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High life

High Life

Snow good

18 February 2009

12:00 AM

18 February 2009

12:00 AM

Gstaad

Nicola Anouilh is the only son of the great French playwright Jean Anouilh — more than 70 plays, including Antigone, Becket and La Sauvage — and a close friend since Paris in the Sixties. He was of a generation just below mine, one that managed to get into Jimmy’s only during the events of May 1968, when the French bourgeoisie ran off to the south, some of their places on the banquette taken by François de Caraman, my brother-in-law, Peter Bemberg, heir to an old and vast Argentine fortune, Nicola Anouilh, and Vladimir, a Russian boy whom we rechristened Prince Touchepine, a play on words for touching one’s willy. François, with whom I was very close despite his sister having left me for the dumbest reason in the world, my infidelity, died five years ago and we all got together in Paris for the Catholic service. (I wrote about it in this space, and how drunk we all got at Chez Lipp afterwards.)


Le Prince Touchepine died two years ago returning from a sexual extravaganza here in Switzerland. No one looked more innocent than Vladimir. And no one was nicer or more polite, especially to ladies. He would leave Gstaad after having seduced a maid, stop in Montreux and sleep with, say, a seamstress, go on to Lausanne where he would have a roll in the hay with a schoolteacher, then have a quickie in Geneva with a diplomat’s wife, and come back to Gstaad that evening. He literally died on the train after one such trip. Nicola and Peter are the last two left of that group of youngsters I used to invite to Jimmy’s in the good old de Gaulle days so they could taste a bit of high life and forget la vie du château. The only bad thing about them was their constant efforts to steal my girls, but even that was done with great style. (Nicola once pretended that he was a virgin and had to go with a woman before doing his military service. My girl did not fall for it, or so she told me.)

Last week I went deep-snow skiing with Nicola and the mother of my children. (Marina Anouilh, a beautiful Greek girl and the only real blonde of Greek descent I know, refuses to ski with him because of his suicidal tendencies.) Nicola is a very brave but reckless skier, going to places where instructors fear to tread and does that on his own, a real no-no when skiing off piste. On the way up I looked in his rucksack and found all sorts of pills. He explained to me that he always carries these ‘suicide’ sleeping pills in case he falls in a hole, and gets stuck for the duration. Mobile phones do not work in the places he goes, so the next best thing is to leave the stage gracefully and with style. Actually, it makes a lot of sense. I figure if one falls and breaks a leg it will take about eight hours to freeze to death, and if the break is an open wound it could be very painful. Hence the pills. When I asked him if they worked on girls, a lady going up with us thought we were disgusting and said so. Mind you, I was punished right away for making jokes as I fell badly in powder up to my waist and needed help to be dug out. What is amazing is the energy one wastes in getting up. By the time we got down it felt as if I had been skiing all day. Worse, it was humiliating to be helped up — and by a woman to boot — as Nicola had disappeared in some gulley and was making animal noises.

Anouilh thinks that the reason some people are furious with me here in Gstaad is not because I wrote that they must have known about Madoff, but because I described them as being so bloody ugly. And speaking of that disgusting human being, I see yet another brave man has taken his own life while the mega-crook is living in his Bagel penthouse. William Foxton was a highly decorated soldier who shot himself after losing his life’s savings with the venal, depraved Madoff. Actually, what everyone wants to know is why the shyster is still out on bail, free to wheel and deal and ensure his rotten family gets off. For Valentine’s last week I wanted to send him une gabardine en sapin, as the French say, but in the end I couldn’t be bothered. The mother of my children, who is a very devout Catholic, insists he will get his comeuppance in the afterlife. I ain’t so sure. I’d like to see 20 years in a very tough federal prison where lifers know how to deal with crooks like Madoff. But it won’t happen. He will cop a plea, give names away of people he doesn’t particularly like, and do six years in a soft place. Here’s a man who has ruined more lives than I have chased girls, and he will most likely get the same time as Conrad Black, whose only mistake was to take his company public.

But enough of this human filth. I had to cancel my trip to St Moritz because the weather closed in and the pilot said nein. Missed the lunch and the fun but it made the Queen of Greece very happy as I was giving a lift to her son. I am expendable but he is not.


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