1/8/2002
 

:claudia's column:

bilious beastly bailiffs

   
       

What, you may well ask, am I doing in London now that August is here? I am inclined to create an incredible and glamorous tale rather then speak the truth. But Truth, when you are so famous, is always in heavy disguise, an illusion created without your consent and it follows you about just like a dog, occasionally raising its leg on subjects you would have preferred left alone.

To avoid shock and fear amongst you all, dear ones, I shall tell you what I am still doing here before someone else does - some beastly bailiffs have kept me here.

   
       
It never occurred to me to pay my parking fines; why should it? I never read my junk mail, and the mormon grandmothers who open my fan mail, at my alternative address, filter the letters and send me just what is nice and appropriate. So you can imagine my surprise when, a couple of months ago, after leaving my car in front of Eros in Piccadilly Circus, I came back to find it gone, gone, not simply to a pound but hijacked by the bailiffs. Outraged, I was to discover, after years of avoiding the Mafia in Europe, that it is alive and sniggering in England, only legitimised by a flimsy strand of so-called law, making it legal for them to kidnap my poor old car, leaving me stranded in Piccadilly Circus with only my Chanel sunglasses for protection.    
       

Once it was established that I was the unlucky owner of the car I received an onslaught of absurd, preposterous, ridiculous and totally unbelievable demands from these bailiffs, which I of course ignored until one day they turned up at my house. I never lock the front door as there are always so many people around and I always hated that idea of locking myself away in a castle in a mean, uncharitable little existence; besides, when charities turn up they invariably wait on the doorstep in case I am dressing, or something.

But these bailiffs just strolled right in and would have made off with the silver if it hadn't been too heavy. I was glad to have Nelson by my side while I was trying to negotiate with these imbeciles as I think they were a little intimidated by a poodle the size of a horse, grizzling at them like Godzilla.

   

The bailiffs insisted that after years of parking oblivion, I owed them a rather large sum - the Queen would have had to sell Buckingham Palace to pay it. Well I didn't want to give them the cash and, looking around me, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to give them except an old, quite rare copy of 'My Virgin Summer' that the bailiffs homed in on. Just to get rid of them I let them have it, but then they insisted I sign it, so I did: "Dear bailiffs, you are bilious bastards and I hope you are run over by a Buick." They seemed quite pleased with that and went away.

 

   

Naturally, I assumed it was all over but that evening, when I was chatting to Elton, he said that he had had dealings with the very same bailiffs, and, just like a lingering boil, there was bound to be some comeback.

Sure enough, two days later they returned, saying they knew I had another single called 'Westport Lake' and my debt wouldn't be settled till they had a signed copy of that as well, which is totally irrational, I know, but just to get rid of them I agreed. So I wrote "Dear bailiffs, don't expect to understand this music, you have to become human first." Then I felt sorry for them because they looked so confused and forlorn as they went away. Somewhere out there, there is a bailiff trying to enjoy our music.

   
       

Now I have my car back, but to stop unaesthetic scenes like this happening again, I am going to give my car away to a reputable charity, or the Queen because she must be so disappointed with that Bentley she has. In the future if you want to do some star-spotting look for bicycles.

Bye darlings, speak soon.