Sunday, November 04, 2007


I went to a rather unusual drinks party at Claridges on Friday night, thrown to celebrate the life of a family friend who died last April.

His three sons were our hosts and each made a fine speech. Only one found it hard to maintain the generally upbeat mood. (Another was sporting a diamond encrusted ring that would have put J Lo to shame!)

I hadn't seen any of them for over twenty years, which added to the general weirdness of the occasion.

My parents met Roger (here in a blue top matching that of his wife) on a cruise in 1966, and this pic was taken on board. Roger shared my father's love of Jazz, specifically the gypsy-jazz of Django, Stéfane and the Hot Club of Paris. I recall him as one of the few unquestionably good men amongst the adults I was exposed to in my formative years. "He deserved better than her," my father observed of Roger's marriage last week, which by the end of his life had evolved into an awkward ménage à trois.

The driver that took first my mother and then me home knew the former chairman of H&K David Mclaren, so we had a nostalgic chat. He almost flattened a copper that stepped out into the middle of the Victoria Embankment in front of the Ministry of Defence. This representative of the organisation just fined £175,000 for health and safety violations proceeded to give the man behind the wheel a lecture on maintaining readiness for these surprise (yet regular) anti-terror check-points on London's riverside highway.

They are of course fairly useless as the many of London's Jihadists frequent the East London Mosque and so it would make a lot more sense to stake out Commercial Road, a parallel artery to the north and east. But then that would appear to be harassment, and would be less visible to the Whitehall aparatchiks.

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