High Life

Bailouts and Knockouts

February 02, 2012

Multiple Pages
Bailouts and Knockouts

GSTAAD—OK, sports fans! The Davos irrelevance is over, Gstaad is covered with the white stuff, and in St. Moritz the Russian crooks are making a Stalingrad-like siege on the town’s ultra-expensive boutiques.

Let’s start with Davos, where publicity-seeking Shylocks such as George Soros pretended to be against income inequality. What phonies these bums are, just as bad as the Occupy protesters but with two or three private jets and large ugly stinkpot yachts (unlike Taki, who has a large but beautiful sailing boat). Growth for the sake of growth is a capitalist mantra, and bubbles will always burst. The Occupy protesters are pissing against a tsunami. There’s nothing they can do except get on the telly for their 15 seconds, as they have yet to come up with a solution to capitalism’s problems.

“European diplomats asking for more money is as obscene as it gets.”

The flawed currency union has bankrupted Europe. I predict a permanent slump in the old continent’s southern part, at least in my lifetime. I am not exactly gleeful when I read that this Ashton woman in Brussels is seeking an extra 22 million pounds for her euro diplomats. The continent is bust, mothers cannot feed their children in Greece, and this grotesque alleged female has breached her budget and demands extra money. My father, who knew a thing or two about these parasites, would always ask a diplomat how rich was the wife he had married. Comment, s’il-vous plait?—they would fake outrage in the language of diplomacy, but dad would say he never met a diplomat who wasn’t a gigolo at heart. That would end the civilized conversation.

Old dad may have been a bit tough on that species, but he had a point. Diplomats have good manners but they also live off others, and this Ashton woman can hardly speak French. They’re all a bunch of parasites, especially if they can’t recite a bit of Molière like a bourgeois gentleman should. European diplomats asking for more money is as obscene as it gets.

But back to more pleasant subjects, such as welcoming Charles Moore to the Concussion Club. He wrote about getting knocked out in his Spectator Notes three issues ago. It feels dreamlike, as if everything is in slow motion. I’ve been concussed about five times, once severely when a guy called Wilson from the British karate team made contact with my chin and the back of my head made contact with the hard wooden floor. Apparently I began discussing Vietnam with Sensei Enoeda, the head instructor who bent over to check me out. “Take a break” was all he said. Charles asked whether death feels like getting knocked out does. I sure hope so. Being choked out in judo is downright pleasant and there’s no hangover. If your opponent has a tight grip on your Adam’s apple and you decide to tough it out and not tap out, you will pass out and feel no pain. Five seconds later you will have oxygen again and come back feeling like a million bucks—well, a million drachmas, anyway. Welcome to the club, Charles. It’s quite an exclusive one, especially nowadays with all that health and safety bulls—t.

Speaking of safety, Lord Patten tells us that Rupert Murdoch shredded his book in order to curry favor with the Chinese leadership. Sure he did, but he was also frightened for his life because of his Dragon Lady of a wife. Wendi-whatever-her-name-was-before-she-married-Murdoch would have given him one of those roundhouses she learned back in some Chinese alley, and that would have been the end of him. Better to pulp a book than turn into pulp, eh, Rupe? (Lord Patten is a favorite of mine because of his pretty daughters as well as the fact that he cried when turning over Hong Kong. What was he supposed to do—jump with joy like professional diplomats would have?)

They say living well is the best revenge, and I’ve been living well of late. I went to yet another great party way up in the snow-covered mountains. It was given by the Eagle Club’s president Urs Hodler to celebrate his long and very happy marriage to his wonderful wife Alice. We all met in the hamlet of Saanen, got into a bus, and went up a tiny road to a hut where great wine and food awaited us. Just before we took off, I tried a “Hanbury”—it’s called that because Tim Hanbury once stole a bus full of Japanese tourists while the driver was relieving himself in the middle of Berkeley Square. He eventually ran out of room in a tiny trail nearby and left the tourists looking confused. The fuzz arrived but Timmy was nowhere to be seen. He had gone back to Annabel’s, where the staff swore to the cops he had never left.

But when I tried a Hanbury I couldn’t find the handbrake. My passengers were not in a Japanese mood, so I meekly turned it over to the driver. I then had a hell of a good time getting drunk high up in a mountain without a single oligarch in sight.


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