I decided to spend ten minutes looking at something for a sequel to The Dazzle that I literally don't have to the time to write just now. I signed out a few 1920s-30s memoirs. I opened the books pretty much at random. After a total of fifteen minutes reading (I lost discipline) I had to move on to urgent tasks, but I did quickly type up what I had found.
These books are a terrible danger, time-wise.
I became very friendly with Euphemia Lamb, whom I had first met in Paris when I was a child. She was then wearing a black velvet dress and it was a shock to see that she wore no corset or underclothes. Father may have been boasting when he later told me she had been his mistress. She came again into my life during the war and Father and I lunched with her at the Ritz. She was then always accompanied by a small, silent Russian Baron.
One hot summer afternoon I was passing the courtyard that leads to the stage-door of the London Palladium. Taking the air was a perfect specimen of manhood. Wearing a short white and gold tunic and breastplate, his magnificent brawny, brown body made him look to me like a Greek God. I was transfixed and willingly answered his call to have a chat, sitting with him on a prop basket. I told him a few things about myself and learned he was the principal dancer of the Marian Morgan Dancers from America. This meeting led to many experiments in the sexual sphere that could parallel Noel Coward’s Private Lives. He and his wife opened the door to a tumult of love-making and encouraged me to explore the many facets of sex: the one great gift nature has bestowed on all of us. They believed that the lack of courage to explore love-variations, caused the failure of many marriages. Their antidote was threesome, or ‘Chelsea Sandwich’, and I subsequently learnt that I was just one of many to have come between them.
According to his Swiss medical adviser, the formation of his body and skull was an exact physical reproduction of a renaissance nobleman, and when he first took up his appointment as Privy Chamberlain of the Cape and Sword at the Papal Court everyone was astonished by the way he seemed to know all the elaborate ritual and ceremonial as if from memory or instinct or both. He used to surround himself with beautiful things by Michelangelo, Donatelli and Leonardo da Vinci. He was a gourmet and a music lover. An example of his exotic life may be found in the circumstances of his succession to the title not long afterwards. He was in a New York millionaire’s yacht off Venezuela when Prince Paul of Greece heard the English wireless bulletin and informed him was now the new Welsh peer.
He was also a godfather thirty times over and a best man thirty-five times. Somehow he managed to remain a bachelor and become a wit. One of his phrases, ‘beetle off’, was, at my suggestion, adopted by PG Wodehouse.
Friday, 6 March 2015
Back. While I was away, Jeremy Sams and I quickly wrote a new version of this Wodehouse story, with Gershwin songs, and the marvellous Chichester Festival Theatre got wind of it and immediately decided to insert it into their summer programme, which is excellent.
Ho ho ho. But this show, which has been maturing like a very, very, very fine wine over the last few years, and of which I am inordinately proud, will finally see the light of day in the main house at Chichester, starting 30 May and running till 27 June. It's a big theatre, so you can all come and I want you to.
This is not the last you will hear of it.