Taki's Top Drawer

Patmos, Greece

The Path to Patmos

PATMOS—A funny thing happened on my way to this beautiful place, an island without druggies, nightclub creeps, clip joints, or hookers. I stopped in Athens for about five hours in order to look over old haunts and just walk around places I’d known as a youth, when I noticed something incredible: None of the youngsters I encountered were texting, nor were they glued to their mobiles and bumping into people. Sure, some were ...

Victoria Azarenka

Whose Fault?

Now that Wimbledon is over, a few thoughts about youthful brains showing traces of horse tranquilizers, angel dust, and cannabis, the ingredients that spell “moron.” I mean those sporting idiots who booed Victoria Azarenka after she lost the tiebreak 11 to 9 in the third set to the charming Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Here’s Vica, a woman, a mother, a wonderful player, and through no fault of her own a Belarusian, being ...

It’s Just Not Cricket

A poor little Greek boy writing about cricket etiquette is like Harry and Meghan lecturing on discretion, but never mind. As everyone but Joe Biden knows by now, Jonny Bairstow was given out recently during the second test match at Lord’s. For any of you out in Baja, California, who might have missed it, the Brit ducked a bouncer and left his crease, thinking the ball was dead. The Aussie keeper threw the ball at the stumps ...

WOW Factor

GSTAAD—There are lurid rumors circulating around this alpine village that an international literature symposium has taken place, with some of the richest and more recent arrivals demanding the arch suspect behind the alleged outrage to deny it or else. “Say it ain’t so, Joe,” screamed a nightclub freak to the suspect right on Main Street. The suspect’s name, incidentally, happens to be Thomas Gommes. Now, I am the ...

Piazza Venezia

Elegy From Rome

To the Eternal City for the saddest of occasions, the funeral of the mother of Taki, 17, and Maria, 15, two of my four grandchildren. Assia was of noble birth and met my son John Taki at the Rosey school in Switzerland, where they both studied skiing and other such useful pursuits. They had a grand wedding at her ancestral home near Rome and went off on their honeymoon on my boat with twelve of their friends. After the two ...

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Camelot Cronies

Now that Robert F. Kennedy has declared his candidacy for America’s highest office, I can spill some beans about his family, having known many of them since before JFK became president in 1960. The late president was the first Kennedy I met, at a party given by Alice Topping, recently divorced from Dan Topping, heir to a platinum fortune and then majority owner of the New York Yankees baseball team. Needless to say, Alice ...

Portrait of Francisco D'Andrade in the title role by Max Slevogt, 1912

Spectator Sports

“I was 12 when I first got laid.” “Where was that?” “In Middlesbrough.” “How the hell did you get lucky at 12 in Middlesbrough, when I only managed it at 15 and on my father’s boat off Cannes in 1952?” “It was a dark and stormy night.” This was no tortured confession by some doomed poet or a gender-confused feminist, just party banter between the great Rod Liddle—who went Bulwer-Lytton on me—and the ...

Chelsea, London

Transatlantic Taki

“Why, oh why, do the wrong people travel?” sang Noel Coward back in the ’30s. Lucky Sir Noel, he never met the present bunch. Just like the Bolsheviks deemed the aristocracy and the intelligentsia as enemies of the people back in 1917, good manners and conservative dress today are viewed—at least in the Bagel—as false and affected. But I’m getting away from the subject at hand. I just bought Masquerade, a doorstop ...

 Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

Long-Ago Long Island

SOUTHAMPTON, L.I.—They’ve honed the skill of attracting attention by building some of the largest and ugliest houses this side of the Russian-owned Riviera ones, yet the luminous little village still retains signs of a bygone civilized era. A few grand houses built a long time ago are proof that not all Americans are nouveaux riches, and some even have good taste in decoration—you know the kind, with wicker chairs, yellow ...

Below the Belt

NEW YORK—He’s oilier than Molière’s Tartuffe but gets away with more. His latest con involves the martial art of jiujitsu, where he managed to get a referee to reverse his decision. I’ve been competing in martial arts for close to sixty years now and have rarely—in fact, never—witnessed a ref reverse his or her decision, but I’m no con man like Zuckerberg. Some of you old-timers may even remember something ...

A Question of Intelligence

Were it not for my age, I’d be worried, but at this stage of the game I couldn’t give a flying you-know-what. Mind you, I have two children—a daughter and a son—both in their early 30s, and four grandchildren—two boys and two girls—some still in diapers, and that does keep me up at night. And it should also worry anyone whose brain hasn’t been fried by too many hamburgers, asinine TV commercials, or Hollywood ...

Jim Brown

Jim Not-So-Dandy

His death was front-page news in every newspaper in America, starting with The New York Times, and his demise also led the news on television. Long glowing tributes poured in, starting with Barack Obama confirming the man’s greatness. The commissioner of pro football, Roger Goodell, said that Jim Brown was the ultimate role model. As did LeBron James, the basketball player who shills for China when not busy calling America a ...

The Royal Treatment

NEW YORK—At a chic dinner party for some very beautiful young women, your correspondent shocked, shocked the attendees by quoting an even greater writer than the greatest Greek writer since Homer—Rod Liddle, a Spectator magazine columnist—with his explanation of why royalty matters: because it is “anachronistic and undemocratic.” Hear, hear! A particularly attractive young woman, Alissa—on a par with Lily ...

Carroll Baker, 1962.

Dinner With a Legend

NEW YORK—Tennessee Williams wrote Baby Doll, his only screenplay, with her in mind, and she was considered the sexiest blonde bombshell ever, much sexier than Jean Harlow, whom she portrayed on film. She was great in The Carpetbaggers, The Great Divide, Harlow, Giant, and countless other ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s hits. Carroll Baker is now 91, still very much compos mentis, and without makeup a lively dinner companion as I, ...

The Play’s the Thing

NEW YORK—The concept of creativity and invention can be a doubled-edged sword: It can be fresh, uplifting, and original, like the Off Broadway play directed by Michael Mailer I’ve just seen, or it can be a phony rip-off of a Shakespeare classic, a terrible modern take on Hamlet, blackness, and homosexuality that I have not seen and do not plan to. What makes me laugh is the reviewer of the Bagel Times who gave a good one to ...

Jared the Jerk

Despite the catcalls and boos from some friends and even my wife, I was tickled to death on that November night of 2016 when The Donald was proclaimed America’s 45th president. It had a lot to do with my dislike for Hillary and Bill, as well as my Republican Party sentiments, something I lived to slightly regret once I sat and broke bread with ex-president Clinton two years later. It was a cousin by marriage, princess Maya ...


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