28 NOVEMBER 1992, Page 65

High life

Fire and brimstone


MNew York

ean-spirited wags over this side of the ocean are calling it John Bryan's and Fergie's revenge, but in my not so humble opinion it has more to do with the ordina- tion of women. I am, of course, speaking about the Windsor Castle fire, and the fact that God is male and does not stand for the kind of clowning the C of E has been indulging in of late. More important still, the Queen is the head of the Church and the fire started in the chapel, and if that is not a hint from the Almighty I don't know what is.

And speaking of the fairer sex, how would you have liked to have gone to war in the company of, say, Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth, to name two of the more popular pin-ups of the second world war? I know I wouldn't have minded being stuck

in a foxhole with either, preferably both, but then I'm greedy. I bring up the two lovelies because of the latest flap about gays serving in the armed forces. The war- hero-President-elect is in favour, which for a simple-minded little Greek like me is the same thing as us dumb straights going off to war accompanied by lovelies. Pinkoes and an assortment of sandal-wearing think- ing types have published all sorts of rubbish defending the draft-dodger's decision, their strongest argument being that many other European countries do not discriminate against gays in the military. In this, as in most matters, they miss the point.

The fact is that in no other country do gays enjoy perks and laws that favour them simply because they are gay. In America even the word homosexual will soon be a no-no, and that's just for starters. There are annual gay parades in most states, as there are mandatory gay and lesbian awareness weeks in most private and public schools. The reason most European coun- tries allow gays to serve is that most Euro- pean gays are neither militant nor litigious.

But enough of this. Far more important is the visit by Lord Snowdon to the Big Bagel to promote his book of pics from the years 1987-1991. When anyone with the slightest connection to the British royal family blows into town (no pun intended), chic Bagelites do a Nebuchadnezzar. (The great Babylonian king thought he was a pig during the lastseven years of his life, and spend it on all fours.) This time was no exception. The man whose title comes from social mountaineer- ing was wined and dined, and there was even a Roman spectacle, however unpre- pared Mortimer's was for it. Just as he was about to tuck into his pudding, the good Lord saw two black thugs in a fight to the death just outside the large window he was sitting next to. One finally flung the other through that very window, and suddenly there were 13 at table. Being superstitious, the losing gladiator fled and everything is now hunky-dory, but I find it amazing that even the underclass is impressed enough by minor British royals to go through plate- glass windows in order to sit with them.

What else? Oh nothing much, except for the fact that the Grimaldis were in town, with Prince Rainier looking as bored as the audience at an Andy Warhol film, Prince Albert in changeable mood and Princess Caroline chain-smoking and looking as glum as Richard Stott on Friday the 13th. Poor Rainier. He really does not deserve these kids. And if there wasn't enough trouble, Stephanie's name has come up in a messy drug scandal that has the French press in a tizzy. And we thought the Brit royals had problems.

Mind you, I wonder what Johnny Bryan and Fergie will do next. Maybe they have some fresh ideas now that Windsor Castle is no longer available. I am sure some financial advice would be welcome all round, and there's no one better prepared to give it than my old buddy Johnny. But please, let's not have the Yorks redecorate the Castle.