by Bodwyn Wook
As a fourteen-year-old boy in 1963 I was no end taken by the exiguities of Tory Secretary of State for War John Profumo. How he was become mired in the toils of society ponce and epicene marihuanist Stephen Ward and, then, brought low by his liaison with Christine Keeler (and, through Keeler, with Yevgeni Ivanov, a Soviet Embassy naval attaché) was not only doleful, to me; not as a morality-tale, at any rate. Indeed, it suggested rather strongly altogether the visions of some delectable by-ways one day (or, on at least a few nights anyhow) to be trod by me, myself, in my soon-adulthood now in the offing. After all, these selfsame Tories were my father’s family’s people, were they not? At this time, my future was indeed a topic of much discussion, at home in South Minneapolis; my father was intent on sending me to school in Yorkshire, and my American mother was totally opposed to the very idea of anything to do with “those schools!” She was firmly convinced, like First Lord Winston Churchill’s Great War Royal Navy, that they were aught but academies of “pedastery”, sodomy and the lash, if not rum. This was an opinion in her unshakeable, not least since she had met Mr Evelyn Waugh whilst operating a teletype in a steel-and-concrete sub-basement in the Blitz. “Christ!” she would blare at our father: “Your own God-damn writers KNOW it, that these bastardly shitholes are nothing but a bunch of dens of perversion!” So, Mom had her way and I was perforce obliged to resign myself in adulthood to the plebian (and, later, cocaine-fuelled) fornications of the NeoCon American Baby Boom “Luv Generation”.
The press images of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies then receded like figures in a daydream of the English Springtime, to dwell in my adolescent spotty past as the but-seldom-remembered icons of a broken dream, of schooldays on the cricket pitch and, later, thirty years of frowsting it in Whitehall, at ‘something to do with the Foreign Office’.
This happy picture of Christine Keeler, picnicking in Sussex in the middle of her beleaguered 1963 Summer, makes me realise now of course how quickly it all passes away and, so, how greatly deserving she is too of all our sympathy. Along with John Profumo, who spent penitent years in christian community service. Along with everyone else too, one supposes, although I am having a Devil of a time, in our late mother’s Eagle Lake, MN, vernacular, “going that Dick Cheney sonofabitch!” On the other hand, he makes sense to himself too, I daresay, it is just that as Jesus points out the sins of Love are altogether the easier to forgive….
[all rights revert to holder
[8 August 2010]