Saturday, 17 December 2011

Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once...

After seeing Father Christmas arrested (although I had my suspicions quite early on he wasn’t the Father Christmas – the area around Piccadilly Circus was saturated with hundreds of Santas all of whom seemed to have taken the ‘merry’ aspect of the character very seriously), I made my way to Fleet Street for the New Sheridan Club Christmas party. 

The shindig was at the Punch Tavern, a very elegant pub, (with a quite delightful bathroom!) situated just off Ludgate Circus.  This was my first ‘official’ engagement as the Vintage News without Kieren or Les, so I persuaded my sister into coming along for a bit.  Although Maisie could only stay for a short while, she thoroughly enjoyed herself.  She even won a skull (yes – a skull, no – thankfully not human) in the lucky dip!

The theme of this year’s do was ‘Tinker, Tailor, Dandy, Spy’ focussing particularly on the latter.  After seeing photos from the event last year, with its theme of ‘Back to the Futurists’, I was excited to see what everyone would be wearing.  If I thought about it sooner I would have gone for the full Mata Hari look, but I didn’t have enough time to make a head dress (which would be integral for any costume as the most infamous female ‘spy’).

In the end, I went for a black floor length ‘70s/80s-does-‘30s dress that belonged to my mum when she was my age.  Along with fantastic outfits (more photographs at the end), I was also looking forward to seeing what games there were.  The first game of the night was Berlin Wall Jenga (painstakingly painted by Clayton’s wife – with authentic Berlin Wall graffiti).  After a few tense rounds, a winner was announced who got to keep the magnificent customised Jenga set.

Along with Jenga, there was the apparently obligatory shooting game, this time based on the opening title sequence to many a Bond film. 

Players had two shots to knock over Sean Connery by firing through a moving ‘gun barrel’.  It was apparently a lot more difficult than it seemed! 

I interviewed the splendidly attired Artemis Scarheart, the Defence Secretary of the New Sheridan Club.  He explained that the rooms had been divided in separate zones.  The games room was the American zone (replete with signs from Checkpoint Charlie), the bar area was the Russian zone, the smoking area was the British zone and the French zone consisted of the, ahem, toilettes.

There was also a free snuff bar, with many varieties of snuff on offer to those wishing to partake.  Personally, I declined but others seemed to enjoy the wide range of flavours, (if indeed flavour is the right word).

There was a raffle, with some rather good prizes (spy based of course) but sadly I didn’t win anything.

Apart from the James Bond theme tunes creating just the right atmosphere, entertainment was provided by the magician Christian Lee.  It was a highly amusing show, with sleight of hand, mind-reading (with the help of a giant green balloon) and framing a policeman for an unknown crime...


The best costume prize was won by this gentleman, who was dressed as ‘Number 2’. I think these people were probably quite close in the running...

I had a wonderful evening and just hope I will soon be able to make it to one of the meetings.

On another related note, the New Sheridan Club has an associated blog; the Institute for Alcoholic Experimentation.  The latest post relates to a competition they recently ran where you had to tell them your favourite Christmas tipple.  I was lucky enough to win a copy of the How to Drink at Christmas by Victoria Moore with my cocktail, the 'Gingerbread Fan'.

Here are a few more pictures for your enjoyment.

I also recorded a short interview with the Defense Secretary, Artemis Scarheart which is now available for your viewing but shhh! don't tell anyone! 

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