When I was at university I joined a society called SSAGO and attended their AGM two years in a row. Bearing in mind that the members and organisers were all students and thus automatically classed as work-shy lazy layabouts, our AGMs did seem to last an impressively long time – a good couple of hours at least – although the addition of flying toy pigeons to send messages from the back of the room to the committee at the front probably added to this! I was also, for part of this year, Secretary on our local village hall management committee and the first meeting I ever took minutes for was their three-hour-long marathon of an AGM.
You can imagine my astonishment, therefore, on attending my first AGM of the PGW Society, to find that they took well under an hour to read through the committee members’ reports and re-elect the current committee.
I was seriously impressed at this efficient and no-nonsense approach, particularly because the committee members’ reports were in no way diminished in quality as a result. On the contrary, the Treasurer’s report was one of the funniest I’d ever heard – I didn’t realise that there were any Treasurers in existence with such a masterful turn of comic phrase – it was worthy of Plum himself! 🙂
On arriving at The George pub, I made my way to the upstairs room that had been reserved for the use of the Society, obtained, as we later discovered, at very short notice after being let down by the Arts Club. I quite liked the warm & friendly atmosphere of the pub (having never been to any meetings at the Arts Club, I wasn’t aware of what I had missed), although someone did point out to me later that the arrangement of chairs around the edge of the room did restrict mingling with fellow members somewhat.
In spite of this there was a thoroughly convivial atmosphere throughout the proceedings, and mingling did occur, partly prompted by two items of note that were being passed round the room – one was a draft copy of the “Chronology of P G Wodehouse Stories” compiled by Tony Ring, which generated considerable interest. The other was a photo album full of pictures from the bi-annual dinner. Having hurried across the room to peruse this terrifying tome, I discovered to my infinite relief that there was only one photo of me in it and I had somehow managed to look more normal and less deranged than I had expected. This was particularly gratifying as, leafing through the pages, I noticed that others had not got off so lightly! 😉
After the committee members had read their reports and the committee had been re-elected, we were treated to a cracking performance by Geoff Hale, who spoke on the many and varied roles of servants in the Wodehouse stories. He explained how Wodehouse obtained first-hand experience of servant life when he was a boy, mentioned several characters who masqueraded as servants (prime examples being Ashe Marson and Joan Valentine), continued on to discuss the decline in quality of servants and finally wound up with a piece dedicated solely to the incomparable Sebastian Beach. All of this was liberally besprinkled with wonderfully apt quotations, which added extra colour and amusement. Much merriment was had by all and I for one was sorely disappointed to discover at the end of the evening that I would have to wait until February for the next Society meeting. Ah well, quality over quantity! 🙂