FURTHER THOUGHTS FROM Mr. SOMERS.
As the ball seems to have begun to roll, here are my further thoughts which I trust will make clear my position on the future of the Returner's Club and which will hopefully help to focus thoughts and dispel woolly thinking.
To kick off - I loathe nostalgia. I hate all looking back to the golden days of one's youth. If I sit down to dine with a man it's because that man is living in the NOW and is striding towards his Golden Days and not away from them. Therefore I want a Returners Club (but certainly called something else) that exists on its own terms and not as some hearkening back to studenthood donator of memorial plaques and refurbished beams travesty of a hail fellow well met beer swilling Proust in the back pocket pre-graduate too loud too young too energetic by half bunch of people who rather things hadn't turned out quite as they did.
And what's all this being invited to donate to the college anyway? If I was on hard times and needed my roof fixing would the college organise a quick whip round to pay for my rafters? I think not.
I loathe political correctness infinitely more than nostalgia. The idea of women in the club makes me feel ill. It would completely change the feel and raison d'Ítre of the Club. If I want to dine with a woman I can always get my under gardener's niece to share my porridge in the morning. Anyway women have filthy minds and the jokemaster would rapidly decline into a sickening torrent of toilet humour. So, no more of this please - if you can't control your women then you have no place in this Club anyway - and besides I certainly wouldn't want to have any women in the Club who would want to join it. Goes without saying.
I am strongly against the redemption idea. The roots of membership should be membership whilst at college otherwise the genius of the Club is diluted. Exclusivity is the main draw of all clubs. If you didn't shine (or tarnish) brightly (or darkly) enough at college then it's too late. You should have been warned then that your time spent in the library would, sooner or later, bring its own punishment. That said I must recant and applaud the inclusion of Barley Evans into the Club's warm folds - an excellent man who I am proud to know and who'd be an ornament at any table. My words before were naturally meant to be taken in a Pickwickian sense.
I want a Club that actively cares about its present members and about the individual needs of those that come to the membership's attention and which lie within the Club's ability to help. On leaving college 16 Club members would have the chance to join this Club - they would have to pay some sort of a yearly fee (which would go towards helping strapped for cash members to attend the dinners and anything left over would go towards drink) and agree to the Club's constitution (which will be simple and be concerned with the active involvement in helping other members etc. when necessary). The dinners will be held around the country and separate regional dinners will be encouraged. When the Club has got going maybe coach trips abroad will be arranged and dinners held in exotic locations.
We need two things in the Club, drama and a real concern for the members well being. This is our chance to create something exciting and worthwhile. Take it.
I shall of course put myself at the Club's disposal and help in creating this new and exciting Club if called upon.
Mail Brendan Somers.