There was a time when the intervals between each Fleet Street farewell party (and I mean Fleet St in the broad sense since none of the newspapers is actually still there) were long enough to allow time to catch breath. Not so any more. I caught Nicole Martin's splendid soirée last night marking her departure from The Daily Telegraph after 10 years.
But if I were to stick around for another couple of weeks before returning to the UAE, I would probably be able to fit in several more. It is not even necessary to check on the party details of confrères and consoeurs whose employment at other papers has come to an end. The Telegraph is dumping so many people - though I must add that Nicole has tunnelled her way out and will soon embark on a new career in lobbying - that I could pace myself, turn out only for the goodbye drinks of former DT colleagues and still get an evening out a week from the process.
Nicole's party in the dive bar of the Marquisof Westminster, not far from Barclays Brothers Towers in Victoria, was a cheerful affair - she's a great friend and I wish her well in her new adventures - but the ghosts of past culls (or escapes) seemed to outnumber survivors.
There is plenty of mischief-making coverage of the Telegraph's own part in the campaign of bloodletting now in progress (and likely to be followed, according to word last night, by more grief in a new year threatening rock bottom advertising levels). In The Independent, Stephen Glover described what was happening at the DT - especially with the most recent losses of such writers as A N Wison, Craig Brown, Joshua Rozenberg, Sam Leith and Andrew McKie - as a national tragedy. Private Eye reports, in deliciously mocking tones, the sort of thing that has been a feature of the New Order's style (someone praised to the hilt one minute, sacked the next). It is true that when times are hard for most people, there is no reason why the press should be sheltered from the glacial economic winds. Yet even if Glover exaggerates, it is undeniably sad to see so much talent, one way or the other, leaving a great paper whose greatness never depended on its politics but derived from the quality and dedication of its staff. But then perhaps I would say that.....* that's Nicole at the top, and Salut! with Nicola Woolcock of The Times below. More pictures from the party can be see at the Salut! Files overspill site. Volume two is a file of photos taken by Nicole or with her camera.