Trending: The pretty straight guy and the sea
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Tuesday 17 July 2012
According to the Daily Mail, Tony Blair has become "obsessed" with deep-sea fishing in exotic locations while waiting to return to Labour party politics.
"He's only interested in the biggest fish, though," said a friend. So how would Hemingway have pictured it? He was an old man who fished alone off a small skiff in the harbour. Local people said you could set your watch by the gringo with the Vilebrequin swim briefs who fished, night and morning, strapped to the deck of the Pretty Straight Guy. They looked at his once-boyish features, the caramel tan that never darkened, the manic eagerness of his handshake with strangers. They discussed the rumours they'd heard: he was a multi-millionaire; he was broke and in disgrace; he'd once been a big shot in British politics; he'd started a war and been a peace envoy, both in the Middle East (not, they conceded, very likely); he'd been President of Europe; he was so wise that men once paid half a million dollars to hear him speak for half an hour, including questions. They'd heard there was a bounty of $10,000 on his head.
Few spoke to him, for he talked in riddles. When a local fisherman asked if he preferred spinners or worms, he only murmured: "I used to have a cabinet full of both."
He was a little loco, perhaps, the result of drink. All day he swigged a fizzy moonshine grog called S. Pellegrino and made calls on his Nokia to someone called Alista. Even while fishing, strapped to his gurney, he still spoke to Alista, all day. A local eavesdropper, Carmelita, said he spoke in individual letters: "What's happening at the WTO?" he'd say. "They need a DG don't they? Or the IMF? Oh no, I forgot. How about the BBC? Oh really? Well then, how about OPEC? Can you ask them, PDQ?"
The locals marvelled at his failure to catch anything, ever. He was such a hopeless dreamer, such a fantasist.
Just imagine, they laughed to each other, if this man had ever been in a position to run a country…
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