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I know because Nicky Haslam, using the medium of tea towel or, as he would put it drying-up cloth, has told me that saying ‘I hate having my photo taken’ is common. Well, these days I’m common as muck in my dislike of snaps, but sometimes, when you sidle up to a mirror you have trained well and in the right light, and after a fortnight at a spa, you think that maybe it could be all right. And sometimes you do need a picture that wasn’t taken 50 years ago when you were in your prime. Recently Mike Taylor took some black and white shots of my friend David Ellis at The French House in Soho when he was suffering from a monumental hangover. It is the apt setting. Mike manages to make him look beguiling – well intriguing anyway – and, after all, Jeffrey Bernard was once a looker… Mr Taylor wants to take my photograph so we meet for lunch at my favourite table – by the window in the bar – in one of my all-time favourite restaurants, in my favourite London street, Noble Rot Lamb’s Conduit Street. We drink Champagne, chat, make discoveries, laugh and all the while he wields his camera silently and unobtrusively. Then we stop to share Senorio Iberico Bellota Paleta D.O.P (acorn-fed ham); smoked eel, celeriac remoulade and soft-boiled egg; and a slice of Comté Tart with Pickled Walnut which is beyond ethereal, something that I cannot later say about the photos. We are going to have another go.

noblerot.co.uk, oneofonlyten.com (Mike Taylor)

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