RA Membership

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Perhaps it’s a personal quirk.

I’ll be thoroughly blasé and pretend otherwise, but I can tell you exactly how many pennies I have to my name at any one time. I’ve been the same since I first opened a bank account as a child. 

So, why is it every year I forget to cancel certain direct debits? 

There’s a list that frankly I’ve been meaning to cancel for about 5 years. I know I never will, muttering that this year I’ll use membership ‘A’, I’ll find membership ‘B’ great for the dreaded networking, and membership ‘C’ is fantastic value for money.

Nonsense. They’re all pointless.

Of course some memberships are great and I wouldn’t part with them. Chief among those and & I think on the best gifts you can buy yourself list or, shock horror, even a loved one is the Royal Academy

It’s a funny old place the RA, no-one ever really went, well my Grandmother’s generation did and that was part of the problem. A gallery that felt like a museum and a museum that was totally at odds with the late 20th early 21st century trend for interactive user experiences.

Then, quietly, without anyone realising, it became really rather chic. A London essential even. With progressive and consistently good programming, from the heavy hitting modern and re-examinations of old masters, through to ‘interactive’ experiences that far outstripped the previously trendy galleries and museums. 


All of this, before the opening of the excellent David Chipperfield extension, a glorious space, befitting of a 250th Anniversary.

Add to this, Keeper’s House, which allows the rare opportunity in W1 to grab a quiet coffee whilst reading the paper, or sit in the garden and stare at the sky surrounded by palms. This is all great and of course you’re thinking “I’m already a member”.

If you aren’t and require a little bit more persuasion, I see it as this, the Royal Academy manages to be a pretty decent mirror of the 21st Century Britain I love. A place filled with culture, a place aware of its history and tradition although far from bound by it, finally a place that is forward thinking and distinctly British in the most wonderfully internationalist sense.

All for £125? What’s that, the cost of a round?