10 June 2006

Hannibal at Cannae: glassy eyes in Starbucks

Dissent in paradise!

Conquering hero returns from 10 years in the land of Microsoft and teenage Mall Rat daughters, relieved at no longer having to dumb down the chatter or prove a 'good fit' with mid-20s team mates.

So there I was on another rich folk's floating ouzo palace, amid fellow curmudgeons and like-minded unreconstructed fogeys, passing round the Saturday Torygraph *and* saintèd Spectator, and someone says, "The one section I never read is that - you know, that silly political spoof by that, whatever's her name ..."

"What?," I chirp with toothy American smile, "that wonderful Tamzin Lightwater? C'mahn - she's hot ."

The great fun of coming from the States is that I can go from Balliol to Bainbridge and they can't quite hammer me on it.

"Oh come on now," growls Rich Retired Rachmann, "You're not going to tell me you think she's *funny*?"

"Funny and witty," I chirrup, ignoring maternal glower and semaphored eyebrow instructions not to - literally - rock the boat.

"I find her 'Diary of a Notting Hill Nobody' one of the cleverest, jargon-whupping spoof around. " Shakes of heads. I go on and Mater grabs the chance to engage Lady R in deep discussion of the soil needed for her sorbus aria .

"OK, I it helps to have toiled in the vineyards of PR hackery and abased both self and vocabulary in The Cause, but La L really is very clever and I reckon she has a firm following. Albeit not here, clearly."

You know that moment when, even as you speak, your audience is revealed in emperor finery?

In that instant, it dawned on me that all these captains of industry and political big beasts were the ones who *hire* folks like Ms Tamzin and me to dance attendance and talk the walk and burble accordingly.

"Look, here - she cites Hannibal; talks of the 'Ernie Effect', nails OE debauchery and gives the old ^5 to 'good, wholesome, low-grade British smut'." Wrinkled noses.

Ernie Effect? asks someone, and I pounce, almost laughing too much to do justice to that bit where he asks if she wants pasteurized and she says she'll be happy if it comes up to her chest.

Honestly, do check her out. She knows how to use that alphabet and is the sort to come out with an excellent novel that owes nothing to the camouflage she's currently running to make her Notting Hill Diary work so well.

Every time I give a link, I get plaints that they're dud, so go to The Spectator and type 'Tamzin' in the 'Search' and you ought to find stuff like this.

Better still, buy an actual sub: Barrie Humphries and Joan Collins do the occasional Diary; Taki is always disruptive; the reviews are good; Jaspistos rocks, as does Dear Mary.

Plus, as I say, anyone who's been in the business and yearned to see the boot go in on the ghastly lingo we churn out to keep our masters assured that they've hired PR lackeys with cutting edge cant - Ms Lightwater is our gal.


The Scribe of Rotten Hill said...

Strictly speaking there's only one real Notting Hill Diary :-)

Busker said...

What a great blog! Just in time for my whirlwind visit to Londinium where I've only a few pals to visit and then time hanging heavy to pop up to my old haunts round Notting Hill.
When I lived on Swiss Cottarge's Fairfax Rd, I'd jump the bus as it slowed at the Abbey Rd roundabout and ride it down to NHG and shop forever with my friend Jane.
Yes. Very cool and thanks for commenting. (Still love that Tamara ;-)

Busker said...

Doncha hate that drat esprit d'escalier!!

I *should* have kicked off with ".. but YOU don't sound like a nobody".

Curses, foiled again.