Twice the Blabbering Fool

Ah Spring, the spring of our frost bitten age. At the Polish Club in London, a wonderful place studded with portraits of Polish patriots who have fought and sacrificed for the West’s freedom. In this beautiful and heroic setting, your High Life correspondent gave a speech about what it’s like writing for the Spectator and Takimag, with some odds and ends about my life in general of fifty years ago. The big surprise turned out to be the turn out. Packed to the rafters with fifty or so turned down at the door. This was the work of Lady Belhaven and Basia Hamilton, both Poles, the former’s family massacred by Ukrainians, those nice butchers the EU threatens to go to war with Russia for. (Some threat, some army.)

How to Be a Gentleman ... Bridges, John Best Price: $3.50 Buy New $6.50 (as of 04:45 EST - Details) The sweetness of the past has both a poignancy and a pang. A friend recently told me over lunch I sound too nostalgic and I should cut it out. But I’m tortured by the nostalgia of my youth, I answered, so why should I? And Malgosia Belhaven insisted that I talk about the high life of my youth – I was about to bore the audience with a speech about Greek economics – so I did. The only trouble being a large bottle of Polish vodka on the rostrum, one that the gentleman that introduced me and I imbibed freely from, but one that made for a good atmosphere, at least for yours truly. No use going to the Polish Club and sipping diet coke, n’est-ce pas?

Essential Manners for ... Post, Peter Best Price: $0.39 Buy New $4.32 (as of 12:45 EST - Details) My introducer, Victor Poklewski Koziell, whose autobiography was brilliantly reviewed in the Spectator some months ago, has been known to bend an elbow at times. As the reviewer in the Speccie wrote, when does he find the time to write? But in all the years I’ve known Victor and his wonderful wife Vickie, I have never seen him drunk, nor have I ever seen him without a drink. He began by saying that I was a very gay man, but hastened to add, “in the old sense of the word.” The speech was followed by a question and answer period, my favourite time, actually, because the pressure’s off and one starts to have fun just as the vodka is kicking in. Most people wanted to know what Jeremy Clarke and Rod Liddle were like, and what were some of Takimag’s writers compared to the former like. And was I still suffering from a broken heart over the deputy editor’s refusal to play house with me? Ha ha ha, was my answer, “she’s toast, history, curtains, finished,” and I’ll tell you why in a second. My admiration for Jeremy’s writing is well known, and his book with my introduction tells the whole story about how I feel towards him. (It’s out this summer.)

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