I am in England at the moment and will be for another week. I wasn’t going to post anything from my holiday, as the only event that really has my full attention at the moment is the royal wedding. I know I am in danger of boring a large part of my readership with my appreciation of Kate Middleton’s fashion sense and increasing knowledge of the protocol involved in royal nuptials. So I thought I would leave coverage of next weekend to those properly qualified to do it (which apparently includes basically every journalist currently residing in the UK, regardless of whether they have ever followed state events or the royal family previously).
However, something happened last night which I really wanted to share. And as it is not related to ‘I Do’ at all, I thought I should be free to do so.
I was in a pub in Islington with some friends and we were talking to the nice barman. He works in the pub whilst he is at law school. Previously to studying law he was a royal marine for several years. He and some friends are clubbing together to jointly buy a six bedroom, swimming-pooled house on Daytona Beach. He knows that particular group from studying for an MBA at Harvard. He was sad to be working over the Easter weekend as otherwise he would have gone to his parent’s ‘pile’ in Devon where they let him drive their Ferrari…
Slowly, as more stories were told and extra anecdotes were shared by the barman, it became clear that he was, if not a complete lunatic, a fantasist and an absolutely massive liar. He cannot have been older than 24 but if his stories of years in the armed forces, training in law and a ‘dabble’ working in the city are to believed, he would have had to have left school by the time he was about 12. It is also inexplicable to me why someone who supposedly has at least one successful career behind them, a Harvard MBA and ready access to a Ferrari, would be slogging away in a pub on Good Friday.
Nothing that this chappy said added up. He piled on extra layers of colour and fantasy as if in a private conversation with himself. He didn’t appear to notice that one by one his audience stopped participating in the easy pub-side banter and just watched him with mouths slightly open as he wove a web of lies.
Whilst he was quite harmless, I find it amazing that he thought he could get away with it. I was quite impressed at the ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ look he had when I asked what type of law he has practiced. He said ‘contract law’ which, I happen to know is not exactly a type of law that someone practices at all. It is the answer that you would give if you didn’t know what you were talking about. The more I pressed him, the more confident he became in giving his ludicrously unconvincing answers.
He is obviously of the school of thought that, if caught in a corner, it is best to plough on through as if you know exactly what you’re doing and haven’t made a massive balls-up.
The same is apparently true of the Czech president who last week made the headlines across the Czech Republic and Chile when he tried to steal a very valuable pen at the signing of an international agreement, on live TV. How he thought he would get away with this whilst the eyes of the world’s media were on him is beyond me. This really is worth seeing and YouTube handily shows the whole incident here: Czech President in Pen Heist
Enjoy seeing how Klaus opens the pen case, takes the pen (which was encrusted with semi precious Chilean stones), eyes it up and then hides it under the table before pocketing it. He then closes the empty case and carries on as if nothing has happened. Brazen.
Once they realized that he had been caught on camera, ‘team Klaus’ kicked into spin overdrive. Sadly the best they could come up with was that the Czech premier ‘often’ takes pens from signings. Whether this is standard statesmanlike behaviour or not, it did little to shield Klaus from further ridicule (including a Facebook campaign to send him his own biros for future use) and has presumably left the staff of many foreign administrations carefully checking their stationery cupboards…