Move over, Blair I’m solving world conflicts
I woke up this morning — always a good sign — and thought I’d put on a pair of blue corduroy trousers. I hadn’t worn them for a year and the zip wouldn’t zip up. It wouldn’t move, not even a centimetre. After five minutes of tugging and huffing I was exhausted — who knew trying to do up your flies could be so tiring? I resigned myself to either finding an alteration tailor to install a new zipper or going back to bed, when I saw a can of Three in One oil on my bedside shelf. I’d never seen it before in my life. I am the least handyman person on earth. Could it have been a Chanukah present ?
I couldn’t open it! It had a long thin red nozzle . It wouldn’t squirt.
So I’ve got a zipper that won’t zip and its would-be saviour, an oil can that won’t squirt.
I rang my friend Paul, he’s spent his life pulling on mens zippers; For the sake of not being sued I should mention that he’s got a menswear shop. He must know how to open a can of Three in One, I thought.
“You’re meant to snip it off!” he said, “You know...circumcise it!”
I snipped and I squirted, the recalcitrant zipper sprung up of its own accord— a miracle! — it was like the Red Sea opening for Moses. Who says Jews are rubbish handymen? Eat your words Jackie Mason!
Out for dinner in Soho. In the bar waiting for a table I got into a conversation with Mo, a young American Jewish Palestinian guy married to a German Protestant “My mother’s American Jewish and she married a Palestinian Muslim,” he said ordering another martini. “Welcome to London,” I said.
“I rowed for Palestine here once, where was that? Henley?”
“Mo, you’re a movie just waiting for Steven Spielberg.” I said, “you’re a real life Chariots of Fire.” I introduced him to Lily, my Scottish Jewish Chinese Canadian daughter. I was tempted to invite them to join us, we could have sorted out the whole Middle East peace deal over dinner. Who needs the UN Security Council?
Tonight I went to see Motown the Musical, the story of Berry Gordy Jr the founder of Motown records, who discovered every soul great from Marvin Gaye to the Supremes, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. In the middle of Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand the actress playing Diana Ross asked everybody to hold the hand of the person sitting next to them. So that’s how I came to be holding hands with a lovely young woman from Saudi Arabia. “Riyadh?” I asked.”Maida Vale,” she said. She turned out to live round the corner from me. So that’s two nights running for Middle East peace! Now that Tony Blair’s resigned I might have to seriously consider applying to be the new Middle East Peace envoy. Based here of course — I’m not going to Syria! Are you crazy? Too dangerous!
“You want to sit down and talk peace? Fine, let’s have a coffee in Golders Green. At a stretch I’ll go as far as Stanmore.”
I was asleep dreaming a true story about a Chinese family I once discovered in the middle of the night in the early 1970s living in a room in my flat in Baker Street.”Hello — what are you doing here?” I’d asked the father “You met me in the kitchen of the disco I was working in, washing up,” he said, “we had nowhere to live and you said we could live here.”
“Really? Did I? How long have you been here?” I asked. “Three months,” he said. ‘Goodnight.’ I said and went back to bed It was a very large flat: I don’t like to boast but it had a west and an east wing.
My mother who was married to my father for 67 years has only just discovered he kept a diary. “How couldn’t you have known he kept a diary? All those years?” I asked her, “I can’t believe it.”
“I was busy.” she said.
I took one home and sat down and opened itl.
He’d written “The Four Stages of Senility.”
1. forgetting peoples names
2. forgetting peoples faces
3. forgetting to zip up
4. forgetting to unzip.
My father who died four years ago aged almost 98 and would have been 102 last week, made me laugh on his birthday. Thanks, Dad — love you.
A new Peace Envoy?