Rachel Johnson’s diary: Why I told my book party I was coming out as a lesbian

…and the woman I might actually turn for. Plus: any chance of men’s final tickets for Wimbledon?

27 June 2015

9:00 AM

27 June 2015

9:00 AM

My husband says I only write books in order to have a launch party. Not so. I also write books in order to give the author speech at the party. To this end, I hired a wild warehouse under the Westway flyover. Faced with a stream of emails from PAs asking things like whether vegan canapés would be served, and a direct call from financier Peter Soros asking whether 7 p.m. to midnight meant dinner or ‘cocktail prolongé’, I replied that it was BYOB — buy your own burgers. The great, the good, the bad, the ugly and the US ambassador streamed in to drink my wine out of plastic beakers. A bespoke light show played against the graffitoed warehouse walls. A DJ in a pink beret played ‘beats’. Piers Morgan arrived saying, ‘I’ve just seen someone who wants to punch me (Angus Deayton), a man I want to punch (Jeremy Paxman) and someone who’s already punched me (Jeremy Clarkson).’ I wore an understated short plunging day-glo orange dress with a zip down the front. When the moment came I mounted a table and grabbed the mic.

As my entire family shuffled in front of me, I decided not to explain why the Mail has called my new book a lesbian romp, but to own it instead. ‘It’s the longest coming-out note in history,’ I pealed, and then assured everyone present they were in it. Even though my Notting Hell neighbours are cross with me again, I realised long ago that there’s no point demurring. If you’re a female author, everyone thinks you can’t make anything up. After my oration, Katie Hopkins took to the dance floor in tight batik trousers (both my sons have asked me for her digits) as did Boris, who did his special St Vitus dance. Ian Hislop almost got locked in a Portaloo, and many women rushed up to me to confide their lesbian experiences. A Vogue stylist unzipped my dress and grabbed a breast. A photographer snapped a picture. Oh well. As Martin Amis says, if anything bad was going to happen, it was going to happen under the Westway. That was my bad. I enjoyed it so much I might have to write another book.

Memo to publishers: as you no longer contribute a cent to book launches, authors are spending their money on promotional activity to benefit your bottom line. Contracts should be drawn up enabling authors to offset the cost of a launch against advance. Despite the publishing recession, as the Beastie Boys almost said — we must fight, for our right, to a book parrr-ty.

I spent a day with Joanna Lumley, and I could actually turn for her. She gets more beautiful and funny by the day and when her Garden Bridge is spanning the Thames, all the haters and neggers will be claiming credit for it. She is undimmed by criticism of her charming plan. ‘I love everything, every job I do, I’ve been happy all my life,’ she told me as we drove across Battersea, currently being scarred by developers. The bridge still needs another £50 million. If I were running things around here, I’d make it a pay-bridge, on the Oyster system, free only to those with concessions, and forge ahead. If she builds it, they will come.

I bumped into Philip Brook and his glamorous wife Jill at a function on Monday and made a beeline. After all, Brook is chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, i.e. Wimbledon: and as well as being handsome and funny is the most important and popular man in the world right now (English grass court season). Plus I had just discovered that the ranking sibling and my sister-in-law Marina couldn’t make the chairman’s gold-plated invitation to the gentlemen’s singles final. Anyone who knows me can imagine how the conversation went. How I wish you could have all seen Brook’s face crease with laughter as he returned my feeble lob about taking the two seats myself with a practised overhead smash.

The Evening Standard gave plenty of space to that picture of my breast being groped, so there is no use pretending — to anyone in Greater London, anyway — that I didn’t have a huge thrash last week. However, half the e-vites I sent never arrived, and half of those who received them forgot to reply or come, so it wasn’t entirely my fault. I started sending a ‘re-vite’ on the day but ran out of time and energy. I am getting a lot of grief from people who say, ‘Thanks a bunch. Clearly the best party I’ve never been to.’ But my fave morning-after text came from the travel writer Catherine Fairweather. ‘I thought it was going to be the usual two-hour Twiglet and warm white wine affair at Daunt’s. Didn’t bloody realise it would be rave meets Davos.’ It almost makes a year of staring alone at the laptop worth it. Almost… .

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Show comments
  • Guest 1

    What a weird, pointless world. The sad thing is that the degenerate mob you write about here have such a negative impact on the life of England.

  • blandings


  • Bob John

    If you are turning into a lesbian then you must repent of it and turn to Christ for the salvation of your soul.

    • Hironimous Nostril

      Give over. He was a closet gay.

  • Precambrian

    More book-plugging zzzzzz

  • JOhn Mackie

    For some (sad) people, this kind of breathless, name-dropping socialite hyperactivity is all there is to their narcissistic lives.

    • tjamesjones

      and then there are those of us really living life to the fullest, typing comments on a website.

      • Philsopinion

        Like you, you mean

        • tjamesjones

          oh gosh you got me! I shouldn’t have said “us”!

          • Philsopinion

            So you werent commenting here then, such is your thrilling life?

  • GraveDave

    Why dont you just turn then and give us all a bit of peace.
    Writing a f – book about it.

