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News Bulletin N° 5

From hedonism to asceticism. From the fabulous Cambridge Christmas Party to the first event of 2018, The Cambridge Union Challenge Debate. And what an event it was, long to be recorded in the annals of the Cambridge Society of Paris and the Grimoire of the Cambridge Union.

To whatever exotic locations the Union may travel in the future, Paris, and the debate against the Cambridge Society of Paris, will rest forever the first occasion, in its 160-year history, on which the Cambridge Union debated outside the UK.

When I threw down the gauntlet and challenged the Union to a debate on our home territory, here in Paris, the response from the Union was immediate, enthusiastic, and positive. Very impressive.

The Union team was headed by Jonah Surkes, their president, supported by Tom McArthur, Vice President, plus Penelope Jones and Jali Packer their chosen speakers.

The event was held on Saturday 27th January 2018 in the exotic salon of the Hôtel Païva (of silver bath fame) at 25 Avenue des Champs Elysées, debating the motion “This house believes that we shall have a post human economy run by robots with artificial intelligence within twenty years.”

In support of the motion, the Cambridge Society of Paris, through Edward Archer and myself, plus our guest speaker, writer, journalist and futurologist, Calum Chace. Against the motion the Cambridge Union, through Jali and Penny and their guest speaker, computer programmer, founder of Snips and, elected as a TR35 by the MIT Technology Review and as a "30 under 30" by Forbes, Rand Hindi.

Suffice to say that .. we lost! Maybe, with a slight adjustment of the wording. Maybe with a closer adherence to the core topic, the result .. well “he would say that wouldn’t he!” Well done the Cambridge Union.
In twenty years or perhaps fifty years’ time, we will know the answer. Meanwhile, the debate was an outstanding success. A benchmark in the history of CamSoc and the Union.

I would like to thank everyone for their help and, in particular, Edward and Anne Archer for inviting several of the Union members to stay, and for hosting such a magnificent dinner the night before. With so many young holders of Cambridge Firsts around us, I have seldom known such interesting post dinner discussion.

A short video of the debate has been up-loaded to our new You Tube Channel, which can be visited via: https://youtu.be/9stkBge2gBI When you look at the video, could you also please click on Subscribe to become a subscriber. We want to create a dedicated name for the Channel but cannot do so until we have 100 subscribers. When I last looked we were at 58. Please help us to get to 100. No cost or obligation involved.

With best wishes,

Andrew Lyndon-Skeggs
President, Cambridge Society of Paris
11th February 2018

Launch of the CamSoc Paris YouTube channel

I am pleased to say that the Cambridge Society of Paris has taken a further step forward in its evolution: we now have a dedicated channel on You Tube.

At present, this runs under the complicated title of:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqFie1RFSRld8kwLACRy6Xw

The intent is to change the last part of this to .... cambridgesocietyofparis.

However, this can only be done by having 100 subscribers, and waiting 30 days. It would be most excellent to have a proper named account, and therefore we need 100 people to ‘subscribe’.

This is dead easy and does not involve any payment or obligation. All you have to do is go to the You Tube channel by copying the following link into your web browser:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqFie1RFSRld8kwLACRy6Xw

and then clicking on Subscribe (or Abonner). As simple as that.

It would be hugely appreciated if you could please do this, to help get the 100 users we need - we already have more than 50...

When you go to our new You Tube Channel, you will be able to see the video of the Christmas Party and, very soon, a video of the Union Debate.

Next newsletter, with the video of the debate, will follow.

With best wishes,

Andrew

News Bulletin N°4

Dear Member,

‘Tis the Season for Seasonal Quizzes so, in keeping with the spirit of the season ... Who said What about the Cambridge Christmas Party?

1. It was a dream come true
2. A glorious triumph
3. So well organised, the music sensational, and the dancing lovely to watch
4. Tous les musiciens que j’ai revus après ont été enchantés
5. I amazed myself by doing a mini charleston .. which I have not done for decades
6. Last night was like flying through a time machine! WONDERFUL !!!!
7. What a triumph. Certainly the best party I have been to since I arrived in Paris
8. Fantastic setting and a great bunch of people
9. Dazzled by the ambiance and excitement of the evening
10. So much enjoyed by all, and beyond all our dreams

A. Peter Salinson
B. Elizabeth Schofield
C. Anthony Langdale
D. Sophie Loussouarn
E. Clare Hohler
F. Barbara Albasio
G. Iain Cheyne
H. Nigel Moss
I. Lou Lauprète
J. Patricia Hawkes

Well, certainly, with an attendance approaching 400, including 35 musicians. With the tap dancer, magician, light shows and opera singing automatons. With the wonderful costumes and stunning dancing, it was undoubtedly an exceptional occasion and a terrific Cambridge send-off to the year.

