I now own a David Hockney original. That’s it on the left, embodying the great artist’s current crusade against the absurdities of the nanny state. I can’t resist a good badge, and when I saw others at the Oldie of the Year awards yesterday wearing theirs, I quite shamelessly bounded up to him and asked if he had any left. Thankfully he did, and I shall now wear it with great pride.
He was there to receive the Gasper of the Year award for his vocal opposition to the smoking ban. I was there on the strength of my occasional modest contributions to the Oldie‘s pages, and, as ever, I was profoundly glad that I had been invited. How else would a herbert down from Lowestoft on a £6 apex super advance ticket get to flirt outrageously with the utterly wonderful Moira Stuart, be reduced to tears of laughter by the equally fab Kate Adie or sit six feet away from Peter O’Toole as he held forth on rugby and the US election? Or to witness Stanley Baxter slaying the whole room with the best, funniest acceptance speech I’ve heard in 10 years of attending the do.
However, the great thrill of my day occurred in the pub before the do, when Barry Cryer – who, after 10 years of bumping into each other at Oldie functions and on licensed premises, I’m lucky enough to regard as a friend – introduced me to David Nobbs. Comedy writers have been my heroes ever since I first learned to read programme credits, and there aren’t many who can match those two for quality and quantity of material. Baz doesn’t keep a blog, but David Nobbs does, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.