Diary 1, late July 2019

in Diary

Pissed-off Toff proudly presents the first instalment of his diary … which, he has decided, should punctuate his other more weighty offerings …

For one reason and another it suits me to be away from my London residence over the coming weekend, and so I invited myself to stay with a friend who lives in a nice place in Gloucestershire. Hesitantly, I suggested Saturday to Sunday. To my surprise, the reply came: What do you mean, my dear chap? Come Thursday to Tuesday. I replied: Are you sure? He replied in the affirmative.

This is puzzling. I’m now used to the idea that people can put up with me for perhaps a couple of days, but that the talk then turns to train timetables. What is the explanation for this new popularity?

* * * * *

So I will be leaving London … where, on Wednesday of last week, the BBC managed to report the Tory election process with remarkable evenhandedness. This, you will remember, was the choice between Boris Johnson and a certain Jeremy Hunt … who, I have to say, became less twerpish later in the campaign than he had been earlier. Anyhow, for many hours the BBC did a good job of telling us what was going on. No sniping, no undercurrent of negativity. Instead, they offered up objective reportage. What, I wondered, had got into them?

The next day, however, they were back to their usual form. On the Thursday, the very day after Boris became PM, and when momentous decisions were pending, the BBC’s lead story, which lasted an eternity, concerned the fact that it had been quite hot in various places in the UK.

This was the welcome pretext for an apocalyptic lecture on ‘man-made global warming’, complete with the suggestion that we’re all going to die soon, because we are all so evil, because we eat meat and drive cars and use dish-washing machines and clothes-washing machines and light up BBQs and go on holidays and enjoy life … and … and …

Only fifteen minutes into the 10 o’clock national news did we get to the vitally important matter of what Boris is going to do as PM. And as usual, the tone was relentlessly negative, with Laura Koonsberg (is that how you spell the girl’s name?) gleefully predicting doom and gloom. Everything is awful, she assured us, in that ghastly Irish accent of hers … everything will end badly, all because the unenlightened lumpen-proletariat foolishly voted the wrong way in the EU referendum.

* * * * *

Nor is it in a casual manner that I make this comparison between weather reports and political regimes. In the old Soviet Union, famously, the weather bulletins went on for ever. Nothing of importance was reported. But there was lots and lots about the weather, and about sports. I went to the USSR on a school trip in the late 1970s, and even tho’ I was at the time as politically innocent as could be, I knew instinctively that the place was vile. So when the BBC refuse to report what matters, and when they focus on the weather instead … well then, we’re half way there.

All of this makes me so angry that I’d emigrate to India if I could. If I sell everything I have, I could probably raise enough to keep me going for a while. So why not bugger off to a country which has not yet gone completely mad? But I don’t have the energy. That said, if any maharajah wants an OE butler and a friend to boot, I’ll be on the next plane out there.

* * * * *

It can’t have been a coincidence, can it? My notes don’t make the date clear, but I think it was the day before the result of the Tory leadership election was announced, that the TV channel Film 4 screened The Riot Club. Although Laura Wade – the writer of the screenplay – denies it, this film is of course inspired by the Bullingdon, of which Boris was famously a member. In Wade’s fictionalised account of the doings of this club (to which half of my parents’ friends belonged, if photos in downstairs loos are anything to go by; and to which various of my own friends later belonged, no names mentioned), the upper classes are shown to be psycopathic murderers, completely inhuman … but, um, rather good looking. (For more on this, I modestly direct my readers to my own review of the film in the Reviews section of the present blog.)

Is it a coincidence that this film was once more broadcast the day before the new prime minister – himself a Buller chap – took up office? Not of course that the broadcasting of the film could have had any impact. It was just a jibe, I think. Or perhaps I over-analyse.

* * * * *

I wonder how Boris was able to afford to be a member of the Bullingdon. The uniform alone cost a small fortune; then there were the ruinously expensive dinners, way beyond the means of most undergraduates. 

In one of the downstairs-loo photos from the mid-1950s that I have in mind, the Buller chaps all had private money, or at any rate generous allowances. There was Alexander Weymouth, heir to the Marquess of Bath; Nicholas Gordon-Lennox, younger son of the Duke of Richmond; David F, who I believe inherited his LSD from the Earl of Dundee; and I’ve forgotten who else. 

