23 MAY 1992, Page 56

Low life

Rock bottom

Jeffrey Bernard

And now, living in the heart of Soho, my legs can barely take me to the pub just four blocks away. It was in there yesterday morning that a woman editor eventually managed to track me down. I owed her a foreword for a book that has been written by a friend of mine. I simply couldn't face writing it and I haven't been answering the telephone. So in she came to the Coach and Horses and more or less forced me to dictate it to her. That is just about rock bottom. They, the publishers, had already printed my name on the book jacket so there was no escape. There never is. If I tunnelled my way out of the nick like a Monte Cristo the first person I would meet would be myself.

Having said all that, the sun is shining, the ice hasn't yet melted which is miracu- lous and I won £140 on a horse at Good- wood yesterday. I have even woken up with the money still intact. But where on earth is Vera, my treasured home help? I am never here to let her in because I have to leave so early to get out of the mess she

'I didn't fancy suburban life anyway.' comes to tidy. This is a hiccup which will pass and it had better pass by next Wednes- day, when I shall be 60. Deborah, the Groucho Club beauty and factotum, and I are sharing a birthday party and I fear that in my cups recently I have asked too many people. Is a party ever worth the anxiety that it gives the thrower? And another anx- iety at the moment is the whereabouts of my daughter Isabel, who I particularly want to attend the party. I suppose she is glued to the revolting sleeping-bag still with her punky bloke somewhere in the Alps. They should have taught her how to play hockey at Holland Park Comprehensive School, not how to hitch-hike.

And just now Graham Lord, the noble biographer, has telephoned to ask more questions but it seems to me that he now knows more about my past than I can remember myself. When he does jerk my memory I can only recall trivia. Did my second wife leave me for my best friend? Of course. Who else? And my third wife, Isabel's mother? All I remember is that she left me in my car. That particular car was my second best friend. I believe that my fourth and last wife left in a taxi, which indicates a fraction more style. Now Gra- ham Lord is very near his deadline and his woman must be sick of the sound of my name. I am too. The only escape, short of tunnelling, is to merge into the mist of a smoke-filled bar. But thank God he is a good writer, otherwise his book might be as depressing as the book I have on the sub- ject of forensic medicine.