Life before this one

'What on earth', asked a youngster of my acquaintance, 'Did you ever actually do in your spare time back then, before TV?'
'Radio, I said, 'Dick Barton Special Agent, Forces Favourites etc.' And we read books, did jigsaw puzzles, talked to each other.'
'Ah, how boring was that', responded my young friend.'What about before radio, then?'
I explained that even I was not that old, but ...

It's the year 1780. 21 year old Robert Burns and his brother Gilbert have, with others, founded the Tarbolton Batchelors Club. They are to meet every fourth Monday to ...
  • debate a topic
  • choose a Chairman
  • choose a subject for the next meeting
  • drink to the members and their mistresses
There was an elaborate set of rules, the last of which reads like The Bard's personal handiwork...
‘Every man proper for a member of this Society, must have a frank, honest, open heart, (be) above anything dirty or mean; and must be a professed lover of one or more of the female sex. No haughty, self-conceited person, who looks upon himself as superior to the rest of the club, and especially no mean-spirited, worldly mortal, whose only will is to heap up money, shall upon any pretence whatsoever be admitted. In short, the proper person for this society is, a cheerful, honest-hearted lad; who, if he has a friend that is true, and a mistress that is kind, and as much wealth as genteelly to make both ends meet - is just as happy as this world can make him.’

Subjects debated include …
  • ‘Whether we derive more happiness from Love or Friendship?’
  • ‘Whether the savage, or the peasant of a civilised country, is in the most happy situation.’
  • ‘Should a farmer without prospects marry a rich girl with neither beauty nor conversation or ‘one every way agreeable in person, conversation and behaviour but without any fortune.’  
 Sounds like a lot of fun and a better way to spend an evening than gyrating to drug fuelled bong bong disco music in a 2012 Club or hanging out with no particular place to go or gazing at the small screen for no particular reason?  What think you?

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