The first time I was invited shooting, I was offered oral sex and cocaine by my fellow gun’s wife in her guest room. As I was 18, this sent me into the kind of fluster that only a boarding-schooled Englishman can manage, and having politely declined, I shuffled, shell-shocked, to the snooker room, where everyone else was gathered, including the husband. This, alas, was my introduction to what Prince Andrew referred to in his car-crash BBC interview as just another “straightforward shooting weekend.”
Credit where credit is due. In the U.K., shooting has retained its reputation of obedient Labradors, soggy tweed, and attendees with names out of a P. G. Wodehouse novel. It is true that, during the day, the sport is taken very seriously by every Fotheringay-Phipps who is invited, anchoring their large four-by-fours outside whichever stately pile happens to be hosting. This is largely because anything occurring off the field is shrouded in a code of silence. Unless, as with this dispatch, the promise of anonymity is offered, and the floodgates open.