July 11, 2015
Wow, what a week. London may be bad for one’s health, but it sure makes it fun on the way to where we’re all going. I’m determined not to mention Greece—too much has been written about my poor country, most of it quite nice—so I will stick to London in general and The Spectator in particular. It began with a nostalgic party for about 28 of us chez George and Lita Livanos, childhood friends, in their treasure-filled house in Mayfair. A drunken lunch in a St. James’s club followed, five old buddies reminiscing about the days when hangovers didn’t register. Then on to The Spectator’s summer party, ruined for me by the warning that a letter from Speccie girls was appearing the next day, plus the fact that my colleague Hugo Rifkind shoved me under a shower in the gents that left me drenched and made me appear to be transpiring in an excessive Hellenic manner. (I had to go upstairs where my editor Lucy slaves away, undress, and hang my shirt and jacket in front of a fan. After about 10 minutes a lady walked in and screamed. “You’re not supposed to be doing this,” she cried. But I was only half naked, the top half, so she did protest rather a lot.)
Now, what can one say about the best magazine in the English-speaking world that hasn’t been said already? I’ll tell you, it is a family that could have been painted by Norman Rockwell. It is an idealized depiction of a weekly’s microcosm: the Hollywood-handsome top banana, the Andy Hardy-like deputy editor, the man-torturing commissioning (sigh) editor, and a lot of beautiful young maidens straight out of The Odyssey, as in the Sirens. (I should have tied myself to the mast, but the new Bushido is still in dry dock.) There is one beauty among the beauties who makes my knees buckle, Lara, who looks 14 but is in her early 20s, and who I suspect was the moving force behind the letter against the poor little Greek boy. I am engaged to be married to Lara this autumn. The only fib I’ve told her is that I’m 96 years old. The wedding will take place in The Spectator’s chapel, and Fraser Nelson and Freddy Gray are my witnesses and best men. Yes, the commissioning (sigh) editor is invited, as is the whole Speccie family. The Reverend Andrew Neil will conduct the brief ceremony, which will take place two days—and nights, yippee!—before the happy couple fly to Athens, where the Patriarch will bless us. If the airport is open, that is, and if there are any donkeys left to take us into the city. After the party I went to Prince Pavlos’ summer bash, where I made no sense, and the less I speak about that the better.
Which, like it or not, brings me back to Greece. The remark that encapsulated the modern Greek tragicomedy was that of Janet Daley’s in last Sunday’s Telegraph. “The Greeks must come to terms with the consequences of electing Russell Brand to head their government.” Hear, hear! The disgusting phony Russell Brand as premier and Bozo the Clown as finance minister says it all. The clown has resigned, but like everything these Trotskyites do, it is for show. Mind you, the Luxembourg lion, Jean-Claude Juncker, more of a hyena than the king of the jungle, is no better than the Cheapras bum. David Cameron was so right in trying to block the hyena a couple of years ago. The idea of a Luxembourg bureaucrat who has never done anything except kiss ass upwards and kick downwards telling proud Greeks what to do is as unacceptable as me getting my facts wrong where Nobel Prize winners are concerned. Three loyal readers have written in, and yes, Ireland did have four Nobels for literature—Yeats, Shaw, Becket, and Heaney—and I was a fool to write what I did. From faraway Finland came another Taki-drubbing, a letter exposing my ignorance that seven Swedes have won that particular prize. Oy vey. The only Swedes I’ve read are Hemingway, Tolstoy, Fitzgerald, Greene, Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Zola, and Waugh. I’m buggered either way. But back to London and The Spectator.