  • MC73

    Oh God, I skim-read the first half of this and now can’t tell whether my urges are leading me to join ISIS or the SWP…

  • Jape

    I’ll say this is excellent satire as I’m not quite sure its fake or not.

  • jim

    What’s worse? The fact that these self absorbed lightweights believe every detail of their personal lives is a source of fascination to the rest of us?Or the fact that so many twats ‘n’ twinks seem to be able to milk such a good living out of their delusion?Because it is a delusion.No one I know gives a toss about these people.It’s a micro celebrity pseudo cognoscenti circle jerk reviewing each other’s crappy booksarticlestv shows and eating up media space. Like slum landlords sweating the assets.Horrible

    • nibs

      But Jim, they have all the money, and they are rigging things through the government to keep it and increase it. We do actually need a leftie government for a couple of mandates just to even things up a bit.

  • edlancey

    Is it really lesbian when she already looks like a man ?

  • Roger Hudson

    Just because she has Bruce/Caitlyn strong facial features i don’t think she can ‘become’ a lesbian.
    In my experience lesbianism is like diabetes, type I and type II. Type I realise they are attracted to other females at puberty and type IIs are nearly always just women responding to bad experiences with men/husbands and find other women are less unpleasant.

    • Terry Field

      Orthodox jewry simply treats it as playing, and of no significance. Leslies are a laugh. As are whoofters.

      • nibs

        they seem to think the same of child sexual abuse.

        • Terry Field

          No, the other lot do, so stop LYING!

  • Richard Eldritch

    I think we’d all like to Lez Joanna Lovely, even those of us with the wrong plumbing.

  • davidshort10

    This is the sort of grim, stupid, featherweight stuff I expected to see in the Spectator when the new owners appointed Andrew ‘Brillo Pad’ Neil as the md. He vulgarized the Sunday Times, screwed up the European so that it closed, and now he has lots of daffy articles like this one. It’s the reason I gave up the print version after 25 years subscribing. I simply pay £2.99 a month to access it through Kindle on my iPhone so that I don’t miss good columnists such as Liddle, Hartley, Young, Chancellor, Sutherland, Moore and so on, who against such odds keep the old Spectator standards alive. This book will not sell very many copies, no matter how many C-listers attend a launch party paid for by the author. The public are not stupid.

  • davidshort10

    Here’s the reality. Despite it being a new book by a journalist whose friends are plugging it, it is ranked 686 in sales by Amazon. Her previous effort on the same subject of a little bit of London is ranked 3,787……..

  • Perseus Slade

    Screaming for attention, despicable.


  • Johnny Foreigner

    O Rachel, what a life you lead, so many exciting people to meet (Piers Morgan, yummy) and those books you write, so full of wonder. I’m going to stop writing now, as I’ve just woken up and realized, that there really isn’t a gun being held to my head. Phewwwww.

  • Bonkim

    Keep your personal affairs to yourself – we don’t want to know.

  • newname

    Could all the people commenting that they aren’t interested explain why they read the article and are bothering to comment?

    • Philsopinion

      So the editors know not to waste their subscriptions on this kind of drivel in the future. Simples.

  • AtMyDeskToday

    Turning? We all thought you were dear.

  • GraveDave

    Did Piers Morgan dance with Katie Hopkins? I can see why Boris might.
    They’re pretty much two of a kind.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    All Brit chicks can go lesbian as far as I’m concerned. In fact with their user hostile attitude, you’ve be forgiven for thinking they already had.
    Meanwhile, back in the Japan Alps … Paradise, while side-stepping that distasteful process of dying. Except for the active volca… [NO CARRIER]

  • Philsopinion

    Who is this div?

  • Amanda

    Rachel seems like a sunny blasé woman that is blind to life. I mean really blind. She manages to blot out reality completely until you wonder, tumbleweed rustling, if there’s something wrong with her.

    I saw her on a panel talking about her experience of living on £3 ($5) a day. To experience this, she went to stay with a family, shared their life for a week, and watched them live on £3 a day.

    Her conclusion was: “Yeah, no problem, you can actually live on £3 a day.”

    Even the interviewer was aghast.

    She laughed “No really you can live on £3 a day. You’d be surprised at how many volunteers (unpaid people who feel they have to do something) step in and come to your aid.”

    She just seemed so stupid. Not like Katie Hopkins, more genuine than that. She was obviously just blindly supporting the view of her own family. But you think, couldn’t she acknowledge there may be a problem? Something’s not working?

    Here is why she wants to punch Will Self…


    • grammarschoolman

      Katie Hopkins is many things but stupid is not one of them.

  • Rossnhoj Rossnhoj

    This Englander/Britisher/Irisher/Scottisher STIRRER is of light skin blonde hair maybe blue eyes and speaks fluent english maybe from Luton

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it
    cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable,
    for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst
    those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys,
    heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a
    traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face
    and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of
    all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the
    night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that
    it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the

    –Marcus Tullius Cicero

  • Sean L

    This drivel belongs in the Evening Standard not The Spectator.

  • JabbaTheCat

    People pay to read this drivel?

  • Corbus

    The Johnsons…not a none of them a Samuel.

  • Jack_H

    Let them eat cake!