The Handlebar ( moustache ) Club
Archived News Items 2001

moustache   A few of the highlights of the year    moustache

moustache Quiz Night

A new venture was our quiz night in which we challenged the Pipe Club of London to a general knowledge quiz.  It was held in the friendly (and smoky) atmosphere of the upstairs room at the "Old Red Lion", the headquarters of the Pipe Club.  We had a most enjoyable evening, though unfortunately, for various reasons, not many Handlebar Club members were able to attend.

Rod Littlewood produced the questions (which were not easy!) and the winning score of 16 out of 20 was achieved by a member of the Pipe Club.  I think the best Handlebar score was only 13 out of 20, but the lowest Handlebar score was higher than the corresponding Pipe Club score, so we said that the average scores were equal and called it a draw!  Then the Pipe Smokers had their own specialist quiz - I think we might have guessed 3 answers out of 20, but we graciously declined to take part.

The evening ended with the auction of a pipe and a jar of tobacco kindly donated by Ron Poulton, the proceeds going to the Christian Care Trust, a charity run by Ann Gilbert, the wife of one of our members.

We plan to repeat the event next year on Thursday September 19th 2002, so this time nobody will be able to claim that they have been given too little notice!

moustache Media Coverage

In late July, four of our members, Ron Duck, Ron Poulton, Geoff Gilbert and Rod Littlewood, appeared on Sky Digital Channel 461, in a programme called "Where".  It started with the video of our recent darts match against the Pipe Club of London, after which there were interviews with Rod from the Handlebar Club and Peter Bersey from the Pipe Smokers.
Our item was followed by one with Chinese Elvis impersonators and so far we haven't found anyone who watched the programme!

Then, in September, Rod Littlewood was interviewed by Arthur Black for his CBC programme "Basic Black".  The programme went out all over Canada in prime time on Saturday morning, September 29th, and we have already received an application from a potential Canadian member as a result.  (You can listen to the interview by going to their "past shows" page, and clicking on "Handlebar Moustache Club".)

moustache Darts Match

Our annual darts match against the Pipe Club of London was held on Friday April 20th at the "Old Red Lion" pub, and was a most enjoyable evening.  It didn't start well, because the fire alarm went off - but what can you expect of a smoke alarm in a room full of pipe smokers!  Then we thought that the landlord was opening the private bar for us, but it was only to allow more space for the television film crew, who had turned up to record the event and to interview some of the members of the two clubs.

We played with a very special electronic dart board which "knew" where the darts hit it and did the scoring automatically.  Too clever by half!  In theory you couldn't cheat, but it wasn't programmed to deal with our level of skill.  When we completely missed the board it got confused and the next player's darts were counted for the previous player.  So we went back to the old-fashioned method of scoring.

The first game went on for ages with no-one able to hit the final double, so we tossed a coin and the Pipe Club won.  The second game was equally bad, and this time the Handlebar Club won on the toss of a coin.  So it all came down to a deciding game and our star player, Geoff Gilbert, threw a double sixteen to win!  That was good, but when he repeated it for the benefit of the television cameras he gave an Oscar winning performance!

So the trophy returns to the Handlebar Club for the first time in several years.

moustache Event in Germany

The 2001 World Championships was held on Saturday 24th March 2001 in Schömberg, near Stuttgart.  Unfortunately this was only one week before our own AGM weekend, and as a result none of our U.K. members was able to take part.  However our honour was upheld by Bruce Roe, one of our members from the U.S.A., who came second in the "Hungarian" class, and Jürgen Burkhardt a German member who was the winner for "Imperial   Whiskers".

WM 2001 logo

The full results can be found on Jürgen Burkhardt's web site.

moustache Youngest Member
At the end of the year 2000 we were pleased to welcome Tom Clark to the Handlebar Club.  We don't normally make a special announcement when a new member joins, but then again we don't often get twenty year old members.

Tom is certainly the youngest member in the last thirty years, and we thought at the time that he was probably the youngest member ever.  However, the webmaster got a friendly message from Mike Windle, one of our members in Cambridgeshire, to say that when he joined the Handlebar Club in 1959 he was only 19 years old.

In that year Mike was featured in the "Sheffield Star", and the item is reproduced below.

Tom Clark

Mike in 1959


THE dominating feature on the youthful face of 19-year-old Michael Windle is his moustache - it measures five-and-a-half inches.
   And the attaining of this "vital statistic" is a matter of some pride to Michael, a clerk with a Sheffield engineering firm. It is the minimum size required for him to join a moustache club.
   The growth has adorned his face for over a year now, but until three months ago he pruned it regularly to keep its length down to four and a half inches.
   Then he heard that another inch would gain his admission to an exclusive society for moustache growers.
   Now he is waiting to hear from a friend, the address of the moustache club, and he will apply to become a member.
  He decided to grow a moustache when he was playing bass for a Sheffield jazz band, and when to be a bohemian was the fashion.

  Mike subsequently joined the RAF, a week after his 20th birthday, and already had the moustache. It afforded him some sort of minor celebrity status and occasionally bods of superior rank threw up a salute before noticing that he had no rank. This usually resulted in mutual embarrassment.
  In the 70's at the height of the Cold War, when respirators were de rigueur, the RAF prevailed upon Mike to remove his graspables.  As he was reaching qualification for his pension, he complied  although he felt the need to resign from the Handlebar Club.  It was not until the early 90's that he made contact and rejoined.

Mike in 2001