Who was the first to declare that nothing counts a lot and very little counts at all? The cynic and sesquipedalian Alastair Forbes claimed it, but he spoke with a forked tongue. Iris Murdoch hinted that it was hers, but she, too, was known for bending the truth. Either way, the saying is utter crap. A hell of a lot counts, starting with the fine line between mad love and pure madness. Don’t be alarmed—I will not go into yet another reverie about Jessica/Jenny, since my friend John Sutin has pledged he will do something about it.
This last weekend was like the lost weekend of movie fame, with yet another Mick Flick extravaganza which ended late at night, followed by a Sutin oyster-and-caviar lunch on the Palace’s terrace, during which I thought I saw a Nero-like figure strumming a lyre.
They say excessive drinking can produce delusions and be harmful to one’s sex drive, but in my case it has the opposite effect. Or it could all be in my head. What is certain is that I sympathize with Terence Rattigan’s heroine in The Deep Blue Sea, a film about the ravages of erotic love in repressed 1950s Britain. When the 1955 film version came out starring Vivien Leigh and directed by Anatole Litvak, I couldn’t understand all the fuss. Hester meets young Freddie, discovers real sex, and it’s bye-bye to her faithful-but-sexless hubby. I was 19 and in the midst of adulterous relationships with two married women. I thought it normal that older women would go bananas over younger men.
Fifty-five years later, I have switched sides and now root for the oldies.
Later on in Paris I met Litvak, a sensitive director whose wife Sophie liked staying up late at Jimmy’s with young men. I wanted to know about Rattigan and the intensely repressed characters he invented. “Ses characters sont lui,” Anatole explained. This was around the time Rattigan had been shoved aside by the great unwashed playwrights of the early 1960s, something that infuriated me, especially as I had become a theater addict due to my relationship with an actress.
What continues to amaze is the cuckolded hubby. It’s true that British women back in the 1950s did not leave their husbands, but how does a man stay married to a woman who has gone ape over someone else?
I know it’s a double standard, but double standards were invented for types like me. Terence Davies, director of the latest film version of The Deep Blue Sea, says the Brits consider passion to be vulgar, but what kind of Brits? Modern Brits are fat, drunk, aggressive, loud, sloppy, and obviously très vulgar. Passion was seen as vulgar by the Brits that Rattigan wrote about, but that was half a century ago.
So what else is new? London has become the sinkhole where foreign billionaire crooks sue each other. I saw the ghastly Boris Berezovsky speak utter rubbish to the divine Emily Maitlis—he’s lived in England for close to 15 years and still can’t string two proper sentences together. His enemy Abramovich, another son of a bitch, is just as bad. To see Chelsea lose is now one of my great pleasures, although it’s sick-bag time when the cameras close in on Abramovich. Football has now replaced cockfighting or female mud-wrestling as disgusting spectacle. But watching a young, white, sporting Bilbao team wipe the floor with Manchester United was a rare pleasure. I find African footballers too aggressive and too ready to take offense for my taste. But as they say, if the head is rotten, there’s not much one can do for the body.
Sepp Blatter, head of FIFA, is football’s equivalent of the Tchenguiz brothers: ugly, decadent, money-grubbing, and rootless, but most of all corrupt. He was reelected unopposed after a rival withdrew with his hand still in the till. Now FIFA will investigate the match referee and Bahrain’s players in an “unusual” 10-0 win over Indonesia. The Lebanese ref sent off the Indonesian goalie in the second minute and awarded four penalties to Bahrain. Along with that wonderfully democratic paradise that is Saudi Arabia, Bahrain is as rotten as the rest of the Gulf States now demanding a Syrian change of government.
What a bunch of crooks and knaves they all are: Tchenguiz, Blatter, the Gulf criminals, even European governments who use high-sounding language while selling arms to the bad guys. Rattigan was lucky to go when he did. The erotic triangles he wrote about no longer exist. This is threesome time. A crestfallen husband whose wife has run off with a younger man now buys some happy dust and settles down with a Russian or Kazakh tart. Everything is for sale, starting with female bodies. Just look at the ghastly names I’ve listed above—I can’t bear to repeat them—check out their women, and you have the name “tart” spelled out in living color. While you’re doing that I will dream of Jenny riding her bike to work down in the East End, and I’ll wake up happy and raring to go skiing.
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