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.

IMG_0101

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.

IMG_0094

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

IMG_0097

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.

IMG_0095

IMG_0096

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 –

IMG_0102

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

IMG_0104

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