FM Alexander, founder of The Alexander Technique, was born 150 years ago on the 20th January 1869. To celebrate the occasion the FM Alexander Trust hosted a party in conjunction with HITE at Harley Street on Friday evening with the theme, ‘Think up, Dress up and Turn up’. 
 
Alexander Teacher trainers, teachers and pupils attended the event and the wine flowed from the start which would surely have met with FM’s approval! The guests included three past chairs of STAT (Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique) and numerous people who had been part of STAT Council and STAT committees over the years. Teachers from New York and France also made the effort to come – thank you. 
With the backdrop of music from the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s, relaxed conversation enabled us all to catch up with past acquaintances and make new friends in the technique at this auspicious occasion. 
 
Kamal Thapen, Trustee of the FM Alexander Trust and a HITE Director then kicked off the speeches by thanking all for coming to this 150th birthday celebration. Kamal caused us all to pause for thought and challenged us all to think about how we would like the Alexander Technique to be known, understood and available by the time of the 200th birthday celebration – and what could we do now to help that happen. Hmmmm – good question. 
Teacher Penny O’ Connor then entertained and delighted us all with a rendition of one of FM’s favourite Australian bush poems: Clancy of ‘The Overflow’ by Banjo Paterson which was published in the The Bulletin, an Australian News magazine on the 21st December 1889 – when FM would have been just 20 years old.  
 
His upbringing in rural Tasmania and youthful adventures in Australia as an actor and reciter were naturally a large part of who he was and he would apparently delight in reciting this tale comparing Clancy, a sheep shearer and drover with life in the ‘dusty, dirty city’. The poem seemed particularly apt as we reflected on FM’s life and his discoveries in London – the city that for the most part became FM’s ‘homeland’ (apart from a couple of periods when FM lived in the USA during the last world wars). It is definitely worth taking the time to have a listen. 
There was then an opportunity for all to take part and people did so enthusiastically - in reading out quotes from literature that pertained to FM’s work. A wonderful sense of participating, reading, listening and laughter prevailed as the literary pearls of Shakespeare (of course!), Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie and Albert Einstein amongst others, were dropped into the party. 
David Harrowes, Treasurer of the FM Alexander Trust went onto present some of the more recent research and projects enabled by the Trust, such as the book Paths to the Alexander Technique. He called for continued support, in whatever way, to be able to further the purposes of the Trust - to bring to the general public, awareness and understanding of the Alexander Technique and to promote research and study into all aspects of the Technique. Supporting this work is one way in which we can all help in answering the question posed by Kamal earlier. In this vein a donation is being made to the Trust from the proceeds of the party. 
HITE Director Claire Rennie then invited all to raise their glasses in a toast firstly to those who, over the years, have given so much in taking on positions as Directors, Trustees and Committee members of both the FM Alexander Trust and STAT; and secondly to FM himself – with all of our gratitude. 
 
So with the wine flowing again once more, conversation continued, dancing started and it all culminated in the joining of hands (how fitting) and the spontaneous singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne’. To conclude, a heartfelt thanks to all those who came to mark the occasion of FM’s 150th birthday with style, humour and panache. Here’s to the next 150 years – cheers! 
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