A London Sunday Times article written by a beautiful ex-editor of mine, Sarah Baxter, had me apologizing for … kissing and telling. Actually I have never kissed and told, and I certainly have never told without having kissed—as some celebrities tend to do nowadays. But the clever Sarah phrased it in a way that made me sound like a Hollywood character.
It happened very long ago. A great friend of mine, Harry the Marquis of Worcester, introduced me to a rather short and plump but extraordinarily beautiful and pouting girl by the name of Emma Gilbey. Her claim to fame was Gilbey’s Gin, although none of the profits from demon drink had passed down her way. Then she got really famous. Her cousin, James Gilbey, was overheard by the spooks calling Princess Diana “Squidgy” over the mobile and the rest, as they say, is history.
Just about that time, Harry and Emma broke up, and I took her out for awhile. (We down-and-dirty Europeans never dump our old ladies to marry younger trophy wives but reserve the right to trip the light fantastic with women we are not married to.) It was hunky-dory for awhile, but then Emma—an extremely ambitious and intelligent woman—decided to move to Washington, D.C. Whenever I’d go to the nation’s capital, which was not often, I’d give her a ring and we’d dine together.
Now this is a hard thing to explain, but people do tend to tell each other secrets, and one of hers was that she was involved with JFK Mark II, the man who is now running for president. More details followed, and then it was time for a White House correspondents’ dinner. I had had much too much to drink—as a guest of Arnaud de Borchgrave, I was seated next to Fawn Hall—and when John Kerry lumbered by I heard myself yelling, “Senator, do you like to have sex in limousines?” Well, he didn’t look best pleased, but then he’s a politician and knows how to roll with the punches. He also knew that I knew and left it well enough alone.
The story of a separated senator and an English girl on the make faded—until just recently. Sarah Baxter stirred it all up again with her story. Oh yes, I almost forgot. There’s more to it than just Kerry. The New York Times is also involved, because—yes, dear readers, you’ve guessed it—Emma Gilbey is now the wife of Bill Keller, the executive editor of the Times, a man I’ve never met but hear is a very good fellow. (After the pretentious Howell Raines, it would be difficult not to be an improvement.)
So the London Sunday Times, owned by Rupert Murdoch, asks a rhetorical question but puts it in my mouth, namely, will Emma Gilbey influence her hubby to endorse John Kerry as the next U.S. president? On the face of it, she should. Better a man one knows than an unknown, but then women are not always so rational. It seems that Kerry got cold feet and Emma Bovary—sorry, Emma Gilbey-Keller—took off with a rock star by the name of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame. (She rang me when I was in the shower—my wife passed the telephone and said she hoped it would electrocute me—to announce that she had run off with Pink Floyd. I thought it was an NBA basketball player, and she hung up on me.)
Much ado about nothing, in reality. In Europe, politicians, especially in la belle France, all have mistresses. British politicians occasionally are caught with men in public lavatories, and nobody bats an eye.
I don’t know much about Kerry except that he depresses the hell out of me. He looks as gloomy as a rainy Sunday night in Belfast, Northern Ireland. But don’t be fooled. This guy is running for president but he’s in the wrong racket. He shoulda been a gigolo. His first wife, Julia Thorn, helped him go into politics. (Helped is a euphemism for total financing, including breakfast cereals.) It would be unfair for me to jump to conclusions, but once he separated from Julia Thorn—whose assets were not unlimited—the Gilbey millions may have looked very attractive, until he found out there were no millions. Teresa Heinz’s fortune also came the old fashioned way. Through marriage. I find it particularly amusing when the press refers to her as an heiress. An heiress inherits from her father or mother. Poor Senator Heinz must be turning over in his untimely grave.
Be that as it may, both Kerrys married very rich people and can wag the dog all they want. There was a lot of tension over money with Julia Thorn, and that’s putting it mildly. If Kerry wins the big prize, Teresa’s moolah might become less important. After all, Bill Clinton has become a very rich man for having serviced Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office. Still, the big question is whether Emma Gilbey will influence Bill Keller to endorse or not. Stay tuned.