January 07, 2017
GSTAAD—New Year’s Eve was a Rhapsody in Blue, with a clarinet glissando that promised joys to come, and the Gershwin downbeat not registering until 6 a.m. The hangover was, of course, Karamazovian, but who the hell cares? I am finally solid again, and even the flu I caught on the trip over is on its last legs, lingering and as annoying as EU regulations, but no longer to be taken seriously. I had lots of close friends for dinner, but the new chalet was packed by the time I began slurring.
Mind you, it’s during dreamlike moments such as those between midnight and the dawn that wisdom strikes: that there is something very wrong with peoples’ values around these parts. For example, I sold my much-too-large chalet and bought a farm just outside the alpine village’s limits. On it I built a chalet that I think is the most beautiful around these parts. The mother of my children and my daughter have done a fantastic job, turning the chalet on the top of a mountain into a jewel of light, wood, and sunny terraces. So when I say there’s something wrong with the way people think, I mean the prices. I left the hill where the Palace Hotel is located, which now resembles a West Bank settlement—of billionaires, but nevertheless a settlement—and got paid a certain sum by a wannabe. I paid far less for the farm and the subsequent building, not to mention the fact that from my window I can see only endless green hills—there’s no snow—gray mountains, and three tiny wood-containing shacks.
Now, I ask you, dear reader: Do you prefer paying more for the ability to hear your neighbor performing his morning’s ablutions—or doing something more smelly—than being the sole human on top of a hill with only an occasional deer arriving uninvited? Nine out of ten new arrivals in Gstaad choose the former. A vacuous Canadian asshole billionaire has built a double mega-chalet down from where I used to live so he can have views of the parking lot of the Palace Hotel.
So now we have the old guard, people like Dame Vivien Duffield, Aliki Goulandris, poor little me, and so on garlanding the village of Gstaad with good taste, while the nouveaux struggle to outdo one another inside a cauldron that at times resembles Stalingrad. The only two exceptions are Mick Flick and Peter Livanos, both of whom had the foresight, not to mention the foreskin, of buying at the top of the Oberbort hill long ago, and now enjoy watching the rich plebs squeezing the hell out of each other below.
What is it that makes people successful in one end make such fools of themselves in the other? Doesn’t the fat old ugly guy from the Gulf see that the cutie-pie threw up after bedding him not from the coke she’d taken to be able to do it in the first place, but from the idea of his touch? Doesn’t the Canadian shark realize that looking at nature is better for the soul than watching cars being parked? Never mind. I’m not here to change human nature, and bad taste will always be with us, especially when money is more important than manners. When I was young I used to have hookers drop in, as it was a nice way to end a party. The girls loved it. We were not only nice-looking but also generous. Now it seems an insult to an honest profession due to my age. I’ll leave it to the slobs from the Gulf, but heaven help the cutie-pies.
Otherwise, the year went out with a bang. Parties galore, my daughter publishing her first book, which sold out in Gstaad—it’s a great read with great pics of Gstaad—my “goodbye to New York” party with Michael Mailer being the best we’ve given yet, and a surprise guest I had never met, Damian Lewis, of Homeland and Billions fame, arriving at midnight and telling me he began reading The Spectator when he was at Eton. Now, that’s what I call an intelligent actor.
2017 is said to be a critical year, with elections in Europe and all that, and Trump’s first year in office. It is one more cliché used by hacks and busybodies trying to sound important. Like cats sunbathing at the windowsill, they try to eat up the light of information, but in my book they mostly sound silly. Let’s face it: The big part everywhere is immigration. Mass immigration under the banner of multiculturalism does not enrich nations, but weakens them into squabbling enclaves. The horrors that rule us from Brussels want more of the poison. Some of us want less, far less, hence Brexit and Trump. Using masses of unassimilated immigrants as cannon fodder for social upheaval is an old trick. Anyone who opposes it is called a racist and a bigot. Love of one’s culture is hate in the twisted world of PC. I’ve already had it out with one such lovie right here, of all places. She called the Dutch politician Wilders a fascist. “Spell it,” I said to her. “F-a-c-h-i-s-m,” she replied. Talk about sewer dwellers—they’re all around the Alps nowadays, and in multi-multi-million-dollar chalets.