You sometimes see review columns, particularly with the Sunday papers, by-lined by an unfamiliar name (except to eagle-eyed regular readers who actually keep track of who’s who in the critical world), being footnoted with the declaration that the usual critic “is away”. This keeps their name in currency and suggests that they will be back. The daily papers, of course, have teams of critics; so when - as he has been for the last couple of weeks - Benedict Nightingale of The Times doesn’t appear, they don’t draw attention to this fact but you simply notice that Sam Marlowe is covering more things than usual.
Things are more confusing on the Evening Standard where, in the absence of Nicholas de Jongh, another Nick - Curtis - pops up at some of the bigger openings, instead of the “official” deputy Fiona Mountford.
All of this is by way of explaining that I am away from today to this time next week, so I will not be appearing in this spot until tomorrow week, Tuesday July 8.