The Strange Adventures of the Dangerous Sports Club

by Martin Lyster

1 899344 28 4

They called themselves the Dangerous Sports Club – and they weren’t kidding. This is the true story of an informal group of amateur adventurers who broke laws, legs and chandeliers around the world, leaving a trail of crashed cars, unpaid bills, empty bottles and overturned conventions in their wake. World famous but little understood, the Dangerous Sports Club was a mixture of artists and engineers, soldiers and academics, an MP and a member of the Monty Python team, united by their interest in creative forms of excitement.

This book, for the first time, traces the progress of the Dangerous Sports Club from its origins in and around Oxford University, through its heyday of innovation and entertainment – including the invention of bungee jumping – to its eventual decline into chaos and irrelevance. It is a story of nerve, drunkenness and wild spending; of movies, sponsors and TV shows; of surrealism, irresponsibility and bounced cheques; of huge public recognition and ultimate commercial failure.

MARTIN LYSTER was born in St Albans in 1962. Whilst at Oxford University, he became involved in the Dangerous Sports Club shortly after its foundation, and became a leading organiser. Taking responsibility for the Club’s bungee jumping displays, he developed the techniques of safe jumping which are now the foundation of a worldwide industry. He also helped organise the surrealist ski races in St Moritz and piloted several of the Club’s eye-catching inflatables, including a flying kangaroo, and a giant amphibious sphere containing a tea table.

He is an expert skydiver, BASE jumper and an experienced pilot of gliders, hang-gliders, and balloons. He has parachuted from Clifton suspension bridge, the Cheddar Gorge, and some of the highest cliffs, bridges and towers in Britain and America. In 1989, he was amongst thirty individuals shortlisted to become the first British astronaut. He is married and was last heard of living on a narrowboat moored on the Oxford canal.