If you ask me, it’s a sad day when you have to roll over for someone else, but that day has come, and I’m afraid I’ve been told I must roll over for Pippa Middleton, who has just been appointed a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, already has a column in Waitrose Kitchen magazine, has written a book on festive celebrations, and will also be writing this column from now on.
I did remonstrate with the editor of this newspaper quite vociferously – is Pippa going to get every job round here? – but, I’m afraid, he laughed in my face, and asked what I knew about Pimms or party planning or Wimbledon. Where, he asked, was my advice on children’s parties, including tips on sack races, and how to tell who has won, as in “The first person to cross the finish line is declared the winner”? Where was my exclusive interview with Roger Federer, revealing what he has for breakfast? At this, I confess, it was all too much, and I broke down and wept. “I’d have asked Federer what he had for breakfast,” I cried, “had I been given the opportunity!” “I have an NCTJ certificate,” I further cried, “and would have also asked him what he has for lunch!”
But the editor shoo-ed me from his office, as he is a busy man. Things to do, people to see, Howard Jacobson to dismiss. Yes, it’s Pippa who is, apparently, going to be wryly Jewish every Saturday, from here on in. I expect Howard will put up a fight, too, and I wish him luck, but don’t hold out much hope, as he isn’t a foxy quasi-royal with a super-dooper arse either. Also, his hair isn’t all flicky-flicky. Plus, he knows nothing – nothing! – about sack races.
As I once asked him when I cornered him at some gathering: “How do you know who has won a sack race, Howard?” A look of fear flashed in his eyes, and then he just kind of whimpered. Do you even, I persisted, know that “over-enthusiastic racers will most likely get themselves in a tangle and fall”? More whimpering. I think he knew his cards were marked. I think he knew that, had he been given the opportunity, he wouldn’t have even asked Federer about his favourite snack. It could be an apple and cheese, or it could be a muffin for all Howard knows.
Anyway, as we’ll all have to roll over for Pippa eventually, the way things are going, I’ve decided to admit defeat, bow out gracefully, and accept that I’m never going to bring any publication a shitload of instant, foxy, quasi-royal publicity. I’ve been barking up the wrong tree all my working life. I can see this now.