The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Quite a mouthful isn’t it? And we’re not talking about the pie. Well not before long this title is set to adorn the capital’s bus stops and tube stations (we may need a bigger bus) as it nears its theatrical release. Directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), the film is adapted from the bestselling historical novel by Mary Ann Shaffer, and her niece Annie Burrows. Naturally it was such a hit (reaching number one in the New York Times Best Seller List) that the filmmakers had an obligation to keep the elongated title, so fans know it exists. Set during the Second World War, we delve into the life of an established author Juliet Ashton (Lily James) who becomes engrossed with and beguiled by the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Guernsey had been Nazi occupied, and she leaves behind a life in London as she becomes good friends with the small, quirky collective, sharing stories of love and loss. As you can tell from the club’s title, it’s a rather eccentric society with a good story behind it – but little did Juliet know, London may well have had its fair share of absurd clubs to join back then, for the capital most certainly does now.
Let’s begin with the London Didgeridoo Club (because why not?). The Australian wind instrument, which has been used in music by the likes of Jamiroquai and Kate Bush, has many surprising enthusiasts that meet in the English capital every second Thursday of the month, every month, to discuss all things didgeridoo. It’s quite handy they meet on Thursdays too, for if you’re also a fan of the Ukulele, well then Ukulele Wednesdays is a club that meets, well it meets on Wednesdays. If you’re a fan of obscure musical instruments in London, fear not – you’re well looked after.
From music to cars – how about the London Scalextric Club. Because why celebrate real cars, when you can all meet up and talk about miniature ones (much easier to afford, at least). This particular society has been around for 40 years, taking place in Wood Green in North London. It does seem, however, that most of the city’s most absurd clubs are all down in the South. Let’s take the South East London Folklore Society. They meet up once a month in the pub and they talk about gothic conspiracies, vampires, black magic and the true horror story of the infamous Highgate Cemetery.
Not too far away is the South West London Twins Club. We had this wonderful idea of a room full of people who look the same, yet sadly this club is actually just parents who have had twins, or triplets, to chat about the joys and challenges of such an undertaking. Which means there’s still a vacancy for a society in London for actual twins to just meet up and talk. Maybe we could be on to something.
Finally, there’s the London Seduction Society – which is a group of opportunist men who meet up hoping to pick-up tips on how to pick-up women. First piece of advice: don’t mention you’re a member of the London Seduction Society. Probably have a better chance if you told them you were in the Greater London Old English Sheepdog Club (also real). So there we have it – us Londoners as just as enthusiastic as our neighbours from Guernsey, and that’s a good thing, it’s these hobbies and passions which make us who we are. Never change, people of Britain.