Friday, April 17, 2009

Can you see the resemblance?

When I was younger, people always likened me to Sir Clement Freud, who has died nine image days short of his 85th birthday. Some of my pupils even tried to nickname me, “minced morsels”. A change of hairstyle and a successful diet soon changed that.

The similarity between us was however merely facial. Whilst I was a teacher, Freud was a chef, nightclub proprietor, television personality, radio panellist, Liberal MP, amateur jockey and journalist. For many years he was better known as the doleful character in the dog food commercials for Minced Morsels. He was of course the grandson of Sigmund Freud.

Freud had sense of mischief which followed him into the House of Commons. In his last term of office, the painful courtship between the Liberals and the Social Democrats resulted in an alliance. A dinner was mooted in celebration and Freud was designated to find a restaurant.

“There was David Owen, and Roy Jenkins, who was no stranger to the sybaritic side of life,” recalled Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon. “Clay [as Freud was known to his friends] chose a vegetarian restaurant in a basement off the Tottenham Court Road. As we went down, the first thing which greeted was a sign which said that the lesbian callisthenics class was cancelled. The look of complete and utter distress on Roy Jenkins’s face, and the look of complete dislike on David Owen’s, was perfect. I know that Clay did it as a joke, and it is something I shall never forget.”

I might have shared his looks but I could never match that standard of humour.

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