Friday 5 February 2016

An Evening with The Quarter Club

I have this theory, right, that the universe thinks about you all the time. 

She thinks about you, but she never made a plan for you - Her favourite people are those who make plans for themselves. And she becomes very, very fond of those who don't let those plans die. And when you’re doing good, when you’re on the right path and in the right place doing the right thing… she’ll smile and drop you a considerable amount of not-so-subtle hints to let you know it. 

And every now and then you’ll experience such an intense series of the signs, that you know the universe is actively manipulating reality right in front of you, aligning particular scenes before you and orchestrating certain people to cross your path. 

That’s what I think fate is. 

And that’s something I experienced a few weeks ago, in a little brick-walled bar beneath Waterloo train station. 

I'd briefly heard about it on Twitter when someone had tagged me in a tweet about it, but truthfully I completely forgot until my dear friend Emma Gannon invited me along as her plus one.

Upon arrival, it was clear that this was something special. The vast cavernous space was absolutely packed with bustling conversation, sparkling eyes and curious hands bonding as they mutually reach for the cheese platters. My kinda room. We took a circuit, feeling the sense of purpose, the sense of presence emanating from the very brickwork. We were introduced to one of The Quarter Club's founders, Saskia, who told us a little about the event:  

"The Quarter Club is a network for fiercely ambitious, creative women, stemming from the negativity surrounding the idea of a 'quarter life crisis'. We believe that by providing a platform to share the stories other passionate, inspiring women who've been through it and figured it out, can help brilliant women achieve brilliant things!" 

At that, Emma and I exchanged a look that said more than words ever could.

A photo posted by The Quarter Club ( on

She pointed us in the direction of the bar, and a small, high-pitched 'ohmygoddd' escaped my lips. Because this is what Emma and I had been looking for. For weeks now we'd been in fast-paced, excitable discussion with lots of capital letters and exclamation marks, hypothesising about a wave of change that feels imminent, in the way we value not only powerful, driven women, but online creative entrepreneurs too. 

And just by embracing and solidifying this idea with every single time we spoke of it, we'd made a mark which had echo-located us in space and in time, sending out a homing beacon, a rope bridge out to all those other independently-conceived islands of the same idea... And now gravity was bringing us into orbit, formulating us all into a movement.

"Hi! Sorry, erm," A voice suddenly broke my reverie and I turned to find an excitable dark-haired girl smiling up at me with sparkling eyes. "I'm sorry if this is weird or anything but... I follow both your blogs and I just think they're great!" An instant grin broke across my expression. "And I just thought y'know I'll be brave and just come over and say it."

"THAT'S AMAZING OH MY GOD THANK YOU!" I exploded, ever cool and collected, and she seemed a little alarmed at the volume of my response.

"Ahhh thanks! What's your name?! Do you blog too?" Emma asked, as excited.

"Oh! I'm Farrah and yeahhhh but y'know... Hey, erm did you know it was me who tweeted you both about this event?"

I gave an incredulous look as the cogs clicked into place. I'd first heard about The Quarter Club from a tweet someone had tagged me in, which also tagged Emma, months ago. Emma had then been discovered by The QC founders after that tweet, had been invited along and had invited me as her plus one. And now at the event, we'd bumped into the girl who had first tweeted us.

"Well, holy shit."

But that was not the only twist of fate the universe gave me that evening. Before we sat down to listen to the amazing talks, Emma and I were stood at the back, looking out across the room. "That girl looks exactly like this girl I used to know." I said suddenly, "And I know I'm a bit drunk, because my brain would never ever have been able to access that part of my brain to remember the person she looks like" I laughed.

But then the girl spoke. She climbed up onto the stage, hushed the room and directed our attention to 'The Speakeasy' sign up sheet - an open mic night of sorts, where any person could talk about their given passion for 5 minutes. She said her name was already up there. I looked over... and the cogs clicked into place again. 

"Shut the fuck up." I breathed, ever eloquent, and the universe winked at me. 

She stepped down and I grabbed Emma and we wove through the crowd toward her. She wasn't just anyone, too, she was none other than the co-founder of the Quarter Club.

