The Gentlemen's Ale Sampling Society

        1982-2017  35 YEARS OF BEERS





THE AGM 2010


The Pimps are in Town!
For the '90's Reloaded Weekender' a three day non-stop bonanza in a 1950's Holiday Camp


The idea of a 'Staycation' for the AGM came about as a result of the economic recession, the mistaken idea that 2011 was our 30th, and a lot of pressure form Ian, Andy, Keith and Phil.  It got the highest vote ever, unanimous (after Nick came on board),  the highest attendance ever, 20 (missing only Steve R and Stuart).  It was also the cheapest ever.  It was probably also the dressiest ever as you can see above!!!.

We all arrived Friday to book into the Ocean Hotel, with Brian, Len and Pete paying way over the odds for upgraded rooms.  Wallies!  All the rooms are identical except that the cheaper ones looked inland over the car park.  The expensive rooms look seaward, over a different car park.  No sea view, there were buildings in the way, just cars.  Well worth the money!!!

Saturday was the actual AGM, held on board the HMS Richmond, a lovely narrow boat on the Chichester Canal.  Caters provided a splendid lunch - Peter provided the best Bloody Mary's with the most ingredients ever to be had in Christendom - Steve Bell provided oodles of Champagne to celebrate his birthday - and the canal provided 'Constable Country', a beautiful backdrop.  Just a shame about the AGM which descended into slightly deeper chaos than normal and achieved precisely nothing.  However,

 more of that later......................



                         The Members with 'Champagne Steve' the birthday boy                                                                             Our New Chairman


World famous Mixologist - Peter 'Bloody Mary' Farrer - and his stall set up ready to go


The Beauty of the 2010 AGM - calm before the storm.


Shortly after this picture was taken the good ship GASS hit a rock and sank without a trace!

More of that later ..............................


After the AGM lunch we returned to BUTLINS for the big event.  The Saturday night is when everyone really goes to town, but having been to Bognor Regis they pretty quickly come back to Butlins as it is clearly more fun.  About 3,000 drunks in a massive Circus tent, with GASS as the biggest single bunch, the oldest single bunch, the only large bunch all dressed identically, and the bunch with the largest number of members who could be deemed clinically disturbed.  The following pictures give a flavour of the evening - but you really had to be there to appreciate in its full awfulness (and you see what I mean about 'disturbed').






And that was just at the Dinner table!

Things got worse when we actually entered the main auditorium (for want of a better word)





Suffice it to say we looked liked Wallies, behaved like Wallies and were lucky to get out alive.

That just left Sunday to get over through a combination of Golf, a superb fine dining Sunday lunch and for some - an early night.

Best draw a curtain over that and get on to the report of the AGM


The Annual General Meeting of The Gentleman's Ale Sampling Society - 2010
Held aboard The Good Ship Richmond

AGM's are known for their lively and sparkling wit and for the anarchy bought about by regular chanting of "Sheerness" but this one was a doozy.  At this one we achieved precisely nothing of importance, no mention of future meetings, no decisons about Christmas, no mention of the next AGM, no mention of any business members wanted to raise.  Sorry, we did achieve one thing worth mentioning - The Secretary resigned and was not replaced. 

Ah ha! I hear you say, if the Secretary resigned then who is writing these minutes? 

More of that later ..........................


APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:  There were only two absentees;  Steve Riches who was with his family celebrating his 60th (fair one) and Stuart who was with his family commiserating his burnt out clutch and sick dog (not such a blinding excuse, better off with us mate!).


TREASURERS REPORT:  An excellent year with some expensive meetings, but still ending up with the 5,000 of funds needed to forge on into the future.  A couple of small points arose that were of interest:-

1.  THE TREASURERS NEW SLUSH FUND:  Ron, in line with the new UK tradition of casino banking, has created an exciting new 'CASH' fund within the more conventional  'Money in the Bank' fund.  Ron gave a very unconvincing explanation for keeping 50% of our money in cash, presumably in a jar in his kitchen at home, but as he does the job for free (and because he bubbled the outgoing Treasurer for failing to balance the books, and Nick for nicking 100) we let it slide. 

2.  NICK JENKINS REFUND OF 100:  For reasons that absolutely no-one could explain Nick was allegedly given a 100 refund on last years AGM.  The outgoing Treasurer threw no light on it, Nick totally denied ever having any refund (but in a weirdly qualified and convoluted way that left the door open for him having received 99, or 101, or any amount other than exactly 100) and the new Treasurer just kept blaming the previous administration, so we let it slide.


