We Try So Hard

Saturday 28th August 2021

It turns out the Nizam isn’t a Nizam, he’s a Maharajah – so that’s racist for a start. Robert Nevill and the Maharajah dined with Rufus Pitman and Raj Zoraster a week after the Kaffe and Kooken party to meet Fräulein Greta Wilgefortis Baloubet. The Fräulein also dined, or rather attended, having already dined. At the K and K event there’d been much talk of the Kate Clanchy affair. Raj was very suspicious of ‘almond-eyed’ but I said it was exotic. So that was me being white imperialist and supremacist, knowing better. At dinner the white people recalled old Cockney racists we have known and the time Robert Nevill spent embedded with the white racist police in Brixton. It was quite a wave of racist recollection, not ideal for the non-white guests present. The Maharajah thinks very little of the British in India, I know.

Somehow we’re always picking at it and getting it wrong. Royston said re-Kate Clanchy a day or two later – ‘What about if you describe the nose or mouth of a person,such as myself, of Afro-Caribbean origin?’ As far as we know, Dame Clanch didn’t do that. But she refers to the ‘fine Ashkenazi nose’ of one pupil whom she confronts about his denial of Jewish origins and the ‘narrow skull’ of a Somali boy. Well, we’ll have to read the book. It seems odd, to say the least, that a teacher is writing about her pupils in such a personal way, if not racist. My hunch is that she harbours the delusion of being in some kind of wonderful ‘love-in’ with these students and didn’t think how it would appear to outsiders.

On Monday there was a dinner for Raj’s birthday in a Portuguese restaurant at Vauxhall. I sat next to that young man, who, this time last year, said, ‘We’ve all been rent boys at one time or another.’ Lord Arrowby was present. ‘We’ve bought so few clothes this season,’ he said. His jacket was a salmon-pink suede from Paul Smith, but a previous season. I was so worried about it getting splattered with Portuguese seafood stew. Suede is agony to run and the piece was in superb condition. Lord A and I chatted about how it might be cleaned if it needed to be.  He’s having a house re-wired for when he re-locates to a supreme position in the autumn (one where you get your portrait painted and it’s hung in a corridor) and was looking incredibly finished and coiffed, despite no clothes. That institution is not going to know what’s hit it when the vans draw up from Liberty packed with all this latest Dries. His frockage and accessories will be of intense interest, far more than they were before in the ‘Westminster village.’ When I got home, I thought: actually I’ve bought three new handbags and some blue jeans. Last summer I got the last of Topman. I’m building up to buying some perfumes. But a lot of my clothes have got lost in the archive. Lord Arrowby came and sat with me towards the end of the dinner. There was a space after the ‘rentboy’ went home. It was v. cozy. Raj briefed us on Afghanistan where he was stationed for 4 years, which, as Lord A said, ‘is very puzzling.’ I couldn’t grasp it at all, I’m afraid. It’s not really one country. It emerged that another of the guests had had a thriving eBay business, selling used socks to fetishists. There were different degrees of ‘used’ available, 1 day, 2 days etc. It all sounded very well organised and efficient as well as lucrative. But eBay closed it down – the bastards!




Posted Sunday, August 29, 2021 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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