29 SEPTEMBER 1984, Page 36

High life

Silver cloud


Iwas looking forward to a ball in Cheshire "that promised to have every eligible sweet young thing in the UK in attendance but it was not to be. The God that protects the fair sex from dirty old Greeks struck me down, and while others pranced about up north I spent the weekend in bed, all bandaged up drinking mineral water and more lime juice than Jeffrey Bernard has drunk in a lifetime. Ironically, or typically rather, it all began with my middle finger. I cut it while doing karate and didn't bother to have it looked after. When it began to swell and look the colour of those people that spend their days hunting and their nights at Annabel's, I worried a bit but was still not about to go to the hospital. Finally,

when it started to look like Charles Benson (all purple and about to explode) I took the advice of Sarah Giles (Lady Kitty's and Frank's daughter) and rushed to a doctor. He grabbed a knife and started chopping away. He did an excellent job of bleeding me dry, and after pumping me full of antibiotics, put my arm in a sling and sent me home with strict instructions not to walk, write or move for at least five days.

Well, as they say, there is a silver cloud behind every gray lining. Not only did I not wake up on Sunday morning with a hellish hangover, I even managed to read all the Sundays as well as begin Peter Ackroyd's book on Eliot by the time the last hooraYs had left the ball and headed for their beds. Amazing what a bad infection can do for one. As I said to myself the last time I Was ill in Gstaad a couple of years ago, I only feel well when I'm sick. Giving up the excesses of drink and other toxic sub- stances may make the night boring but it sure makes life worth living during the daY. I even managed to take in most of the rubbish that is printed on the large Sunday papers. One thing that struck me was the Observer Sunday magazine's er . . . shall I call it range of subjects? On page ten there was a very good piece on God's architect, Quinlan Terry, a man who thinks, and rightly so, that every modernistic architect should be forced to insult Khomeini in the full presence of those hirsute mobs whose representatives in this country literally get away with murder. The other was right up my alley, a nostalgic article on the Queen Mary — ship I knew well — and which now lies like a beached whale off the coast of California, Los Angeles to be exact. These two good pieces were followed by the description of a room that belongs to the kind of man that builds the type of houses Terry loathes, and made ships like the Queen Mal redundant. I am talking about Mai', McCormack, a man who makes Lau Whelks look and act noble by comparison' an American who may have made a lot or American tennis brats millionaires but Who never lost his soul in the process sin*" because he never had one to lose. Ana don't remind me that a room of my ovan t5 a regular feature of the magazine. I know 't is, but there should be a law against people like McC. Yes, I had so much time on my hands I even read what was coming up for auction on 2 October, and it was none other than my idol's greatcoat. Napoleon's greatcoat is being sold to the highest bidder next week, which reminds me (having read Yet another Sunday supplement) that the onlY person who could possibly fit into the great man's coat is Martin Amis. So, this was the good news about being consigned to bed. Nothing stronger than fruit juice, no cigarettes, no temptation revert to type. Lots of good books and clear head to take in all those massive Sundays too. The bad news is that on Monday night I turned on the television thinking that I would see a film on MY ancestor Alexander the Great. What I saw surprised me as much as Blucher surprised Napoleon late in the afternoon on 18 June 1915. Worse, it made me angry enough to feel like having a drink again. This film, if I can call it that (ego trip of a ten-year-old is a much more fitting description), was as long as a Hollywood soap opera, as boring as Andy Warhol's Sleep (where the audi- ence were shown a man sleeping for the full nine hours) and as historically incorrect as, say, Pravda can and has been known to be. This time the director and mover of the film finds fault with the Brits. Everything that is wrong with modern Greece is their fault, according to the phoniest and most pretentious film I've seen since the last one by the same propagandist. Why did I bother to watch? Easy. Having slept non- stop for five days I needed something to Put me out. The film served its purpose after 45 minutes, but that doesn't explain Why the BBC showed it.