Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » February 2005 » Nuptial Engagements

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02/28/2005: Nuptial Engagements

I'll be best man Charles, I've done the speech by Giles Coren (London Times) is worth the read:

"I SEE THAT the Prince of Wales is planning to get married without a best man. I canít believe it. Iíd already written my speech. It was a corker...

To read more of this Coren speech, click on the "more" button.

ďAhem. Right. Thank you. Is this working? Clunk. Hello? Hello? Itís a bit low. Iíll just crank it up a bit . . . ouch! Bollocks, itís bleeding. Oops, pardon my French, maíam. So, anyway. Iíd just like to reply on behalf of the bridesmaids who, whatís that? Arenít there? So there arenít. Well anyway, thank you so much for coming all this way to the wedding of Charles and Dia- I mean Camilla. Sorry, still using my notes from last time . . . (Wait for laughter, if no laughter then laugh quickly to show itís a joke).

Anyway. Moving swiftly on to the telegrams. Got one here from a Mr Al-Fayed, he says . . . ha ha. Not really. There arenít any telegrams. Itís all e-mails these days, isnít it? And mobile phones. As these two know only too well. Anyone got a tampon? Ha ha.

Anyway, time for some raunchy anecdotes. But before I start on those, I just want to say itís nice to see the Queen in tonight (try to catch her eye). Charles and me havenít had so much fun in front of a queen since that night in Bangkok at the . . . Whatís that? She isnít? Oh. Thatís a shame. Well, anyway, I have to say that when Charles asked me to be his best man you could have knocked me down with a sceptre. I mean, he has so many articulate and witty friends who could have been relied on to turn out a pretty entertaining speech. Thereís his geraniums, for a start . . . (Wait for laughter to die down.)

No but seriously, Iíve bought Charlie a fantastic present. Spent thousands. I left it with the butler . . . (Pause for effect, if laughs start here just go with it.) Hope he gets a few quid for it! No but . . . (Pretend to have spotted some late arrivals.) Whoís that creeping in late at the back? Nice to see you didnít break the speed limit trying to get here on time. Lot of tunnels between there and here. Ha ha. No but, when Charlie was at Cambridge we all thought he was a bit, you know, peculiar. We were out on the piss one night and at about one in the morning we broke his door down and he was sitting there with a man in a sailor suit. Turns out it was his brother. Talk about Ducky Originals! No, but seriously . . . Hunter S and me ALTHOUGH THE death of Hunter S. Thompson has left the journalistic profession bereft, I can reveal that spirits at Tatler magazine are almost certainly as gay as ever because, after all, we still have Reggie Nadelson.

Itís like this. I was working at Tatler in 1999, editing a section called Tatler About Town and desperately trying to create the (false) impression that I was a natural born editor. Learning that my assistant had all but secured a piece for us by the one and only Hunter S. Thompson, I immediately moved in and took over (as editors have always done) so as to garner all the internal office credit for hiring the most famous journalist in the world as well as to bask in the rapport with an international celebrity.

But Thompson was a nightmare. The wrangling over money alone went on for weeks. We busted our (admittedly pathetic) pay scale by a factor of four and reduced the number of words we needed by half and spread them out over six pages with a lot of (free) Ralph Steadman cartoons to try to justify the costs. I was subjected to abusive phone calls at home in the middle of the night, full of drunken rambling, hour-long lectures on American politics, background abuse of a woman he called ď HeidiĒ and gunshots whistling through the Colorado night. But it was Hunter S. Thompson, after all, and, boy, would the girls be impressed. When enough cash was finally on the table Thompson struggled and puffed and blew over subject matter and style and delayed and delayed (all this over 500 words in a piddly social magazine for posh ladies) and finally delivered a rambling fantasy called ďDance of the Ben-Wah GirlsĒ about women at polo matches stamping in the divots at half-time while wearing oriental massage balls inside their vaginas.

Not an easy thing to get through Tatlerís editorial hierarchy, but it was Hunter S. Thompson, for Godís sake, so I would do my damndest. A couple of days before we went to press I faxed proofs to Colorado for Hunterís approval and at four oíclock in the morning he called me to demand that Steadmanís picture credit be removed: ďI donít want that old bastardís name anywhere near mine,Ē Thompson demanded. ďHeís a f** parasite. Heís been feeding off me for years.Ē

Now, you canít use a picture without printing a credit and without the pictures we could not afford to run the piece. But this was Hunter S. bleeding Thompson, the King of Journalism. So I drove into the office in my pyjamas, ran off a proof with the picture credit removed, got Hunterís approval (he faxed me a handwritten thank you letter with a photograph of himself which is pinned above my desk as I write), then put back the credit and sent the pages to press. When, finally, everything was in the bag, I swaggered over to the deputy editor to reveal the great coup and to bask in its glory. ďIíve had to shell out a grand for my lead story this month,Ē I said, trailing off mysteriously. ďItís by . . . Hunter S.Thompson.Ē ďHunter who?Ē she said, looking up from her salad box and TV Quick magazine. ďSorry, Giles. We can only pay money like that for big name writers. Like Reggie Nadelson, for example.Ē

Karen on 02.28.05 @ 05:20 AM CST

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