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Gary and Phil live in Hartlip, so weirdly (and wisely) they chose to hold their pub meeting in their local.

Following 'ANDY'S BIG NIGHT OUT' they also insisted on some simple 'Terms & Conditions'.  Such as they pre-agreed a menu with the venue at £20 a head with £10 extra for a steak.  They pre-ordered a decent wine (but insisted that if members wanted something better they paid for it). 

The 21 meal choices came in and lo and behold - only five steaks.  Not the normal 15.  The wine was fine and again, weirdly, nobody ordered Chablis or Chateau Neuf du Pape on their own ticket.

The food was excellent, the company even better, the drinks flowed.  Then some berk upset the applecart by floating the 'fake news' that the money had already run out and that a collection would have to be taken if we wanted another drink.......................

That set the cat among the pigeons in no small way.  JB went into one.  Not his biggest one it has to be said, he did actually remain seated as opposed to storming out into the night, but only just.  "Not GASS", "I refuse to put my hand in my pocket to pay for drinks at a GASS meeting", sadly for John it transpired that there was change left over from the £800 budget even at closing time and even after the late drinkers had enjoyed another round.  Whoever started that 'fake news' rumour should be ashamed!!! 


Being a pub meeting, and being as the new Chairman had missed the previous meeting it was pointed out that Ollie was actually still in the chair.  So before we could get on to 'Matters Arising' as we do at these Pub Meetings we had the CEREMONY OF THE NECKLACE OF HONOUR.  Similar in many ways to the Ceremony of the Keys at The Tower of London, but with less keys and less ravens.  It bought a tear to my eye, the grandeur, the pomp, the prats.


On the left you can see just how proud Chairman Owen is to be taking on this massive role in an organisation that has lasted 42 years, almost as long as he is old.  Youngest member ever to hold this post, and then look at the dodgy geezer on his left.  Is that a jealous look?  Is that a man thinking 'that could have been me'.  A possible contender for the crown???  Just saying.

Anyway, he is safe for the moment and Owen wanted to hit the ground running.  He has already come up with a cracker of a meeting for his month, December, always a difficult one but he has 18 going to gay transvestite Christmas dinner in the East End - so he is on a roll!  Eager to cement this great start he made the very sensible comment that we should choose the AGM venue for next year soon to keep prices down.

That was like dynamite to Ollie!  It set Ollie off on a rant about how the AGM was way too expensive, and held in the wrong place, and at the wrong time, and without due process, and there must have vote tampering and........   The Chairman took it all in his stride and we were all entertained by a long, loud shouting match (it is GASS after all, and it only happens at Pub Meetings, and only for around an hour until the contestants tire or go hoarse).  The Chair quite reasonably pointed out that the vote WAS democratic, the cost WAS reasonable in post Covid travel terms and if members wished to cut costs then that WAS fine but would probably mean them  getting a bus to the venue and staying in a YMCA.  However the Chair would be waiting to entertain suggestions as to where Ollie would like to go in 2024 and we could take it from there.  In truth it was a lot shoutier that I make it sound here, but you get my drift.

Sadly we were not finished there.  John had regained conciousness and heard the word AGM.  This set him off on a tirade at how it was iniquitous that the members at an AGM had taken a decision on meetings organisation.  Appalling, unheard of.  "End of GASS as we know it",  "Appalling idea making pairs of poor members actually arrange one meeting, the little lambs can't manage it",  "Impossible to arrange meetings on those budgets".

The Chairman once again poured oil on troubled Brices and explained that a vote at an AGM is actually the purpose of said AGM, and being unanimous it is also pretty normally binding.  Far from being the end of GASS as we know it, it may actually work, and if it doesn't then no harm done.  Further research by some pedantic wanker later proved that over three years almost every meeting had been on budget.  Time will tell.

EDITORS NOTE:  If you have read this far, as Website Editor, I would put in a plea that not all meetings need to be sit down dinners.  It does rather trap us all at a table and cuts out circulating.  Meetings organisers should consider buffets, barbecues and catering vans in future meetings.  Cheaper, more variety and a nice change.

So we all had a great night, really good fun, amazing value.  Andy did not sleep for a week.

Now don't be downhearted GASS meetings organisers, just let this be a lesson.  If you check out the MEETINGS HISTORY section of this website you will see 33 meetings that came in on or near budget by luck, or by judgement of by the simple expedient of a surcharge.  It is not rocket science.  Even if you do fuck up you can always arrange a quick Kitty, pay of the bill and bring any balance along to the next meeting.

FINAL POINT:  Genuinely, many thanks Andy, that was very generous of you and much appreciated.

I put this pic in just in case you thought I was kidding about dining alone in dark room fit for 100

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