As we grow older, so the number of obituaries for people we knew increases. I was sad to learn of the death of Sir David Tang. He was four years older than me, but we were at the same school, and Boarding House. I didn’t know him very well, but we inevitably rubbed shoulders most days. The flamboyance that was to characterise his adult life was not so evident in his school years. He kept himself to himself, his extravagance was twofold. He indulged fully from the menu of the local Chinese takeaway to which there was a regular evening trip by a boarding cycling emissary. Perhaps it inspired him to open in the Dorchester?
When attending the local Cambridge Arts Theatre he would buy the two seats in front of his seat or seats, to ensure an unobstructed view. He always caught the bus, even though he could have afforded a taxi. His prowess at the piano could be chanced upon if he was in the common room. Urbane, polite, and unassuming, the only hint of his wealth was a wallet which was always full of £5 notes.
His adult life saw him become one of London and the world’s great socialites, The Queen, Prince Charles, Fidel Castro, Deng Xiao Ping, Kevin Costner, Russel Crowe, Putin, Naomi Campbell, Colonel Gadaffi, Lady Diana, Margaret Thatcher, Kate Moss, Sarah Ferguson, Joan Collins , Chris Patten, Tracy Emin, Jerry Hall, Sienna Miller, Tommy Hilfiger and Mick Jagger were all in his address book.
I like to think he remembered me too.