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Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Michael Howard Is Unwell

A liquid lunch today in that legendary Soho pub, The Coach and Horses. The pub is well known through its associations with both Private Eye and the late Jeffrey Bernard - the stage play Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell was set in the bar of the Coach and Horses.

Bernard once placed this classified ad:

I have been commissioned to write an autobiography and I would be grateful to any of your readers who could tell me what I was doing between 1960 and 1974.
The most remarkable thing about the Coach and Horses is that nothing has changed in at least thirty or forty years. Red leatherette chairs, Formica tables and simple ham or cheese sandwiches. It is the sort of basic boozer that was commonplace in the 60s and 70s but hardly exists anywhere nowadays, least of all in central London. Most guide books and online pub reviews are rude about it because old men's pubs like this are unfashionable. As far as I'm concerned, rather this than a branch of All Bar One any day of the week.

However, the main reason for this posting is a conversation I overheard in the pub. The notorious landlord
Norman Balon was behind the bar, chatting with a couple of regulars about the forthcoming general election.

"The Tories will never win another election in my lifetime," said Norman.

"Mind you," he added, "I'm 76."

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