The Columnist
  Simon Jenkins
  Richard Ingrams
  Simon Kelner
David Barlow
  Judith Winnan
  Andrew Goodfellow
  Clare Tomalin
  Dotti Irving






To David Barlow
Jan 15 997

Dear David,

I am sending you this letter to wish you all the very best for your QEH gig because it is cheaper than sending you flowers and also because, if you wish to mention me at all, you might care to read out this heartfelt tribute from me to the group.

“I would just like to say that I often look back on the twenty irreplaceable year spent with the group and ask myself the old, old question: when am I going to get paid? Not many people are privileged to spend twenty years in the company of three top doctors, and nor was I, nor can I honestly explain how it was that I came to leave the group. It was all, you remember, to do with some business about fraudulently prescribing drugs, and it was all very patiently investigated by the BMA. What I still do not understand is how it was that the only non-doctor in the group was the one who came to be struck off and I had to leave.

“Well, a lot of water has passed since then and as you know I have forged a new career out here in New South Wales, where I play double bass with the three singing and banjo-playing urologists called You Find Your Own Kangaroo, Mate! I have been with them now for four happy years. I haven’t been paid yet, but these are early days. I did have a reminder of the old times recently when after a concert a man came up and said, ‘ You won’t remember me, Kington, but I am a friend of Barlow’s, an old Tommy’s man, you couldn’t lend me twenty quid, could you?’ I could, as it happens, but in memory of Instant Sunshine I pretended otherwise.

Good luck tonight, and if there’s any money left over after the drinking, remember your old chum.”

Go on, I dare you.