JAM book launch
has been almost three weeks since the book launch, so well over due to write it up. First a coupke of pics, the first is me on the right with a couple of JAM friends, Susie and Steph, the second is me with Nicholas.
So to what happened.
The launch was held at the Ivy Club, a famous old club in the Theatre district of London. Having looked it up on the Internet, I noticed it had a dress code so dressed up a bit.
I thought it was within walking distance of the hotel, so I set off on foot, but I got lost so I had to double back and get a cab. But it was a very hot day and I arrived more than a little late, and a bit hot.
As I walked in, Josie Lawrence and Christopher Biggins were coming out of the room so I felt like I was already in good company. It was a smallish room where it was held and a bit stuffy so it got a bit sweaty. I'm not very good in this sort of sitaution anyway being crap at small talk and slightly deaf which makes it hard to hear people in a noisy room.
There were several JAM stars there - Julian Clary, Paul Merton, Gyles Brandreth, Tony Blackburn, Suki Webster, June Whitfield. Derek Nimmo's widow, Pat was there. Annie Parsons was there, she had been very nice to me when I went to Stratford-on-Avon and said "Hello" as if she remembered me. Malcolm Messiter was there.
My old friend, Keith Matthews, who helped with the book, was there, and was in top form, getting everyone's autographs and chatting them up.
And of course Nicholas was there. At first he looked a bit frail and a bit worried, and I honestly wondered if he was a bit unwell. But it came time for speeches and it was like a light turned on. Suddenly Nicholas the performer emerged, and he looked younger and on top of things. He gave a brilliant very funny speech, full of anecdotes and reminscences. Keith and I got a mention, but it was mainly, as you'd expect, about the show and the book, with a bit of history, some memories of Kenneth, Derek, Peter and Paul, as well as Ian Messiter and David Hatch. He also quoted some of Julian's double entrendre lines. Of Clement Freud he said "he always used to womnder why everyone else got a laugh and he didn't" as a way of explaining how the show became more entertainment and less competition, against Clement's wishes. It's a good line and was meant as a joke, of course.
Nicholas was very kind to me. Keith told him I had been up at Edinburgh for the JAM recording - though I wasn't actually this year - and he thanked me for being such a devoted fan.
I didn't stay all that long as I felt like I was swimming in sweat, and as I say, these things aren't all that natural for me. Still it was a great occasion and it was clear what genuine affection the entertainment community has for Nicholas.