The political developments leading up to Thursday’s Spectator summer party were so timely they gave the event a dreamlike quality. You wondered if they had put everything on it. If not the magazine, the party’s new sponsors, Netflix, who aren’t averse to a bit of melodrama. The network has deep pockets, but are they deep enough to bring down the UK government for a bit of a thrill?
We gathered in the warren-like offices of The Spectator in St James’ Park to find out. The doors did not open until 6:30 p.m. At 6:25 p.m. there was already a crowd clamoring to enter. Partly to get to Pol Roger, but above all to remain speechless. Instead of the usual photos of Graham Greene and Joseph Addison, the walls were adorned with portraits of Ralph Fiennes and Regé-Jean Page, the handsome man from Bridgerton. House of Cards seemed more appropriate, but for some reason there were no pictures of Kevin Spacey.
Not everyone had been invited. “I pretended to be someone called Antonio,” said one woman, whose name was not Antonia. “I told people at the door that I won an Oscar. Would someone who won an Oscar show up uninvited? That’s the kind of sass and ingenuity we were looking for in our leaders. The prankster journalist Nimrod Kamer broke in posing as Toby Young. He assumed, rightly, that no one would think anyone would want to pretend to be Toby Young.