Friday, 5 March 2010

Meeting a Lord, becoming Eccentric (Part One)

I was finally on my way to The Eccentric Club.

Initially, I was feeling down about failing the simple challenge I'd been set prior to the trip; however my dark mood about not being able to get hold of a suave green tweed suit for the day was soon lightened by a conversation between two young gentlemen sat behind me on the London-bound train.

You see, if you're ever unsure about the tolerance levels of your close-proximity audience when discussing loudly and in-depth about an intimate experience you had with a lady or man the night before, well - just change the names of body parts to items of fruit. Its so obvious. A sure-fire winner. It's almost guaranteed people will be none the wiser as to what you're talking about. Although, if you do want to make sure you're being 100% discreet, perhaps you shouldn't use bananas and melons as the fruit examples. It didn't take me too long to figure out what that was all about, if I'm honest. Pineapples, though? I haven't got a clue. Talk about pineapples all you want. Still trying to work out exactly what that might represent, in actual fact...



Got an idea?

Anyway, a short tube ride from Paddington and I had reached Mayfair at around 2pm, an area of London I instantly became in awe of. It was the first time I'd seen The Ritz, for one thing. It was so iconic. Even though it was covered in scaffolding and surrounded by builders talking about England captain John Terry's 'disgraceful behaviour, of late', among other things.

The business men and women looked sharply dressed everywhere I walked, too (although I didn't see anyone wearing a green tweed suit), and there was a hustle and bustle 'money talks' feel to the place that I had never really seen before. I felt like I probably didn't belong, if I'm honest; yet I knew as a newfangled Lord I had to try my best to fit in. I started to swagger in the grey suit I was sporting, and took my phone from my pocket before shouting 'Get me New York!' into it whilst waiting at a busy zebra crossing. No doubt people got the impression I was slightly insane, but I didn't care. It was my way of helping me get a grip on the place.

Imants Von Wenden, the Eccentric Club Secretary, had kindly agreed to show me around in the afternoon, prior to the Convivial Meeting in the evening. I was due to meet him at The Arts Club on Dover Street, the current location that the Eccentric Club called 'home'. As I walked towards my destination, I couldn't help feel a touch of nerves. What would happen if I wasn't accepted? Would Imants question my Lordship like the girl from the Savile Row tailors did? I told myself to stop being ridiculous, remembering The Eccentric Club's motto:

Nil Nisi Bonum - 'Say nothing of others but good'.

If this wasn't proof that I was likely to be accepted, I wasn't sure what would be. Plus the club had an ample selection of Lords as members, past and present. I would just be another person to share a debate and a Cuban cigar with, no doubt. A top hat and a moustache might have helped the look I was sporting, though. Added a little more eccentricity, perhaps. I still rued the fact that I hadn't slicked my shaggy long hair back, at the very least.

I decided to ignore my disposition and took a deep breath as I reached the steps up to the Arts Club's polished wooden facade. Through the windows I could just about see the end of a chequered marble floor, and an understated but elegant spiralling staircase attached to a wall covered in classic paintings, just beyond it. You could sense the club's feeling of tradition and heritage from this view alone. I walked up the steps and through the doors and announced myself to the lady stood guarding the reception. She took my coat and told me to head on upstairs to the dining room, and that Imants was expecting me. My swagger returned as I walked through the hallway. She didn't even raise an eyebrow at my appearance. Clearly I had more of a respectable air than I had actually given myself credit for. I began the ascent up the carpeted stairs and towards my host; closing in on what was due to be an afternoon and evening unlike anything I'd experienced before...

Lord Christopher Ward

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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.