The Garrick

Women don’t want women-only clubs

In my experience, men offer this infuriating comeback when challenged about the continuing exclusion of women from clubs such as the Garrick (for now at least – the Garrick is voting on 7 May on the admission of women as members). ‘But why don’t you set up your own women-only clubs,’ they sulk, ‘and leave us alone?’ My interlocutors are often members of not one but multiple men-only clubs. My husband, father and brothers, for example, frequent a combination of White’s, the Beefsteak, Pratt’s (men-only until last year) and the Garrick. Two of my siblings à l’époque graced the Bullingdon at Oxford. Women-only clubs are all marketed as networking hubs,

The three most radical words Jesus said

Some Jewish friends recently asked me: ‘What is Good Friday?’ At first, they said, they had thought it was so called because of the peace agreement signed in Northern Ireland in 1998. Then they had learnt that it was a Christian thing, but they weren’t sure what. They wanted to know why it was ‘Good’. This put me to the test. You cannot explain anything about Christianity without paradox. It was Good, I hazarded, because it was bad: Jesus had to die to rise. My friends were scrupulously polite, but I thought I detected increasing perplexity. Many films of Christ’s Passion have been made, but all from a more or

Why Rome didn’t need the Garrick

What fun to mock the elite in the Garrick! But there were no Garricks in Rome: clubs were for those lower down the scale. They were called collegia and consisted of citizens, freedmen (ex-slaves) and in some cases slaves. All usually had some religious connection and were properly organised with presidents, treasurers and so on. Some were dedicated to maintaining ancient cults; others served the locality; then there were burial clubs, dedicated to appropriate gods, providing (for a regular fee) monthly group dinners and a guaranteed urn for their ashes in their private facilities (for their slaves and freedmen Augustus and his wife Livia provided buildings with 6,000 urns). The