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Haunted by Michael Winner’s ghost. By Matthew Norman

Regulars | By Matthew Norman

Michael Winner - Wikimedia Commons

‘Calm down, dear,’ he said – after my home insurance soared

Long mislaid in my chaotic west-London house – which exists, as we will see, in a microclimate of its own – is a gift from the late Michael Winner. He and I were enemies for years, and then friends. It was once a fact of journalistic life that persistent feuding with the highly sensitive would end either in the High Court or at lunch. In our case, after many flirtations with the former, we settled on lunch. We hit it off, as portly, irascible Jews tend to do. So it was that the mannerly old boy presented me with a box of stress balls. Squeeze one of these white spheres, and ‘Calm down, dear!’ would emerge in those memorable dulcets. What necessitated the hunt for the box was a cordial email from the very firm on whose behalf Michael made that catchphrase so beloved that the noble Lord Cameron, then...

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