A Sad Error of Judgment
A sad and dispiriting tale came my way the other day; one that shows neither of the dramatis personae in a particularly good light. Only my well-known dedication to the truth constrains me to put the facts as I received them before you. This dismal conte concerns a knight of the realm, a musician and artiste of many years’ standing, on the one hand, and on the other, a Member of Parliament, one of the Cabinet, and her Majesty’s Minister for Education on the other: he who has the self-imposed task of dragging English education from its current supine and obsolescent state into the broad sunlit uplands of the 19th century. Yes, we are speaking here of Sir Mick Jagger and Michael Gove. I first heard of this sad misadventure through the pages of Lord Gnome’s mighty organ, and have busied myself in further researching the dreary yarn, and presenting it as a sombre lesson from which we might all benefit.
It appears that these two gentlemen found themselves at the same function at a place several miles outwith the centre and immediate purlieus of the Metropolis, a fact that adds a melancholy piquancy to the denouement of the story. The MP was the main attraction of the event, the one the crowds had flocked to see, hoping to hear him deliver himself of the happy phrase, the well-turned mot, for their delight and edification, rather than a character assassination of astonishing ineptitude. But let me not anticipate.
Some of my readers will no doubt be aware that, in his biography, Keith Richards – no doubt feeling that his long and intimate creative partnership with Sir Mick allowed him the licence to do so – permitted himself a few remarks anent his close friend’s genitalia. The nub of the gist of the gravamen of these observations was that though Sir Mick’s balls hang low, such that he can swing them to and fro; even swing them to the ceiling in a manner most appealing, the rest of his equipment is sadly deficient in length and girth. Well, close friends sometimes do entitle themselves to such liberties, knowing that such teasing animadversions arise from deep affection, and are not to be taken seriously. It does not mean that they would encourage others in a similar enterprise. Need we add that Sir Mick’s widely reported liaisons with many of the world’s most intelligent, beautiful and gifted women from the realm of the arts and the sphere of politics – including, it is enviously alleged, the wives of various francophone prime ministers on at least two continents – indicates that whatever he had to offer was, for them at any rate, perfectly satisfactory.
Well, at some stage during the binge in question, Sir Mick excused himself to answer a call of nature. The Cabinet Minister at once scurried after him yipping like a spaniel pup. According to the elderly servitor who, I am assured, was present and watching the proceedings through thick spectacles from which he had not quite managed to wipe the dust and lard, the two actors in this miserable drama were both standing before the porcelain (that great leveller). Her Majesty’s Minister for Education myopically assured himself of the truth, or otherwise, of Keef’s remarks.
Having done so to his own satisfaction, the Member of Parliament on returning to the podium, then addressed several remarks to the crowd, twitting Sir Mick on his shortcomings. “Poor Sir Mick’s got a tiny prick”, was allegedly the burden of one such. Another, apparently, according to certain unreliable sources, was: “Tick-tock, Mick’s Cock Won’t Stop The Clock.”
The audience, of course, found this outburst painfully embarrassing, but the Minister for Education, somehow unable to read the mood of the audience, went on to regale them (I am informed by one who heard it from one who was in the next room at the time, listening through several layers of green baize and a defective deaf-aid) with the following vers d’occasion: Poor Mick Jagger’s got a small pork dagger, and he showed it to the girls on stage. They thought it was a maggot, and said, “Mick, you silly faggot, put it back at once and act your age!”
The bibliophile and art collector at the centre of all this unwarranted attention of course showed no emotion, and took it all in his agile stride, not wishing to cast an even greater pall over the proceedings. However, at the end of the bunfight, the Cabinet Minister approached the target of his sallies, and spoke to him thus:
“Are you going back to London?”
Note the sheer gentility of the man who had been subjected to these puerile attacks. This is one who had risen from his knees at the light touch of Her Majesty’s sword upon his shoulder; a man of refined tastes; one who, moreover, was well embarked on the seventh decade of his life. He could hardly drop his trousers and club his tormentor to the ground with the very virile member that had occasioned the other’s prurient curiosity, which a lesser man might have been tempted to do.
“Yeah man,” was all his humble reply.
“I wonder then, could you – that is, do you think you might give me a lift?”
There was a pregnant silence.The aesthete and scholar drew himself up to his full sixty nine inches. Then at last, pausing only to sniff the green carnation at his lapel, he unsheathed the lancet-like wit for which he is justly famed and feared throughout the world.
“Yeah – in the fucking boot.”
As Gove rocked on his heels, blinking back tears of dismay and incomprehension, what thoughts raced through his mind as he wretchedly contemplated the long trudge home? Could they have included the sheer social ineptitude with which he had misjudged his audience’s sense of propriety, and the questionable wisdom of then throwing himself on the mercy of his victim? “Am I,” he could well have wondered, “a sufferer from Asperger’s Syndrome, soon to be renamed Autism Spectrum Disorder? And if so, am I being sufficiently well advised in my capacity as Minister for Education to avoid such regrettable solecisms in my far-reaching and vital task on behalf of the nation’s children, and hence the very future of the country?”
We mean no disrespect to Asperger’s sufferers when we say: it is a question that we might all ask ourselves!