Friday, 23 September 2016
Well, Aleppo has experienced its heaviest bombing for a long time. The Russians are coming. Some aid is getting through, while other such convoys are being shelled and all hell is breaking loose. Fortunately, the BBC is too preoccupied with losing Bake-Off to worry about all that. Meanwhile, here at home, despite the results being known some months ago - such is their electoral integrity- the Labour Party will tomorrow announce their elected leader... again. Will it be a throwback to failed far-left socialism, the magic money tree and squeezing the rich... or will it be the other one?
Who cares? The rest of the world is still banging on about Brangelina and their kids of many colours – Tim Rice already has the lyrics sorted out and rumours are rife that Andrew Lloyd-Webber fancies a go at another West End hit. The papers are full of the usual health scare, health fad, health service soundbites, topped up with envy pieces about other people’s vast wealth... and horoscopes. Why even the Kardashians have been banished to the wings as a flurry of inconsequential gossip-fodder floats to the front pages. We really are an embarrassingly shallow species.
War, famine, disease, a migrant crisis that threatens to alter the whole world order, global warming, global cooling, running out of gas, too much gas, pollution, space invasion, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and fires. The planet is beset by death and destruction all around, but we can put all that aside to catch up on the gossip and spend half our lives on social media sited dedicated to the worship of televisual crap: Give us this day our daily soaps.
But seriously, the Brad and Angelina thing reminded me of an acquaintance of mine, from way back, who married a local beauty known as Klondike Kate; a bigger gold-digger you’d be hard-pressed to find. Kate and Kev’s marriage was a thing of wonder for all around and as he’d come into a bit of money and made some good investments she saw it as her spousal duty to ease his burden and take the weight of responsibility off his shoulder by spending his fortune as fast as it grew.
Kev was a canny old cove, however and he managed to squirrel away some of it into various little rainy-day funds and a secret art collection he kept in the attic. A long-time fan of the Antiques Road Show, Kev had an eye for the sort of dusty Victorian watercolours which were occasionally revealed to be lost paintings of celebrity artists of the age and worth many tens of times their purchase price. He reckoned that when the gloss went out of their marriage he might have in his hoard enough portable value to start over when she had cleaned out his bank account and taken the house.
No need to adopt a cavalier attitude...
One day Kev’s lawyer called him and asked him to come into the office. “I have some bad news” he said. “Your wife has been rummaging around and she’s found a picture she reckons is worth a million pounds.” Kev blinked and thought for a moment. Damn, she’d found his stash. On the other hand, his little hobby would appear to have been a wise investment after all. “But surely” he replied “that’s good news?” The solicitor looked at Kev and shook his head. He said “It’s a picture of you and your secretary...”