Taki: Babarians at the Gate
GSTAAD—I’ve got the end-of-season blues. I know I say this every year, but this has been a particularly fun winter, with friends throwing goodbye parties, dinners, and lunches since the beginning of March. My liver has done a Gaddafi and taken a brutal revenge on my body. The right ankle is doing a Saif as I write. If I stand on it—or, worse, try to walk—it feels what it’s going to feel like when the ghastly Gaddafis get through with their opponents. I’ve had this lower leg problem for a year. About a month ago I couldn’t stand it any longer and had an X-ray taken. The cartilage has done a Bin Laden and disappeared. Hence the pain as bone touched bone. I also have crystals—not the good kind, but those that form from congenital gout—and they are embedded where the cartilage once was. It was a very easy diagnosis to make. “If you want less pain stop eating rich foods and stop drinking anything except water,” said the good Dr. Mueller. That was unacceptable, as my personality improves with drink, and at my advantaged age personality is all I have left.
That was the bad news. The good is that I can take pain, as I’ve been suffering all my adult life from women who have used me in the most unethical manner imaginable, so I’ve learned not to cry uncle too soon—up to a point, of course. When I do karate the pain is bad early on, then it goes away for a while and comes back like a horrible Gaddafi with a vengeance after training is over. With judo, I only feel it when walking home after a practice session. Skiing means no pain until the hard boot is off. Cross-country skiing means pain all the time. Hard drinking is like skiing—no pain whatsoever until the morning after. I think it’s all in my head.
Last week my friend John Sutin served the best wine ever at a great dinner party for Sean Connery and his wife. The next morning, desperate to get to the loo, I had to crawl on all fours as the ankle had erupted like Vesuvius. Sir Sean and Lady Connery were not only charming and gracious, they also revealed themselves to be longtime Spectator readers. “Never go anywhere without it,” said the great man. He also told me a story about filming Dr. No. It started in Jamaica, and Noël Coward (who had a house on the island) approached him and asked him to dinner. Once at the famous house, Connery noticed there were only two placements for dinner.
The two sat down and Sir Noël asked him: “Are you by any chance queer?”
“No, I’m not,” said James Bond.
“But you were in the Navy!” exclaimed a surprised Coward.
“Well, I’m not and never have been.”
“Well, it has served me very well,” said the great Sir Noël. End of story, and they remained friends to the end.
Thank God the Connerys have taken a place here. The town needs them, as the nouveaux are slowly turning this place into an alpine Miami Beach. The old guard is trying its best to hold the barbarians out, but we have as much chance of winning as the protesters do in Libya. The barbarians have weapons of mass destruction—money, greed, and horrible manners. A ghastly German woman by the name of Engelhorn has bought out most of the beautiful old village houses and turned them into expensive boutiques for the old and the pulled-to-the-extreme. Local butchers, cheesemakers, and artisans have been priced out. Jewelers have replaced them. It is enough to make a sensitive soul like myself break down and cry. “The only ones missing,” I told my oldest friend, Aleko Goulandris, “are the grotesque Bono and Jeffrey Epstein.” He had heard of neither of them, as a gentleman should not.
Speaking of Bono, this unspeakable vulgarian and publicity hound has caused anger among the few good people left in South Africa by suggesting support for an anti-white song that includes the line “shoot the Boer.” He drew comparisons between the song and Irish Republican drivel, calling it a legitimate part of political activism. I suppose shooting white farmers (over 3,000 have been killed since apartheid ended) is nothing more than a folk song for scum such as Bono, but the only answer I have for this disgusting exhibitionist and opportunist is to write a ditty called “Shoot Bono.” I shall present it to you upon its completion. In the meantime, if any white farmer shoots him, not to worry. There are plenty of these egomaniacs around. Too many, in fact.
So there we have it. One more winter gone down memory lane and tens if not hundreds of hours on the slopes soon to be replaced by the grind of the dojo and the gym. The judo world championships have been moved from Cairo to Frankfurt—I wonder why—and I have two months to prepare. I’m in excellent shape despite the injuries, and I guarantee all loyal Taki’s Mag readers that I shall return with a medal. If Teodorin Obiang, son of Equatorial Guinea’s brutal dictator—his father’s subjects have no clean water and subsist on worms, yet the place is flush with cash because of oil and gas deposits—can contemplate ordering a gin palace worth close to $500 million, surely the poor little Greek boy can dream of winning gold in Germany. Next stop: the Big Bagel.
Taki Theodoracopulos, better known as Taki, is a journalist and writer, living in Gstaad, London, and New York. His column ‘High Life’ has appeared in The Spectator for the past 25 years, and he has also written for National Review, the London Sunday Times, Esquire, Vanity Fair, the New York Press, and Quest Magazine, among others. In 2002 Taki founded The American Conservative magazine with Pat Buchanan and Scott McConnell, and he is also publisher of the British magazine Right Now! Taki has been writing for GstaadLife since its first season in 2003/4. More of his musings can be found here.