Issue 8: Summer 2010
Ecce, mundus est
sordidus et olidus, sed etiam habet multas res smashingae
I’m Still Standing
Elton John in the video for I’m Still Standing
I’m still standing, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m still standing, yeah, yeah, yeah. Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did, Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid I’m still standing after all this time…
MAY not agree with him entirely on sartorial matters, but I have to say that Sir Elton John put it rather well when he penned the above as part of his 1983 hit record I’m Still Standing. Moreover, the joyous promotional video, which shows Lady Di’s favourite minstrel enjoying the rustic and unvarnished charm of the little seaside fishing village of Cannes, is rather appropriate, don’t you think; given that it is Festival time and that, shortly after, it is time hang up the ivory-silk dinner jacket and head off to the beach for a wellearned summer break. My conversion to Sir Elton has been gradual rather than Damascene and has come about thanks in no small part to the enchanting Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele of Chopard, with whom I have had the pleasure to see him perform on a number of occasions. And it is always a delight to see someone perform who really knows what they are doing. Sir Elton has topped the peaks, descended the troughs of life’s roller coaster and is, as he put it so epigrammatically (although perhaps not entirely grammatically), “still standing better than [I as well as he] ever did”. I bumped into him a while ago in Moscow and I was very struck by his self-deprecating commentary on his art: “The world doesn’t need another Elton John record,” he told me, “but I’m doing one anyway.” It is an approach to life and creative endeavour that we understand very well. You see, no one needs Finch’s Quarterly Review, but we do it anyway and, rather like Sir Elton, we’re still standing, and – as you will see from our light redesign and increased pagination – we like to think that right now in the summer of 2010, as the global
Hello, Yellow Brick Road, says Nick Foulkes, as he raises a trembleuse to the efflorescent future of the blossoming FQR, its leafy offshoots – and its glorious unimportance to the world at large width and the depth of pocket flaps and turnups (something to do with π in relation to the golden ratio denoted by φ). Anything else numerical I leave to Tristram who, as Euclidean scholar of Magdalen College, Oxford, for two years in a row (a feat, by the way, unequalled since the 1780s) knows more about Boolean prime ideal theorem, algorithms and calculus than, well, anyone – including the inventor of calculus, the worldfamous professor of the same name whose work is so vividly recalled by the biographer Hergé. It is fascinating to eavesdrop on the deep and searching discussions between Tristram and that panjandrum of the spreadsheet Adam Bent as they debate the finer points of abstract mathematics – I imagine it is a little like listening to the learned debate in the Stoa of Ancient Athens or the schools of Paris in the 12th century. Indeed, we like to think that when it comes to the important issues – the things that really matter in life, such as being able to tell your Domaine Romanée-Conti (see page 30) from your La Tâche, and to determine the difference that the extra fermentation makes to a Cohiba cigar – Finch’s Quarterly Review is furthering academic study and bold philosophical enquiry much as Pierre Abélard did in Paris in the 1100s. And when it comes to study of the various interlinings of the collars of Charvet shirts, I would humbly suggest that we are rather more advanced along the road to enlightenment than Monsieur Abélard ever managed to be. But, if you can bear it, tear yourself away from the intellectual hothouse of medieval France and return to 2010 and that ornament of the Fourth Estate you are holding in your
economic tsunami recedes (we hope) we are doing, as the Bard might put it, better than we ever did. To bring you up to date, Charles Finch, our eponymous proprietor, was toying with the idea of starting a magazine. I suggested that he might like to try launching a quarterly newspaper, largely for the reason that no one else was doing it. Now, there is usually a good reason why nobody else is doing something – but Charles is a living example of the triumph of optimism over experience and he rather liked the idea… so FQR was born and its continued survival is a credit to his enthusiasm and industry in the face of my self-doubt and cynicism. To be honest, I am surprised that it limped into print at all, let alone survived – flourished, even – for two years. What is more, we have succeeded in bringing it out more or less quarterly: this is the eighth issue and, seeing as we launched in the summer of 2008… well, you can “do the math”, as our American friends say. Talking of “doing the math”, I never was much good at arithmetic but, depending on how you calculate it, FQR is sometimes breaking even, sometimes making a modest yet respectable loss and sometimes showing signs of delivering the sort of profit that would make Croesus jealous and leave El Dorado looking like a favela on the outskirts of a shanty town. I must confess that my ignorance in matters of finance (high or low) is encyclopaedic. As anyone who knows me will testify, I have absolutely no idea how money is made, let alone how one makes complex financial forecasts and analyses. Instead, I prefer to fill my head with important figures such as the correct ratio between lapel
hands: its indispensability is founded – paradoxically – on its entirely otiose nature. “Frivolity forever!” is our maxim, we do not pretend that anything in these pages is of the remotest importance – you could survive and maybe even live a happy and moderately fulfilling life without reading another edition of FQR, although I would not recommend trying it. However, I guarantee that, should you choose to pick it up, you will put it down rather better informed: whether it is on some obscure aspect of the life of the Gladstone dynasty in the 19th century (see page 22), or the jewellery designs of Aldo Cipullo, who invented the Love bangle for Cartier and designed some other rather tasty trinkets for Cartier New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s (see page 15). In fact, Charles is convinced that FQR is cognisant of certain eternal truths and privy to such privileged information (I think he means that I have Mariano Rubinacci’s mobiletelephone number – unless, of course, my BlackBerry has seized up) that we occupy a position that is unique and which, if correctly harnessed, will make us quite obscenely rich. By contrast, I think it is a miracle that we have got away with it for as long as we have. But then, at least we bring you the news that really matters: where else will you find such Pulitzer Prizewinning investigative reporting as our groundbreaking series “Germans in High Heels” (see page 24)? And it is based on these rock-solid foundations that we are launching FQR Couture. It was a Friday afternoon in Marbella and I was enjoying a well-merited Trinidad Robusto T, when it suddenly occurred to me that there was a gap in the market for a seriously glamorous and yet intelligent biannual women’s fashion periodical. Rather like Archimedes discovering that bathtubs have a tendency to overflow if you fill them to the brim and then get in, it was a Eureka moment.
Mercury Records 2010
Top Damien Harris Isabelle Huppert Nicolas Bos Morceambe and L’Wren Scott Tilda Swinton John a son’s moving on Princess Grace’s Wise on the Côte on diamonds for Tolstoy pro bono pinup Malkovich on Cannes Totty p17 p21 tribute p8 the beach p14 d’Azur p11 hedgehog p14 p7 p32
Contents Quarterly Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 & 5 Isabelle Huppert on her love of Cannes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Bertrand Tavernier on British film . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Damian Harris remembers his father, Richard Harris . . . . . . . . . 8 Jean Labadie reviews his 30 years at the Festival . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni on Sam Spiegel’s yacht . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Elia Suleiman on making The Time That Remains . . . . . . . . . . 10 Lawrence Bender drops the bomb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Adam Dawtrey focuses on films set in the Côte d’Azur . . . . . . 11 Sharleen Spiteri on how film inspires her . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Richard Young on those starry nights in Cannes . . . . . . . 12 & 13 Nicolas Bos on Princess Grace of Monaco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 L’Wren Scott wearing diamonds on the beach . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Nicholas Silver on Aldo Cipullo’s jewellery designs. . . . . . . . . . 15 Danny Huston on a trilogy of Tolstoy adaptations . . . . . . . . . . 17 An American in Paris by Charles Glass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Louise Terry and Allegra Mostyn-Owen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Adam Dawtrey praises the 8½ Foundation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Emma Willis on super summer shirting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Amber Aikens on Nuttall Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Charlie Gladstone on his estate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Alister Sieghart pitches up at Glastonbury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 FQR’s Princess Diaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 German’s in high heels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 FQR’s Liberal at Large: Matthew Modine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Reza Rashidian on hunting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 James Ogilvy on luxury and the media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Priscilla Woolworth on her eco store . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 FQR’s Casting Couch: Paloma Faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 FQR’s Racing Correspondent: Harry Herbert . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Charles Finch has a work about Cannes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Patrick Fetherstonhaugh on violins. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Charles Finch on his history of hotel haunting . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Sally Greene: It’s a dog’s life by Cicero . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Kate Lenahan on Six Senses and Sha Wellness . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Karl-Friedrich Scheufele on the prince of wines . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Maya Even’s take on a salade Nicoise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 John Malkovich on Technobohemian. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Nick Foulkes on Taki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Charles Saumarez on the Summer Exhibition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Fabien Fryns writes on the Chinese artist Sheng Qi . . . . . . . . . 34 FQR ART exclusive: Keith Coventry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Da Finchey Ode VIII Movie stars and moguls And grilled sardines, Pistou potage – And a good massage And paparazzi and Mr Perd And Pigozzi and la dorade, Swim fast, swim slow, The suntan glows Far from gloomy grey London and Paris in May. Asparagus in vinaigrette And fresh baguette. How this old dog smiles At Cannes’ follies – Bare-breasted, and mad, And ever so bad. La Côte d’Azur. Still a pleasure, Still a whore – But never a bloody bore. Poor some haute down me, Plaster me in rouille! Let the lights dim And the Festival begin. We go on, us gypsies, Treading the heads of pygmies! –Unknown Sherpa
continued from page 1 This, I felt, was the key that would unlock the vault of limitless wealth and global influence that Charles has been talking about. I immediately had my Venezuelan valet bring me Mr Alexander Graham Bell’s telephonic device and instructed him to telephone Charles, who was hard at work seeking out investors on Wall Street, while I busied myself blowing smoke rings. Charles saw the point of such a plan at once but – and this is the FQR difference – whereas any other media organisation would have convened a meeting or two, and maybe even appointed some staff to run said “seriously glamorous and yet intelligent biannual women’s fashion periodical” or at least had a sort of vague, misty idea of what to put in it, Charles swung into action. Thus on Monday, as I lounged on my day bed sipping a trembleuse of single-estate hot chocolate, while my Montenegrin manservant selected a tie to accompany my matutinal cigar, Charles announced that FQR Couture had secured backing from a major, multibillion-euro, Paris-based business and would be launched with a stunning ball in Paris in July. I have to admit that I was slightly alarmed – and with good reason: I am at present commissioning a set of white-tie waistcoat buttons from Van Cleef & Arpels, but these things take time and I am not sure that they will be ready until after the summer. But then, I suppose that with a dynamic business leader such as Charles in charge I should be used to things moving fast and I had my Anatolian amanuensis make a note to remind me to be more flexible, modern and businesslike in my approach to things It is at moments like these that I think we might be onto something, and I have to remind myself not to get too carried away so, if I feel that FQR might be losing its way and taking itself too seriously, I recall the comment made by one of our many tens of thousands of “online” readers, one Michael J Opie, who was so moved by one of my blogs that he penned the heartfelt observation: “How gloriously smug and totally pointless is FQR.” Whether this was a statement or a rhetorical question is not entirely clear. However, as well as evidence that people do look at our website, he gave voice to a sentiment that cannot be faulted and with which few can disagree. Moreover, it rests as irrefutable proof that we are fulfilling the terms of our charter, we are meeting our mandate, and remaining true to our mission statement (…or at least, we would be if we had such things). In fact, with due respect to other news-gathering operations, even our beloved British Broadcasting Corporation, I think it is fair to say that no other media organisation in the world provides such deep, thoughtful, compelling and profound coverage of truly life-changingly trivial issues. And it is FQR’s continued commitment to lightening – as much as is possible – the burden that we all carry on the journey from cradle to grave that all of us at the global HQ of the FQR group of publications, and the many political, intellectual, artistic and business leaders who read FQR, find so reassuring. Nick Foulkes is the editorial director of the FQR Group of Publications and Editor in Chief of Finch’s Quarterly Review
PROPRIETOR’S SPOUSE: SYDNEY INGLE-FINCH
PROPRIETOR: CHARLES FINCH EDITOR IN CHIEF: NICK FOULKES ART DIRECTOR: TRISTRAM FETHERSTONHAUGH CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: VICKI REEVE, SIMON DE PURY, TOM STUBBS, KEVIN SPACEY, EMMA THOMPSON, SAFFRON ALDRIDGE, L’WREN SCOTT, OLIVIA COLE (POETRY AND BIG HAIR) LIBERAL AT LARGE: MATTHEW MODINE LITERARY EDITOR: JOHN MALKOVICH FINE ARTS EDITOR: CHARLES SAUMAREZ SMITH MANAGING EDITOR: FELICITY HARRISON FEATURES EDITOR: EMILIA HUNGERFORD EDITOR AT LARGE: ELISABETH VON THURN UND TAXIS FILM EDITOR: ADAM DAWTREY HIGHLAND EDITOR (19TH CENTURY): CHARLIE GLADSTONE TRAVEL EDITOR: KATE LENAHAN COOKERY EDITOR: MAYA EVEN RACING CORRESPONDENT: THE HON. HARRY HERBERT HUNTING EDITOR: REZA RASHIDIAN PA TO THE PROPRIETOR: TIFFANY GRAYSON ADVERTISING DIRECTOR: JONATHAN SANDERS THE FQR GROUP OF PUBLICATIONS INCLUDING: FQR ART; FQR STYLE; FQR LIVING WELL, FQR BIG GAME HUNTER, GAME SHOT AND CONSERVATION; FQR EQUESTRIAN LIFE; FQR OCEAN WAVE INCORPORATING NAUTICAL STYLE; FQR HOME AND HEARTH; FQR PARANORMAL; FQR FAITH (FORMERLY FQR MONOTHEISM IN THE MODERN AGE); WWW.FINCHSQUARTERLY.COM CHIEF EXECUTIVE: CHARLES FINCH EDITORIAL DIRECTOR: NICK FOULKES CREATIVE DIRECTOR: TRISTRAM FETHERSTONHAUGH COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR: JONATHAN SANDERS, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER: ADAM BENT Designed and produced by Fetherstonhaugh Associates www.fetherstonhaugh.com The views expressed in Finch’s Quarterly Review are not necessarily those of the editorial team. The editorial team is not responsible or liable for text, pictures or illustrations, which remain the responsibility of the authors. Finch’s Quarterly Review is fully protected by copyright and nothing may be printed, translated or reproduced wholly or in part without written permission. Next issue: September 2010. All advertising enquiries should be sent for the attention of Jonathan Sanders: email@example.com +44 (0)20 7851 7140.
