Magazine article The Spectator

The Joys of PC

Magazine article The Spectator

The Joys of PC

Article excerpt

A funny thing happened on my way to London and to a party chez Theodore and Gianna Angelopoulos for the Prince of Wales. An hysterical Greek prosecutor demanded my presence at a hearing that didn't even concern me - I was a witness - and the bloody lawyers as usual won out. I missed the dinner in one of London's greatest houses - the garden is the second biggest after Buck House - but upon arrival in London I read in the always accurate British press that I was among the guests. In spirit, I imagine. But I know for a fact that Prince Charles was inconsolable at my absence, as was Camilla and my new best friend Valentino.

The irony is that, had I made it, I would have gone to Aspinall's immediately following dinner - I am told the Prince goes early to bed - and would have driven home to Lyall Street with Sally and Aspers, and, God willing, perhaps I could have helped a bit. (They often drive me to their home which is near mine, and I walk from there.) For any of you who may have missed it, John and Sally Aspinall were attacked by three black knife-wielding cowardly thugs and badly beaten up when they resisted.

Now, before I go on, a little background. On 10 June 1995, I attended a party in honour of Joan Collins at Daphne's, dined at San Lorenzo with Charles Glass, and walked home to Cadogan Square. Luckily I was sober. In Cale Street, where I said goodnight to Glass, I noticed three black men in their twenties coming my way. After they passed me, I heard one of them sprinting and by the time I turned around he was on me, punching me hard on the back of the head, and in no time the other two were joining the fray. I fought them off as best I could, holding one of them up tight and trying to use him as a shield. We rolled on the ground, and one of them tried awfully hard to take my eye out. Fortunately, they did not use a knife.

I lost my signet ring in the struggle and some of my dignity, but not much more. Someone screamed and they ran off emptyhanded. I got the worse of it, but I managed to hurt one of them. One week later, Charles Glass was very badly beaten up by, yes, you guessed it, three black men in their twenties, but on the other side of the park.

Aspers was not so lucky. The three thugs had knives, and were threatening to kill Sally. Aspers, who is 73 and very frail because of chemotherapy for cancer of the jaw, should have begged off. Instead, he had a go and was severely punched in the jaw by one of the burly cowards. Had he been hit on the cancerous side he would have died on the spot. Yet England's greatest man did not hesitate. …

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