Passing ships in the night
SATURDAY, 7PM. The phone rang as I was working on my new book, My 10 Greatest Life Insurance Sales — to Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, Genghis Khan, Henry VIII (“You’ve got to have ‘Wife Life’, Your Majesty! Have you ever thought what would happen if one of your wives was beheaded? who’d do the cooking, take the kids to school?”) It was Simon, a journalist friend, whose job is flying round the world testing the latest Aston Martin or seeing if a watch, costing as much as my flat, will tell the time strapped to his wrist in a luxury five-star hotel in Buenos Aires.
“Do you want to come to a party?” “I’m a life insurance salesman, I never get invited anywhere, so yes!”
Thirty minutes later I’m on the huge roof terrace of a penthouse suite of Claridge’s, with 200 very glamorous looking people. I was clinging to the railings talking to a six foot tall Brazilian model, when she suddenly looked faint. “It’s him!” she said. “Who?” “The handsomest man in the world!” I turned to come face to face with David Gandy, the superstar male model from Essex.
“Excuse me, David,” I said, “but I just can’t believe that you are here too! There’s not enough room for the two handsomest men in the world at the same party. I’m sorry, but one of us has got to leave.” I got a taxi home. Tuesday. After my usual three breakfasts at Claridge’s, I saw a tall young man with tousled long black hair and a black t- shirt walk by.
“Good morning, are you in a band ?” I asked. “I’m Jack White,” he said. “He’s the biggest rock star in the world,” my guest whispered. “Jack, I’m a huge fan... welcome to London”.
Wednesday. I read in the paper about a tiny primary school in Cumbria with only 13 pupils that had been put into special measures by Ofsted for “racist and homophobic bullying.” All the children were under 12 and all were white.
Later, I got a call from a client who had just gone to pick up his 12-year-old daughter’s new passport from the Passport Office in Victoria. She’d written “England”as her place of birth.
“It doesn’t exist,” said the woman behind the counter. “Sorry... what doesn’t exist? “England,” she said.
“What are you talking about?” he asked. “England,” she said, “There ‘s no such country as England — it’s the UK.”
Friday. I read that George Clooney is very upset with the Daily Mail which had run a story about his Lebanese future mother-in-law not wanting him to marry her beautiful intelligent lawyer daughter.
“Why couldn’t she marry a Druze?” his future mother-in-law had supposedly said. “She’s not even a Druze!” George said. Good for him. She never looked Druish to me.
One of us had to leave the party. Guess who went home?