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inch & Partners have a knack of throwing some of most stylish, fun and glamorous parties ever. And what better reason for a party than to celebrate the fabulously talented, inspiring and creative fashion and film forces that, by enlivening and beautifying the world make it a better place to live in. Joining forces with über-fashion house Chanel they did just this, throwing two of the most memorable parties to date: the Pre-Bafta dinner at legendary nightclub Annabel’s, in London, followed closely by the Pre-Oscar party, held at the hippest, hottest Madeo in LA. And boy, what a party! For starters, Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan – whose brilliant performances on screen this year were worthy of a Bafta each as
Chiwetel Ejiofor & Guest Pre-Oscar Party
well as Oscar nominations – attended, as well as oldtime favourites already honoured with awards and accolades: Dustin Hoffman, Lawrence Bender and the extraordinarily talented Huston gang, including Danny, Anjelica and Jack. Musical brilliance also filled the room at Annabel’s, with Lily Allen and Alexa Chung on the decks, sparkling in Chanel. All in all, it is hard to convey quite how much talent lit up the rooms at those soirées, the starry and enormously entertaining guests – Janet Jackson, Matt Dillon, Christoph Waltz and Tom Ford, to name but a few more. One can now merely feast one’s eyes on the huge smiles and beautiful faces in the surrounding pictures while looking forward to next year’s pre-Oscar and Bafta events – and counting the days…
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FQR Cannes Special
The gorgeous and illustrious Isabelle Huppert, the actress who has had the most films in the official competition at Cannes, explains why the Festival has such enduring appeal
Count on Me
UCH has been made of the famous statement by French director François Truffaut suggesting that there was “a certain incompatibility between the terms ‘cinema’ and ‘Britain’”. When Truffaut said this he was actually fighting for Hitchcock in the Fifties, when the British director wasn’t completely accepted by France. He was considered a great craftsman who made entertaining films, but Truffaut saw a real vision in his work. He praised Hitchcock as a director with a sense of morality. It is a very French thing, that: to defend someone, to really appreciate them, you have to destroy everybody around them. The same thing happened with Italian cinema: to celebrate the talent of Rossellini (Viaggio in Italia, Europa 51 were misunderstood), they attacked De Sica. The key problem with Truffaut’s statement is that it is too often cited and reapplied by Truffaut disciples who do not have his talent as critic or director, and who live in another period. They are completely wrong. The fight for Hitch was won many years ago. The truth is that there were many great British directors in the Thirties, Forties and Fifties. Hitchcock was one of the most important and creative since silent movies. By only praising him, Truffaut and disciples overlooked many others. One result of Truffaut’s statement is that it erased any serious study of British cinema in France for nearly four decades, even though a few films (The Third Man, some comedies) were well received. This attitude changed a little with the films of Karel Reisz, Lindsay Anderson and Tony Richardson – Morgan, If…, Tom Jones and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner were critical and commercial hits. In the same period, Joseph Losey, an American director who had been blacklisted and forced to live in England, made some very important pictures: Time Without Pity, The Servant, Accident, The Go-Between. Another talented blacklisted director, Cy Endfield, directed Hell Drivers and Zulu. Then came another generation with Ken Loach and Stephen Frears. But the classical British cinema of the Forties and Fifties was still forgotten, underrated and ignored because of Truffaut. He later corrected himself in his wonderful book of Hitchcock interviews, praising Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat and The Rake’s Progress (directed by the latter). I had to really fight against the French
establishment, and it took a few of us several years to impose Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Now the Archers and their legacy have been completely rehabilitated. The Red Shoes is being reopened in France and we at the Institut Lumière published Powell’s two beautiful memoirs and released most of his masterpieces on DVD – all with great success. OWEVER, the rehabilitation of Powell must not hide the fact that there are still some British directors whom I believe are underrated. Robert Hamer is one. Of course, Kind Hearts and Coronets is still very well known, and considered by many as one of the best British comedies. But I believe it’s much more than that. It is one of the most biting social statements ever made in British cinema. It’s not only entertaining, funny and inventive, it is also sharp and dark. It reveals the British upper class, the rulers, as dumb, prejudicial, narrow-minded and dangerous. It
Vive les Rosbifs! Renowned director, producer, writer and actor Bertrand Tavernier celebrates France’s re-evaluation and rehabilitation of British film
must be studied alongside Hamer’s other successful films as a social and political film. Hamer was a francophile who looked for inspiration in the French social cinema of Prévert, Carné and Vigo. His statement that he was “mostly interested in people doing beastly things in the dark” simply does not fit the image of British cinema, of the Ealing Comedies! He said of Kind Hearts that he wanted to make a film to explore all the possibilities of the English language and to attack and undermine all the social issues blocking British society. It was a deliberate attack on the establishment, and you find it in many of his films – think Pink String and Sealing Wax or It Always Rains on Sunday, which are anarchistic and against the moral order. For many years British cinema was renowned for its comedies, such as The Titfield Thunderbolt and Passport to Pimlico. Most are now very dated and conformist. The most rebellious figure would be a drunk who wanted the pub to stay open after hours. This is not
so with Forties British cinema, of the films by Powell or Mackendrick (The Man in the White Suit, for example, is a Voltairean tale well ahead of its time), of Cavalcanti, Basil Wright or Humphrey Jennings. British cinema of the Forties and Fifties was in sync with the country, and you can sense the democratic feeling, the urgency. This is important as it is the opposite of American cinema of the time, which is largely individualistic. British cinema Alec G uin captures a collective spirit. Films by Hearts and ness in Kind Coronets Gilliat and Launder – Millions Like Us or Green for Danger – show the work of a group of people and capture the solidarity in that. These films are full of doubts and de show the situation can be changed ‘With Bla y Ridle not by a single man fighting the Runner, a kind world but by a group of people who de Scott ma e have to work together. ge to Th a m o h f o Despite Truffaut’s statement, many es’ Red Sho of today’s talented directors appreciate this era of British cinema. John Boorman has always said how much he admired Powell and Pressburger’s vision. Stephen Frears likes many of the directors to whom I’ve referred. Mike Leigh greatly admires British comedies with Peter Sellers (he told me to watch Carlton-Browne of the FO!). With Blade Runner, Ridley Scott made a kind of homage to The Red Shoes. Martin Scorsese has praised films by Seth Holt, Basil Dearden, Thorold Dickinson, Roy and John Boulting. Anthony Asquith’s silent films such as A Cottage on Dartmoor have been rediscovered. David Lean’s work is more alive than ever. Carol Reed’s work – not just The Third Man – has been re-evaluated: Night Train to Munich, Bank Holidays and, of course, the beautiful Odd Man Out. The pendulum has swung back! Bertrand Tavernier’s is a renowned director, producer, writer and actor and his latest film La Princesse de Montpensier will be shown in competition at Cannes this year
Rex Feat ures
HE Cannes Film Festival means a lot to me. I’ve had many films presented there in various sections; in competition, out of competition and in side-sections. I have won Best Actress twice, been a member of the jury and master of ceremony – and I was president of the jury last year, so Cannes feels very close to me, really at the heart of my life as an actress Cannes is special in that it’s never the same, yet I always get a strong feeling of belonging when I go there. Both the city and the Festival have changed a great deal over the years. The ceremony used to be held in a place that we now call “the old Palais” but it moved to a much bigger, more modern building. When you walk by the former one it looks so small and oldfashioned, but I remember going there on different occasions. My first experience of Cannes was years ago. I remember having my first film in competition. It was Aloïse, a film directed by and it’s about the life of the Swiss painter Aloïse. Before that, I had been to Cannes a couple of times, one when I won a prize that was given to young actors. This particular prize no longer exists. I’ve been lucky to win the Best Actress award twice at Cannes: first in 1978 for Violette Nozière and, more recently, in 2001 for The Piano Teacher. When it happens you can’t believe it – even more so the second time. It’s such an incredible emotion. First, it’s a shock because you know that the impact of winning is so powerful. Cannes has an important impact on any film that is presented there. To be in Cannes is a window to the world, so to win a
prize is a great feeling. It’s a feeling that you never forget, and you wish you could come back to it again and again. It was also a great privilege to preside over the jury at Cannes last year. Initially, I thought I would be intimidated, but I wasn’t. Being part of the jury is all about human relationships; there are no rules, and it’s very concrete and real. It’s a group of people speaking together about their tastes and how they feel. I found it quite easy in a way, much easier than I thought it would be. We selected The White Ribbon to win the Palme d’Or.. The violence in our world is something that was very evident in many of the films in competition last year. The White Ribbon depicted the violence that occurs in our world in the most accurate way; how it takes root in people’s lives and minds from the moment they are born, how they are raised and how they are educated. It was the logical conclusion to spirit of the competition. I am not sure if I will be able to attend this year as I am currently filming a new role. One of my films, a comedy I did with my daughter, , will be shown in the side section this year. The film is called Copacabana and it’s directed by . As long as I keep making films, it is a place I will always be drawn to. eing at the Festival can be exhausting and overwhelming. There are so many people to meet, films to see, places to be, events to attend and you have to make a personal choice as to where you want and need to be or you can begin to feel isolated or intimidated. But you can also choose to be isolated and be willing to take some distance. It’s easy: if you take a few steps away from the center you are already out of it. Cannes is big but it is small. It is all about a big number of people in the same little place in a small number of days. Isabelle Huppert has recently completed filming on Marc Fitoussi’s Copacabana with her daughter Lolita Chammah, which has been selected for this year's Critics' Week at Cannes Film Festival.
FQR Cannes Special
Damian Harris remembers his father, the late great actor Richard Harris
Richard Harris and Lindsay Anderson
the film of Camelot, and a second Arthur, adapted by me and the novelist Kitty Aldridge from her novel Pop, which I was going to direct him as but which he didn’t live long enough to play. Instead, we made it as far as the start of preproduction before Hodgkin’s felled him and sent him to hospital, where we would sometimes discuss the script. The story is about a grandfather and granddaughter who are forced together because of the sudden death by suicide of the daughter/mother. My father had an uncommonly strong bond with his granddaughter, my daughter Ella, so I understood his connection to the role, and why he felt born to play it. One night in his hospital room, we were discussing a particular scene and I felt he had misread or misunderstood what it was about. He looked at me darkly, and I was instantly beamed back to that flat in Earl’s Court – except
“I’ve got cuff links,” he said, “a fucking drawful. I want one of them” – and by that he meant a Gold Palm
now I was Lindsay and the fireworks were about to begin… But instead he broke into a big grin and laughed, “Oh, this is gonna be real fun.” I’m sure it would have been. Damian Harris will be directing the film Dig 2 Graves this Autumn.
on TV, but I couldn’t understand how playing make-believe (which is how my grandmother explained my father made a living) could be so passionate or exciting. But clearly it was and should always be, and so within weeks the nuns sent me home from school for attacking a fellow pupil because he refused, when playing Paul McCartney in our school Beatles band, to hold his tennis racquet like a leftie. I was Ringo and I’d hit him with the cricket stumps that were standing in for my drumsticks. My father had by then gone up North to begin rehearsals, so it was left to my mother to play the heavy, which, due to my father’s increasingly prolonged absences, became the role in which she was to be typecast. There were only two other roles my father believed he’d been born to play: King Arthur in
Richard Harris, Marina Vlady and Luchino Visconti with their awards at the 1963 Cannes Festival
Sipa Press /Rex
Y FATHER won the Best Actor award at Cannes in 1963. The prize was a pair of gold cuff links, which he tried unsuccessfully to give back on stage. “I’ve got cuff links,” he said, “a fucking drawful. I want one of them” – and by that he meant a Gold Palm, which for reasons unknown to him everybody received except the Best Actor. He got the cuff links in a red velvet box, and they went into my grandfather’s glass case of honour, beside my boxing and swimming medals, occasionally taken out at Sunday lunches. The film for which my father won the Best Actor award was This Sporting Life, directed by Lindsay Anderson, adapted from a novel by David Storey. The story of the rise and fall of Frank Machin, a rugby league player in the North of England, appealed greatly to my father. He was a passionate rugby union player and follower, and believed he had been born to play the part, which he attacked with a ferocity that even as a fiveyear-old I remember with awe. The creative fights I witnessed between my father and Lindsay at our flat on the Earl’s Court Road were better entertainment than anything
We’ll always have Harris
The Cannes-dy Store
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Cannes stalwart Jean Labadie reviews his 30 years at the Festival
top: Wild At Heart, 1990 above: The Tin Drum, 1979
LOVE Cannes. I believe it has won the war of the major film festivals. You still see the best film of the year in Cannes. As a Frenchman working in the film industry, I first came to Cannes in 1979. The main difference then was that far fewer movies were shown; the movie industry was simply much smaller. I was 23 and Cannes was like a candy shop to me. Movies were screened at the old Palace, which was much nicer than the new one today, and it was all about the films. People came mainly to see movies, less to make deals. I would watch six or seven films a day with many other film buffs – the idea was not to sleep. We went to bed at 4am and got up for the first screening at 8am. I remember my first year very well because both Schlöndorff’s The Tin Drum (Die Blechtrommel) and Apocalypse Now were screened. You can imagine what it was like for a kid like me to see those films in the Palace – tremendous! Apocalypse Now was screened in a unique version and never screened like that again. Cannes’ bistros and restaurants were far less busy back then. The sales agents tended to stay in their hotels. Everyone else hung out at The Carlton Café, where we all knew each other. You could get a table on the terrace in the afternoon and watch the industry’s most important people walking around. You could even be seated at a table next to Coppola. That doesn’t mean you’d have a drink with
him, but it felt like you could. The Petit Bar at The Carlton was the place to be between 2am and 5am, discussing the day’s films. At night you could get drunk with some of the biggest stars, who, of course, would not remember you the next day. The jury sat on the second floor of The Carlton, which meant everybody always knew what was going on. As there was no cloakroom in the jury room, the jury had to go to the lobby whenever they needed the loo. As soon as a producer or director saw one of them entering the bathroom, he’d follow and promote his film while the poor member was peeing! In many ways Cannes today feels much the same to me. I still know everyone when I walk down the street. Actually, being back in Paris always feels a little strange after Cannes because people don’t say hello to me all the time. There are major differences, though. Say for a film like Apocalypse Now, the director and his cast today would arrive in huge cars with major security, and leave right after the film to go to an exclusive party. Alternatively, there might not even be a party due to the recession. Back in the day, people took huge pleasure in seeing their films screened – and a celebratory dinner or party was a given. Of course, there was much less pressure on each film – whether or not it would make money was not
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NCE upon a time, Sam Spiegel’s boat Malahne defined solid-gold glamour at the Cannes Film Festival. It was old-fashioned by today’s standards. The 457-ton motor yacht lacked a helicopter pad or swimming pool. However, Malahne revelled in majestic charm – not unlike the Oscar-winning Spiegel, who resembled a portly Roman emperor and produced such greats as The African Queen, On The Waterfront, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. Stepping onto Malahne meant a world of decks lined with walnut, martinis being refilled without the sound of a footstep, and rubbing shoulders with key people of the Sixties and Seventies, including Anouk Aimée, Brigitte Bardot, Julie Christie, Margot Fonteyn, Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, Jack Nicholson, Harold Pinter, Vanessa Redgrave, Arthur Schlesinger and Warren Beatty, who completed the first draft of Shampoo in his cabin. On board, the atmosphere was charged. Heated
Savarona, 1931 (446ft) In 1931, American heiress Emily Roebling Cadwallader, granddaughter of John A Roebling, who designed Brooklyn Bridge, commissioned Savarona, at the time the largest yacht in the world. She became the property of the Turkish State in 1938, and was presented to Atatürk. Completely restored in the 1990s, the Savarona now features a traditional Turkish bath (created with 65 tons of marble), an owner's suite that can only be reached via a door concealed in a library wall and Atatürk's former stateroom has been turned into a museum.
There was a definite edge of Harold Robbins to the proceedings
Finch’s Favourite Yachts
Christina O, 1943 (325ft) Aristotle Onassis bought the Canadian frigate, after World War Two and converted her into a luxurious yacht, named after his daughter. She was one of the most famous floating society venues of the mid-20th century. Guests included Maria Callas, Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra, while Aris’ Bar, located on the main deck, was where John F Kennedy and Sir Winston Churchill first met in 1957. Her bar is decorated with whales’ teeth and the bar stools are upholstered in whale foreskin, a fact that Onassis delighted in telling his guests.
determined mainly that night. Today we have so many more journalists at Cannes who, within hours, will determine whether or not people will see your film. When there were fewer journalists we had relationships with those who were there, which meant we could discuss the films with them and sometimes even change their opinions. HAVE many stories illustrating how a director can arrive at Cannes completely unknown and leave a star. Only Cannes has this impact. Microcosmos was made by two scientists and filmed over five years with specialised cameras that could film the tiniest details, such as flowers and bugs. It was produced by Jacques Perrin, who recently made Oceans. We had a screening at 4pm, but weren’t part of the competition. As we walked up the stairs, nobody took any interest in the two directors – the stars of the film were bugs, ants, underwater spiders… We assumed the theatre would be empty, but it was packed. After the film we got about 15 minutes’ applause. When we walked back along the corridor we saw Francis Ford Coppola, president of the jury that year. He is a large man, and he jumped down from the jury’s room to where we were, took the two scientists in his arms, kissed them and told them it was the best film he’d ever seen. We’d organised a beach party for after the screening,
filming in Moscow. Another occasion led to David Geffen telling Irene Mayer Selznick, Hollywood royalty and esteemed producer, to “fuck herself ”. Spiegel called Geffen and said, “Darling boy, she drives everyone crazy (but) you’re on my boat and you must apologise.” And during 1969’s Cannes Film Festival, when Spiegel was a member of the jury he invited the entire Easy Rider team on board Malahne, “We [the party included Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson] looked pretty wild – fringe leather jackets, long hair; it was a funny day,” recalls Bill Hayward. “On the boat was all the Columbia brass who had poohpoohed our picture when we first wanted to take it to Cannes.” However, in a quiet moment, Hayward was taken aside by a Columbia studio executive who said, “Now, Bill, you make another movie like Easy Rider and we’ll get you a boat.” This tale fuels the rumour that Columbia
political arguments might be hashed out in the lounge, while the Spiegelettes – coltish blondes with tawny-coloured limbs – soaked up the rays nearby. Spiegel had a weakness for young women. Certain American comedians referred to Malahne as “the floating ship of evil”. As one Spiegel associate affirms, “It was the place to have the video camera.” There was a definite edge of Harold Robbins to the proceedings. But on a lighter note – due to the mix of worlds and generations and Spiegel being an über-controlling host – amusing incidents occurred. An Italian aristocrat had never heard of his neighbour, Greta Garbo. Spiegel’s women were off limits, but Irwin Shaw’s son was caught bobbing up and done with one, in Malahne’s Zodiac. Telephoning was discouraged, and Faye Dunaway drove Spiegel crazy by incessantly calling Marcello Mastroianni,
Alexander, 1965 (400ft)
Prince Abdulaziz, 1984 (482ft)
Alexander was originally owned by Greek shipping tycoon Yiannis (John) Latsis. She was once nicknamed the “love boat” as Prince Charles and Princess Diana celebrated their second honeymoon on board her decks (which come with swimming pool and helipad). Other guests have included Marlon Brando, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, and President George Bush Sr. Guest rooms and bathrooms are said to be decorated with chandeliers and gold taps, and guests are entertained with a nightclub, bar and private cinema.
The Prince Abdulaziz was known as “the floating mansion” when she was launched. In fact, she was the largest private yacht afloat for over 20 years. Commissioned by the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, who named her after his favourite son, this ocean-going palace features a lobby on the main deck that was reportedly modelled on the style of the Titanic, with ornate classical furniture. Other facilities include an on-board cinema, mosque, hospital and car park for the current Saudi Royal Family’s fleet of luxury cars.
to which we walked. It was organised for around 50 people; all we had were peanuts, crisps, sodas and a couple of bottles of wine. No bouncers, no guestlist. By the time we’d arrived at the beach, people were streaming into our party. We must have entertained about 400 people! Distributors from all over were yelling, “We want to buy this film.” The two directors had walked up those stairs as obscure
He’d follow and promote his film while the poor member was peeing! scientists and left the cinema as movie stars. To me, this kind of phenomenon is the most incredible thing about Cannes. People arrive in Cannes and many of them are financially involved with certain films so, essentially, they’re watching other films through the eyes of a competitor. But 10 minutes into each film, they become an audience. Showing your film at Cannes is like a drug. You feel that when it works it will change your life. I’ve worked
In fact, it did better than that. When Spiegel was making Lawrence of Arabia in 1960, Columbia chartered the boat from him and also picked up all the expenses, which verged on the astronomical. They did this because Spiegel was Jewish, an important chunk of Lawrence was filmed in Jordan and Morocco, and he refused to sleep on Arab soil. The general expense annoyed David Lean, Lawrence’s director, who claimed it was “stealing the stuffing from the turkey”. But perhaps the best Malahne anecdote comes from Billy Wilder who accompanied Spiegel when he purchased the boat in 1960. “I’ve been talking to the crew,” the director warned. “They tell me it takes nine people to run the boat and that’s when it’s in the harbour. When it’s at sea, you’ll need a crew of 14, day and night, 24 hours a day. Nobody can afford a boat this size any more, Sam. You must be going be crazy.” After looking at him for a moment, Spiegel said, “Don’t be so plebeian, Billy.” Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni is the European editor at Harper's Bazaar
very hard to have as many films as possible at Cannes each year – and I’ve had many. When it goes to plan, it is the best day of your life and when it doesn’t, it’s the worst place on earth. I am very superstitious. One year we were showing David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. It was a very special night for two reasons: firstly, Lynch is a god to me and, secondly, it was the first film for which I paid over $1m for distribution. My fiancée at the time gave me this ugly jacket that made me look like a waiter, as I needed to wear a jacket that resembled a tuxedo. I wore the jacket that night and the film won. That same year during Cannes I bought the rights to the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink. So the following year – partly out of superstition and partly because I only had this one jacket – I wore it again, and the film won again. We won five years in a row and each time I was wearing my lucky jacket. I only ever wear it in Cannes and only when I think the film might end up winning the Palme d’Or. The jacket has become my lucky charm. Jean Labadie created Bac films in 1986, which he headed for 21 years, distributing or co-producing more than 500 films, which received numerous awards including 8 golden palms in Cannes and an Oscar for Indochine. Labadie is currently President of Paris-based sales and distribution company, Le Pacte.
FQR Cannes Special
His Art’s Desire The multi-awardwinning filmmaker Elia Suleiman is an old hand at Cannes. He won the Jury Prize in 2002, was a member of the jury in 2006 and his latest film, The Time That Remains, which he writes about here, was nominated for a Golden Palm last year
T TOOK me roughly five years to realise my latest film, The Time That Remains. It was a long struggle, and particularly hard securing backing. The difficulties stemmed from various factors. Firstly, my films have not been hugely financially successful; they might bring in some money but they don’t make much. My first few films earned me great critical acclaim and I was offered big budgets to direct more elaborate remakes that would reach a wider audience. But I wasn’t interested in making bigger, financially more feasible films at the cost of quality. My previous successes did not help much in finding backing for The Time That Remains, which I feel is my most mature work. Divine Intervention and my earlier movies had many memorable scenes that evoke euphoric sensations in the audience – people tend to remember my older films vividly.
OUNTDOWN TO ZERO is about educating people on a subject matter that most of us didn’t know was an issue, or have largely forgotten about. It is an edge-of-the-seat, wake-up call about the global nuclear threat posed by proliferation, terrorism and the actual use of nuclear weapons. I started thinking about Countdown to Zero a few years ago when An Inconvenient Truth came out. I was approached by a number of people about the idea of making another documentary. I happened to talk to Jeff Skoll, founder of Participant Media, about the nuclear threat around the same time we were working on An Inconvenient Truth together. Like An Inconvenient Truth, which highlighted global warming, a nuclear disaster is another issue that could destroy our world. I asked myself, “With my limited bandwidth, what’s the greatest difference I could make?” I felt that this was the biggest project on a major global issue that I could take on – and that’s how Countdown to Zero started. There are couple of similarities between An Inconvenient Truth and Countdown to Zero – and one big difference. Climate change and a nuclear disaster are both pertinent issues that could destroy mankind, and yet when An Inconvenient Truth came out many people hadn’t heard of climate change or understood the ramifications until they saw Al Gore’s slide show. Likewise, the threat of a nuclear disaster is not currently conceived as a great threat in many people’s minds. In fact, we interviewed people in the US, UK and Russia to get a better understanding of what people knew of the nuclear threat. When we asked which countries had nuclear weapons and what the threat was, many people – especially the college graduates of today, who were born after the Berlin Wall came down – had no idea. The biggest difference between An Inconvenient Truth and Countdown to Zero is that we released the former at a time when we had an administration that was not taking climate change seriously and a president who did not agree with the subject. Whereas today we are about to release Countdown to Zero at a time when we have a president who is committed to nuclear disarmament. President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit,
The Time That Remains works on a much more discreet level. The other factor that made financing difficult was, of course, the fact that the film deals with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, a part of history that people don’t really want to look at. It would be presumptuous of me to blame it all on politics, though. The film’s title is a good indication of how I feel about the future of Palestinians. I believe there is hope for my country and, indeed, the world. Fortunately, I don’t have the necessary tools to stop dreaming. I don’t have the profile of a despairing man. Desperation is there, and it can vibrate in certain images and moments, but I’m not sculpted as someone who says the world is over. URING filming we encountered many difficulties. There were always things we lacked. All these difficulties, however, triggered a spiritual revelation in me: brain cells that were asleep suddenly awakened and I experienced a euphoric creativity, which helped me deal with challenges in a way I’d never experienced. I became incredibly resourceful and solved problems more easily. I also felt positive, and this rubbed off onto the cast. I discovered how much force lies in man. Even under challenging conditions one can succeed. The shoot, then, was a mesmerising affair. Mine was a kind of spiritual existence at that point and I hope I’ll experience this again. It was as though I linked the sincerity of being to the composition of an image, which created a “nudity” and purity in each shot. This really was an existential experience that I hadn’t touched on previously. It’s difficult to determine what part of the film is autobiographical and what isn’t. What I can say is that the father character is based on my real father. The first part of the film is taken from notes I asked him to write. I’d grown up hearing his stories and when he got sick I asked him to write them down, partly to distract him from his illness. We shot many of the scenes in locations he mentioned. The first part of the film is set in Nazareth, where I grew up,
held in Washington in April, was the biggest gathering of world leaders to discuss nuclear disarmament led by an American president since the 1945 United Nations Conference on International Organization. The purpose of the conference – of almost 50 heads of states – was to secure nuclear materials around the world in the next four years. Therefore, we have
Lawrence Bender on how his new movie – part of the Official Selection at Cannes – turned him into an activist a pretty extraordinary president who has taken the lead on nuclear disarmament, and we have Countdown to Zero coming out this summer, which will really engage people and communicate the issues of the nuclear threat. To highlight these issues, we interviewed a range of interesting and provocative people for the documentary. From former heads of state Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, Tony Blair and Pervez Musharraf to the President of Kazakhstan and the CIA. The process of interviewing was extremely long. For Gorbachev it took us 18 months to get the interview. With President Musharraf we had an even more extraordinary situation. It was back in 2008 and I got a phone call from my fixer in Abu Dhabi, who was securing our visa for Pakistan, with the news that they would not approve our visa and that our trip
was cancelled. Two days later, Musharraf was ousted from office, and the hotel where we were supposed to be staying in Pakistan blew up. In the end we interviewed Musharraf in England but it shows just how sensitive and high profile getting these interviews really was. One of the things I learned from making Countdown to Zero is the terrifying stories of near-accidental launches of nuclear weapons. I had no idea how bad it was. Furthermore, that anyone with a relatively small amount of money has the ability to obtain enough nuclear-weapons material to incinerate everything in a five-mile radius of a large city. The only way to stop this is to secure all nuclear material worldwide. My hope is that Countdown to Zero will not only make people aware of the scope of this threat, but will also help create the political will necessary to ensure that the securing of nuclear material will happen. Two great organisations are helping to achieve this: Global Zero and Participant Media. Global Zero is an international organisation comprising 200 political, military, faith and civic leaders, experts and organisations from around the world, who call for a phased elimination of all nuclear weapons. Participant Media and Global Zero are in the process of putting together a coalition of NGOs, religious groups, policy experts and internet gurus to create a massive grassroots movement around Countdown to Zero. I thus don’t consider myself a documentary filmmaker. Instead, I feel I am more of an activist making a documentary about an important problem facing the world. E premiered the documentary at Sundance Film Festival and screened it at the TED conference 2010 (a non-profit organisation devoted to ideas worth spreading), and the response has been pretty amazing. Furthermore, it has just been announced that Countdown to Zero will be part of the Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival this year. Lawrence Bender is the Academy Awardwinning producer of An Inconvenient Truth and his films have garnered 29 Academy Award nominations. Countdown to Zero is directed by British filmmaker Lucy Walker and produced by Lawrence Bender.
and pretty much where the Israeli Haganah entered in 1948. Our childhood home in the film is really my great-grandparents’ house. I tried to recreate what Nazareth looked and felt like prior to ’48, and for the house we used the soft, pastellish tints of the day. The second part of the film, from the 1970s until today was filmed in my parents’ old house, which is also where I shot my previous films. My aunt plays my mother and many friends and their stories are in the film too. The events are inspired by semibiographical ones. Then, of course, the characters metamorphose and the result is fictitious moments. There were curious coincidences when I chose a location that worked cinematographically and which turned out to be the exact spot where an actual event had occurred. There is a scene where the Haganah, disguised as Palestinian freedom fighters, shoot a Palestinian woman. While filming the scene, an elderly man walked past and asked me whether I knew that the spot I’d chosen for my character to fall dead was the exact place where the real woman had fallen. All my films are at least part-shot in Nazareth. It is my stage and I lead my audience through a cinematic voyage. It is never really about the place, though I must say that it has become progressively harder spending time there. I really noticed its decline while shooting my last film there. It has gone from being a small town in
I chose to speak through the cinematic domain which usually transgresses borders and has a univesal language the hills, with churches and mosques, to a kind of ghetto full of poverty and unemployment. The reason is simple: the land formerly owned by the town was confiscated, and discrimination has made life near impossible for Palestinians. When we first screened The Time That Remains in Tel Aviv it created major warfare. An Israeli politician said I should be declared an enemy of the state and the film should be banned. The amount of hate press I received just goes to show how terrible the situation there is. There were positive voices too, mainly from the more leftist, cinephile, intellectual side. All these reactions, the political situation and very personal reasons make it harder for me to go back to Nazareth. But I will go back. My next film will again be shot in part there. Nazareth is a very tough place. On a more personal level, my father passed away in 1999, just before I made Divine Intervention. The story was inspired by his story. My mother passed away just before I started making The Time That Remains, and I’m delaying my return since I don’t know how I’ll face being back at the house with both of them deceased. Being Palestinian is a tough existence. I’m not talking about a Palestinian like me, an immigrant of choice. The Palestinians I’m referring to have lived in utter poverty for 60 years. Their history is very recent and unresolved. Many were expelled in ’48, then again in ’67 and then through countless wars. With this film I think I wanted to create a remembrance for all of them. Mind you, there is so much similar tragedy worldwide. From what the Turks did to the Armenians, the Americans to their natives, the list goes on, with mass expulsions and horror that few really want to know about. In my film I deal with Palestine but, really, I hope to tell a universal story. I don’t make a film about Palestine for people to sympathise with Palestine. I choose to speak through a cinematic domain which usually transgresses borders and has a universal language. I am not mobilising for one cause but for many. What I hope to achieve with this film is the same as always: I hope when constructing a cinematographic image that viewers can enjoy the poetic structure and be stimulated when watching its poetic movement. ET’S say a couple who have just seen my film go home and enjoy dinner together or make love. I feel I’ve achieved something if the film has triggered something positive in them. Automatically, this will reduce the amount of violence in the world. There are countless other ways of being stimulated. You might buy a book and research more on the topic or you might change your opinion from those brainwashed views of the media. People often tell me, “Before seeing your film I didn’t know that Palestinians back then wore Western clothes.” To me, it’s crazy that people don’t know there was an affluent middle class in Palestine before 1948. I think art in general can support the exploited or draw attention to abuse of power. One work of art or film won’t change this, but it can impact on our perception and, among an abundance of other works, it can even influence the world we live in. Elia Suleiman is a multi-award-winning filmmaker.
FQR Cannes Special
HE Cannes Film Festival means that the South of France is indelibly associated with the movies. Yet surprisingly few films have actually been set there. Here are the best – and one of the worst. To Catch A Thief. Cary Grant and Grace Kelly play cat and mouse around Monaco’s hairpin bends. Hitchcock’s classic is the epitome of Côte d’Azur cool. Contrary to myth, Kelly didn’t actually meet Prince Rainier while shooting To Catch A Thief in 1954, but the following year during the Cannes Film Festival. Reader, she married him, and golden Grace was lost to the silver screen forever. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. You could make a case for the underrated Bowfinger, also directed by Frank Oz, but Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is the last unarguable classic in Steve Martin’s canon, and it’s a long time ago. Martin and Michael Caine are rival conmen in the fictional Mediterranean resort of Beaumont-sur-Mer. Martin pretending to be the retarded Prince Ruprecht is comedy gold. By the way, if you watch the recent Pink Panther 2, you realise that Martin is still funny; it’s just that his choice of films became terrible. The French Connection I & II. The dirty underbelly of Marseilles is about as far from the glamour of French Riviera as you could get. Gene plays the Hackman magnificently incorrect narcotics cop Popeye Doyle pursuing a suave Gallic drug smuggler, first through the mean streets of New York and then back to Marseilles in the sequel. La Cage Aux Folles. Set in St Tropez, this French farce was released in the same year that Harvey Milk was assassinated. Back in 1978, it was extraordinary for such a flamboyantly gay story to become a mainstream hit. By the time it
It’s Her Movie
Sharleen Spiteri on how her passion for film inspired her to record The Movie Songbook
OR you to understand my love of film I have to rewind to the beginning when I was a child and being with my grandmother, cosying up on a Saturday afternoon to watch a film when it was pouring with rain outside. This was really where my love of film started, which has so inspired the music I went on to make. I remember the first time I saw The Graduate and the rebellion, danger and darkness that was kind of covered up by a happy LA existence. The music of Simon and Garfunkel is so fragile, and I really think the music lifts you and brings you down, taking you on a journey with Dustin Hoffman. Music for me is like a heartbeat – those songs that have the power to connect with the public are moving at a speed, the speed of life at that moment in time. It was this love of music and film that brought me and Johnny McElhone, my songwriting partner and bass player in Texas, together. We met and discovered the connection we had with film. We spoke about the film Paris, Texas, and that inspired our first hit for the band – especially the film’s soundtrack by Ry Cooder and his slide guitar. We were also hugely inspired by the images of the movie and the simplicity and contradictions of the main character, Travis Henderson, played by Harry Dean Stanton.
