Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Pasta la Vista, David

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Pasta la Vista, David

Article excerpt

Frankly, Tuscany was beginning to weary me anyway. Why are so many adults forced to spend their holidays sitting round a pool infested with screaming infants before settling down to a child-friendly bowl of pasta? I've had better times, and lunches, on aeroplanes.

And I've sat next to more interesting people. There can be few more deadening pre-dinner announcements than "Cheer up, everyone, the Jameses have texted they'll be here in 20 minutes". This text heralded not the arrival of the many faces of Clive James, but Alex James and "his clan". Those of you who have struggled through an opening paragraph written by the Blur makeweight "will perhaps not be surprised to hear he is even duller in person, having only two topics of conversation - cheese and himself - often combining the two to curdling effect.

Dave, however, finds him seriously funny. Although not quite as hilarious as the proofs of the book he brought on holiday, The Jeremy Clarkson Diaries: Volume 4. These proofs delight the PM to such an extent that, unbidden, he took to declaiming large chunks of them. Thus we learned: "January 2 After more thought am now more convinced than anything in my life that I should go ahead with near-genius idea to open a theme restaurant in Chipping Norton called JC's. Walls to be covered with pictures of other famous JCs (Julie Christie, James Coburn, Jim Clark, John Conteh, James Corden and Jesus Christ)." I could go on.

Dave did. Before we were summoned back to Blighty, I was so battered, bruised and blurred that I had taken to lying down in darkened churches and reading the works of Charles McCarry (political thriller writer of choice for P J O'Rourke, Christopher Buckley and George V Higgins). …

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