Money, fame, respect... now it's my turn

DREADFUL MEN. Dreadful, dreadful men. Forty-something (ponytails, nasty pubic beards, improbable accents) and cooking up a scam to haul money out of Disney for some abominable "vidjoe wall", something to do with Music Vidjoes, right? Right. And there they sat, at the next table in the Chinese restaurant, bellowing in the up-yours fashion of those for whom the extent of their self-regard is only equalled by the slenderness of its justification. It would serve them right if we all sent in proposals for Vidjoe Walls to Disney, inundating the Mouse Folk so that they became utterly sick of the whole idea.

I endured the sods for a while but then they began to talk about sport. American Football. There was only one American at the table, a snivelling little wisp of a man with a runny nose and an orange suede safari jacket, and I expect for some reason they were trying to suck up to him, because, next thing I knew, they were all claiming to actually play American Football, boasting about how much they enjoyed playing it, and getting cold and wet and muddy, and the smell of liniment, and the beastly, beastly ball.

Obvious nonsense, of course. Nobody really likes American Football. Nobody, in fact, likes sport at all, or any of the other manly things they pretend to like: fighting, drinking lager, being music industry executives, being interested in cars. Do you know anyone who is interested in cars? Oh. Well, next time you see them, you ask them, straight out. "Are you actually interested in cars or do you just pretend to be interested in cars so that people won't think you are a limp-wristed aesthete and shun you in the pub?" I bet you a million pounds that they go bright pink, shudder a little, then fall upon your shoulder and sob like a baby. It's the relief, you see; that terrible weight lifted from their shoulders, of having to pretend to like manly things, and next time you see them they'll be looking absolutely lovely, bathed and freshly-shaved, dressed in the most gorgeous Italian cashmere coat and exhaling a soft, gorgeous miasma of Tabac Blond or Habanita de Molinard, a voluptuous, aristocratic woman of unfathomable venality clinging adoringly to their arm, and with no interest any more in cars, beer, sport or even politics.

And that's the worst one: politics. Of all the archetypally imbecilic Manly Things to pretend to be interested in, politics is the worst, the spiritual home of duds and phoneys, people without lives and people without feelings, men who can't get it up and men who can't get it down again. Petty procedural squabbles, the defence of randomly-adopted pseudo-moral "principles", endless arguing, not about things or ideas, but about arguments, and the hideous pursuit of self-regard at the expense of all else.

But that's what I want to do. I want to pretend to be interested in politics, because that's where the money is. The money and the fame. Writing this sort of stuff gets you nowhere. If you want to get rich and famous, you have to write about politics. Look at that frightful man on the Daily Mail. Bad-tempered, grumpy valetudinarian bollocks, yet it goes right to the hearts of the aspirational suburban voyeurs who lap it up like mothers' milk. Write that sort of stuff and people call you "penetrating" and "irreverent" and "controversial" and "incisive", and they give you awards at big dinners, all the important media and political figures turning up to shovel down their Chicken a la King and egg you on and applaud and invite you round to their elegant homes to suck up to you. Corrupt and appalling? Certainly, but I want some of it. The fact that I have slept with half their wives, to my satisfaction and their wide-eyed, astonished delight, is not enough. I want to be a public figure and, simultaneously, an eminence grise. I have a charcoal grey suit now (bought for Mother Bywater's funeral, and she'd have wanted me to get the wear out of it) and I can dissimulate a fruitily plausible manner with the best of them. I am more than happy to allow my immaculate vowels to slip a little, and I am sure that, with a little practice, I could manage to attach my tongue, with a remora fish-like little "plop", to the nearest advantageous rear.

What is lacking, however, is a political theory, but I think Toe-nee Blaaaair may have played right into my hands with his assertions that we are all middle class now. It could prove to be his undoing, a declaration as politically inflam- matory as announcing that we are all body- subjects of the Queen, and our sons but cannon-fodder for Her Majesty's expansionist desires. He may have his reasons; he may believe that we all secretly yearn to polish the car on Sunday, abide by all laws no matter how foolish, count our change each night, make provision for our infirmities and our age, know our place, educate our children by giving them pterodactyl lessons in utero and sending them to expensive forcing-house schools the minute they turn two ("Yah, Ichabod's reely enjoying his astrophysics, this marvellous little man gives him two hours each Thursday - squeezed in between his Tantric Sex class and his Aikido - and says Ich is quite exceptional") and availing ourselves of the National Pro-Family Counselling Scheme at every crisis in our lives: hubby poking that slag Jules at work, wife feeling trapped, Ich going off the rails and sneaking off to Heaven with a nose-ring and a pocketful of GHB, sudden change in bowel habits and whatever you're having yourself.

But are we happy with this? Do we all want to be middle-class? Do we, particularly, all want to be middle-class on the grounds that it will please Toe-nee and make his job easier? Or do we feel that we might like to make his life hell on earth, and that we're damned if we'll be shoe-horned into some market-researcher's fantasy category for the short time we are on the planet? I know what I think, and next Sunday, having spent a week raising my political consciousness, I shall reveal the True Way Forward. Watch this space; and if in the meantime you hear a nasty wet plop, don't worry: it'll only be my nose. !

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones