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07 May 2010 | By: Londonist

Review: Last Night a Speed Date Changed My Life @ The Book Club

Review: Last Night a Speed Date Changed My Life @ The Book Club

LNADJSML.jpg The Book Club's "Last Night a Speed Date Changed My Life" may not have radically transformed this lovelorn Londonista's world - there were a few sparks but no earth-shattering moments of romantic revelation - but it successfully Changed My Attitude to speed dating.

It was not uncommon in the early days of speed dating to find the female daters clustered together in the loos, bonding over a shared despair at the lack of social graces displayed by their male counterparts. And the venues - most often than not sleazy West End chain bars - were only conducive to romance after imbibing an unhealthy number of discounted spirits.

The Book Club's monthly speed dating evening was an altogether different affair. The dimly-lit, sparsely furnished basement was low key and welcoming, and strangers comfortably mingled before the official proceedings had even begun.

With five minutes to pair up and chat, conversations just managed to extend beyond the repetitive "is this your first time?" and "what do you do for a living?"; questions that invariably lead one to invent increasingly creative responses in an effort to stay alert by date number 10.

The Book Club has already established itself as the go-to venue for edgy, creative types looking for a dash of art, current affairs or philosophy to go with their Shoreditch Twats (that's a cocktail, not a local). It was therefore no surprise that these single Book Clubbers were sharply turned out, witty conversationalists who spoke with verve about their latest design piece, art shoot or marketing campaign.

As daters are provided with their own private barman and DJ, and a person - rather than machine - collates the mutual matches at the end of the evening, the experience is a personal and intimate one that might just succeed in pairing you with that life-changing other.

The Book Club's next speed dating event is on Monday 24th May - tickets are £10, including a glass of wine.

By Michelle Newell

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I felt deceived, ripped off and disappointed by this event. On the night I attended there was a shortfall
of men so the organisers made up the numbers by trawling the bar upstairs
offering free tickets to any men they could find and by drafting in their male
friends. I spent most of the evening
chatting to a succession of German engineers who were in the country for three
days on a business trip (they had been given free tickets in the bar moments
before the event), and there was one particularly unimpressed guy who I suspect
was friends with the organisers and had been coerced into attending. I know
it’s difficult to get men to sign up to these sort of things so I do sympathise
with the organisers but the way they handled the situation was unacceptable. They need to make a concerted effort to
advertise and promote the night to men and this could be a great event! Of all the speed dating I have come across in
London, this is the least cheesy and cringeworthy so I really hope the
organisers take on board my comments and realise its potential...