Nicholas Coleridge’s memoir The Glossy Years is a treat of a book to be greedily gulped down. Full of gossip and anecdotes from his years on glossy magazines – when he rose to become chairman of Condé Nast – not least the time Princess Diana tipped off the paparazzi that she was coming to lunch. Over lunch, she then earnestly asked him if he thought her breasts were too small – he is honest enough to admit that he flushed puce. This is a memoir that also pays testament to his love of magazines. Lying ill in bed at the age of 16, he opened a copy of Harpers & Queen he had borrowed from his mother: “That first couple of hours with a glossy changed my life, I was mesmerised,” he recalls. Unusually, this is a memoir that also manages to be enchanting when covering childhood and schooldays, not always the most incident-rich period of successful people’s lives. Coleridge mixed in very rarefied circles indeed, however – when he was five, one of his friends at school lightly mentioned that his father owned an island in the West Indies (it turned out to be Mustique, and the boy was Charlie Tennant, the son of Princess Margaret’s friend Lord Glenconner). There is an appealing candour about just how privileged his background is but most of all, he really knows how to tell a story.
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