The wonderful goatfucking Simon Hoggart

6 Jan 2014 at 18:29

Just a few brief words about the sad death of the Guardian’s Simon Hoggart. Simon was a good friend for many years. A giant amongst journalists and a truly decent, humane and kind human being. Not always qualities that are common amongst the shark pool of seasoned Lobby journalists, who circle the corridors of power in search of the heady smell of political blood.
He was in many ways a renaissance man. A brilliant sketch writer, prolific columnist, author and broadcaster. For years he was the skilful and deftly witty host of the News Quiz. His sketches were not just laugh out loud, but perceptive. Simon could prick the egotistical bubble of the the good and the great not with malice, but with a one liner reducing all of us political anoraks to hysterical laughter. And for many of the the priggish, the ghastly and the most robotic on message drones that infest the Commons, humour, particularly against them, is not a laughing matter. That’s why his Parliamentary Sketch towered above his rivals. Consistently.
He could could also be engagingly off piste. My favourite was when Margaret Thatcher was snapped off guard by a supporter planting her a drooling kiss on the cheek; with his teeth removed.This rather upset her security detail who marched the snapper way. Simon described this in his sketch which was so joyous that it was put on the front page of the Guardian. He wrote of the hapless snapper being frogmarched off from the ‘goatfuck’. Of course as you all know a ‘goatfuck’ is the collective noun for a scrum of journalists and photographers surrounding a political victim. Anyone who can write ‘Margaret Thatcher’ and ‘goatfuck’ in the same sentence on the front page of a national newspaper and get way with it deserves hero status. Although the editor might have thought that it was a famous Guardian typo. But I doubt it.
The word legend is much overused. But not with Simon Hoggart. I will miss his humour, he conviviality and delightfully long lunches. And so will the rest of Fleet Street.
As he enters the pearly gates I wonder if he will be goatfucked. Yes, of course he will.