Monday, 1 February 2010

Eccentric Club through the looking glass of BBC

http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/london/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8487000/8487684.stm

Being a British institution, after all, the BBC simply cannot avoid being eccentric! No matter, how hard and honestly it tries to! And, perhaps, that’s why we love it... no matter, what it reports. It is like an old and slightly batty uncle whose sight, hearing and memory are not as crystal clear as they used to be, yet the anecdotes he tells at a dinner table are somewhat credible and rather entertaining, so no-one cares to correct him when he says some adorable nonsense...

Last week, as the Eccentric Club was having yet another of its traditional monthly Open Convivial Parties, a man from the BBC turned up on our doorstep. For a week or so prior to that, he’s been following a number of our most outstanding and flamboyant fellows trying to film something, which, we assumed, was going to become a documentary about them and their extravagant hobbies. However, on the convivial night we have learned that everything was being filmed for a small episode, a news-filler, to be featured on the BBC London local TV news THE VERY NEXT DAY!

Trying to mingle amongst more than 150 members and guests and to see what he was up to, was not an easy task. But he seemed so quiet, polite and unobtrusive that eventually I have lost the track of him, having briefly explained, how we do like being portrayed and who may be the interesting members to film and to interview. The place was crowded with the musicians, artists, actors, sculptors, scientists, socialites, aristocrats, designers, wizards, fantastic and beautiful ladies and gentlemen, dolls and muses... I’m running out of breath even now, just trying to remember everyone! The evening was a great success, by any standard...

...Next morning many of us spent in anticipation of what the BBC was finally going to show about us. For more than two years we have been trying to get its reporters to come and film our events. This time it was all different: they asked, they came, they filmed. We were only graciously allowing them to do so...

...And soon it hit the screens of our fellow eccentrics in London! Others, like myself, had to watch it online, on the BBC website...

...We were told in a most pleasant manner... that the Eccentric Club has just opened its doors, for the first time since 18th century when it was founded (initially, the BBC website even had a title “17th Century Eccentric Club re-born”! Wow!).

We were shown Lyndon Yorke, our very own ‘Member No.001’ and the winner of the Great British Eccentric Award in 2001, who, apparently, was just an odd fellow living alone in Buckinghamshire and spending his lifetime building peculiar machinery from wicker and bits of early airplanes (not that we deny that so he does, but he also happens to be a very serious and practical chap, one of the unique aerial survey specialists, much valued in the oil and gas industry worldwide!).

Then we were introduced to Ray Frensham – who was uneasily walking down Piccadilly dressed up in the Victorian clothing and clearly looking out for the cameraman. He admitted into the camera that has always felt being rather different from the rest (there’s nothing wrong with that, however, Ray is also an accomplished writer, lecturer, fashion expert, etc).

Finally, in the following shots of the convivial party there’s been plenty of conviviality, guests and drinks, but the presentation for the charity EndPolio and the fashion show of the forthcoming star, celebrity-designer Lewis Duncan Weedon, were completely dropped out (after all, it was just less than two minutes episode)...

...It was our first BBC TV appearance, and, yes, any publicity is a good publicity, and our website traffic on that day was four times more than usual, and we have received dozens of emails from people who knew of our club and those who wanted to learn more about it... and we love to bits the chap who filmed it all, he was ever so nice... but... to those who know little of our club, we could have appeared a bunch of rich idlers, obsessed with our eccentric hobbies and parading our peculiar outfits to each other in a Mayfair mansion while getting drunk...

...How eccentric! How BBC!...

Quote from the BBC website: " "The Eccentric Club" requires its members to conform to a certain style which many of us might regard as 'odd'. "

Quote from the Eccentric Club website: " The Eccentric Club promotes “Good Fellowship” and “True Sociality” – virtues which are now getting rare and eccentric ".

Photographs of the event and its guests can be viewed and/or ordered here: http://www.theimagefile.com/?skin=1624850&Action=_VC&id=45461250&ppwd=mt7327fd

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