22 JULY 1995, Page 38

Low life

Dreaming of the Queen

Jeffrey Bernard

My Superman costume hangs lifeless and moth-eaten in the wardrobe and I fear that I am condemned to spend the rest of my life as Clark Kent. No more winging my way down Old Compton Street to the res- cue, I shall just be whingeing away wearing my spectacles, jeans and blazer in this bor- ing office called my flat.

Last week, I entertained two young women for supper. Two days later, I received a postcard from the one I knew quite well which was such a kind thank-you card and so complimentary about me that I have been feeling rather gloomy ever since. The sentiments tell me that I am now defused, rendered harmless, no longer dan- gerous to know, completely benign and, in fact, Clark Kent, as I said. Even my night- mares have turned into quite pleasant dreams which I won't bore you with. Suffice it to say that I have been getting on terribly well with the Queen recently and last week she asked me to the Palace no less than three times. I have no desire to- be given a Freudian interpretation of these dreams. I am just pleased to be able to drink tea with her out of bone china cups and to listen to her talk about racing.

All of this could possibly be a side-effect of taking Prozac every day for 70 weeks. It was Mr Cobb who put me on to it immedi- ately after he took my leg off and although I have never heard anyone say a good word for it, I suppose that being a disabled Clark Kent is an easy option, in spite of the Inland Revenue informing me that unless I give them £30,000 they will make me bankrupt.

Which reminds me, there was some dreadful television last weekend in which the heroes and heroines played Customs and Excise people who only the English could possibly admire and be happy with, as they were when they were being bombed out of house and home during the Blitz. Were, there as many heroes as there are now on television dramas playing uniformed or white-coated officials such as policemen and doctors, before the Thatcher years? No doubt there will soon be a television series in which the stars will play Nazi, anti-smok- ing and health officials, and a serial about militant feminists seeking revenge for some- thing they have long since forgotten. It is a tradition already.

Last weekend, Vera had some time off and she was replaced by two goons one day who could have been straight out of a television thriller. One was as big as a night- club bouncer, and his accomplice, God knows why he should need a helper, put me in mind of a Maltese hit-man. And now Vera has got an entire week's leave coming up and her replacement might well come from the London Zoo. These are the home helps who work strictly by the rule book and are supposed not to do anything for you, or me anyway, at the weekends apart from make a cup of tea. There could be another television series here and what a shame it is that both Bette Davis and Joan Crawford are no longer with us. Casting Vera, though, is going to be tricky. I can't think of anyone who could play a woman somewhere between Shirley Temple and Mother Tere- sa. As for playing Superman in a wheelchair, any run of the mill rep actor could do it, but spare us Hugh Grant.