As for the quiz .. I have no intention whatsoever of giving the answers! But thank you, all of you, and a good many more, for your wonderful and enthusiastic letters. Thank you also Tony for your massive back-up, analysis and supervision of the complicated guest lists. Outside CamSoc itself, thank you to the many musicians. Thank you Philippine Chombart de Lauwe and Aygline de Clinchamps for organising the food, and Marie-Mathilde Blanckaert for gathering the highly efficient and glamorous bar team. And thank you Yves Riquet; Paris Boogie Speakeasy was the inspiration for the entire show.

On the basis that a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a video clip of the evening. Watch it soon, because it will expire in a few days time (though we will be uploading a permanent version to You Tube and to our web site):
https://wetransfer.com/downloads/da44f6065e4f6ded2b9b987a53ce488020171227093823/1286268a59cf60673dca36ac6379833520171227093823/753e7f

Early in 2018, I will write outlining the objectives of the Cambridge Society of Paris for the forthcoming year. Meanwhile, I hope you all have a wonderful New Year.

With best wishes,

Andrew
President, Cambridge Society of Paris

News Bulletin N°3

Dear Member,

A committee meeting, Cambridge Leadership Conference, Global Cambridge, and much to report.
In September we set ourselves the seemingly ambitious challenge of doubling the membership of the Cambridge Society of Paris within a year to eighteen months. This was indeed ambitious but, already, we are 60% of the way to achieving this target, with a massive increase of over 60 members over the past few months.

In part, this has been thanks to the College Representative initiative. A Cambridge Society Representative for each of the thirty-one Colleges, working with their College to contact the College Alumni resident in France, to make them aware of the Cambridge Society of Paris, and encourage them to become members.

We now have Representatives for two thirds of the Colleges and, at present, about one third of these Representatives have issued their letters to Alumni. Led by St John’s, Fitzwilliam and Magdalene, this has resulted in many new members and, as each of the Colleges is launched, the resulting new members will almost certainly take us beyond the 100% mark.

Allied to this, come the New Year, we shall also explore the scope for greater liaison between the various Cambridge Alumni Associations in France to create an Alumni hub, supplemented by the creation of new Alumni Associations in regions of France not so far covered.
We have some exciting events coming up in the New Year, including the Challenge Debate against the Cambridge Union on Saturday 27th January, the Annual Dinner on Friday 9th February, with Professor Robert Tombs as guest speaker, then the Fingask Follies Musical Revue on Tuesday 22nd May.

A complete new departure, that grew out of lunch with Moez Draief: The Cutting-Edge Lectures. Whilst we shall, most certainly, continue our traditional events, The Cutting-Edge Lectures will be a vivid and important counterpoint. A programme of four lectures a year, on topics of crucial importance for the present and the future, the lectures will be short, incisive and authoritative, but delivered in such a way as to be compelling and of interest to anyone with a thirst to understand our modern world. The topics are likely to be scientific, but not invariably so, and each lecture will be recorded on video, and posted to You Tube, for future reference and useful publicity for CamSoc.

Turning back to the immediate, we have the Christmas Carols, organised by Edward Archer, this Tuesday, 12th December, at the Travellers Club, and the Cambridge Christmas Party at the Musée des Arts Forains next Monday, 18th December.

The Carols promise to be the charming traditional evening that Edward has kindly treated us to for several years and, as a result, the tickets have completely sold out.

The Cambridge Christmas Party is a totally new event, but has already become very substantial and important. It will also be the greatest fun! The Musée des Arts Forains is a truly magic place, and the music, tap dancing, conjuring, and Années Folles ambiance will all be highly amusing.

