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21 October 2020

Ghosts of LME Dinners Past



This article was written by David Gaddes. All views and opinions expressed are strictly his own.

It’s Sunday evening on the 18th of October 2020. I have had a couple of glasses of Mouton Cadet, a wine I have loved since first introduced to it in 1970 at the George & Vulture. I have been looking at the “virtual” LME Dinner Week ahead and it prompted me to think of other years. I think in earlier scribblings for Lord Copper I described my first LME Dinner and the episode at the Eve Club. As we don’t have the real thing this year, I have been thinking about a few of the other years I have had the privilege to enjoy. Real ones. I have picked three.

In my junior years, I was asked by my boss at a Ring Dealing Member to look after a client who had turned up for his first dinner in the Great Room. It was a common event for a client to arrive for the dinner not knowing it was black tie. I was told: “David, please take our friend down to Moss Brothers and hire a dinner suit for him and look after him this week”. I didn’t own a dinner suit then and I always hired. So on the day before the dinner, I took the gentleman to Moss Brothers and organized a dinner suit for both of us. The man at the desk asked if we wanted the suits delivered. Perfect, I thought. So the following day mine went to the Westbury and his went to the Grosvenor House Hotel. Fast forward to the following day which was the day of the dinner. I was running late and got to the Westbury about 6.30 to get changed.

Had a shower, put on the dress shirt and, lo and behold, the trousers were about 4 inches too short. So I thought, maybe it’s just the trousers. I tried on the jacket and the sleeves were about 4 inches too short. I had enjoyed a decent amount to drink prior to rushing to the hotel and I am standing looking at myself in the full mirror and giggling because what flashed through my mind was what the other guy looked like in his mirror. I rushed downstairs and got a cab to the Grosvenor House to swap the suits.

In later years I worked for a broker near St Katherine’s Dock. A few of us had decided to get changed in the office and get a car to the Grosvenor House and then a car home. The thinking was we would go home earlier, drink less and spend less. Well, in theory the idea is sound, but as usual on LME Dinner night the practice proves somewhat different. We started getting changed straight after the kerb closed and as is customary the drinks cabinet was open. There were four of us which meant we could take one car.

After a generous amount to drink we rushed downstairs and waited at the pavement for the car. It arrives like a bat out of hell screeching to a halt, separating us. It is a very nice Merc. One colleague gets in next to the driver and another gets into the back on the passenger side. I slide across from the driver’s side to the middle of the back seat. That left one more colleague to get in from my right. So we shouted at him to hurry up because we have clients waiting. I lent sideways to my right and told him to get in the car. He poked his head forwards as best he could through the open door and asked the driver if he could move forward a bit. So the driver adjusted his seat forward. My colleague was still standing outside.

The conversation went like this:

Colleagues inside car to colleague outside:  “*****,  get in the ******* car, the clients are waiting.”

Colleague outside to driver: “Can you move forward a bit?”

Driver: “I have done.”

Colleague: “Not you, the car, it’s on my foot.”

A few years before I had invited a new Russian client to an outside dinner on LME Dinner Night. He became a very good friend. I have a few stories from that one evening, especially involving the magician, but I selected one. We were at the bar for pre-dinner drinks. I use the conversation at the time again because I think it best conveys the story:

Barman to me and customer: “Gentlemen, what would you like to drink?”

Me to customer: “******, what would you like?”

Customer : “Vodka.”

The barman swivels around and on the optic injects one measure of vodka. He sees my face and injects another measure. He places the glass on the bar and says to my customer :

“What would you like with it, Sir?”

Customer: “Vodka.”



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