11 FEBRUARY 1995, Page 52





tuR4LI 4A



Club of Queer Trads


IN COMPETITION NO. 1867 you were invited to write a poem, waspish or Dronish, commenting on the fact that lady members of the Oxford and Cambridge Club are denied access to both the bar and the north library.

Nearly a hundred years ago, when club- manship was at its peak, General de Galliffet, a French Minister, resigned from his on the grounds that 'It's not possible to belong to a club if one has to arrest the members; it's not sociable.' Even 40 years ago I remember being lunched at the Reform by an ambassador who confided in me that his son, alas, refused to become a member because he didn't 'go along' with the Bill of 1832. I have no opinion on the question either way, but I understand men wanting a club to remain monosexual bet- ter than I can understand women wanting to eat in traditionally male clubs when so many restaurants are available, with better food at the same price. The winners of this lively competition, printed below, get £25 each, and the bonus bottle of Isle of Jura Single Malt Scotch whisky goes to Noel Petty.

The thing about the ladies, Finch, As you and I know well, Is, if you give 'em half an inch, They'll end up with an ell.

Their colleges are still their own, While ours are now half theirs. The ladies, Finch, are not well known For stopping at fair shares.

You'll see: once in the dining-room They'll ban the spotted dick. We've two rooms left with no perfume To make a fellow sick.

Forgive me, Finch; I need, you see, My pre-lunch Scotch and fizz. I'll take it in the library - The northern one, that is. (Noel Petty) Now God bless all the ladies and keep their stockings straight, And may they still he dimly vague and bother- somely late, And make Thou a sufficiency, especially at the races, Of nice girls, and the other sort, for kicking o'er the traces; And moreover, as Thou knowest (for Thou art the great I Am), A filly looks quite comely on the Isis or the Cam. But Lord, please leave them in their punts and keep the library shut Lest the canny lassies notice all the pages are uncut.

So God bless all the ladies and keep their hearts alight.

May at least one be beside me through the reaches of the night.

And do not, Lord, forbid the girls their Pimms' or sparkling perry, For Thou knowest that they're always more compliant when they're merry.

But surely Thou canst give them somewhere quiet for their tipple, To chatter of their boyfriends and to give their babies nipple.

For it's not that I don't like 'em, and I'm not a prude, it's true, But it's such an awful bore to have to build a ladies' loo. (Tanya Jones) It's awfully bad luck on Fiona (The men dubbed her Dipso' at Caius): In the bar at the Oxford and Cambridge The filly is banned if you please!

She has to make do with a hip-flask Concealed in a pouch in her drawers, From which she can guzzle with relish When locked behind lavatory doors.

It's frightfully fraught for Suzanna (A bookworm if ever there was), She can't use North Library (that's final!) And the reason they give is 'Because'.

So she powders her nose with a softback (While Fiona's imbibing next door), A scholarly backlash polemic

Called Women are Chattels No More.

(Tim Hopkins) 'My dear, I must stress that right of access To the library and bar is reserved.'

'Yes, darling, but I must really ask why You feel that this ban is deserved.'

`Well, it's nothing to do with you being you Or me being me, do you see? I only can say that that is the way That it's been and continues to be.'

'But darling, how strange that men never change From being small boys when they've grown!'

'Yes, my dear, it is queer, but I'd like to arrange For us both to be there on our own.'

'Oh, I don't think I ought to permit you to court Where I am forbidden to be.

I always was taught to beware of such sport, So I'll now ban all access to me.' (John Twells)

No.1870: Glimpse of the Beyond

People have reported that they have been 'dead' and have returned to life. What did they see during their brief visit to the other world — Heaven, Hell, Limbo or whatev- er? You are invited to fill the gap (maxi- mum 150 words). Entries to 'Competition No. 1870' by 23 February.