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Sunday, 11 May 2014


The oldest English clubs were merely informal periodic gatherings of friends for the purpose of dining or drinking with one another. Thomas Occleve (in the time of Henry IV) mentions such a club called La Court de Bonne Compagnie (the Court of Good Company), of which he was a member.

The most famous club in Shakespeare's day was the Bread Street or Friday Street Club that met at the Mermaid Tavern on the first Friday of each month. John Selden, John Donne, John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont were among the members.

A Club of Gentlemen by Joseph Highmore c. 1730

In the United States clubs were first established after the War of Independence. One of the first was the Hoboken Turtle Club (1797),

In 1905 Chicago attorney Paul Harris and three other businessmen met for lunch to form the Rotary Club, the world's first service club.

Birdland was a popular jazz club that started in New York City on December 15, 1949. Located at 1678 Broadway, just north of West 52nd Street in Manhattan, it was popular with many of the writers of the Beat generation. The name was adopted to capitalize on the popularity of their regular headliner Charlie "Bird" Parker.

Birldland club interior
To be blackballed is to be proposed but not accepted, as a member to a club. The phrase comes from a ballot,  where those who accepted the person dropped a white or red ball in the box, but those excluding them put in a black one.

Source An entry I wrote for Songfacts

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