John Jolliffe Counselling and Psychotherapy

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Affinity Community

AFFINITY COMMUNITY

In 1989 I started a discussion group – and in 1990 gave it the name Affinity Community. Although it had begun as a discussion group – it started to grow into a community of people. There wasn’t the Internet to advertise it on at that time and so it was advertised in Timeout, Loot and primarily Swiss Cottage Library – London (a very dynamic affair – in very large spacious buildings – with various social activities).

This continued into September 1994. At that point – I focused entirely on my therapy work – and my voluntary work.

Meetings were once a week, and according to demand sometimes twice a week.

We would discuss contemporary ideas in regards to existentialism, phenomenology, society, contemporary politics – often the group would select a topic to discuss the following week – sometimes it would be feminism – sometimes it would be therapeutic development in the humanistic field – but all sorts of topics – as the attendees – would usually attend lots of other organisations around London, of which there were so very many – it was quite impossible to know about them all. Because of this – members brought all sorts of new ideas into the community from this vast assortment of activities taking place in London. People also came from all around the world – as is a feature of course of London.

A quarterly magazine was produced – hundreds of copies on a single production. Members produced articles for this magazine – and others who were just visiting London who had heard about the small magazine submitted pieces of various natures – and contributions also included interviews with well-known people – who of course inhabit London.

There were four gatherings a year – these were held on the solstices – involved a very eclectic mix – starting in the early afternoon and going on into the early hours of the next day.

The first half of the evening involved people bringing things to read – usually of a spiritual nature – completed by a short meditation (which included the majority of those who were present by that time). Some people bought their children who would attend the first half – and then we would have a break for about an hour and a half – for a very elaborate buffet, with other foods, wine, huge punchbowls et cetera – that was laid out on various long trestle tables.

The second half of the evening would start around 8:30 PM – some people brought instruments – and would sing while playing guitars et cetera – some extraordinary good performers came – and then at some point after the performers – this would be turned into a discotheque – the music and arrangements were supervised by an ex-nightclub owner – and she had a real flair for such entertainment.

On the very last Summer Solstice gathering a count was made of the people present – and it was estimated at considerably more than 150.

Affinity community closed September 1990

Others were interested in continuing with it – but proved reluctant to actually taking it on themselves. I was often asked if I missed Affinity after I ceased to continue with it (as I had then decided to focus on my rather 'late in life career') – and my reply each time was roughly as so:

‘Well, yes in a way – but it was awful lot of work!’.
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