So how did Boris manage? Perhaps his adoring father Stanley coughed up. Or did he have holiday jobs? Who knows? Nor does it much matter. I was just wondering.

* * * * *

Re Boris, I wrote to Eton to ask whether he really had been head boy. The reason I did this is that following a piece of mine on the present blog, one of my countless thousands of readers contacted me to say that Boris had been in Sixth Form Select, and of course in Pop, as we know from photos; but that despite widespread reports to the contrary, he had not been head boy.

Ever the fearless sleuth, I wished to unearth the facts. “Thank you for your interest in Eton College,” came the ready-made answer from the headmaster’s office, “but we cannot disclose personal information concerning our pupils, past or present.”

Hmmm … Seems to me that there’s a chance for chancers here … because if there’s no way of checking what’s what, then there’s nothing to stop anyone from claiming that he went to Eton. This might not stand up in London, where the chancer would be under constant risk of scrutiny and exposure. But in Hong Kong? In Abu Dhabi?

I have a point, do I not? Will Eton now refuse to tell a potential employer, for example, whether someone who has Eton on his CV did in fact go there? I am thinking that if I were MI5, Eton would answer sharpish, wouldn’t they? Plus, is it not a matter of public record whether – yes or no – Boris was head boy of the most famous school in the world? How can this be seen as protected information? And I remember how when I was there in the second half of the 1970s, and when, for the first time, the head boy was an Indian (Sanjay Patel was his name, and an excellent chap he was, too), it was all over the papers. So what’s with the confidentiality?

But hey! Whatever …

  * * * * *

Re making up one’s own CV, at a gallery opening the other day I met a girl who claimed that she was a ‘wellbeing coach’ to global celebrities, and that she flew off to Hollywood on a regular basis to see clients whom discretion prevented her from naming; but who, she hinted, paid her vast sums.

From the way she told it, she might as well have said Brad, Matt and Leonardo. Just for a while, she had me. One is not used, after all, to people telling out-and-out lies about themselves. But you know what made me see sense? It was her teeth. They were crooked, and one of her front teeth was almost black. Wellbeing coaches who charge thousands per session do not have bad teeth. Do they? The girl was a fantasist. Punto e basta.

* * * * *

I’m appalled – if HRH The Prince of Wales will forgive me for borrowing a word from his lexicon – by the standards of racial and sexual profiling in modern TV ads. Take, for example, the one for Lloyds Bank, in which we see half a dozen couples and small family groups. Of these, two are mixed-race (in both cases the man is black, the woman white, and somewhere there’s a mixed-race child), and one couple is gay (white, not mixed race) … well, one assumes they are gay; that is to say, the ad is about family money, and here we have two chaps in a pub; know what I mean? There is also one couple which consists of a white man and a white woman. 

This is of course outrageous. I utterly and entirely object to the presence, on the TV screen in my own home, of a white heterosexual couple. It is shocking. Why, I ask you, did Lloyd’s Bank not have a lesbian couple in their ad? Why no trans-gendered persons? And why no visually-impaired people? 

Instead, we are subjected to the sight (not that I wish to offend our visually-impaired friends) of a so-called ‘normal’ white couple of empire-building supremacists of the sort that should be exterminated, forgotten, written out of history. I will be contacting Ofcom forthwith to express my outrage and indignation in the strongest terms.

However, I am glad to note that one advertiser has got it right. This is a company called Pandora, which sells jewellery and specialises in things like eternity rings and love-tokens. Their most recent ad features a lesbian couple. Now that’s what I call progress.

* * * * *

Ah yes, India is looking better by the day. I must do my accounts, sell everything I have, and then drum up the energy to leave the madness of this country and move to a place where there is no ‘man-made global warming’ scare, no ‘climate emergency’, no veganism, no trans-gender lobby, no gay propaganda, no ‘hate crime’, no ‘diversity awareness’ rammed daily down our throats … 

Oh dear Lord it makes me sick.

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