Thursday, July 26, 2007

Happy Memories....

The start of the Parliamentary recess today spells the end of an era for a great and venerable journalistic institution - the Press Bar at the Palace of Westminster. Apparently it's going to move next door as part of a "rationalisation" of press facilities that the Commons authorities have long planned.

The Guardian's resident lobby gossip Bill Blanko - who is almost certainly not Simon Hoggart or Michael White as is commonly supposed - has written a moving lament in his latest column. Reading this I was not surprised to hear that Rob Gibson, former Gallery chairman and songsmith, had composed a musical tribute to mark the occasion.

It's two years or more since I had my last drink in there, but I still miss the place. Yes, the Lobby was a brutal, backstabbing environment at times, but it also had great camaraderie, and none more so than on those magical Press Bar evenings when a leaving do or some other celebration was in full swing.

I hope they manage to replicate some of that atmosphere in the new "cafe bar" opening next door in the old canteen area, but something tells me it won't ever be quite the same again.

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