I went to the Art Club AGM last week. I don't usually bother because I'm only an Associate Member with no voting rights, but there was something curious about the wording of the invitation this time.
I arrived in a bad mood because someone had left the lift door open at the top and I had to walk up to the fifth floor, by which time the meeting was in full swing.
There had obviously already been some heated debate. There were scowls aplenty and muttering in every corner.
The Secretary had been deposed, along with his wife, the Membership Secretary, and the Treasurer. All of them Associate Members. It was beginning to look like the Night of the Long Knives for Associates everywhere.
I kept my head down and said nothing.
The President and Acting Chairman, said, "I suppose it would be churlish of me not to ask The Secretary to read his Report."
"Yes it would," said The Secretary, "and whether you like it or not, I'm going to read it."
He began to read his Report.
Within minutes, an Angry Woman stood up and shouted, "This is not a Report, it's a Diatribe!"
"No it's not, it's a Report," said The Secretary, "and I'm going to read all of it."
Which he did, while the Angry Woman stormed off to the back of the room to make a cup of coffee as loudly as she could manage it.
When The Secretary had finished, The President and Acting Chairman said, "I think it would be beneficial for the Membership's understanding of events if I were to read out some of the correspondence which has passed between The Secretary and myself."
"You can't do that!" said The Secretary. "It's private correspondence."
"Then I shall only read out my own letters," said The President and Acting Chairman. "To read out some of yours would offend the sensibilities of some of those present."
And so he read out some of his own letters and the picture became clearer and Members and even, dare I say, some Associate Members were seen to be nodding in understanding.
The meeting came to a close and blows were not traded, but some of the problems arising were passed to a Sub-Committee composed of disinterested parties.
The President and Acting Chairman became, temporarily, The President and Acting Chairman and Acting Secretary and Acting Treasurer. He went home looking tired.
I had a piece of cake and some coffee and went home, pleased to be not on a committee any more.