The Clerk's Blog
I have just had lunch in the office with Stephen Gilbert, Chief Executive of the Printing Charity. Based in Crawley, this charity handles the administration of the Stationers' Foundation and a very efficient job they do of it too. I am hoping that the Company can increase its links with them: they have a huge endowment and struggle to find enough people to support. At present their charter prevents them from supporting education and training, except for the children of printers, but they are seeking to change this. However they welcome approaches from people within the industry who are in genuine need and are very keen that Stationers use this resource. I plan to put more information onto the Education and Charity pages of our website but, in the meantime, you may care to learn more about them by clicking this link.
I know that everyone has received an email from me encouraging you to take a look at the RNIB Auction of Dreams website and to place lots of bids. However I would like to give this another plug here, if you don't mind! There are lots of exciting prizes to be won (all very kindly donated by members of the Company) and all proceeds go to the RNIB's Talking Books charity. This is a very worthy cause, close to our hearts as Stationers, and the Master's chosen charity for the year. We have set ourselves the target of raising £50,000 for the charity and the Auction of Dreams will be an important part of achieving this. So please find a moment to go onto the site and place some bids. And please circulate details to your friends: the website URL is https://www.committedgiving.uk.net/rnib/auction/. You can access the site from our homepage or by clicking this link. Thank you so much!
I am just back from Davy's Wine Bar after an enjoyable evening chewing the fat with some of the Digital Media Group (DMG) faithful. It is a great shame that this evening's DMG meeting had to be cancelled due to the illness of the speaker. However the subject - what the publishing/graphic communications industry has to learn from the computer games industry - remains particularly important to all of us. I am delighted that the event will be re-scheduled for sometime next month and I will let you all know the date once it is fixed. Of course you can always learn a lot more about the DMG by going straight to their website, www.thedigitalmediagroup.co.uk. I would like to thank Ian Bennett for putting so much into the organisation of all DMG events and to Alex Hardy of Orion Books who is organising this particular event. Without the DMG, the Company would undoubtedly drift in the direction of the Farriers' and the Fletchers'; with it we keep ourselves as relevant today as we were 600 years ago. So please come along to DMG events, if you can; they are the future of the Company, and they are jolly good fun too!
We are busy getting everything ready for the Charter Dinner on Wednesday evening. Firstly I am so pleased that a number of you responded to me email call for more attendees.THANK YOU!! We now have over 170 dining, more than last year, and this should create a really good impression for all our guests.
I have rewritten the procedure sheet to go into the menus to include our usual exhortation to all of you not to get up from the table before the speeches. I know that, for some, the call of nature can be hard to resist but, in the words of Peter Hames, a distinguished previous Clerk, you can help yourselves by 'taking seamen-like precautions' prior to the dinner!!! If you do have to get up to go to the loo, please don't wander around the Hall chatting to your friends. This can be terribly disruptive to the serving staff and ruin the formal nature of the dinner. You should have plenty of time to chat before and after the dinner. Thank you in advance for respecting this.
I have also included a note saying that Chatham House Rules apply at all Stationers' Company events. Hopefully this will allow Sir Michael Rake, our principal guest, to say something exciting. For those who don't know: Chatham House Rules dictate that anything spoken, either by the main speaker or by the audience, can be reported but not attributed to the speaker. Again I would be grateful if you could respect this.
We are adding a second blog to the site. Debroah Akers, our Livery Representative on the Court, has kindly agreed to publish her regular report on what happened at the last Court Meeting on this website and allow you, as members, to post comments upon it and ask her questions.
This blog should be live in the next 10 days or so, so please look out for it on the 'Members Only' part of the site. The rules will be just the same as those for this blog. All postings will be attributed and be visible to all members. But I am hoping that it will give all members a better idea of what is discussed in Court Meetings and enable Deborah to feed back to the Court what members are thinking. Please use this important facility when it goes live. Like this blog, it won't work unless you use it!
Welcome to my new blog! It is now two months since I started as Clerk and I am enjoying it enormously. There is a lot to do and it is going to take me a few more months to get everything straight but I am making progress.
One of my priorities is to improve the Company's communication with its members through greater use of this website. I hope that this blog, and other changes, will encourage this. I hope that my regular reports will give you a glimpse of what is happening in the Company and that this will stimulate comments from you on what we could be doing better to meet your needs as members. The rules are simple: all your comments, on any subject, are most welcome but they will be attributed to you as a member and they will be visible to all other members too. But please don't let that stop you posting comments. The blog won't work if you don't use it!