Inside Story: The Groucho Club – 20 years of schmoozing and boozing
From riding bicycles down the stairs to setting fire to their chest hair, Groucho members describe the club they love so much that some of them even married the staff
MARK BORKOWSKI, PUBLICIST
I’ve been a member since it opened. I rubbed together the few pennies I had at the time and got myself a youth membership.
It was the single most important thing for my business. Soon after that, I went freelance. There wasn’t a day went past when I didn’t land a job because of someone I met at the Groucho Club. The pubs closed at 10.30pm in those days, so it was impossible to get a drink after that unless you went to Tramps. It was a very selective policy as far as members go. Bad behaviour at the Groucho Club never found its way into the media, and many of the celebrity clients felt safe there. There were about five years when it was just a drunken blur after 9pm. Damien Hirst once set fire to my chest hair and I ended up in casualty. If everyone had been there who said they were when Bill Clinton went in, the Groucho would have exceeded the capacity of Wembley Stadium. When Michael Jackson was in town, a pal of mine at the Mirror had hired a chimp through an old circus contact of mine. He wanted to use it in a crazy attempt to lure Jacko out of his suite for a photo opportunity. Jacko did not take the bait and before the beast went back to his pad in the West Midlands, we got it into the Groucho as a dare for a swift beer. It was not long before we were all turfed out. Oh happy days.