Magazine article The Spectator

- Roger Alton, P77 High Life

Magazine article The Spectator

- Roger Alton, P77 High Life

Article excerpt

On board S/Y Bushido I made a resolution long ago never to mention the Olympics - its spirit is on a par with that of Madame Claude, of Paris brothel infamy - but resolutions are made to be broken. With an uncle who competed in Los Angeles in 1932 and Berlin in 1936, and a father who ran the relay for Greece in Berlin, reading about American rappers and Indian steel tycoons carrying the torch reminds one just how much commerce has hijacked sport.

One thing is for sure. I'm leaving London the day after The Spectator summer party in early July and staying as far away as possible.

I enjoyed the Olympics in Athens in 2004, although the Games did play a part in the financial fiasco that followed. But London ain't Athens, and Sebastian Coe and Boris Johnson ain't cheap Greek political hustlers, so I hope the Games work, if only for Seb and Boris, two good guys amidst a jungle of crooks and profiteers.

And speaking of lousy people, Leopold and Debbie Bismarck were on board and the latter told me about her cousin's death in Kenya, which is what Debbie called it.

Alexander Monson was in police custody when he died from a blow to the head. He was arrested for smoking cannabis outside a nightclub, a crime as rare as an honest African politician. His father, Lord Monson, flew to Kenya to try to find out who was responsible for the death of his son. Poor man, he is as likely to succeed in getting to the truth as the perpetrators are to be punished. He will want to know if his son was killed for refusing to pay off the police. The poor guy had no money to give, the Monson family being long on ancestry but very short on readies.

I haven't been to Kenya since the late-Sixties, but even back then the hostility towards the white man was obvious. Do you imagine now, after all the years of brainwashing, that a black cop will be sent to jail for hitting and killing an upper-class Englishman?

Leopold, or Bolle, as everyone west of the Vistula calls him, had less depressing stories. Bolle spent his time on board praising one Dr Rhubarb, a doctor I introduced him to who has changed his life for the much, much better, and reading a certain Arthur Schnitzler, a very talented end-of-the-19thcentury German short story writer. In one, a man who is dying invites his closest male friends for a last visit. …

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