New Year’s Eve was a Rhapsody in Blue, with a clarinet glissando that promised joys to come, and the Gershwin downbeat not registering until 6 a.m. The hangover was, of course, Karamazovian, but who the hell cares. I am finally solid again, and even the flu I caught on the trip over is on its last legs, lingering and as annoying as EU regulations, but no longer to be taken seriously. I had lots of close friends for dinner, but the new chalet was packed by the time I began slurring.
Mind you, it’s during dreamlike moments such as those between midnight and dawn that wisdom strikes: there is something very wrong with people’s values around these parts. For example, I sold my much too large chalet and bought a farm just outside the alpine village’s limits. On it I built a chalet that I think is the most beautiful in the area. The mother of my children and my daughter have done a fantastic job, turning the chalet on top of a mountain into a jewel of light, wood and sunny terraces. So when I say there’s something wrong with the way people think, I mean the prices. I left the hill where the Palace Hotel is located, which now resembles a West Bank settlement (of billionaires, but a settlement nevertheless), and was paid a certain sum by a wannabe. I paid far less for the farm and the subsequent building, and what is more, from my window I can see only endless green hills (there’s no snow), grey mountains and three tiny wood-containing shacks.
Now I ask you, dear reader: would you pay more for the ability to hear your neighbour performing his morning’s ablutions, or doing something more smelly, or for being the sole human on top of a hill with only an occasional deer arriving uninvited? Nine out of ten new arrivals in Gstaad choose the former. A vacuous Canadian asshole billionaire has built a double mega chalet down from where I used to live so that he can have views of the parking lot of the Palace Hotel.
So now we have the old guard, people such as Dame Vivien Duffield, Aliki Goulandris, and poor little me, garlanding the village of Gstaad with good taste, while the nouveaux struggle to outdo each other inside a cauldron that at times resembles Stalingrad. The only two exceptions are Mick Flick and Peter Livanos, both of whom had the foresight to buy at the top of the Oberbort hill long ago and now enjoy watching the rich plebs squeezing the hell out of each other below.
What is it that makes people successful on the one hand, but make such fools of themselves on the other? Doesn’t the old fat ugly guy from the Gulf see that the cutie-pie threw up after bedding him not because of the coke she’d taken to be able to do it in the first place, but on account of his touch. Doesn’t the Canadian shark realise that looking at nature is better for the soul than watching cars being parked. Never mind. I’m not here to change human nature, and bad taste will always be with us, especially when money is more important than manners. When I was young I used to have hookers drop in as it was a nice way to end a party. The girls loved it. We were not only nice-looking, but also generous. Now, on account of my age, it seems an insult to an honest profession. I’ll leave it to the slobs from the Gulf, but heaven help the cutie-pies.
Otherwise, the year went out with a bang. Parties galore, my daughter published her first book and it sold out in Gstaad (it’s a great read with great pictures of Gstaad), my goodbye to New York party with Michael Mailer was the best we’ve given yet, and a surprise guest I had never met, Damian Lewis, of Homeland and Billions fame, arrived at midnight and told me he began reading The Spectator when he was at Eton. Now that’s what I call an intelligent actor.
The year 2017 is said to be a critical one, with elections in Europe and all that, and Trump’s first year in office. This is just one more cliché used by hacks and busybodies trying to sound important. Like cats sunbathing on the windowsill, they try to eat up the light of information, but in my book they mostly sound silly. Let’s face it. The big issue everywhere is immigration. Mass immigration under the banner of multiculturalism does not enrich nations but reduces them to squabbling enclaves. The horrors that rule us from Brussels want more of the poison. Some of us want less, far less, hence Brexit and Trump. Using masses of unassimilated immigrants as cannon fodder for social upheaval is an old trick. Anyone who opposes it is called a racist and a bigot. Love of one’s culture is hate in the twisted world of PC. I’ve already had it out with one such luvvie right here of all places. She called the Dutch politician Geert Wilders a fascist. Spell it, I said to her. ‘F-a-c-h-i-s-m,’ she replied. Talk about sewer-dwellers, they’re all around the Alps nowadays, and in multi-multi-million-dollar chalets.
Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.