Magazine article The Spectator

Eagle on Top

Magazine article The Spectator

Eagle on Top

Article excerpt

High life


The Royal Yacht Squadron sailed into town last weekend and went down to glorious defeat against the Eagle Club and the Gstaad Yacht Club in a triangular ski race. We all know about the Royal Squadron, its members having the right to fly the white ensign, the blackballing of Sir Thomas Lipton for being in trade, Earl Mountbatten ditto for wearing too many decorations while swimming off Cowes. The Eagle, thanks to my indiscretions, is also familiar to Spectator readers.

The GYC is a different story altogether. It was founded last year by George Nicholson, as in Camper & Nicholson, and the best way to describe my latest club is that it's one big name drop. It has only 50 members, its patron is King Constantine of Greece (an Olympic gold medal winner in sailing) and its honorary members include the King of Spain. I defected from the Eagle and raced for the GYC because most of our members are sailors who can't ski, as opposed to the Royal Squadron whose troops were unable to ski because of harrowing hangovers. Needless to say, the Eagle wiped the floor with us, but, what the hell, it was fun watching English salts of both sexes trying to tack on snow.

Just before the starting gun went off, I pulled out a London paper whose headline was 'MPs Lower the Age of Consent for Gay Sex'. I trooped the paper in front of the Royal Squadron team in the manner they used to troop the colours for the boys about to go into battle. Some of them laughed but from the corner of my eye I noticed one old salt looking like Orlando Furioso. I don't blame him. England has been the laughing stock all week. 'Oi, get me 50 poofters quick, and I'll make them all peers,' must have been the way Blair put it. It did not go unnoticed even in the birthplace of homosexuality, where a friend of mine wrote that the Lords plan to open Parliament next year wearing their birthday suits.

Which brings me to a Speccie article of two weeks ago by Nicholas Farrell. It was all about the corrupt 'Inglesi' - at least according to Madeleine Albright - and how the Italians perceive perfidious Albion. (Basically as a bunch of homos who cheat and lie.) As it happened, I was in Athens at the time, read the piece and got the idea to ask around. …

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