Tuesday 30 August 2011

Psuedo-Sunday Club

If some set of behaviour has been going on for long enough then it can seem completely normal to everybody involved, but odd to an outsider. I'm not in a cult or an abusive relationship, I cook for a small group of friends every Sunday evening. It's been going on for about 15 years, and it has incrementally evolved to the point where it has a name, a schedule, entrance criteria, traditions, and a rival chapter in another part of the country.

A friend of a friend who has recently moved temporarily back to the UK asked me what I was doing on Monday evening. My three word answer "Pseudo-Sunday Club" didn't really mean much to her, nor the fact that she could come along but only as a "special guest".

"Sunday Club" takes place on a Sunday evening, except on bank holiday weekends when it usually moves to Monday and takes the name "Pseudo-Sunday Club".

Entrance to Sunday Club is limited to Founder Members, persons sleeping with Founder Members, and Special Guests. You cannot join Sunday Club although we did give special dispensation to "Paying a mortgage with, but no longer sleeping with a Founder-Member" and "Living in the house where Sunday Club takes place."

The meal is served at 7.00pm sharp, more than 30 seconds variance from this is a serious breach of etiquette.

A far inferior version of the club exists in Guildford, theirs is common, boozy, badly organised, and mildly sexist. It takes place in a pub, they drink a minimum of 4 pints (a maximum of 5), they admire the dizzy barmaid, and they turn up pretty much whenever they want. It should properly be called "Renegade Sunday Club" although they call it "The Real Sunday Club". Our own (treacherous) Rob Mccarthy has been to Renegade Sunday Club a few times, and he chose it as the best Sunday Club without even bothering to come to the original.

Richard "The first rule of Sunday Club" B

Tuesday 23 August 2011

House Guests

I've had a long weekend, and I've had house guests from up the line. One of my guests was in Devon for "fibre-fest", a fair for all forms of textile fibre preparation: Shearing, combing, carding, spinning, knitting, weaving, killing. Killing? No, no killing[1]. At our Sunday evening meal I left the dining table, walked to the kitchen, picked up a cake, and walked back to the table. When I got there the entire gathering was laughing so hard that they were incapable of speech for several minutes. Apparently the conversation involved my sister asking what everybody had done for the weekend. My sister has a medical background, and when she heard "fibre-fest" she thought "dietary-fibre-fest" and asked if it was full of people with constipation.

Shameless self promotion: look at my band

If you don't understand why I added "killing" to the list of activities at fibre-fest, then you didn't watch Spaced. It won't make any more sense to you now, but here's the relevant dialog.

Richard "Nearly paddled across the Erm" B

Monday 15 August 2011


I did various things this weekend, some more masculine than others.

  • Fell off a motorbike, picked it up, and carried on;
  • Used a pocket knife, the blade of which I had made, hardened, tempered, and ground at home;
  • Approached a stranger at a party and had her make me a cigarette;
  • Carried nearly 200kg of audio equipment into a van by myself;
  • Performed in a rock band.

Less manly
  • Cooked a crumble;
  • Slipped off a small commuter motorbike at less than walking pace on a wet manhole cover;
  • Didn't have strong enough finger nails to pull a drawing pin out of plasterboard and needed to use a knife;
  • Gleefully accepted the offer of a menthol filter tip on my cigarette;
  • Put all the audio equipment in the van early to make space to hoover the carpet where it had been.

Richard "Rowley Birkin QC came to the wrong pub and failed to meet me" B

Monday 8 August 2011


On Saturday night I was in a pub helping a gay tribute band to set up, and for a few tenths of a second I found myself in an A-level physics problem. I was trying to find the end of a loudspeaker cable, and pulled the cable quickly towards myself, going hand over hand until I found the plug at the end. We can assume that the plug is heavy compared with the cable, that its mass acts as a single point, and that the cable doesn't stretch. It is trivial to show that once the plug is off the floor it will fling itself around my hands faster and faster as the cable gets shorter and shorter. Hint: analyse the moment of inertia of the system in terms of the length of the cable, then use the constant angular momentum to calculate velocity. Most pupils should also be able to explain that by pulling on the cable I was adding energy to the system which manifested itself as the speed of the heavy plug. What I didn't see coming, and I doubt that the combined intellects of Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Dr Sheldon Cooper could have calculated, was that when I had about a foot of cable left, and the plug was going very quickly indeed, it would strike me squarely in the bollocks.

Richard "Rowley Birken QC rang me at the weekend" B

Tuesday 2 August 2011


I've been on holiday for a week, amongst other things I saw:
  • My sister
  • 7 consecutive sunny days
  • dozens of dragon flies
  • London Boris-Bikes
  • a young couple on a romantic Saturday afternoon boriscycle
  • a kingfisher
  • all my Surrey friends
  • a barber
  • 450 miles of A and M roads
  • my old London friends
  • Henry IV Part 1
  • nowhere to buy a pair of shoes that I liked
  • a public roof-top garden with real grass
  • a squirrel's dray and a young squirrel opening a pine cone
  • a man who is so used to soft-close cupboards and drawers that he compulsively slams everything
  • a swan washing and preening meticulously
  • a toilet with a soft-close seat so glacially slow that if you wished to reconfigure it from standing to seated usage there would be time to make a cup of tea between
  • three common lizards (which despite their name are vanishingly rare)
  • the Royal Festival Hall in a new light.

Richard "Big Chief I Spy" B