Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 14 July 2016
The art of war
I had a very relaxed late lunch with my old friend yesterday - it left me with the impression that maybe I am semi-retired after all, especially when the young waiter put a couple of complimentary Kir Royales in front of us. Alcohol at lunchtime!
If you were to try to guess what my lady friend did for a living, you would probably say that she was a comedic actress (are we allowed to call female actors 'actresses' these days?). She has a highly expressive face framed with tightly curled hair which hangs around in ringlets, and an animated mouth which reminds me of the lip-reading language used by the women in the deafeningly loud, Lancashire cotton-mills, but in her case, sound comes out of her mouth when she speaks. Any mention of something slightly unpleasant will produce a theatrically screwed-up expression which would be easily seen and understood by a half-blind person at the back of the auditorium.
In fact, she has just begun a different clerical job having left her Iraqi employer of many years, for whom she acted as PA and secretary.
This man became rich through one translating job. He just happened to be fluent in the arcane dialect in which Iraq's huge dossier on chemical weapons - or lack of - was written before being handed over to Hans Blix and the Americans. A lot of people become rich in the strangest of ways due to warfare.
My friend, Wendy (which is what I always call her, but not what she calls herself) was the person who alerted me to the mention I got in this month's (I said August - come on!) World of Interiors magazine. I said that I had been in many international magazines and on quite a few TV and radio programs over the years, and the publicity had produced not one penny's worth of work for me - ever.
Just as I said this, I had an email from someone who has just bought a famous and quirky house on a large estate belonging to the National Trust, and she said she had seen my work in the magazine and wanted me to make some stuff for her new house. Well I'm blowed.
I once had a five-page spread in the highly prestigious American magazine, 'Architectural Digest', with dozens of photos commissioned by me, and when it came out - worldwide - I sat back and waited for all that choice work to come my way.
Sure enough, large envelopes with U.S. Mail stamps began to flop on my virtual doormat every morning. Each one contained a brochure and a letter inviting me to buy the goods listed in it - doorknobs, candlesticks, garden furniture, etc. I got at least two a day for about two months.