‘If anyone invented homosexuality it was Guy Burgess,’ Jack Hewit once said. If Hewit is remembered for anything it is for the men he slept with, and was bullied by. Christopher Isherwood, Anthony Blunt and Guy Burgess were three of them. Burgess ‘was the most promiscuous person who ever lived’, Hewit said. ‘He slept with anything that was going and he used to say anyone will do, from 17 to 75.’ Blunt said that Burgess was very persuasive, though that sounds too reasonable: he was feral. He also knew how to put people down. ‘The trouble with you, Anthony,’ he once told Blunt, ‘is that you want to have your cake and eat it, and you want to look as if you are giving it to the poor.’
The BBC has released some papers relating to the hiring and the employment of Guy Burgess. One of the more amusing details is Burgess’s habit of writing memos on the back of the expense forms; another, his fondness for first-class travel and his justifications for it: If you will refer to your papers you will see that in the past I successfully established the principle of travelling first class when at work, under war-time conditions, on Corporation business. I think you will find this on your predecessor's minutes.