Secretary’s Report - September 2022

Greetings to you all,

This is my penultimate Secretary’s Report to you. Prior to our reorganisation in 2020, the person who sat in this seat remained in position until it all became too much for them. Consequently, when someone did stand down, the presumption was that their successor was also submitting to an open ended commitment.  As you might expect, this greatly reduced (to put it mildly) the number of those prepared to throw their hats into the ring to occupy the hot seat that is the Hon. Sec. (or president, as the position used to be called).  We therefore decided to limit the term to 2 years, in the hope that people would not find this too daunting, and that more of them would therefore offer themselves for the position. 

I became Hon. Sec. in October 2020, and my term of office expires at Halloween (which I find somewhat appropriate!). From November 1st and for the next 2 years, there will be someone else occupying this seat.  Your board will be meeting in 10 days time to work out who this person might be. If, however, any of you reading this report have a burning desire to occupy the pinnacle of power and responsibility that is the position of Hon. Sec., please let us know at vanoxbridge@gmail.com and we’ll see what we can do. 

Your board is also undertaking a wholesale re-evaluation of what VOCS is, and what it could (or should) become.  As an organisation, we went into hibernation during the COVID lockdowns. There is a general feeling on your board that now that society has, and continues to open up, we should take the opportunity to do a bit of navel gazing. 

As you will know by now, I take the view that VOCS ought to be a predominantly bottom-up organisation. That is, individual members tells us of activities or events they would like VOCS to offer, and we help those members put together the event. 

The alternative to this is a society whose board decides what they will offer the membership, and hope enough members agree with this and sign up to attend. The difficulty with this approach is keeping VOCS relevant to its membership. 

Of course, these two options are not mutually exclusive. In reality, we need to make use of both the bottom-up and top-down methodologies. The difficulty is in getting the balance right. 

So, my fellow VOCSians, please continue to make suggestions to your board. We live to serve (sort of)!

We have a suggestion made last month for the creation of the VOCS bridge group. If anyone is interested in joining this, please reply to me at vanoxbridge@gmail.com and I’ll pass your name and contact details on to the organiser. 

Similarly, the VOCS film group has contacted me to tell me they have space for some new members, so if you’re interested, please let me know. This group was borne during lockdown and meets virtually on a monthly basis (albeit with a pause over summer). The movies selected are all on Netflix. You watch them in the privacy of your own home, with your nearest and dearest close by, and then discuss the movie with the group via a Zoom call.  The movies to be watched are selected collaboratively by the group as a whole, and some very interested movies have seen too. 

Amongst the films watched and discussed over the past year are: The Life Ahead (Sophia Loren’s latest), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Chad Boswell’s final movie), Trois Couleurs, Bleu by Krzystof Kieslowski, The Dig, The Two Popes, 3 Idiots (Bollywood and very funny), A Fortunate Man (A Danish movie of a classic Danish novel which is mainly unknown outside of Denmark) Roma and Les Intouchables (it’s French, nothing to do with Elliot Ness, and is also very funny). So if you are open to watching a wide spread of movies and have access to a Netflix account (and who doesn’t these days), please get in touch and I’ll pass your name and contact details on to the organiser. 

Finally, I must comment on the passing of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. A reminder, if every we needed one, that nothing is constant except change. 

I look forward to hearing from you all.