Sunday, February 01, 2009

Jonathan Miller Resurgent and Jeff Threatened

February comes in like a lion. First, in The Sunday Times I interview Jonathan Miller and, second, as I slept, Frank drew my attention to my own paper's splash. Great heavens, Jeff may be booted out of the Lords. New rules may eliminate peers with criminal convictions. As you may recall, we have had a certain amount of innocent fun at the caperings of 'Lord' Archer. Perhaps, at times, I have overdone it. But the simple truth is that whenever I do not have a thought in my head, Jeff, somehow, leaps right in to fill the void. But will it be the same if he is not a 'Lord'? Something will have been lost, some aspect of the man's higher absurdity. Of course, we shall still have his blog to provide the consolations of his wondrous prose for those of us unable for whatever reason - embarrassment, fear, exhaustion, discernment, a functioning ear, status anxiety - to read his novels. But Jeff not being a 'Lord' is like Groucho not being a Marx or Tommy Cooper not wearing a fez. His identity will have been compromised. And why? Simply to make the House of Lords appear a serious, respectable place in the eyes of our foreign friends. But we are happy with it as a, to borrow from Clives James, 'transit camp for dingbats'.  We need a campaign - 'Keep Jeff noble!'


  1. I suspect Malty may be the only hope for the House of Lords. Knock them into shape. Those who let the side down should be offered the choice of swimming the Thames in February, ascending Big Ben via the outside without safety ropes or exile in, say, South Georgia. Age or infirmity will not be accepted as excuses.

  2. Great interview with Miller. Last time I was in New York his St Matthew Passion was on at BAM - artless, stunning, beautiful, moving, complete respect for Bach's music and his faith, complete break with the silly, static, massed-tuxedo way of not truly celebrating it. Could do with more atheists like this.

  3. This Baroness Royall person, is she up for a part as as a very strict headmistress in the next harry potter episode?

    Mind you I suspect it will not pay as well as a seat in the Lords, but a nice little extra earner all the same.

    Jeff and the rest might be thrilled at a carpeting from the noble Baroness, they might even be willing to pay good money for it. Max will be disappointed to miss out.

  4. 'Keep Jeff noble!'

    Take heart, Sir... coercion, no amount of oppression, no measures of retribution that any legislating body can possibly introduce will shatter our beloved Lord Archer. Indeed, I am inclined to rank him among the world's most noble literary cons....

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed the interview although you could have asked him how long he's had that sodding jacket, seems like forever, and did he ever give Germaine one, when they were neighbours.
    Picture the scenario, Lord Jeff, tossed out on his ear takes the House to the European Court of Human Rights, claims, and is given legal aid, wins his case and is reinstated, him and their lass leaving the courthouse in triumph, just lke Tommy and Gail, fists raised in salute, flashguns everywhere, reporters fawning, then Conrad Black does the same. Don't agree with the theory "leave him alone who would we have to poke fun at" our attention could then be focussed on the Gill / Vine duo. Jeff, like Elrond is out of time, let him pass on to the Grey Havens.

  6. Identity - yes, that's it! They should keep the offending Lords but make them wear striped orange boiler suits whenever they're within 100 yards of the place.

  7. But will it be the same if he is not a 'Lord'? Something will have been lost, some aspect of the man's higher absurdity.

    Heh heh, very good indeed.

    But I'm optimistic that Jeff's higher absurdity would adapt. He'd always be referred to as "Disgraced ex-Lord Archer" in the papers, which would be fun, and he'd buy or just invent some new title to describe himself. "Sub-Viscount" or "Demi-Baronet" or something.