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?

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