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Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2005

God forbid that the Evening Standard ever find out that we were living in a brothel.

click for originSeptember 22, 2005 (Thursday)
London (England)

UP at 6:50 a.m., and take Jessica to school in Hammersmith. Chatty as ever. A gentleman from Tonga, a former Empire colony, is among those applying today to go on my mailing list.

He has a name resonant with the drumbeat of the South Pacific. I reply: "Who can forget Queen Salote [of Tonga] at the 1953 Coronation!" -- a majestic Black dowager, she rode through the appreciative crowds in an open carriage, despite the London rain.

"It is good to know that I have friends around the world supporting me like this," I add, "particularly as I am faced this week with the added cost of moving to a new address" -- we have been living at Hertford Street, at the foot of the Hilton Tower, but our landlord, the fragrantly named Normandie Estates, has now filled the building with Eastern European hookers; the landlord pretends not to know; and the ladies affect to speak no English. When I address them in Russian they don't answer that either.

Three months ago, when I was in Key West, our Hertford Street building was raided by a Scotland Yard SWAT team tipped off about Russian white slavers. The armed police were about to crash in through our basement windows, as they could not get through the door of the apartment they were investigating -- B. frostily advised them of their mistake.

The apartment in question, No.1, is rented to a Mr Valentin Malkov: I wonder what else there is to know about him.

Welcome to Mr Sanctimonious Blair's brave new England! He is deeply, yes, deeply concerned about the rights of women in Iraq; meanwhile our own birth country, England, is becoming more different each month from the country that I grew up in, that's for sure.

God forbid that the Evening Standard ever find out that we are now living in a brothel. The Londoner's Diary would make hay, so we have no choice but to move elsewhere.

B. seems markedly better this afternoon and evening.


September 23, 2005 (Friday)
London (England)

I WRITE to Alan H.: "We have now signed up and paid for the new address and look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning. I have started shifting stuff out into the entrance hall here to facilitate things and I will try to hire another pair of hands. . . The Führer HQ photo album has arrived here -- it is very good. You'll be thrilled."


September 24, 2005 (Saturday)
London (England)

THE big move begins. At Queen Anne's Gate, [...] is parking her car in front of our truck. "Are you a White Van Man," she asks imperiously; well, I am dressed in shorts, grimy, and covered in perspiration. I identify myself. "Oh, yes, I thought I recognized you." She is very friendly and chatty. I say I have featured her former husband and his brother in my writings as "Schmutz and Schund." "How very naughty," she says. [...]

Dead tired by nine pm, having lifted, swept, polished, packed and more all day long. I flop into bed; our new apartment is immaculately clean and furnished, and I have chosen the one rear room overlooking only the central atrium, which should be very quiet. The agency have assured me is that the only noise to be expected is once a week at midday as Her Majesty's Guard parade past our windows to the Palace half a mile away.

But then the nightmare begins, as an unexpected heavy-metal disco begins at around ten pm. The selfish, hideous blare (no reflection on our prime minister intended) lasts all night. B. tells me that the organizer had rung our doorbell during the evening and said through the loudspeaker he would be having a DJ and he hoped we would not mind, "come down for a drink beforehand," if we wished, etc.

I am woken with a jolt at ten by the thunderous cacophony; it is spewing forth into the atrium below at maximum volume, hundreds of decibels, coming from the open windows of the ground floor, filling the space with vibrating thumps and sounds, non stop, without a pause between the different sequences. I am like Dudley Moore in the movie "Ten", wakened from his narcomaniac sleep at that beachhouse at Acapulco. Dead tired, and sleep-deprived. It is Abu Ghraib, but worse. I lie awake wide-eyed and staring until three a.m., then can take no more.


September 25, 2005 (Sunday)
London (England)

THREE a.m. I decide to transfer to the old flat to escape the noise, driving back across London to Hertford Street for one last night in the Mayfair where I have lived for the last forty years. As I leave, the disco party is spilling out into the street, probably what they call "chilling out" in druggy talk. The old flat is now almost bare of furniture, but anything is better than the noise I have left behind.

Up at seven, I complete the cleaning here, and drive back to Queen Anne's Gate at ten. There are some heavy items I have not been able to load up single handed. Unloading outside our new flat, I see the disco party's jovial host, dealing with sanitation engineers summoned to deal with a massive blockage in the sewers caused by the detritus of his merrymakers. He seems genuinely shocked that there were people in the building who disliked the noise (B. tells me that it went on non-stop until seven a.m.) [...] He looks bemused.


September 26, 2005 (Monday)
London - Wiltshire - London (England)

JESSICA goes to school by Tube for the first time; I explore around Queen Anne's Gate a bit. New Scotland Yard is just a few seconds away: heavily walled in now by concrete slabs. Funny, we don't see those new battlements on our television screens. On Horse Guard's Parade, the Guards are parading in polished cuirasses and helmets and scarlet, while tourists gape and click.

More disturbing are the immense fortifications now being built behind No. 10 Downing Street, erections which were never deemed necessary even by Winston Churchill in the darkest hours of the Hitler war. Barbed wire, concrete slabs, chicanes, dead spaces, bomb defenses, and police cars stationed at every corner, while two-man police patrols toting Heckler & Koch machine guns stroll around. A far cry from Pc Davies on his bicycle patrolling the village where I was born.

The first thing I would do if I came into No. 10 would be to say To heck with it!, and tear down the iron gates now barring the street at both ends, and send the police sentries packing. I would invite the public back in: They could come in that street throughout WW2, so why not now? That is what democracy is about -- conducting policies which do not make you mortally afraid of your own electorate. What cowards Blair and his claqueur bands of freaks and lickspittles are.


September 27, 2005 (Tuesday)
London (England)

I hear word of Tony, 20, who is with the British Army fighting Blair's dirty war in Iraq. He is now completing his second tour out there as a Fusilier, and a lot of his original idealism has gone as he has seen his friends and comrades killed and witnessed sights that no young man should be called upon to see. The Basra theater has started to go wrong, and his messages home are tinged with worry. He is a dedicated and keen soldier; Josephine would have been so proud of her son, were she still around today.

I go online at a Starbucks (as we have no cable connection yet). T-Mobile charges me £30 for seven days. Having paid this monstrous sum, I find to my fury that T-Mobile will not allow me to access my own daily newsletter. It is blocked, or filtered out, without any warning to that effect (a feature which I find particularly insidious) -- it just produces T-Mobile's own bland homepage; but if I address an item within the newsletter-file direct, it gets there without difficulty. Clearly some scummy filter has been installed by T-Mobile, and my web address is just one victim, perhaps because of its anti-Iraq war character.

Collateral damage. I now recall the odd quirk of our regular Internet service NTL; this invariably produced an out of date newsletter index-page to my browser, no matter how often I hit "Refresh," two or even three days older than the current one, like a built-in time delay. Like China, the British Authorities, in whose very midst I now reside, are trying to control the Internet juggernaut by tampering with the wheelnuts on the hubs; it is up to us to ensure that at least here they do not succeed.

 [Previous Radical's Diary]


© Focal Point 2005 F DISmall David Irving