So, Saddam’s dead then, which will surely come as a shock if you’ve been living under a large rock this Christmas. But, in these cases, it’s always worth looking beyond the headlines. Robert Fisk has two articles showing the emerging murky facts about the execution. In “Our complicity dies with him,” Fisk notes that the many secrets Saddam Hussein had about the West’s business dealings with Iraq are gone forever. which is handy for George and Tony. In “A dictator created then destroyed by America“, he points out that “Osama bin Laden will certainly rejoice, along with Bush and Blair.” And finally, for those that wondered why the “official” execution video had no sound, IraqSlogger describes the common-sense and divisive conclusions you can draw from the timing of the execution and the soundtrack on the new sneaky mobile phone video of the execution. Nothing’s as it seems, is it? Happy New Year, Iraq!
Bright yellow trousers? Check.
Outrageous rainbow tanktop? Check.
Outsize afro wig? Check.
Dad’s brown corduroy jacket? Check.
Large kipper tie? Hell yes.
Suitable attired in this spectacular get-up (three layers thick, hence the enormousness of me in the photos), Michelle and I pottered off to Jac, Alex and Tony’s Watford farmhouse last night for what was billed as a Bad Taste barbeque party. The theme was inspired by the September 11th date and the host, never one to shy away from a challenge, managed to outclass us all with the most politically incorrect costume to date. As we arrived, the weather took a hold, and the customary barbeque rain started pattering down on the grass. We grouped in Jac’s room, surveying each other’s attire with amusement.
And so it was that myself (“Badly Dressed Man”), Michelle (“Blood-covered Surgeon”) and Jac’s brother Ben and wife Carole (both wearing t-shirts sporting a photo of a distinctly naked Jac) kicked off a splendid night’s entertainment. Ben took command of the cooking, tossing burgers and rolling sausages with all the experience of a professional griller, while around 25 others set about demolishing the beer and food mountain that had been laid lavishly before us. Highlights include:
– Jac losing his beer at least seven times, only to find that Ben and I had simply moved them all to a secret location throughout the night. The cries of “WHERE’S MY BEER?” every few minutes, followed by frantic searching around the house set me chortling for a wee while, the uncontrollable laughter almost giving me a mild hernia.
– Jac finding his suicidal teddy bear, “Rory”, hanging by a cord from the overhanging light. You have NO idea how much this 25 year old man loves his teddy bear.
– The karaoke machine. For a full 2 hours, we belted out hits from Bon Jovi (Michelle), Meatloaf (Me), Matchbox Twenty (Jac and I), Alice Cooper (Me), and so many more the haze of alcohol has rendered immemorable. I managed to clear the room on a regular basis while Jac, true to form, managed to find a spelling mistake on the karaoke lyrics mid-song.
As the night drew to a close, Jac strummed away on his guitar, giving us his trademark renditions of singalong songs (including “The Only Gay Eskimo” and “Postman Pat”), before we all staggered off to bed, all agreeing that it was a cracking night of frolics.
What’s that you say? What was Jac’s outfit? Well, as Kenny Everett said, it was all in the worst possible taste. He came as… a Russian schoolboy. Complete with bullet wounds.
In what’s becoming a weekly thing at the moment, I visited Caf? de Paris in Leicester Square with Nick last Friday. It was my friend Tony’s 25th birthday, and he’d booked the place for his frankly debauched party. We popped up at 8pm for a few drinks in Leicester Square, and mindful of the impending Rugby World Cup final the following morning, we attempted to moderate our drinks.
We failed. After 4 rounds in under 30 mins, we met Tony outside Caf? at 10pm, and entered the wonderful place.
For those whose lives haven’t been blessed with a visit to Caf? de Paris, save up and go. It’s a VERY cool place, which is a restaurant/meeting place during the day, and a nightclub at night. But the word “nightclub” conjures up sweaty teenagers bouncing away, drunken fools leering and throwing up in corners, and loud, loud music – not a bad thing for a standard night, you may think, but a trip to Cafe de Paris is not a standard night. Caf? has none of these nightclubish things, and is aiding my transition from Drunken Fool to Mature Man About Town considerably.
So anyway, back to the fun. We entered the nightclub, sat down on the “left mezzanine” (I don’t get that down my local club…) in the leather sofas, overlooking the dancefloor below. After Tony glad-handed seemingly the entire staff, we were swiftly furnished with 1 bottle of vodka, 6 red bulls, several jugs of coca-cola, cranberry juice and orange juice, an ice bucket and 6 glasses. We tucked in. And when the vodka had finished, another appeared. My wallet was similarly untouched for the rest of the night. Nick was wide-eyed in astonishment…
At this point, I’d like to thank Tony for a night of fun and frolics. He’s plainly a consummate party host, and everything was perfect. Thanks Tony!
Soon, a brief boogie on the dancefloor beckoned, and then back for more free drinks. Several old school friends were there, and we swopped stories endlessly until the early hours. It was, as you can imagine, a very good night, and Nick and I finally left at around 2.30am, worried that any more punishment would render ourselves unable to fully support England on their inevitable victory. We were astonished to find an open Burger King, and rushed in to find a Big Mac. After being approached by a man claiming to have been stabbed in the groin, we decided enough was enough. We spied a large black man standing next to an enormous Mercedes, and ordered a ride to Woking. “?50, very reasonable price, no better anywhere” he repeated over and over again, and, agreeing, we boarded the vast car.
We arrived at Woking at around 3.30am, walking the last half a mile after an argument with the disgruntled, tax- and authority-avoiding driver, and then slept. And slept.
But only for 4 hours; rugby beckoned.