexicans stick to one group, The Neo-Nazis another, right down to the Nepalese Horse thieves or Belgian child molesters. Everyone has a group. It’s basic. It’s for protection. So, on that note console yourself that Bernie Madoff is not the wife of some 6’6” ex Cripps member but closely closeted with some other fraudster both cheating at monopoly but a least paying protection money to keep their balls.

...and another thing

The best club is your circle of friends. Membership is free and whilst food and drink may vary in quality the laughter won’t. And unless you become a jerk, it’s for life.

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