I open a solitary bloodshot eye and reach for the phone.
“You’re needed at a press preview. They’ve been waiting twenty minutes!”
If they will schedule these blasted things at three o’clock in the bally afternoon, they might well expect a critic taking a dark view of proceedings. Still, objectivity, that’s the ticket.
So, with undue abruptness, the week’s labours commence. After a fortifying snoot of Armagnac, stiffening the sinews as it were, I summon my man Smuckers to call the car up.
The grisly business dispensed with, I pop by the Madding for a few complimentary snifters. Will Young sends over the customary case of Montecristo, topping chap, and that old dear Cartwright treats me to a glass of vino. His selection of wine number two on the list (House Red) is duly noted, curiously coinciding with the number of stars his next production will be receiving.
Making to leave, the way is blocked by that unwashed guttersnipe Hunt screeching some hullabaloo concerning the proletariat. As the impudent clod reels from the force of ivory striking forehead, I brush aside some beseeching freshmen with an airy wave of the digits. If the fellows wish to curry favour by disporting au naturel in the rumpus room, they can dashed well get in line.
I return to the study around tennish, with a view to bashing the damn thing out. My long-time housekeeper Mrs Buddle, a kindly doddering presence, helps me into my smoking jacket while I set to musing. That intractable yank Seddon interrupts part way through with some inquiry. Jolly nice fellow, though perfectly incomprehensible. The squib is usually wired back to me in five minutes or so with some annotation. “You can’t call Sophie D a **** in print! Think of the litigation -RM”. Poor chap. A decent sort, but low on spunk.
Exhausting work, naturally. A servant of the public has a duty to those who depend upon him to remain vigorous and acute. The responsibility of relaxation, if you will. Always partial to the traditional sauna, I prefer to end the working week with a healthful blast of Finnish steam. I reflect on integrity and sacrifice as Sian Robbins-Grace emerges from the billowing clouds grinning maliciously, birch bough firmly in hand.