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.