Michael Thomas is Ducking New York in London

Long decades ago—first when I was an investment banker and then when I embarked on what seemed at the time a promising writing life, and both my fiscal and physical state were in more robust condition than now—I used to go to London regularly. Those were the palmy days, the early 1970s through the 1980s, before Mammon took over the world. My London life centered on Mayfair and Knightsbridge: after a few hours of city or publishing business, I would look in at Heywood Hill bookshop, then run by my lifetime friend, the incomparable John Saumarez Smith. Time would be found for consultations with my tailor at Anderson & Sheppard, where the cost of a suit back then didn’t require floating a bond issue, and my shirt man at Bowring Arundel, that wonderful shop now just a memory. There were bookstores and art galleries to visit. I had kind of a rounded London life.