FIFTY YEARS exactly to the day, and in the same room as they launched their very first list, George Weidenfeld and Nigel Nicolson celebrated the 50th anniversary of Weidenfeld & Nicolson, the company they founded over a lunch at the White Tower. Guests at Brown's Hotel for the champagne- only bash included Alan Ross and Sir Stuart Hampshire, who were among the celebrants half a century ago, as well as such W&N stalwarts as Edna O'Brien and Lady Antonia Fraser, who began her "working" life as a humble editor with the firm. There were fewer politicos than one might have expected, but Sir Nicholas Henderson, once our man in Washington, was a notable exception. Nicolson, who has just finished a new life of Virginia Woolf, said how proud he remains of "the ampersand that links our names" and noted how remarkable it was that, after all these years, he and Weidenfeld are still the best of friends.
`LIFEHOUSE', PETE Townsend's "play with music", is to be broadcast on Radio 3 next month, when Pocket Books will publish the script plus a 5,000- word introduction. The ex-Who guitarist has been working on the project since 1971, when he began what was then a sequel to Tommy. Lifehouse is "an apocalyptic journey across the industrial wastes of Britain on the last day of the millennium".
LITERATORDESIGNER COMMUNISM? Tina Brown has bought extracts to Francis Wheen's biography of Marx for her troubled Talk Magazine. Did she realise it's about Karl, not Groucho?