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Sunday, November 03, 2002

The following tape of a critical conversation on 25th October has come into my possession. The sound is often rather indistinct so I have used my best efforts to clarify doubtful passages.

Dramatis personae:
Brenda Windsor (Queen of Airstrip One - 'Q' [nothing to do with Intelligence])
Phil de Greek (Brenda's husband)
Jugs (their son, a tree-hugger)

Scene: the back of a large, royal saloon [not a boozer]

Q: Here we nearly are chaps, at this Bally mnemonic service.

Jugs: Actually, mater old fruit, it's a memorial service about Bali. You know, the Indonesian island where lots of whites were killed by a terrorist bomb.

Phil: Oh yes, you can't trust those slitty-eyed little monsters.

Q: Gee thanks for that. How would I manage without you both? I'm so out of touch with things these days and nobody briefs me routinely. Anything else I should know? What's in the news, lately?

Jugs: Well, mater, there's an interesting trial going on at the moment of a bloke who used to be your footman.

Q: Hand in till job, is it, eh? He hasn't pinched anything of ours, has he? Still, we'll be able to claim tax relief on it anyway, what? Or we can ask for a rise from the tax-payers, ha ha. Perhaps we could do both.

Jugs: No, he left your place and worked for 'that woman'. Name of Barrell, if I remember rightly.

Q: Oh, that's OK then. If it's someone else's property, we don't care, do we?

Phil: I don't remember a woman called Barrell. Still, so many people pass through our generous employ that we can't remember them all. I remember 'that woman', though. They called her The Iron Lady. Didn't she die of Tall Pox?

Jugs: No that was Margaret Thatcher. 'That woman' was the virgin I had to marry as part of my duty to the country. We sometimes called her The Dingbat. The crook was her butler.

Q: Oh, I see. What did the crook do? Just because prosecutions are brought in my name, it doesn't mean I know every detail. I suppose the bloke's name couldn't be Burrell, could it?

Jugs: That's it mater.

Q: That's probably the bloke who broke into my bedroom and sat on my bed for several hours. Seemed very depressed, if my memory serves me correctly.

Phil: You never told me what went on then, your esteemed Everestness. Did you have a good chat?

Q: Not really; he knew bugger all about racing. He just kept on about the death of 'The Dingbat' and how he wanted to do everything to preserve her memory. That must hurt, dear sweet Jugs.

Phil: Anything else? How could a simple, humble footman-turned-butler do anything to preserve her memory?

Q: Well, he said that she had asked him, in complete confidence, to look after all sorts of sensitive material and potential souvenirs if anything happened to her. If it hadn't been for that duty, he might well have topped himself.

Phil: Sounds pretty boring to me. Still, a good suicide is the next best thing to a public execution, eh?

Q: What's the little crook charged with, anyway? Obviously a wrong 'un.

Jugs: He's charged with stealing The Dingbat's sensitive material and potential souvenirs...(Long pause)...Mater, what did you say that woman had asked him to do?

Q: (slowly) Look after all sorts of sensitive material and potential souvenirs, if something should happen to her...

Phil: Well it's not our problem. You mustn't interfere in justice, old dear. Remember you're only a figurehead. Inspector Plod will get it right.

Jugs: Hang on, mater & pater. This Barrell fella is charged with doing exactly what The Dingbat had asked him to do and he told you, dearest mama, about it.

Phil: So what. These Johnnies are taught discretion on pain of death so he won't reveal that conversation, even under fierce cross-examination.

Jugs: Still, just think what else he might say if pressed. He might reveal my IQ. Mater, you've got to let Inspector Plod (or should it be that nice, personable Maxine de Brunner?) know.

Q: Yes, I suppose so. You don't suppose they'll try to pin anything on me like wasting police time....? The conversation was soon after The Dingbat’s sad demise and Barrell was charged nearly two years ago.

Phil: Don't worry, Brenda, dear. Constitutionally they can't lay a finger on you for anything. You're beyond the law. A bit like that Pinochet spick in Chile.

Jugs: We don't want your loyal subjects getting restive, do we, though? Remember Charles I. Ouch. (sotto voce) Although on second thoughts...

Q: Quite right. We'll tell them the truth: that I've just remembered and you persuaded me to come forward. As for new blots on the family escutcheon, will anything eclipse the old stuff?

Phil: But to be on the safe side, we'll get the extraordinary constitutional expert Lord St John of Fawning to go on the telly and tell everybody that you are such a perfect human being that you are incapable of doing wrong. Everything will be tickety boo and we can go back to getting our enormous handouts and living the life of Riley. The people will love us even more for our sense of justice, our infallibility, and our unerring ability to wriggle out of seemingly impossible situations.

Jugs: Oooh look, we're here. No waving today. This Bally business is too serious...

Exeunt omnes

[Please note that, owing to the poor quality of the recording, I cannot vouch for every single detail of the conversation. Still, it's totally in accordance with the known facts and it's as likely as any of the other rubbish we've been hearing lately, isn't it? - © Josh]

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