22 NOVEMBER 1997, Page 32

Fish and chips

SIR HENRY Wood was once found staring at a fishmonger's slab and saying: 'That reminds me — I should be at the Queen's Hall.' Conductors at Covent Garden know the feeling. Once a year, though, that inert, cold-eyed and scaly array was cleared out of the stalls, which were pulled up to make room for enthusiasts paying a nominal price to sit on the floor and see and hear the very best. The Midland Bank, which devised and sponsored these Proms, is now dropping them. I am sorry to see them go, and sorrier still for the Midland's perverse reasoning. It calls them elitist.