Magazine article The Spectator

The Spectator's Notes

Magazine article The Spectator

The Spectator's Notes

Article excerpt

To infinity and beyond? Certainly not. To reality, with a bump. That's much more the experience of the Gordon Ramsay household. (Mr Ramsay, regular television watchers will recall, is one of our most admired and exacting Michelin-starred chefs de cuisine.) The Ramsays have just had a kitchen fitted, whose pièce de résistance was a cooker costing £67,000 and weighing two and a half tons, which had to be lowered in by a crane. With all that kit, Mr Ramsay is determined to give his kids proper nosh. Instead of ketchup, for example, to accompany his 'home-made cod fingers and thick chips', Mr Ramsay boasts to the Observer that he'll be serving his children a reduction of cherry tomatoes sweetened with caramelised icing sugar and deglazed with vinegar. The children,' the Observer's writer reports, 'dutifully taste it all and then politely request "the other ketchup".'

Incidentally, Mr Ramsay missed out on the sort of bargain that would have enhanced his kitchen no end: the world's poshest fridge, for only £200. The Duchess of Kent, I gather, has been advertising a barely used refrigerator for only ten of those pretty purple portraits of her still grander relative through a classified ad in the pages of Loot. To her very great credit, the Duchess has demurely declined to make hay with her title, preferring for the purposes of the transaction to be known as plain 'Mrs Kent'. We salute her.

As the adage has it, you cut your cloth according to your measure. A special award for sharp tailoring, then, must surely go to the veteran Hollywood reporter John Hiscock. Mr Hiscock first got the measure of the Daily Telegraph, and then of the Daily Mirror, before adapting with a few deft stitches his review of Mel Gibson's new film The Passion, about the death of Christ on the cross. In the Daily Telegraph, he was carefully judicious, noting that 'many adults are likely to have problems with the vivid descriptions of pain and violence' yet acknowledging that it was a 'worthy and serious' piece of cinema. The following day a rejigged version of the article appeared in the Mirror. 'Mel Gibson's controversial story of the last hours of Jesus Christ is a sickening bloodbath,' he wrote, 'and, in my opinion, suitable viewing only for sadists.'

Mr Hiscock does, however, raise an anxious-making point. The orthodox view of the moral majority at which Mr Gibson's film is pitched is that the depiction of violence and immorality in Hollywood films is responsible for most of the 'copycat' examples of violence and immorality we observe among our brutal and vicious offspring. How, then, are we to respond when a spate of schoolyard crucifixions across middle America leads to calls for a ban on The Greatest Story Ever Told?

The telephone rings. It is my homophobia correspondent, Butch, with a fresh theory as to the true forces moving behind the sinister special-interest groups that have led the creeping charge in favour of making gay marriage a de facto institution worldwide. 'As we know,' he observes, 'the world is run by lawyers. And when gay marriage becomes a reality, who benefits? Why, lawyers. Think of the lucrative opportunities, as all those relationships break up! Who gets the curtains? Who gets to keep the poodle?' Odd fellow. As soon as the sedatives take action, we'll be investigating further. …

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