19 MAY 1984, Page 38

Low life

Brought to book

Jeffrey Bernard

Remaining and regular readers of !It ago I mentioned the strange case cif 1114 .1.%column may remember that some tull'e Coutt's Bank doorman whom I can afros one morning when I entered the Strari,_ branch some years ago on a begging 511; sion. The fact that I had an account ther; was in no way flash, it was simply banked there and I was working at the t,1111,.,, for the Daily Mirror. Anyway, I walkeu - one morning only to find the cote sionaire doing the Times crossword Pun: This was something of a psychological se back. I recorded the fact in the back of II mind but never mentioned it again uut, that IPt-e recently when I paid a call to the ChelSe4 Arts Club to find the doorman readl Henry James. That provoked a tiny CO` respondence and again put me in MY Plarii Until then and this last week I'd always f it slightly comforting to spend the time day with my inferiors since doing so always Makes it so easy to be nice, but last week I got the literary soporific punch — as Gene TurtheY called his when he whacked Hem- Mgway for showing off — when I walked into Maxim's in Panton Street to find a re- markable doorman called Duncan reading no less a student of form than Nietzsche. Now, as you may recall my telling you, I i once got duffed up by a fellow coal miner in Hanley Deep pit in 1953 for taking my lunch (snapping) down the pit wrapped up 111 the Times, but never did I read Proust in MY dressing room before a fight in my box- ing days and never did I get discovered reading Sir Thomas Browne between dishes When I was washing up in Lyons Corner House in Tottenham Court Road many

rs ago. I have to admit to a mild flirta- tI9 n with Byron on a building site but Nietzsche in a cloakroom takes the biscuit.

ut anyway, Maxim's I can recommend. I kicked off with poached haddock garnish- ed with quails eggs, followed on with roast duck and red beans, and finished with a fruit salad that comprised West Indian and oriental fruits. It is a nicely done up restaurant — art nouveau — and my com- panion, unlike the food writer's compa- nion, picked up the bill which I had the 800d manners not to look at and which ca.Me to £35. On the way out I had a word with Duncan the doorman — I made a somewhat jocular remark about Nietzsche --"b and he told me that he usually reads his i„°,Oks in the original German. He further ',"1a°rmed me that he knew who I was and rhe has a subscription to the Spectator. reading seen a buffet car attendant on a train derelict New Society and I have seen a userelict on a park bench using the New alt„a`eLst.tIan as a napkin but I doubt very s,,_eu whether these people had your actual Zuseription. I can only surmise that there t'hast be money in being a doorman and that plunge from navvying into journalism was a grave error on my part.

Anyway after Maxim's, the day

assauG,`,,,eteriorated I went to the Coach .and orses and had a few drinks with my friend b ra.hatn Mason. After what we in the lted call iissaulted 'the one', Graham suddenly lity right knuckle with his face and e_a.M writing to you with great difficulty at !ants Moment since my fourth and fifth 1:11.acarpals were then broken by his ,"Igerent forehead. The hand that once at- tempted an ineffectual tattoo on Sandy champion face when he was featherweight Ana,tripion of the world is now out of action. hti." this is not the first time Graham has mutual Me- He once refused to give me our qua' doctor's telephone number when arorun out of insulin in the Swiss Tavern ea' he once turned off my drip when he tryin. e to visit me in hospital. Could he be bmiriLg to give me some sort of hint? The " hand does of course mean that I the t write out a cheque to William Hill for Nee„rn"eY their man on the rails lent me at eie"Market and if this typewriter wasn. t my incI'd be in the Coach drinking with

eft and I shall have to learn to kick

like Taki. And the awful 'High life' man has had me thrown out of his cottage, which has screwed up the forthcoming sum- mer. His facetious remarks concerning my having left enough vodka on the premises to keep a Cossack regiment happy were taken at face value by his landlady and she now considers me to be undesirable. A pla- toon or troop possibly, but not a regiment; certainly not a doorman.