High life | 8 January 2011

Taki lives the High Life.

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Six hours into the new year and already there was trouble. My own bash to welcome 2011 with 50 of my nearest finished around 5 a.m., so I rolled down towards the Palace hotel still looking for some action. I had a very pretty German girl in tow, Fiona, a friend of my son, so I swept into the lobby in style. Then it happened. I saw the vision to end all visions and a desperate, sensuous pain — the type that can make a grown man cry out — hit me as never before. This is the curse upon those who follow the supreme Beauty — that is to say, the Beauty that belongs not to ideas and ideals but to living forms.

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder, but I say that’s all crap. Real beauty is rare and extremely precious. It means torment and despair and it leaves a man enchanted and trembling. Take my word for it. This one was the real thing. And she came up and started chatting.

Now I won’t play coy. I recognised her despite my extremely inebriated state. She’s Russian-born, very young, a so-called supermodel and married to a titled Englishman with lotsa real estate. We discussed what ends a marriage. Or rather I did. Lack of good sex or utter boredom. She was discreet and non-commital. She kept staring at me with a very amused look on her face, while three men, two of whom I knew well, hung on her every word.

She never told me her name or where she came from or where she was staying, and I never told her mine. I said I had once seen her at Ascot from far away and left it at that. Then we parted. It was ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’ all over again, the tragedy of bodily craving transferred on to the psychic plane. I’ve been destroyed ever since. Plus the ghastly AOL doesn’t work in my house and I am not sure I can send this column on time. Oh, for the days of typewriters. I hate the modern world, but never more than the present, where some AOL glitch can ruin one’s life. As if I didn’t have enough problems with La Belle Dame.

The secret of life, of course, is to take every risk without fear, and I’d take any risk to win ‘la dame de six heures du matin’, but what risk can one take to beat Father Time? It’s too depressing for words.

And speaking of depressing matters, the most appalling arrival in Gstaad since the plague of 400 years ago which killed nine-tenths of the inhabitants, was the coming of one Goga Ashkenazi, a woman of unspeakable vulgarity, who will draw people of her ilk to this once bucolic Alpine village, and in no time will turn it into a centre for lowlifes like herself. I cannot emphasise what a disaster this is. The coarseness, greed, avariciousness and ruthlessness of such people make the crude social climbers of yesterday seem to possess plenipotential dignity by comparison. Underneath the flashy jewels there is a moral and intellectual sewer the size of the Serengeti Plain. I’ve never met the woman and hope I never will, but one thing that’s sure is that after her arrival the deluge.

Leading up to my New Year’s Eve blast I reread the Ciano diaries, Count Galeazzo Ciano being the son-in-law of Mussolini and Italian foreign minister during the second world war. Ciano was a Don Juan but never once mentions women in his writings — the way it should be. Mephitic and mendacious types tried to blacken his name even after his execution by suggesting that he was drunk in front of the firing squad and had requested hookers for his last night on earth. I don’t believe a word of it.

Just as I was finishing them, I turned on the TV and Don Giovanni came on, the Jonathan Kent Glyndebourne production in modern dress. Perfect timing. Reading Ciano, everyone talking about Assange’s women in Sweden, and the great Don on the telly. This production had the most beautiful Elvira ever, and Elvira has always been my favourite because even after the Don is exposed as a rapist, a liar and a murderer she still loves him and feels he can reform. What fools some women are. When the faithful Leporello asks him while they’re on the run why can’t he cool it for a while, the Don tells him that it would be ‘unfair to other women if he were loyal only to one’. Now that’s what I call a great man. Unlike Julian Assange, who has provided a great service but somehow seems sleazy where the fair sex is concerned. Don Giovanni, Galeazzo Ciano, now Julian Assange, it’s a downward trend, wouldn’t you say?

And now for some good news. The sainted editor has assured me in writing that I can marry The Spectator’s deputy editor this year. I know, I know, I’ve been left at the altar three times, but persistence is what seduction is all about. The Don persisted throughout his life — a bit too much in the case of Donna Anna — and showed great courage when the Commendatore’s ghost asked him to repent or burn in hell. Never, says the Don. Richard III persisted with Lady Anne even after she called him a lump of foul deformity. She also called him a devil, a toad, a hedgehog, a disfigured infection of a man, but his persistence won out. The deputy editor of The Spectator will become Mrs Taki in the year 2011 or I will follow my hero the Don into fiery hell. Happy New Year!