Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Article excerpt

New York

My friend Taki, who so generously reviewed the opening night of Dame Edna on Broadway, nevertheless missed a good story. During the intermission, two male friends of mine - Harry, an extremely correct architect from San Francisco, and Stanley, a manganese magnate from Mexico - were importuned in the bar by a raven-haired and immaculately frocked young woman. Did they know, she inquired, if there was to be a big party after the show, and might she accompany them thither? My friends pointed out that there was indeed to be a celebration - or a wake - but attendance was strictly by invitation. 'Even for Monica?' she wheedled winsomely, fluttering, one imagines, lashes. The guardians of my exclusivity repulsed her politely and returned to their seats without the penny dropping. Only much later that night did we learn that the notorious and sultry intern had indeed been in the audience, and that The Spectator's social columnist had missed a scoop!

The chipmunk face of Hillary seems to be peeking out everywhere. Her campaign button says 'She listens - She cares'. Is this stage one in the Ednafication of America? After several months in New York, London seems increasingly remote and mythical. The hunting of foxes is shrilly deplored, but the accepted blood sport is people, especially upstart wogs and randy parvenus of dubious pedigree. Both Mohamed At Fayed and Jeffrey Archer, whatever their follies and misdemeanours, seem to have become the most popular Aunt Sallies in living memory, and the howling mob of hypocrites who pursue them is audible across the Atlantic. It reminds me of my Melbourne school, a miniature replica of an English public school, where the two most brutally persecuted boys were an Arab kid with a touch of folie de grandeur and a scholarship boy from the wrong side of the tracks who told a few whoppers and got found out. As the sole backer of my last London show Archer was rock-solid and honourable to a fault. The prigs who attack him should bear in mind that we all, to some extent, reinvent ourselves. Jeffrey has just gone to a bit more trouble.

But who was the mysterious man who stood on Victoria Station with a brown envelope stuffed with readies? Could it perhaps have been Neil Hamilton? Was it really a brown envelope. or a discreet goldand-olive Harrods bag? Is there some link between all these melodramatic events: a Chestertonian network of misdeeds controlled by some evil genius, some magus living in All Souls? Did the recently asphyxiated banker, Mr Safra, ever stay at the Ritz, or take tea and crumpets in Lord Archer's penthouse? Who is the real culprit? It is seductive to blame the Russian Mob, which everyone seems determined to believe in, as we believed in those alligators in the sewers of New York. Did Prince Philip shoot President Kennedy? Will we ever know the answer to these mysteries? Certainly not in this millennium. Meanwhile, the real people who take lots of cash for questions are, of course, all those QCs. The failure of America's $165 million Marsmobile has been attributed here to 'human error'. But why human error? Why not alien error? There could be Martians the size of a virus bitterly opposed to ugly bits of machinery impertinently scratching away at their landscape. and you can hardly blame them for doing something about it. …

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