So Sud Me
Adam Dawtrey focuses on films set in the South of France
was remade in 1996 as The Birdcage, the subject matter had become safe enough for the Hollywood treatment, which was social progress, if not a cinematic advance. Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources. Claude Berri’s lavish two-part version of Marcel Pagnol’s 1966 novel brought tourists flocking to Provence, gorgeously captured by the lens of DP Bruno
Nuytten. Curiously, Pagnol’s bestseller, entitled Manon des Sources, was actually a novelisation of his own 1952 film of the same name. Pagnol was so dissatisfied with the way his original film was butchered by its distributor that he decided to retell the whole story in print. And God Created Woman. And Roger Vadim created Brigitte Bardot. The
If you look back at any great band, the image they portray has always been massively important, even though it’s effortless in a sense. It’s strange because I never thought I tried very hard with my image when I was growing up and first started playing in a band. And then I realised later on how much I really did care and how important my image really was. All those Hollywood, rock’n’roll characters and images of people like Marlon Brando and James Dean were really big for me. The effort, care and detail that went into my image were massive, and everything was taken from film and music – and the attitude. I loved all that – everything about the sound and music and the way it looked and the escapism. The escapism is massive for me. Music is escapism and you make music because you don’t feel you fit in. I never felt I fitted in as a kid in school. I had different ideas, passions and loves. I think all musicians are just nerds; we spend so much time on our passion and getting it right. The detail is so important to what something is – the little details that we will spend such a long time trying to perfect. N A WAY, making a record is a little like making a film; you will have hours and hours of material you will use to produce something of a very defined length. We are the editors of all editors. When I look back to a lot of our songs there’s a big story to them all, but it’s all in a 3 1/2minute song. Texas have always put a snippet of film music with their albums. It’s like a lucky mascot, we’ve always just sneaked them in. Little bits of street
music or sounds on some of our albums. I said to Johnny that I would quite like to do more film music and put this out while we were writing our next Texas record, and he liked the idea. I got very excited about it and said it was going to be amazing. We sat down with Nick Angel. He actually originally signed Texas in ’86. I remember when we first sat down with him to write the list of songs, and he turned to Johnny and said, “You guys have such a nose for a song, it’s unbelievable.” I remember thinking, “I love these songs, they mean so much to me and are a massive part of my life.” Nick also put us in touch with Phil Ramone. It was amazing because Phil’s manager is the son of Randy Newman, who does massive film stuff. I remember jumping around my living room because I thought this was a big piece of the jigsaw that was going to really bring it all together. We spoke to Phil and said we wanted to put a band together with people who can feel these songs and know how to play their kind of music. The truth is Phil put probably one of the greatest bands of all time together for us. We had Frank Sinatra’s drummer, Quincy Jones’s horn section and Michael Jackson’s guitarist – all the top session men. Johnny and I did all the arrangements in London and we e-mailed Phil back and forth in New York. We would then talk and make changes
hWe are the e editors of all e editors S
starlet in and out of her bikini on the beach is a Cannes cliché, but Bardot was the original, and never surpassed. The provocative film which made her a global star was set down the road in St Tropez, where she played a teenage orphan of decidedly loose morals who gets the town’s menfolk all steamed up. It’s a museum piece now, but at the time this was explosive stuff. Day For Night. The legendary Victorine studio in Nice is where Michael Powell learned his trade working for Rex Ingram in the 1920s. It’s also where François Truffaut shot and set La nuit americaine (Day For Night), his 1973 movie about the making of a movie, a great love poem to the act of filmmaking. Truffaut himself plays the director beset with crisis on and off the set and he struggles to realise his vision. The Good Thief. Neil Jordan relocated Jean-Pierre Melville’s heist thriller Bob Le Flambeur from Paris to Monte Carlo. Nick Nolte plays the ageing gambler who assembles a motley gang for one last shot to rip off a casino. Mr Bean’s Holiday. Rowan Atkinson tips his hat to Jacques Tati in this homage to M Hulot’s seaside misadventures. The haplessly destructive Bean wins a vacation in Cannes. His holiday video somehow gets entered into the Festival, and is proclaimed a masterpiece. A silly film for kids, perhaps, but laugh-out-loud in places, and Willem Defoe’s pretentious American auteur is delicious. That Riviera Touch. Morecambe and Wise are national treasures, but even their greatest fan might struggle to crack a smile at their feeble effort to become film stars. Eric and Ernie take a holiday on the French Riviera (sound familiar?) and get tangled up with jewel thieves. Adam Dawtrey is Finch’s Quarterly Review film critic
and get the songs exactly right. Then we went into the studio and made the complete record in eight days. We recorded at Capital Studios. Walking in every day seeing pictures of Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin singing in the studio was pretty amazing and very special. The first song we recorded for the album was Xanadu. Johnny hated Xanadu, although I thought it was a beautiful song. We did a take and recorded it. I thought the band really got it and had an appreciation for songwriting and great songs. At that point I knew it would work and so did Johnny and he turned to me and said, “You’re right, Xanadu is a great song.” Sharleen Spiteri is the lead singer of Texas and recently released her second solo album The Movie Songbook
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Richard Young on those star
EOPLE love to go to Cannes because it is in the South of France – one of the most beautiful places in the world. The Festival just wouldn’t work in the south of England – you wouldn’t be able to attract the same glamorous set of stars to Brighton every year. There is something about the Côte d’Azur that draws one back. And in May, when the Festival is on, you are virtually guaranteed great weather. Even if it’s not warm, it’s usually sunny. I first went to Cannes in 1976 and I have been going on and off since then. In those days everything in my life looked black and white, just like the pictures I was taking. Even Cannes looked more black and white than it does today as there was significantly less glitzy commercialism bombarding the senses. Of course, there were posters and banners, but they were less overwhelming and mainly centred on The Carlton hotel. Cannes was interesting back then and there was an intimate feel to the whole affair. I used to stay at this lovely little hotel, the Palma, at one end of the Croisette. It was very cheap and I used to have a balcony floor. Friends who were already coming to the Festival stayed with me and helped share the cost. The Daily Express used to send me there to photograph celebrities. These were the pre-digital, pre-computer days – so everything was done in black and white on old-school, heavyweight Nikon cameras. We used to photograph stars coming out of The Carlton (where they would congregate each night) and then walk down to the old Palais des Festivals. We would come across fabulous French actors such as Jean-Paul Belmondo, Catherine Deneuve, Yves Montand and, of course, whichever American stars happened to be in town – such as James Coburn, a very young Robert De Niro, Dennis Hopper and Warren Beatty. These guys would come back year after year even if they didn’t have a film in the Festival because it was great – relaxed yet glamorous and not overrun by paparazzi. In the early days I would go and have a wild time – gate-crashing parties, schmoozing with the ladies – just how the South of France should be! I used to get up to so much mischief it was a miracle I was allowed to come back on some occasions. There were some very funny times and I just loved it. Even the way we used to get our film back to London was part of the adventure. We would gather up our film after two or three days of shooting and go to Nice airport, stand
Shot at Cannes: clockwise from top left-hand corner: Andrew Lloyd Webber & wife 1982; Roy Scheider 1979; Danny Kaye The Carlton 1980; Naked girl with Photographer 1982; George Hamilton The Majestic 1980; David Soul La Croisette 1980; Lynne Frederick and Peter Sellers 1980; Breasts 1981; Sunbathers and photographer 1979; Andrew Logan & Divine. 1981; Roman Polanski The Carlton 1979; The Beach 1983; The Who 1980; Kirk Douglas. 1979; Karen Black. 1980; Dudley Moore 1981; Lauren Bacall The Carlton 1980; Joan Collins & George Hamilton 1980 All images by Richard Young; www.richardyounggallery.co.uk
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, will shoot
rry nights in Cannes
by the British Airways desk, and look for a responsible and friendly face who could take our film back to London with them. In 1987 I travelled down on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It was beautiful, entirely white, and it took me three days to get there. Coming back I was impatient and tried to do the trip in one day. I left very early and was impossibly tired. I crashed the bike, of course, and it came back a basket case while I picked up few bruises. I stopped going to Cannes after that experience and did not revisit until the mid-Nineties. When I returned I was struck by how busy and commercial the Festival had become. In 1983 the Palais des Festivals moved from the centre of La Croisette to the Esplanade Georges Pompidou. This meant it was closer to the harbour and I think this is perhaps what triggered a change of atmosphere. Suddenly people started catching on to the idea that they could rent out their beach space to production companies or advertisers. Nowadays you can barely see the sand as the beach becomes a sea of marquees and parts of Cannes are strangely similar to Las Vegas! But despite the crowds and the consumerism, the Cannes Film Festival continues to be a glamorous affair. Most of the socialising now goes on outside Cannes. Places like Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Hôtel Belles Rives in Juan-les-Pins or Tétou are where the Hollywood stars like to gather. Last year I was at Hôtel du Cap with friends and I looked to my left and there was Clint Eastwood at the next table. In my mind the guy is a complete legend – there are not many like him around any more – so it’s pretty damn special to be in his presence. If you head to the bar at Hôtel du Cap at 2am you could be sitting next to any number of stars, whilst each night Tétou will host yet another dinner for a Hollywood bigwig. To rub shoulders with the A-list you need to know where to go and at what time of day, that’s all. Although I’ve witnessed many changes to the city over the years, the essence of Cannes has remained the same. The people who have loved it, our iconic actors and actresses, will always go back there because everyone is in love with the Côte d’Azur. Why not? It’s truly a beautiful place! Richard Young is a highly renowned celebrity photographer and a celebrity in his own right
Nicolas Bos salutes the special relationship between his great jewellery house Van Cleef and Arpels and Princess Grace of Monaco
VER the years, the French, despite their claimed pride for Bastille Day and the Revolution, have secretly longed for their share of crowns, titles and princesses. Just look south, and a proud rock appears before us where a true 700-year-old princely family lives in a real palace and where the myth of Prince Charming is still meaningful. Even better, the principality is located on a coast where the sun barely ever ceases to shine, and where breathtaking landscapes have inspired generations of artists. And now the French Riviera is the place where, once a year, the glamorous from around the world unite around the celebration of the “seventh art” in Cannes. It was during the 1955 Cannes Film Festival that Grace Kelly met His Highness Prince Rainier of Monaco. She had then acquired world fame as a Hollywood star, performing in Hitchcock movies, and was at the height of her career. A year later, she made a fairy tale come true by marrying the Prince, and she is now remembered as an unforgettable icon of style. As well as the public figure, Princess Grace was a mother of three and a lady who lived her everyday life on the French Riviera. Jewellery is frequently considered to be an expression, even an extension, of a woman’s personality, giving insights to her life and character. Princess Grace’s jewels were
no exception. You can i m a g i n e the fascination one experiences when opening Princess Grace’s jewellery box. You will, unsurprisingly, find the exquisite pearl engagement set ordered by Prince Rainier of Monaco at the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique in New York three weeks after their engagement in 1955. Pearls were at the time suggested by Louis Arpels as, more than any precious stone, they would reflect Miss Kelly’s delicate beauty. The Princess wore this set during milestone events in her life, such as her civil wedding, her honeymoon and the christening of her first-born child. Just Engagement of G race Kelly a nd Prince R like any woman, ainier of M onaco, 195 jewels had meaning to her. Three months later, Van 6 Cleef & Arpels was appointed “Official Supplier to images of the Princess the Principality of Monaco” and the special during balls and other social events carrying with connection between our maison and the her sumptuous elegance a minaudière created in the elegance has to do with lightness and amusement. Principality of Monaco was established for decades 1960s by our maison. UT next to these magnificent pieces, one will That’s probably how Princess Grace to come. find a charming yellow gold and turquoise remains the true archetype of the princess: A stunning tiara set with hedgehog brooch that tells another story, in elegant, beautiful and inspiring. Writing a 20th17 pear-shaped, marquise-cut and a vibrant homage to the Princess’s playfulness. century fairy tale for a world that still loves to love diamonds Together with a naïve baby “lion ebouriffe” and a princesses. round And among the chapters of this fairy tale, some will would also be in the cute diamond and gold poodle, they were among box. The same tiara the jewels that Princess Grace would wear in her remember the wedding, some will remember the adorned the Princess private, daily life, with her children and friends. And tiara, while I will remember the hegehog. for her daughter these jewels clearly do not stand for wealth and Nicolas Bos is president and CEO of Van Cleef & Caroline’s wedding in power, but mostly express a taste for understated, Arpels in America, 1978. We also recall playful pieces, which show that ultimate and natural Van Cleef & Arpels sponsors Grace Kelly: Style Icon
A 20th-century fairy tale for a world that still loves to love princesses
HEN packing for my summer holiday it occurred to me, while gathering up all my ethnic jewellery and other summer essentials, that it was much more practical just to take my diamond bracelet. It’s a 1926 Art Deco bracelet that I refer to as “my beach bracelet”. It’s very secure once I have closed the clasp and locked the safety catch, and it doesn’t make the airport security beep. I began to wonder why I’d take the Indian metal-and-glass necklace and the other trinkets collected around the globe. I realised I prefer to wear this look in the city. I loathe the green ring these notso precious metals can leave around one’s arm or neck as they rust in humidity. I decided just to take my beach jewellery. The word “diamond” comes from ancient Greek and means “unbreakable” – diamonds are indeed hard and durable. They’ve even been referred to as a girl’s best friend, and a diamond beach bracelet can come in handy for many reasons. If you go swimming you might come across barracudas as they are attracted to anything shiny. When in Panama recently I went swimming in the sea and there were suddenly hundreds of barracudas rushing toward me. Believe it or not, it wasn’t that scary; it was rather fun. They’re beautiful, silvery and they don’t bite. They just tickle a bit when they rub against you. The local fishermen were very friendly to me – happy to have me as live bait, making it easy
for them to serve up their catch of the day. I did notice that the salt water cleaned my bracelet rather well – just a rinse of warm water afterwards made it sparkle. I also feel that it’s rather glamorous to wear one’s diamonds on the beach; I don’t believe in hoarding these things or saving them for special occasions when you never remember to get them out of the safe. The important thing to consider is how secure they are: for instance, if you wear a diamond ring, please be aware that, while in the water, if your ring is not very tight there is a chance that a large wave can result in the loss of your jewellery – unless, of course, you’ve been eating a lot of crisps, or you’re not a good swimmer and have swallowed a lot of water, and swelling has occurred and no wave, no matter how big, could loosen that ring. It occurred to me how divine it would be to have a belly-button piercing with a large diamond in the middle. Think Ursula Andress in Dr No. I would love to have seen a large diamond in her belly button. I imagine one would have talked a lot more about her fabulous navel and figure in that bikini with a large stone in her navel, rather than the knife at her hip. The knife was a great addition, but I can’t help thinking that a diamond in her navel would have been the perfect accessory, or even a diamond dagger. I’m considering a piercing, and wonder if this could be a new addition to my accessories collection – the L’Wren Scott navel diamond stone. One could customdesign a perfect size for whomever purchases one. I have a rather close friend who wears his diamond to the beach constantly, as it’s mounted in his tooth. If you’re travelling, I know that often
It may be disturbing to have a tan line on the wrist
L’Wren Scott on why the stones – especially in the form of a diamond bracelet – are not only de rigueur but also almost practical for a sun, sea and sand sojourn www.finchsquarterly.com
one takes off one’s diamonds and leaves them on the beach. There is a famous beach called Diamond Beach that was known for recovering diamonds. So many women used to take them off and leave them on their towels while they were swimming, then walk away, picking up the towel, leaving the diamonds to fall into the sand. This may very well be the one time when the Bill Wyman metal detector can be of great use. I, for one, vote for the beach bracelet. It should not set off airport security alarms, it should be as sparkly as possible and have secure safety clasps. Check in advance that the stones aren’t loose. One would hate to lose a stone. However, the good news is that, if one were to fall out, there would still be a lot of diamonds left. Y BEACH bracelet also works as a great reflector for the sun. I recommend moving it from arm to arm on alternate days if you enjoy tanning. Try moving it a bit to avoid unsightly tan lines. If you arrive back home and want to change into something more city-like, it may be disturbing to have a tan line on the wrist. It can also be hazardous if one wears a ring on the same finger, gets back and takes off the ring, at which point someone notices a tan mark on one’s left ring finger and quizzes one about it. To save embarrassment, leave the ring at home while at the beach as, of course, you don’t want to lose it in the surf. Or maybe you do… At least it’s not the same as Lara Bingle and her ring going down the loo. L’Wren Scott navel diamond (piercing not included) coming soon.
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FQR Summer Jewellery Special
FQR Summer Jewellery Special
Aldo Cipullo’s jewellery designs – including the Cartier Love bangle – are among some of the most iconic in the world, yet his name is little recognised. Nicholas Silver says it’s time to celebrate him
T IS strange to think that the name Aldo Cipullo is not fêted amongst the jewellery cognoscenti. Yes, that’s the late Aldo Cipullo, the famous jewellery designer you’ve never heard of. His jewellery hasn’t been on the social pages lately nor has his brand sponsored an upmarket sporting event, nor has his work been adorning Angelina or whomever on the red carpet. On the other hand, if I tell you that he designed one of the most iconic jewels of all time – the Cartier Love bangle – you will know exactly what I am talking about. In fact, I have done several informal polls and the Love bangle is always the first piece of jewellery that people mention. Born in Rome in 1936, Aldo was destined to become involved in the jewellery business. The family firm Cipullo was one of the largest costume jewellery manufacturers in Italy and, after leaving school, Aldo started as an apprentice there. However, he had itchy feet as the family business became a little claustrophobic, so he secretly sent his earnings to an American bank account, eventually building up a nest egg of $800, at which point he headed for New York. There he attended the New York School of Visual Arts where he learned how to produce jewellery designs. S HIS father was not happy about his son’s disappearance, Aldo had to take a job in a bead factory to support himself while studying at night. “I had studied architecture and design, but deep inside I knew I wanted to make beautiful jewellery… I suppose you could call that desire inherited – my family had been in the jewellery-manufacturing business in Italy for years, and I grew up around the trade. But in America, I didn’t know how to get started or how to make my dreams come true.” With his great pedigree in the business and, being young and Italian, with his innate sense of style, it wasn’t long before he was designing for David Webb and then Tiffany. It was 1969, and the Summer of Love was just coming to an end. Was it a combination of his Catholic upbringing and a keen interest in history, or was it the fact that he had just divorced his young Irish wife? What could motivate someone to base a jewellery design on medieval chastity belts? Cipullo explained: “When I made it I was in love. I was in love, then out of love… I was left with nothing tangible, and I wanted something no one could take away from me. It was created selfishly, in a way… all of these feelings of love and sorrow, all
these feelings are incorporated in the bracelet.” He wore the first bracelet himself and called it his “3am baby – that’s when I came up with the idea”. He was “feeling lonely one day” and the bracelet kept him company, the first 24-hour piece of jewellery for men and women. He had sold about 50 to friends when he decided to take the design to Cartier. “They saw it and loved it,” he recalled, “and that was our first handshake.” The Love bracelet was an instant success and worn and endorsed by everyone from the Duchess of Windsor to Elizabeth Taylor. Cartier sold it on the proviso that it had to be given to someone – you couldn’t buy one for yourself, thereby enhancing its romantic appeal. It gave a huge new burst of energy to Cartier, which had not really come up with any radical new designs for years. It also enabled the house to break into the mass market. The Love bracelet was democratic – you did not need to be a millionaire to wear one – just have someone to love you. Cipullo said he “knew of some couples who have thrown the screwdriver into the East River in a show of non-temporary passion”. The Love bracelet won Cipullo the prestigious Coty Award and also a contract with Cartier, where he continued to create innovative jewels. He considered himself to be a jewellery modernist, and was one of the first to pick up that people did not want ostentatious jewels, but preferred “simple things that can be worn day and night without being pretentious or too expensive… [representing] the time we live in… [and our] more casual lifestyles”. URING the three and a half years he worked for Cartier, Cipullo designed nail bangles, rings and earrings, hundreds of chic interchangeable clip earrings and beautiful necklaces of interlinking discs. By 1974 the honeymoon was over and Cipullo left Cartier to start his own business. The Love bracelet continued to be made under licence. “It became my annuity. I receive a royalty cheque every month.” In 1978, George Kramer of the American Gem Society approached Aldo to propose that he design a collection of 31 pieces of jewellery for the Society, made up of gemstones indigenous to the US with the purpose of educating the American people about “what wealth exists on home soil”. All the designs evoke American themes, although Cipullo recalls that the difficulty lay in being patriotic without being “corny”. The collection débuted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History before touring the country, eventually reaching its permanent place of exhibition at the Smithsonian. Cipullo said of this collection that “putting [it] together… really has been the greatest achievement of my career”. It has only been in the past few years – since Cipullo’s family started selling what remained of Aldo’s stock – that people have really become reacquainted with his work. It is now virtually impossible to find some of the best pieces. It was not long ago that his small nail bangles could be purchased for as little as $1,500. The large nail bangles are now so rare that Cartier actually had to borrow one for its retrospective exhibition of Cartier design at Cartier in New York. Now with the realisation of his importance as a designer, smart people are clamouring to buy his designs. Arnaud Bamberger, the managing director of Cartier in London, leads by example, wearing two small nail bangles. Cartier, of course, still sells the classic Love bangle in various colours, with and without diamonds. It continues to be one of its bestsellers – a classic that has come to define the brand. Aldo Cipullo jewellery is available in London at Nicholas Silver at 21st Century Jewels Ltd, First Floor, 55 Conduit Street, London W1 (020-7287 5117; firstname.lastname@example.org) and at Harry Fane at Obsidian, 13 Duke Street, London SW1 (020-7930 8606; email@example.com), and in New York from Camilla Dietz Bergeron, 818 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021 (+1212-794 9100; firstname.lastname@example.org). Nick Silver is a renowned jewellery dealer and owner
Cartier’s super suave Arnaud Bamberger wearing his nail bracelets.
