Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life: Jeremy Clarke

Magazine article The Spectator

Low Life: Jeremy Clarke

Article excerpt

Showered and shaved and wearing a stiff new Paul Smith candy-stripe shirt, I took an Uber to the party. I love London and it was grand to be back and to be driven through the sunny streets by Yusef, one of the many new arrivals adding vibrancy, energy and diversity to our great city. Diversity is strength! Diversity is our greatest strength! (I used to believe that unity is strength, but I have lately recanted of this foolish and evil idea.)

'Will you be voting in or out, Yusef?' I said in a comradely manner, as one perplexed citizen to another.

'I think stay in, sir,' he said. 'Better for the economy.'

'What economy?' I said. 'The global economy is a parasitic Ponzi scheme and the EU is already hollowed out. The gulf between the haves and the have nots is already in the realms of science fiction. Why stay in and be part of a collapse?' Yusef pondered this provocative, apocalyptic, perhaps slightly deranged statement. Then he said: 'I went to the cinema the other day and saw a film in which all the rich people lived in beautiful palaces in the sky and the poor people lived on a rubbish heap on the ground. It was a beautiful film, sir. And as I watched this film, I thought, "Yes! This is possible."' So we settled on this. I was out, he was in; but in the long run we both realised that the outcome was largely irrelevant in a world that was changing more quickly than either of us could imagine.

The party was held in a basement bar in Soho. Wine was free, warm bottles of lager cost £5.50. The young staff seemed oddly ill disposed towards their customers and were watching like hawks for signs of moral turpitude. I sensed that a number of eyes had singled me out as one to watch. We had gathered to celebrate the leaving of the legendary Spectator advertising executive Mr Nick Spong. For 16 years Spongy and those working under him have made The Spectato r a fun place to work and I shall sorely miss him.

I took my wine glass and joined a conversation about the EU referendum between an ardent Remainer on the one hand, and on the other a chap with more relevant information at his fingertips than anybody I have heard speaking on the subject so far, but who made no final prediction and stated no preference for either side. …

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