I've been reading about London's private member clubs for toddlers.
Such as the Purple Dragon in Chelsea where the annual subscription is £4000 per little gentleman or gentle lady.
As you would expect, it's sheer bloody luxury. A swimming pool with a beach. Snorkelling, scuba-diving, water polo. A sound studio with DJ decks. Cookery classes. Art classes with pottery, printing, fashion design and animation.
There is a "vast 'imaginarium' staffed by young actors who slip into fantastical role-play at the wielding of a book, puppet, or costume". My first reaction was to burn with working-class ire at how the world is ill-divided. My second thought was how jolly it must be for members of these Junior Grouchy clubs.
I say, Jeeves, pass me another dish of Heinz quail and truffle baby food. And lash some more ginger beer into my Tommee Tippee cup. As you often hear in Chelsea, we were rich but we were happy.
It's not too bad a deal for parents either. While the kids are busy in the imaginarium or whipping up a soufflé in the kitchen, adults can hide in a pod with an iPad or hang out in a child-free library.
These private member clubs are no more than the logical outcome of a society where lucky children lead the life of Reilly. Diligent fathers and mothers are now expected to be butler, lady-in-waiting, chauffeur, personal trainer, chef, waiter, housemaid and fill many other servile posts for their offspring. All waking hours are devoted to catering to the wants of the weans.
So it makes sense, if you have £4k to spare, to pop them into a young gentle-person's all-purpose club rather than ferry them around from dance class to swimming to karate to piano lesson.
I should point out that I was a member of a private club as a boy. It was in the den we built most summers out of planks and corrugated iron. It was furnished with orange boxes and a bit of linoleum.
There was swimming in the nearby burn but no sub-aqua or water polo. There were no chefs or waiters apart from ourselves. No £4k membership fees since the whole operation was funded by ginger bottles and a bit of shoplifting from Galbraith's.
There was an imaginarium where the fantastical role-play was on a self-service basis.
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