10 MARCH 1990, Page 47

High life

Mistaken identity



hehe last time I failed to see Farah Diba was in 1970, when I was kidnapped from Gstaad while helicopter-skiing and flown to St Moritz against my will. My kidnapper was Gianni Agnelli, who had a cheap laugh seeing me walk around the Palace Hotel in a ski outfit while everyone else was dressed to the nines.

Needless to say, the Shah and his wife were riding high then, and every night there was a party in their honour, but the poor little Greek boy was not invited when the host discovered that some of us actually ski without our dinner jackets.

Twenty years later, once again dressed only for the slopes, I was again denied access to the ex-empress, this time by a gorilla, and in the Eagle Club to boot. This time they blamed it on security. The five goons blocking my way to the terrace asked me to use the other door, the one that faces the kitchen. I tried to be funny and told them I couldn't possibly, but they have as much sense of humour as Pinter and the blonde, so I dropped it.

The ex-king of Greece is also in these parts, enjoying a holiday away from his London holidays, and my spies tell me he is making noises about returning to the Olive Republic. Not being a monarchist, I shall not be offering him any advice, except perhaps to remind him that if he wants to be king of the Greeks, he should address himself to Greek newspapers and not to the New York Times, as he did a couple of months ago, unless he wants to run for mayor of the Big Bagel.

I guess kings in general and Greek kings in particular are slow learners, but even the dumbest Glucksburg is better than the grotesque Sartzetakis whom the crook installed in the presidential palace five years ago. And speaking of grotesque human beings, boy did I enjoy Pinter's and the faded blonde's favourite Sandinista having a blub after losing the election. Well, I guess from now on it's Castro and Kim Il Sung for the Pinters, although I hear the Korean finds them vulgar.

Otherwise the weather has been perfect, and buj for the lack of snow it could have been the best of seasons. I lunch with Bill Buckley and Alistair Home every day and then the three of us ski until five, Bill doing his journalism before lunch and his novel- writing after skiing. Twice a week we are joined by John Kenneth Galbraith, whose novel A Tenured Professor has been get- ting very good reviews. When I asked him how the book was doing he looked at me as if I were a fool and said, 'The reviewers are favourably comparing it to Candide . . . He then gave us his prescription for a good sleep when at high altitude. keep one of my books next to my bed, and if I happen to wake up I read a few lines and tell myself, "Boy, can this bastard write," and then I drop off to sleep peacefully.'

At night it's jet-set time, and I try to make sure no one among the people I see has ever heard of Candide. This week at the GreenGo I was sure I spotted Pinter, the blonde and Salman Rushdie, but upon closer inspection the trio turned out to be Glenys Kinnock, a Belgian stockbroker and Adnan Kashoggi, or at least I think so. I was a bit out of it so I took the liberty of lecturing Kashoggi — always under the impression it was Rushdie — about giving back some of his ill-gotten gains to authors at Viking who have suffered as a- result of his self-induced troubles. Also about paying back the tax-payers who contribute to his security. Rushdie, or Kashoggi, or whoever it was, agreed, but then La Kinnock made a fuss and I dropped that case too.