Southern E Group discussions are not heavily
regulated - indeed there is no moderator as such - although if matters get
seriously off track, which is vary rarely, there is provision for an officer of
the group to intervene (see the "About the
Southern E-Group and Rules of Etiquette" for further details). More
often than not the group is self-regulating. If a correspondent goes
significantly off topic it is likely that a fellow member will light-heartedly
invoke a visit from "The Cardinal" to the transgressing member. This
is usually all that is required to get matters back on track.
There follows two learned texts for the benefit of SEmG
members both old and new to explain the origin and function of "The
Cardinal" (....also known as "Cardinal Fang").
Here beginneth the first lesson according to Brother Cliff
Members old (i.e. members of good and not such good
standing) would perhaps benefit from perusing what follows because there have
been strayings from the path. (Oh baby! big time)
Members new, obviously need a thorough grounding in the
Group's Guidelines. Be it remembered that "Guidelines" and
"The Cardinal" are synonymous.
The aim of the Group: To glorify the name of the Southern
Railway, those railways that went together to form it and that portion of
British Railways which replaced it. Seems simple enough eh? Well, there are
those that choose to squirm and writhe their slimy, despicably, serpentine ways
around this lofty ideal. Others seek to glorify other, lesser railways, whose
names be legion and unmentionable.
It was nothing short of miraculous that one day, The
Cardinal appeared and we all fell to the ground in great fear and trembling.
Since then the Group has been a purer and better place. Many have reformed
their ways, others have quietly disappeared (well, not usually too
It has been suggested that The Cardinal has His origins with
Monty Python. Of course the exact opposite is true. Nonetheless, watching of
the Monty Python sketch relevant to The Cardinal can do no harm. It gives some
good ideas regarding His appearance and that of His accomplices. Also featured
are useful phrases such as "Nobody ever expects the Spanish
Inquisition" ....... this is a good thought to have tucked in a corner of
the mind when tempted towards non-Southern thought, word or deed. Diabolical
"re-education methods" are also mentioned. These range from flaying,
burning (medium rare to very well done), racking, through to
hanging/drawing/quartering (0.25 x 4 in metric) though not necessarily in that
order, impalement ................. and that's for lesser infringements.
There is of course the (hushed pause ........) comfy chair (another hushed
pause.........). This last has claimed several members who strayed.
(It may be thought at this point that I have lost my thread
...... thoughts of the comfy chair oft disquiet me.)
It is generally accepted that His Eminence The Cardinal is a
genial and gentle gentleman who has seen fit to take our Group and our Railway
under His wing. He hovers somewhere in the wings of our electronic stage
forever alert and aware of our thinkings and writings. Omnipotent and
omnipresent. Woe unto he who strays from The Way.
There is a list of words and phrases to be avoided but of
course I can hardly use them here lest He turn my way!!!! To be safe, mention
not, railways to the North or Northwest or Northeast and above all the railway
whose stuff was chocolate and cream. This last is an abomination, a curse, a
devilish work ........... a pox upon them and theirs, yeah unto the tenth
Let me welcome you to the Group. My E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Note the
"scarlet", note it well ..... that is His colour. I'll be happy
to answer questions or refer you to those who are better qualified so to do
Be it known to all comers, we exist for one purpose only, to
glorify The Southern. Long live The Cardinal.
Here followeth the second lesson according to Brother Michael Gale:
In the past, his eminence the Cardinal has been a useful
tool. A metaphorical arbitrator regarding the content of our postings. He has
allowed any member to raise a concern regarding the contents of any particular
message without causing a direct affront to the individual. For the most part,
the caution could be issued in good fun, usually accompanied by a
humorous,witty or sarcastic comment and perhaps the email smiley face short
hand. However, it is apparent that sometimes the humorous approach to limiting
the wayward members of the group is not appreciated. This may be due to a lack
of familiarity with the origins of the Cardinal, and the fact that none of the
new members to the SEmG have in the past been appraised of the potential for a
visit from the Cardinal until it happens....shock, horror....
It is obvious that not all members of the group know the
exact origins of the Cardinal. For greater certainty then, I should state that
the SEmG Cardinal is based on the humorous skit, sketch, or spoof from the
Monty Python comedy series featuring Michael Palin.
At times our e mail conversations seem to revolve around the
colour of someone's bloomers, and pros and cons of certain British
actresses in railway related films. Perhaps, one day someone can capture this
discussion in a single posting for me to understand. I noted that on this
occasion, and also on more recent postings which reference the red bloomers,
the Cardinal was tellingly silent. I'm not sure of the implications of
this, but one thought that occurs to me is that it appears that for the SEmG at
large the G*R is held in less regard than red bloomers. So where is all this
leading? I do not care if members want to mention the G*R in their postings.
However, I reserve the right to summon the Cardinal to attend to anyone that
does, and if I do, I hope that you will remember that it is done in the best
traditions of an illustrious vain of British humour ....Monty Python, the
Goons, QX, Q6, Q9, Fawlty Towels, BA goes 4th, M&W..........and to ensure
that the SEmG maintains its SR focus and sense of humour.
"By the way, Michael Palin is a railway buff, isn't
he?" "Yes he is. See Confessions of a Trainspotter. An original
On the subject of "red bloomers".......
Maybe it is something to do with the male menopause
reflecting their teenage boyhood obsessions, but it has become customary for
male members of the SEmG publicly to declare themselves ardent followers of
Jenny Agutter (for it is she who waves the infamous red bloomers in the
original film of "The Railway Children") or of Lesley Anne Down (who
stars in the film "The Great Train Robbery" - an incident supposedly
on the SECR). It is these two actresses that divide SEmG members far more
passionately than any of the constituent railway companies that are valid
topics for the SEmG (and also of those companies that are not...)!
For the sake of the SEmG - long live "The
Cardinal", Jenny Agutter (with or without red bloomers) and Lesley Anne