Julian Assange is a pustule on the face of British and international politics. Nobody had even heard of the little smirker a couple of years ago and now he’s causing a diplomatic incident with Estonia or Ecuador or some such hiding out in the Embassy and wishing for asylum. The reason he will not be extradited to Sweden to face rape charges is perhaps because he is guilty. There is something terribly sexy about that floppy fringe and coy grin. I think the rozzers should chivvy him out of that Embassy like a stoat as Anthony Blanche would say.
What else is irritating on the Rialto? I was so sad – so sad – to read about the murder of that pretty little girl Tia while I was on the beach in Nice. When did we all realise the ugly tattooed bruiser who was shagging Tia’s granny was guilty? The minute he went on telly boo-hooing and wanting ‘our little girl’ back home. Equally perplexing and sickening was the sight of Tia’s grandmother wearing a ‘Bring Tia Home’ T-shirt. What would possess a distraught grandmother to go to Rymans or so forth and have a T-shirt printed. Surely you’d be far too distressed for such empty gestures.
I think the sad story of Tia is a consequence of Jeremy Kyle Britain. Jeremy Kyle Britain is an urban phenomenon. Step away from the cities and England is still a green and pleasant land. Quentin Letts wrote a glorious piece in our paper (Daily Mail) today about his county and how it is one of the last unspoilt corners of unpretentious, religious and bucolic England. I do love the Daily Mail, don’t you? You have to respect a British newspaper that rules the waves in online publishing.
So whither the arts? I am utterly thrilled to be in the company of a talented artist – Timothy Morgan-Owen – who sketched the terribly pretty watercolour of the beach club Plage Ruhl in Nice from our last trip. I must admit my face fell on arriving back at St Pancras and had no enthusiasm for Jubolympic London or should that be Parajubolympic London? I was terribly distressed to learn that our local Bloomsbury sandwich shop Salad Days has closed and decided to do a delivery service from a warehouse somewhere godforsaken. Actually it’s not called Salad Days, it is named In Season which always smacks of the canine heat that quite puts you off your cherry tomatoes.
Another profoundly sad closure in Covent Garden was the camp record shop on Monmouth Street that supported West End musicals for over thirty years and hosted many a CD signing with luminaries such as Liza Minnelli, Barry Manilow and Patti Lupone. I always loved popping into Centre Stage to buy the latest Broadway cast album or greetings card featuring a cat dressed as Marilyn Monroe singing Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend. They also sold scores, theatre posters and lovely kitschy presents such as key rings in the shape of Carol Channing in Hello Dolly. The landlords should be shot for putting the rents up – greedy bastards – as should theatrical millionaires such as Sir Cameron and Sir Andrew who could have supported Centre Stage as they do so many other charities.
Do you like my gallery a la Tony Hart? You already know about the Morgan-Owen Nice sketch. My last picture is painted by my friend Mr Bowering who imagines the most marvellous moments that don’t happen in my life such as being painted by Yves Klein. I do like the buttock action. If only ONE’S were as pert. Mr Bowering and La Farmer are accompanying Better Half and I to Corfu on the 3rd of September. I do wish you were there too. Shaun Leane – our lovely sparkling jeweller friend – might fly out for a weekend.
Speaking of Better Half, he’s currently at Bloomsbury Towers for the third time in four years doing the Telegraph crossword and drinking a glass of Prosecco at four in the afternoon. Prosecco if drunk in sufficient quantities does encourage laughter and fun. Speaking of which, the Artist and I have had much laughter and fun on the Riviera in days’ past and do hope to return before the season at Plage Ruhl is out.
Do you like the photograph of me looking like a bronzed meerkat goggle eyed in an Art Nouveau restaurant? It is of course – of course! – the Train Bleu restaurant on the premier etage of the Gare de Lyon where we transfer from the Gare du Nord for the coastal train to Nice. The restaurant has played host to so many glamorous international people of fascination. Coco Chanel and Serge Lifar dined there with Ballets Russes impressario Serge Diaghilev. So too did Yves Saint Laurent, Jacques de Bascher and Karl Lagerfeld.
The Artist bought back very many memories as we were stoating down memory lane in Nice. He was an intimate of the infamous Lady Edith Foxwell as was I in the Autumn of her life. Lady Edith was a latterday Lady Idina Erroll who was a professional at sex. She had a glorious affair with Errol from Hot Chocolate when she was the door bitch at the Embassy Club in Mayfair with Stephen Hayter. I met Lady Edith when she was in her twilight years. She was a vamp with dyed red flowing locks, white shirts and slacks. She took me to dinner – or was it vice versa – to the Ponte Vecchio restaurant in Earl’s Court.
When I escorted Lady Edith back to her house, she insisted that I inspected her bedroom for moths and butterflies: both of which she was terrified of. Lady Edith had a smile like a shark and eyes like knives. I thought she was a marvel. When I interviewed Dame Barabra Cartland, she professed no knowledge of either Lady Edith or Lady Idina who I am sure she knew intimately. Surely there’s a book there entitled The Three Disgraces. Until next time…