Dash! did always have a bit of a Bonzoidal tropism for the midday sun, so it seemed only fitting to at last indulge the poor thing and seek some sort of association with the Radio Society of Great Britain. Already members of our good ol' American Radio Relay League, we had no expectations beyond magazine subscription, membership card and a spot of hammy junk mail. Imagine our stupefaction when a stout beech wood crate of startling dimensions arrived at our door, fully plastered with charming commemorative postage celebrating the National Trust Bingo Halls of Britain to the curious counterpoint of exceedingly understated Royal Mail stickers, all so just-so as if Toad, Mole, Badger, Paddington & Pooh Bears personally delivered the pallet with much pomp, circumstance & morris dancing.

Mucking about the strata of excelsior and enclosures, we carefully excavated a cover letter. It seems RSGB membership entails more commitment that we anticipated. Further, it struck us that a review of such an undertaking might be of wide interest to our American ham radio brothers and sisters, beguiled so early and often by everyone and everything UK-ish -- from Emma Peel to James Bond to Eddystone receivers, not to mention Morgan roadsters, Mullard valves, Vulcan bombers, the Flying Scotsman, and those hand painted metal miniature siege engines with detachable lichen and, uh, sorry...this sort of thing gets one quite wound up, you know?

Ever the winning, grizzled 61 year-old child, Dash! dizzily plunged his arm into the packing and pulled out not a plum but an XXL Barbour cap! This he popped on 'is 'ed and launched into the Goodies' theme song while simultaneously chugging Smarties chased with Irn Bru. Conversely, we eyed the Limited Edition Marston's Pedigree Marmite with jaundiced eye, our Yankee cap still firmly in place.

 

Such a muddle.

LEAGUES we understood. American League. National League, Radio Relay League. Give us plain-spoken peppy Mickey fellows and Judy gals all fired-up over wireless self-improvement and putting on a show. Were we to abandon our rough & ready colonial crowd for High Street Ham Society? For a long weekend perhaps, although the RSGB was quite specific in a somewhat imperious manner, thank you very much, about member attire: Waxed cap. Cardigan. Tattersall. Cavalry Twills. Ramblers' Brogans. And most importantly, a rabbit-trimmed All-Season India Rubber Anorak. Right. If we stopped looking in mirrors we could handle the Society Dress Code, but the RSGB Diet is a whole other kettle of kippers.

Granted, it's sort of an honor system, but now that the LoCal GoGal Duchess of York is spending more time in America, she could well be pressed into service as a free booting, chopper-flying RSGB Diet Enforcer of Fortune and luck be no lady for anyone chancing to cheat that dizzy skirt.

 

We've had a prior run-in with Marmite and soggy saltines so we took advantage of the RSGB Diet's generous Thank You No Option, which allows one to forgo any single foodstuff except Mushy Peas, so long as one doubles-up on Mushy Peas.

After some months of this regimen, both Dash! and your 'umble cartoonist have yet to become fit subjects for a Merchant Ivory film or even a continuing series of Masterpiece Theater episodes. We have not played our Long John Baldry, Tommy Steele, and Cilla Black records.We have eschewed the beach in godawful weather. We do not Mind the Gap and we must, yes we feel compelled to grumble at the slightest inconvenience. We do not thank others when we do something for them. And we can't speak without sounding like we attended the University of Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

Sadly, we have proven immune to turning British, we really think so. We could eat this stuff forever and we'd never call CQ DX like Anthony Hopkins, much to the Thespianic chagrin of Dash! The Dog-Faced Ham and we do mean ham.

 

So in the end, one is left with what in fact is the whole point of RSGB membership -- that is, that pin, with its aerial and its earth and all the other implicit associations...from Emma Peel to...well, you know...the lion's share of all that's swanky, cranky and cool.

With apologies and admiration for the art of George Studdy, whose immortal character Bonzo we have most raggedly lampooned above. If you love old toons and don't know Bonzo, this ya gotta see.