Monday, 25 January 2010
With his confirmation finally assured, I wanted to begin planning the finer details of my trip straight away – where I would stay, who I planned to talk to, what my approach would be, what I would need to do to push for membership – it had been a few years since I had been to London, and as shameful as it sounds, the thought excited me in the way a holiday to France used to excite me as a small child. It was so horribly cliché; yet a trip to London actually felt like a big deal. Comparing the number of visits in recent years, it was probably more foreign to me than a trip to France, too.
The whole experience was likely to be quite different for me in any case, so I felt I could justify needing some time to prepare. Unfortunately, I didn’t get such a luxury, because in the email I had previously sent Imants requesting clarification of the invite, I had made the mistake of querying exactly what I should be expected to wear for the occasion (The Eccentric Club website pictures a man with a birdcage on his head; I didn’t want to turn up looking underdressed). Anyway, in a fashion I would soon become accustomed to when exchanging emails with the wonderfully enigmatic Eccentric Club secretary, I received the following, rather off-the-cuff response:
“ One of the organisers of this party wondered whether you would be prepared to come all dressed in green [suit, probably] or change at the club into green, perhaps? We’ll explain everything about that peculiar request when we meet. If you would rather be in a more traditional attire, we most certainly will understand.”
I was completely thrown off guard. I had no idea where to start with this request. A green suit. Who owns a green suit? I gave it some thought, but could only think of leprechauns as an obvious example; or Tiger Woods receiving his green jacket for winning The Masters golf championship at Augusta, for some reason. I was pretty sure that turning up as either a leprechaun or a golf champion wasn’t exactly what Imants was after, though. Plus it wasn’t a great time to be replicating Tiger Wood’s style, let’s face it. I decided to trawl through the internet for inspiration, instead. The first image I came across was this rather fetching example:
Feel free to photoshop my face onto this one if you like.
I felt it probably wasn’t wise to attend dressed as a 1970’s Harlem pimp either, though. Eccentricity or no eccentricity, going dressed like this was probably going to be a bit much for most people to stomach at 7.47pm - just after dinnertime. I decided to investigate the possibility of finding a normal suit that just happened to be green, instead. This would allow me to blend in subtly with those around me, whilst not failing in my attempts to achieve the goal I had been set.
It was depressingly slim pickings. There just aren’t many respectable green suits out there. Plus, when I did find decent suits that were definitely green, they were always unbearably expensive; it began to feel ridiculous. I thought about emailing Imants to tell him there was no chance of me adhering to his request, but then an idea suddenly popped into my head. A Luke Skywalker moment, if you like. Use the title, Chris. Use the title. I gathered together the email addresses of all the top tailors in and around Savile Row, and set about putting a few ‘feelers’ out, courtesy of Lord Christopher Ward...
Monday, 18 January 2010
Click on the picture to enlargeIt appeared that somebody had donated my vital organs to the National Health Service (once I'm dead, obviously) without my knowing. Anyway, at first I passed it off as a lame attempt at a prank from one of my wonderfully resourceful friends. It's the kind of thing my friends like to do, so it made perfect sense. Then, speaking to one of my university coursemates about the obscurity of the letter, I was reminded that organ donation can't be officiated without some kind of signature of recognition being given from the person in question. All of a sudden the letter seemed slightly surreal. I didn't recall signing off my organs for donation at any point in the recent past? It seemed like a pretty big decision to make too, so I felt confident I would remember it, if I had indeed signed something. Staring at the piece of paper, I felt bemused. Who would have gone to the expense of masquerading as me, just to pull a prank like this? It wasn't even that funny. Its not like they would have been there to see me open the letter, either. It seemed kind of pointless. That's when it hit me. My title was in front of my name on the envelope and on the donation card, just before my address. Suddenly, it all made sense. The NHS obviously considered me someone of 'high stock' now I was officially a Lord. Clearly, it was the law for someone of my stature to pass their organs onto somebody else when I die. I was a Lord for God's sake. Of course it was the law. Initially I was annoyed that I hadn't even been notified about it, but then I thought about the lucky person that would one day get to be part-Lord too, and that made me feel better about myself. It appeared that finally I had something to offer the world. Even if it was to be random pieces of my insides.
Lord Christopher Ward
Saturday, 16 January 2010
Over the Christmas period, things finally started to take off. My title was beginning to get me somewhere. First of all, the Eccentric Club responded to my email positively, suggesting I might be worthy of membership at their distinguished outfit. Then their club secretary, the magnificently named Imants von Wenden, kindly decided to give me the contact details for some other members of the organisation who might be considered potential associates. I couldn't quite believe my luck - I was now in possession of some genuine connections.
Despite this, I initially held off from emailing anyone straight away. It just didn't feel right; as if there was something tangible missing. Something set in stone that could give me a reason to get in touch with them.
Then, on the 21st December, that something arrived, via an email that read as follows:
Invitation to The Eccentric Club, Mayfair- 28th Jan 2010.
The Eccentric Club
The Eccentric Club Invitation:
You are being cordially invited by the Committee of The Eccentric Club (following a recommendation by one of our members) to join our monthly Open Convivial Meeting on the 28th of January 2010, Thursday, at 7.47pm. The meeting will take place at the Arts Club, 40 Dover Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4NP (nearest underground station - "Green Park").
Our Monthly Open Convivial Party is designed as a joyful and merry evening, full of entertaining conversations, drinks and nibbles, performances by the Club members and the surprise guests, and the unique opportunity to get acquainted with the existing members of the Club.
Fun goes hand in hand with social networking here - come and rub your shoulders with the world’s leading artists, fashion designers and performers, lawyers and politicians, members of the aristocracy and the eccentric inventors. But this is not just another networking club – as all our guests are carefully selected by the organisers and privately invited to attend.
Entrance is free, but is a subject to our Confirmed Guest List. A full cash bar will be in operation for the guests. Dress code: smart/casual or smart/eccentric. Ties & scarves: black or eccentric (in their colours/design).Please announce yourself to the Porter upon your arrival as a guest of the Eccentric Club.We are looking forward to seeing you with us, for more information please consult the following websites: http://www.eccentricclub.co.uk/
Please confirm your attendance of the event by email as soon as possible.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I v W / Club Secretary
As if this wasn't enough, the very same day I received a Christmas card sealed in a golden-lined envelope, confirming the meeting and wishing me a Merry Christmas:
Lord Christopher Ward
- Lord Christopher Ward
- For those of you who are new to knowing me, I am Lord Christopher Ward. Second in line to the internet throne, third in line at the post office on a Wednesday morning. Currently a student studying Professional Writing in Falmouth, Cornwall, I envisage a world where I can surf, write, and use my title to get me free stuff. Just don't ask me how I got here; my memory is warped from time to time.