Friday, January 30, 2015

An amazing evening for Gavaid

London never stops amazing you. It's like a huge desk with hundreds of drawers, most of which you never get round to opening.

 Last night at six I got on the overground heading east from Highbury & Islington. I didn't know until last night they call it the Orange Line. All the hundreds of people flooding on to that train on their way home were young. It was different from the mix you would have found if you were travelling north or south.

I got off at Shadwell, which is in the heart of what I used to think of as Jack The Ripper territory. In the past nobody I knew ever went there, lived there or had any business reason to be there. Nowadays I'm increasingly pulled there as my own children live in that direction, in areas I've never even visited, areas which not long ago were post-industrial wastelands but are now full of all sorts of surprises.

One of them is a rather fabulous former cinema on the Commercial Road called The Troxy, which was reopened a couple of years ago and is now being developed as a groovy events venue. (You can take a virtual tour here.)

Last night it was full of almost 900 journalists, advertising people and PRs, many of whom had known or worked with Gavin Reeve. Gavin died last year at no age at all. He was a victim of pancreatic cancer. I worked with him briefly many years ago. My daughter worked with him more recently. He was a charmer, engaging everyone who crossed his path.

The gathering was a showbiz quiz in aid of Pancreatic Cancer Action. Denise Van Outen presented the quiz, which quickly exhausted my store of knowledge about characters in Brookside or the obscurer reality TV contestants. (Although it has to be said Mark Ellen impressed me by knowing how many line-ups of the Sugababes there had been.)

A visitor from the 1980s might have been shocked by the tawdriness of some of the subjects that some people knew about - breast reductions, people selling the media rights to the birth of their child, the lyrics of Peter Andre songs - but they might also have been struck by the decency of everyone's behaviour, which is not always a given at media business bunfights.

Before it got under way there were speeches by Ali Stunt from the charity and Gavin's wife Leesa Daniels, speeches which were listened to with close attention. They showed a clip of him speaking at last year's Gavaid event, which I didn't attend. At that stage he was still well enough to stand up and crack jokes in front of a crowd. None of us are promised tomorrow.

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