Sunday, 15 March 2009
It is yet another revival of another noble tradition - the re-introduction of an Annual Award to the Greatest British Eccentric of the Year.
There have been a few contests of this kind before, however, none of them lasted for more than a couple of years. Yet the phenomenon of practical eccentricity remains an object of interest to a great number of people, both in the UK and abroad.
The Eccentric Club Committee has amongst its members Lyndon Yorke, the winner of the title "Great English Eccentric" of 2001, an aerial surveyor and a mechanical follyologist from Buckinghamshire. It was him who initially suggested the idea of reviving the Annual Award Ceremony, which received a unanimous vote of approval – bringing back such an important annual event would help raising the much needed funding for the Club, which has a number of charitable commitments in the UK.
All nominees for the first contest were suggested by the members of the Eccentric Club Committee, some of the them being actually members of the Eccentric Club, others - friends of the members, but the list also includes public figures, traditionally fascinating the public with their views or conduct, considered by many exceptionally original or even somewhat eccentric!
Along with some famous names, you will discover brand new figures, equally unusual and unique in their views and ways, and certainly extremely popular in some circles for what they are!
As genuine eccentrics traditionally do not see themselves as such (it's how they are perceived by the others), none of the candidates were proposed or nominated by themselves, but now, once they have been nominated, some of them got involved in the Contest with great enthusiasm, bringing along armies of supporters, which makes the event even more exciting!
For all future contests, the nominees will be suggested by members of the public as well as the Club members.
The Official Award Ceremony will be held on the 1st of April at the Arts Club, 40 Dover Street, Mayfair. Panel of judges is expected to include Lyndon Yorke, Henry Hemming (the celebrated author of "In Search of the English Eccentric") and the famous eccentricologist Ben Le Vay (author of numerous ‘eccentric guides’ to towns and cities across the UK). It is also expected that a few surprise celebrities may be both amongst the guests and the judges of this event.
In times, when we talk so much of re-discovering and re-inventing British national identity, it is good to be reminded of brave and original characters of British eccentrics who are the salt of this land’s earth.
26th of March 2009 at 19:31
(The Arts Club, 40 Dover Street, Mayfair; nearest tube: Green Park)
We call you, Mighty Knights of Verse!
To cross your pens and show your force
With words of wisdom - so diverse,
That sometimes wisdom looks adverse!..
Use allegories – but with care!
Use rhymes – so rivals would despair
And being lost for words, they’d glare
How you will win with grace and flair!
A festival of eccentric (and not so eccentric) poetry - featuring some cutting-edge contemporary verse vs lyric recollections from dusty archival drawers of the authors and publishers, and incorporating the election of The Grand Master of Verse of The Eccentric Club.
Though the event is limited to members, their invited guests and members of friendly and reciprocal clubs, all attendees are welcome to volunteer taking the part in this spectacular tournament! Just let us know in advance of your intentions to fence with words and rhymes on the evening, and we'll make sure you are expected.
We will consider late additions to the list of participants until the 21st of March, so if you enjoy playing with words, if you do write or have ever written anything which in anyone's opinion may amount to being a poetry, raise your pen, wave your manuscript and win your trophy!
Please note that a small fee towards our administration costs will be collected - £15 per person.
Please contact the Club Secretary with all enquiries.
On Friday, the 13th of March at 13 minutes past 7pm The Eccentric Club officially revived an old tradition of its Annual 'Friday the 13th' Dinners.
It is believed that the tradition originates in some themed dinners of the Society of Eccentrics of London held in 1780s-1800. Abandoned for some while, it was revived by the American Thirteen Club in 1880 and came back to England to the Club of the same name, many members of which became later members of the Eccentric Club.
'Friday the 13th' dinners were held until the late 1930s, but after the WWII they weren't held as often, so this year's Dinner held at the Arts Club in Dover Street, Mayfair, was a spectacular revival of one of the oldest traditions of one of the oldest London's clubs, albeit, the club itself was re-launched last August after more than twenty years of non-existence.
Everyone present, including the journalists, considered the event a success.
Photographs above: Eccentric Club 'Friday the 13th' Dinner in 1936; Photographs from 'Friday the 13th' Dinner Revival (by David Straker), 13th of March 2009.
Saturday, 7 March 2009
Allegedly, the tradition goes back to 1780s, when members of the ‘Society of Eccentrics’ ridiculed superstitions by dining surrounded by bad omens. Abandoned, it was revived in 1880s by The Thirteen Club, famous both in Britain and the US, many members of which later joined the Eccentric Club and made it an important annual event in the club’s calendar.
Members of the club argue that ‘it’s all in our minds’, that they are bad-luck immune simply due to their lack of belief into any effect of opening umbrellas indoors, walking under ladders, black cats and number 13 on their lives and business. Instead, they intend to turn it into a ‘good luck raising event’ and plan to raise some funds for their recently re-established club and public awareness about its comeback.
So, if you dare, do come and join the eccentric lot! Be ready to meet your Fortune, to enter the realm of magic... and its revelation. Be brave, be bold, be yourself for one night!
Tickets can be booked in a number of ways, including the online booking below. Price includes the welcome drink on your arrival, dinner served in backwards order, eccentric entertainment, insurance from bad luck, half a bottle of wine per person and a refreshing tea or coffee before you leave. Dare to come and find out what else is on the menu...
Members and their guests - £50.00
Non-Members - £65.00
The Arts Club
40 Dover Street
(nearest tube: Green Park)