When I made it I was in love
152 grammes. Tonnes of tradition.
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A trilogy of Tolstoy adaptations has given Danny Huston a taste for the great Russian writer and his big, life-encompassing themes – from death via jealousy to sacrifice
Y friend Bernard Rose and I spent many a night drinking wine, bitching, moaning and groaning about not getting our pictures off the ground. Waiting for that eternal green light that gives you permission to make your film. His girlfriend at the time said, “Why don’t you two shut the fuck up and make a movie?” We said, “Honey, it’s much more complicated than that!” She suggested a new digital camera – this was about 10 years ago and digital was just about to break new ground – and we were to be the pioneers armed with a Sony digital camera. The Death of Ivan Ilych by Tolstoy was to be our first digital screen adaptation; it was to be called Ivansxtc. The story examines Ivan’s death, our death, your death. “Death has gone,” are Ivan’s last words in the novella. We literally made the film in our backyard – mainly for budget reasons but also in search of a new digital realism. So with friends, family and fellow filmmakers we started. Bernard’s girlfriend plays my girlfriend in the film. Bernard’s first daughter, Ruby, was in the film. My brother-inlaw played my father, real agents played agents, real lawyers played lawyers, and actors played actors, directors played directors. The film’s backdrop was to be the Darwinian world of Hollywood. The film was also fuelled by a frustration and anger at a system that prevented us from making the films we wanted to make. This film, about death, was certainly going to be taboo in a town that believes beauty is goodness. So we made the film for ourselves and felt like Punk Rockers rebelling against the system. And it felt good!
Tolstoy insisted his fiancée read his most crude, intimate and erotic diaries before they were married. It was through this act that Tolstoy felt he was able to begin marriage in a state of absolute purity.
Leo Tolstoy at his estate in Iasnaia Poliana, 1908 Ironically, our poisoned letter to Hollywood was embraced tenderly there. Perhaps it was because of the tragic suicide of golden-boy superagent Jay Moloney at the time of the film’s release. Jay was at the pinnacle of his career. And, ironically, Ivansxtc gave birth to my acting career. Years passed and many things changed – Bernard’s girlfriend became his wife and he had two children with her. I too married (for the second time) and had a daughter. I worked with other directors whom I respect and made films of which I’m proud. About eight years later, Bernard presented me with the idea of making The Kreutzer Sonata. With three marriages under his belt and two under mine, we felt somewhat qualified to adapt Tolstoy’s radical views on the Christian marriage. “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Beethoven’s opus 47 duet for piano and violin (The Kreutzer Sonata) was originally dedicated to the violinist George Bridgetower who performed with Beethoven at the premiere in 1803. After the performance, while the two were drinking, Bridgetower insulted the morals of a woman whom Beethoven cherished. Enraged, Beethoven removed the dedication of the piece, dedicating it instead to Rodolphe Kreutzer, considered the finest violinist of the day. However, Kreutzer never performed it, considering it unplayable, even though his name is now attached to it. Eight-five years later, in the spring of 1888, Leo Tolstoy heard a performance of The Kreutzer Sonata in his house in Moscow. Also present were the distinguished painter Repin and the actor AndreyevBurlak. The music so impressed Tolstoy that he proposed that the three artists should create works inspired by the music to be presented together. Only Tolstoy completed his part of the bargain. The tale
he wrote was banned from publication. Over 100 years later in a home in Beverly Hills, Bernard played parts of the Sonata to me on a piano. He described the scenes that were to be shot in the very room that we were to film them in. As in an opera, the murderous scenes would play out in this home to the time of the music. This tale of jealousy was to be our darker panel – unrepentant, unforgiving. We cast a wonderful actress as my wife and found our violinist. Old friends once again graced us with their presence, my sister played my sister and my daughter played my daughter. When we started filming Bernard was like a thief. The best directors, I believe, steal fragments of the soul. But with Bernard there is an earned trust that we have for each other in the service of our obsession with Tolstoy. “Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.” Our next film will be Master and Man. Yes, it’s by Tolstoy, the last panel in our triptych. This is a tale of sacrifice and we’ll call it Boxing Day. The film starts the day after Christmas on a sunny LA morning, but this time we journey away from Tinsel Town and travel north towards the Rocky Mountains as my character searches for foreclosed homes to make a quick profit. “Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.” Master must sacrifice himself for Man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. The master attains a spiritual/moral revelation: that the only true happiness in life is found by living for others. I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I am not a Tolstoyan by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe I’m a hypocrite, and maybe that’s why I love backgammon because it deals
With three marriages under his belt and two under mine, we felt somewhat qualified to adapt Tolstoy’s radical views on the Christian marriage
Top Tolstoy Totty Anna Karenina (Anna Karenina) - irresistible to men! Ekaterina Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya (Kitty) ( Anna Karenina) - beautiful, naive, innocent and young! Dolly Shcherbatskaya Oblonsky ( Anna Karenina) - fulfils all the needs of her husband! Countess Natalia Ilyinichna (Natasha) Rostova (War and Peace)
with that fine balance that is life. “All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.” With Tolstoy as our guide I embark on yet another journey with my friend. Once again we are like Pioneers, Punk Rockers armed with a Canon still camera! Yes, a still camera with a record button, a chip that holds 20 minutes of footage and a kick-ass lens. And once again Tolstoy’s words begin to haunt me… As we ascend the majestic mountains of the Continental Divide, the air becomes thin and I view myself, as if from a distance. “Then the impression of a snowstorm dances before my eyes and brings the remembrance of friends. Then mingled recollections… one thing into another and like the colours of a rainbow blending into one white light, all the various impressions blend onto one nothingness…” Then, Bernard turns off the camera. “Got it!” he says. I look at him… The bastard was filming all the time! Fucking thief! You gotta love him. Danny Huston is a director and actor and has recently completed filming Robert Redford’s The Conspirator.
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Take it from Tolstoy
FQR Springtime in Paris
FQR Gai Paree
It [Paris] pre-existed in the memory, somehow, so that it began by being familiar even to those who had never seen it before. It was a patrie of the imagination. Vincent Sheean, In Search of History (1918-1930), Hamish Hamilton, 1935
INCENT Sheean, a 32-year-old almostgraduate of the University of Chicago, arrived in Paris in 1922. In that year, Paris played midwife to two of the three books that, as Edward Said observed in a lecture I was fortunate to hear in 1972, brought the novel, the poem and the myth into the new century. The masterpieces were TS Eliot’s The Waste Land, James Joyce’s Ulysses and TE Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Ezra Pound knocked The Waste Land into shape for Eliot in Paris. Ulysses, begun in Trieste, was completed in Paris and published in Sylvia Beach’s bookshop in the rue de l’Odéon. Only Seven Pillars had no Parisian connection – although it would play into a French illusion, as calculated as Britain’s was and as America’s became, of Western dominion and betrayal in the Orient. Pound and Miss Beach were American. Via their influence on the young Americans discovering Paris in 1922 – Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, Elliot Paul, Sheean himself and scores more – the city has seduced literate Americans ever since. Sheean discovered in Paris a carnival of eccentricity, sex and drinking, three phenomena banished from the American heartland by the Prohibition on alcohol (16 January 1920 to 5 December 1933, RIP) and all it represented. Artistic expression, progressive politics (curtailed by the Palmer Raids, the expulsion of radicals and the violent suppression of trades unions) and rational education (whether or not it conflicted with Holy Writ) flourished in Paris. Demobbed American veterans of the First World War, white and black, stayed in Paris rather than return to a sterile existence that no longer satisfied them. The answer to the musical query, “How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree?” was: “You can’t.” Back home, no one understood why sons, brothers and uncles were spurning the homestead and the plough for a land of pansies. MONG African-Americans, the reason was obvious: for the first time in their lives, white people treated them as equals. American war heroes such as Eugene Bullard (history’s first black combat pilot, who flew for the French when the Americans would not have him) played jazz to mixed-race audiences unknown in Bullard’s native Georgia. Bullard, like the flamboyant Ada “Bricktop” Smith, owned a nightclub that, in the United States, he’d have entered only through the kitchen. (The Ku Klux Klan sent emissaries to Paris to warn Frenchmen and women against racial mixing with American “Negroes”. France’s press and political establishment sent them back to the South in a rare instance of European resistance to American interference in their way of life. The American newspapers in Paris, owned and edited by white gentlemen, supported the Klan.) White and black Americans in Paris, unlike their compatriots in the land of the free, made love without the consent of Church or State (even, God forbid, to members of other races or of their own sex), read what they wanted without Puritan censors and dodged Babbittish conformity under Harding and Coolidge. In the year before Sheean left his native land, Hollywood had anointed former Postmaster General Will Hays, in HL Mencken’s words, as America’s “moral dictator”. Hays promptly banned from silent film captions the words, listed by Mencken, “broad (for woman), chippy, cocotte, courtesan, eunuch, fairy (in the sense of homosexual), floozy, harlot, hot mama, hussy, madam (in the sense of brothel keeper), nance, pansy, slut, trollop, tart and wench and, of course, whore”. US courts convicted Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap of obscenity for publishing sections of Ulysses in their Little Review. In Miss Beach’s Shakespeare and Company, neither words nor books were censored. Young, aspiring writers from France, Britain and America made it what Janet Flanner, another vintage 1922 American transplant, called “their club, their mail drop, meeting house and forum”. On her shelves, they found books that had to be smuggled into the United States and sold
in brown wrappers: Fanny Hill, Havelock Ellis, Oscar Wilde. Here, Hemingway met Joyce, Joyce met Paul Valéry, George Antheil met everyone. Joyce called Sylvia’s world “Stratford-on-Odéon”. By 1922, an outline of jazz-age Paris was forming: Sylvia Beach’s and Adrienne Monnier’s bookshops on the Left Bank, the black jazz clubs in Montmartre, the literary cafés of Saint-Germain and Montparnasse, the boîtes of the Latin Quarter where Elliot Paul and Ernest Hemingway pitched their tents. Hemingway had arrived at the end of 1921, with wife Hadley in tow, to find a room at the Hôtel Jacob (now Hôtel d’Angleterre), take his
the Seine before him. It was the city to which the new country sent its finest statesmen – Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Gouverneur Morris and James Monroe. (There seem to be more statues of Franklin, Jefferson and Washington in Paris than of any French king or president.) The legitimising presence in Paris of Adams and Jefferson contributed to the notion that Paris rounded out otherwise gauche, if wellbred, Americans. (Jefferson brought back, in addition to a little polish, barrels of wine and thousands of books that became the core of the Library of Congress.) Walt Whitman wrote
navigated the city’s sexual shoals and managed to shock some Parisians with his freewheeling discourses on sex. James Baldwin came to Paris in 1948, but he was less interested in the AfricanAmericans of pre-War Paris than in Henry James and the Paris he had known with Edith Wharton. In Paris, Baldwin wrote, “I was an interloper; this was not my heritage. At the same time I had no other heritage which I could possibly hope to use – I had certainly been unfitted for the jungle and the tribe. I would have to appropriate those white centuries, I would have to make them mine.” Paris produced in Jefferson and Gouverneur Morris distrust of the mob and of radicalism that influenced the American republic’s constitutional limits on popular liberty. Yet Paris made Sheean and Hemingway into radicals in the tradition of another adopted Parisian, Thomas Paine. Both ended up in Spain on the Republican side, and neither had any stomach for Maréchal Pétain, Pierre Laval and Vichy. In 1944, Hemingway, though officially a war correspondent, fought his way back to Paris with a ragged gang of résistants. When he arrived at the outskirts, “I couldn’t say anything more then because I had a funny choke in my throat and I had to clean my glasses because there now, below us, gray and always beautiful, was the city I love best in the world.” The first thing he did was rescue Sylvia Beach from snipers before heading to The Ritz to liberate its cellars. OWADAYS, politics is dead in Paris. The passions that inspired the Commune of 1870, the brutal épuration of 1944 and the anti-imperial riots of the 1960s died in a generation preoccupied with consumer goods and celebrity more than justice and liberty. Politicians, despite Gaullist and Socialist labels, are as apolitical as pitchmen for ketchup bottles or perfume. The market, its evident shortcomings revealed yet again over the past two years, sets the parameters of debate. Ideas are dead. Selfdescribed philosophers preen and practise their bons mots for television game shows and populist books. Their influence on American expatriates is less than the American dream of unlimited wealth is on them. Paris is not alone in having abandoned politics and philosophy, but that is more grievous in a city that inspired expatriates from Ho Chi Minh to Frantz Fanon. Seven years ago, George Plimpton, Norman Mailer and Norris Church, Mailer’s wife, did a reading at the American Church in Paris of the play Plimpton wrote with Terry Quinn, Zelda, Scott and Ernest. At the end of a rousing performance, Plimpton invited questions. One woman directed hers at Mailer: why did Americans in the Twenties have to come to Paris to write? Mailer mused for a moment, then answered, “I guess they got tired of being around a lot of stupid people.” Despite the love affair that Americans of many eras had with Paris, whipping up anti-French hatred in America – or anti-American venom in France – has been surprisingly easy. George Bush did it when the French government refused to join his war against Iraq. Lyndon Johnson did the same in 1966, following Charles de Gaulle’s withdrawal from Nato and expulsion of American bases. Just as Americans dumped French perfume down lavatories in 1966, their children ate “freedom fries” in 2003. When peasant crusader José Bové took his axe to McDonald’s, most of his countrymen cheered. (That did not stop them from eating hamburgers.) The two republics born of the late-18th-century Enlightenment have been friends for most of their history. Seventeen thousand Frenchmen volunteered to fight for American independence. Americans landed in France in 1918 and 1944 to pay with their lives for France’s liberty from Germany. What makes the “stupid people” on both sides of the Atlantic hate each other now? Charles Glass is the author of Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation (Harper Collins, London; Penguin Books, New York; and Editions Saint-Simon, Paris, 2010).
An American in Paris
Paris has long seduced – and nurtured – cultured and educated Americans, as Charles Glass knows from experience first drink at the Dôme and rent a third-floor walkup at 74 rue du Cardinal Lemoine that had a Turkish toilet on the communal landing. Paul, one of the unsung geniuses of the era, was as broke as Hemingway and found refuge nearby in the then depressed and non-touristy rue de la Huchette. A young prostitute named Suzanne took him to a dungeon below the Hôtel du Caveau for a sandwich. “The place appeared less likely to produce a sandwich than any I had seen in my life,” he wrote in his masterpiece, The Last Time I Saw Paris. “There I found Paris – and France.” Hemingway, Paul and Sheean all worked in Paris as ad hoc newspapermen – Hemingway as a freelance writer for the Toronto Star, Paul and Sheean at the Paris edition of the Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Tribune – in addition to publishing a Paris edition – stationed two full-time correspondents in Paris, one to cover the news, the other to report on developments in literature and the arts. Paris, more than any other city outside the United States, mattered to literate Americans. The lost generation, as Gertrude Stein dubbed them, of American writers, artists, composers and photographers in Paris, were not the first Americans to discover the French capital’s wonders. Sheean himself was aware that his intellectual forebears had trodden the quais along
gleefully during his tenure beside the Seine, “I am a real Parisian.” HERE was no contradiction between being a “real Parisian” and a “real American”, even if an American could never be – did not need to be – French. Janet Flanner noted in the early 1920s that Paris had the largest American population in Europe, a figure that the diplomat Robert Murphy put at 30,000 on the eve of the Second World War. So well established was this outpost of expatriates that they had their own hospital, two churches, two daily newspapers, a library, a school, a half-dozen university alumni clubs, an American Legion post, a gentlemen’s club, a fluctuating number of literary periodicals, charitable societies and social associations – including, lest the aspiring bohemians thought they had made a total escape, the Kiwanis and Rotarians. Paris educated the rough frontiersmen of St Louis and Chicago, but Americans became an energising component of Paris life. Their contributions were not inconsiderable – the dancing of Isadora Duncan, the voice of Josephine Baker, Henry Crowder’s piano, Sidney Bechet’s clarinet, Aaron Copland’s compositions, the photographs of Man Ray and Lee Miller, the pens of Scott Fitzgerald, Julien Green and Henry Miller. Miller, who lived in Paris before and after the German occupation,
FQR Pro Bono
The Ultimate Youth Club
Putting Mosques in the Picture
Louise Terry on why she feels privileged to have been involved with Save the Children for ten years
Allegra Mostyn-Owen writes about the rewards of running mosquebased art classes for children
AVE the Children was first set up by a formidable British lady, Eglantyne Jebb, after the First World War. She was horrified to see children starving in Eastern Europe after the war, and set up Save the Children essentially as a relief organisation. Later in her life, she developed this into an organisation to protect the welfare of children all over the world, guided by the principle of child rights. I became involved with Save the Children through a very inspiring friend who started working there after university as a campaigner. At the time, I was working for Coca-Cola in communications and marketing, and she and I used to have some passionate conversations about the similarities between these two organisations. It may sound strange, but both are powerful global organisations that were perhaps losing out to new and trendy competitors that were more inventive in getting their messages across. When I left Coca-Cola after I had my third child, I wanted to use my skills in an area that really mattered. I really believe that, out of all the things in the world that need support, children have to be a priority. They are vulnerable beings who really do need our protection and they have an innate optimism. There is always hope that change will make a long-term difference to their lives. I felt Save the Children should have had a better profile for the work that it did and I wanted to see if my communications experience could improve the way people thought about it. I went into it wide-eyed and naïve, and it’s been a fascinating experience. I’ve been volunteering for Save the Children for a decade, and for eight of those years I have been deputy chair of the UK Board of Trustees. One of our challenges is explaining to people what exactly it is that we do at Save the Children. People ask, “How many children did you save today?” The truth is that it isn’t as simple as that. Some of our efforts, of course, do directly save lives but other initiatives are aimed at improving conditions over time. How does one compare the impact that building a school in one village has to providing malaria nets in another? It is hard to measure the effect that we have and it is an eternal struggle to improve this and how we communicate this to the people who support us. Globally, we work across four areas – protection (dealing with working conditions, child soldiers, children in emergency situations such as Haiti); hunger; health and education. We are a very community-driven NGO but we have global reach, which is quite unique. The great privilege of being a trustee of a charity like Save the Children is being given the opportunity to meet people and see things that in my normal day-to-day life I just wouldn’t have exposure to. One of these experiences was to travel to Bangladesh to see our work to improve children’s working conditions there. Before this field trip I hadn’t seriously contemplated that people existed in conditions like this – I knew they did but I gave such little thought to it. The factories were horrific. They could only be described as Dickensian or worse – dark, small, cramped and, in many cases, dangerous. Although facing some of this stuff is confronting, I do believe it is a privilege to have access to an aspect of life that is all too easy to ignore. Once I was exposed to this I became even more committed to Save the Children because I witnessed how our work can make a difference. HE thing I love about Save the Children is that it is incredibly pragmatic and also very creative in the way it approaches problem solving. The role of Save the Children in a situation like this is an interesting one – it acts as a sort of facilitator to represent the children to the people who can change policy. In this instance we brought the children together and worked with them to find out what could be done to improve their lives. Then we campaigned on their behalf. I was struck by how articulate these children were about the changes they needed and about recognising where there were gaps – calling for things such as equal pay between the sexes, working shorter shifts, having a lunch break to go to a Save the Children drop-in centre where they could be fed and have some lessons. We helped write a code of conduct and now 3,422 small factories and workshops have signed up to it. This code means that children get time off for learning, regular wages and a full day off to play, which we believe is an important child right. Another thing we often do is that, once an initiative is a success, we campaign to the government to implement it across the country. That way we don’t just help one community but we possibly help millions of children’s lives. You might like to know that in Haiti today, Save the Children’s response is comprehensive and ambitious. We have reached about half a million people so far out of a target of 800,000. As well as distributing food, water, shelter materials and household items, we are working on health, education and protection, and will do so for the long term. A priority is to reunite families, co-ordinating with both the Red Cross and Unicef. Louise Terry is Deputy Chair of Save the Children, www.savethechildren.org.uk
HAVE been running a practical art class in a mosque for five years now, in a scheme I have grandly started calling Art in Mosques. It started as a design and language proposal for women, which I went in and volunteered for one day. My Afghan friend Riaz had indicated to me the extent of isolation of women in the British-Pakistani community living in East London and what he was saying was backed by shocking statistics showing extremes of ill health. The mosque we tried happened to be interested in my giving language classes, and I was welcomed. The idea of cultural exchange between the mosque and me was Allegra on the front cover of Tatler, 1984 courtesy of Tatler developed, and no restrictions were placed on what I taught beyond my own sense of what was acceptable. In practice, this has meant sticking closely to themes drawn from the natural world. INCE those early days, the class has matured into a weekly art session for children who normally come to learn their Qur’an off by heart in Arabic. Instead of always being expected to recite, these children now have the opportunity to periodically pursue their interest in colour and form. What emerges is an often flamboyant style that draws from Persian and Indian influences in surprising ways. The class has worked out well for the mosque because it has given the children a greater incentive to learn their verses in order to get their turn, and it has worked for me to the extent that a non-Muslim teacher is now part of the landscape at the mosque. I have become attached to the children and to my fellow colleagues, and I am much more knowledgeable about the everyday functioning of a mosque. The classes have borne fruit and, after two exhibitions held in the local library, we got our big break in February and held a show at the 12 Star Gallery, a space run by the European Commission in central London. Over 30 pictures were on display and some of the children came in from East London to savour their success. Many of the pictures – especially those of birds – were sold, with the proceeds going to Second Sight, a small charity that cures cataract among mainly Muslim children in India. Everybody agrees that bringing practical art to youngsters in mosques is a good thing, including the Imam. The mosque is the ideal way of locating children outside school as it serves as the community centre where they usually spend two hours every day, and the men meet for communal prayers. The mosque often has a much more important role to play out in family lives than does school. The challenge for Art in Mosques is for other mosques to agree to have similar arrangements with visiting non-Muslim teachers, and to find funding which is unafraid of association with religious organisations. Art in Mosques is currently looking for an exhibition space in which to hold future shows involving more mosques. If you can help, please contact Allegra Mostyn-Owen via Facebook.
right: Save the Children at work in Haiti
above: Allegra with one of the students at the Mosque and one of the children’s artworks
FQR Pro Bono Pinup
Tilda says Tilda Swinton writes about her
Thank heavens for Tilda Swinton and Mark Cousins. This quixotic couple – she an Oscar-winning actress, he a writer and filmmaker – are determined to challenge Hollywood’s iron grip over the imaginations of our children. Their 8 ½ Foundation is dedicated to helping kids discover the magical and joyful realm of world cinema that lies beyond the multiplex. It’s a revolution that’s starting in Scotland, where they both live. But it has the makings of a worldwide movement, a grassroots campaign for real cinema, with influential support from the likes of Jane Campion and Martin Scorsese. Eight-and-a-half is the age when Swinton and Cousins both fell in love with movies for the first time. So their idea is to create a new birthday for kids – their “film birthday” – on the day they turn 8½. The foundation will send each child a present, a DVD picked by the kids themselves from a selection on the charity’s website, along with a party kit to turn the screening into a homemade special event, and to welcome them into what Swinton calls “the blessed State of Cinema”. It could be Mon Oncle from France, Bag of Rice from Iran, The Singing Ringing Tree from the former East Germany, The Steamroller and The Violin from Russia, Palle Alone In The World from Denmark, The King of Masks from China or Paddle To The Sea from Canada. Swinton and Cousins want to encourage mothers and fathers, godparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends to add their own gift of films that are special to them. Drawing on the deep curatorial knowledge and passion of both Cousins and Swinton, the 8½ Foundation will provide parents and teachers with a map to guide children on a voyage of cinematic exploration and adventure. After piloting the project last year in Nairn, where Swinton lives, to enormous local enthusiasm, Swinton and Cousins will roll it out across 10 more locations in Scotland over the next two years. Funding
will come partly 8 1/2 Foundation from the Scottish Arts hen I hear my own children claiming Powell and Pressberger or Cocteau or Council, partly from private Satyajit Ray as the makers of films for children, I am envious of their facility donations and any industry with the language of cinema. backers who can be persuaded It feels as if opening the eyes of a child to the riches of film, not just the most repetitive to lend their support. formulae it can be employed to trace, is like access to any language at a young age: a passport What’s so refreshing is that to travel. 8½ offers a positive vision to Cinema takes us into another’s shoes: not least into the shoes of the greatest filmmakers counter the negativity that of the past 100 years, from countless nations’ and in and out of innumerable usually dominates the debate experiences: a magic carpet, enchanted potion. It’s the great humanist art form. over children and cinema. To learn to trust its magic properties and the ever-reliable company film Instead of seeing film principally can provide as early as at 8 1/2 when we begin first to grasp the as a threat from which kids must be boundaries around each of us, and, maybe the earliest capacities protected by age-restrictive ratings, it for real compassion - might put real magic in the hands embraces the humanistic power of the of newer generations than ours. medium to enrich and liberate young minds, to expand their horizons, to show them worlds far beyond their ken. Swinton expressed these thoughts four years ago in a speech at the San Francisco International Film Festival, delivered in the form of an open letter to her own son – then 8½ years old. She described cinema as “that place where anything you can imagine is mirrored, where nothing is real and everything is really possible… a broad, a catholic old church that repels no boarders, knows no limits… tells you stories with unexpected endings and shows you landscapes and conversations and gestures and pictures that open your mouth and your imagination and let you know that your wildest dreams are met… Like all great states, it is a state of mind, borderless and with no policy of exclusion or deportation.” She found a soulmate in Cousins, who previously ran the Edinburgh Film Festival, and wrote a seminal book on world cinema, which he’s now turning into a Channel 4 TV series. “We’re not against American cinema, just unimaginative cinema,” says Cousins. “We are for off-their-head, boingy films that stretch kids’ imaginations and feel like a tumble down into wonderland – Cocteau’s surrealism, the colours of Curtiz’s The Adventures of Robin Hood, the pantomime of Tati, the soul of Mambéty’s La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil, the dancy films of Norman McLaren, the belonging in the films of Iran’s Talebi.” The 8½ Foundation is about much more than just film birthdays, and it isn’t just about kids. It’s about unleashing the 8½-year-old within us all, about rediscovering that sense of wonder and freedom that we first experienced as children in the darkness of the movie theatre. Above all, it’s about fighting for the future of the art form we love. Tilda Swinton in I Am Love 2009
© Magnolia/Everett/Rex Features
Adam Dawtrey praises the 8½ Foundation, the brainchild of actress Tilda Swinton and writer/filmmaker Mark Cousins, which promotes imaginative world cinema to young people
FQR Made in Britain
The Shirt Locker
The Story Sofa
Emma Willis on super summer shirting
HE ideal weight for a gentleman’s summer cotton shirt is Swiss voile compatto. Traditional voile is the lightest of all shirting cottons at 80g but, in pale colours, it is transparent. Hence the Swiss developed voile compatto, a compact voile weave, which solves the problem. It’s Egyptian raw cotton, which is spun, woven and finished in Switzerland, so is of the finest quality. It’s ideal for travel, and is woven in plain pastel colours: white, pink, lilac, sky, blue, yellow and ivory. Zephyr and batiste cottons are also good for summer; wonderful fabrics, incredibly soft and light they don’t stick to you, nor are they transparent. For a more formal summer shirt, I recommend the 120s or 170s Swiss or Sea Island cotton shirts in plain white, palest blue, or perfect azure. I also do a range of linen shirts – perfect holiday elegance with a weight of about 100g. This season I have bought Italian linens because the Italians have such a great eye for colour. I don’t like linen shirts to have the complete crumpled look and I keep a classic structured collar so it can look elegant. We also have a wide collection of printed linens in florals and paisleys, and woven linens in summer stripes and checks. Our customers know precisely what they want: we have a gentleman who has ordered a bespoke summer shirt with his face printed on the front. For the more self-effacing, we have some wonderful Italian prints for special order, everything from Hawaiian dancing women to fish. The fact that our shirts are made and hand finished in England is quite unusual these days. We keep to the highest standards of English shirtmaking, including single-needle stitching, patterns matched at the seams and mother-of-pearl buttons. Moreover, I am lucky to have some very loyal and very stylish customers such as the Duke of Beaufort, who’s been wearing my shirts for over 20 years. Emma Willis has been making gentlemen’s shirts since 1987. www.emmawillis.com
Emma’s Seven Pillars of Summer Shirting
1. For business travel, Swiss voile compatto is lightweight, absorbent and creases less than most cottons. 2. For formal shirts, which can also be worn informally, choose 120s or 170s Swiss or Sea Island cottons in plain blues or whites, for fresh elegance. 3. For the linen look with less creasing, choose a linen-and-cotton mix. 4. Don’t choose short-sleeved shirts; roll up your sleeves. 5. Avoid pockets too, unless you really use them. 6. Buy summer cotton socks to match your shirts, in sky, lilac, pink, mango etc. 7. Buy one wild, flower-power shirt!
William Gladstone (1809-1898)
With her advice on choosing the perfect sofa, Amber Aikens proves she is one hot couch potato
SK ANYONE from the Nuttall family which is their favourite sofa and there’s a clear winner – bought by our parents about 30 years ago, it’s down-filled with deep scroll arms, covered in cushions and is the perfect location to curl up with a book, to hide out or hurl yourself over the back of when playing “catch” as children. This “home” in our home has been re-covered several times to match new interiors but its framework and springs are still the same. If this sofa could talk… well, it’s probably best that it doesn’t! Longevity has to be the key when on the lookout for a new sofa. Most people invited to your home will experience the delights of your sofa and what better to welcome guests than a comfortable, chic, timeless old friend? As with all friends, it’s an investment. It’s no good admiring the beauty on the outside only to discover hastily hammered-together frames and rigid cushions that no amount of bottoms will soften up. A Nuttall showroom favourite is the Grant. Its classic shape looks fabulous in chintz with a billowing fringe next to a roaring fire in a country house or in a plain grey cashmere with contrast red piping in a modern city flat. It is like that friend we all have who has the ability to look as fantastic in something picked up in a charity shop as in a Chanel suit. The Grant is generous in both depth and comfort with its pure down-filled, slightly domed top-seat cushions. When it comes to seat cushions, go for fattest; they look so much more inviting than flat, foamfilled cousins. Enjoy being enveloped and made to feel secure by your sofa. You are encouraged into the depths of the Grant by gravity. And this is where you can have fun with scatter cushions of all sorts, as the depth of the Grant warrants lots of them, and they allow you to change the look of your sofa seasonally. The frame is beautifully hand-crafted from solid beech, sloped front to back so you’re comfortably tipped into the depths. The shape is defined by the frame, and a well-crafted frame always
Charlie Gladstone looks forward – and backward – to summer pursuits on his Kincardineshire estate
The Estate I’m In
Grant Sofa and Ecru Double Border Linen Scatter Cushions By Nuttall
LTHOUGH I consider Kincardineshire to be home, I’ve been travelling a great deal this spring - Milan, Geneva, Tokyo and New York. My Scottish forebears would have agreed that spring is a good time to travel, sandwiched, as it is, between the pheasant and grouse seasons. But whilst they embarked on lengthy ambles through Europe, I will be racing around opening shops and – ironically, given that I sold the contents of our main Scottish home a few years ago - attending some of the US’s biggest antiques fairs in an attempt to find things to sell. As a child, I often heard it said that the best thing that the Romans did was introduce the pheasant to Britain. I’m not sure I agree, but the suggestion reflects accurately on my family’s onetime passion for pheasant shooting. Sir John Gladstone - father of William, four times Prime Minister - was a corn merchant who made a great deal of money in Liverpool and moved to Scotland when he purchased a large estate in the 1820s.
shines through the layers and continues through the legs. A tapered leg lends an architecturally clean line, and if a new piece is hand polished and perhaps finished with hand-aged castors, it is lent an air of authenticity. Castors are like an elegant pair of shoes befitting any shapely leg, not just a means of manoeuvrability – but if you’re not an ankle lover or if the chosen location for your new sofa is in an already rather “leggy” room, consider a skirt – whether full or pleated it should always be tailored to fit seamlessly into the surroundings. Fill your sofa with finest down – yes, occasional plumping is required but for the sake of such comfort why would you consider any thing else… perhaps to save pennies? At least a down wrap, then! The front edge must be sprung – why would you want the backs of your legs to feel the hard line of wood? Don’t be afraid to go for a classical shape. The perfect classic models attain a contemporary feel when dressed in carefully selected fabrics. Take a navy Loro Piana linen, hand-stitched and beautifully pinned to honour the lines of your chosen frame, full rounded seats padded with down, and the classic shape will take on a new air of divine simplicity. A scrolled back and shapely sides mean this sofa can be admired from all angles. Once in a showroom, your eyes having locked onto a particular piece – you like the shape but is it proportionally right for your room? An enormous sofa will swamp a small room. And don’t cram in the furniture: give each piece space to speak for itself. Now, take a seat and your time. Is it comfortable? If it’s for a formal drawing room you won’t want it too low, deep or piled with cushions, but perhaps for the TV/cinema room you want all those things. Do you like the fabric? The contrast piping? Perhaps a kick-pleat skirt will add softness? Take a slow walk around her, admire her from all angles, be sure you want her to move in with you now and that you can see yourself taking her wherever you go in the future. Re-covered or redressed with changing accessories, if she has strong and true inner workings she’ll stand the test of time and remain with you always. Oh, one further thing… she will fit through your doors and up your impossibly small staircase, won’t she? Gytha Boucheron and Amber Aikens founded Nuttall Home. www.nuttallhome.com
Sir John soon discovered that he loved shooting, but it was his grandson, also called Sir John, who really took to it. For him, the entire winter was occupied with honing his art amongst pheasants. His approach to creating a shoot was straightforward; he wanted the best. And that meant the biggest. He employed a dozen gamekeepers, gave each of them an elaborate hut on wheels in which to live next to their young birds and sent them off to rear up to 10,000 pheasants each. Even after detailed study of Hugh Gladstone’s 1922 Record Bags and Shooting Records, it’s hard to know if Sir John created the biggest shoot in Scotland. But it was certainly one of the biggest. On consecutive days in 1913 Sir John and five local grandees shot in excess of 3,300 pheasants. Everyone had three guns and two loaders and it was said that Sir John could have six dead birds in the air at once. Some spectacular feats are recorded in the family game books: four woodcock with two shots; 330 wild duck to one gun. But my favourite is the right-and-left achieved by one of Sir John’s friends: a bat and a stag beetle. Beat that! Today, I still run the shoots but my focus is different. I do it to keep people in jobs and to keep the countryside looking the way it should. I
employ half a dozen gamekeepers and rent out most of the shooting. We’re interested in challenging shooting, not numbers, and our shoot has a reputation for excellence. Many of our clients are drawn from the oil industry in Aberdeen, but we also have a large clientele in the US. They travel – in their own jets from New York, Chicago and LA - and shoot on five consecutive days. They are my favourite clients – fiercely loyal and grateful. But here we are in spring and we should be looking forward to the grouse, not backwards to the pheasant. I have let most of my grouse moor on a long-term lease to a syndicate headed by a clever and dedicated man from Edinburgh. I retain a small moor, but the vast chunk of hill that I inherited was too much for me to cope with. I’m comfortable with this, but I daresay it would have been a slight disappointment to Sir John. For him, May and June were the most exciting months. He quizzed his keepers on the season’s prospects daily, eagerly monitoring the weather lest it turn against the young grouse. I’m a little more relaxed, but Sir John’s eager approach paid dividends. For two consecutive days in the 1920s his guns broke the Scottish record, killing massive bags in one of the warmest summers any of them remembered. Sir John’s guests were drawn from society’s
FQR Summer in Britain
Long involved with the fantastically successful Glastonbury Festival, Alister Sieghart looks back to its origins
T IS the aftermath in 1979. I am seated in a tipi at Worthy Farm, the home of Glastonbury Festival, with perhaps 50 others, for a meeting to explain how much the event has made, and how it will be distributed. In a fit of deep wisdom, the finances have been entrusted to Straight Mick, a dope dealer from a London squat. In a short exposition, he reveals that there is, in fact, no money, and no one will therefore be paid. It seems too much has been spent before the event, much of it on, shall we say, “stimulating the imagination”, of the London organisers… Of course, with hindsight, I realise that the ensuing threats of violence must surely have been ironic, since this is the festival of Peace and Love. But how real and frightening they seemed at the time! It was then that Michael Eavis, the farm’s owner, who had put up his land as security against the festival’s overdraft, took personal charge. And ever since, his annual crop has showcased the huge potential
smartest ranks. The Prince of Wales regularly shot with him. He was, of course, given the best butt from which to ply his trade, right in the middle of the line. On one such occasion HRH’s chauffeur was showing off the Royal Rolls-Royce whilst his employer was shooting. Accounts vary as to what happened, but it is clear that he raced it up and down the hill tracks two or three times to much applause from the audience of admiring locals. Eventually, in a near-fatal accident, the Rolls left the track at high speed and ended up immersed in the River Dye, where it languished for 12 hours before being removed. History does not relate what happened to the chauffeur… As I write, the keepers are toiling on the hills in front of me, burning heather, trapping stoats, repairing fences, watching and waiting. And up and down Deeside another sort of eager annual preparation is taking place, as committee after committee meets to begin constructing their Big Summer Event, the Highland Ball. My family’s flag still flies at the Aboyne Ball. And the first time I went I was handed a special
in agricultural diversification. A year earlier, I had travelled down with the beautiful (but a bit bonkers) Lucy from Stonehenge, looking for somewhere near Glastonbury where the People’s Free Travelling Festival could set up camp. We had selected a fine spot by the River Brue, and swung by Worthy Farm on the way back, finding Michael E, even then a genial gnome with his trademark bald head, milking his cows. And we assured him he could sleep safely in the knowledge that the festival would not be coming to his farm. But what is it about anarchists? They just won’t stick to the rules. Against strict instructions, some campers had occupied the field ahead of the official People’s Free Travelling Festival Convoy. So it arrived at a site surrounded by police, who had, what’s more, come up with a wonderful idea of where to take them instead. Farmer Eavis, driving home, came up behind 50 large and battered vehicles with blue-lighted escorts. “I wonder where they’re headed..?” he mused. The unofficial 1978 festival was a tiny, but potent event. It had a small, portable pyramid stage, there was mud, a thunderstorm, the last bolt of lightning hit the stage (and the pot-hook over the fire six inches in front of me); then some swear that the music just got louder and louder till all the fuses blew. After which the sun came out, with a massive double rainbow. And people started to think that maybe festivals could become a regular thing here. Of course, it all goes back further than that, mainly to 1971. A group headed by Andrew Kerr, formerly Randolph Churchill’s private secretary, and including the late Arabella Churchill, were looking to hold a festival around Glastonbury. They hit upon Worthy Farm, where Michael, like many other farmers around the country, had held a small event the previous autumn – £1 admission and free milk.
This group was much influenced by the writer John Michell, who had pronounced the town to be Britain’s New Jerusalem, being crisscrossed with ley lines and full of sacred geometry linked to ancient Egypt. (I am, of course, immune to such thinking – the reason I live at the foot of Glastonbury Tor is that there’s a huge magic crystal inside protecting me from CIA mind control and the World Government. And reptile aliens. And Gordon Brown, of course. But I digress.) Inspired by Michell’s ideas, the 1971 organisers held their event at the summer solstice, dowsing a spot to build their stage in the exact proportions of the Great Pyramid at Gizeh. “Glastonbury Fayre”, with top bands of the day, ran for an entire week in June, and was filmed by a couple of students, named Nick Roeg and David Puttnam. The rumour of “Britain’s Woodstock”, along with the movie, and a triple album released to pay some of the costs, together began to create the myth – in the best sense of the word. And it’s continued to grow ever since, as well as the theory that it’s not as good as it used to be, which I first heard in ’79. I’m convinced that in 40 years’ time, some old friends will be saying to one another, “Wow, remember Glasto 2010? Incredible! Of course, it’s all so much more commercial now…” There are one or two things about the festival that aren’t so well known. For example, it’s the largest theatre event in the U K outside Edinburgh. With all the attention focused on the big bands on the main stages, a lot of people miss out on the extraordinary and diverse goings-on in the Theatre and Circus area. You can be sitting having a conversation
when the cardboard box next to you, apparently a piece of debris, gets up and walks away on stripy legs. The policeman and woman in front of you might ask someone if they can “try some of that”, take huge puffs and start snogging. Or your children might be harassed by giant walking punctuation. Speaking of children, some final advice, from experience. Of course, Glastonbury is one of the safest places for them in the country, and the Kidz Field on its own is bigger than most children’s festivals. But if you have a child who is not yet potty-trained, do be very careful to ensure they’re securely nappied up at absolutely every moment they’re in your tent… Alister Sieghart has been the Glastonbury Festival's designer since 1989, is a salsa DJ, and organises the festival's Latin music and dance tent. www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk
badge and told to order dancers into lines for whatever reel they were about to embark on. But it is not for me. I love dancing, but not reeling. There is just something too bossy, too regimented, too exclusive about the whole thing for me. And, where there was once real glamour, now I see an imitation of something long since left behind. But who am I to judge? Plenty of people anticipate the balls with fervour, and becoming a member of a committee is a sure sign that one has arrived. The balls are often oversubscribed and for many they are the highlight of The Scottish summer. And not just the oldies; this year thousands of young girls in long dresses and boys in worn-once-a-year kilts with their sporrans stuffed with Marlboro Lights will descend on Highland villages to quaff wine and fling the night away. Meanwhile, I’ll be at home, thankful that I am not wearing that special badge or barking instructions to 100 tipsy, sweaty teenagers. Charlie Gladstone in Finch’s Quarterly Review Highland editor
It was said that Sir John could have six dead birds in the air at once
FQR Princess Diaries
ERY rarely an invitation makes me dither hither and thither, and tingle with temptation. Part of me feels apprehensive about committing, while the other feels absolutely crazy about declining. Not because the hosts are such great friends of mine but, rather, because their invitation seems to be dripping with delights. The thick white paper, the expensive engraving – just like a box of Turkish delight, the invite looks so scrumptious I want to dive right into it. However, the first bite of those saccharin-coated jewels reveals that they might actually look a lot better than they taste. This is exactly what can happen with such an invitation, typically extended in the summer either to a private island or a yacht. The fortunate (or not so fortunate) hosts are faced with a seasonal dilemma: they need to fill their many beds with guests to entertain them and their guests. Hordes of people must be summoned to the island or onto the boat in order to avoid the ambience of a ski resort in midsummer. This is where I come in. It is also precisely where the problem lies. Nothing in life is free. The price tag on one of those über-exclusive too-perfect-tobe-true holidays is bearing the unpredictable – namely, the other guests and the planned schedule. The issue is one that should not be taken lightly. After all, you are stuck out in the ocean, so you can’t suddenly have an important meeting and hop in a cab to the airport. From a private island or a yacht it requires at least a speedboat, if not a helicopter, to get back to mainland. Not that the host would mind you using their expensive toys. What they would mind, however, is losing a person at their dinner table. Remember the ski-resort in midsummer analogy? By accepting an invitation to a stay on an island or a boat, you are under contract for the length of your stay. You are bound to the
A Feather in the Cap Love for the Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc has rekindled Elisabeth’s affection for the Côte d’Azur
entertainment on offer and, most importantly, you are bound to the other guests – at least during breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to mention drinks and sunbathing, you must socialise. NE summer at such an exclusive private island my fellow guests were a tycoon and his family. The tycoon spent one part of the day standing on the beach shouting into his mobile phone right next to our heads as we sunbathed. The other part he spent shouting at his wife. The hosts were darlings and their island
WO things happened to me yesterday. I was asked to write 500 words on high heels. Five hundred words?! I could write a whole book on them – my whole autobiography is about high heels! Then at dinner, a girl had a self-help book (yes another one!) lying by her plate and I thought, “Who wants to read another self-help book? I’d much rather read a book on high heels” – wouldn’t you? You may not want to read either, but high heels are not as trivial a subject as you might think. Heels are actually a subject that defines the essence of the female species. We definitely fall into two categories: the stiletto brigade and the sensibleshoe wearers (I love the expression “sensible shoes” – only in England!). The high-heel woman wants to be tall, slender-looking (yes, a few inches do make a difference) and sexy. It seems to me that women who favour flats think vanity is a piece of furniture. They’re practical types, who are often to be found at horse shows. (Now, please don’t be picky – of course there are some women who seamlessly wonder through both categories.) Naturally, I classify myself well within the heels category. I started wearing them at 15. In those days I was so conscious of being petite that I always wore them. And I mean always! I wore them for muddy walks in the country as much as on the dancefloor. Did people take the piss? Yes! Did I mind? No!
