Idle Eye 48 : The Crucible

A couple of things have been bothering me this week. Firstly, this Jimmy Savile business is beginning to grate: Yes, it’s a given that everything that has come to light is abhorrent. Yes, the BBC screwed up. Yes, the victims all deserve an opportunity to move on. And yes, even the benefit of hindsight into another time with a very different moral compass does little to assuage his misdemeanours. But the cynic in me does question the merits of a media witch-hunt against a dead man, purposefully manufactured to whip up powerful emotions in those less than able to handle them. Remember the paedophilia scandal of 2000? When Newport pediatrician Yvette Cloete had ‘paedo’ graffitied onto her front door by her own neighbours? And if the deceased really are a legitimate target, where do we draw the line? Do we destroy the gravestones of Kenneth Williams and Joe Orton, both now institutions much loved by the general public? How about Pier Pasolini? Or why not Caligula? Come on, readers, I’m sure you can dig up another long gone family favourite with a dodgy track record.

The other thing is how to segue the above into an attractive advertisement for the Idle Hour. Tall order, granted, but that’s the task in hand and by hook or by crook I’ll find a way: It’s what I do. Now, please bear with me as I freeform in italics:

The Idle Hour is one of West London’s best kept secrets. It sells lovely wine and beer, serves great food and has a wonderful suntrap garden, ideal for all those lazy Sunday afternoons with the family. In no way does it condone any suspect behaviour with young ‘uns. Bang out of order, all that. And anyway, it just does booze’n’grub. Properly, with a touch of class. And no fiddling. Ever. And that’s a promise!

Those of you who know me and/or Nibs will implicitly understand the above seemingly blasé approach needs to be taken with a very large pinch of salt. Partly to simmer down the tone and partly to avoid litigation. But, as there is an increasingly large percentage of you that don’t, I shall attempt to paraphrase every politician wheeled onto Radio 4 to spread the word of whichever wretched party they happen to represent:

Let’s be perfectly clear about this: The Idle Eye blog does have, and has always had the best interests of the Idle Hour public house at heart. And if, for whatever reason, the former has strayed from its initial brief, it would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly for any offence caused.

So there you have it. A seemingly impossible remit brought about by the power of the written word. And, for any Sun readers who have managed to get this far without assistance, the address you’ll be looking for is as follows:

The Idle Eye Front Door,
No 10 Downing Street,
London SW1A 2AA

Thanks for your time xx

Idle Eye 1 : The Beginning

So, are we all in then? Sitting comfortably? Good. Now, let’s get on with it..

Several months ago I was staring down the bottom of a glass in a Godforsaken hellhole of a bar in downtown Cairo, broke, homeless and with the useful years of my miserable life long since behind me. ‘How did I get here?’ I appeared to ask, although in reality I was more concerned with shaking out the last piastres from my pockets as it was dangerously close to closing time. A young man walked in and sat down on a stool beside me. He was well dressed, freshly shaven and surprisingly clean. He ordered a Manhattan from the bar and for several minutes he observed me closely. Then, without warning, he patted me gently on the shoulder and offered to buy me anything my heart desired. ‘Anything?’ I asked gingerly. ‘Anything at all’ he replied, smiling.

‘Well blow me’, I thought, ‘that doesn’t happen every day’, but just before I put in for a vintage Bentley, leather seats, walnut dash, wire wheels, complete with Page 3 dazzler gazing adoringly at me from the passenger seat, I stopped to consider. These talismans of success were all very well, but surely in essence they were ephemeral? The fleeting trappings of, say, a footballer or rock star. If I was to turn my life around, I needed something of substance to build on : Something I could look back on in later years and be proud that I had made a courageous decision in the face of temptation. And at that moment, I knew what I wanted.

‘Decided yet?’ asked the young man.

‘I have indeed’ I replied, swelling with self-knowledge.

‘So then, what’s it to be?’

Dropping down from the stool and drawing myself up to my full height, I turned to the benevolent stranger to give him the answer that would change my life forever :

‘Sir, what I would like more than anything else in the world would be to write the weekly blog for West London’s Idle Hour pubs, giving the readers regular updates on events, promotions and gossip in what will become known and anticipated as my own wry take on life but simultaneously informative & entertaining. Thank you for giving me this chance, I shall never forget your kindness and perhaps one day I too will be able to pass such an opportunity on to another..’

‘A fine choice’ he replied. ‘For a moment there I thought you were gonna go for the vintage Bentley, leather seats, walnut dash, wire wheels and the Page 3 bird. Guess I’ll have to shift them elsewhere. Have fun with the writing, my friend’, and without warning he was gone, leaving me the tab for the Manhattan, the bastard.

So, that’s how it started. And that’s how we’ll carry on, you and me. And if, at any time, you’re not too sure where it’s all going, just remember what I gave up. For you, dear reader, for you..