Did you watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony? Reminded me of an Acid flashback of the past forty years of British culture. As one of the newspapers rightly wrote, Britain has confirmed to the rest of the world that as a nation we should be sectioned. My highlight was the insane NHS section whereby children of every colour except white were whizzed around the Olympic stadium on hospital beds with illuminated sheets by dancing nurses. They were then assailed by hooded ghouls and a giant Lord Voldermort puppet who were in turn chased away by dozens of flying Mary Poppins nannies. Beat that Beijing.
Actually, the high point of the Jubolympic Opening Ceremony was The Queen. Her Majesty’s James Bond spoof – ‘good evening Mr Bond’ – and her subsequent skydive into the Olympic Arena was pure joy. How game of The Queen to go along with Danny Boyle’s brilliant mini feature film. I thought the corgis were particularly terrific. One was much less impressed by the VIPs in the royal box: politicians and quangocrats all. Why should our political classes have the best seats in the house?
Weren’t you shocked at how empty most of the stadia were for the first couple of days’ events? The ticket allocation is clearly a monumental omnishambles and somebody is responsible. I think the least the authorities could do is offer the empty seats to Londoners. After all, it is we who are most inconvenienced by the Olympic Games. I was under the impression that the athletes all lived in the Olympic Village. But this appears not to be the case. They are everywhere in London clogging up the pavements and loafing around in cheap sportswear munching burgers.
That said, the West End is deserted. One can get a table absolutely anywhere. For instance, on Sunday the Artist and I went to lunch at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand and enjoyed a plate full of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and horseradish sauce. There wasn’t a soul in the place though admittedly we were there by noon for a customary Bloody Mary in Knight’s Bar. I do love Simpson’s. It is a national treasure and one that has I believe been forgotten by most Londoners. Mind you, they could be a bit smarter in pricing their house champagne by the glass. It is a false economy to mark up so much.
What does today hold? I’m having a morning at No 17 Clifford Street with Anderson & Sheppard then it’s off to visit my Soho tailor Sir Tom Baker to do an interview for The Rake. I think we’ll meet at the shop so I can pick up my new Northern Line suit (black and silver chenille DJ and waistcoat) then we can go on to the Academy club to set the world to rights. It is lovely to be back to work again though I am not quite on top of the migraines and sinus trouble yet. It will be heaven to wake up one morning and feel nothing but good.
Apropos of this, I had another insomniac Sunday so took myself off to this terrific bar called Vault 69 or some such in Fitzrovia. It’s a club for questing gentlemen that stays open all night. I prop myself up at the bar like Lola who was a showgirl and sip my way through three gin and tonics while chatting to the barmen. Occasionally the customers will make conversation but I never venture beyond the chain link curtains that divide the main bar from the action. Funny how courteous the chaps are when they know you want absolutely nothing but a nip of gin and a smile. Until next time…