Twitter Facebook RSS Feed
No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Friday 29th July 2005

The Spectator Party

Anyone who thinks the Mousetrap is the longest-running show in London has clearly never been to the annual summer party at 56 Doughty Street. What's 53 years next to the Spectator's 177? It may not have transferred to the West End from its modest premises in Bloomsbury, but it has never had any difficulty finding an audience. For lovers of sexual intrigue and political skulduggery, the Spectator is still the hottest ticket in town.

Admittedly, at last night's jamboree the cast was somewhat depleted. Nearly all the dramatis personae that turned this modest little production into the most talked-about extravaganza of last year were absent, including Kimberly Quinn, David Blunkett, Petronella Wyatt, Rod Liddle and Alicia Monckton. Like Sienna Miller, they had stayed away rather than face the phalanx of photographers waiting at the stage door.

Still, as with any successful show, there were plenty of stars on hand to step into the breach. Among the "names" waiting in the wings were Sir David Frost, Amanda Platell, Nicky Haslam, Andrew Gilligan, Dominic Dunne and, of all people, Tina Brown.

What was the former editor of Vanity Fair doing at 56 Doughty Street? Was she, by any chance, thinking of taking over from the Spectator's leading lady? It wouldn't be the first time a fading star from across the Atlantic has accepted a role in London to give her career a much-needed boost. Was Tina Brown about to follow in the footsteps of Brooke Shields?

Alas, there's no vacancy in this particular show. According to a well-placed source in the production office, Kimberly Quinn has made it clear she intends to resume her role as the Spectator's Roxie Hart in October. Apparently, the one-time host of Topic A With Tina Brown was just passing through on her way to interview Charles Althorp for her forthcoming biography of the Princess of Wales.

In the absence of the usual array of Spectator stars, it fell to Boris Johnson to carry the show and, as he's proved during his guest appearances on Have I Got News For You, he's more than up to the task. Indeed, there was something almost heroic about his performance, given the lack of a supporting cast. Following the replacement of Conrad Black by the Barclay Brothers as the show's producers nine months ago, it was rumoured that he might be replaced by a less flamboyant star. But after last night's tour de force that seems a very distant possibility.

As Boris stood there facing a horde of paparazzi, a look of stoical determination on his face, I was reminded of one of Kipling's tests of manhood: "If you can meet with triumph and disaster...And treat those two impostors just the same." With the faintest flicker of a smile playing about his lips, Grub Street's answer to Laurence Olivier was every inch a leading man. Even the Spectator's notoriously hands-on stage manager, Andrew Neil, didn't feel the need to put in an appearance.

If I have one complaint it's that the running time was slightly too long. The curtain went up at 6.30pm and didn't go down until 9.45pm, by which time several members of the crowd were clearly overcome with emotion. Still, as the last few stragglers were helped into waiting taxis, no one was in any doubt that this event represented another triumph for Britain's most dependable crowd-pleaser.

[ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Twitter RT @oldandrewuk: Some people leave Twitter and return so often they might as well have a revolving door fitted.  (3 hours ago)


The shocking truth about Jordan Peterson by Wesley Yang -
The intellectual dark web by Bari Weiss -
How identity politics is harming the sciences by Heather Mac Donald -
The fall of the German Empire by Ross Douthat -
How Tom Wolfe became Tom Wolfe by Michael Lewis - Vanity Fair
The neuro-diversity case for free speech by Geoffrey Miller -
The Age of Outrage by Jonathan Haidt -
The Warlock Hunt by Claire Berlinski -
Is classical liberalism conservative? by Yarom Hazony -
The Implosion of Western Liberalism by Patrick Lee Miller -
The Eton of the East End - Daily Mail
The reactionary temptation by Andrew Sullivan -
The book that scandalised New York intellectuals by Louis Menand -
To understand Britain today, look to the 17th Century by Adrian Wooldridge -
The crisis in France by Christopher Caldwell -
A Visit to Michaela School by Patrick Alexander -
Why parenting may not matter by Brian Boutwell -
Trump Establishment's Cultural Significance Explained by Michael Wolff -
Branching histories of the 2016 referendum by Dominic Cummings -
Putin's Real Long Game by Molly K McKew -
The Flight 93 Election by Publius Decius Mus -
How the education gap is tearing politics apart by David Runciman -
What's wrong with identity politics by Graeme Archer -
Grammars and the grain of truth by Jonathan Porter
Anti-Brexit: Britain's new class war by John O'Sullivan -
The English Revolt by Robert Tombs -
Democracies end when they are too democratic by Andrew Sullivan -
Human beings really are making progress by Steven Pinker -
What ISIS really wants by Graeme Wood -
A society ripe for Submission by Douglas Murray -
Why I'm a Conservative Teacher by Jonathan Porter -
Corbyn's Inconvenient Truth – He wanted the IRA to win -
Why I've become Tory scum by Tony Parsons -
Inside Westminster's free school -
Robert Conquest obit -
Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-Semite – it's so much worse than that -


Andrew Lilico
Andrew Sullivan
Arts and Letters Daily
Bagehot's Notebook
BBC News
BBC Sport
Benedict Brogan
Brendan O'Neill
Bruce Anderson
Coffee House
Conservative Home
Damian McBride
Damian Thompson
Dan Hodges
Daniel Hannon
Ed West
Frank Furedi
Guido Fawkes
Harry Phibbs
Iain Dale
Iain Martin
James Delingpole
James Wolcott
Joe Murphy
John Rentoul
Labour List
Mark Steyn
Matt Drudge
Mehdi Hasan
Melanie Phillips
Michael Wolff
Nick Cohen
Nick Robinson
Nikki Finke
Paul Waugh
Peter Hitchens
Political Betting
Right Minds
Rob Long
Rod Liddle
Sophy Ridge
Stephen Pollard
The Arts Desk
The Corner
The Daily Beast
The First Post
The Omnivore
The Onion
Tim Shipman
Tim Stanley
Tom Shone


AA Gill
Aidan Hartley
Allison Pearson
Allister Heath
AO Scott
Boris Johnson
Charles Moore
Cosmo Landesman
Daniel Finkelstein
David Brooks
Fraser Nelson
George Monbiot
Giles Coren
Henry Winter
James Delingpole
Jan Moir
Janan Ganesh
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Warner
Jim White
Jonathan Freedland
Lloyd Evans
Manohla Dargis
Martin Samuel
Mary Ann Sieghart
Matthew d'Ancona
Matthew Norman
Maureen Dowd
Michiko Kakutani
Owen Jones
Patrick O'Flynn
Paul Krugman
Peter Bradshaw
Peter Oborne
Philip Collins
Polly Toynbee
Quentin Letts
Rachel Johnson
Rod Liddle
Roy Greenslade
Tim Montgomerie
Trevor Kavanagh
UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • Audio Book Cover

  • Buy the audio book from
    Whole Story Audio
  • DVD Cover

  • Buy the DVD from

  • Buy the DVD from

  • IMdb Page on the film