It’s true that I don’t get out much these days but, even so, the party for i readers at the Royal Academy was one of the most enjoyable nights I’ve had for some time.
What a really nice bunch of people you are: friendly, sophisticated, supportive and, as you can see from the pictures if you click on the i front cover to the right, very good-looking too. As always at events such as this, there’s a certain amount of reserve at the start of the evening: guests seemed a little shy about introducing themselves. But, as the wine flows, the inhibitions disappear, and by the end of the evening, people were virtually shouting “Oi, Simon” from across the room!
Some of you had specific points to make - Marlene and Ray, for instance, wanted to see Freeserve and Virgin numbers on our TV schedules. Some wanted simply to offer support - Jenny Backwell said that the paper was so good we should put the price up to 50p. Some wanted to register a complaint - Rae Davies felt she could do without Julie Burchill. And some came with a singularly hedonistic purpose - stand up Kerry Robinson, who was indeed the life and soul of the party.
I had interesting discussions with Jean Austen (I know, great name!), who turns to the As If cartoon first of all; the suitably-titled Pretty sisters, Victoria and Emma, sent as envoys by their mother, Bernadette, who couldn’t make it; Robert and Sarah Crowther, who had come all the way from Norfolk; and Harriet Adams, who reckoned she’d be able to tell whether I had a hangover or not from any nonsense in this column (well, what’s the verdict, Harriet?). Thanks to all of you who came. And for those who are reading this with envy, there’ll be another party along soon. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend. And don’t forget: you can now enjoy i on a Saturday as well. Cheers!