December 20th, 2004


Hail Mithras!

Yesterday was mostly spent lounging around the house in various states of alcohol recovery. It did give me plenty of time to catch up with the various Blunkett narratives on offer, but frankly I wasn't that bothered. Each time I looked upon the page, I'd decide it was time to lie down again. But I'm going to make a concerted effort now.

So, The Observer leads with "Blunkett: I'm a working class victim of the rich" and there's a photo of Kimberly Quinn and her mosaic-faced son William, along with husband Stephen. The husband looks the older man, light blue shirt, dark blue crew-neck sweater and quilted jacket with corduroy (someone needs to straighten it for him) collar. It says I go to agricultural fairs and suggest he shares Paddy Ashdown's stylist [Question: Is it an indication of a certain type of richness and power in this modern world when it is very hard to find images online through entering the person's name?]. Complexion sweaty, flushed. Kimberley is wrapped in a black shawl, a thick head of dark hair tied back, clutching William "It was really nothing" of the uncertain parentage. Perhaps. She's going for the Christmas Victoriana wronged-woman vote. They've just revived Mary Poppins after all. She's not wearing make up but her skin doesn't shimmer like Stephen's. A quick dab at the Clarins perhaps. Neither of them are looking towards camera, both appear fixated by some possible pavement obstruction. Unsolicited Ken and Chelo dogshit [Mayfair, in fact]. Shoot when you see their eyes.

If I appear overly concerned by this photo, it's primarily through not owning a tv. I'm not sure I've actually seen their photos before within a single frame. In this respect, I am blinder than Blunkett, he's heard their voices, smelled their breath, smothered orifices, exchanged fluids, betrayed confidences, signed the papers. So this is what the fuss is about then.

I've written about Blunkett before. I find it hard to care that much about whether he aided the acceleration of a visa here or there, or creatively accounted a few train fares. Since I never doubt the corruption of government, I'm only disappointed by the scale of his offence. The poverty of the ambition.

The pitch from the front page then... Northern lad slighted by metropolitan cabal backed by Condé Nast. Also spotted on the front page, Jay Rayner with mother Claire, Peter Tatchell (friend of Marcelle d'Argy-Smith, it transpires), Richard Ingrams on Peter Cook, Otis Ferry in t-shirt offence (the UK's most datable man, apparently. Well, I'm fairly single and more considerate of what not to wear with pinstripe, but never mind...). All of these people could be connected through a series of Central and West London cocktail hours and soirées. According to the front page, Quinn mesmerised the civil servant Alan Budd. Blunkett claims a millionaires' plot. These quotes, attributed to a friend, say the story is one of "the American millionaress who's managed to knock out [nudge, nudge] the working-class lad... At some point, a film will be made about all of this." Malcolm McDowell maybe should play Blunkett, Quinn would be Eleanor Bron and Lindsay Anderson to direct. Stephen is obviously played by Ashdown in cameo. Furtive scenes of executive relief spray across Whitehall blotters and fast-tracked visa applications. Nigella with sharpened mezzaluna pulling a Lynndie before frou-frou hooded detainees, art collections destroyed in bungled Enochian ceremonies, Dominic plays chess with Death in Bergman homage.

Moving to the Focus section, a rather unnecessary photomontage of Quinn and Blunkett. She - red dress, pale skin, pearls, hand on hip, reasonable manicure, expensive and cheap, the aristocrat therefore, no sperm on this dress for testing - and he - dark suit, sitting, looking up at her, the bottom, the dog. Since Blunkett is blind, it seems unnecessary except as to betray our interests. We're reading the Observer, we want it to be the News of the World. The question floats - how did they do it? We want the diagrams, the detail on the contract, the orders shouted, the requests denied. "I've always wondered what it would be like to fuck a blind man". One night in Mayfair. Blunkett overhears on the sofa, coffee cup clinking, subsequent knee trembler in garage. Boris Johnson watching through eyeholes cut into a Dutch Master. "Here, wipe yourself off." Blunkett crawling for discarded Kleenex. His lady's favour. An astrology of stars beyond my reach, only thing Bolshevism is good for. Out on the streets, no-holds-barred slaughter of innocents, torch the lot, we'll sort out the dialectic later. We'll never be rid of these people otherwise and it's all too easy to find yourself amongst the slaughtered if you don't know the slogans.

Now, as to the how-and-why Blunkett fell, I'm not that concerned really. I'm never going to know the story. Is it this one? Nope. The real story is one you'll hear around various dining tables [this mysterious 'George's private dining club' perhaps], but never in the press and certainly never in Heat magazine. For me to get this news, which isn't impossible via certain contacts, there would have to be a brown-nosing exchange of sorts. I've nothing to offer except this weary soul. That will do, says Nicholas Coleridge. I'm a twenty second flash in his crackpipe. We'll be needing more. Fortunately Blunkett's handled that for them already, nameless refugees and suspected miscreants in secret military complexes. Abandoned asylums. Pass keys for the well-connected, sexual favours in return. Noblesse oblige. Gilles de Rais and Elizabeth Bathory. Plus ça change...

Of course, the great thing about this story is my somewhat abandoned novel about Peckham (with the working title of Babylon Regained) makes more sense now. Unfortunately, I'm the only one who knows the story and I'm not going to spoil it, but this Blunkett affair encourages me to return to it forthwith.


I head out for some shopping. Crumpets, milk, paper. It hadn't escaped my attention that Simon Hoggart had now confessed to having also had a relationship with Kimberly Quinn, but the Evening Standard was suggesting this was a tryst too far for Quinn's London friends. She'll be heading back to the US once the next child has been born, they say. Rome turns against Messalina, Rome turned on by Messalina. Suggestions there's a fourth man in the wings even. Slapper. The story becomes more familiar in its tone. Smear the bitch. I consequently feel more sympathetic. Kimberly, I may be no looker, but I can certainly hold my own against Blunkett or Hoggart and am nothing if not discreet in my affections. Curtain twitching. Elevator fumblings. Daily Mail. Say no more.