Allow me, Foster Unction, known from Barcelona to Papeete as FU, to navigate the shoals of worthiness. Bring light where, hitherto, has lingered gloom. I offer clarity of thought, combining frank discussion and food with a person of note. Have your gastric juices tickled over a braised something or other and an absurd amount of wine. Team Unction will endeavour to elucidate the truth, decry obfuscation and generally make a nuisance of ourselves.
I believe there is room and indeed a necessity to illuminate the wonders of our betters whilst dining. This rancid trope has been trotted out before but I intend to make more than a meal out of it. We have all stood in the thrall of many a worthy. Who among us has not secretly thought or openly expounded, a desire to spend a liquid afternoon listening to somebody fascinating, particularly when what they are saying is patently stupid?
Having said that, there is a small list of things I wouldn’t do to pick the brains of Oscar Wilde if he was still with us. How I yearn to sit at table with him, imbibe a fine wine and munch on a freshly slain beast. Perhaps his friend Aubrey Beardsley would be there with pen and paper, although hopefully not the odious Lord Alfred (Bosie) Douglas, who by all accounts, was a scoundrel of the first water. Of course, it’s always on the cards Bosie’s reputation will be rehabilitated as early as next week and shown to be as pure as the driven snow. By the way, you’ll have to put up with my digressions. Doubtless, my editor, CD—of whom you will hear later—may have a good go at circumventing them. He’s an idiot, so perhaps not.
I fear, however, in dear old Oscar’s case, our meeting would have deteriorated in direct proportion to the amount of Absinthe consumed. I use Oscar as my guide with most things. It was, after all, Algernon Moncreif in The Importance of Being Earnest, who made the following remark.
“When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed, when I am in really great trouble, as anyone who knows me intimately will tell you, I refuse everything except food and drink”.
Oscar also said.
“It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.”
I hope, at least in my small way, to right this dire lack.
To facilitate these pleasurable experiences, I have decided to use my own somewhat excessively grand home in Bellevue Hill, Sydney as the venue for these soirees. According to St.John, some long-haired bloke driving around with a tip-truck of fish and crusty rolls, enigmatically said there are many rooms to my father’s house. I bet there aren’t as many as there are at Chateau Unction. I still haven’t ventured into some of them. For instance, one is padlocked with a sign scratched into the ancient wood, ominously saying—Private, fuck off! Even has the exclamation mark. I’m a respectful person when all is said and done, and so have heeded the blunt warning. I can assure you, I am never far from my dining room nor my wine cellar. I have been known to spend entire evenings in the cellar, albeit a little worse for wear but, nevertheless…
I try to avoid the kitchen. I am fit for supping only, and so I have engaged the services of the talented and unpleasant Chef Racine. He is a man short of stature and personality, difficult to like in any capacity, but in receipt of an immense aptitude in the kitchen. On every occasion, he will provide an unsurpassed culinary delight.
My assistant, Trudy Festival (coming highly recommended by my plumber) will be of some assistance making appointments, answering the door and phones while fiddling about with the cutlery at the ponderous sideboard. She is both quiet and discrete, an extremely reticent young person. Barely a word passes her lips, but when it does, it is a much considered one. She has other talents, one or two being astonishing. The reader will become aware of them in the fullness of time.
I must make mention of my frightfully beautiful wife, Dymphna (perhaps frightful might be sufficient). She insists on smoking her ghastly cheroots and so is often preceded by an acrid bloom of smoke wherever she may roam, and roam she does, mostly sans clothing, whilst interfering in one thing or another. She can be spied lounging by the pool with a flute of Krug and an expression of decorous boredom.
To say that Dymphna and Racine do not hit it off is to make a gross understatement of their relationship. There has been occasion where a physician must be called in after some of their ‘conversations’. Dymphna has pots and pots of money, and I have barely a pot to piss in, so it is in my interests to keep her sweet.
I am obliged to remark upon a dreadful man, Christian Dreyfus, who is in charge of recounting, with enhanced legibility, my many adventures. Knowing him as I do, I have no confidence in this supposed occupation of his. He believes he knows so much about me, but I suspect he may be surprised by the extent of my accomplishments. Christian’s duties, if he ever gets around to them, will consist of prising open my fifty or so years of journals with a view to editorial enhancements. These are a dingy collection of ragged books, consisting of dog-eared, stuck-together pages and broken spines.
It’s been alleged Dreyfus dabbles in penmanship, sees himself as having a bit of flair for throwing the odd phrase together, coupled with an alleged dab hand at drawing. What little I’ve perused of his scribbles, the phrase, staggering disbelief, comes to mind, regarding his abilities. Amongst the treasure trove of my adventurous life are some scraps of paper Christian has produced of entirely his own efforts. Yes, that’s right, cramped little words applied to the back of unpaid invoices and scratched onto drawing tablets, scattered among his wretched sketches. Unbeknownst to him, I have collected these items in an effort at personal security. I now have a dossier of his misdeeds, if he thinks he can shirk his responsibilities. Currently, he doesn’t seem to give a toss, but this will have to change.
Dreyfus is a clumsy oaf given to dipsomania, but from what I hear, he is married to one of my siblings, Shana or somebody, so please forgive any issues that may arise as a consequence. Christian—if ever there was an ill-placed given name—can often be found drunk in some tavern rabbiting on about the parlous state of world affairs. He is a man of the left, left-leaning, left-handed and other left-related activities—often tilting to the left, for instance. He is a hideous bore. In brief, the man’s a lazy dolt and if anybody sees him lying under a table somewhere, tell him he has work to do.
There is also the gardener, Fernando, who has the job of pruning the many exotic shrubs and bushes planted tastefully about our grounds. He is in the habit of psychotically cultivating the extensive lawns to within a centimetre of the earth’s core. I rarely venture out, so a full appraisal of his handiwork is not available. There are a variety of ponds and grottos, even a maze, amazingly.
Fernando and the pool guy, Derek, don’t get on, or at least that is what I’ve assumed by their energetic grappling. There have been times when I’ve resorted to the garden hose for the purpose of separating them. The hose extends to the copse of Apple Myrtles thriving beyond the pool, where the shenanigans customarily take place. Why they feel the need to remove their clothes while fighting is beyond me. Some sort of Arcadian yearning for combate mano a mano of humbler times? Who knows?
For me, though, traipsing around beyond the pool is tantamount to entering a wilderness, from which I am unlikely to return. Some may think that a good thing, after reading what follows.