In the course of a fruitful and liquid life, Ian Skidmore has got himself into more scrapes than a potato peeler. He is large in body and spirit; a gregarious journalist of the robust school. His anecdotes are numerous, varied, and occasionally bizarre -
"Informants were necessary because I was getting a great deal of aggravation from local linage pools. Things got so bad, indeed, that I used to go often to Chester zoo and play with a baby gorilla who became a fast friend. I would buy him the odd ice lollipop. He liked the ones that were chocolate-covered best, but friendship is never cheap, and we would play about and wrestle on the green lawn in front of his quarters on long evenings after the zoo had closed..."
Or - "When we walked down the aisle at St Paul's Church I was completely broke. Happily, during the reception rich relatives kept pressing money on me..."
He writes fluently and perceptively about the rigours of life, which have tended to congregate around his ample figure like a crop to be garnered in print at the right moment. In this turmoil of character and characters, he casually drops a name or two here and there to show his proximity to class as well as glass, but why not, indeed?
Anyone buying Forgive Us Our Press Passes should bend the covers back at page 75 for easy access in future. For here is an account of his meeting with Aneurin Bevan, one of the towering politicians of our era. It is a Dickensian-like story of innocence, betrayal and deception and absolutely compelling. Skidmore's best, in my view.