When we were putting together the latest issue of Spectator Life, we had a debate about whether to put Donald Trump on the cover – not out of any political squeamishness, but because the article about him by Alex Connock is 26 years old. Back in 1990, Alex was a cub reporter for an American weekly magazine and was sent to Atlantic City to write a piece about Trump’s latest casino. The billionaire took a shine to him and made him an offer that, as a journalist, he couldn’t refuse: to join him and Michael Jackson on a trip in a private jet. Alex’s account of that adventure is so funny – and so illuminating – we decided it justified its cover slot in spite of its age. I particularly enjoyed Alex’s description of the King of Pop:
Michael was a nervous presence, taller than you’d think, with a finely shaped nose and visible make-up. If he had scars, you couldn’t see them. He spoke very little and in that weird, high-pitched whisper which would not have felt out of place in a Star Trek movie. I couldn’t make out what he was saying and thought it would be impertinent to ask him to repeat himself. So I nodded along, grinning enthusiastically. I’d be surprised if Trump could make head or tail of it either, but he was polite and good-humoured about it. All casino owners have a good poker face.
There are plenty of other goodies to get your teeth into in the current issue. Alex Wickham, chief reporter for the Guido Fawkes website, has put together a revealing profile of Jon Lansman, the surprisingly affable leader of Momentum. Emily Hill has written a piece about the rise and fall of Cameron’s Notting Hill Set, which has disappeared almost without a trace since his resignation.