You may believe that money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10) but I think, like Fred Ebb that it makes the world go round.
Fred also took the view that life was a cabaret old chum and I’m inclined to agree with that as well.
What good is sitting alone in your room when you can be in someone else’s?
John Terry, the cerebral English football captain, whose £130,000 a week pay was described by ministers and Ministers as obscene, is reported to have shelled out around £400,000 to his former lover, Vanessa (the Undresser) Perroncel.
This little bit of wealth redistribution was pretty easy money for the former lingerie model.
All she had to do was keep one part of her anatomy shut for having had another open.
A great deal was put together for her by Max (Our Moral Guardian) Clifford: the frisky pair both committed the same act of love once or twice but Terry lost his England captaincy and dropped a few hundred big ones.
Ness (seen here) came out looking dignified and gorgeous. In short, she is quids in if she says nowt.
* * *
You have heard of the expression “Only in America”.
Well I’ve saved this story for you dear readers because the opening sentences by Chris Irvine are some of the finest ever written and could only have appeared in a British newspaper:
“Gary Stewart, a homosexual man, allegedly attempted to poison his lesbian neighbours with slug pellets after they accused him of kidnapping their three-legged cat.
Stewart, 37, allegedly put slug pellets into a curry he had offered Marie Walton and Beverley Sales as a peace offering, after the trio had argued for months.”
* * *
The road to the Lock Keeper’s Inn in Belfast is a metaphor for Northern Ireland in itself.
It twists and bumps and banks and goes downhill for quite a way. Sometimes you can’t see things coming.
Stretches of it are smooth and beautifully sealed while others are riddled with potholes.
My beautiful guide Fiona tells me that the council won’t assume responsibility for the bad parts of the road until the residents get them up to scratch.
This of course costs money, and lots of it, so things stay the same.
We park the car and stroll for some distance in the company of many others along the side of the River Lagan. It strikes me that we could all be pilgrims.
It is mid-winter but the cafe next to the tiny old house on Shaw’s Bridge is heaving.
People are ordering huge Belfast baps stuffed with stew, but everyone is craning a neck for a glimpse of Kirk McCambley.
“There he is,” says a customer and heads turn. Alas it’s only one of many photos of the tall blond 19-year-old youth which are stuck on the cafe wall.
Kirk has gone to ground. Is it because he’s now a gay icon?
* * *
Kirk (seen here) is being duchessed (if that’s the right word) by Attitude, the UK’s leading online gay magazine.
The shy east Belfast lad has become a baby-faced Lothario and they want him on the cover. So does Playgirl in America.
Kirk’s old friend Iris, a woman he’s known since he was nine, doesn’t like gay people.
She thinks homosexuality is an abomination and in a caring way is hopeful that people can be cured.
She also has strong views on the sanctity of marriage. About a year before hooking up with Kirk she urged teenagers publicly to say “no” to sex.
Her husband Peter enthusiastically organised the “Save Ulster from Sodomy” campaign 32-years ago, but I don’t believe it was a cracking success.
* * *
Let’s spell it out: Iris and Kirk romped shamelessly in her marital bed while Peter, who was then Northern Ireland’s First Minister, was toiling away at Stormont trying to sort out justice and policing.
Iris (seen here) is 60 and has now been sacked by the Democratic Unionist Party.
Money has played its part.
Kirk needed to score some cash for his business. Iris (however did she do it?) got a loan of £50,000 from two property developers, one of whom is now deceased, which she passed on to Kirk, retaining £5K for herself.
Iris, who was then a Castlereagh Council member, allegedly didn’t pipe-up about the loan when Kirk’s planning application went through.
McCambley’s youthful ardour soon cooled and Iris asked for the money back.
You might ask was it hers to recover? Anyway, loan or gift, there are some significant tax implications.
My impeccable sources, the Belfast cabbies are divided.
As he whizzed me to my hotel, a chubby young driver with one eye on the road said of Iris: “I’d give her one.” At least I think that’s what he said.
Another suggested it was all a bit like furniture from IKEA: “One dodgy screw and the whole cabinet collapses.”
* * *
Poor old hardworking Peter stood down while a quiet and unassuming barrister called Paul Maguire QC conducted an inquiry.
The First Minister has been cleared and now intends to sue the BBC and others.
But still there are some folk who are not happy.
Iris was banged-up in a loony bin suffering from what I reckon is a hefty dose of Hypocrisia Nervosa, which is not often found in politicians.
* * *
Iris retired from the House of Commons on health grounds and used the ancient parliamentary device of applying for the Chiltern Hundreds, which would entitled her to a handy “resettlement grant”.
However, the financial consequences of Iris’s action are likely to hurt.
The Swish Family Robinson, as they are known, have a tasteful home in Gransha Road with Tuscan scenes and French and Scottish-themed bedrooms.
Until all this hoo-ha it had been all-systems go for their plans to build an 8000 square feet (743 square metres) mansion on Larch Hill.
Apparently, the golden couple paid £450,000 in 2001 for an apartment in dockside London (now believed to be worth £700,000) and it’s said they have a place in Florida to lay their weary friends.
Before Iris was bundled away, the BTP was forking out quite a lot of moolah to keep the family business thriving.
Peter and Iris (pic) each pocketed £63,291 a year as Westminster MPs; Robbo got £71,434 for being First Minister and £43,101 for being an MLA.
Iris gratefully received a further £24,296 for being an MLA and chair of the health and social services committee.
She earned a further £9550 for her sterling work as a Castlereagh councillor.
Pete employs daughter Rebekah as office manager and son Gareth as his parliamentary assistant.
Iris had son Jonathan as her office manager and daughter-in-law Ellen as a part-time secretary.
The couple claimed a fair bit of dosh for nosh over four years but best of all Iris slung in a form for a new bed.
* * *
But all is not lost even for John Terry. Maybe he could land a job dishing out baps in Kirk’s cafe.
As the great Fred Ebb wrote and Joel Grey sang:
“If you happen to be rich and you feel like a night’s entertainment, you can pay for a Gay escapade.”
But watch out if anyone serves you curry.