Before one retired to the city, one lived in a quiet place. I long for that quiet but I am, I suppose, addicted to the life of the beautiful parasites, suckling on the tit of the establishment, here in the Royal Capital. The city brings with it a surfeit of abhorrent, vulgar bearded and cocktail dressed actors and journalists, slapping each other on the back and kissing each others cheeks. After a foray into a favourite haunt of those fuckers back in the mid to late eighties (or was it the nineties – I struggle to remember what was going on when?). I ended up drinking in one of their hotel bedrooms in order to bring me and the resident into some sort of reality after a particularly painful episode on LSD. I am of course, talking about an incident in my relative youth. Nothing would ever again take me into the bedroom of a hack.
The said resident had won an award for a documentary that had exposed one of Thatchers’ most impulsive and murderous episodes, the result of said expose had not been very much more than a tiny cheque and a metal statuette.
My memory of the frantic glugging of rum and eating of club sandwiches is as follows. Believe what you will. Within this story is a kernel of truth that Royalty would be foolish to deny.
Joining us in our comedown was a red wine and cola drinking Basque. Statuesque, almost Germanic and full of joie de vivre, cocaine and caffeine, her singing of “Oh Floo-er of Scochtland..,” still echoes in my mind when I watch the Scottish Rugby Team earnestly clasping their chest before a match.
“Thatcher disgusted me not for her politics, but for her dreadful fall into self parody,” said the journo, whose fate was to end up in a Thai prison after being forced to shit out a condom full of something local but illegal. “I asked her the killer question and you know what she said to me?”.
I remember at this stage I was not interested in Thatcher, or his story, as the Basque began screaming the words of Blue Monday to the tune of some Getxo village folk song. The tonal gymnastics and ridiculous pop lyrics conveying the feeling of the time that Britain was beautifully draining Scottish oil up the noses of totally unimportant, greedy, egoists, lizards and children of nihilists and dragons. This beautiful, lively young woman, who had snorted more white lines that night than even I had, was the daughter of a Basque – never call a Basque Spanish – Film Director.
“She said, ‘Don’t interrupt me, I’m in full flow!’. The vixen!”. The hack fell off the bed, his laughter unconstrained, breaking his ;shoulder, a fact he did not pick up on until three days later, when the three of us woke up in a Wine Bar in Soho at 5am as Toyah Wilcox belted out the national anthem of Iceland – or so she said and no-one was going to argue as none of us gave a shit.
Basque lady rolled a carrot, one that contained no tobacco and one that helped me clarify a fact. After one long toke, I knew the lizards in the room were in fact various members of the Cabinet. I won’t implicate any one of them, nor the minor Royal who was recently pictured in a fawning media training with some sort of army battalion, but lets just say, the activity he was engaged in has only partially become legal in recent more enlightened times. Implicating them in this story serves no function, for they are not the subjects this time. A further crate of good old Irish whiskey from the miserable Ungagged Editorial team may reveal names at a later date…
At this juncture I felt I may be able to begin a conversation with this woman damaged only by happiness, pretentious and politically left parents.
“Why are you here?” is what I thought I said but she seemed to be answering a question about my nose.
“Och, you look like pig! It is wide and large!” She said laughing at me and flicking the white powder from the end of it.
I took this as a commitment to engage with me rather than the filthy and gorgeous journalist who was now screaming in a corner of the room, pointing at a snake he said was flying through the air.
“Why are you here?” I ventured again.
“I am a guest,” she said, “Of that one,” and she pointed at the naked minor Royal, who if a large IRA bomb had at that moment in time been clamped to the side of RMS Britannia in the Channel, would have had his head embossed onto the coinage of the nation within weeks.
“How do you know the Private?” I asked.
At that moment, the door burst open and a man who looked like a squat Roy Plomley, came rushing in with an entourage that included Barbara Windsor. His crowd seemed to suck the very air out of this room. The journalist took the moment to stand up and piss in his trousers, crying that the bastards has burned his tutu. The crowd was, in fact, the kernel of the recently formed and almost immediately defunct SDP. You could have heard a pin drop only for the breathy chanting of Windsor as she invoked some of her demonic spirits she said she carried in her handbag.
I pulled on the carrot and the Basque looked at me and said, “Let’s get the fuck out a here, “ and grabbed me and the journalist by the hands and the next thing I remember is the three of us in previously mentioned jazz bar, chatting amiably to an Ulster Unionist with a penchant for selling secrets to the enemy. A snort or £2k’s worth and a day later, we were in a snug in a now long forgotten jazz shebeen in Crolly, County Donegal.
Apparently the journey had gone via Aldergrove Airport County Antrim, a large house owned by George Best on the County Down Coast and a Q&A on the Falls Road with the leadership of the Provisionals. The journo gained his last ever award for that one, though smelling of piss really did not enamour him to Gerry MacKalashnikov. All of these things are lost to my mind as a trip in those days meant a trip, though I’m told I am on film singing “Hey Jude,” bollock naked arm in arm with Best as we waded into the Irish sea.
Anyway, why am telling you about this ghastly and very unimportant foray into the yuppified days of addiction? Well, when we awoke to the sound of a jazz singer singing in her own Donegal accent (disconcerting as the song was delivered Jacques Brel like and en francais, “le port d’Amsterdam! le port d’Amsterdam!LE PORT D’AMSTERDAM, SO ‘TIS!”). Basque (for she never told me her name – but I was later to learn it as she climbed the slippery slope of the international banking world), turned to me at the end of the frenetic Irish woman’s set and said, “I met him in a drug den in Morroco.”.
Although the question had been set days before, the conversation did not seem out of place.
“What were you doing there,” I asked?
“I was driven there,” she replied.
“By whom,” I asked?
“By his future wife, who was the best damn drug mule in North Africa at the time.”
I was again aghast.
“The darling of the glossies?”
“I dinnae ken,” she said in her txakoli oiled accent.
“You don’t know who she is” I asked?
“Oh, I know who she is,” she replied, “but I dinnae ken, Glossies.”
“Glossies – magazines.”
“Ah.” She said as she glugged down the Guinness. “That woman was crazy. She was never sober in the eight months we drove from city to city along the African Mediterranean coast. And she was rarely not high or hallucinating. But there she is, on It is a knockout with Lady Diana and Big Ears…”
I have been reminiscing about royal drivers. One who smoked more pot than was ever grown in the outback outside Sydney came within a hairs breath of the throne. And at a guess if she had succeeded, we wouldn’t be in this Brexit pickle and I wouldn’t be sitting here in the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese writing this confession for a second-rate lefty website with only the promise of a bottle of Jamesons from a communist Irish editor.