The Idler summer party

I’m trying to post this while sitting on a wall outside the Idler summer party, which is at their shop on Westbourne Park Road. It is very literary and bohemian.


Tom Hodgkinson, who runs the Idler with his wife Victoria gave a funny speech, though sadly he didn’t play the ukelele as he sometimes does.


Here’s Victoria with the shop’s manager, the writer Julian Mash.


When I arrived, Victoria introduced me to her cousin Lucy, saying ‘This is Lucy, she loves the country and she’s very interested in pig farming. Lucy, you’d love Richard’s book about farming.’

I thought Victoria was just being a good hostess, but Lucy did seem quite interested. She explained that she had a friend who ran a campaign to improve pig welfare on farms, and said her husband was a huntsman. I talked to her about pigs then worried that I’d gone on a bit. Anyway, she said she must read the book, and I took her address and said I’d send her one. Afterwards my wife hissed “Did you realise who that was?’

‘Yes,’ I said. ”It was Victoria’s cousin.’

‘Yes, but she’s Lucy Birley,’ she said. ‘Brian Ferry’s ex-wife. Now married to Robin Birley who owns Annabel’s.’

I felt secretly relieved that I hadn’t asked how to spell ‘Birley’. ‘I’ve been talking to her about pigs,’ I said. ‘She seemed quite interested.’

“Let’s get a drink,” said my wife.

Anyway, the other good things about the party have been:

1) The large number of dogs in attendance, dogs always being good ice-breakers.



2) Finding out the Idler’s excellent Gwynne’s Grammar, which I bought when it was published only as a slim pamphlet, is now available in a longer and very attractive hardback edition –


3. The prints in the shop window, especially this one, although I disagree with the bit about embracing poverty.


I’m off back in now to see if I can find the woman who runs the pig campaign.