Tales from the jungle

HAMPSTEAD was thick with snow last Wednesday night and meetings and events were getting cancelled left, right and centre. The Conservatives were not going to lose out on the dosh from one of their most important local fund-raising evenings, however, and so the annual ‘blue rosette’ dinner at the Freemasons Arms went ahead as plan. Guest speaker Stanley Johnson, now a Hampstead and Kilburn constituent having moved to Queen’s Park, beat the blizzard too to be there.

You did wonder, however, if everybody who had braved the ice and come out in smarts suits and evening dresses were quite on the same page as Mr Johnson’s subject matter. He tiptoed through the issue of Brexit, but was rather more interested in relaying jungle stories from I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, the slightly low brow television series in which famous people are ritually undermined by being thrown in vats of bugs and forced to eat the genitals of various animals while Ant and Dec shout errrr at them. A quick straw poll of guests found hardly anybody had seen the programme, despite its ratings success.

What’s more, Mr Johnson became distracted with a sort of tribute to proudly left-wing journalist Paul Foot – ‘he was my hero’ – and his uncle Michael Foot, the former leader of the Labour Party. They are not obvious heroes for the local gathering here, but Mr Johnson insisted they were great to an unsure audience nevertheless. It’s not quite clear, however, why everybody in the room laughed when he also said the Camden New Journal was ‘the most fantastic newspaper’.


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