We all know that the Union is no ordinary club. Indeed, we are thrilled to count not one, but several card carrying National Treasures among our flock. From this glittering mother-lode we chose to open lock-down with a jolly comm from Olivia Colman (who told us that she didn’t like beer) and we now bookend this pesky 3-month hiatus with some fine words of wisdom from the NT to rule them all – Michael Palin.
Soho may well be empty at the moment… but the Union could never stay dormant for long. A rainy week during locked-down June saw club member and national treasure Michael getting busy with a (socially distanced) crew from the BBC in the Studio – using the peace and quiet to film 2 days of interviews, disturbed only by a biblical thunderstorm. Michael has promised to come back in July and… ‘Spank the Burgundies’.
We like the sound of that!
Have you managed to avoid the lurgy?
I have, so far, fingers and all other parts of the body crossed, been fortunate to avoid Covid. I had heart surgery last September and I think maybe that was enough for one year!
How has your lock-down been?
Lockdown for me has been largely beneficial. I lead a busy life and enjoyed the chance to slow down, to do less but enjoy it more. Simple things, like sitting in a garden which I took for granted before, have much greater value since lockdown. And I write at home so have been able to start on a few new projects.
What have you missed most?
Most missed : Cafe life and laid-back lunches.
What is your favourite London activity?
My favourite North London activity has been running on Hampstead Heath. Since my heart op it’s been walking instead. It’s been an eye-opener. Literally. You see more when you walk. If you’re running you’re only interested in survival.
You’ve lived in North London for over 50 years. What do you like most about it?
The proximity of the Heath is definitely one of the reasons we’ve lived in NW5 for 52 years. I also value the supportive community in the streets where we live and the fact that Kentish Town defies gentrification..
Will it be back to normal or the end of civilisation?
I think that, sadly, the world will not change drastically. I hope that the recent mood of altruism will nudge us a little further towards putting people before profits. But sadly it’s human nature to want more rather than less.
Who’s the daddy – Burgundy or Bordeaux?
At a push, I’d say Bordeaux rather than Burgundy, but Around The World In Eighty Wines interests me more.
Who is the Greatest Living Englishman?
Greatest Living Englishman – has to be Sir David A
How would you describe YOUR Union Club?
My Union Club has many of the qualities of where we live. It’s unpretentious, friendly, diverse. A place where seeing people is more important than being seen.