Subject: off the record Date: Thursday, March 7, 2013 19:27 From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Conversation: off the record
The week’s editorial meeting was dragging. We wearily contemplated our seventh round of lager-tops in the private room of the Tooting branch of J.J. Moon. Even the spectacle of our leading polemicist columnists playing topless darts with the interns had failed to get the creative juices going. But then the new web editor piped up: “GG! Will us Europeans ever understand American art? Will we ever truly appreciate Alberto Mugrabi? Can we ever understand the significance of Mr Chow turning his hand to painting?”
I dropped my dry roasted nuts all over my Roberto Cavalli stretch-leather leggings-style pants as I realised I had no answers. Grabbing my Moncrief perforated leather weekend bag I hotfooted it out of the pub and leaped in the back of a Seat Toledo belonging to Samit Patel of Clerkenwell Cars.
“Samit, take me to somebody who understands the complexities of America. I need answers. And also two false passports.”
Wordlessly Samit screeched round the back streets of South London. We paused at an Indian restaurant in Wimbledon Park so that Samit could dash in and retrieve a bag of poppadoms and the passports before hammering along to Knightsbridge. Samit gestured at the white stucco-fronted building and I did a commando-roll out of the Toledo, high-fiving a couple of louche-looking security guards as I jumped into my Standing Snake pose.
“He’s in the basement,” one of them yelled at me as I ran downstairs. There, Julian Assange didn’t look surprised as I catapulted through the door and onto the antique French sofa on which he was reclining.
“Julian. You know all about America. Will we ever understand Dan Colen or Vito Schnabel? Here, chuck this on. We’re off.” With that the six Sotheby’s Art and Business students I had rendezvoused with held the startled Australian down and efficiently changed him into a sober black dress and a surprisingly decent black wig.
“No underwear required where we’re going, Julian. Let’s roll!” I bellowed.
Ten minutes later, Julian was safely in the boot of the Toledo. We sped to RAF Northolt, the team of Sotheby’s students clearing the way on their stolen motorbikes. Knowing that the great investigative leaker might feel nervous about being led onto a transatlantic flight, I had borrowed one of Sheikh Mansour’s private jets, calling in a favour owed in return for my facilitation of Carlos Tévez’s work permit. Despite this, Assange’s protests and general banging on the boot were growing more noticeable, causing Samit to stop the car on the A40 and do something effective with a cricket bat and a chloroform handkerchief.
Seven hours later we were stuck in an enormous queue to get through JFK customs. I realised this wasn’t going to play. Julian was a broken man, and ready to turn himself in. The Sotheby’s students formed a phalanx and we drove rugby-league style to the front, kicking protesting Americans out the way, all of them too fat and unfit to cope with our martial style.
“Look,” I said to the obese lady at the immigration control desk, “I’m here with Marina Abramović.” I gestured at Julian, who was weeping openly by now. “And I’ve got a meeting with Jeffrey Deitch.” At the mere mention of the great dealer-curator, the fat lady waved us through with a big smile and a complimentary bucket of buffalo wings.
Julian chowed down on a wing and visibly relaxed. I could sense he was returning to his old, playful self as one of the Sotheby’s students guided him to the back of one of the fleet of Lincoln MKZs that Jeffrey had sorted. From here on in it was a straightforward ride to the New Museum, where the conference I had called, ‘Outside, It’s America’, with Jeffrey, Massimiliano, Scott, Matthew and Thea, was to take place.
I was thinking that things had turned out well when, without warning, we were rammed from the side by a black Mercedes M-Class. The doors were open and a Teutonic-looking chap with startling blond hair and shades grabbed the activist. It was Klaus. The game was up. Klaus yelled, “It’s time to go to Miami, Julian! And it’s not to see the Rubell Family Collection.” Assange screamed. The Sotheby’s girl wept. I waved at Julian. “Remember, tell everyone you’re Marina!” I shouted as the plucky Australian was bundled into the M-Class. “Don’t worry,” I reassured the Sotheby’s girl, “we’re in America. It’s better for Western civilisation this way.” And with that I pointed the car back to the airport and headed for Blighty.