At the outset, I was persuading musicians to attend. Now, the buzz has got around, and they are all desperate to be there to join in the jam session. This will be one of the greatest gatherings of traditional jazz / swing / boogie musicians in Paris, ever! Because of this, we have attracted some high-profile guests, and may have representatives from the Arts Society and the Bulldog Trust in London, who see our party as being relevant to their exhibition, The Rise of Jazz, commencing in January at Two Temple Place, the neo-Gothic mansion built for William Waldorf Astor.

The attendance for the Cambridge Christmas Party presently stands at approximately 330, but there is space for 50 more. However, with a week still to go, it is almost certain that these final places will be taken, probably quite soon.

The Cambridge Christmas Party is definitely not an event to be missed, and the final fifty places will go fast. So, if you have not yet applied, or if you want to invite more friends, do please send in your Application Forms. Fresh copies can be obtained from Tony Banton (admin@camsocparis.org) or myself (anls@lyndon-skeggs.com).

Look forward to seeing you, I hope, at the Christmas Carols and the Christmas Party, and my best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

Andrew.
President, Cambridge Society of Paris.

News Bulletin N°2

Dear Member,

Another successful Cambridge Society event, the debate at the 5e Cru wine bar at 7 rue Cardinal Lemoine.

Supported by a young and enthusiastic group of CamSoc and OUSP members and their guests, following a most excellent and convivial dinner, the group debated the motion “This House believes that the Technological Revolution has brought more Good than Evil to our communities.”

The motion was proposed by Christopher Chantrey and opposed by Andrew Torrance, supported respectively by Andrew Lyndon-Skeggs and Clare Hohler. Lively comment from the floor prior to the summare by the two lead speakers and the vote, counted by Moez Draief: 15/15.

This then leads to several important Cambridge Society events: Christmas Carols at the Travellers Club on 12th December, the historic Challenge Debate against the Cambridge Union on Saturday 27th January and, inbetween the two, the Cambridge Christmas Party.

And, for the last, we can now reveal the date and venue: Monday 18th December in the Salons Vénitiens at the utterly stunning Musée des Arts Forains, the meeting place of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald during Midnight in Paris.

Cambridge gives a party, and each member of the Cambridge Society will have the right, an ill be encouraged to inviteup to ten guests, with a total in the region of 250. With numerous outstanding traditional jazz and swing musicians, Boogie Woogie, tap dancing and a few surprises to follow, it promises to be an outstanding evening. Please note the date, Monday 18th December, and start gathering your group of friends.

With very best wishes,

Andrew.
President Cambridge Society of Paris.

News Bulletin N°1

Dear Member

The first committee meeting since the rentrée, and the roll out of our plans for membership and mega new events.

Already, on a like for like basis, September to September, the Cambridge Society of Paris has grown by nearly twenty percent, all younger members. An excellent step in the right direction, but the intent is to go much further, to double the membership over the next year to eighteen months!

Members of the committee have started work on this, and initiatives have been launched, including direct liaison with undergraduates at the University, and representatives for every College.

A new undergraduate, Esha Marwaha (Gonville & Caius), has stepped forward and will be running a stand for us at the Freshers Fair and is in the process of establishing undergraduate representatives for each College who will liaise with our Alumni College representatives here in Paris.

Already ten Alumni College Representatives have been identified, and Magdalene has asked for an article about the Cambridge Society, and the fabulous Christmas Party, for the November edition of Magdalene Matters.

Alumni College Representatives so far include: Christ’s, Emmanuel, Fitzwilliam, Jesus, King’s, Magdalene, Murray Edwards, Newnham, St John’s and Trinity. Once this gets underway it will be an important motor for new membership and for liaison at all levels with the University. If your College is not already represented, and if you would be good enough to take on the role, this would be highly appreciated. Please contact myself (anls@lyndon-skeggs.com) or Tony Banton (admin@camsocparis.org).

Doubtless you have seen the recent events reminder sent out by Tony, and I think you will agree .. not bad! Some outstanding new events including the Christmas Party, the Union Challenge Debate and the Fingask Follies Musical Review, in addition to a wide range of traditional activities.

So, much work in hand. What can you do? A lot please! If your College is not so far covered, and you would like to be the official representative, then do please make contact. Medium term we shall be looking for two new committee members. If you would like to assist in this way, it would be wonderful.

But above all, we really want to see you at the forthcoming events. Do please join in whenever you can; you will be highly welcome. The more this society, or club, is attended, the more fun it will be, and the better we can benefit the University.

For the big events in the near future, yes definitely please, and bring your family and friends. But likewise, though fifty maximum, please keep in mind the dinner debate coming up on Thursday 12th October, championing the merits, or denouncing the demerits of modern technology. This is taking place at a super new venue, totally private to us, the 5e Cru wine bar at 7 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, metro Cardinal Lemoine (10) or Jussieu (7). It is atmospheric, specialises in unusual wines, good food at incredible value .. and a debate as well!

Looking forward to seeing you.

With very best wishes,

Andrew.
President Cambridge Society of Paris.

President's Letter, December 2016

The Cambridge Society of Paris intends to be a focal point for all Cambridge Alumni in and around Paris to remain in touch with other Alumni. We plan our activities to be enjoyable, topical, cultural and fun as well as providing networking opportunities. Our membership is represented by a wide range of ages, nationalities, professions and subjects studied – the common point of all is to use the talents they honed during their time at Cambridge to progress but also to help others on their way. In short, fun, companionship and community spirit.

2016 was overall a great year for the Society. Our two highlight events, the Annual Dinner and the Garden Party, were by all accounts tremendous successes. Dr Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene and of course a former Archbishop of Canterbury, was our Guest Speaker at the Annual Dinner, and 80 members and guests enjoyed his company at the Maison du Polytechnique. It was Cambridge’s turn to organise the Garden Party and the initial disappointment of not being able to use the Embassy was dissipated when we secured the Ecole Militaire. In addition to our friends from Oxford, we also welcomed the Alumni of the Ecole Polytechnique and for the first year the numbers of participants from the French School exceeded those of either Oxford or Cambridge. We even had to contact the Ecole Militaire to increase the numbers from those initially booked as total attendance was 180, another record. In the year of the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death naturally our main talk was on a Shakespearean theme, albeit with a twist as Dr Nicolas Bell, the Librarian of Trinity’s Wren Library, told us about an episode early in the 18th Century when new Shakespeare manuscripts were discovered – and subsequently found to be fakes. The evening was rounded off by the personal views of President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the Speaker from our guest French School, on the likely outcome of the Brexit vote which was to take place two days after the Garden Party. He predicted a 50/50 vote and asserted that the actual outcome would not necessarily change much as it would either be Great Britain half way in the EU as it currently is or half way out after negotiations to retain a certain level of access to the European Market. Of course, none of us know yet what will really happen although most of us British citizens living in France were desperately disappointed with the Leave result.

The Society was also active with many other events and activities : the Monthly drinks of course but also debates, two tours of Mundolingua, a visit round the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, a walk led by George Young along the Bièvres river within Paris intramuros, Shakespeare in the Bois de Boulogne, a Welcome Wine Tasting for new students matriculating in 2016, Carols at the Travellers, a captivating presentation by Prof Jean Khalfa on French artists books in the 20th Century and watching the Boat Race and the Varsity Rugby together. Add to this the events, mostly musical, organised by members of the Society and invitations from Oxford and other Alumni Groups, I hope you will agree we have provided opportunities for all tastes again this year, enough to tempt you all into renewing for 2017.

The standard membership rate is unchanged at €40 for the year, with a reduced rate of €20 to all members under 30 and of course there is still no charge for those members who are still studying at the University. We also continue our support to current students through the Trevor Brown Bursary. This is separately funded, so I do call on those of you who would like to support this initiative to add a little extra to your membership fee.

Our membership was 122 at the end of 2016, stable compared to the 121 members at the end of last year. As many are part of a mobile international community, changes in the membership are to be expected and 35 members did not renew while we have welcomed 36 new members. On a sad note, two members died in 2016: Charles Spencer-Bernard in February and James Wood in April. Both were active members of the Society and James had been on the committee for the last year, heavily involved in the organisation of our Social events. We miss both of them.

We have welcome three new Committee members, Duncan Low as our Treasurer, Natasha McNamara in charge of Social events and in particular the Monthly Drinks and Moez Draief who has taken on the organisation of debates and is the contact with the other UK University Alumni associations in Paris. Panos Barkas had to resign his Treasurer role early in the year as his job took him to Greece and Rosarita Cuccoli has recently moved away from Paris.

My three year term as President is coming to an end and, after the AGM to be held on 17 May, the Committee will choose a new President. There will also be other committee places available, given Panos and Rosarita’s departure from Paris and the possibility that two other committee members who now no longer live in the Paris area may also not stand for re-election. So I end my letter with a call to any of you who would like to play a part in the future of your Society. Those of you who would like to take a place on the Committee are invited to contact me so we can discuss together the role you could play.

I wish you and all those you care about a very Happy Christmas and every success in the New Year. I do hope that you will continue to support us in 2017 and that you be able to attend many of our events.

Tony Banton
President
Trinity 1975
president@camsocparis.org

2017 Trevor Brown Bursary

Applications may now be submitted for the Trevor Brown Bursary, available to current students of Cambridge University carrying out a project related to France or French society. The Bursary provides a modest contribution towards project costs and will be awarded based on assessment of applications by the TBB sub committee.

Full details, including how to apply, can be found on the Bursary page of this website.

James Wood, RIP

I have sad news to share as James Wood, member of our Committee and above all friend, died suddenly last week of a brain aneurysm in his flat in Juvisy. A family funeral was held early in May and a celebration to his life in June in London.

The Society will be dedicating one of our events to James "à la rentrée" and details will be sent out as soon as they are confirmed.

Tony Banton
President

Charles Spencer Bernard

Charles Spencer Bernard died on Tuesday 2 February in hospital. He had been going downhill steadily since je celebrated his birthday with his family at home a week earlier. He has been in great pain so, hard though it is to say, his death is a relief for him, for Lindy, Sarah and Elizabeth. They had seen him in the afternoon and had the impression that he had just waited to see them a last time..

Charles was a long standing members of the Society and many of us will remember him with tenderness. I consider I am fortunate to have been able to spend time with him at various CamSoc events over the years.

The funeral was held in Broc in the Maine-et-Loire at 10am on Monday 8 February. A memorial service was held in Paris in March.

Michael Webster

It is with great sadness that we inform you that Michael Webster passed away last night. Michael has been an active member of the Society, and hosted Committee meetings at his flat for the last few years. He was particularly involved in organising visits, such as those to the Louvre in 2013 and 2014 and more recently was behind the debating evenings of the association.
He will be sorely missed.

A memorial service will take place at the The American Cathedral in Paris on Saturday 7 th October at 16.00.

UK Winter Fuel Payment and other benefits

For those concerned please see below information provided by the BCC on the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee Benefit delivery inquiry:
"The Work and Pensions Committee (Chair, Frank Field MP) is holding an inquiry into the timeliness and accuracy of benefit delivery by the DWP. The official website for the inquiryhttp://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/work-and-pensions-committee/news-parliament-2015/terms-of-reference-benefit-delivery-15-16/ points out that potential problems that can arise when benefits are delayed or underpaid, including people having to resort to food banks for emergency food rations.

The Committee invites written submissions on:

• The extent to which the DWP delivers benefit and Universal Credit payments correctly and promptly
• The impact of errors and delays and how such effects are mitigated
• How the Department’s performance in this area might be monitored and improved.

Select Committee Member Mhairi Black MP says on the website: "Vulnerable people are often left in a position where they have no money to heat their homes or feed themselves for several days or weeks. [...] I welcome the opportunity to explore these and many other issues that have been raised with me through the inquiry."

In France, the scope of this inquiry includes the concerns that British citizens may have about the planned withdrawal from September 2015 of the Winter Fuel Payment (WFP) from residents in seven countries of the EU (France, Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Malta and the British dependency of Gibraltar) based on a contrivance of so-called temperature checks, in contravention of the EU principle of equal treatment in cross-border social security matters. Cases of hardship may arise as a result.

Should you or any of your members know of any financial difficulties which will be caused to them, or to an acquaintance by the withdrawal of WFP, or who have experienced other state benefit difficulties, we suggest that you or they bring such cases to the attention of the Select Committee.

Submissions, preferable based on personal experience, should be made through the inquiry page of the website indicated above. They should be submitted as a document (.doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, .ooxml or .odt) less than 25MB in size.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 4 September 2015.

Brian Cave ( www.lefourquet.net/Hardup-dossier.doc) writes: Many pensioners do not have experience of the Internet, and are relatively isolated. They may find it difficult to respond to this call for submissions. You might therefore consider making a submission on their behalf. Please act not just for yourselves (the WFP may not matter for you) but in solidarity with those citizens in less fortunate circumstances."