Samantha's Diary

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The Independent Online
Thursday 4 December:

me, at the ministry of sound

It is a cold, wet, Thursday evening, the queue is a quarter of a mile long, there are girls with bare legs and no coats, there are boys with bum fluff goatees, and yes, I am attempting to gain access to a night- club. I am clearly wearing too many boots, full length trousers, sensible shirts, cardis, coats, gloves and scarves, and I am sporting a black eye. I look like a pervert. Perhaps not a complete pervert, but certainly odd enough to warrant questioning by the style police. Over 1,000 young people, see description above, and myself have been invited to celebrate the launch of a new magazine, Ministry: Clubbing's Only The Half Of It, the latest venture to come out of James Palumbo's Ministry of Sound stable. When eventually I am squeezed in to the club I gladly accept the free Sex On the Beach cocktail from the barman and try desperately to fit in. Next to me is a man called Peter Perfect (I later discover this is his stage name).

"Perfect is an unusual name," I shout over the music. "There was a woman called Christine Perfect in Fleetwood Mac, is she a relation of yours?" Nothing. "You know, you know," I insist, "Fleetwood Mac", and I hum a few bars from Rumours. Confusion spreads over my potential new friend's face. He is talking to an old woman (I am 34) and she is rambling.

"Uhh, not really," comes his guarded riposte, "They were a bunch old geezers with beards weren't they?" By now he would pay to get away from me. Upstairs I meet Candy, she used to be a cigarette girl at Quaglinos but gave it up because it interfered with her clubbing.

"Top Eye" she screeches, pointing at my extremely sore right socket. "Where did you get it done?" I start to explain that it was all rather silly really, that I got it from a bottle of exploding apple juice, but think better of it.

"I did it myself," I casually screech back. "Cool," says Candy. The walls of the heaving dance floor are plastered with the magazine's new coverlines; STYLE, SHAGS, LIFE. They are, according to Burden, a heavy techno DJ, the only three things you need. I find it difficult to argue with him, although I suggest that the first two are possibly a matter of personal choice. "Do you get much?" he inquires.

Earlier in the week, the walls of the Cobden Club in west London were sadly bereft of enticing coverlines. Instead, the gold-painted stucco cornicing played host to more than 600 assorted journalists and liggers out to quaff free Sapphire Gin and celebrate the publication of The Penguin Book of Columnists edited by Christopher Silvester. Even Carol Stone had RSVP'd before she realised she was hosting a little party of her own that evening. But the one person who didn't turn up for the books unveiling was Evening Standard editor Max Hastings. Max has still to recover from the time when Silvester walked up to him during a quiet drink at Brooks club and asked if it was true that he had been prosecuted by the RSPCA for beating his dog. Understandably Max went ballistic and has since vowed that the name Silvester will never grace the pages of the Evening Standard. As this story was being re-told later that evening, a young Associated Newspapers trainee leapt, quick as a flash, to the defence of his leader: "Max just wouldn't do that", he assured the intrigued circle of hacks. "He'd get someone else to do it for him."

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