Saturday, 11 October 2014

First Friday at The Handlebar Club


In which G.M. Norton dashes to London for a meeting of moustaches.
 
As regular readers will recall, upon growing the required upper lip appendage with graspable extremities, I joined the prestigious Handlebar Club.
Club members surrounding El Presidente, Mr Rod Littlewood (Photography - Nick Harrison)
The Handlebar Club was formed in 1947 by Jimmy Edwards. It is a thoroughly decent Club to be a member of. The moustachioed men that the Club comprises of are a delightful bunch of gentlemen.
Delightfully dapper (Photography - Nick Harrison)
Traditionally, the Club meet on the first Friday of every month. The meeting isn't the kind of dull affair like in the workplace, with some poor sap (sometimes me) taking minutes and going through the agenda.
Bow ties aplenty (Photography - Nick Harrison)

Oh no! This 'meeting' is merely a night at the local drinking tavern where alcoholic beverages are consumed at an alarming rate. The drinking tavern in question is The Windsor Castle, in Marylebone, London.

Interesting interior (Photography - Nick Harrison)
As I reside in The North, Manchester to be precise, getting to the Club is a little tricky. It's not as if I can just stroll merrily home after a night at the pub. It calls for a hotel and train journeys, which to give Mr. Branson credit for, the ride to London takes a mere two hours and seven minutes (give or take).
 
Jolly japes (Photography - Nick Harrison)
Anyway, as it had been six months since I had met the chaps at the Club's Annual General Meeting (which did involve an agenda, but a beer-soaked one at that), I made the necessary arrangements to join this merry band of men (and ladies).
Robinson and Pike, the pipe smoking duo
For the last year or so, a different hat has been worn at each month's get together. This time, it was the flat cap. I obtained mine from Private White VC, a Manchester menswear brand. It is made from Lancashire tweed and even has a 'Made in Manchester' label on the inside.  

Before the Club frivolity got underway, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Aaron Burns, who I know from Twitter and Instagram as Supernoodle76. Not only does he have an envious sock collection and a super ability to unearth untold treasure from charity shops, but he also sports rather impressive face furniture.
The excellent Mr. Burns (Photography - Laszlo Thoth)
Until recently, Aaron has had a growth of the chin, but that has now departed, allowing him to become the newest recruit to the Handlebar Club. 
Alan Spencer, wearer of Britain's best freestyle moustache (Photography - Laszlo Thoth)
It was marvellous to meet up and have a chinwag over a couple of froth-laden ales before joining the rest of the hirsute gang.
Immortalised forever (Photography - Ryan Pike)
Upon arriving at The Windsor Castle, Mr. Ryan Pike whisked me inside for a photograph by the painting of Sir Winston Churchill. It is tradition for members to have their image captured by this spot. Indeed, some lucky chaps have the honour of gracing the walls and ceiling of this most interesting of establishments. I thought it was important to follow hat etiquette and remove my flat cap when indoors. That way, you can also marvel at the Legends London maximum hold hair gel that I'm wearing. 
Ceiling of fame (Photography - Nick Harrison)
The highlight of the evening was a good old-fashioned game of conkers. We had Mr. Allan Robinson to thank for this traditional autumn treat. He promised us a mystery sporting event beforehand, and thankfully, this wasn't too exerting.

Conkers, the Union Jack and a rather snazzy waistcoat
Here are a number of the competitors, ready to do battle.

The Handlebar Club Conker Championships
One of the strangest moments of the night (and there were a few) was bumping into a photographer chum, Mr. Nick Harrison, also from The North.
Mixing his drinks may not have been sensible (Photography - Nick Harrison)
I work with Nick from time to time. He was the fellow who took the pictorials of me when I portrayed the creator of the Eccles Cake last year. I have Nick to thank for the majority of these fine photographs, along with fellow Club member, the splendidly named Laszlo Thoth. Tremendously grateful to you, chaps! 
Complete gentlemen, although not sure about the one on the right (Photography - Nick Harrison)
There are so many wonderful characters in The Handlebar Club. If like my friend Nick, you ever find yourself in London on the first Friday of the month, pop by and say "What-ho!" A warm welcome is guaranteed. Even if you have a bare top lip.

Now, some important news. Fancy winning a cravat courtesy of Cravat Club? Enter now! 

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'

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1 comment:

  1. I think every public house should feature a visit from a Travelling Bow Tie Vendor, indeed. How very civilised.

    Mrs P

    ReplyDelete