Compliments of the season to you all.
The Baronet’s childhood home
This soi disant Jet Set Hobo remained at home in Budapest this year, playing host to his younger brother Craig, a fine fellow who newly bearded, looks rather like the Captain of a submarine these days. We had a lovely, if rather bibulous time.
With my children’s book now in print and my television series pulling some really rather remarkable ratings for a late night cable show in central Europe, twenty-twelve was a banner year for this particular writer. And to cap it all off, just as I was downing tools (so to speak) on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, I received word that my friend Sir Christopher White, the Baronet of Beyoğlu is not only that much closer to finding the publishing deal he deserves for his works, he has made a sure-footed foray into the world of blogging. Granted, ‘blog’ seems too clunky a word to describe the online home of his witty and erudite prose, but there you are. Or rather, here you are – the Micawber Chronicles online. The Diary and Adventures of a Gentleman in Exotic Circumstances.
Happy reading. Well, how could it be else?
A photograph of Winston Churchill giving his victory salute has been airbrushed to remove his signature cigar. The original image (left) was taken in 1948 during the opening of a new military headquarters, and (right) the airbrushed image. In the well-known original image, Churchill makes a “V” shaped symbol with his fingers – while gripping a cigar in the corner of his mouth. But in a reproduction of the picture, hanging over the main entrance to a London museum celebrating the wartime leader, he has been made into a non-smoker through the use of image-altering techniques via Winston Churchill’s cigar airbrushed from picture – Telegraph.
For once, this soi disant Jet-Set Hobo is speechless, well, just about. This photograph hangs over the door of The Winston Churchill room at the Britain at War Experience museum.
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Meeting a beautiful woman can be bad for your health, scientists have found. Just five minutes alone with an attractive female raise the levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, according to a study from the University of Valencia. via Beautiful women can be bad for your health, according to scientists – Telegraph.
"Tell me something I don't know!"
There you are then. Or rather there I go. It seems that everything the Jet-Set Hobo likes really is bad for his health, not to mention his bank statement, which being a gent, he won’t. Well, quelle surprise! We’ll take the lost brain cells, pickled liver and polluted lungs as read. And now, according to some killjoys in white coats, we can add Cortisol to the mix, and throw in heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. Well, well, well. In the words of the great and, appropriately, late Warren Zevon, “Life’ll kill ya”…
Jet-Set Hobo reels in shock.
‘Sir’ Mick Jagger accepting a knighthood and becoming a gym junkie was one thing. Ron Wood making a fool of himself over nubile Russians is another. All too predictable. Jagger always was the business man of the group, and Ron, well, he’s your true sex-addicted satyr. And fair play to ‘em both. Far be it for me to ridicule a man because of his vices.
But according to both The Guardian and The Sun, the man famous (among other things) for being surgically attached to a bottle of Jack Daniels has finally kicked the sauce, and has been teetotal for at least four months.
You’ll know if you check the links, that the Sun and the Graunian headlines are a couple of weeks old. I only found them because, bored, I was led there by not particularly interesting story about that puppyish hero-worshipper Johnny Depp making a film about another of his bad boy role models.
Still, I don’t know how I can have missed this staggering development, unless I was, well, pissed at the time. As in pissed drunk, my American readers. Read More »
Hollywood star Marlene Dietrich, who added to the perceived glamour of smoking. Photograph: PA
Deborah Arnott is a professional anti-smoker. She makes her living from it. She thinks she can “save lives”. Since we all get a lifetime and she is not offering immortality, what she means is you might have a longer life. Given the choice of 50 years as a free person or 70 years as a slave, she would choose slavery. I wouldn’t, and I suspect there are many like me, as most people seem to go for quality of life not quantity. Time, the great mystery, is elastic. Watch the kettle boil and it takes “a long time”. Ten hours in a police cell might seem like 10 months. via The anti-smoking bigots should butt out | David Hockney | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.
Well, my regular readers, all six of you, will already know how I feel about this. Great to see someone prepared to fly in the face of what in Australasia, we refer to as ‘wowsers’. That is, those whose sense of morality drives them to deprive others of their sinful pleasures, such as liquor, tobacco and non-marital sex. The term was particularly applied with significant derision to members of temperance groups such as the antipodean branches of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. So to all those who leave government approved health warnings by way of comment, may I say in advance, you’re a pack of bloody wowsers.
Christ I miss smoking in bars. Ah well, in another few months I’ll be heading back to the ‘smoking section’ of Europe. Until then, it’s out on the pavement…
Artist David Hockney has said he loathes the Labour Government for interfering in his life by introducing the smoking ban.
