My last week in the Bagel and then back to good old London. And it’s just as well I’m still here, or some of Sunny Marlborough’s children might take a swipe at me. Last week I wrote about the old duke, correctly calling him Sunny, a diminutive which derives from Sunderland, one of his family handles. Somehow the ‘u’ turned into an ‘o’, as in Sonny Corleone, plus an ‘l’ went missing, which reminded me of the bad old days of 1977, when disgrundled printers massacred names on purpose. But not to worry. Thanks to Lady T. and the ghastly Murdoch the printers have gone the way of good manners, and last week was just an aberration. And speaking of bad old days, guns and murder are back in vogue here in the Bagel, proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the biggest bluff and phoney in the city is mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Let’s take it from the top. Although Rudy Giuliani tried to run me out of town for some rude remarks I made about our Puerto Rican cousins, he was the best mayor the Bagel ever had as far as bringing violent crime down was concerned. What Rudi did was to assemble street-crime units with aggressive stop-and-frisk tactics which in no time resulted in a record number of gun confiscations, and played a key role in driving down violent crime. Governor Pataki’s pledge to reinstate capital punishment also helped. The latter’s pledge was gone with the wind as soon as Pataki was elected, and Bloomberg playing the PC card did the rest. Four years after the age of Rudy, guns are back with a vengeance and people are dropping like the proverbial flies. Not that it worries Bloomberg a hell of a lot, who is anti the death penalty for thugs who shoot cops, and who doesn’t believe in law-abiding citizens owning guns. Yet the facts don’t lie like the politicians do. In recent years, 38 states which adopted ‘right to carry’ laws for law-abiding people have seen drops in crime. States like Florida, Virginia and Georgia have less crime than New York because thugs know all about the Second Amendment, which means people can carry a gun in order to defend themselves.
Giuliani’s point that tolerating lesser crimes served as a precursor to more serious ones was proved correct time and again. However unpopular his methods were, they worked. Bloomberg is mayor because he spent more than 110 million big ones in order to get elected twice. He obviously wants to be loved, which is no way to run a city as complex and violent as Noo Yawk. Replacing zero tolerance in favour of political correctness towards minorities — in reality majorities — is what Bloomberg the Bum has done and one can feel the results already. The city is slowly but surely sliding back to a pre-Rudy anarchy, with drug dealers openly soliciting business in certain areas, with thuggish bicycle riders on sidewalks terrorising the elderly, and cops being shot at by hoodlums high on drugs.
So what else is new? Well, for one King Kong is back in town. Some 8,000 invited guests in Times Square attended the world première of the three-hour, $200 million and change remake of the 1933 film, which once again finds the poor ape dying on top of the Empire State Building, rather than the World Trade Center, as he did in the 1976 version. No one, thank God, has made any cracks about the missing WTC, and I’m not going to go against the trend for once; suffice it to say that the King is better off on top of the Empire State Building. Art Deco suits the Thirties better, if killing the great Kong does not. Even before I met John Aspinall and began to prefer animals to people, I had rooted for the big ape against the exploiters, especially that prick Bruce Cabot, who played the fiancé of Fay Wray, Ann Darrow, and had the idea of bringing in the airforce against King Kong. As far back as 1933, feminists had decreed that in order to save one blonde we had to murder the greatest ape in the world, but then they would, wouldn’t they? But back to Cabot.
Bruce baby was a baddie. He not only helped bankrupt Errol Flynn during the Fifties by not keeping his word, he was also a Henry Ford gofer and yes-man who openly rooted for the ‘Deuce’ in breach of chemmy etiquette one night in Aspinall’s. The trouble was he was rooting against Lucky Lucan and yours truly. Lucky and I were down and very desperate. Ford got an eight and Cabot laughed out loud and patted him on the back. ‘Show them, Hank…’ he preened. Lucky looked at a five, and I came up with a four, and all the Seventh Earl of Lucan said was, ‘This should wipe the smile off their faces, Taaaki…’ And it sure did.
But enough of bums like Bruce and Bloomberg. A very good man died last week, George Baker, while piloting his own plane on his way to Nantucket. Although not a close friend, I had known George since the Fifties, and he was a hell of a pilot. (He must have had a heart attack at the controls, or fallen asleep as he was kept on a long holding pattern.) I am obviously saddened by the death of a nice man, but doubly so because he was very much a gentleman of the old school, and those people are quickly going out of style. Bloomberg, alas, flies privately, but employs pilots to fly him.