Greyhounds, bodyguard, synagogue
The best footage was edited out. I protested. I threatened to cancel the whole documentary. But an arcane and pointless law was upheld, and the losers were… everyone.
If you tuned in at the weekend to see video film of Michael Jackson from my private archive, you saw my friend as he really was — fun-loving, shy, smart and dedicated to his fans. But you didn’t see the most incredible shots of all. I don’t know whether they will ever be aired — I understand I could face prison if I ever release them.
Every time a young adult comes up to me and says, “I went to university because of you,” or “I’m a non-smoker because I never forgot what you told me,” I am inspired to keep driving my message home. However many times I say it, most kids are hearing it from me for the first time, so I always fill my voice with the ‘first-time-breaking-news’ energy.
And when the crowds were psyched up, I stood back to judge a wonderful array of talent. Two young girl singers captured my heart with their pure voices, and I was blown away by an American boy who couldn’t have been more than 12 but played his guitar like Eric Clapton.
The ultimate winner, though, was a lad of about 15 who made my jaw drop with his break-dancing. He was spinning on his head, on his shoulders, on his fingers… it amazed me.
There should be more break-dancing in synagogues, and in churches and mosques too. Dancing is a wonderful way to praise God. I wonder if I can persuade the rabbi to rap the psalms?
I’m always interested to hear the latest intelligence from security and counter-terrorist experts. My family’s safety is a major motive, of course — although I ignore all racial and religious divisions as irrelevant, I have to remain aware that I’m one of the world’s most prominent Israelis… and there are people who have a bottomless hatred for my country.
I’ve always been intrigued by the spy world, and when a specialist called Steve Park contacted me out of the blue, I invited him over to my home.
Steve is a leading spy historian, who has uncovered fascinating stories about the development of espionage in World War Two, and especially the creation of the Enigma code-breaker at Bletchley Park. It’s a story that also describes the genesis of computers, but there is nothing nerdy about Enigma — millions of lives were at stake, and the whole course of the war changed when the boffins broke the Nazi spy codes.
I was able to tell some stories of my own, filling Steve in on my work with the CIA. We came up to date with his work as a bodyguard and a security consultant for the Royal Family in the Nineties, and then his switch to television — he has been a guest on more than 1,800 news and current affairs shows, giving instant analysis of terrorist atrocities and espionage scandals.
My mind is constantly turning over ideas for combatting the terrorist threat, because I’ve seen how lives are ruined in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other cities where families are in constant fear of a bomb blast or a rocket attack. I believe that Steve’s unexpected appearance could turn out to be an important synchronicity, and we will work together soon.
Unless, of course, he was sent to my home to plant a listening device for a foreign agency. That’s always a possibility. (Just joking, Steve!)
Do you believe a dog can fall in love? When I saw the expression on the long face of my greyhound, Barney, I knew for certain — he was smitten.
Barney’s sweetheart is called Nell, and she was brought to our house by Rose Marie Edwards, one of the key workers for a brilliant charity called Greyhound Gap. They provide a safe haven for about 60 dogs, many of which would be put down if no one claimed them.
Greyhounds are the most loving and tender of pets. I love the way Barney always looks straight into my eyes. There is such a deep connection there.
It breaks my heart that so many racing dogs are killed when their career ends. They’re in their prime at two or three years old, with lots of love to give — it’s criminal that the law does not protect them.
If racehorse owners were vicious and callous enough to shoot their steeds as soon as they stopped winning races, there would be public outcry. Racecourses would be closed, and jockeys would go into hiding.
But though I always thought the British loved dogs as much as horses, there is no outcry about the brutal treatment meted out to dogs like Barney and Nell when they are no longer needed at the dog track.
I was delighted to donate a stack of crystals to Rose Marie, who is always looking for anything she can sell or auction to boost the charity. Everyone at Greyhound Gap is a volunteer, so all the money they raise goes to help the dogs, with nothing wasted on admin or advertising.
No amount of fund-raising can make Barney lose his longing for Nell. He just sits at my feet and sighs. I think we’ll have to sign him up for a dog dating agency.
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