Whenever I was at loose ends, I could always count on the NPC for a little libation and some good conversation.
Everybody was interesting, even the bartenders who picked your pocket.
Sometimes I’d spend the afternoon with The Judge, Antonio Lamar, who would buy me red wine and dish dirt about his life as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Or I’d meet up with The Black Rod and his buddies from the Senate and drink a gallon of beer. Once in a while, I’d play a little shuffle board in the backroom with Les McLaughlin and Habib Mehiri.
When I was working downtown, it was fun to go after work to talk to the journos, MPs and aides about what was happening on the Hill.
It was an education.
Unfortunately, after the Press Club closed, IMPOTENT people started being snooty. They hung around in cliques, like nasty wasps at the Martini Ranch.
The same people who used to sit at our table at the Club pretended they didn’t know us anymore. They’d lean in and whisper, still wearing their makeup from Don Martin’s show and drink $12 glasses of shiraz.
Scott and I decided we’d rather hook up with the bus drivers and cooks who frequented the Georgetown than be talked down to by some monkey on a Blackberry.
It had become quite a sad state of affairs.
This week, Scott and I are hoping to change things up. We’re going to join the National Press Club Foundation which was originally created in the wake of the Club’s demise. We’ve resisted joining because, frankly, it was too expensive and its meetings are held at the Sheraton with its pricey liquor and posh surroundings.
The Sheraton isn’t a place you just drop into unless you’re a high-class hooker, so it hasn’t appealed as an after work meeting place for poor freelancers like us.
But our old friend Rosaleen Dickson, the 90-year-old powerhouse, has convinced us to give the Foundation a go. It has reduced its membership fee to $50, which we can easily afford, and it seems to be attracting a pretty decent class of members.
The new president is Sheila Copps who you will remember as Vic’s little girl, the former Deputy Prime Minister. Sheila’s reinvented herself as a journalist and bingo caller for Herbal Magic and is also taking a run at being Liberal Party President –which is frankly a relief after Alf Apps and Stephen LeDrew. I’m sure Sheila will be nothing but entertaining in her role as the new Foundation Prez.
This Wednesday, the Foundation is holding its elections and there are some pretty impressive candidates including Scott’s dad’s pal Laurier Lapierre and sex therapist Sue McGarvie, who I’ve been meaning to call about the proper placement of Ben Wa balls.
There are all kinds of folks running for executive jobs, some even from the media. This is a revelation since the only way we could find executive members at the old NPC was to grab newbies, douse them with suds and physically help them write their names while they were passed out.
I exaggerate, but it was hard to get anyone interested in volunteering for the old Press Club board.
So I’m thinking it might actually be a blast to be part of this group.
I see Carolyn Waldo is running; maybe she can teach me how to swim!
So we’ll be wining and cheesing with a whole new group which is a good thing since most of the people I used to talk to at the Club are now six feet under or scattered on a lake somewhere.
Anyone who’s interested in coming out and having a boo can show up Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. with their 50 bucks plus tax at the Sheraton.
What have you got to lose?