Monday, May 24, 2010

Taking a walk on the wild side

Life in the fast lane by Pants

The question Why and I have just poured ourselves a stiff G&T and sat down to contemplate a mysterious truism. To wit - the targets that journalists are most likely to rub their hands with glee at the thought of catching out are the most prone to do something seriously seedy. There must be a PhD thesis in that. Inevitably it will be called the Tiger syndrome, after the man who not only set the bar but prepared the ground.

When we logged onto our favourite weekend read News of the World on Saturday morning, our only surprise at the Fergie sting was that it hadn't happened sooner. One look at the byline and we knew we were in for a right royal treat.

Mazher Mahmood, the fake sheikh no less, has claimed a few royal scalps in his time but here he's hit the jackpot, and all seemingly with so little effort. A posh lunch, a limo ride and a little peek-a-boo is all it apparently takes in Britain these days to threaten the nation's international business reputation.

Most people feel only pity for Fergie. Clearly there was little in her head but wine when she aggressively opened with that £500k bid. How it is possible to imagine that anyone would pay an-half-a marigold to meet Prince Andrew eludes us. Here is a man who would not only go to the opening of an envelope, but would very likely offer said envelope a private audience and quite possibly send it a pair of commemorative cufflinks afterwards as a thank-you-for-listening gesture.

We are thinking that Fergie might have tossed that figure out in her three-sheets-to-the-wind state presuming she'd get bargained down to the cash in the suitcase, (with which she appeared to be delighted in a curiously Euromillion winner's way), her weight in profiteroles and free use of the limo for the next twelve hours. Having her dark and mysterious business adversary acquiesce to her demands with such breathtaking immediacy must have been enormously flattering.

'What could she have been thinking?' the question Why muses. Let's hazard a guess.

Pwwwarrrhhh, I am so sodding bwilliant. I never thought I'd get away with this but it seems to be working. Hey, but that's because I'm a weally twuly awistocwat! They all said I had no fuckin' point but I fuckin' do. Look at me, I'm fooling this dusky chap with my fweckly superiowity and don't-mind-if-I-say-so-myself self-made-woman acumen. Hey, go me!

She must have thought she was Becky Sharp+1 with a VIP pass. She may have imagined, as other naïfs have done, the aroma of Gulf oil was wafting through the 'negotiations' and all the perfumes of Arabia were begging to be dabbed behind her ex-royal ears. Perhaps she assumed that rich Middle-Eastern types love to waste money on commercial enterprises despite several centuries' worth of evidence that, if anything, they are the toughest bargainers on the planet. Mazher Mahmood knows his targets and capitalises on their ignorance and prejudices. It probably wasn't that difficult getting the measure of Fergie.

The question Why and I were also waylaid last weekend by the local story of New South Wales State Government Minister for Transport, David Campbell. Mr Campbell is a man in late middle-age, married with grown-up sons and a none-the-wiser wife who is going through cancer treatment. He was papped exiting a gay mens' club in Sydney by a TV magazine programme and outed. Apparently his bi-sexuality was an open secret in Sydney media circles, which is just one of the reasons he might have thought about sharing his life-style choices with his family.

Australian 'progressives' have been very keen to excuse Mr Campbell's questionable recreational choices under a banner of sexual freedom. The question Why and I are wondering if a female government minister and mother were to be discovered exiting a club where one paid about $20 to enter a world of free sex with anyone who happened to be handy, her choices would be equally championed.

What we are mostly interested in though is why privileged people aren't satisfied to be who and where they are. Why is it that they would rather position themselves in front of the inevitable camera that will divest them of all they have acquired than sit at home with their partner of thirty years, have a nice glass of wine and be thankful for their sheer dumb luck?

Answers on an e-card please.