A Long Lunch, By Simon Hoggart

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The Independent Culture

To say this is the perfect toilet book is intended as the highest praise. Acknowledging that "Even I would find a book about my life pretty dull", Hoggart has produced a snippety collection of anecdotes about others.

They are often funny and sometimes startling. Both apply to Alan Coren's gag broadcast on the lunchtime before Diana's death: "I don't know anything about landmines or Princess Di. Except you'd be mad to poke either of them."

We learn about Alan Clark's reaction to being locked in his car boot by his long-suffering wife Jane ("a perfectly splendid thing to do") and Alistair Cooke taking tea with Brian Redhead in Manchester, when a waiter asked for the signature of "the greatest voice in radio". Redhead instantly signed.