Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Wednesday 20 February 2013

Glory days.

THE flashbacks have passed, the hangover has cleared and the balls of my feet have just about recovered.

The Foxy Book Party, from what I recall of it, seemed to go quite well. It started off at the Century club with me looking smart and a nice big pile of books:

All images copyright Polly Philips. Strictly no use without permission

Note the glass of Jura whisky. It will reappear.

Some journalists turned up. Some of them were on bail, but they managed to lose the police tail to sneak in, and most of them were simply taking the chance to start the week's drinking on a Monday night.

Here is James Robinson, formerly of the Guardian, chatting to Glen Oglaza while Martin Brunt looks all serious. I am pretty certain they weren't discussing anything serious.

There was yet more whisky. Here are political consultant Neil Lindsay and writer Michael Moran and their great friend, Jura.

The first person who bought a copy of the book was a lawyer chum, and when he asked me to sign it I nearly fell off the bar stool because no-one's asked that before. It was weird. For the rest of the night I was doing an impression of Paul McMullan, with a whisky in one hand and a pen in the other, signing books.

This is me signing one for photographer Nick Stern, who's normally based in LA and who I last saw on a job chasing heroin addicts around Hereford in about 2001. I think that's Victoria Derbyshire off the wireless in the background.

There were also non-journalist types there, in fact the kind of people who normally avoid reporters like the plague unless they themselves have something to flog, but who very kindly came along because they're friends and certainly not just because there was free whisky.

I think that's the back of Michael Legge's head saying something shocking to Al Murray while Mitch Benn looks depressed. Probably telling them the whisky had run out.

Lovely Dawn O'Porter showed up too, in a fetching onesie and spectacles. She's got a book out too, it's probably better than mine.

Anyway the Foxtails were getting slurped up and the whisky vat was getting dry and it was time to say thank you to everyone, so I had to give a speech. In the style of journalists everywhere, they all went to stand at the back of the room.

And I said the same as I have here - that the book was a way of saying the end of something has never yet been the end of the world, and that when life takes a shit on you the best you can do is look upon it as compost in which to plant the seeds of something new.

I thanked everyone there for helping me prove the point, and my darling mum and dad who've asked me not to put their pictures on the internet. They looked beautiful though, and couldn't stop saying how nice all the journalists were "once you got to know them". I've been telling them this for years, but still.

My mum briefly told off one of my old bosses for sending me to places that had cholera, radiation leaks and famine over the years, and he took it pretty well.

Then the fabulous band The Lucky Strikes started up, and if you haven't been to one of their gigs yet you should.

Meanwhile the lazy people headed for the bar while the ones who were already drunk enough started whirling about the floor.

With my book in his pocket, excellent work. I think everyone cracked the 'tabloid chic' dress code pretty well, too.

Things after this got a little more blurry. I had some more whisky.

Then I tried to give some whisky to my mum. The books got signed with a scrawl. A man no-one recognised fell asleep in an armchair in the middle of the bar. Two ex-Fleet Street editors wheeled in to grab the last of the booze, the disco started up, and I got the DJ to play my parents' song so they could jive as only people who did it in the Sixties can.

Someone came up to me to drunkenly tell me, at length, how amazing the book is. A former night news editor told my parents I spent all my money on strong drink and weak men. A couple of people who shall remain nameless lay down on the floor to make angels in the spilt drink. Bonnie Tyler started playing and I did the drum solo, then Dolly Parton and I did all the typing, then Transvision Vamp and I just pogo-sticked all over the place.

The shoes came off, glasses were broken, and me and my best mate from school did a waltz.

Oh, we look hot. The jumping around was making me burpy, so after people started to float off home but the party was still in full swing in the bar, I quietly picked up my shoes and snuck out before I became the last to leave or witness to any crimes.

I hopped barefoot into a taxi and the cabbie turned round with a smile to say: "Good night, was it?"

I looked at my dirty feet, thought about my bubbly tummy, the bit of money we raised for Refuge by selling signed books, my mum and dad, friends old and new, and the fact the last big party I threw was my wedding. I thought, too, about Transvision Vamp.

And I told the cabbie: "It was flipping brilliant. Take me to a curry."

With huge thanks to Polly Philips for the photos.
All images copyright Polly Philips strictly no use without permission.