High life | 22 June 2016

Don’t they realise that The Taming of the Shrew is meant to be a comedy, not a Trump manifesto?

High life | 22 June 2016
Text settings

I always thought the Freuds a pretty sordid bunch, and after the latest revelations it seems I wasn’t far off. I first met Clement Freud when John Aspinall employed him as an adviser for food and wine. He was lugubrious and aggressive, and none of us punters liked him one bit. He was not a gambler but talked as if he were a big one. While crossing the Atlantic on board the QE2 back in 1974, he tried to pRlay the tough guy with me over — yes, you guessed it — a lady, but it didn’t work. But there’s no use giving him the business now that he’s dead, so all I will say is that I found him just a bit less loathsome than his painter brother and leave it at that.

Sexual depravity is something unknown in the Taki family, but I suppose it is to be expected if one’s name is Freud. I never read Sigmund, but wasn’t he always banging on about depraved sexual matters and dreams? What he should have been writing about is male abusers imposing their views on women in Muslim societies. We Christians are taught to worship women from day one. Mind you, western feminists see it the other way round. They reckon our culture is all about men controlling women. The feminists then say that the Islamic State appeals to men who desire that sort of control over women. That is to say, our culture and Isis are one and the same. Trust feminists to find a roundabout way to get it as wrong as that.

The Orlando terrorist was a wife-beating control freak, but some ludicrous woman in Washington DC by the name of Epstein declared the killer to be ‘the outcome of the United States’ political culture, not the Islamic State’s’. The ludicrous New York Times reported this bullshit with a melancholic straight face. I laughed out loud. Thank God I’m back in London because things are getting very confused over on the other side. Everyone sounds as hysterical as the Guardian’s Owen Jones, a man with many fetishes, I assume. The next thing you know, this trans business will be taken seriously.

But if you thought comedy was dead, you obviously haven’t read anything by one Laura Collins-Hughes. Here she is writing about The Taming of the Shrew: ‘The ending, which finds Kate docile at last, is meant to be winsome. But when she gives her final speech, reminding women of their duty to their husbands — it always makes me feel sick. It always makes me cry.’ She then goes on to tell us of her despair about the play and its most toxic line, when Kate exhorts other wives to place their hands below their husbands’ feet.

All I can say is I’d rather fall into the hands of the Islamic State than spend any time with these humourless harridans. It’s a Shakespeare comedy, for Christ’s sake, not a Trump political manifesto.

I suppose that what the world needs are more laughs, but everyone seems to be so uptight nowadays, as uptight as that great aristocrat Philip Green. Boy, he looked like a lizard caught in a mosquito net as he tried to look tough and spat back answers to MPs. He should either be forced to pay back £600 million or so, or to live in Monaco for the rest of his miserable life — a very close call. Green is the type who gives his boat a name that is the direct opposite of his own character. Lionheart suggests a courageous, proud person. Although it is none of my business, I think he should name his boat Pensioner, in honour of all the thousands he’s screwed.

Finally, Pugs celebrated its tenth anniversary last week, and our annual lunch was one of the best ever. I say so because we sat down at 1 p.m. and sort of finished at 8 p.m. That’s what’s called a successful lunch. Nick Scott was voted president for life yet again, Bob Miller was elevated to vice-commodore, our commodore Tim Hoare brought 20 bottles of the best red wine this side of Lafite, both Greek royal princes, Pavlos and Nikolaos, attended, and the only sour note was our president, who with schoolmarmish sincerity made fun of the poor little Greek boy’s malapropisms when using such words as lambent and sclerotic. I cordially endured it and then got very drunk. Nice to be back in London again, especially if I wake up with the right — Leave and never ever look back — result just as you’re about to read this.