Your mention of Mike Doodson being JPS Lotus press officer (February issue) reminds me that at the French GP at Clermont-Ferrand Nick Brittan (working for STP) and me (for Gulf) had found this amazing restaurant with rooms attached. We were having a drink in the lounge when ‘Dood’ arrived to book a table in the restaurant for a group of John Player heavies. We asked Madame if we could have some blank menus, on which Nick wrote some revised dishes which started with Fag Ash Soup, and went through the courses like that to a dire message at the end saying ‘Smoking is Dangerous to your Health’.
Nick and I were hosting a few of the Fleet Street guys to dinner alongside Dood’s table and he asked if we would host the early JPS guests while he collected others from the airport. Which of course we did, and asked Madame to provide them with drinks. Dood arrived in a fluster with the JPS guys after half an hour or so, and Madame distributed the menus. She gave Dood the original ‘proper’ menu, but the other JPS guys had our doctored menus. We sat in suspense as Dood read his menu, comfortable that he had saved the situation for his first PR dinner, while the rest of his guests grappled with the fact that this was either a joke or a piss-take, and should they be appalled or amused?
Eventually they went for the latter. When Dood discovered what Nick and I had done it took a while for him to think that it was as funny as we did. Our Fleet Streeters thought the whole thing was a hoot. As did we. But that’s the way we had a good time in those F1 days.
It sure as hell doesn’t happen like that now.
Eoin Young, Christchurch, New Zealand