Reading Taki’s High Life column in The Spectator is like being given the key to the door of the secret garden. Once inside you are confronted by all sorts of exotic flora and fauna; ‘Avocato’ Gianni Agnelli, ‘Ruby’ (Portfirio Rubirosa), Aly Khan, Darryl Zanuck, Ari Onassis, a raft of Rothschilds and a Volpe or two among other heroes of a bygone social age.
Taki, it should be explained, is not a mere hack. As the favoured younger son of a Croesus-rich Greek industrialist, he is, at the very least, the equal of the Goliaths he gossips about and he grew up with many of them.
Then, as now, he winter sports in Gstaad, summers in the Hamptons, yachts in the Mediterranean and Greek waters, and moves between homes in Manhattan, England and Europe. He played polo with the greats, Davis Cup tennis for his country, was the national karate champion and bedded beautiful, aristocratic women with abandon, marrying first a countess and then a Princess of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
He has also squandered millions, been divorced by the Princess for philandering with half the nubile entries in Debrett’s and served a prison sentence in Pentonville after being caught in ludicrous circumstances at Heathrow with a quantity of cocaine for his personal use.
All this – and much else – is