I once saw this particular members club. It featured in a documentary about, of all things, cross-rail.
I've always liked the idea of a members club. I suppose it's a misspent youth reading about The Drones.
It seemed a charmingly ramshackle place and like rather a good idea - they've taken a central London location, connected to a church, and created a not-for-profit private members club that helps homeless people get back into work.
I went to a wedding there once, and it was lovely. And a couple of friends are members and they said it was a rather good way to find a low pressure place to go in Central London, have lunch, have a coffee, do some work without having to struggle for a quiet table.
It is, of course, hugely expensive, a ridiculous luxury, all that. But I thought, I can just about justify that to myself, so I applied for membership and got my friends to second me.
Then they replied saying they were rather heavy with applications just now so they wanted me to answer some questions to help them decide. The questions were these:
Pleas could you let us know...
a fun fact about yourself, and let us know what you enjoy aside from your work?
What app has revolutionised your life and why?
If you could curate your ideal night of entertain me night, what would it consist of?
What is your favourite restaurant and why?
What are your driving passions ?
Who and what inspires you?
What do you read for fun, work and inspiration?
At which, as you can imagine, my heart sank. Those aren't questions that suggest a quiet drink or a thoughtful atmosphere, they suggest instead networking and curation opportunities, they suggest the warm-up exercise at an away day.
I guess I should have known better. Realistically, what did I expect? what did I hope for?
What I hoped for was a new Diogenes.
This was the club founded by Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's brother. It was not a place where people shared fun facts about themselves.
Conan Doyle describes it:
"There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubbable men in town. No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger's Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed, and three offences, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have myself found it a very soothing atmosphere."