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Re: Saddam Hussein's favoUrite wine

Mateus Rosé? That is soooo Seventies. Soooo Abigail’s Party. Those twee little lampshades. It belongs with prawn cocktail, chicken-in-a-basket, Berni Inn Steakhouses, avocado bathroom suites and avocado vinaigrette, serving hatches. “Like a top up, Tone?” “Oooh, don’t mind if I do. It’s like going to the lavatory, pardon my French.” Beg pardon, I'm soiling the doilies.

 

Dictators are nothing if not tacky. Saddam had a gold toilet seat. Kim Chong [sic – I’d say Jong, but we don’t speak Korean so we’re both wrong] Il , 5’2” in heels, probably white stilettos, likes Hennessy Paradis Cognac. I’ve never tasted it, but it’s probably a bit like Cherry B, the Eighties tipple of the Essex girl. And the Juche tower – well think Blackpool, or if you’re American, in which case the foregoing will mean little, think (possibly) a “cone” handed to you by a “soda jerk”.

 

Being tasteless and nouveau riche/lower middle class is not the worst aspect of being a dictator. But it seems to be a constant. A dictator has nobody to tell him that murdering millions of people because they disagree with him is a bad idea, and nobody to tell him that sunken baths and gold-plated taps are a bit naff.

 

What these blighters need is a good dose of John Betjeman. Perhaps the ridiculous English class system, and our sense of the ridiculous, has preserved us on grounds of taste from the totalitarian movements that have bedevilled continental Europe. Here’s P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster, talking to Spode, the parody Fascist:

 

"The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you're someone. You hear them shouting 'Heil, Spode!' and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: 'Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?'"

 

Tamada? Haven’t heard that word for a couple of months.