I was intrigued to hear about The Asexual Society. It's not exactly a society, but a group of people who come under the banner of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (Aven) by their shared non-experience: they don't experience sexual attraction.
It doesn't mean they have no sex drive; it means they don't feel it directed towards anyone. Not to be confused with nonlibidoism, which means having no sex drive at all, and, yes, there is, or was, an Official Nonlibidoism Society until it disbanded, following rows about terminology.
It's easy to be drawn into levity on this subject – is there an Asexual Society Singalong book that includes "I'm Not in Love" by 10CC, "I Won't Dance, Don't Ask Me" by Frank Sinatra, and "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meat Loaf? – but I'm interested in a club whose members are defined by what they don't do.
Like Atheism. There are many atheist societies and "humanist" societies that stress the primacy of human reason and science over metaphysical persiflage, but their basic function is to say, "We don't believe it; we won't sign up for it."
When multitudes now seem to be doing and thinking the same thing, perhaps we shall see more such organisations of non-believers. Here are some I'd join tomorrow:
The Askiing Society Organisation of refuseniks who just don't feel attracted to spending £3,500 a head flying to Chamonix or Val D'Isère to stand on a mountain with a -30C wind scouring their cheeks, before setting off on long metal planks to hurtle down a frozen glacier with a one-in-two gradient, before crashing into a litigious Coloradoan billionaire.
The Akilling Society Band of TV viewers who admit they don't get aroused by The Killing, Series I or II. It took guts to "come out" and buck the national adulation for Sarah Lund, her sweaters and cocky male colleagues, the suspiciously over-grieving parents and the corrupt mayoral candidate, but they had to stand up for what they didn't believe in. "We understand the trend," said Midlands housewife Carinthia D. "It's Scandinavian, and everyone loves Sofie Thingy, but it struck us as glum and tearful and deadly boring. We just didn't feel anything. Does that make us freaks?"
The Aadele Society Shame-faced gang of philistines who confess to not feeling "the tiniest smidgeonof desire" to hear "Rolling in the Deep" or "Someone Like Yooooooo" ever sung again.
The Asocial Network Small awkward squad of oddballs who confess to "never seeing the appeal, quite honestly" of telling 850 million strangers their likes, phobias and marital status and letting them see pictures of their bottom after 437 tequila slammers.
Take the flak with the plaque
Van Gogh's old house in Brixton is up for sale. A snip at £450,000, it has a blue English Heritage plaque on the wall. There's no central heating, there's an outside privy, and you can feel the presence of the great man by the fireplace. He fell in love with the landlady's daughter, was rejected and fell into madness. Terrific.
Another plaque is about to be unveiled on the house in Chelsea where Jean Rhys lived in the late 1930s. Her biography by Carole Angier revealed Rhys as a helpless, needy, dysfunctional figure who once, in a rage, threw her husband's typewriter out the window of their top-floor flat. English Heritage is doing a fine job of reminding us that artiness and domesticity don't mix.Reuse content