Just before one o’clock on a Tuesday lunchtime last summer, about 30 men and three women were mingling at the bar of the Garrick Club in London’s theatre district. The broadcaster Jeremy Paxman was leaning back on a low sofa, chatting with a young man (in this context, young means under 50). Michael Gove, the Conservative chief whip, was surrounded by a small cluster of men. After a while, Paxman stood up to say hello to Gove; they talked for a moment, laughing. Shortly after, everyone – among them a former warden of Wadham College, Oxford, and a senior adviser to the government on privatisation – made their way out of the bar for lunch. A long table – laden with silverware and glass, atop gleaming, polished wood – stretches down the middle of the club’s dining room. In front of each seat there is a starched linen napkin with “The Garrick” embroidered in red thread, and a stitched buttonhole, to help you to attach the napkin to the front of your shirt. Members who arrive by themselves gravitate to this central table. On that Tuesday, the head of the table, reserved for the oldest member of the club, was… Read full this story
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