Imagine having a dinner party and inviting Mustafa Ataturk, Béla Bartók, Cecil B DeMille, Alexander Fleming, Anna Pavlova, Pablo Picasso and PG Wodehouse.
Anna will take exception to being the only woman and say that she hopes her eponymous pudding is not on the menu. Cecil B will take control of the seating plan while Mustafa wonders why he has been invited. Why indeed? A politician, a composer, a film producer, a scientist, a dancer, an artist and an author and lyricist. A Turk, a Hungarian, an American, a Scotsman, a Spaniard, a Russian and an Englishman. They were all born in 1881 and it may surprise you that PG Wodehouse is the most famous Englishman born in that year by a country mile.
It will not surprise members of the PG Wodehouse Society (UK). Do not be put off by the fact that almost all meeting and events are held in London. If you never attend a single event you get good value for your £22 subscription (or $40 if you prefer) in the form of four editions of Wooster Sauce a year. Each edition is at least twenty-four pages (sometimes longer if the editor cannot restrain herself) and tucked in with it as a supplement is By The Way that has more Wodehousiana.
If you do visit or live in London there are three meetings a year, now held in the magnificent Drawing Room of the Savile Club. These get-together are free but there is a well-stocked bar if you feel an urge to splash out. There is always some entertainment laid on in the form of an address about anything that is relevant to PGW. Every two years the Society itself splashes out and holds a formal dinner in the Hall of one of the Inns of Court. This is attended by many of the Society’s Patrons who enter into the spirit of things after dinner by putting on a play or singing. It is always a night to remember.
Who are these Patrons? HRH The Duke of Kent KG, Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE, Henry Blofeld OBE, Simon Brett, Ann Briers, Simon Callow CBE, Lara Cazalet, Nicholas Colicos, Stephen Fry, Murray Hedgcock, Lady Hornby, Richard Ingrams, Martin Jarvis OBE, Boris Johnson, Lord Lloyd-Webber, Nigel Rees, Griff Rhys Jones, Rt Hon Lord Scott, Godfrey Smith, Dr Shashi Tharoor MP, Lucy Tregear and Tony Whittome.
I recommend joining without delay and giving a subscription to a friend for Christmas. Here is the link. The next party at the Savile will be in February 2018; date will be in the next Wooster Sauce.