Sunday, March 16, 2014

A liquid day with Reggie and Kingsley

I love the Internet. I read State of Emergency: The Way We Were: Britain, 1970-1974 by Dominic Sandbrook. He quotes quite a lot from Reggie by Lewis Baston when writing about corruption in that era. This piqued my interest so I bought a copy - for £0.01 plus postage.

Apart from anything else I do like to read about the golden age of drinking. Maudling would sip a brandy and black coffee while reading his mail in the morning. Roy Hattersley, no prude when it comes to the good life himself, remembers a morning meeting with Reggie in the mid-70s when he worked his way through a jug filled with Dubonnet and gin. He's the man who famously declared "What a bloody awful country. Get me a large Scotch" as his plane was climbing away from Belfast. Baston points out that one of his famous neighbours was an even bigger drinker.
Saturday, 13 November 1971, when Reggie's engagements diary records 'Luncheon Mr and Mrs Kingsley Amis, dinner Mr and Mr Kingsley Amis' must have been quite a day.

1 comment:

  1. Growing up in Barnet, Reggie Maudling was my MP. My parents, despite being working class, would vote for him every election, not because he was 'Reggie', but because he was Tory and "knew how to run the country". He single-handedly made me a socialist and as soon as I was allowed to vote, at 21, I started a lifetime of voting Labour.
    We never saw him in Barnet at all, except when it was time to put a cross on the ballot paper. He did nothing for his constituents and later we found out that he was busy lining his own pocket.
    He is a forgotten man these days and his name is rarely mentioned, but when it does it sends a shiver of loathing down my spine. We should never celebrate his famous bon viveur lifestyle without remembering who it was that was picking up the bill.