Thank you, Mr Fayed

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Result! Only a couple of weeks ago, you will of course remember, we were urging the importance of Mohamed Al Fayed to the gaiety and good of the nation. His pretensions, machinations, talent for revenge and general preposterousness, we argued, made him an irreplaceably entertaining - and instructive - beacon of bad behaviour. Well, Mr Fayed has clearly taken our promptings to heart; so much so that yesterday he went one better and appointed Max Clifford as his agent. Thank you!

Result! Only a couple of weeks ago, you will of course remember, we were urging the importance of Mohamed Al Fayed to the gaiety and good of the nation. His pretensions, machinations, talent for revenge and general preposterousness, we argued, made him an irreplaceably entertaining - and instructive - beacon of bad behaviour. Well, Mr Fayed has clearly taken our promptings to heart; so much so that yesterday he went one better and appointed Max Clifford as his agent. Thank you!

Not that we had anything against his first high-profile spokesman, Michael Cole. There was something magnificently apt and light operatic about that voice, that mane, that prose style. True, we thought that Mr Cole's successor, Laurie Mayer, had probably peaked on Radio 1's Newsbeat; but who can compare, for sheer comic potential, with Mr Clifford?

So we can sit back, then, and await a refreshing rethink on the Fayed campaigns to win a passport and pin a conspiracy on anything that mutters. But first, a couple of pieces of advice: 1) The Duke of Edinburgh: if you are in the habit, sir, of wearing a Chelsea strip as pyjamas, stop now. 2) Jack Straw: do not, repeat not, go anywhere near a hamster.

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