Thursday, 18 December 2008

Like there's no recession

The pub at the end of the street, in which my friend Brian once sheltered under a table with the bride at a wedding party while an uninvited guest attempted to settle a few scores with a gun, has just re-opened as a gastro pub: the ‘caramelised pear, walnut blue cheese salad’ for starters, maybe, followed by the wild mushroom and spinach crepe.

My friend with the beard who lives in – on – this street (and who appears on page 27 of Days and Nights in W12) has gone: he’s moved out of his local hostel for homeless men and into a brand new flat at Imperial Wharf in Fulham. I guess the council must have made the provision of some social housing a condition for the permission they gave to the developer. Last week I found an estate agent’s ad for flats at Imperial Wharf at between £1.3 and £5.5 million each.

And publishing? Having listened for some thirty years to their sorry excuses (‘difficult trading conditions’, etc) during annual pay negotiations, now, when those pleas actually might mean something, I’ll find it hard to believe them. ‘Hard to begrudge Stephen Page, Faber’s CEO, a pay rise of almost £100,000,’ wrote the Independent earlier this year. If they start using the recession as an excuse to publish fewer books of the kind I want to read, and pay the authors less, I’ll find it very easy to begrudge.

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