Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Gordon Robinson | False start

Published:Tuesday | October 10, 2017 | 12:00 AM

I once believed only Jamaican men suffered from (how to put this politely in a 'family' newspaper?), er, um, 'premature adjudication'.

So, when Bobby 'Uncle' Montague issued a press release announcing a fake new FLA board, then was forced to hastily withdraw before the stain spread too far, I wasn't surprised. It's standard practice for us overly stimulated men who lean towards overcompensation. But, when the same affliction struck my favourite politician, Lisa Hanna, I was inconsolable. How could she make such an obvious boo-boo?

You talk like Marlene Dietrich

and you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire.

Your clothes are all made by Balmain

and there's diamonds and pearls in your hair.

Yes, there are!

You live in a fancy apartment

off the Boulevard Saint-Michel

where you keep your Rolling Stones records

and a friend of Sacha Distel.

Yes, you do!

But, where do you go to my lovely

when you're alone in your bed?

Tell me the thoughts that surround you.

I want to look inside your head.

Yes, I do!

As a teenager, I read suspense novels (especially detective/spy novels) voraciously, but my favourite was Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise that told the story of a highly trained (both physically, in martial arts, and spiritually, in how, for example, to leave your body when necessary) and stunningly beautiful spy who was every bit as fearsome and resourceful as any James Bond. But her childhood was as difficult as her adult life was successful.

I've seen all your qualifications

you got from the Sorbonne

and the painting you stole from Picasso.

Your loveliness goes on and on.

Yes, it does!

When you go on your summer vacation

you go to Juan-les-Pins.

With your carefully designed topless swimsuit

you get an even suntan

on your back and on your legs.

Modesty Blaise 'adopted' Willie Garvin, a convicted former common street thief and pub owner with skills almost her equal, but without the spiritual experience to maximise them. She mentored him into becoming her partner (as Archie Goodwin to Nero Wolfe; John Watson to Sherlock Holmes).

And when the snow falls, you're found in Saint Moritz

with the others of the jet set

and you sip your Napoleon brandy

but you never get your lips wet.

No, you don't!

Your name, it is heard in high places.

You know the Aga Khan.

He sent you a racehorse for Christmas

and you keep it just for fun.

For a laugh ahahaha!




Modesty and Willie engaged in a series of exciting cloak-and-dagger intrigues that created some of the best page-turners ever written. Modesty had one abiding principle she'd drill into Willie's head repeatedly. She'd say (paraphrased): "The question in any caper isn't if something will go wrong, but how will we react WHEN it goes wrong. THIS is what separates men from boys."

So it's interesting to note that both Uncle and Lisa handled their cock-ups with style, panache, honesty and, most important, expedition. Uncle's premature press release was immediately withdrawn and Young Andrew himself openly explained exactly what had happened, without casting any blame on his minister. The nation moved on.

Lisa's demise-exaggerating press release denigrated nobody and was immediately withdrawn; she called the ambassador on his personal cell and apologised to him for the "inadvertent" release. He wasn't perturbed and agreed to meet her "very soon". She issued an immediate release accepting responsibility and explaining what she had done as amends.

Of course, this won't be good enough for JLP radio. The rest of us should move on.

They say that when you get married

it'll be to a millionaire.

But they don't realise where you came from

and I wonder if they really care or give a damn.

I remember the back streets of Naples;

two children begging in rags.

Both touched with a burning ambition

to shake off their lowly born tags.

They tried!

So look into my face, Marie-Claire

and remember just who you are.

Then go and forget me forever

But I know you still bear the scar deep inside.

Yes, you do!

I know where you go to my lovely

when you're alone in your bed.

I know the thoughts that surround you

'cause I can look inside your head

I can't listen to singer-songwriter Peter Sarstedt's classic Where do you go to, my lovely, without thinking of my favourite spy, Modesty Blaise. Arranger/conductor Ian Green produced a perfect yet simple accompaniment with acoustic/bass guitar with brief bursts of French-style accordion as bookends. Superb!

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to