"Hi! Sorry, I know this is weird," I said, echoing Farrah's trepidation earlier, "But... where abouts in the country did you grow up?"

"Erm Crawley... why?!" 

Well hot damn. 

"You went to Holy Trinity School didn't you!" She looked incredibly bewildered, "And your Dad was one of the teachers!"

"Errr yeah haha..."

"I went to that school too! But we were years apart. I just remember because you were always in the school plays and so was I. I actually remember you as the lead in Little Shop of Horrors haha." 

My drunk brain was on point with it's inhumanly-remembered references, and I think the poor girl was a bit terrified by just how much this completely random stranger seemed to know about her.

"Small world. Anyway, love the event! How long have you run The Quarter Club?" I quickly backtracked and relief seemed to wash over her face. I forget not everyone has as weird a brain as mine, ha.    

It was then that the talks began and I was absolutely blown away by the women who spoke. Emma Parker, purveyor of beautiful, sexy lingerie for women, discussed the sexual liberation of women. Nancy Honey, a photographer, discussed her latest book and project '100 Leading Ladies', capturing powerful women the world over. Next up was the hilarious Mallika Basu, a chef who was on a mission to bullshit the fad of 'clean eating.'

But it was the final speaker who had me captivated in undivided attention, my soul like a quivering atom as I inhaled every word she spoke. 

Her name was Jo Cruse, and the screen above her head read 'I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.'

As she spoke of how she'd lost it all, her job, her identity, her marriage, her hope, had one hell of a quarter life crisis then pep-talked herself back from the brink to be a bad bitch, I felt this small sob of pride rise in my soul for this woman I'd never even met before, yet she felt like a sister.

A photo posted by Emma Gannon (@girllostincity) on

To try and re-tell her story wouldn't do it justice, but I knew I had to speak to her afterwards, and I knew I had to interview her for Scarphelia (which a week later I did, and I am v excited to publish in the next couple of days!) 

But listening to all of these women, I realised that the pride I felt in my heart for myself and the others in that room, meant I was not just proud of 'being a woman', but I was proud of BEING. 

In that room, I understood the importance of embracing and being proud of what you are born as, but not being limited by or bound to the way that you were born. I understood that you could admit your faults, without having to apologise for them.

Yeah I fucked up, but that doesn't mean I'm fucked up.

And as the trains rattled above our heads, sending little plumes of dust floating into the spotlights, it felt like something out of Harry Potter, like we were conjuring magic in that room, and I knew what we had to do. 

Emma and I went over to the the sign-up sheet, and we knew we had to say something. But how could we possibly condense all of this into just five minutes? We stood there for an age, trying to decide what we were going to focus upon... and then we reliased the magic in the fact that we couldn't.

Millenials are always assumed to be these robotic, other-worldly species that is incapable of communication outside of 140 character and hashtags. But this image could not be further from the truth. Millenials are not socially-broken, acronym-speaking human emojis. We are changing the world through new digital dialogues, and if this event was not a testament to that, then what else is?

Emma defiantly took up the pen and wrote;

'5 Minutes Is Not Enough, But We Will Try.'

A photo posted by Katie 🍒 (@scarpheliablog) on

We took to the stage beneath Topolski's Chronicle, heart's pumping and souls afire and we just unleashed. Every ember and every spark, every little thread of truth and knowledge and each and every thing the universe was trying to tell us. Truthfully, god even knows what we said, but it felt right.

Afterwards, breathless and buzzing, we were approached by 3 amazing souls who had understood every word we had said, because the universe had spoken to them too. We chatted to them for perhaps an hour afterwards and the universe finally nodded her head and smiled, leaving us to the rest of our evening, pleased with her work for the night.

A photo posted by AMY BRUCE 💛💙❤️ (@a.m.y.b) on

And as the night came to a close, we too smiled with reverberating purpose, profoundly thanked the organisers, the seakers and each person we'd spoken to, and headed out into the cool night air, positively glowing. 

That evening at The Quarter Club was an evening of pure magic, and it's safe to say I cannot WAIT for the next one. 

Find Emma's post on the night here.