Transfer window round-up, with Brian Sewell

AS one who has always struggled to maintain a full complement of staff that can attend to my various needs, be that preparing an elderflower and lemon curd ‘toastie’ at 4am or discussing who would win in a fight between Proust and Baudelaire (Proust had the superior reach, one feels), I have a certain kinship with the teams of the Premiership at this time of the year.

Thus, I have cast an eye over the transfer dealings and picked out the Mozarts from the Salieris:

Fernando Torres, Liverpool to Chelsea, £50m
For the price of Rubens’ Massacre Of The Innocents, the coltish Spaniard has escaped the Augean stables of Liverpool for the cultured sanctuary of Chelsea.

One can only imagine his sense of relief at fleeing the birthplace of Cilla Black, a creation I had the misfortune of meeting at a George Melly soiree in ’73 and was a five-foot crystallisation of screeching common. Ghastly.

Andy Carroll, Newcastle to Liverpool, £35m
Costing the same as Van Gogh’s Irises, however this transfer evokes a far greater sense of impending madness and suicide in the mind of the viewer. One feels that if DH Lawrence had intended Lady Chatterley’s Mellors to have been portrayed by a wookie, young Andrew would have been the result.

My good friend the Earl of Carlisle is both a keen farmer and combatant in the sport of kings and some recent accounting difficulties forced him to part with his prized Arabian to purchase a more prosaic but much-needed Shire horse. Standing as Mr Carroll does at approximately 17 hands, I trust the analogy is not lost on Liverpool’s followers.

Andy Reid, Sunderland to Blackpool, Undisclosed
The delightfully charming Ian Holloway, who puts one in mind of a character from Midsummer Night’s Dream coaxed into a suit, has refused to discuss the price of this arrangement but it is believed to be almost as much as a camomile tea and a Chelsea bun at the National Portrait Gallery. Proof that Blackpool have more financial muscle than first imagined.

But I cannot approve of Blackpool as a resort ever since it became associated with that ghastly Middleton woman. Quite how she dares to insinuate herself into William’s royal inner circle when I happen to know for a fact that her father can operate a stapler is beyond me.

Merouane Zemmama, Hibernian to Middlesbrough, approximately £200,000
I have absolutely no idea what any of those words mean.


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750,000 middle class homes could be forced to get Sky

SATELLITE broadcaster Sky’s increasingly monopoly on quality TV drama could force many middle-class homes into the murky terrain of dish ownership, it has been claimed.

Media analysts believe Rupert Murdoch’s much-hyped new channel Sky Tasteful, whose schedule includes Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and over a dozen gritty, complicated cop dramas, is compulsory for middle class people who need to be part of the zeitgeist.

Architect Julian Cook said: “The launch of Sky Tasteful has serious implications for me and my family.

“Whenever we have people over for dinner we love to theorise about the parlous state of British TV drama, and how the vestiges of the class system prohibits the BBC from ever doing anything with as much funky swearing and blackness as The Wire.

“But if Murdoch’s new venture is going to potentially put my dinner guests several seasons ahead of me on Steve Buscemi’s latest work there’s a serious possibility that I may not be able to convince them I’m clever.”

He added: “It’s a nightmare that I’ll have to subscribe, not only in term of class semantics but also because I’m passionately convinced Rupert Murdoch is the devil. Although if pressed I would be forced to admit I’m not entirely sure why.

“Possibly something to do with Israel.”

A Sky spokesman said: “With an ‘upscale’ target demographic in mind, Sky Tasteful’s receiver is not traditionally disc-shaped. It is in fact disguised as a wheel of expensive Brie-like gooey cheese labelled ‘Le Coquillon’.

“Of course you’ll still have to explain why you’ve got cheese on your roof, but that’s your problem.”