The bad news is I had yet another birthday – 67 – along with my friend Claus von Bulow, who hit a double seven. Claus, incidentally, has turned into a fine theatre critic in his mature years, reviewing with grace and insight and quoting from the numerous wits and wise men and women he has known. And speaking of old age, I wish there was a bit more respect for ladies who die in their nineties – i.e., Diana Mosley. Is there so little imagination left among the hacks that every printed cliché about her had to be repeated ad nauseam?
So Hitler came to her wedding. So what? It was before the war, for Christ’s sake. The King of England had drinks with Adolf at just about that time. Did she denounce Jews to the Gestapo? She did not. Did she encourage Nazis to kill Jews? She did not. Did she kill anyone herself? She did not. Finally, did she cheer when the Nazis did beastly things to people? She did not.
Kim Philby was personally responsible for countless deaths of British agents, yet the traitor was treated with kid gloves when he finally croaked. Ditto all his queer traitor buddies. Fran’ois Mitterrand was a Vichy high-up, yet rose to the highest office. Something very wrong here, just as there’s something very wrong when homicidal psychopaths like Mengistu, Mugabe and Charles Taylor are walking around free while Slobodan Milosevic is being tried for crimes against humanity in The Hague. (Trying to keep the union alive, albeit in a very heavy-handed manner, does not make one the equivalent of a brutal murderer like Taylor; yet Slobo is a no-no, while Taylor is living it up in a Nigerian villa.)
The reason everyone heaps opprobrium on Diana Mosley is that she was upper-class, right-wing, and refused to apologise to busybodies for having said some silly things when young and in love. She was an eccentric, had some very nice children, was unfairly thrown in jail, and never once did anything to harm her country. Now she’s at peace and the busybodies can turn on others of her ilk.
And now for the good news. Remember when my doctor told me my tumour was directly connected to my unrequited passion for Ashley Judd? Well, during the George Nicholson clay-pigeon annual competition (my daughter won the women’s, I came in fourth, tied with my boy for the second year running), I sat next to a more beautiful version of Ashley, one Diane de G––. Needless to say, it was love at first sight. She had a body slightly reminiscent of a Matisse drawing, but sculpted: the patrician feet, beautiful legs and arms, hooded blue eyes, an upper-class insouciance, perhaps a bit contrived – in other words, the perfect mistress.
I attacked immediately. ‘I have six months to live. I’ve nothing disgusting, but only six months left. Will you marry me? You can have it all after that.’
‘What about your kids?’
‘They’re already taken care of.’
‘And the mother of your children?’
‘She’s taken care of.’
‘What about if you live longer?’
‘You keep it all and I will disappear.’
‘In that case we might have a deal.’
Happiness is the first moment when the faint whisper of hope is about to become reality. And it gets better. Diane is half German – her grandfather was a general in the Kaiser’s army – and half French. I was in a hell of a state. What a beauty! Nothing could quench the thirst of my lust – and then disaster. John Taki, my own flesh and blood, came and plonked himself next to her.
‘Who is this?’ she asked me.
‘He’s 22, a painter in Paris, and is my boy.’
‘I think we no longer have a deal,’ she whispered.
Mind you, JT soon got distracted by someone else, and things began to look hunky-dory. For once I played it smart and did not come on too strong. The principal trait in the character of a Frenchwoman is an exaggerated coquetry, carried to so great an extent that it can never be reconciled with true love. German women are different. Cold at the start, they are attracted and attached as they discover good qualities in their lover. Diane is both, so we shall see what we shall see.
In the meantime, I’m here in the Alps attending karate camp every day, getting stronger through being bruised, and ready to defend Diane’s honour when, and if, I meet her in Paris sometime in September. After all, if I fail in the City of Light, I might as well hang up my jock once and for all.