High life

Those ancient Greeks were bores — but things are looking up

31 January 2015

9:00 AM

31 January 2015

9:00 AM

Thick snow is falling hard and heavy, muffling sounds and turning the picturesque village postcard beautiful. I am lying in bed listening to a Mozart version of ‘Ave Maria’, a heavenly soprano almost bringing tears to my eyes with the loveliness of it. This is the civilisation of our ancestors — one that gave us Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven and built cathedrals all over the most wondrous continent in the world. It is now being replaced by a higher one in which distinctions of ethnicity and religion will no longer be tolerated. The human race has a limitless capacity for self-improvement, and it shows where architecture, the arts and music are concerned, not to mention literature. You might think me jaundiced, but the Parthenon’s perfection is less impressive than the

Trump Tower’s glitz, and Cellini’s ‘Narcissus’ raises fewer eyebrows than Hirst’s shark. And what about the ‘Ode to Joy’? Can one really compare it to the rap that blasts 24/7 among those who are with it? Nah, of course not. Anyone who disagrees must be getting old.

Just as ‘Ave Maria’ was coming to an end, I opened the papers and felt proud to see Prince Charles and David Cameron kissing Saudi ass, followed by Obama a couple of days later. Oswald Spengler came to mind. What did he know that we don’t? Three thousand years of civilisation took an upward swing when TV was invented, taking drugs became de rigueur and popping pills and pop music became one and the same. Those ancient Greeks were bores, and I’m not referring to myself but to Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, not to mention Aristophanes. So were the Italians — the Titians and Tiepolos — and the French. The last built a few churches that now lie empty. Give me Norman Foster any day. And give me Frantz Fanon above all dead white males such as Goethe and his ilk.


Like a certain Harold MacMillan, who told his flock back in 1957 it never had it so good, I say to you now we’re in the money. All we have to do is forget our prejudices, allow more Africans and Muslims in, especially uneducated poor ones, and turn against Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular. Presto, we will have proved the doomsayers wrong once and for all.

This is Simon Cowell time, as well as Wendi Deng Murdoch. Sodom and Gomorrah is a myth, so stick to Simon and Wendi. Or, better yet, to the Kardashians. Watch as many reality shows as you can, and try to emulate the accents and of course the topics they discuss. Ditto for sci-fi and zombie movies. Encourage modern professional athletes to be more violent. Nerds such as Jesse Owens and Stanley Matthews should have their names removed from memory. Oscar Wilde died in disgrace and no wonder. He dared say this: ‘Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming.’ Which means things were getting better even back then.

And that brings me to beauty and an article in Vanity Fair about Dudley House in London’s Park Lane. It was written by a man I know and like, Jim Reginato, with pictures by Jonathan Becker, another friend. The house has been purchased and redone by a 33-year-old Qatari by the name of Thani, who, according to the article, is now a leading member of English society, frolicking with its golden youth. His circle includes the Queen. I told you at the start that things were improving. Even the dear old Queen now hangs out with the Thani dynasty. The Queen’s friend collects things, the more expensive the better. He saved Dudley House by turning it into one of the most beautiful edifices ever seen outside the strip in Las Vegas. Casino owners have been spotted drooling outside it.

Better yet, Jacob Rothschild and David Cholmondeley are advising him how to buy expensive trinkets and swoop whole collections in one go. This is what a democracy should be like. People such as Lords Rothschild and Cholmondeley should advise young, self-made Qataris how to spend money they earned honestly and through hard work.

And talking of Qataris, who gives a flying you know what if Nepalese workers die by the hundreds building football stadiums back in Qatar? They’re cannon fodder any way one looks at it. If they’re not dying climbing up Everest carrying rich people’s luggage, they die in Qatar where they are denied food and drink in 55°C heat. Some die in the cold, others in the heat. The important thing is they die making us rich more comfortable.

So, things are looking up. In fact, everything’s coming up roses. Yippee!

Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Subscribe – Try a month free


Show comments
  • Malus Pudor

    taking drugs became de rigueur…

    Didn’t the high-minded Taki do some porridge for smuggling illegal drugs into this country ?

    One of Pentonville’s alumni, I believe…

  • La Garache

    There comes a time, when famous but embarrassingly deranged old men should be told to quietly shut up before their mental incontinence becomes physical.

    • GenJackRipper

      Ever heard of irony? Taki dosen’t like these things; quite the opposite.

  • charles kinbote

    The usually well-informed Taki appears to be unaware that Zaha Hadid recently received an undisclosed amount, in addition to a formal apology, from the New York Review of Books as a settlement for a certain “false and defamatory statements” regarding construction worker deaths in Qatar. Hopefully, the prominent architect will not likewise distinguish a low profile target like THE SPECTATOR.

    Oddly enough, while courageously defending non-existent Nepalese victims, the columnist blithely ignores the hardships inflicted upon millions of Greeks, with total impunity, by an unrepentant kleptocracy.

    • GenJackRipper

      So claims of dying third world workers in Qatar is false?
      Yes, and I’m Santa Claus…

      • charles kinbote

        Due to non disclosure issues, we have no idea how much the New York Review of Books was forced to pay for defending similar views, but pay they did.

        Unfortunately, hot news items are usually unavailable at the North Pole.

    • noIMspartacus

      really? you must be easily amused and he suffers from delusions of adequacy….

      • Do not hate Taki because he is rich and smart!

        • noIMspartacus

          really? pathetic and polu saxlamara…

  • davidshort10

    There is certainly one huge modern Greek bore!

  • Monkswood

    Forget what the trolls on this forum spout – Qatar finances international terror groups – period and on their top table are ISIS. Enough said.

  • Gérard Depardieu

    You give our ancestors far too much credit. They had their vulgarians and bastards just as we do today. It’s all part of the fun. Don’t be such a bore.

    • charles kinbote

      In ancient Greece “vulgarians and bastards” were ridiculed and satirised. When they were rich and boring, to boot, the mockery was gleefully redoubled.

      Nowadays, they are revered role models.

      • Gérard Depardieu

        Sad but true.

  • noIMspartacus

    ti les re malaka Taki… stop before you go totally blind as well as stupid…

Close