Tom Davenport’s Strictly Speaking

Undercover at the Pick Club

Cambridge champagne helicopter naked pitt club Prince Charles Renaissance

Undercover at the Pick Club

Following the controversy sparked by my polemical exclusive on ‘Fez’ last term, I was dispatched by TAB senior management on another equally perilous journalistic mission. I was to go undercover to the ‘University Pick Club.’ I would need all my guile and expertise to reveal to Cambridge the TRUTH about this much discussed institution.

At 9pm on Saturday 6th March, I arrived at the door of the Pick Club, forged ticket in hand and sword in sheath. I was looking the part.

Following strict protocol, as I marched confidently through the doors of the UPC, I removed my hat, gloves and sword (all supplied by the TAB undercover operations wardrobe) and threw them (feigning an expression of disinterested anger) at a steward.

Upon crossing the threshold, I was surprised to be given a drink and ushered upstairs by Prince Charles. He was relaxing with a couple of undergraduates, drinking liquid cocaine from diamond encrusted beer tankards.

The main room of the Pick Club is made entirely out of gold and solidified champagne. As soon as I walked into this remarkable setting, my drink was ‘granded.’ I obliged by consuming the whole thing, and then topped it off by downing a small bottle of 1879 claret which was sitting on a small Renaissance piano nearby. A young man wearing full eighteenth-century military dress, clearly impressed by my ‘heroic’ performance, greeted me and introduced himself as Algernon Montesque, 17th Earl of Wiltshire. “Earl of Wiltshire for short,” he added jovially. The party was underway.

The evening’s entertainment, booked at the last minute, was supplied by a small trip of female gymnasts from the Cirque du Soleil. In line with Pick Club tradition, the stunts were performed completely naked. I learned from a young Russian Prince that while it is not compulsory for women to be naked, it is strongly encouraged.

The evening ran without a glitch, although there was the occasional noisy interruption when some guests insisted on arriving by helicopter. It struck me that it was somewhat unnecessary to go the small distance from St. Johns College to the Club by air. “It is frightfully cold outside,” one helpful guest explained.

Her Majesty the Queen was also present, but keeping a low profile. She spent most of the evening downing gallon after gallon of ‘Pick Juice’ in a corner with a couple of freshers. The Queen was not naked. “It would not be decorous,” commented her bodyguard, in response to my enquiry.