• 2001: No 3697


    Competition No 3697

    We want extracts from the diary of the partner of a famous person that would posthumously alter our view of their character or role in history.


    There’s been a change in George recently. Not because of becoming President – he hardly seemed to notice that. In fact, he said to me, ‘Now that wretched campaign’s over, I’ll have more time for golf.’ But one day – during some Middle East crisis, so he had time on his hands – we were watching a quiz show on TV – some Englishwoman, or is she Welsh? George got hooked on her style, said he wished he could get rid of people that easy. Then, about the fourth time we watched, he shouted out: ‘I knew that!’

    He got obsessed. He kept buying quiz books and trying them out on me in bed. (I almost started to wish I was married to Bill Clinton.) He was asking me: ‘Which is further north, Slovenia or Slovakia? Do imports come from inside or outside a country? What was the name of the last US President not to get a second term?’ And he’d start reciting facts that took his fancy: ‘Did you know that there are poison gases come from a car’s exhaust pipe? I wonder if our guys in Kyoto know that?’ He’s not the same man I married.


    Mamma mia! People think if you’re married to the Duce, it’s ravioli all the way. But when you see him at home, it’s not like he is in public. Today he got another new car. (My maid Carla tells me the partisans call him ‘two-Fiats’, but I daren’t repeat it to him.) He keeps asking how fast will she go, will she do 200 an hour. ‘I’ll show Hitler what his Autobahnen are for’, he shouts. Then he turns on poor old Giuseppe, his driver, and screams: ‘Will we be there by twelve? You’re in jail if we’re not.’ Of course, he pretends it’s all for me; he says he wants me to go by car because I’ve just had my hair done. But all he really cares about is his car, his chauffeur. He doesn’t give a f*** whether the trains run on time.