Spite and envy

Broadsides from the pirate captain of the Jet Set

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On board S/Y Bushido

With plenty of time on my hands to read — television and DVDs are forbidden on board although both are available — I am shocked at the severity, downright viciousness, in fact, of the reviews about my two old friends, Jimmy Goldsmith and John Aspinall, in John Pearson’s book The Gamblers. You’d think they’d murdered somebody and got away with it, judging not from Pearson’s opus, but from those reviewing it. OK, Lucan did murder an innocent, but got away with nothing. I have not read the book, just some criticisms, and the latter tells a lot about some of the reviewers. Let’s be open about this. Ugly people are more likely to dislike those born with good looks, just as people who are mal baisé tend to be jealous of those whom women find attractive. Just think. Here are two men who went to public school, made their own way in life without a penny from their fathers, had a great time, made hundreds of friends, and left fortunes behind for their children, not to mention breeding and saving thousands of animals in the case of John Aspinall. Oh, yes, I almost forgot, and having lotsa beautiful, very much desired women in the process, as in Jimmy Goldsmith’s case.

I ask you, what is wrong with that? So they didn’t invent a cure for cancer, but nor have those calling them gruesome, fascist and nasty. Both Jimmy and Aspers did not suffer fools, did not take crap from anyone, especially from those calling themselves journalists, and lived their lives as they saw fit. The answer, of course, is envy. Here’s a pretty gruesome-looking chap, with a grotty wife, grotty children and a grotty house. He is assigned to review a book about people he has never met and only knows about from reading the tabloids. He looks around his grotty environment and begins to read about a world which he can never enter. Bingo! Enter the green-eyed monster and then some. In fairness, just because someone doesn’t fancy the lifestyle of, say, flamboyant men like my two buddies doesn’t necessarily mean they envy them, but human nature being what it is, I’m not about to give them the benefit of the doubt.

As luck would have it, there’s also a new book out about another old friend, Porfirio Rubirosa. I recently profiled him in this space, so I won’t bore you with more details. Again, I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know if the writer or the reviewer got his dates wrong, but someone surely did. Yes, it’s true, Rubi wasted his life, but did he hurt anyone except for me in the boxing ring? So he hit and ran where women were concerned. So have I all my life, and so have billions of others. And, no, I do not sit up at night worrying that the Commen-datore’s statue is about to come alive and take me down below. Rubi never spilled the beans about women, nor did Jimmy, Aspers or, I’m glad to say, yours truly. We will extend that privilege to the ‘gentlemen’ of the press. In the meantime, I will enjoy the memories of many beautiful ladies.

But enough about spite and envy. Let’s talk a little about bull—t. As in Tony Blair hailing the late King Fahd’s ‘great vision and leadership’. Come again? If it weren’t for the short-sightedness of Fahd, a big buddy of Aspinall’s, incidentally, perhaps Harry Laden — aka Osama bin Laden — would have been content to buy drinks in White’s bar instead of blowing people up. (Apparently, both the Duke of Beaufort and Nicholas Soames are in trouble with the club because neither has apologised for sponsoring him as a member.) Blair’s latest posturing about terrorism, while he remains committed to supporting the European human rights convention, is as phony as his message to Saudi Arabia. Human rights mean only one thing. They can kill and maim us with impunity, whereas we have to have proof beyond any doubt to try them if and when we catch them. Posturing is what Blair is all about, no ifs or buts about it, and his ministers are even worse than he is. Yet his popularity keeps climbing. Tells us something about modern Britain. And the new Brit.

Mind you, I shouldn’t be writing about such low lifes. Here I am anchored off Patmos, the sacred Greek island dominated by the imposing monastery of St John, standing on top of the hill above the harbour. I visited the cave where St John wrote the Book of Revelation. St John the Divine was exiled here from Ephesus in the year 95 AD by the Emperor Domitian for preaching Christianity, and it was on this island that he lived the life of an ascetic and wrote the Apocalypse under the influence of visions. Patmos is a civilised island where civilised people like John Stefanidis and Michael of Greece own houses. Stefanidis’s is a jewel of a house, built on a cliff with terraced gardens hanging as in a theatre set. Only a fool like me can be in Patmos and write about the people I’ve just written about.