Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life: Jeremy Clarke

Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life: Jeremy Clarke

Article excerpt

They do love a party at The Spectator . I was invited to four in ten days last week: the Apollo Summer party, the Spectator 'At Home' Summer party, the annual Spectator 'Meet the Readers' afternoon tea party, and our Spectator arts editor, the great Liz Anderson's farewell party.

I hadn't been up to town this year, and on the train journey up from Devon, I felt like a hick up from the sticks. But I love London and I had that same old heart-lift as I stepped down from the train under the great iron roof of Paddington station, then passed along the platform beneath that giant unkempt simpleton representing the Great Western Railway employees who fell in the first world war. But my favourite arriving-in-London moment was yet to come.

I went six stops on the Bakerloo line, climbed up out of Charing Cross station into the dazzle and wingbeat of Trafalgar Square's airy 50 acres. Then I crossed the road, passed under Admiralty Arch, glimpsed a sunlit Buckingham Palace at the end of the Mall, and turned sharp left at that sinister old second world war concrete bunker, from which presumably Churchill would have made his last stand if it had come to it.

On my right now was glorious St James's Park, with its surprising pelicans and that quaint old park keeper's cottage, and the public conveniences hidden by shrubbery, which is also a cottage, in that very modern sense of the word, and a very lively one. The foreign tourists who pass in and out of there must marvel at the number of attendants standing about with apparently nothing to do, and perhaps regard this as a manifestation of a high civilisation. Then, on my left, coming into view now, was the magnificent open space of Horseguards Parade, formerly a tiltyard, adorned by the pugnacious Old Admiralty Building, with George Gilbert Scott's Italianate Foreign Office beyond. From here I could see Birdcage Walk, with a glimpse, through the trees, of the Spectator office garden -- my destination.

I was wearing my suit, a new shirt ripped from the cellophane, and a pink tie. A pentecostal London wind was blowing the tie straight out in front of me, where it hovered as if by magic. My shoes were polished, my hair newly cut, and I'd shaved that morning with a new razor blade. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.