The club for… war reporters
The Frontline Club
13 Norfolk Place, W2 1QJ
The Frontline Club is a gathering place for journalists, photographers and cameramen working in conflict zones. David Loyn, the BBC’s Afghanistan correspondent, is a member.
Why was it set up?
‘When video journalist Vaughan Smith stopped the Frontline News Television agency, I think he felt he couldn’t quite close down Frontline altogether. He started this club because he wanted to commemorate people who had died reporting in conflict zones. We stand for the independence and the integrity of journalists.’
What goes on here?
‘Effectively, it’s three different businesses: a restaurant on the ground floor, which is open to the public, the private club on the next floor, and above that there’s the forum where events are held.’
What kind of events?
‘We hold public meetings, debates and screenings. Members get free entry. There’s nowhere else in London where you can get 120 experts and people with a real interest talking about some ghastly massacre or how to report it. There isn’t a sponsor or a trade union involved, no think tank, nobody’s being paid. There’s only the spirit of honest inquiry.’
Any members we might have heard of?
‘Before anyone knew who Julian Assange was you’d come in here late at night and he’d be sitting there, framed only by the light from his Mac. The Frontline Club and the New Statesman co-hosted a debate with Assange, one of his only appearances before he ended up in a room in Knightsbridge under rather bizarre circumstances.’
I want in!
You’ll need two Frontline Club members to recommend you. It costs £35 a month, £325 a year, £1,300 for five years or, for the truly committed, £5,000 for life.
Read more about The Frontline Club
Pic: Ed Marshall