20 OCTOBER 1984, Page 40

High life

Dear old pals


Iwas sad to hear that my old friend 1.Jeffrey was back in hospital, especiallY after the way he looked upon his return from Barbados. Had he been carrying a few more pounds (and I mean the kind one weighs — not the ones fat, bald, single' minded obsessives will sell their souls for) I was sure Mrs Thatcher would have named him the head of Britain's physical fitness programme. Just about this time last Year Jeff was in hospital and I went to see him with a few Greek goodies. I'd been drink- ing quite a lot and hadn't been to bed for a couple of days. Jeff, as usual, had just returned from a freebie in the Caribbean, and looked simply wonderful. I was lying on his bed talking when the doctor made his rounds. Naturally he approached me and tried to take my pulse. That was the first time I realised how healthy Jeff looks, and how much more of a high lifer than Me he really is. Compare, for example, what I've done the past month with what he has, and see for yourself. Jeffrey has flown to Barbados and back, flown to Paris for the Arc as

. guest of Lord Forte, went racing last

Saturday with Charles Benson, Nigel Dempster and Robert Sangster, and is at present readying himself to fly to America in order to cruise on the Mississippi River, in the company of a few nubile ladies an ° lots of mint juleps. And what has the Spectator's high life correspondent been 11P to? Not much, I'm afraid. I've spent all summer between Wiltshire and London, and all I'm looking forward to is four months as a non-paying guest of the richest woman in England. Now I ask you. Wh° is the high-, and who is the low-lifer? Ironically, whenever we get together neither Jeff nor I get smashed. We act like a pair of businessmen instead: we sit down and talk shop. How to make moJe'lf through writing, to be more precise.

has an idea about two brothers, one rich, the other poor (obviously Brits, or the Theodoracopulos family) and their pereg- rinations through Soho, various Islington dumps, Mayfair, the Riviera etc. He insists that it would not be autobiographical, but I have my doubts. My idea is more to the point. I want to bring in my father and Jeff's father, and show how our lives were ruined by our parents. My title is certainly better than his. It's 'There's a hex on the sex of Oedipus Rex', and I pretend that my father is king of Zante, the island he comes from in the first place, and where he's considered pretty much a king (especially by the socialists who would like to grab our land and exile us to London for good). Given the fact that Jeff and I like different things, it is amazing that we not only get along marvellously, we even like and dislike the same people. The only time I had a problem with one of his buddies was in the Colony Room, where the governor threatened to throw me out because I was wearing — according to him -- a white silk suit. know your type,' he screamed at me. 'You and Goldsmith and Aspinall.' I would have stayed a bit longer and pointed out to him that it was flattering to me to be compared to Aspinall, but Where Goldsmith was concerned I was a Habsburg by comparison. But it occurred to me that he might think a Habsburg was just another Jewish businessman, so I left without a fight. Jeff, needless to say, was furious. 'You should have smacked him,' he kept repeating non-stop.

Both Jeff and I mourn the loss of youth by surrounding ourselves with mementos Of the past. Jeff reminds me of an ex-movie idol and I remind myself of an ex-jock. His one-room flat is full of pictures of himself with various girls, my various houses and flats are covered with pics of myself during various competitions. (And by the way, did any of you catch a picture of Jeff and his brother circa 1955 in a Sunday magazine recently? Princess Margaret should have gone for Jeff back then, not the joker she eventually went for; Jeffrey Snowdon sounds better than Tony any day.)