I’ve never been a very ‘clubby’ person. Maybe I’m not very clubbable either, but I’ve never felt the need to join one of these members only clubs. Well, when I say never, that’s not quite true. Around 20 years ago I joined the National Liberal Club, not because I was a Liberal (although I like to think of myself as a Gladstonian Liberal, I suppose), but because I went there for lunch one day and rather liked the atmosphere. I was a member for three years but found I very rarely went there.
I used to go to lunch at the Reform Club with two people I knew who were members, and although it’s a beautiful building, with a fantastic library, I always felt totally out of place. It was as if I was always about to do something that would bring shame on my mother, like holding the fork the wrong way round or speaking in a room where you weren’t allowed to. I also didn’t like the fact that these types of clubs seemed very male oriented. Indeed, I boycotted going to the Carlton Club until they allowed women to join as full members. I still won’t go to the Garrick Club because they still don’t.
Anyway, wind forward to this summer and my change of hours on LBC and I began to think I might join a club. Given CNNTalk finishes at 12.30 and my LBC now doesn’t start until 7pm, and I would normally get in three hours before the start of my show, I decided I needed somewhere to perch for a few hours in the afternoon, to do some writing on my laptop or just to hang out and read a book.
I looked at Soho House but when I went there it was so crowded it was almost unpleasant. They didn’t really seem my sort of people, either. In the end I decided to join the Groucho Club, which seemed much more relaxed. So on July 11th I submitted my application. I waited. And waited. And waited a bit more. After three months I emailed them to ask what was happening. “Oh, our membership committee didn’t meet over the summer. We’ve got a backlog so you’ll be considered at our November meeting.” Charming, I thought. Do I really want to be a member of a club that seemingly can’t be arsed to have me as a member in the first place? So I withdrew my application.
I was bemoaning this to my friend Julia Langdon over lunch and she suggested I join a little club she’s a member of, hidden down a very narrow alley just off St Martin’s Lane. I’d never heard of it, to be honest, but this lunchtime I went along and had a look round. It’s called ‘Two Brydges’ and it’s very small, but very welcoming. So I joined on the spot, and I’m writing this blogpost in their downstairs room. Apparently, back in the 1970s it was a gay venue called ‘The Festival Club’.
The question is, will I use it as much I think I should? Time will tell.