It sounds like Sir Malcolm Grant’s leaving bash, to mark his departure as University College London provost, was a night to remember.
Local hacks reported that the NHS England chair spent the evening last June boogieing to Bjorn Again – the world’s premier Abba tribute band. They were supported by some opera singers and a pianist. Such a line-up doesn’t come cheap, mind. The Swedes were booked for £4,725, plus £3,500 from a private donor, while £600 was the cost of hiring the rest of the musical entertainment.
We were surprised to see there was nothing harpsichord-related on the bill, as we know Sir Malc is an enthusiast of the instrument and had one in his office. Perhaps he brought his own.
Anyway the party spending figures, uncovered by the Camden New Journal, show £650 went on a Volkswagen Beetle-cum-photobooth. The nasty journos may carp, but that strikes us as quite cheap when you consider the cost of buying the two things separately.
Fittingly, it was Sir Malcolm’s distinguished facial fuzz that took centre stage, with £260 going on moustache shaped cookies and £200 on T-shirts with a “70s Malcolm lookalike photo” on the front. Why the organisers didn’t just use a picture of Sir Malcolm is a mystery.
We can only hope Sir Malcolm recruits the same organisers for Sir David Nicholson’s leaving do when he finally bids farewell next year.