ELECTION OF OFFICERS:  There was an initial suggestion along the lines of "if it ain't broke - don't fix it" so leave everything as it is, which almost got carried.  JB objected and made the point that Al had been in the Chairman's position for two years and to vote him in again was not in line with tradition.  Nobody else volunteered to stand for the Chair so JB put himself forward.  The voting was 10:8 to John so he is the new Chairman.   Ron was of course confirmed as treasurer.  Brian wrongly assumed that no-one else would want the poisoned challis of Secretary and expected a shoo-in ...................... wrong!

In typical GASS style it was decided that if it was wrong to have the same Chairman two years in a row then the same logic applied to the Organising Secretary.  It was decided that as Al had been unceremoniously dumped from the Chair then he would get a nomination as Secretary as a consolation prize.  As there were now two nominations the tradition is that both have to leave the room while the matter is discussed.   So far so good.  During the discussion Gary made the point that maybe this was not the best idea ever as the job of Secretary is a crock of shit and taking the piss may have unintended consequences.

Meanwhile, on the back of the boat, Brian & Al were waiting with baited breath to find out who was going to get the fantastic and entertaining unpaid job of organising 22 arseholes into 12 different meetings a year, trying to balance a 15,000 budget, maintaining a website, and generally living with people continually sidling up to mention issues that should be brought up at meetings.  While we waited Al was kind enough to suggest that we share the job and maybe do a few months each.

It was at that point that Brian had an epiphany*

* An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia,  is the sudden realization or comprehension of the  essence or meaning of something. The term is used in either a philosophical or literal sense to signify that the claimant has "found the last piece of the puzzle and now sees the whole picture," or has new information or experience, often insignificant by itself, that illuminates a deeper truth.

...................... Just in case any you were uncertain as to what an 'epiphany' is.

In my case I suddenly realised just why GASS has been relatively easy to manage over the past few years, and why it might not be so easy from here on in.

The problem was that I had very little time to work through my sudden feeling of unease but felt it important enough to express it immediately.  Basically I could see that the job of Secretary could be about to become a right royal pain in the arse if I did not do something.  So I resigned.

My mistake was to personalise it in the pub later by saying I could not work with J.B as Chairman, which was wrong.  I have formally apologised to John about that and he has graciously accepted my apology.

What I meant to say was that over the past few years GASS has evolved, and in evolving has actually become easy to manage, BUT it is easy to manage because rather than a hierarchy of   CHAIRMAN-SECRETARY-TREASURER-FINES   it has changed to   MANAGING DIRECTOR-NON EXEC CHAIRMAN-TREASURER-FINES.  The past few years have been a period of me acting effectively as Managing Director, with the members as shareholders, and a non-exec Chairman for a bit of fun.

I work very hard to ensure I have a mandate for everything GASS does, I assiduously listen to everyone, I try very hard to get a fair balance, if in doubt I force a vote, but at the end of the day I decide, there is no committee.

My epiphany was that if I took Al up on his offer of a job share, or if J.B wanted to revert to the role of a strong Chairman, then I would be in a committee situation.  If I can't easily get what I feel I need by way of a mandate from a meeting, if I have to go to others for information for the website, if I have to chase others for decisions, then being the Organiser would quickly become a real chore.  Most of you own your own businesses and know what I mean. 

What I said to John was that I can continue to run GASS as we have for the past few years, but along the same lines.  As long as everyone is comfortable with the fact that I feel very strongly that GASS is a democracy and votes on policy are taken at meetings, but once those votes are taken it is left to me to carry out said policy, then I am happy to continue to act as Organising Secretary (or as I prefer to call it Managing Director, or even better  "GESCHAFT FUHRER" as the Germans would have it). 

To accomplish this I do need occasional time at meetings, requested through the Chair, to confirm GASS policy and programmes, and if there is any uncertainty  to propose (and if needs be force) a vote.  As long as I feel I can do what I need to get your mandate to act then I feel comfortable.

On that understanding I am happy to continue as Managing Director of GASS Ltd.

If that is not acceptable then I am equally happy to stand down (and trust me, I would be!).

So, OFFICERS FOR 2010 at present:  Chairman:  John  -  Managing Director:  Brian  -  Financial Director/Casino Banker:  Ron  -  Fines Director:  Keith.



1.  MEETINGS FOR 2010:  Nothing was discussed.  Proposal:  Please look at the programme under MEETINGS and if you like it then vote for it, if you have some great ideas just bring them up at the next meeting.

2.  CHRISTMAS MEETING:  Nothing was discussed.  Proposal:  Come up with ideas and look at the link to the London Parties on the home page under MINUTES, prime dates are getting booked out so do hurry.

3.  AGM 2011:  Nothing was discussed.  Ideas?



Well, I hope everyone enjoyed the AGM

See you at the next meeting!


Back to the top of the page