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Christopher Booker was a marvellous boss at Private Eye

Blog | By Elisabeth Luard | Jul 06, 2019


Christopher Booker, just departed this life, first editor of Private Eye and my boss as typist, teamaker, book-keeper and general dogsbody in the early days of the mag, had the kindness to take the office girl for a walk round the block to advise me it was a bad idea to marry the then-proprietor, Nicholas Luard.

Reasons: Nicholas was sure to be unreliable both emotionally and fiscally. My intended already had one glamorous young woman ensconced in his bachelor flat (duties unspecified). And as co-proprietor with his friend Peter Cook of London's first (and only) satirical nightclub, The Establishment, he was on rocky financial ground. The Eye and The Establishment co-existed in mutual distrust. The Eye considered the Establishment a bunch of over-hyped public schoolboys. The Establishment considered the Eye a bunch of public schoolboys still in nappies.

The Eye drank in the Coach and Horses; the Establishment (Nicholas) hung out at the Colony Club with the likes of Jeff Bernard, Frank Norman, Lenny Bruce - which was before we got to the really bad eggs: James Goldsmith, John Aspinall, Stephen Ward and Christine Keeler.

I knew Christopher was right. But I did it anyway. Not all of us do as we're told, and we were the generation that didn't. Christopher didn't, either.