Archives for posts with tag: Aldous Huxley

 

Understandably I totally erased from my memory the briefest of moments we spent in St Tropez.

There is something you should definitely know about St Tropez:  St Tropez is shit.

Two miserable hours in what could only he described as a hot Margate – the tackiest of British seaside towns.

Like Margate there were miserable old ladies with dyed, fluffy blond hair cut short over ruddy complexions eating styrene trays of limp French fries.

Crowds of hopeful ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ types sit silently looking over at the multimillion dollar yachts hoping, one assumes, that they will glimpse the filthy rich (with whom we were meant to stay) eating their three-leaf salads served by lithe flunkies.

In between the vulgar, plastic looking yachts and their brasserie bound spectators a torrent of fetid, badly dressed tourists divide the audience from their theatre.  Like an open sewer running through what once was paradise.

We drank coffee behind a defunct HSBC.  It was interesting that none of the ATM’s worked in a place that relies so profoundly on the buck, the yen, the mark and the pound.

Our original plan had included an extended stay in St Tropez but thankfully we did not.

Our final days on the Cote d’Azure were, at times, a little sad. Not only was our nearly month away together drawing to a close but after spending every single waking hour with one other person one becomes slightly worn by that other person..even if one really loves them.

In nearly three weeks we had traversed major cities in three countries and two continents with a little dog, far too much luggage (my fault) and my BIG BIRTHDAY.

Before we left Europe we had one final excursion to Cap d’Antibes.

As St Tropez is shit, Antibes is gorgeous.   We spent hours exploring this authentic little port.  This is what, I assume, St Tropez used to be like before Roger Vadim and Brigitte Bardot made it famous.  I wonder if this travesty will blight my darling Whitstable, made vile by it’s own success?  For that I feel partly responsible.

We happily wandered the tiny, cobbled streets until dusk then found a divine little restaurant called La Taverne du Safranier and ate St Pierre and Frito Musto.  The crowd: reassuringly posh.

On our drive back to Cannes we saw the tail end of the international firework festival exploding over the sea.  The beaches were crammed with half-naked young people grilling on makeshift bbq and playing unnamed ball games.

The train to the airport the following morning he fell asleep on my shoulder and when he woke up we chatted to a handsome, 18-year-old musician called Clovis.

The flight home was a little uncomfortable but once we landed we were swiftly processed through customs and immigration.

I watched four films on the plane:

Tom Ford’s A Single Man is without doubt one of the most indulgent movies ever made.  Tom should be an art director rather than a film director?   An exercise in style over substance.  The attention to detail (art direction and costume) was painful– though not quite as painful as the total lack of any human emotion throughout the entire movie.

Brokeback Mountain was also about gay men experiencing loss and stifled emotions.  The differance?  Brokeback is a wonderfully human film told with charm and compassion and a Single Man is not.  It’s odd isn’t it that two inarticulate cowboys made me cry buckets whilst an uptight English Professor with excellent taste could not.

Stephen Jones, the milliner, mentioned in an article for Vogue that Ford had lent heavily on Madonna during the making of the film and that is why it is perhaps so profoundly flawed.   There was some nice editing and camera work but it was like a huge fragrance commercial rather than a film about loss and love and yearning.

Irritatingly there is an unreasonable death..the protagonist: this SINGLE MAN could not grieve and make his partner’s death a part of his life…oh no..he had to die.

The boys he encountered remained unkissed and unfucked but in Ford’s world as long as your shirts are well pressed and you are drinking from a Lucy Rie mug…don’t get me started.  Even watching him take a shit..you just KNEW his shit didn’t smell of anything other than vetiver.

There was something chaste, restrained and totally chic about it all..and I use the word chic pejoratively, although I never, ever thought I would.

There were rather weak attempts at some polemic as Firth spars with Julianne Moore about the sanctity of gay love and his students about Aldous Huxley.

Firth’s performance is worth noting.  Unlike many others (I am not being deliberately contrary) who thought his performance ‘amazing’ it was Firth’s disregard, disconnect with/for the character he was playing that amazed me.  What a straight person thinks a gay person is.  The oft applauded and often awarded performance (as well-intentioned as it might have been) of a reserved gay English gentleman is in fact, like the rest of the film, totally heartless.

My guess is he actually had very little respect for Ford as a director who most certainly had no idea how to communicate with a classically trained genius like Firth.

After A Single Man I saw An Education again which is well worth seeing a second time and as it is so damned good.  Funny, well put together, brilliantly acted.

An Education followed by I love You Phillip Morris, which is definitely my kind of movie.  If you can…SEE IT!!!

He reminded me when I finished writing this that we also saw Polanski’s Ghost. What a load of old bollocks.

Disgorged at JFK.

10th street was lovely to come home to and Dan and I sat together as I debriefed him on the preceding three weeks.

Here I am back in New York.  The streets are hot and humid; the parks are jammed with sturdy men in silky shorts with huge smiles.   I am drawn to want to befriend all of them.

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The last few days of our great adventure.   We left Sanary and the Hotel de la Tour yesterday morning taking time to stop at the market to buy chicken, fruit, macaroons and a delicious loaf of artisan bread.  Fruit included huge white peaches, yellow plums and sweet apricots.

We loved Sanary Sur Mer and were delighted to discover that Aldous Huxley lived there.  After 1933, when Hitler came to power, dozens of German intellectuals took refuge in what was then just a sleepy fishing port – amongst them Bertolt Brecht and Thomas Mann.

The road along the coast is not nearly as busy as one might expect.   We drove through Toulon which was badly bombed during the 2nd World War and onto the Iles d’Hyeres where we ate the delicious chicken and fruit on a huge beach and swam in very warm water.   The little dog is not allowed on any of the beaches so we smuggle him everywhere in his little bag where he sleeps contentedly.

After lunch I call Edouard who, by amazing coincidence, lives a mere hour away from where we were swimming so we arranged to stop in on him and his visiting Australian friends.  Edouard’s parents house is a Provencal gem.  A huge pool overlooking the ocean, hundred year old terracotta tiles and elegant furnishings.

Nearby we found a small hotel for the night called the Hotel de la Plage recommended by the Guardian Newspaper (described as Cheap and Chic) where I am now sitting at 8am under the unusually fragrant Oleander writing this and answering emails.

We joined Edouard and the Australians for a lazy afternoon swim in the tiny bay.

After our delicious swim they drank chilled rose and I citron presse.  The young men tidying the beach were, as usual, gorgeous.  The companion noted that Europeans are generally hairless.  As the sun set we lazily climbed the hill back to Edouard’s house and they grilled Daurade Royale for dinner which was totally delicious.

The Australians are singers.  Julia Gurry and her brother are Melbourne based folk singers and are currently touring France this Autumn.  Abby Dobson was also at the house as she is dating Julia’s brother.  Abby used to be the singer in a band called Leonardo’s Bride and had a huge hit with a sweet love song in the 90’s called Even When I’m Sleeping.  Abby entertained us with astrological analysis.  Apparently Cancer’s are prone to be moody.  Who knew?

The more tired I get the worst my stick shift driving becomes.   The car is full of dirty underwear.  Must find laundry.

We were meant to be staying with friends in St Tropez, people I had royally accommodated when they were visiting LA..anyway, they have totally let us down.  Really puts one off hosting anyone ever.

Occasionally dip into the Huffington Post but too depressing and bleak and all those damned pop up advertisements!   Arianna addicted to bad news and gloating…too many tabloid elements.

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