HAVE just been reading a delightful book by John Walsh, former books editor of the Sunday Times, which is an intimate and engaging romp through the literary world of the 1980s. It features many of the great names of the era, such as Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Anthony Burgess (pictured with Walsh, above left). I discovered this bit referring to me, which is oh, so accurate!
“The Sunday Times editorial conference, held every Tuesday, was quite different from the bear pit of raillery and badinage I’d enjoyed at the Evening Standard. For one thing ir was much quieter. Twenty people, mostly men, ranged themselves in Andrew Neil’s [the editor’s] office on sofas and chairs around Neil’s emperor-sized desk; some sat behind his sightline, as if hoping Neil might not realise they were there. Michael Williams, the puckish and humorous head of News and Features, took up a counter strategy, sitting actually at Neil’s desk., directly opposite him, which eeemaed almost suicidally close proximity – were the editor to lose his temper, surely Williams would get a punch in the face!”
Ah, those were the days!