From Jill Gale

Sorry to have missed the lunch. As you know Len Fenton and I live together and amazingly have been together as long in years as Johnny and I were married. Between us we have 7 grandchildren and I have 2 GreatGrand children (Johnny’s progeny,of course!). I am expecting to meet with Jeremy Lewis soon to talk about David Astor and Johnny and “Clean Young Englishman”too. We would love to come to the next FOBS...

From Michael D. Jacobson

Bill Millinship’s son has just sent me details of the new site and I’m glad to see that old Obs. friends are still keeping in touch. It’s particularly sad, though, that I have to give you the unhappy news that Harry Coen died last night. I’d be grateful if you would post this, because I know that many older people will remember him as a sub for quite a few years – only a Saturday “casual”, but well respected and still recalled with much affection. A further sad irony is that yesterday was actually his 67th birthday. He and I first met on the Sunday Times more than 30 years ago and had been friends ever since, also working together on Today and the Sunday and Daily Telegraph. I moved over to the Obs in late-1985 (fortunately for me, just before Wapping), and I think Harry came on board in early 1987. As far as I can remember, I think he was still there until the mid-1990s, anyway, since when he had been living permanently in France (in a village just south of Beaune). Regretfully, it’s likely that I myself will have long since lost contact with most if not all of the Obs. friends in your group who might still remember me. I’ve been here since late-1990, though continued doing occasional shifts whenever I was back in London. For several years, however, I’ve had no reason to return to the UK, even for short trips. The only former colleagues with whom I’ve been in touch briefly are David Sinclair, Bob Low and David Gwyn...

From Simon Hoggart’s Guardian column January 21 2012

From Simon Hoggart’s Guardian column January 21 2012 (See “FOBS reunited” page) Now and again those of us who were on the old Observer have a get-together. It’s very jolly – as in all such occasions happy reminiscence of the past jostles with tales about today’s aches and pains. This week Katharine Whitehorn joined us. What an extraordinary woman she is! She never surrendered to Glenda Slaggism, because everything she wrote was informed by the same thoughtful, liberal sympathy, her voice has remained clear and unchanged through the decades. She will be 84 this year. It must be worrying, however, to be remembered best for just one of your pieces. Hers came in 1963, when she wrote a column about being a “slut”, in the sense of a slovenly housewife. “Have you,” she wrote, “ever taken anything out of the dirty-clothes basket because it had become, relatively, the cleaner thing? Changed stockings in a taxi? “Could you try on clothes in any shop, any time, without worrying about your underclothes? How many things are in the wrong room – cups in the study, boots in the kitchen?” For thousands of women, hectored every day by women’s pages that urged them to be the perfect wife – “the art of flower-arranging”, “how to tempt your husband’s jaded palate” – rather like Violet Attlee in the newsreel, that one piece become a manifesto of freedom and quite as influential, for the Observer reading classes, at any rate, as anything written by Simone de Beauvoir or Germaine...