Super Sarko doesn't look that well on leaving hospital yesterday. Just what has Carla done to him? Well, apparently Carla has introduced him to a whole new way of life:
The first lady, who he married last year after a whirlwind romance, is attributed with overseeing a complete "metamorphosis" of her husband as part of his bid to run for a second term in 2012. She helped him drop the glitzy "bling-bling" image that saw him plummet in the polls and raised his cultural credentials, weaning him off Rambo films in favour of high-brow theatre and literature.
The stress of Sarko wanting to be younger has got to him. Carla has completely changed his ways:
- He used to have a chocolate addiction, sported love handles, and jogged flat-footed. His wife introduced him to a 26-year old personal trainer who changed his exercise habits and diet.
- He used to be partial to frumpy, light-coloured suits. Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy has put him in dark suits, English shirts from Hilditch & Key and dark ties.
- He used to wear chunky, bling Rolexes. His wife bought him a thin gold Patek Philippe instead.
- He used to describe himself as a "total fan" of Sylvester Stallone and "Les Bronzés," a modern-day French Carry On comedy set at Club Med. Now he is mugging up on Fellini films and claims to like All About Eve, A Streetcar Named Desire and A Clockwork Orange.
- He used to have little interest in classic French literature and outraged academics by slating La Princesse de Clèves, a 17th-century saga of thwarted love. He now says his favourite book is Stendhal's classic, le Rouge et le Noir. Recently he has quoted Céline and Jean-Paul Sartre, the existentialist philosopher and dined with Michel Houellebecq, the controversial but acclaimed French novelist.
- He liked ageing French crooners like Michel Sardou and Johnny Hallyday. Now he has branched out, recently going to a Leonard Cohen concert and meeting Bob Dylan and Marianne Faithfull.
This is no good. A man can’t be expected to alter himself in middle age. I have a feeling an exit strategy will be devised for Carla. Sarko is supposed to be running a country rather than a personal fitness crusade.
How lucky we are this side of this English Channel in that Brown hasn't changed that much. The only difference that can be detected with Brown is that silly false smile. Let us hope it stays that way and wild thoughts don't run through Sarah’s mind during Gordon’s month off.
Some of us like Brown just the way he is.