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We Danced on Our Desks: Brilliance and Backstabbing at Sixties Most Influential Magazine

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Philip Norman

Thursday 5th October 15:20 - 16:20 | St Mary’s Church

We Danced on Our Desks is the sequel to world-renowned rock biographer Philip Norman’ s memoir  Babycham Night: a boyhood at the end of the pier, greeted by The Sunday Times as  ‘a  masterpiece … like a John Lennon album with slot machines.’

In it he recounted how as the son of a catastrophically unsuccessful, alcoholic end-of-the-pier showman, he spent a childhood marooned on the Isle of Wight in the monotonous 1950s, resigned to failure in his turn. But instead the 1960s from which he expected nothing, plunge him into glamour and excitement beyond the wildest dreams he’d never had.

Aged 22, he lands a dream job as a staff writer on The Sunday Times’s hugely wealthy and prestigious colour magazine at the epicentre of newly dubbed Swinging London. Under its indulgent  editor, Godfrey Smith,  he’s allowed to travel the world on munificent expenses, interviewing the famous and infamous from Stevie Wonder to Libya’s combustible Colonel Gaddafi. And between assignments, he’s caught up in office partying, promiscuity and politics that make the Borgias seem almost civilized by comparison.

We Danced on Our Desks is sheer escapist joy from the writer described by P.G. Wodehouse as ‘extremely original and very funny.’


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