Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Emulating My Showbiz Writer Hero, I Posed at the Bar, Reached for the Twiglets and Lost the Plot

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Emulating My Showbiz Writer Hero, I Posed at the Bar, Reached for the Twiglets and Lost the Plot

Article excerpt

Anyone around here remember Donald Zec? I have a feeling he made a weekly appearance in either the Sunday Mirror or the People, but he was certainly one of the large pack of showbiz correspondents who wrote regular columns back in the riffles about the alleged secret lives of Jane Russell, Stewart Granger and Victor Mature, under some such self-serving byline as "The Man Who Knows the Stars".

There was a time when I was so keen on being Donald Zec that I enrolled at Skerry's secretarial college in Liverpool for a course in shorthand in case I ever bumped into Gina Lollobrigida or Richard Widmark on my travels around Litherland and Bootle, and didn't have time to write down all the adulterous revelations they absolutely insisted on pouring into my ear. ("For God's sake, Gina, hang on while I find my pencil.")

It was only as I was sipping a Belgian white beer in my new London club last Tuesday that I realised I might at last be in a position to emulate my adolescent hero. Not only did my casual pose at the bar rather resemble that which I'd always imagined Zec adopting but my attractive young companion was pouring out enough high-powered confessions to fill an old-time Sunday Mirror showbiz column ten times over.

We'd fallen into conversation when our fingers accidentally met as we reached for the same Twiglet, but within seconds she was asking me if I'd ever met Martin Amis. I'd barely had a chance to mention that I thought London Fields was one of the most powerful novels of our time before she was confessing that she and Martin had once enjoyed a very profound relationship. It was rather noisy at the bar so it was impossible to follow every detail of exactly who they'd met and what they'd got up to during their six months together, but I was fully alert when she delivered her most astounding revelation.

"Do you know what he most likes in bed? He likes pretending to be a baby. …

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