Hugo Rifkind Hugo Rifkind

Hats off to Berlusconi. It takes a lot of energy to misbehave so thoroughly

I don’t know how Silvio Berlusconi finds the time.

I don’t know how Silvio Berlusconi finds the time.

I don’t know how Silvio Berlusconi finds the time. Me, I’m ragged. Get up, write a bit, wash, eat, feed the child, stagger to nursery, stumble to work, stay there, go home, eat again, fall asleep on sofa watching The Killing; that’s pretty much my lot.

But him? If it’s all to be believed? Wake, kick voluptuous Tunisian out of bed, dye hair, eat enough to stay fat, meet dental hygienist, make her a weather girl, meet weather girl, make her equalities minister, run Italy, bribe someone, get bribed by someone, Skype Colonel Gaddafi and say one thing, Skype Nicolas Sarkozy and say the other, head home, via a quite random 18th birthday party in Naples, Skype Angela Merkel in the car, affectionately call her a Nazi, Skype Barack Obama in the car, affectionately call him dusky, get home, change into dressing gown, and still his work isn’t done. Because then, he’s got to get through the bunga-bunga. And he’s 74. It’s just not normal.

What is bunga-bunga, anyway? We’ve been talking about it for months, and still, nobody quite seems to know. With a guy Silvio’s age, the initial suspicion is that somebody just heard it wrong, and he was actually talking about bingo-bingo. But no. It’s definitely something sexual. Although what? It reminds me of the Spice Girls song, where they really, really, really wanted to zig-ah-zig-ah. Nobody knew what that was, either. You think it’s got to be something truly depraved but, really, even for the wildly athletic, how many options are there?

Firsthand reports, even if they are to be believed, vary from your vanilla, common or garden drug-fuelled orgy (not my garden; maybe Caligula’s garden) to entirely weird stories about sex acts performed on fertility statues.

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