The Daily Telegraph - Saturday
We’re desperate to judge Boris by his kitchen – but can this really be it?
This week, after a brief hiatus, Jennifer Arcuri was back in the news revealing fresh details about her affair with Boris Johnson, plus a “selfie” photograph (exhibit A, right) taken in his kitchen.
We weren’t that bothered, we’d moved on; but the kitchen selfie has changed all that, because very few things interest us as much as other people’s kitchens. You would have thought the master bedroom would be the snooper’s holy grail, but no.
From the kitchen we can tell everything we need to know about the owner’s aspirations, domestic arrangements, character, even their integrity. It’s all there to see, which is why there’s a feeding frenzy every time a politician is foolish enough to let themselves be pictured standing to attention in front of their two double ovens (Tory Housing Secretary James Brokenshire) or hiding in their second kitchen (Ed Miliband).
Where are the jolly tea towels, singed oven gloves and shelves full of sticky books?
like Kitchens Miliband’s, can be or revealingly lavishly kitted austere out and suspiciously Bisto-ad-perfect like Dominic Raab’s (we smelled not just a staged photo op but a life ruthlessly micromanaged). They can be stripped of all clues like Grant Shapps’s, or thoroughly normal and reassuringly to type like the Camerons’ kitchen in Chipping Norton, which ticked all the modest, desirable kitchen boxes right down to the word-making fridge mag- nets, the butler’s sink, and the brushed-steel Ikea pendant lights.
You can’t hide who you are in a kitchen, is the point, and if you try you’ll always get found out.
Which brings us to this picture taken, Arcuri claims, in the kitchen of Boris’s marital home at the time. No reason to disbelieve her – but then again: can this be Boris’s kitchen? Really? They’ve got one of those industrial mixer taps with the pull-out spray spout: is it possible to imagine Boris operating a spray tap? I can’t. And then there’s the two Airbnb standardissue wine glasses, both filled with a BMA-approved “finger” of red wine. What’s that about? There are no stools or anywhere to sit. The whole place is so tidy and shiny and empty it looks like the catering area in Conservative Central Office. The Johnson kitchen we were imagining could not look less like this. Where, for example, is the other bottle of gutsy red? Where’s the cheese, the chorizo and the corkscrew, or the bowl of going-off fruit? Where are the notice boards and fridge magnets securing pointless bad photographs, godchildren’s drawings and shopping lists? The jolly tea towels, singed oven gloves, shelves groaning with sticky books and dusty bottles of chilli oil? How can Boris ever have been present in that kitchen and not left a sheath of papers spilling onto the floor, or at the very least some unsightly muddy trainers?
This is the man who, at that time, was going running in his swimming trunks and a hoodie he’d evidently nicked from one of his sons. The inside of his car looked like a tramp was living in it. Very weird. If this is Boris’s kitchen, then maybe we don’t know him as well as we thought we did?