Nick Lezard is a journalist with a reputation for championing the overlooked when it comes to books (as well as for being able to drink any writer you care to name under the table). I wouldn’t normally make the effort of going to west London for a birthday bash but last night I made an exception as I’ve known Nick for some time now. OK so Marylebone is virtually in central London – but these days it is rare for me to take a tube as far as Edgeware Road unless I’m going to Paddington Station or Heathrow Airport. And as far as I’m concerned anything the other side of Regent Street is west London anyway….
When I turned up fashionably late at The Duke of Wellington in Crawford Street, Nick asked: “Where’s Tom McCarthy?” I’d introduced him to Tom, so it became my job to phone McCarthy and find out why he wasn’t present. Sickness was the answer. Nick had plenty of old friends around for his birthday drinks. Nonetheless, he told me he was amused when Tom and Polly Samson (as well as yours truly) had all told him we were coming. He liked the eclecticism of the writers who’d announced they’d attend his do. Samson turned up, so two out of three ain’t bad! Besides, as far as opposites go you couldn’t do much better than Samson and me.
Samson seemed to be enjoying herself and I had a bit of a laugh by bringing up one of her friends and calling him Trike (a deliberate mispronunciation on my part). I didn’t let on that I’d met him at the launch of a Joe Boyd book and he’d been banging on about his connection to Pink Floyd. This old school rock group are of no interest to me – but Samson has sung with them and co-written some Floyd songs in recent years (although she’s best known as a journalist).
Ultimately I didn’t have much to say to Samson and vice versa. It only occurred to me later that I should have told her that while I found her son Charlie Gilmour swinging off a flag at the student demos in 2010 mildly amusing, it is much better to burn the Union Jack…. Maybe Nick was right and if Tom McCarthy had been present we’d have had more cross-talk – given three very different cultural and social perspectives. I didn’t bother telling Samson my mother (Julia Callan-Thompson) saw Pink Floyd quite a few times in London back in the sixties when Syd Barrett was still in the band (way before Samson’s involvement)… That said, when my mother saw Pink Floyd she didn’t pay them that much attention since she preferred the likes of The Incredible String Band and Bob Dylan. Personally I’m much more entranced with my mom’s slightly earlier musical obsession with modern jazz than her folk rock and psychedelic period.
Anyway the booze flowed freely and everyone at Nick Lezard’s birthday drink up had a good time – even if some truly diverse worlds failed to fully meet….
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Comment by Robin Cooke on 2012-05-19 14:25:24 +0000
Maybe Samson’s hair wasn’t long enough for a full on intellectual argument… go back and meet her when she’s grown it longer….
Comment by Andrew Lennon on 2012-05-19 14:44:45 +0000
Polly’s rather dishy though. And I always prefer stilted conversations with pretty girls. But, then, I’m a colossal masochist . . . .
Comment by Goldie Goldsmith on 2012-05-19 15:15:47 +0000
You should have pretended to be Tom McCarthy, then had a change of costume and gone in as yourself – then kept changing which writer your were all night….
Comment by Handsome Dick on 2012-05-19 15:53:19 +0000
The problem with London is that it’s too far east of New York…
Comment by Andrea Dworkin on 2012-05-19 20:12:17 +0000
If Tom McCarthy was a car this lady would be all up for taking him for a ride!
Comment by Dr. Al Ackerman on 2012-05-19 20:37:05 +0000
Has Nick Lezard recovered from his birthday drink up yet?
Comment by Polly Peck on 2012-05-19 23:26:33 +0000
When I’m feeling spaced out my sunshine comes out….
Comment by Paul Perrett on 2012-05-20 00:03:33 +0000
The Duke of Wellington was a reactionary scumbag – so I wouldn’t want to drink in a pub of that name.
Comment by Rick Burns on 2012-05-20 13:06:56 +0000
I spent my birthday bashing the bishop but then I spent most days doing that.
Comment by Seth Barnett on 2012-05-21 12:22:39 +0000
I thought Charlie Gilmour was street slang for really bad coke until I read this blog.
Comment by John Cheese on 2012-05-21 13:57:37 +0000
Are you sure Nick Lezard isn’t a philosopher if he can drink any writer you care to name under the table?
Comment by East London Guy on 2012-05-21 15:05:40 +0000
I went to west London once but I got lost….
Comment by Fred Freakbeat on 2012-05-21 21:07:03 +0000
Joe Boyd produced Granny Takes A Trip by The Purple Gang which wipes the floor with anything Pink Floyd ever did!
Comment by Ned Ludd on 2012-05-21 21:54:11 +0000
You’re right – real swingers burn flags. Patriotism is as bad as religion, both stink up the planet!
Comment by Jonny Geller on 2012-05-22 14:53:22 +0000
Maybe someone could update that Where’s Bin Laden picture book where you have to find Bin Laden on each page by doing a Where’s Tom McCarthy book instead.
Comment by Britney Speares on 2012-05-22 18:04:18 +0000
So are y’all comin’ to my birthday bash?
Comment by Top Pop Picker on 2012-05-23 00:53:10 +0000
Imagine if Dire Straits had called Baker Street by the name Edgewere Road instead…. Without the Sherlock Holmes connection i wonder if it would have still been a hit?
Comment by tim technorati on 2012-05-23 02:00:06 +0000
Imagine if the booze flowed as freely as the comments on this blog… everyone would have liver damage at the end of the night….
Comment by Horace Thompson on 2012-05-23 12:16:53 +0000
London pubs are like tube stations – they’re closest together in the centre of the city. And boozers with aristocratic associations ought to be made to change their names.
Comment by Mr H on 2012-05-23 13:19:09 +0000
Sickness is the answer! Phone is sick and take the day off work!
Comment by Matt Sinclair on 2012-05-29 08:27:38 +0000
You lot obviously aren’t Pink Floyd fans or else you’d know Polly Samson is considered this group’s Yoko Ono… she may be married to one of the band but everyone else around them sees her as a negative and interfering influence.
Comment by Ha-Satan on 2012-06-03 18:56:11 +0000
The Wooster Collective put together the greatest set of graffiti and street art I’ve ever seen in one place in the former candle building, 11 Spring Street, a longstanding open-air gallery of street art. As demolition begins tomorrow, the indoor art will be sealed behind drywall as a time capsule.