After a few decades of giving it a miss, the Eccentric Club members are gathering on 13th of March at 13 minutes past 7 for their traditional ceremonial “Friday the 13th” Dinner.
Allegedly, the tradition goes back to 1780s, when members of the ‘Society of Eccentrics’ ridiculed superstitions by dining surrounded by bad omens. Abandoned, it was revived in 1880s by The Thirteen Club, famous both in Britain and the US, many members of which later joined the Eccentric Club and made it an important annual event in the club’s calendar.
Members of the club argue that ‘it’s all in our minds’, that they are bad-luck immune simply due to their lack of belief into any effect of opening umbrellas indoors, walking under ladders, black cats and number 13 on their lives and business. Instead, they intend to turn it into a ‘good luck raising event’ and plan to raise some funds for their recently re-established club and public awareness about its comeback.
The Eccentric Club used to be an important cultural and social institution in British society for more than two centuries. In fact, there’s been a few ‘Eccentric Clubs’, the last one lasted from 1890 till 1985 and its former President, Lord Montagu, despite being 82, is rather excited about the Club’s revival. And not just him – since the re-launch of the Eccentric Club in August last year, HRH Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh, who was the Patron of the old club, has restored his Patronage to the Eccentrics, HRH Prince Michael of Kent expressed his interest too and invited the Club’s Secretary to Kensington Palace, the organisers also received best wishes to their endeavours from HRH Prince Charles of Wales, Their Royal Highnesses Princes William and Henry of Wales, Lord Bath, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, actor David Prowse, performer Elton John, writer Peter Underwood and many others.
The Club has been growing quickly, already having over 60 members, which include writers, artists, actors, performers, fashion designers, businessmen, politicians and socialites. One of the latest members became Dave West, a flamboyant multimillionaire-businessman from Jermyn Street, St James’s, famous, amongst other things, for hiring Cherie Blair as his barrister to challenge the lawfulness of the smoking ban in court.
In less than a year, the Club has gained enormous popularity, going from strength to strength, despite remaining without own premises.
This time the eccentrics will be guests of the Arts Club in Dover Street, Mayfair, many members of which are well known for their eccentricity. But then again – aren’t we all a bit eccentrics?
Photograph of the dinner held at the Eccentric Club on Friday, the 13th of November 1936 (Available from Getty Images):