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[Dinner with the Dark One] [Events]
The Byron Society
Trinity College, Oxford
on Friday, 19th January, Anno Domini 1990,
8 for 8.30 p.m., Trinity M.C.R.
Black Tie/Ball Gown/Gothic. R.S.V.P. by 11th January.
No sheep, please, without prior arrangement
Please reply by post to Danny Henrey at 15 Old Church Lane, London
NW9 8TG, or ring Steve Hoey on 01-794-6719 (24 hour service - know what
For this event, prose poems and short stories will be welcomed (should
you not feel favoured by the poetical Muse). Please do not feel obliged
to write anything. Any efforts, though, will be greatly appreciated. All
literary styles and methods, from the lyrical and pastoral to the Neovorticistnewhistoricopostdeconstructionist,
are well suited to Byronic poetry - though much poetry in the past has
been in the satirical vein ...
The cost of the binge will be c. £25 per head. Vegetarian and other
dietary preferences can be catered for. For those coming up from London,
the hotels on the Banbury and Woodstock roads are recommended for combining
cost (cheaper than the Randolph) and convenience. Port Meadow provides
an alternative for those with more ovine tastes.
We hope that you can come (or that the surgery makes it possible).
As my manservant Cormorant piled up the M40 in father's
Batmobile I flushed with excitement, in anticipation of the delicious iambs
and spondees that I was soon to experience. I was doing some final homework
on the Byron Society: quite a collection of truly Gothick weirdos: Danny
"Don Juan" Henrey was pictured in The Tatler wearing
nothing but a tail coat and a golden jock strap, emblazoned with a huge
"B", standing on a table pouring Bollinger over a llama dressed
up in pink ribbons. Next him was a bizarre figure who I had to turn the
magazine upside-down to identify as he was hanging from the ceiling. He
was wearing a pin-striped suit and a yuppie tie, but that was the only
"normal" thing: a gruesome cocktail of ectoplasmic slime and
blood dripped down from the creature, who had outlandishly large canines
protruding from his mouth.
"Steve Hoey," I thought, "who else?"
To the left, clad in the orange and purple of the Association of Psychic
Lawyers, Richard Todd was giving the secret Byronic salute which the magazine
has tactfully blanked out in the photograph. I wondered to myself for a
moment about them having transformed English poetry into a noble, vital,
exciting thing: then it occurred to me that they had not. Steve Hoey's
suggestion that the British Library build an extension to house his extensive
scribblings had been rejected out of hand by Quintoni, the nobleman in
charge, and in the end he just had to rent a warehouse in Botley.
Leaving Cormorant to park the Batmobile, I wandered up the avenue that
led to the dining chamber. As I approached, I heard a single note uttered
as though by someone in the most extreme pain: as if he or she was in the
power of some sick torturer. This was then followed by as gruesome a union
of voices upon a single note as I ever had heard. No pack of starved wolverines
panting for the taste of blood could have produced a more threatening utterance.
I found, as I strode across that dark quadrangle that my steps faltered:
could this be a manifestation of that wretched accursedness that Lord Byron
had brought down upon himself during an electric storm upon Lac Leman in
1816, while the wind howled outside, and the vengeful ghosts of long-dead
tyrants banged angrily at the doors?
"Can I help you, sir?"
I nearly jumped out of my skin. Out of the drear a grotesque porter
had suddenly appeared.
"Er ... is this the Byron Society?"
"No. It's the Rugby Club dinner. They are lads, aren't they?"
He smiled indulgently. "The Byron Society dinner is in Trinity, next