I was taken to lunch at a good London club earlier this week and suddenly I can see the point of being rich (and male): champagne before the meal; pouilly fumé with the oysters and very nice burgundy with my liver and bacon, beautifully cooked. It’s easy to satirise this sort of hospitality as something cheap and somehow corrupting to both parties. I know one very principled millionaire who makes a point of taking journalists to a chinese place that offers excellent value for money. But the puritan view is so … narrow, don’t you think?
It is of course part of the sublimity of such a meal that nothing I learned at it could possibly be translated into the vulgar currency of stories, or even “tips”.
To be for a moment serious, I’m not sure that this isn’t a better way of doing journalism than gobbling sandwiches while chained to a terminal, rewriting ten or twenty press releases and wire stories a day and passing the result off as “news”. That is a fraud on the reader, a rather more serious crime than an imaginative expense sheet.