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La Grande Bouffe

by | 16th, August 2002

‘WE ALL wish a long and healthy life to St Tony, not to mention nice Mr Major and all the other past prime ministers who are still thankfully with us. But when they are, as Frank Sinatra put it, facing the final curtain, we doubt that any of them will opt for the route taken by former French president François Mitterand.

”If it wasn’t for us, he’d have been eating sauerkraut”

The Telegraph reports that a new film recreates his famous ”last supper”, and it sounds like a homage to La Grande Bouffe – the notorious drama in which various ageing members of the French bourgoisie, driven to despair by ennui, retreat to a luxurious mansion and eat themselves to death.

The paper reports that the greedy former leader summoned his closest friends to his house near Bordeaux, and, ”stretched out on a chaise longue, devoured plate after plate of oysters until he felt sick”. Then he sent for the ortolans. These songbirds – which are ”kept in a darkened barn for two weeks, force-fed millet and then killed with a shot of Armagnac” – are apparently prized above fois gras.

Their consumption is also illegal, but this doesn’t seem to have caused Mitterand any pangs of conscience. On the contrary, he ”sank his head into the napkin surrounding the bird to breath in its aroma”. His head then remained hidden as he ate the bird whole, crunching through its bones and innards. According to the book upon which the film is to be based, he eventually emerged ”Capsized with happiness, his eyes sparkling” and ready for death.

We contacted all the living former Prime Ministers of the UK, but only John Major’s people replied. They said he had no special plans for his last supper, but they imagined it would be his usual light choice, as heavy food tended to impair his sleep. A poached egg on toast and a glass of milk was the most likely choice, they said.



Posted: 16th, August 2002 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink