A funeral. Luis Dominguez was my old boss at The Spectator (and the first person to ever employ me in a freelance capacity), a gent of the old school – debonaire, elegant and more charm than a coach-load of French aristocrats.
It was he who got the Speccie to turn its first profit since WW2. Taking over a title that was regarded as past whatever prime it might have had, a poor second to the New Statesman, he set about making it the place where luxury goods advertisers put their budgets and which could be regarded as an English New Yorker. His work on the business side (including a lot of investment in circulation building), coupled with Dominic Lawson’s editorial nous, brought in readers, subscribers and revenue. When you look at the huge structure that now exists and supports Andrew Neil’s ego, it is built on foundations laid by Luis.
As a boss he was great. He never micro-managed (a euphemism for the fact that detail bored him), but he was reliable in a crisis and stuck by his decisions. If you did something successful, he praised you to the skies to his bosses; if you screwed up, he took responsibility.
He always claimed never to drink during the day and to be a non-smoker, but we all knew his occasional afternoon walks “to clear my head” were strolls round to the nearest hotel bar for a G+T and a sly fag. So this evening I’ll have a Luis Dominguez Memorial Gin and Tonic and remember one of the truly great publishing characters.