Best Seat in the House: The Wit and Parliamentary Chronicles of Frank Johnson compiled and edited by Virginia Fraser - Frank JohnsonLondon: JR Books, 2009, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. A little age-toning to the edges of the text block.
Contains: Black & white photographs; Colour photographs;
From the cover: “Frank Johnson coined the term ‘chattering classes’, referred to Norman Tebbit as The Chingford Strangler and Dennis Skinner as The Beast of Bolsover. When he died, the Evening Standard hoardings declared: ‘Fleet Street Genius Dies’. For over 33 years Frank Johnson delighted readers and kept politicians on their toes with his dazzling and irreverent reports from the theatre of parliament.
Best Seat in the House entertainingly recalls the clashes, characters and occasions — the day when Norman Tebbit nearly came to blows with a Labour MP and the time Margaret Thatcher was thought to have disappeared down a manhole. Prophetically it was Johnson who bravely described Thatcher, then a Junior Minister, as having ‘dimples of iron’, long before she became known as The Iron Lady.
The cast is wonderful: Boris Johnson failing to make Michael Heseltine laugh; dung flung from the gallery stopping the loquacious Tam Dalyell from speaking; John Prescott being dropped on the Japanese; and Tony Blair, seen by Frank as having organised the Fall of Baghdad on the same day as the Budget simply to scupper Chancellor Brown.
There are serious moments too: the Brighton Bombing, The Falklands War and Dr David Kelly’s mysterious death. There are also excursions to the opera: Johnson’s account of the time when, aged 14, he spent a night on stage at Covent Garden, clasped to Maria Callas’s bosom, her right nipple in his eye, is a comic masterpiece.
This unique collection of writings by Frank Johnson is a spectacular roller coaster ride through the political life of our times from one of the best and most loved political sketchwriters ever.”