20 AUGUST 1988, Page 44

High life



Siena Even if I say so myself, my birthday party was a great success. The trick was having the orchestra play nothing which separates the sexes. There were foxtrots, rumbas, cha-cha-chas and lots of tangos, but no Zulu music. Zulu music was in- tended to inspire savages to fight, not love, yet people insist on playing it in discos, night-clubs, and the occasional stately home. Zulu music is responsible for most of the world's ills, including drugs and football violence. It has lowered the stan- dards of civilised behaviour, and has given us Yoko Ono, Keith Richards, this Spring- steen horror and — worst of all — the flower power peace bums of the Sixties. I know for a fact that the ghastly Ceausescu listens to it, as does Ortega and the bearded Cuban butcher. They say that Major Ron is a closet listener, especially when in London. Our beloved Prime Minister, however, has never even heard of Elvis Presley.

But I digress. The only sour note of my birthday bash was when a young whipper- snapper defended the right of Lew Wasser- man (the greedy and ghastly head of MCA) to finance a film that depicts our Lord Jesus more of this world than the next. As the party was in my house, and a guest is almost sacred in a Greek home, I chose to ignore the provocation. The next day I read Paul Johnson's brilliant piece saying that we should show people that blasphemy doesn't pay by staying away from Wasserman products, and felt a lot better. Until I read that in Noo Yawk and El Lay it was playing to standing room only. As Mandy once said, it would, wouldn't it?

My dinner was for 32, it was outdoors and with the orchestra playing. The gossip was all about a man cutting off his finger in a jealous rage over Katya Grenfell, as well as the bathing habits of our noble Lord Weidenfeld. It seems that Roger Middle- ton, a good friend of my friend Katya Grenfell, got so annoyed when an ageing Lothario kissed Katya while greeting her the night before that he went to his room and chopped off his middle finger. He was rushed to hospital where doctors managed to reattach it, although some mauvaises langues say that the finger was someone else's. The case of our noble lord is far clearer, if almost as gruesome. He was staying at a house taken by two rich and ageing but very elegant American ladies, Mrs Bruce and Mrs Tree. No sooner had he arrived than a native re- ported he had seen an escaped baboon, and the fuzz arrived. Upon closer inspec- tion of the property, the 'baboon' turned out to be nothing more lethal than our George, sunning himself in the nude. Apparently this noble lord's secret charm — published here for the first time — is that he is covered with hair from head to foot, including his buttocks. (This is a world exclusive.) The last piece of gossip I have to report concerns yours truly. And it came via Desmond Guinness, who had just lunched with the two American ladies and our boy George. Weidenfeld was quoted as saying that Taki would never be able to get away with what I do if it weren't for the protection I get from four people: Gianni Agnelli, David Beaufort, Tony Lambton and John Aspinall. My answer is, what protection? I have gone to prison, been sued and taken to court, have had to pay through the nose, and dropped my last devalued drachmas in order for Aspers to feed his baboons. Sorry, gorillas as well. If these four friends of mine are providing protection, all four should change their name to Maginot. But I do understand why the great publisher feels the way he does. After all, protection to him comes naturally. He married one of America's richest, La Payson, and now is friendly with an even richer one, La Getty. And my spies tell me he is interested in La Weymouth. Protec- tion is his middle name, not mine.