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I was back at the Lit & Phil yesterday evening, to find it transformed by warm red uplights in the gallery and fresh flowers everywhere. Also lovely young people in black, handing glasses of champagne and canapes; and equally lovely people who were on average not quite so young, in smart suits and posh frocks, high fig and high fettle.

The Lit & Phil is launching an appeal. In brief, we need a million quid to save the building, the institution and the books.

If any of you happens to have a million quid to spare, just drop me a line and I'll introduce you gladly. You'd save a lot of people a lot of time and trouble.

Failing that, we'll just have to glean the money in snatches, here and there. I cornered a Well-Known TV Comic (oh, all right: Alexander Armstrong) at the event last night to bully him into volunteering a benefit gig, only to find that he was way ahead of me and full of plans to hook in all his celebrity pals. Apparently I am not the only one to think of these things. Gosh golly.

But barring one person donating a million and/or a small host of benefits yielding thousands apiece, we could still do it if a million people just gave a quid each.

If you want to be in the forefront of the rush, here's your chance: there's a Paypal donation button right there on the front page of the website. Please? (I know there is some way to import the button into my post right here, but I don't know how to do that so you will have to click through. It's okay, it's not far; it doesn't take long. Drop us a couple of quid, and then you can bask all day in the knowledge of a good thing done.)

(Also, you could spread the word. Post the link. Help us find those million souls as generous as you...)

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June 2017

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