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Chatswood Chapter Opening

It all starts with Shakespeare. Or possibly a guy named Dave.

Let's clarify. While it is true that a lot of the western English-speaking literary canon can be traced back to a playwright from Stra

tford-Upon-Avon who had a funny moustache and couldn't spell his name, we're not talking about him. We're actually referring to a pub called the Shakespeare, which for almost ten glorious years was the sole Sydney home of Tough Guy Book Club.

And Dave is Dave Michell. He doesn't have a funny moustache, but we're not sure about the name-spelling thing. At this point it would be weird to ask.

Dave joined TGBC in March 2018, rocking up to the Melbourne City meeting to talk Sherlock Holmes. When Melbourne grew too big and had to split he joined the breakaway contingent across the river in Southbank. When work moved him interstate to New South Wales he wasn't about to abandon his book club, but he couldn't figure out why the whole of Sydney drained into a single upstairs room at the Shakespeare Hotel. As nice as it was.

"Moving around [chapters] is a great experience, you get to see the many different ways that the club can discuss the same books," he says, "Every goon brings their own life experience, so you always get a different discussion."

As soon as Dave arrived in Sydney, the Petersham (now Newtown) Chapter was born. Then, because the hip craft-beer-swilling inner west wasn't enough of a challenge, Dave set his sights across the big coathangar-looking bridge towards the skyscrapers, designer shops and shockingly expensive houses on the north side of the harbour.

"It can be a bit daunting at first, because you're not sure what the new chapter is going to be like, and you're not sure if people are going to show up!"

But show up they did. Chatswood is a major transit hub and business district, so not only is it convenient, there are plenty of new recru

its over there desperate to talk about anything other than work. As Dave and others have learned, chapter-jumping is a great way to taste different flavours of conversation and meet new faces. And as for starting new chapters - all it takes is enough dudes with open minds, kind spirits, and the optimism and determination to hit the road with a merry new band of characters. William Shakespeare would have made a decent goon, come to think of it.

"Especially after you attend TGBC camp," says Dave, "You realise that everyone is accepting of new people. They've all passed rule number two already."

What's rule number two? All together now, sing it with us:





Dave Michell is not a fuckhead. He's just a guy who runs a mean barbecue (whether for our fundraisers or for himself), who has read 57 new books in the last 5 years (and failed to finish 6), and whose efforts have given lots of other like-minded men a chance to do the same. If you want to verify this for yourself, come along to the Chatswood meeting and say hello, or join our online discussion group and check out his can't fail crowd pleasing recipe for double-smoked creamy bacon spuds. If you can't follow that link yet, you'll need to buzz our admins and prove you can follow rule number two.

Be like Dave. And keep reading. We'll see you soon.

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