by Danny "Don Juan" Henrey
Dear Byronists, most of you will by now be familiar with the biographical details of the life of the man to whose memory and example we have devoted this evening. Certain facets of Byron and the Byronic cannot fail but to shine through the murk of time: for example, that he was an inveterate and inordinately successful womanizer; that he spent much of his inheritance on things like a magnificent but antiquated travelling coach and an accompanying menagerie of animals; and that he had a passion for foreign travel and adventure. Thanks to my own researches, several more vital aspects of the man have now come to light. These include an unconquerable attraction to sheep, especially the heavily-fleeced Loch Lomond breed; a lifelong inferiority complex due to the fact that he did not go to Oxford (by the time he applied, all the rooms at Trinity and Christ Church had been taken); an adolescent passion for Spotted Dick - who I have identified as a boy two years his junior at Harrow; and an urge to ponce about in make-up and high heels every time there was a full moon. All this is revealed in my new monograph, 'Byron and me: some striking similarities', published by Basil Blackwell at £27.50. However, many of you are probably wondering exactly what it means to be a Byronist in this day and age, where A.I.D.S. curbs our Don Juanly excesses, horse-drawn coaches are no longer a common means of transportation and the Loch Lomond sheep is extinct. Fortunately, the diary of my recently-deceased uncle, Lord Newstead of Willesden Green, has come into my possession. Here, if ever, was a latter-day Byronist, and I would like to take this opportunity to read out some representative extracts: -
Monday, 4th August. 11.30 a.m. Despite orders to the contrary, my manservant Swordfish wakes me from the dreamless. Apparently, there's a woman in the sitting room who claims I'm the father of her child. Manage to get rid of her by telling her that I was 14 when her damned offspring was born; then, when she had gone, realised that she was the kitchen maid I seduced when I was in the third year at good old Haberdasher's! Staggered off to the club for a spot of lunch, then trickled down to the Lido to get in a bit of parascending and power boat racing, and tottered 'round to the opera with Theresa, with dinner at Cherubino's afterwards with Trixiebelle. N.B. Entry to be transferred to the little black book: Theresa C, Trixiebelle B++.
Tuesday, 5th August. 2 p.m. Woken from the alcohol-induced dreamless by Swordfish, who points out that the helicopter has just landed on the helipad, next to the roof garden. Have a quick brekkers of caviare, crayfish and Bollinger, and hop into the 'copter, next to my new pilot, Annabelle. I take her up into the wide blue yonder and, after we've dressed again, she flies me off to Paris, where I dine on pressed duck, Latour '61 and Angelique (N.B. B- and A, respectively).
Wednesday, 6th August. 12.30 a.m. Decide to leave early for Antibes, but the blasted Lamborghini conks out at 160 on the autoroute. Chat up some pretty French goats at the roadside while Swordfish drives down in the Aston. Reach Cannes at 3, in time for three sets with Bjorn Borg (all he could manage, poor chap). Test Ferrari's new formula one car for them, but have to decline their fervent entreaties to drive in the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday. Reach the villa at 8, stopping off at that discreet little Drogerie en route, for a couple of gallons of Laudanum. Have a quick threesome before supper with the gardener and the maid - not very diverting. Dine modestly on a roast ox, stuffed with a pig, stuffed with a swan, stuffed with a goose, stuffed with a rabbit, stuffed with a hamster. Swill it down with Dom Perignon '67. Hit the sack early; not in the mood for any more stuffing tonight.
Saturday, 9th August. 3 p.m. Swordfish, at hand with tea and crumpet (viz. four buxom country wenches), informs me that I've been zonked out of my mind for two and a half days. Fester in bed with the crumpet until the guests arrive for the party. Bathe in champagne to restore my nerves, then make the grand entry in my silk Dior romper suit. Things are rather dull until we swim out (in the raw) to my motor yacht, and decide to drive to Capri. Lost count of the men, women and animals I had. The orchestra I hired for the "do" unfortunately got pushed overboard in the crush, and the photographer from the Tatler had a very painful accident with his zoom lens. All in all, despite snorting a bucket of coke, I'm plagued somewhat by a bout of the cursed despair that runs in the family. I hope dear Danny will be able to cope with all this after my turn has come to go up to that great brothel in the sky. To be candid, I have faith in him.
Not long after this, dear uncle Newstead did indeed die, mumbling, "Those blasted leeches at the Nat. West. have finally drained me dry; an eternal curse on their souls!" All I can say is, may his tortured body now rest in peace at last. I myself take comfort from the family motto: Nihil tedium in vita; solamentus vinum, nookum et yawnum technicoloriis, which, loosely translated, runs, "Praise Byron, pass the port, carry on bonking, and sod the consequences".