‘Dave of the Desert’.
Posted by Big John on February 24, 2011
With impeccable timing David Cameron is in the Middle East at the moment accompanied by a gang of ..
arms dealers .. weapons manufacturers .. gun runners .. defence contractors, trying to drum up some business for our hard-pressed bombs and bullets industry.
I won’t dwell on this as the newspapers and TV have got it well covered. However, I must say that the pictures of our Prime Minister meeting men wearing tablecloths and fan belts on their heads reminds me of the time back in the 1980′s when London was full of rich Arabs and the company which I worked for at that time was keen to do business with them.
I can’t remember how the meeting came about, but one day I found myself in a large mansion which was situated in one of the posher parts of London. The house was very grand but had seen better days, and the interior, as far as I could see, was devoid of furniture.
I was shown into a large room by an elderly bearded man wearing a black patch over one eye. He was dressed like an extra from the film “Lawrence of Arabia”. Half a dozen similar looking Bedouin types were sitting on cushions which were placed around the edge of a most beautiful carpet. I was invited to sit and the man with the eye patch offered me a small glass of tea. He seemed to be some sort of butler, although I had never before seen a butler with a bloody great dagger hanging from his belt.
Now I don’t speak a word of Arabic, and judging by the way my hosts were chatting with each other none of them seemed to speak any English. This problem was solved when a young man wearing an ‘Armani’ suit entered the room and introduced himself in perfect English, after first greeting the gentlemen seated around the room in some traditional manner.
I could not believe that I was still in London as what followed was more like haggling in a Middle Eastern souk than the sort of business negotiations I was used to. It took bloody ages, I was way ‘out of my depth’, and an awful lot got ‘lost in translation’.
The final deal was struck by my boss and the ‘Armani Arab’, in the American Bar at London’s Savoy Hotel, while I waited in the lounge. I’m not sure exactly what went on, but I hope that our Dave has pockets stuffed full of …
… brown paper envelopes.