The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 81
The first culture club meeting

On Saturday, the 7th of May, 2005, Shelley and I arrived at the local high school, and made our way down the quiet corridor to the classroom where 25 other people were waiting. As I entered the room, the silence was replaced with the loud buzz of excited chatter. It was the first time I had been in a school classroom in ten years, so I felt rather nostalgic. The chalk writing on the blackboard, globe on the teacher’s desk and world map on the wall confirmed that geography was taught there during the week. We recognized half of the people from work and received enthusiastic hugs and shakes from our colleagues. They introduced us to the people that we hadn’t met, wives, husbands, children and friends, and within a few minutes we had met everyone in the room. Most of them helped me to move the desks into a horseshoe shape so that we could see each other, as well as the television in the front. More people continued to arrive until about 6:10pm, and then we started our first culture club meeting.

Once the buzz had quietened down and all 35 bums were in their seats I placed the DVD from the welcome pack into the player and walked back to my seat, between Shelley and a lady whom I didn’t recognize. I pressed play.

The video started with Dave, dressed to look like Brad Pitt in the movie ‘Fight Club’. ‘The first rule of culture club is,’ he started explaining while trying to sound like Brad. The people who recognized him laughed. He made a very convincing Brad.

He continued, ‘A club is not allowed to own anything. This includes anything from money to equipment to land. Since clubs have no money, everything that a club needs has to be a gift from someone. Whether the donor is someone within or outside of the club, it doesn’t matter.’

In the next scene, some of the BI staff members were wearing smart clothing and playing games, while others were wearing rags and looking miserable while standing in the corner, doing nothing. Dave continued to narrate, ‘The second rule is that any activity that the club does may not go ahead unless the activity is made available to all members. That means that, if one person in the club can’t afford an activity, the club will not do it, unless someone pays for that person.’

The next scene was slow motion footage of Edward and Dave doing skateboarding and surfing, while Dave narrated, ‘The third rule is that meetings have to be as enjoyable as possible.’

The next person in the video was me. I received a few looks and smiles around the room. In the video I explained everything that was to happen in the meeting, including the first task, a simple ice breaker. We had to group ourselves according to our age, and then ask the six people closest to our age a set of questions about themselves. We enjoyed getting to know each other.

Every meeting had an entertaining video, teaching us something interesting and useful, like how to be happy or healthy, or how to look after the environment, or about morality. After each video there was always some fun activity, which was either something that the group decided on or something that was requested in the video. It was really quite simple, and the group became very close, often organizing extra social activities other than the monthly meetings. Culture club grew slowly, but consistently. It took many brainstorming sessions to come up with ideas to spread the club to new areas.

One of our ideas was to make culture club t-shirts and jackets. Whenever I saw someone wearing culture club clothing I greeted them. I felt an immediate connection with them, because of my passion for the club.


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