Back-handed compliments.

Hearing John McCarthy on Radio 4 last night reminded me of DJ-ing at his release party back in the early 90s. For anyone who may have forgotten, John McCarthy was a journalist working in Beirut in 1986 when he was captured by terrorists and held captive for more than five years. His girlfriend Jill Morrell campaigned ceaselessly for his release and eventually succeeded. Naturally I played this for John and Jill and the evening went very well. He was a thoroughly charming man and, as I was packing up, he came over and thanked me. “That was the best disco I’ve heard for years”, he said. He realised what he’d said and burst out laughing. I then felt it was okay to ask “And how many did you hear in the five years you were chained to that radiator?”