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Recent Events

With a General Election coming up, we contacted Labour, the Conservatives, the Lib Dems (indirectly), and Reform UK for a Question Time-style debate.

Just Reform responded.

So on 24th June, Reform candidates Marc Burca (Kensington and Bayswater) and Peter Hunter (Putney) addressed Revellers and answered tough questions with persuasive aplomb about what they stand for and what they'd do if they formed a government.

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David Bradley interviewed ex-Financial Times security, intelligence and defence correspondent Jimmy Burns, OBE, about what it takes to be a spy - and whether or not Revellers have the required rare combination of characteristics. The answer is that they do. Spies must be charming, likeable and great networkers - all Reveller traits.
 

Was Jimmy a spy? He has the personality. The Argentinians arrested him for spying during the Falklands War (but fairly quickly freed him), and he counted spies among his friends. But Jimmy didn't let on.

His latest book, A Faithful Spy, was the link to the talk's question.

 

It's about a very bright, charming, likeable networker, Walter Bell. He joined MI6 in the 1930s and, through some fascinating "dark arts", helped persuade US public opinion that the US must fight the Nazis. Likewise, Bell used his powers of friendship and persuasion to ensure two hitherto terrorists (in the UK's opinion), Kenyatta and Nehru, to side firmly with the West against the Soviets during the Cold War.

 

Missed out on the talk? You can buy the book at Amazon here.

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We enjoyed an exciting evening of Backgammon. Backgammon expert Andrew Selby provided game-winning tips to those he played. Jules Rowe won most games, so David Bradley awarded her the winning prize, a delicious bottle of Brinkley’s House champagne. 
Revellers not so into Backgammon enjoyed a suitably louche chatty time at the bar, savouring fine wines and joining exhilarated players for dinner afterwards.  

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After drinks and when Revellers had finally sat down, David Bradley quizzed Tim Hames about his and Kate Bingham's book The Long Shot. Britain became the first vaccinated country, and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was the World's most widely used vaccine.  
It was largely all thanks to Kate Bingham and the team she assembled. But we learned of the extraordinarily difficult odds Kate faced. She dodged turf wars, interference, inappropriate audits, and even press briefings against her by special advisers. But she prevailed.

 

We learned how the vaccine's success was partly due to £30m donated to the Nuffield Foundation by William Morris (Morris Minor inventor) in the 70s. It laid the foundations for Oxford to become a global medicine superpower. We discovered how Kate introduced the venture capital mindset and modus operandi. It cut through stifling Whitehall bureaucracy like a hot knife through butter. We realised how vital Boris Johnson was for his ambition and decisiveness and that he simply provided Kate Bingham direct line access to him. Tim sold books to practically everyone who came before we retreated for dinner downstairs, where the conversations continued.

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Starting 2024 in the manner we want it to continue, 70 or so Revellers met in Prince Albert's tented (and heated, thank goodness) terrace garden at 1 p.m. for drinks. Warmed by heaters and bloody maries, we laughed, gossiped and chatted long into the afternoon as people bumped into friends they hadn't seen for ages. 

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It all started as a throng round the downstairs bar. Barmen quickly and deftly mixed and poured cocktails for an assortment of vampires, walking pumpkins and representatives from Ghostbusters. When the music started the dancing began.

 

Some decided to ascend to the quieter cosy bar upstairs to drink champagne for wit and repartee.

 

It felt rather like Heaven compared to the vibrant, pulsating and fun Hell downstairs. Perhaps a theme for a future bash?

Another fast-paced evening of hushed concentration as (some) Revellers shook the dice, skillfully weighed the odds and moved their pieces with verve. The winner of the coveted bottle of Canard-Duchêne was Alex Ellerington. Some Revellers retreated to the bar in search of other players. But they became distracted. The winning chat and gossip were too alluring. Dinner afterwards was a hoot. 

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Peralta: Another Long Relaxing Tuscan Weekend
14th - 19th September 2023

This long, lazy weekend was Revellers' Club's fifth outing to Peralta. Again, we had a fabulous time. Tuscan cuisine, markets, Lucca, long lunches, restaurant walks, and reading by the pool. Peralta is in the Apennine foothills, 300m high. We enjoyed spectacular views of the Mediterranean in the distance, which we swam in off a private beach.

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Talk:

Coffee with Hitler, 11th September 2023

David Bradley quizzed Charles Spicer about his renowned, excellent book, Coffee with Hitler. Revellers were so mesmerised by stories about how three British amateur spies attempted to “civilise” the Nazis that they bought 40 copies. Our amateur spies failed, but their contacts, including Hess, Goering and Ribbentrop, provided vitally valuable intelligence that the British Government ignored. Had it listened and acted, events that culminated in the invasion of Poland may never have unfolded. 

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Fourth of July Celebrations at Kosmopol,

London's #1 Swedish Cocktail Bar

If you are wondering why we celebrated Fourth July in London's top Swedish cocktail bar, it was to honour 1.3m Swedes who migrated to the States in the 19th century. Their genes are responsible for some very good looking Americans. 60 glamorous Revellers dressed up accordingly and we boogied and drank cocktails until past midnight. 

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From the Hip Concert, 28th June 2023

We danced, chatted and drinks were fast flowing. Like the music. We all loved the songs, mostly from the 60s, 70s and 80s, from soul to rock. From the Hip is arguably the UK's top cover band. Reveller Johnny Yorke was a brilliant rock star, assisted by his old school friend band leader, Rob Errington.

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An evening with Jonathan Aitken 12th June 2023

As the Chaplain at Pentonville prison, Jonathan Aitken gave a fascinating talk about prison reform, assisted by a rehabilitated ex-prisoner, Dan Brown. After regaling amusing prison life stories, they brought some horrifying facts to Revellers: 900 of Jonathan's circa 1300 prisoners are yet to face trial. They are locked up 23 hours a day. About half of all inmates, mostly in their young 20s, are illiterate. That explains why many can’t get jobs on release. Hardly surprising 30% of them re-offend. The solution: compulsory education as part of a better-funded rehabilitation programme. Stupidly, just 1% of the prison budget is spent on education. Increase that to 10%, and re-offending will abate, as will the trauma afflicted by so many. Much more was discussed, of course. It was a remarkable occasion. If you think you missed out, be sure to book early for our next talk.

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Revellers gathered for a fast game of high-adrenaline backgammon. This time we dispensed with points and the doubling cube. Whoever won most games by 8.30 pm would walk away with the winner's prize - a bottle of Canard Duchene. But a draw meant that Ant Fane, Charles Hancock and Beatrice Martin Vignerte each had to throw the doubling cube to decide the winner. It was Beatrice that finally raised the winner's bottle. We all enjoyed a fabulous gossipy dinner afterwards. 

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James Bartholomew wants to stop the UK from sliding into a communist, totalitarian state. So he is raising £70m to establish, in central London, the Museum of Communist Terror. Revellers were spellbound as James explained that the young adulated - and voted for - Corbyn, a confessed Marxist. Yet they know not of Lenin and Starlin, nor the millions of people who died directly due to communist policies. The teaching establishment tolerates only 45% of students studying GCSE History. And many learn a revisionist version that underplays the scale of communism's suffering and horrors.

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Exhibiting graphic details of gulags, torture, and arbitrary arrest may drive the message home to the country's hopefully democratic future leaders. A jolly dinner followed.

Revellers sat in wrapped attention as Mark Hollingsworth introduced some of the extraordinary methods KGB agents used to spread disinformation. We learned how the KGB could be much more ruthless than Western agencies, how honeytraps worked, and why they were so effective. Some of the men in the audience twitched uncomfortably when Mark explained that specially trained, beautiful women would flatter their targets who were people like us. They were, of course, utterly susceptible to their flattery. Buy Mark's latest book, Agents of Influence, for the fascinating, full low-down. Available at Amazon.

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"High Stakes" Backgammon at Brinkleys, 21st March 2023

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A glamorous audience witnessed skilled players assessing the odds quickly, deep in competitive thought. Again 30 Revellers pitted their wits against one another, harnessing Lady Luck where possible. With only two doubles per game (one per player), the skilful winner was Robert Greenwell, with 22 points. David Bradley duly awarded him a bottle of Canard Duchene at 9 pm. Dinner followed, and the fun continued. 

An Evening with Baroness Meyer - Monday, 27th February 2023

Revellers spent an intriguing evening with Catherine, Baroness Meyer of Nine Elms. Her husband, the late Sir Christopher Meyer, was British Ambassador to Washington when 9/11 struck. They were both a tour de force there, adding glamour and spark to otherwise formal and rather dull proceedings. We heard how Clinton and Bush warmed to her - even lobbying to release her children, whom her German ex-husband was illegally detaining. It was a moving evening. Catherine, a British citizen since the '80s, is half-French and half-Russian. She is also UK's first trade envoy to Ukraine. Her insights about the war there were fascinating. Chatham House rules applied, so I can't share them.

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At The Bar at the Prince Albert, with Col Stuart Tootal DSO 13th February

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We gathered around and discussed the great issues of the day. Stuart is the Sunday Times Best Selling author of "Danger Close", a harrowing account of his leading 3PARA into Helmund in 2006. Stuart provided some fascinating and unusual insights into Ukraine from a military perspective and his knowledge of those who have lived and worked in Moscow. 

Dr Daisy Bennett on Looking Younger, Bridge Room, Prince Albert, 13th February

Whilst the guys were downstairs talking war, women were upstairs talking of everlasting beauty with Harley Street medical and cosmetic doctor Dr Daisy Bennett. Daisy shared insights into the art of looking and feeling younger openly in a way that could never have happened with chaps present.

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Philip Eeles and the Honest Burger Story

18th January 2023 

Honest Burger co-founder Philip Eeles entertained and fascinated Revellers with stories of the (seeming) chaos of its roots to its £55+ turnover now. As Philip told his tale, it became apparent how the Honest culture is crucial to its success.

But it was also down to their approach. "We buy the whole cow because we don't trust butchers", explained Philip. "Everything is prepared fresh centrally. Honest doesn't even have a single freezer". Philip inspired and intrigued his audience.

007 Backgammon at Brinkleys, 17th January 2023

30 Revellers pitted their wits against one another. Bond music reverberated in the background. Revellers played one game, then changed to a new opponent. The doubling cube enhanced scores. The winner was the player who accumulated the most points by 9 pm. Charles Hancock won with a stunning 96 points. At 9 pm, David Bradley presented Charles the winner's prize, a bottle of Brinkley's excellent house champagne (The Dom Perignon 53 being momentarily out of stock.) Dinner followed, and the fun continued as piranhas feasted on the player with the least points. 

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New Year's Day Recovery Lunch, 1 January 2023

22 Revellers met for Hair of the Dog Bloody Marys and G&Ts before sitting down to a fab Sunday roast. From the Prince Albert's Bridge Room, we could see the shivering, wet, wind-swept walkers exiting Battersea Park as we tucked into the succulent roast belly of pork, washed down with some fine wines and lively chat.

Reforming the Blob

10th October 2022

John O'Connell, Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA) CEO, provided fascinating insights into the powerful combination of the Civil Service and Big Business. At a speech recently, Michael Gove referred to this alliance as the Blob. (A 50s film about a slimy monster consuming all in its path.) 

John shared some of the insights from the TPA's extensive research.

One was about procurement.

Considering the spending cuts and tax rises that will soon take place, one silver bullet for the Government would be to reform procurement. Imagine if the entire Public Sector could eliminate those kinds of inefficiencies. For example, if the whole NHS bought energy at the same price as the Trust that pays the least for it now, the NHS would save over £200m a year. 

We're talking £100bns in savings.

Winning Coins and How to Spot Them

27th June 2022

This talk was the fourth about crypto. William Ralston -Saul entertained those Revellers interested in spotting coins that would survive the bear market and go on to thrive. William stressed that it was quite like trying to spot a winning share. Some common sense is required, and some relatively uncommon sense for figuring out the “tokenomics” of winning coins. William’s outstanding quality is that he’s not only profoundly knowledgeable but has the gift of explaining it all simply in ways that ordinary people like us can grasp.

Peralta: A long Relaxing Tuscan Weekend

17th - 21st June 2022

We had a fabulous time. Tuscan cuisine, fine wines, long lunches, restaurant walks, and sunbathing by the pool. Peralta is in the Apennine foothills, 300m high. We enjoyed spectacular views of the sea in the far distance - only about a 30-minute drive away. We danced, sang and laughed. 

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Understanding NFTs with William Ralston-Saul
2nd April 2022

In our third crypto series talk, William Ralston-Saul explained Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs. NFTs have reached the headlines as art auction houses have had well-attended, high-profile auctions of them. For those unacquainted with crypto, William used a superb chess metaphor to bring them up to speed. Once people broadly understood the concept, William explained how NFTs could revolutionise industries, especially games and music. Dinner followed when Revellers could quiz William one-to-one over a glass or two.

