24 MARCH 1990, Page 40

The next evening was an even more pleasant affair, if

only because I saw all my old friends from National Review, the magazine that gave me my start, although as what I ain't exactly sure. I was co-host with Christopher Buckley, my best man on a day that shall live in infamy, and John Simon, the foremost theatre critic in America. I drank only beer, as the mother of my children had dragged me out of bed at eight o'clock that morning to watch my eight-year-old boy wrestle in his school competition. (He pinned his opponent, but in the American school system nowadays nobody loses because if they do they might turn against society, so he had to continue and got pinned in turn.)

Needless to say, I had a wonderful time at the party, as well as afterwards at dinner, because it's always a pleasant thing to make sense for a change. I guess there is something to be said for abstinence, just as there is plenty to be said in favour of drink when out with bores. My only salvation is more trips by the sainted one.