Londoner’s Diary: Covid is making young rethink lives, says Raymond Blanc

·4-min read
Raymond Blanc  (Dave Benett)
Raymond Blanc (Dave Benett)

CORONAVIRUS may end up making Brexit Britain more European than ever before, says top chef Raymond Blanc. “Soon we’re going to be like France or Europe, we’re going to do our 35 hours a week,” he told The Londoner this week. Blanc, the TV star and head chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, says he’s noticed much of his young workforce starting to rethink their lives after spending a year and a half as “prisoners in their rooms”. “I think those kids now are almost wanting something else from life,” Blanc says, adding “They want to work less. Much less.”

When we bumped into him at a book launch this week he explained: “Change at the moment is different to what you would think. It’s not about reinventing everything in terms of aesthetic, it’s about looking after your team, they are exhausted.” Blanc, though, cautioned that we shouldn’t expect to gain one of the choicest elements of European working culture. “It won’t be a siesta, not as big change as that,” he said. The Londoner, a dedicated patron of the mid afternoon snooze, has to disagree with Blanc here. Bring on the shorter working week and the culturally acceptable nap.

Lockdown makes Louis a superman

Louis Theroux (Dave Benett)
Louis Theroux (Dave Benett)

LOUIS THEROUX paid tribute to the man who helped him during lockdown. The film-maker’s pandemic memoir, Theroux the Keyhole, has two epigraphs. One is from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: “In times of peace, a war-like man attacks himself” and the other, he told a How to Academy event at Conway Hall, is from Joe Wicks: “Never easy burpees, never easy.” “Both of those are true,” Theroux said, “but only one of them changed the shape of my abdomen.”

Bragg’s kickabout was a hospital pass

Melvyn Bragg (PA)
Melvyn Bragg (PA)

MELVYN Bragg is quick-minded but perhaps not so fleet of foot. The In Our Time presenter spoke at the launch of journalist Hunter Davies’s book The Heath: My Year on Hampstead Heath last night, where he recalled playing in a football match on the heath, organised by Davies. Going into a tackle with a man who worked at a hospital, Bragg came out with his ankle in a bad way. As he lay on the ground in agony, trying not to cry out, the man looked down and said “it’s funny, as you get older, pain seems to get worse” and walked away. So much for the caring NHS.

Palin has the puff knocked out of him

Sir Michael Palin (PA)
Sir Michael Palin (PA)

SPEAKING of Melvyn Bragg’s sporting exploits, Sir Michael Palin, also at Davies’s book launch in Keats House, recalled another. Palin was once struggling up a hill on the heath while out jogging. He spotted Bragg coming up the other side, equally beleaguered. But when the two caught each other’s eye, “we started running as if we were lithe young men”. The importance of appearances. Even so, that beats the time Palin, thinking how good he looked, ran past a young boy and his father. only for the child to exclaim in shock: “Daddy! That’s an old man”. “That” the Monty Python star despaired, “was 20 years ago.”

Birthday blowout for stylist to stars

Aimee Phillips 40th Birthday at The MAINE Mayfair (Dave Benett/Getty Images for The MAINE Mayfair)
Aimee Phillips 40th Birthday at The MAINE Mayfair (Dave Benett/Getty Images for The MAINE Mayfair)

IT was a big birthday blowout for stylist to the stars Aimee Phillips last night. Designer Alexa Chung, singer Pixie Geldof and broadcaster Zezi Ifore were just a few of the famous faces at Phillips’s 40th bash at The MAINE in Mayfair. Just a few minutes’ walk away, youthful royal Lady Amelia Windsor and party promoter Henry Conway were at the VIP opening of Italian restaurant II Borro Tuscan Bistro. And at the Serpentine, model Poppy Delevingne joined a dinner celebrating the opening of the new flagship Mango store.

Poppy Delevingne attends the Mango Loves London celebration of the new London flagship store (Dave Benett)
Poppy Delevingne attends the Mango Loves London celebration of the new London flagship store (Dave Benett)

SW1A

STEVE BAKER and Jeremy Corbyn are unlikely bedfellows. But at last night’s Contrarian Awards, the libertarian Tory MP told us the ex-Labour leader is his favourite contrarian (that he disagrees with most). Baker said, “he’s all right”, before adding, “he’d just destroy civilisation if he was elected prime minister”. Ah.

--

ALSO at the Contrarian Awards was broadcaster Michael Crick, who has a cunning plan to get into Parliament. “I spend a few weeks in a year in a little place called Crook, and as it happens I was down at CCHQ this afternoon — I handed over my cheque for £3 million for my peerage and I insisted that I’m going to be Lord Crick of Crook.”

Read More

Londoner’s Diary: You don’t have to like him, says Assange’s fiancée

Londoner’s Diary: European festival opens new front in Brexit wars

Londoner’s Diary: Just trust MPs, says Jonathan Aitken

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting