A convivial evening at the National Liberal Club; the Gresham Society AGM and dinner. Michael Mainelli said he was going to miss not only the pre-AGM drinks but even the AGM, so suggested that I leave the office ahead of him. But by the time I had got there and made his excuses to everyone, he arrived; a good 5-10 minutes before the AGM started.
In the hands of Tim Connell, an AGM is neither painful nor lengthy. So there was time for more chat between the AGM and dinner. Several people were complimentary about my maiden baritone ukulele performance at December’s Gresham Society soiree, which certainly made me feel good at the end of a long day.
I sat next to Elisabeth Mainelli on one side and Noel-Ann Bradshaw from the University of Greenwich on the other side, which made very pleasant company; indeed at Gresham Society functions, pleasant company is more or less guaranteed.
The speaker was Michael Binyon, whose tales of derring-do as foreign correspondent for the times didn’t quite match Boot of The Beast (Scoop is one of my favourite novels) but raised several laughs none-the-less. A memorable tale about Messrs Foot and Healey meeting Brezhnev sticks in my mind, as does the problem of dictation down the phone line which led to the reporting of “dead sea squirrels”. What a by-gone era story that makes, although it occurred within living memory).
No doubt Michael Binyon had to dodge a bullet or two as a correspondent, but he struggled to dodge a “question-bullet” about the Times pay-wall, claiming that the iPad version of the Times is making money now. As the economists, accountants and operational researchers on our table might put it; that depends on how you count.
I imagine that the merriment continued in the bar long after I sloped away, but at the end of a long day I decided to quit while I was still feeling very much on top. A most enjoyable evening.