Opinions: Do You belong to a club?

MAJOR NARINDER SAROOP (member of Beefsteak, Cavalry and Guards, Pratt's, Imperial Delhi Gymkhana, Royal Bombay Yacht, Royal Calcutta Golf): First club I joined was the Sirhind club when I was 18 and my regiment was stationed in India. My clubs are a homefrom home. I go there for the conviviality, as much for the courtesy of the staff as to see one's friends. Times have changed, clubs are not as exclusive as they once were, but we're not as fuddy-duddy as people believe, you know.

DAWN PRIMAROLO, MP: I'm not a member of any clubs at all; I don't feel deprived, though if I knew what was fixed and sorted out in them I might feel differently.

TIM RENTON, MP: I've been a member of the Garrick club for eight years. The food's good and it's full of entertaining people from Kingsley Amis to Robin Day - with not too many politicians. I have a Garrick bow tie which is salmon and cucumber I wear to outdo Robin Day. It has a marvellous collection of theatrical pictures and I'm told that the pictures in the Ladies toilets are wonderful.

TONY BLAIR's OFFICE: He is a member of the Trimdon Colliery and Deaf Hill Working Men's, the Trimdon Village Working Men's and the Fishburn Working Men's.

WILL SELF, writer: I confess. I am a member of the Groucho club. It's embarrassing but I have been hanging out there recently. I know the staff, the bar's good and it's near my publishers. It's cosy and people want to feel they belong.

SARAH-JANE LOVETT, poet: Apparently I'm banned from the Academy Club [in Soho, owned by Auberon Waugh] which is very frightening - I'm obviously too attractive. Groucho's is very homely, despite its reputation, which is why I hold my club for fellow poets there.

PETER BOIZOT, chairman, Pizza Express: The Colony Room, which used to be a famous old club in Soho. In the old days it used to be full of very bohemian people. Gentlemen's clubs attract loners who want to have polite conversation about topical events. I wish I could say we talk about women but they are rarely mentioned. Sexism always raises its head in clubs and I think it should be up to the members who they let in and what sex they are.

MICHAEL WINNER, film director: I was once put up for a very posh private club, the name of which escapes me now, but I had to wear a tie at the interview. Halfway through the interview I thought how ridiculous the whole set-up was, informed them that I didn't actually want to be a member, and left. When I was at Cambridge I became a life member of both the Labour and Conservative parties. I wanted to keep my options open.

CARL SHAW, civil servant: I've been a season ticket holder of Leicester City Football Club for seven years.

DEBORAH HARWOOD, literary agent: I own a quarter of Peg's, which is a private dining club. I visit at least once a day, either for lunch or supper. I would absolutely miss not having a club to go to.

SIMON HUGHES MP: I'm a Gold Card member of the Ministry of Sound nightclub. I'm a regular Saturday-night goer.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission, Benefits, OTE £100k: SThree: ...

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you a recent graduate loo...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine