Simon Lanyon (C. 1951-56), Peter Cockburn (S.1959/64), Michael Bishop (C. 1960-65) James Brenan (S. 1972-77) and David Gold (S. 1986-91)
Written by Alex Bremer (Ry. 1979-83), Site Administrator
Tuesday, 10 January 2006

The first OB gathering of 2006 was an all male affair that in terms of College attendance spanned over 50 years!

As numbers go, the evening started off slowly, but built to a comfortable throng of 25 or so Old Brightonians. When I arrived shortly after 6pm David Gold (S. 1986-91) and Adam Belson (R. 1979-84) were the sole attendees – apparently trying to convince a sceptical barman that this evening would be worth his while...

He needn't have worried. A trickle of weather-weary OBs came in from the cold throughout the next few hours – each, as ever, nervously wondering whether they'd come to the right place, and who they might recognise. Again, as ever, each was warmly welcomed by the burgeoning group – some as long lost “brothers”, others as old and familiar comrades.

James Brenan (S. 1972-77) headed the trickle, closely followed by Michael Bishop (C. 1960-65), Graham Leathes (A. 1962-67) and the buoyant Simon Lanyon (C. 1951-56). It was agreed that Simon is a shoe-in for chairperson of the newly convened “Old Brightonians Barry Norman Lookalike Club” – a nomination he enthusiastically accepted. Before long we had a respectable (sic) gathering of friendly faces, and the volume rose as the wine flowed. John Polsue (B. 1965-69) joined us along with Peter Cockburn (S.1959/64).

Adam and I engaged in a lengthy and dogmatic conversation with Peter expounding the relative merits or otherwise of the world’s various and varied religions. My own highly arbitrary position on such weighty matters is informed almost entirely from the pages of “The Da Vinci Code” (which I have convinced Peter he must read), but I firmly believe that my own ignorance is more than compensated for by my inability to properly take in anything anyone else says to me (coupled with my innate ability to talk very loudly) – so we’ll leave this matter here…

As mentioned above, OBs often arrive at these gatherings full of trepidation and nerves – totally understandable, but quite unnecessary – and it was in this manner that a small group of very recent school leavers entered the bar half way through the evening, including Chris Poon (A. 1998-04), James David (D. 1998-04), Nick Hales (D. 1998-04). They were immediately made to feel at home by our President, and all seemed to relax into their surroundings accordingly.

A late but welcome arrival was Mr Benjamin Stott – a fantastic effort considering his imminent (and lengthy) departure to the colonies, and the associated packing duties resulting thereof. Ben and his wife Tina leave these shores early on Saturday morning, so he was determined to make it to his last London session for two years! Ben is a wonderful man – a great and loyal friend to so many of us, as well as to the Association and to Brighton College itself – and Adam and I were delighted to be able to be there to say goodbye. We’ll miss him terribly and hope he doesn’t get too attached to “life” in New Zealand (I was anxiously surveying a detailed map of NZ over the weekend to establish whether there was actually anything for him to do there, and I was relieved to see that on the South island there is in fact a bowling alley and 3 shops… so he should be fine).

Chris Jones (D. 1991-91 - son of Martin, staff 1977-98 - and Jenny, former OB Administrator) was there, along with Bruce Josyfon (L 1986-91) and Alex Liddle (A. 1991-91). Alex is now flying helicopters (Chinooks?) for the RAF... Lord knows how - this man is about 9' tall in his socks! Chris and Alex were amongst the last to leave the bar - indeed as I left they had been joined on the sofa by Peter Cockburn for what seemed to be the beginnings of a very long evening...

So, another successful and highly enjoyable evening in London’s West End. Again our thanks go to David Gold, and we are reminded that the enthusiasm and drive that our President shows in organising these gatherings is underpinned by an understanding that this Association is only as strong as the relationships maintained within it. Old friendships are preserved at these meetings, and new ones are always established – I strongly urge all OBs to make every effort to come along to the next London drinks – get there early enough and you might even catch Mr Gold getting a round in…

Site Administrator

Alex's most passionate interests include Motor Racing (Alex raced for a short time in 1986 and 1987 in Formula Ford and Formula First before parking his shiny racing car in an inappropriately violent manner half way down the main straight at Brands Hatch), Boxing (which he is delighted never to have participated in), Music (Alex is hysterically tone-deaf - but loves attending live gigs), Movies, Manchester United & Skiing.

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