20 MAY 1995, Page 55

High life

Buddies I have known


Afew years ago, in these here pages, our very own Auberon Waugh, wrote an amusing piece about yours truly. He wrote that I was a Cypriot waiter by the name of George, whom he met just as I was starting to wait on tables somewhere in Brighton. It was a very funny article following some rude remark I had made about his book. In all truthfulness, I laughed the loudest.

Now comes the good part. Stewart Steven, the editor of the Evening Standard, just happens to be a master of conspiracy, as well he should be. He has, after all, co-authored a book that claims Martin Boorman is alive and living some- where . . . in Brighton, as far as I know. When S.S. read Bron's piece, I assume things began to ring in his head. He decided to investigate this fraudulent Cypriot who claimed he was a patrician Greek millionaire's son. So far so good.

This week, while in the Big Olive com- peting in the veteran's tennis champi- onships, some of my old tennis buddies spilled the beans. It seems Mr Steven has assigned an intrepid reporter to uncover the fraud by sending him to Athens, New York and some other exotic places in order to find out the truth about the poor little Greek boy.

Well, all I can say is that he is striving to prove the unprovable. Alas, I did not start out in life as a waiter, my father's family does belong to Venetian-Ionian aristocracy — however obscure — and he was one of Greece's greatest industrialists and a very successful shipowner. He cer- tainly owned the biggest textile mill in the Middle East — 'Sudan-American Textile Industry, John Theodoracopulos' — and his no good second son did represent the Olive Republic in tennis, Karate and ski.

But enough bragging. The point of it all is that Mr Steven has taken on board his conspiracy theory and nothing will per- suade him that he's wrong. His minions, in the meantime, must be having a hell of a time researching. Needless to say, they have not exactly contacted any of my friends, but I do envy their paid for pere- grinations in search of the truth. By this summer, I am told, their expenses will have reached almost 100,000 big ones, still, Vere Rothermere is very rich.

Meanwhile, last week I spoke at Eton, to the Cosmopolitan Society, whose lead- ing light and secretary is Jack Wakefield, my old friend Sir Humphrey Wakefield's boy. Jack Wakefield and Nick Bolton res- urrected the society, which meets in the Upper School, a very long room sur- rounded with plaster heads of famous Old Etonians such as Grey, Shelley, Gladstone and so on. It was one of the best nights I've ever spent. Not only were the boys friendly and full of good cheer, the atmo- sphere was perfect. I had young Nicholas Embiricos, the grandson of my oldest friend Aleco Goulandris, join us, and, alas, I got a bit tight at dinner, but still I think the speech and question period afterwards worked. It was all due to the boys, whose questions were funny and irreverent at times, but always in good faith and in an extremely polite manner.

Ian Wallace, the master in charge of the Society, offered wonderful wine, Ed Deveraux marvellous champagne, and a boy whose name I didn't catch asked me: `Have you ever indulged in hanky-panky with a man?' No,' was the answer, 'but if I had I wouldn't tell you.'

Jack Wakefield told me the turnout was the largest of the year. The reason for this is simple. Never underestimate, even among Etonians, the urge to hear gossip and things superficial. It was an honour to be there, especially for a once lowly Cypriot waiter who was born George.