Friday 11 August 2023

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum

No, not the 1962 stage musical.  Not even the 1966 film adaptation.  No, this is actually about a forum that I regularly frequent and the not-so-funny thing that has recently happened to it.

The forum in question is The Sheridan Club, a discussion board for gentlemen and ladies like you and me who extol the vintage lifestyle in all its various aspects; who still value the manners and etiquette of bygone times and enjoy confounding the modern world with it on suitable occasions.  It was, as far as my understanding goes, originally affiliated with The Chap magazine when it was first created in circa 2004 and drew much of its early membership from readers of that periodical who embraced something of the Dadaist absurdism that it represented.  However it later separated from that organ, while still retaining a link to its views and principles, and subsequently begat The New Sheridan Club - a London-based in-person social club that I'm pleased to say still flourishes. 

To provide some personal background, I first stumbled across The Sheridan Club back in October 2006 when I was but a fresh-faced youth of 23.  My involvement in The Chap movement began around the same period although how I came to find it is lost to the mists of time.  However since the age of about 9 I had had an interest in the silent comedies of Laurel & Hardy and Harold Lloyd, as well as the era of the Second World War thanks to my grandparents who were of that generation.  Over subsequent years my interests grew to encompass all aspects of the interwar period, until by the time I came to The Chap I had a thorough appreciation of the time (as well as the late Victorian and Edwardian eras).  The subversive, absurdist nature of the original ethos of Chappism also appealed and so I became a convert to the cause.  Somewhere out of that I discovered The Sheridan Club, requested my membership card and the rest, as they say, is history.  My name there – and here – is not my own as Chappist pseudonyms were encouraged, thus my open copy of The Illustrated Sherlock Holmes Collection provided me with the sobriquet I continue to use to this day.  Two years later I finally joined The New Sheridan Club, membership of which I still maintain.

The Sheridan Club has therefore played an important part in my life, helping shape me into the man I am today (for better or worse!). It has helped me through some dark times personally and has been a haven from the madness of the modern world, where one could discuss all aspects of Chappism, good manners, fashion tips and shared interests with friendly and knowledgeable individuals from around the globe. 

However, as the world sleep-walked ever further into the welcoming arms of Messrs Zuckerberg, Dorsey and Musk et al., so The Sheridan Club forum slowly declined from being a place of multiple daily, erudite conversations to a ghostly shell populated only by myself and one or two other stalwarts. Think of it now as the online chatroom equivalent of The Last Man on Earth.  Thankfully the moderator/ site owner continued to pay the bills to keep the old place running, until a couple of weeks ago when things started to go awry and ended with multiple Internal Server Error messages making the site unusable.  The host provider has been informed and although I still have hopes that things will be put right ere long, this has now happened too many times in recent years.  The fact that the owner does not answer their e-mails does not bode well either.

Therefore I've taken it upon myself to create a new Sheridan Club (but not The New Sheridan Club, for obvious reasons - nor even the New New Sheridan Club!) forum as either a temporary back-up or a new permanent site - depending on what happens - and I would be delighted if you would come over and join me for a chat.  Please note that I do not intend for it to replace my ramblings on here (infrequent though they currently are) but rather to supplement it as a place to discuss things that may not quite fit the ethos of this blog or are too insubstantial to make a standalone post.  

I do hope you will forgive this blatant promotion but I have long valued my interactions on the forum and would hate to see it consigned to the dustbin of history, so please feel free to step in to The Sheridan Club 2.0!

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