Friday, April 29, 2011

The limits of Toby Young

Toby Young, author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, has maxed out his Facebook friends – you are allowed only 5000 and he scored his 5000th yesterday. Having reached his limit, he has set up a fan page. Skite.

I know about this because I am one of the 5000. This is not because I am one of those saddos who “friends” famous people who have never met or even heard of them. It is because last year, out of the blue, he emailed me, opening with the words “I’m a fan of your blog”. Toby, Toby, I thought, remember the First Rule of Bullshit: never bullshit a bullshitter.

He proceeded to ask me very politely to do him a small favour, and ended with the words, “I throw myself at your mercy.”

Naturally I did him the small favour because that’s the kind of person I am, I can’t help it, so sue me already – but also because he is Toby Young and I am not, I like his column in the Spectator and I like the idea of the Free School he helped establish.

He was fulsome in his expressions of gratitude. However, he wasn’t nearly as generous in his thanks as the journalist and author Francis Wheen whom earlier I had also helped with his enquiries – he invited to a rather famous politico-literary regular lunch here next time I am in London. No of course he didn’t mean it any more than Toby did, but I do think it’s nice when people make an effort.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Top chap, that Francis Wheen. You should go. I have read a lot of his writing recently and it is jolly good.

Not so sure about Toby Young.