My Friend James Palumbo

In this Saturday’s Times James Palumbo, the owner of the iconic nightclub Ministry of Sound, who recently joined his father in the House of Lords, believes it may be time to end a family feud that has lasted over thirty years.

I first met James nearly two decades ago, when I was CEO of the Asprey group of companies and he an aspiring merchant banker in the City. My personal cook at Asprey was a great friend of one of his sisters and that’s how the introduction took place, and he subsequently came to lunch. We got on quite well, and he left me with the impression that he would no doubt scale heights of excellence in whatever business career he embraced. I was not wrong. He forged ahead with speed and determination and earned himself an enviable lifestyle and a sizeable fortune to boot.

From our first encounter, his amiable personality struck a chord with me and I could easily envisage that beneath the surface lurked a soaring ambition, signalling a devastating litany of achievements to come.

TOMAS_frontI hadn’t seen him since we first met until three years ago when Quartet published his acclaimed debut novel Tomas, but my memories of him were still as sharp and resplendent, as if a bonding between us had been there all along without my being cognisant of its presence. It was then that a friendship grew and gained momentum as time passed.

James is a man of many parts: an astute and dynamic entrepreneur who never shies away from a challenge or a fight that threatens his interests or the well-being of his two sisters or, for that matter, his close friends. His ambition to make his mark is impregnable and his horizons remain undefinable.

On a more sensitive matter, Lord Palumbo senior would certainly win the admiration of all those who wish him well if he were to bury the hatchet, and end his painful estrangement from his son that I believe has surely run its course by now.

Entretemps switching to another mode, I always look forward to having lunch with James at his club in Hertford Street where we banter and gossip and rekindle past follies, to remind ourselves that our young spirits remain as vibrant as they have ever been. For such an exercise relaxes the mind, at least for a flicker of time, before it actuality hones in to bring us back to the real world which is often bereft of such frivolities.

James and I have much in common despite our age difference. Our lexicon of proximities include a power house of energy, an insatiable search for knowledge, hard work to achieve a designated objective and to live on the premise that infinity is negotiable…and finally, our most cherished and basic inclinations hover around the beauty of the female form in all its splendour and sensuality, without which our raison d’être would expire in a sombre mood.

The above is at least my own vision of our similarities. If fantasy has got the better of me then the enterprising young Palumbo will soon put me right.

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