What is it with these baldies? I turned on the television last week and watched as the identical twin of E.T. asked a guest on Newsnight whether there should be a second referendum. To call that a loaded question would be a redundancy of expression, as the female guest had harangued us with incessant negatives about Brexit and the shock horror at not getting her own way. The bald presenter and E.T. twin is obviously in the Remain camp. But why make it so obvious? (Emily Maitlis was my choice to succeed Paxo, if only for her pretty legs and toned arms, but then we can’t say that any more, can we?) The Brexit victory has been described as ‘the revenge of the Brownshirts’, a victory for xenophobia and mass hatred. In short, if you voted Brexit you are a Nazi. Such are the joys of having the cultural commentators that we have. But E.T. made it sound like the sort of referendum you have in a banana republic, where people keep voting until the desired result is achieved. Or an EU referendum, where the bureaucratic dictatorship orders us to vote, and vote again, until the EU gets its way. Is this the way forward for Britain?
Another baldie, one Roger Cohen writing in the Big Bagel Times, describes Trump’s victory as the end of the world and the end of truth. A bit rich, says I, coming from a bald man writing in a newspaper whose intentional distortion of news is as legendary as its long-windedness and holier-than-thou attitudes. Cohen uses references to Tolstoy and Orwell to announce the end of the world because of Trump and Putin — poor Cohen is obviously confused — but what drew my attention was the bald one’s rudeness about an ex-editor of mine and the present foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, referred to by this Johnny come lately American as a boorish charlatan ‘trafficking most vociferously in untruths’.
Now I ask you, dear readers, who is a bigger charlatan, a man like Cohen who regularly writes lachrymose prose about his family’s peregrinations from a shtetl in central Europe to South Africa, then on to Britain and now America — or something like that — for a newspaper that reports a shoot-out in a Florida nightclub straight out of the O.K. Corral, where the victims ranged from age 12 to 27, but fails to mention, on the grounds of political correctness, that all of the shooters and victims were black or hispanic? Or our man Boris, top boy at Eton, president of the Oxford Union, great writer, good with the ladies, editor of The Spectator and now foreign secretary? I think even Cohen’s mother, being less of a charlatan and liar than her own son, would vote for the latter, but then one never knows with mothers.
They’re green with envy, these bald types, but I should lay off matters tonsorial — I’m losing mine with age and all that — and turn instead to music. Maurice Ravel composed a piano concerto for the left hand only, and I write this with my left hand in his honour. Actually, four days ago I was having a very good time at home when I fell off my terrace and landed rather awkwardly on the gravelly surface ten feet below. I broke my left foot, my right elbow was gashed to the bone, and I sustained the kind of bruises all over my body one sustains when falling off a balcony dead drunk in the middle of the night. Mind you, I was — not for the first time — very lucky. I missed a spiked gate below by inches. I could have impaled myself on it and a hell of a lot of people would currently be discreetly raising their glasses.
I was driven to a hospital one hour away. Gstaad, being the Mecca of the nouveaux-riche and infamous, has done away with the local hospital as everyone here owns a doctor or two who lives at home. Upon arrival, I was wheeled into emergency, X-rayed, patched up, sown up, encased in plaster and told not to do karate or judo for a while. The whole operation took eight hours and I am now back home and writing feverishly with my left hand. The plaster on the right arm will come off first, but the deep wound will be around for some time, I was told. Absolutely no walking on crutches was the second command, but I’m already limping around the house as sitting down is against my nature. In fact, it drives me nuts. I read and watch crap on TV, but my summer’s gone the way of good manners. No boat —the children get to enjoy it — no Aegean, no swimming, no Greece. No Pugs reunion in Koronis. It’s bad enough to make a man turn to Hillary and all her false promises.
Such a slow recovery and staring at the cows makes a man look inward. Or so I’m told. Actually, all I’ve been thinking about is how to get out of these casts and chase some girls through the meadows. Just kidding. This is the umpteenth time I’ve been encased in plaster these past 50 years, but it has always been because of sporting accidents. Falling off a terrace is a first for me, and I hope it doesn’t happen again. But one never knows for sure.