ANDY'S BIG NIGHT OUT
It is the first meeting of a new era. Having lost Dr Ollie, after only a year (shortest Chairman reign ever, but a damn good one) we were in dire straits. Thank goodness for B11. Without this sterling group of GASS members (a club within a club I hear you say, Double Six I reply) goodness knows where we would be.
Rudderless, leaderless, meetings organiserless, because the job had become a poisoned chalice. An impossible task, a one way street to madness and depression (and I hardly need to mention Pontins to make my point).
The many different opinions, openly and loudly expressed by members in their cups, are borderline impossible to satisfy. A simple pub meeting can become a nightmare as members who don't quite like the taste of the wine so explore the wine list, normally working back from the more expensive end, until they alight on a fine claret or a premier cru Chablis which is to their taste, or always ordering a sirloin steak because everyone else has, then having the temerity to moan about the entertainment.
Well the boot is on the other foot now - or at least it is on 22 other feet to be more precise!
The new era is upon us, courtesy of a unanimous vote at the AGM. A vote made easier by their only being 11 of the younger, more vibrant, flexible and open minded of the membership, plus Nick. It was an unusual AGM. A few topics were discussed, members listened attentively to the proposals put to the meeting, the new Chairman was proposed and voted in without any rancour. The 'new era' was proposed and unanimously supported (have I already mentioned it was unanimous?) and so we move forward into the sunlit uplands of a new dawn.
Or it will be total shite.
The best way to judge is to use ANDY'S BIG NIGHT OUT' as an example (you may then choose to read the minutes for November and see if you prefer Gary's approach to the same problem).
The pair chosen by fate to arrange the October meeting were Andy and Ollie. Andy took the lead role (Ollie, took no part in the proceedings, claiming mental health issues after a year of meetings organisation).
We had discussed organisers setting meetings on their home turf using local knowledge. It also means that meetings will be fairly spread around. The obvious choice of venue for Andy and Ollie would be West Malling, they flipping live there, Andy has serious clout, knows everyone, right down to the staff in all the bars. Andy chose otherwise because he is a good guy. He went central Maidstone.
To a new bar restaurant called Babasheesh located where Pizza Express used to be. If you recall Pizza Express it was bright, funky, live music, great atmosphere, packed, great place. Don't hold your breath if you go to Babasheesh. It's none of those things. On the bright side we did not have to queue to be served.
Upstairs to a darkened room. Really big. One long table in the middle. Nice chill to the air. Sort of weird fluorescent light effects. No matter - the grub and booze started to flow from the moment we sat down.
We kicked off with £270 worth of booze at the bar, a quick pre-starter of £135 of Meze and stuff, £300 worth of wines, £300 worth of mains, and £76 worth of desserts, basically four courses plus bits and bobs plus service, which unsurprisingly came to £1,200. With a budget of £800.
Choices? Choices? Ask everyone of the 15 present (who had, after all, consumed £80 worth of booze and food each) to cough up £26.66, or £25 quid for cash, to cover the £400 overspend, or not?
Andy is without a doubt the most generous, kindest, best looking, best dressed, tallest, slimmest, nicest GASS member ever!!!! Cos he paid the full whack himself. What a geezer!!! What a mate!!! What a mug - hang on, who said that???? Stand up that man, how dare you! I won't hear a word said against Mr Smith, he is a man among men, a true gentleman. Shame on you.
I put this pic in just in case you thought I was kidding about dining alone in dark room fit for 100
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.