Thursday

Antonella Lazzeri: A Knight On The Tiles



A Knight On The Tiles

By Dr Martin Roberts
23 June 2016

Where might a titled visitor to Praia da Luz choose to go for the occasional not-so-incognito tipple?
The following list of PdL bars catering for English clientèle is derived from those recommended by two tourist guide web sites, namely: Cafe & Bars - Bars info

Locations
The Bull
 Clive’s Bar
 Godots
 Junction 17 (aka Carlos’ Bar)
Kelly’s
Luz Tavern
JD’s
The Snug (opened 2011)
Olly’s Bar (opened 2011)

Intriguingly, neither the bar Barroca (known until 2011 as The Plough and Harrow) nor The Pig’s Head (situated in Burgau) appears among these specifically ‘English’ suggestions.

Which means that a complete stranger (a visiting journalist, say) would not be drawn to them necessarily.

Now let us suppose our inquisitive journalist was smart enough to check out their options before arriving. They might, if they were particularly interested in the ombibulous habits of a deceased dipsomaniac, see fit to exclude those establishments more recently inaugurated. That would still leave them with more than half-a-dozen venues to visit.

Then what? Do they embark on a pub-crawl spread over the two or three days they have at their disposal? And to what purpose exactly – simply to establish that ‘Kilroy woz here’?

All of which brings us to the question of how it was that Antonella Lazzeri and her photographer side-kick found themselves in the Pig’s Head on Friday 17 June, barely three days after the UK media had ‘unmasked’ the late Sir Clement Freud and asking after his patronage there. It turns out he had visited that venue just once, twenty years ago. Big deal. The very next day Antonella announces to the world that Freud and Robert Murat were ‘on nodding terms’, the latter also having visited the Pig’s Head but once, a mere eight years or so ago (see how their paths don’t quite cross?).

But Lazzeri’s real ‘shock-horror’ discovery is that Freud frequented that other place (Bar Barroca), which, under its previous identity (The Plough and Harrow), had garnered an unfortunate reputation, predicated upon the alleged behaviour of the then landlord’s son, Christian Ridout.

How on earth did Antonella come by the information that this Luz centre locale was once nicknamed the ‘Plough and Paedophile’? Would either the present licensee or a current client have told her that? Nor does she explain who gave this little drinking secret of Freud’s away (protecting her source no doubt). It presented her with the platform for her scurrilous article though. For without a connection, however tenuous (if not fabricated), to impropriety of some sort, the discovery that Sir Clement was known to go out for a drink every once in a while wouldn’t have sold many copies. Nor would it pump oxygen into the ailing abduction hypothesis put forward to explain the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

By making it to the Pig’s Head, some two miles distant from the Ocean Club, Antonella Lazzeri seems to have gone out of her way, literally, to uncover a non-connection with the McCann case. Was she sober at the time, having already crossed the other candidate venues off her sightseeing list? Or did she only call into the two inconspicuous establishments as previously instructed, if indeed she visited Bar Barroca at all?

Give the devil his or her due. Antonella quite possibly researched the Plough and Harrow 'nearby', as she puts it, before she left London, the origins of the epithet ‘Plough and Paedophile’ having previously been announced by the Daily Mail – nine years ago come December.

As our diligent lady journalist has seen fit to inform us, “Christian Ridout, 32, whose parents owned the bar and lived next door to Murat, has never been traced.” Except that two of her very own SUN colleagues, Gary O’Shea and Emma Smith, had already traced him.

Following the Mail’s lead by just a couple of months (February 2008), they reported that Ridout was working as a Hollywood paparazzo, under the pseudonym Dexter Troy. Apparently they “found the ex-DJ there after a tip from a fellow snapper”, despite O’Shea’s being credited with writing from Praia da Luz. (It clearly takes a special talent to become a SUN journalist)

Maybe next time Antonella needs a photographer with local knowledge of PdL she’ll know who best to contact.

Dr Martin Roberts