IF you're interested in current affairs, it's been a good week.
I'm usually five or six paragraphs in before I start lying to you. Yet, here I am: at it from the off. I really mean past affairs. And I'm talking in the carnal sense. And none of it seems to have taken place.
Still, stirring tales of flings between, in the red corner, Tony Blair and Wendi Deng, and, in the blue joke, Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Hurley, have set the world of salacious gossip aflame.
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Disappointingly, much was dampened quickly. But you wouldn't have put it past at least one of those statesmen. And we all know power's an aphrodisiac. I learned that the hard way as treasurer of the Leith Orchid Lovers' Society (Marxist-Leninist). Turned out they only wanted to snatch my cuttings.
To Bill and Liz first. Tom Sizemore, a Hollywood actor, claimed in a video interview that he'd arranged a rendezvous between the president and the actress in 1998.
The president, he said, had demanded Liz's number, saying (clears throat): "Give it to me. You dumb m***********, I'm the Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America."
I see. Well, actually I don't. What's a m***********? Mudwarbler, my best guess, is two asterisks short. Mothfondler is one short. And that exhausts my knowledge of sexual innuendo. Oh no, hang on, I get it. Crivvens.
More unlikely dialogue, even from a cheesy pillock like Bill, followed when the president phoned the actress and, according to Sizemore, said: "Elizabeth, this is your Commander-in-Chief. I don't have any time for the ****. I'm keeping the world from nuclear war all the time. I'm sending a plane to pick you up."
Sounds more like Batman than Bill. Later, the latter apparently vouchsafed: "I don't do love and I'm beginning to think I might love you." And that sounds more like Mills & Boon than Bill & Burd.
Certainly, Mr Clinton and Miss Hurley met in 2001, at a Santa Monica beach party with other celebrities including the singer Sheryl Mudwarbler. Sorry, Crow. The plot thickens when you recall that Monica was the name of a burd that Bill did have an affair with even though, if I have the quote right, he claimed: "I did not have sexual relations with yonder woman."
But this allegation that he hurled himself at Hurley is distinctly iffy. Apart from anything else, the name Sizemore sounds like a bit player in Carry On Buttock Kneading. And, true enough, yesterday the actor came clean and said it had all been a lie uttered under the influence of drugs. Ach, pity.
More hopeful for a result in the real world is the Deng-Blair imbroglio. This re-ignited after publication of a "memo" that media monarch Rupert Murdoch's then wife wrote in peculiar English about former Prime Minister Blair. To wit: "Oh, s***. Oh, s***." Yup, with you so far. "Whatever why I'm so missing Tony. Because he is so charming and his clothes are so good."
Well, ding-dong, Wendy-Dong, as Leslie Phillips might have said. But there's more: "He has such good body and he has really good legs Butt … And he is slim tall and good skin."
There's some more soupy bilge about his eyes and an allusion to his powerful stage-presence, presumably while performing card-tricks (see my forthcoming political biography: Just Like That - Tony Blair's Debt to Tommy Cooper).
But, really, when all's said and done, why capitalise "butt"? It's a controversial piece of the anatomy, not a placename. No wonder the world is horrified.
And who writes a "memo" like that? I trust it wasn't headed "Memo to all staff".
There's a backstory here. Once, Wendi invited Tony to the California ranch owned by her cowboy husband. Blair showed up, but was apparently mortified to find Rupert absent. He "rolled his eyes and gave a panicked look". Deng, meanwhile, was right flirtatious, according to leading gossips.
Stout denials all around, of course, though it seems clear that La Deng at least wasn't lacking in ardour. As for Mr Blair, he didn't get where he is today by lying. Oops, that's me at it again, though.