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Col Stuart Tootal Interviews Falklands SAS Veteran Mark "Splash" Aston

23 February 2022

Mark "Splash" Aston is a SAS Falklands War veteran. Half his squadron perished when his Sea King helicopter crashed in the South Atlantic. Splash went on to fight and help retake the islands. Sunday Times Bestselling author Col Stuart Tootal interviewed Splash, who gave Revellers a first-hand account of th

battles and endurances, the humorous moments and sad ones as brave colleagues died. Stuart and Mark have co-written Mark's story in SAS: Sea King Down, now available in all good bookshops and at Amazon

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Understanding the Crypto Opportunity

23rd February 2022

Aubit, AKA Freeway, kindly sponsored this lively, compass-setting talk on understanding crypto, how it will change the world and how Revellers can take advantage of it. 
Aubit co-founder Peter Neilson gave a short, pithy introduction, explaining how Aubit’s Freeway democratises capitalism by giving small investors a chance for huge returns usually reserved for large institutions. Blockchain tech achieves this. Complimentary fine wine and fizz poured perpetually. 
Next, William Ralston-Saul delivered an engaging talk about
the crypto scene. He started by asking if anyone knew how Blockchain worked. A few raised their hands hesitantly. Using a brilliant chess-playing metaphor, William then explained it. So that’s how it works, everyone thought, as William gave an overview on everything from NFTs and stablecoins to tokenomics and Web3.  

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Understanding Bitcoin

19th January 2022

This talk was the first in a series on crypto. Jonathan De Rin and Kristiane Backer gave an in-depth presentation on Bitcoin. They were raising money for a completely green Bitcoin Mine in Norway. Sharing explanations reserved for their investors, they explained what Bitcoin is, how it works and why it shot up to a peak valuation in 2022 of over $50k. Some sceptics asked whether Bitcoin has intrinsic value, the vast electricity needed to mine it and whether quantum computer hackers will bring it down one day. A jolly dinner followed as the debate continued. 

Col Stuart Tootal's Talk on Afghanistan

17th November 2021

Col Stuart Tootal, DSO OBE, provided insights into the current Afghan situation and a fascinating talk about his experiences leading the 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) in 2005, spearheading the UK's first deployment into Helmand. At the time, the then Labour Defence Secretary, John Reid, said their mission was part anti-narcotics and peace support and that he'd be surprised soldiers fired a single shot. Stuart pointed out that 3 PARA fired well over 500,000 rounds in the end.
Stuart described many aspects of the campaign, including a vivid glimpse of life in 55-degree heat with limited washing facilities and under constant fire. In Stuart's experience and opinion, the campaign in Helmand could have been successful if it had focused on providing local funding to the villages using a Command Control structure rather than burning poppies, their primary income source. Stuart expressed sadness, regret and utter surprise about the incompetent nature of the withdrawal three months earlier.

Toby Young's Talk - Free Speech Union

5th October 2021

Forty Revellers listened to Toby explain what the Free Speech Union is doing to combat the invasive and expanding "cancel culture". Toby spoke about students finding professors' teachings offensive and forcing them out. Particularly chilling was a story about a Public Sector employee fired for using a perfectly legal, though politically incorrect term, in a private WhatsApp message. Happily, bosses reinstated fired victims after the Free Speech Union wrote to them, pointing out they were breaking the law. The Free Speech Union is doing much behind the scenes, helping lawmakers draft laws that enhance Free Speech.  

 

Click here to learn more about the Free Speech Union.  

Thruxton Track Day Weekend

10th/11th October 2020

A day of Testosterone and Speed followed by antique shopping, tea and dinner. Country walks followed on Sunday. 

Gawain Towler Talk

2nd March 2020

As Nigel Farage's PR Director, Gawain is one of the UK's most successful political PR specialists. Even for those who thought Brexit an unmitigated disaster, he provided valuable PR advice and some fascinating anecdotes in a very entertaining presentation - which continued during dinner. 

Stewart Pearce Talk

17th February 2020

Stewart Pearce is one of the World's most renowned voice coaches. He gave a fascinating presentation on how to command an audience by "finding your note". His clients included Princess Diana, Margret Thatcher, Minnie Driver, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, Michelle Williams, Hugh Bonneville, Eddie Redmayne, Simon Callow, Matthew Goode, and Mark Rylance.  

Backgammon at Brinkleys

13th January 2020 

Revellers enjoyed an evening of high-stakes drama. Competition to win the coveted bottle of Brinkleys House champagne was fierce. Drinks flowed during play, and an amusing dinner followed.

Ian George Talk,

5th November 2019

Ian George is a highly paid and exceptionally effective professional business introducer. If you want to meet a cabinet minister, no problem. A billionaire, consider it done. A Walmart buyer, whose time is worth more than hens' teeth made of gold, well, that is his bread and butter. Ian had a fascinating story to tell as he spilt the beans on the secrets behind his techniques. He also recounted what it felt like being near the famous boxing impresario Frank Warren when famously he was shot. (Both survived.)

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