Letter from the editor: The privileged life of an editor

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The Independent Online

I have written before about how privileged the life of an editor is. For a start, we get invited to all the best parties: if I had the energy and stamina, I could be out every night drinking white wine and knocking back stylish, Japanese-style canapés. Or going to film premières, or maybe a first night at the theatre.

So, every week, I sit down with my devoted and delightful PA, Denise, to go through my invitations and decide which ones I can accept.

Yesterday, there was quite a mixed bag, ranging from a private view at the Serpentine Gallery, to a screening of a film called Zookeeper, to an invitation to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Venezuelan independence. Clearly, some are easier than others to swerve - much though I admire the Venezuelan people and their struggle for freedom all those years ago, I’m not sure I’d know what to say over the vol-au-vents.

However, there’s one stiff card that all editors of national newspapers receive which stands above the others: an invitation to the Royal Box at Wimbledon. I spoke to two of my counterparts at other newspapers this week, and we all agreed this was always the easiest to RSVP in the positive. What provides its kudos, primarily, is the fact that it’s something money can’t buy: whether you’re a millionaire, a billionaire, a sheikh or an oligarch, entrance to the innermost sanctum of the All England Club is by invitation only. I don’t know why editors are chosen, but I’m glad they are. In my time there, I’ve shared a packet of mints with Cliff Richard, I’ve had a crafty cigarette with the former Governor of the Bank of England, I’ve eaten Bath buns with politicians, actresses and - the most charming of all - the chairmen of various local tennis clubs.

Oh, and I almost forgot, there’s the tennis itself. When I went this week, I saw a superb contest between Sabine Lisicki and Marion Bartoli before retreating to finger sandwiches and afternoon tea on the balcony. Everyone is on best behaviour, everything is perfectly presented. Britain at its best!