The 72-year-old lifelong smoker is backing a cross-party group of MPs who want the ban to be relaxed, so people can light up in designated rooms in pubs.
Hockney told the BBC’s Politics Show that he was appalled to find that his local cafe in east Yorkshire no longer allowed people to smoke at tables outside, because they were frightened that smoke would waft inside and breach the law.
He said Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his predecessor Tony Blair were responsible and added: “I loathe them for it.”
via Artist David Hockney slams smoking ban – Yahoo! News UK.
The Jet-Set Hobo couldn’t agree more. As I’ve said before, if non-smoking bars were such a great idea, why didn’t the abstemious of this world open their own smoke free pubs a long time ago? There was never anything to stop them. The truth is, they wanted it both ways. Look at the prevalence of smokers among actors and writers and other interesting types. Certainly, for our ilk, smoking goes hand in hand with drinking, literally speaking. On the one hand you have your glass of red, on the other a Malboro light. Sociable types that we are, we still congregate in bars, and the non-smokers have had their petty, longevity obsessed victory. They get to hang out with dangerous chancers and charmers, but at no risk to their cautious, dull existence. I was always more of a Hockney man than a Warholian, now you can make that a double. And smoke if you’ve got ‘em…
They meet in Shanghai in 1936. One is Mr. Jackson: a blind, disillusioned former diplomat with dreams of opening the perfect nightclub. The other is Mr. Matsuda, a well oiled Japanese businessman with considerable dignity of bearing. It is Mr. Matsuda who approaches Mr. Jackson, to express his… solidarity, after hearing a gauche young associate of Jackson’s deride their surroundings. “This place is a dive”, or words to that effect. Mr. Matsuda begs to differ. Like Mr. Jackson, he senses a beauty in the smoky room; filled with taxi girls, sailors, revellers of every stripe, a band in tuxedos playing Jazz, and a man in white make-up and a Pierrot costume, singing in Russian. This isn’t a treatment for a movie. It is a movie, Merchant & Ivory’s The White Countess, starring Ralph Fiennes.
The White Countess is a film that feels as if it must have been adapted from a book, but it wasn’t. The script however was penned by Kazuo Ishiguro, the novelist who wrote Remains of the Day. Still, I felt dissatisfied that I couldn’t rush out and buy the book to read page after page lovingly describing Jackson’s dreams for his perfect bar, the intricacies of his nightly routine as a blind night club owner and so on. But more than that, it made me want to sample Shanghai nightlife, and see how it measures up in this era.
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They have the Morgan clan pouring their drinks. And these boys pour them straight and hard and fast. The Morgan’s chain of pubs started in brutally ugly Warsaw sixteen years ago, when a bankrupted 55 year-old Irish scallywag named Ollie Morgan opened the doors to what soon became expat headquarters in the Polish capital.
Ollie passed away a few years back, and is no longer rollicking behind the bar, under a framed photo of him pressing the flesh with Gerry Adams. His expansion plans have been followed through, and were easy to follow. There were soon as many Irish pubs in Poland as Ollie had sons to run them. Oldest boy Thomas was more frequently at the helm in Warsaw, while in Poznan, Sean kept the business-convention visitors tanked. In Krakow, city of Schindler and John Paul II, I daresay Maurice Morgan, lad-male glamour incarnate is still considered number-one health risk for the small but hardcore group of English language teachers, transported students, consular officials and businessmen that can’t resist the call of ‘down to Maurice’s – just for one’.
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As the hour of my departure again draws near, I find myself waking up with more weapons grade hangovers in a week than I have had in a whole three or four months. Buenos Aires, you naughty, naughty town.
The Jet-Set Hobo’s Idea of Heaven (the Shanghai nightclubs depicted)
Example – today. I was out drinking until late last night with an Irish American food and travel writer named Brendan Byrne. This fellow has one hell of a life story; I started thinking that mine was very dull by comparison. Read More »
Scientists claim there’s no such thing as a hangover cure. What nonsense!
Read the rest of Lucy Mangan’s story here http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2008/dec/19/lucy-mangan-hangover-cures
She is quite right to debunk the notion that a hangover can’t be cured. After all, unless it was a spectacularly large brannigan, you always feel better the next day. What more proof of cure could be provided?
Glass half full or half empty? Bollocks to both. It’s how one deals with a hangover that sorts out the optimists from the sad sacks. A hangover is a perfect expression of the ephemeral nature of everything in life, that condition which Kingsley Amis once described so adroitly as the “metaphysical hangover”.
Kingsley Amis & Elizabeth Jane Howard
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