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PRESIDENTIAL? PARDON?

ASTRAGAL

And on to the bash of the week, if not the year, the London Architecture Biennale launch party in Clerkenwell. Among the vast number of names there (it's easier to mention the absentees - including Richard Rogers and Norman Foster) was author and raconteur Peter Ackroyd. Wandering over to a group that included Astragal, Ackroyd's opening gambit was 'I'm president of this f*cking thing? this, hmm, biennale'.

The great man went on to explain his approach to earning a crust. 'I'll write anything for anyone, dear boy, ' he said. 'I'm nothing more than a whore.'

Overhearing Ackroyd in full flow, one wag referred to him as 'Uncle Monty', a reference to Richard Griffiths' famously fruity turn in Withnail and I.

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