take you around the enormous island without having to exert a muscle. (After all, what’s the personal trainer for?) Tiring myself out with activity has become my secret weapon. Being stuck together on an island for a week is not exactly a conversation catalyst – repetitive and dull dinners seem more likely, unfortunately. So utter exhaustion is the perfect antidote, as long as you can keep your eyes open. Therefore, my humble advice is: don’t be a holiday junkie. No matter how scrumptious the invite, if you are not crazy about the hosts or their entourage, just say no! You don’t want to leave the island/yacht white-knuckling sanity. If, however, you do decide to go, be considerate. Just remember your poor host’s difficulties, summarised by the wise and far too prematurely deceased Notorious BIG: “Mo money, mo problems…”
Escape Clause T The Grand Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, 1933
Maya Schönburg adores her high heels, but even she has to lower her sights occasionally
Victor Console / Daily Mail /Rex Features
Beware: no matter how tempting the invitation, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, let alone a free holiday, says Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis
quite stunning but surviving a dinner stuck next to the tycoon was a huge challenge, to say the least. The topics of conversation ranged from himself, to his wealth, his recent and not-so recent acquisitions – and back to himself. On the plus side, in my experience, great boats and islands are well stocked with toys. Water-skis, scuba-diving equipment, surfboards, yoga teachers, jet-skis and tennis courts. In case you get bored of all those, cinema screens and treasure hunts should keep you busy. Golf carts are there to
Take the Eighties: a trip to New York, styled to the nines in shoulder pads and, of course, you take to the streets in your high heels. Boy, you get punished for it. You walk a block, then three – ah! – you need only five more, no need for a cab… and, before you know it, you’ve walked 25 blocks and, on the way back, somehow the same thing happens. In the evening your feet have morphed into big, red, swollen, painful monsters – very much changed from when you last looked at them. Take a cultural outing in any city in “old” Europe – Prague, Vienna or the likes. You start in a smart hotel, with smart friends in a smart minibus – so you dress smart and wear high heels. The size of the museums, the sheer mileage you cover, the length of the guide’s boring speeches, the cobbled streets – you know what I’m getting at. UT even shopping sprees in central London are tricky. You just want to nip into Topshop but can’t find a flipping parking space so settle for Park Lane – and then? Walking all the way there and back you recognise, “Yes, I want to be sexy, I want to be perceived as tall and slender, I want to look smart – and I don’t want to be classified as a woman wearing ‘sensible shoes’ but this goes too far!” And so with growing age, self-confidence and hard-won experience I started to make exceptions and wear flats, but only in extreme situations. Now, aged 50, I wear flats – if I must – and hope that passers-by can recognise which category I really fall into by the rest of the stuff I’m wearing. Or am I kidding myself..? Maya Schönburg is a housewife and mother of four
HROUGHOUT my childhood we spent most summers sailing along the Côte d’Azur, Nice, Cannes and St Tropez. My father loved his sailing boat and he loved the French Riviera. I too have fond memories of those days swimming in the dark blue, beautiful little bays. In the evenings we would walk along the ports eating crêpes and looking at the other boats, none of which appeared to be as lovely as ours. In my late teens I returned to St Tropez, this time without my father and his boat, in search of fun and madness. I felt deeply disappointed. I hated how crowded the little village had become. Even the nightclubs were a disappointment. Desperate to imitate Ibiza’s eccentricity, they appeared stuck in a time warp somewhere in the early Nineties. I hated the beaches where people went to see and be seen rather than to sunbathe and relax. All in all, to me St Tropez had become the headquarters of the naff. One day my friend Josephine invited me on her yearly family holiday to the Hôtel du Cap in Cap d’Antibes. Once again, my perception of the Côte d’Azur changed. A smell of pine trees, sophistication and elegance from a bygone era hit me as I walked down the long white-stone staircase from the hotel’s terrace and along the promenade towards the ocean. Here time must stand still because the world seemed perfect, I thought. AITERS addressed each family member by their correct names and, before we even knew what we wanted, we found it, cool and neatly wrapped in a starched white linen napkin, in our hands. With my friend Josephine, the Eden Roc felt like visiting a ridiculously sophisticated great aunt. Each morning, freshly squeezed raspberry juice and a basket of freshly baked mini pains au chocolat and croissants were brought to our room. Our days were spent in a little stripy cabana by the ocean where we did not hear or see any other guests unless we decided to venture to the pool for lunch. In the evenings the family would meet on the terrace for drinks before dinner. The common assumption that Cipriani’s/Harry’s Bar make the best Bellinis in the world came to an abrupt ending for me here. The deliciously thickish, sweet peach pulp juxtaposed with the tingly sour champagne chosen at the Eden Roc make for an unmatched rival in my book. There is something pristine and refreshingly démodé about the place, a far cry from what the fashionistas flock to St Trop for. The ultimate reason why I love the Cap, however, is that it smells and feels just like my early childhood memories of the French Riviera. Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis is Finch’s Quarterly
FQR Liberal at Large
Matthew Modine, FQRâ€™s liberal at large, keeps it real
TO TELL THE TRUTH
OUâ€™VE heard the sayings â€œThere are three sides to a story; hers, his and the truthâ€? and â€œNever let the truth get in the way of a good story.â€? Is truth partial? Is truth biased? Are the truths we value, and often take defensive stances to safeguard, only truths we believe to be true? Before committing suicide, while escaping from murderous Nazis, philosopher and sociologist Walter Benjamin wrote, â€œEverything depends on how one believes in onesâ€™ belief.â€? This is what Orwellâ€™s 1984 had to say about truth, â€œAnd if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed â€“ if all records told the same tale â€“ then the lie passed into history and became truth. â€˜Who controls the pastâ€™ ran the Party slogan, â€˜controls the future: who controls the present controls the pastâ€™.â€? At the time of writing, President Barack Obama has signed an unprecedented, and long-awaited, bill for health-care reform. It is not the universal health-care reform that I had wished for, nor the â€œpublic optionâ€? that Obama hoped for. Far too many provisions in Obamaâ€™s public option where squeezed out by the Republican Party. What this says about that party, and its righteous, self-proclaimed Christian ethos is its personal truth, and how its members actually regard the lame and the poor Lazaruses of our modern world. The snivelling that this health-care plan was one step toward socialism and two steps toward communism are unfounded â€“ but strong enough to scare (a favourite fascist tactic) the same followers who feared a blackskinned man running for US President, a man many of them still swear wasnâ€™t born in America. These fearful souls are excruciatingly unaware that Honolulu, Hawaii, was the birthplace of Obama. In 1959, that beautiful cluster of volcanic islands became the 50th and final state to join the Union. Mr Obama was born in there in1961. During his first 100 days in office, President Obama continually reached across the aisle to the Republican Party. He even had a televised discussion with the party to discuss how they could work together to create a health-care bill that was best for the American
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people. The public option might have survived, but the Republican Party argued there were too many pre-existing democratic conditions and they, like insurance companies, wonâ€™t deal with pre-existing conditions. Never mind that Obamaâ€™s plan was nearly the same as the health-care plan drawn up by the Republican Party during the previous administration. To insurance companies, for example, if a child is born with a cleft palate, the company doesnâ€™t have to cover it, as the birth defect was â€œpre-existingâ€?. Insurance agents clearly donâ€™t take the physicianâ€™s oath, primoris operor haud vulnero. But no more. President Obamaâ€™s health plan eliminates pre-existing conditions and takes a real step toward humane health care. At this moment, the Republican Party, its defenders, and the so-called â€œTea bagâ€? people, neo-nostalgic Americans who languish for the dayâ€™s violent revolution, are actually making death threats to those who voted in favour of the health-care bill. Vice-Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin has re-emerged and has been voicing undisguised threats, using words such as â€œtargetingâ€? and â€œsighting inâ€? those people that voted for the bill. The question is why so many Americans, for decades now, have been opposed to health-care reform. Perhaps because there are two ideals at work in the US. First, there is the progressive mindset that favours a universal health-care system. This group strongly believes that providing health care to everybody is a human right. Second, there are those people who oppose universal health care because they consider it not a human right, but a privilege. Privilege versus Human Right. This raises an age-old dispute. If youâ€™re hungry and you steal food, is it stealing? Or survival? Stealing is survival for the thief, and theft of personal property for the victim. The victim has the right, and the law, to protect his property. The thief is seen as enemy of the State and must be stopped. If he continues to steal, even though he is starving, he must be incarcerated. The US has the largest prison population in the world. The problem is that we havenâ€™t studied the source, or the cause, which creates the starving thief. OME people oppose health care because they see aiding those who cannot afford insurance, or a doctorâ€™s care, as thieves to the system; welfare cases. No one likes welfare, but no one dislikes it more than the people who receive it. Ask anyone who lives in need of welfare and they will tell you it is near impossible to escape. Perhaps it was never designed to escape from. Welfare programmes are like giant holes of despair. Those opposed to health care also attack illegal immigrants because they havenâ€™t paid taxes or contributed to the national wealth. They are angry toward immigrants because they take jobs (that most Americans wonâ€™t do) away from red-blooded, taxpaying Americans. Forget the fact that everyoneâ€™s blood is red and everyone in America is, or was at one point, an immigrant. If I were Native American, Iâ€™d consider all non-natives illegal immigrants. We have seen this privilege vs human-rights struggle many times in the past. It was through the liberal-minded logic of the nationâ€™s founders and subsequent progressive thinking that America moved forward to become a more civilised and humane country. There have been terrible mistakes along the way, and the journey has often come at great human cost. In 1865, after 620,000 deaths, the Civil War ended and the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, was added to the US Constitution. For the privileged slave owner, slavery was a right, and the human slave was his property and had no human rights. For the enslaved, the privilege of human rights would now, finally, become an inalienable right. Before the 1920s, men felt that voting was their sole right and privilege. The Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote and was a first necessary step toward equality of the sexes. Ninety-nine years after the abolition of slavery, the Civil Rights Act finally made racial discrimination illegal. Anyone witness to the non-violent marches of the Sixties cannot forget the momentous struggle and the violence forced on people because of the colour of their skin. This brutality was carried out by a group that felt superior and privileged. â€œEverything depends on how one believes in oneâ€™s belief.â€? The privileged lost these battles because their belief systems, their sense of superiority, had nothing to support them but their own belief in how they believed. Like a film negative exposed to light, we begin to recognise a pattern of human behaviour. Animal instinct helped our ancestors to survive and served us well. What made us successful as a species was our willingness to come out of our caves and to learn and agree to work together. To co-operate and be of the same mind for what was best for the group. As we continued to learn we continued â€“ though not without struggle â€“ to let go of and evolve away from superstition and things that could not be proved. We searched for deeper truth. Along the way we discovered that the earth was not the centre of the universe, that men are not superior to women, and vice versa. That the colour of a personâ€™s skin does not make them better or worse than anyone else. Weâ€™ve learned that slavery makes slaves of us all. We know that not educating and providing help to those who are suffering or not reaching out and offering a helping hand to those who have fallen, renders our societies unwell. There are three sides to every story. One side is the truth. Left or right, Republican or Democrat, we must have the willingness to reach across the aisle and to listen to each otherâ€™s opinions and points of view so that we might discover what is best for humanity and civilisation. It is in the struggle that we can work toward a universal truth. A truth that we can all agree is best for everyone. Matthew is Finchâ€™s Quarterly Reviewâ€™s Liberal at Large. He most recently starred in The Miracle Worker by William Gibson.
Finch and Co
THIS MONTH I WILL BE KILLING MOSTLY…
James Ogilvy on the future of luxury and the media
UXURY Briefing launched in the mid-Nineties – not that long ago in years, but an age in terms of the way luxury has changed. At that point the West was only just emerging from the difficult start of the decade and, in terms of luxury reference points, Tom Ford was not yet widel y known and companies such as Prada were a fraction of their current size. And remember: the world was also a smaller, much lessconnected place – it was still fax, not e-mail (unless you were a geek), and broadband was several years away. We were lucky with our timing, riding a roller coaster of growth in the luxury industry, and along the way our intelligence report and annual industry conference s carved out a niche at the middle of it all. Since then, the lands cape has changed as global levels of affluence have risen massi vely (the “democratisation of luxury”) and brands of all kinds have reached out (and down – yes, as low as David Beckham’s “luxury” Armani briefs) to new consumers everywhere . There have been various challenges – 9/11, SARS, Iraq and, most recently, economic collapse – but the luxury industry has shown remarkable resilience. Would it surprise you to hear that a basket of quoted luxury companies rose by no less than 80% in 2009? Next time everyone is selling, you now know what you should be buying. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But the new challenges facing the industry are drive n not by events, but context. The big test now for those individuals running luxury companies is to keep their businesses relevant
…mountain game. Reza Rashidian hunts down (or up) more dinner
HEN people ask me, “Do you ski?” my standard response is, “Yes, but reluctantly.” You see, whilst I consider myself an outstanding après skier, for me the sport of skiing is essentially a waste of a perfectly good mountain. I suppose all mountain hunters and climbers will somewhat share that feeling. The concept of going up a mountain crammed into a mechanical pod or by means of some other contraption with fellow skiers, only to descend by means of sliding down as fast (and hopefully elegantly) as possible is, for me, akin to sprinting through the Hermitage museum whilst attempting to fully appreciate what is on display. Although the winter months represent some of the best hunting in the mountains (because that is the usual time for mountain game to start rutting), I personally love hunting the mountains in the summertime. At this time of year one can count on slightly more predictable weather, and the lack of snow allows the hunter to access parts of the mountain-top that in winter would be extremely dangerous both in terms of the risk of slipping to one’s death and the ever present peril of triggering an avalanche, which can be caused by walking on unstable snow or by a rifle being fired. OR me, this form of hunting represents the zenith of the sport. The physical effort required to climb a mountain from its base to its summit, carrying a rifle and a backpack, tests the hunter’s physical prowess to the max. Game animals tend to be higher up in the mountains in the summer. The winter snow and harsh weather usually pushes animals to the lower slopes in search of food and a more temperate climate. The hunter who chooses to hunt in the summer in the mountains has the privilege of enjoying the most beautiful scenery and the most enjoyable, arduous trek in search of his or her quarry, be it wild sheep, ibex, chamois or various other big or small game animals that inhabit the high peaks of the world. This leg-burning, lung-busting, high-altitude pursuit, followed by the necessity to control one’s breathing and heart rate in order to make a clean shot (usually at long distance), epitomises the definition of hunting as a sport. And a piece of cheese and some bread eaten at the top of the mountain after a successful hunt whilst gazing upon a breathtaking view, for me tastes better than any meal served at the best restaurants anywhere in the world. Carrying a rifle in pursuit of game in the mountains is an almost religious affair for me – so much so that the taking of a shot becomes almost irrelevant to the total experience. For those of you who do not hunt, I highly recommend walking the mountains in the summer months in search of wildlife, with a camera or a pair of binoculars. Reza Rashidian is Finch’s Quarterly Review’s hunting and shooting correspondent
when the world is changing so fast. There are social challenges (the question of acceptability in straitened times) and environmental ones (issues of sustainability), but the biggest headache around boardroom tables at the moment is actually the technological challenge… and this comes from media of all kinds: printed media are in turmoil with newspapers in trouble, and glossy magazines fighting to keep ad revenue. Both are under threat from the smorgasbord of digita l channels collectively known as “social media”. Everyone know s that – love ’em or hate ’em – the likes of Facebook are part of the modern world, but luxury brands in particular are strug gling to figure out what to do about them. They are accustome d to high levels of control and these new media appear terrifyingly uncontrolled – entering into the digital fray is descr ibed by one of this month’s Luxury Briefing contributors as akin to handing over the keys of your beloved new DB9 to your spott y teenager. And just as the luxury industry is at something of a crossroads, so are many of the businesses that servic e the sector. If you are reading this and you are in publishing, advertising, branding, design, PR, property, events, even packa ging (of the type that WAGs totter down Bond Street bearing – but how sustainable is that?), and maybe even connected indus tries such as film and music, you will know that change is afoot for all of us… and that includes Luxury Briefing. We believe the opportunities are immense (witness that 80% figure – there is a serious message there) and that a huge amount can be done to help brands find their way through the maze currently confronting them. It will be fascinating to see how the brands respond and how they connect with the next gener ation of luxury customers – something that most are struggling to do at the moment. James Ogilvy is Publisher of Luxury Briefing (www .luxurybriefing.com)
As a descendant of the family that founded the famous stores, and now creator of an ecofriendly online shop, Priscilla Woolworth thinks she must have retail in her blood
Priscilla, Queen of the Eco Store
products. It’s really extraordinary that I find myself building something from scratch, when my ancestors came up with Woolworths. Since starting my online store I’ve been reading more about what it was like for them to start Woolworths. It was one of the very first stores that didn’t have salespeople. Customers could pick out what they wanted on their own. Also, Woolworths made a wide variety of products available to the masses. In a way, my online store is similar, and I want my products to be available and affordable to a wide range of people, not just exclusive to a few. I am focusing on building a community, and I write a newsletter each month. My vision is to build conversation and trust with people. I am my own best customer and an example of what I hope to achieve with my store. I use my products and won’t sell anything that I won’t use myself. NE of my bestselling products is the Valentina composter. I designed the composter and reduced its size and have had wonderful feedback. I am a huge composting enthusiast. It really is satisfying to make your own compost using your kitchen and yard waste. It’s the ultimate in recycling. I have such a variety of products and everything I sell is organic, biodegradable, non-toxic, sustainable or all of the above. Sourcing products is very important to me. I support co-operatives around the world, for example, and help them learn about being selfsufficient and sustainable. I also look to support small businesses that are making one or two products that are really beneficial to the environment. I want to help them grow. I also want to support businesses that come up with innovative design, for example recycled material that is used to make another product so that we create less waste. My wish for the future would be for the online store to grow and become a destination that everyone visits, not only for products but also for trusted information. I love nothing more than sharing positive, helpful information – and now I can share it with a much larger community. I love helping people to improve their lives and giving them the tools to do this, and I believe priscillawoolworth.com shows some of the ways we can make effortless changes to be. We all have the power to influence change in the world just through what we buy, which in itself is empowering and very exciting. PriscillaWoolworth launched her online eco-friendly store
HAVE always loved nature and animals, and felt very connected with the environment – more so than a lot of people I grew up with. But it was when I had children that I had a sort of epiphany, when I just became much more sensitive and aware of the environment. Before, I hadn’t really paid that much attention to organic food or plastics – but with the children there came this huge shift. I wasn’t aware of the environmental movement when I was growing up. We’re talking about the Eighties, when it wasn’t so prevalent in America. It
just wasn’t something you heard about a lot and there was no discussion about it. So it was an awareness I discovered on my own and then validated by reading more about it and listening to other people’s findings and the studies about pesticides and toxins in our environment and so on. It was then that I saw the importance of wanting to share what I’d found out with others, and my eco store has been my way of doing this. It is a coincidence that, four generations ago, my ancestors started up Woolworths. It was back in 1879 that Frank Woolworth opened a store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and from there the empire grew. Then my great-grandfather, Fred Woolworth, ventured to England at the turn of the century to open Woolworths stores there. By the time I came along, the company was well established, but I grew up in the South of France unaware of the existence of Woolworths. It was not discussed at all in my family and I grew up very sheltered, living in France and spending summers in my family’s house in Maine. It wasn’t until I went to boarding school in England that I went into my first Woolworths. I didn’t grow up in that retail environment and it is almost bt accident that I have found myself doing this eco store. But I have been inspired by what my ancestors created, and maybe it’s in my genes. I have always loved general stores, places where you could go to find a range of useful
The utterly glamorous singer and actress Paloma Faith talks to Emilia Hungerford about the big things in life: truth, beauty and… Faith photo: Fetherstonhaugh HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC? My music is like a fairy tale meets the circus meets the freak show, and there’s a cinematic, quite epic element to it. WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR IT? From my life experience and films. I’m an avid film watcher – I am inspired by cinema and, even though I’ve experienced the reality of lots of jobs and experiences, I try and add an element of fantasy or storytelling, of blowing the audience into hyper-real situations in my songwriting. YOU SING ABOUT TRUTH AND BEAUTY. WHAT DO THESE MEAN TO YOU? I read Antonin Artaud’s book The Theatre and Its Double, and it’s about how life’s a performance and how we’re all playing our roles in a massive act. And I think there’s a lot to be said about that. I guess I’m playing with the idea that we’re all acting, and I am presenting something quite glamorous and iconic with all my imagery and the language and visuals I use. I think some of the most beautiful things go unnoticed. I had this amazing experience that has never left me. I was on the bus going through Islington and I looked out the window and there was a lady who would be perceived by any rational person’s perspective as mad. She was dressed in a scrappy old dress and had bare feet and really long arms, and her arms were in the air, as if she was saying to something above, “Please just take me”, and she was spinning around on the spot like a kid. It was during peak time, when loads of businessmen were walking past and most people tried to ignore her and walked or rushed past. I think they thought she was mad, but I thought it was a really beautiful thing to see. YOU’VE HAD A WONDERFULLY COLOURFUL JOURNEY SO FAR. DO ANY HIGHLIGHTS COME TO MIND? I always had four or five things I wanted to achieve and they seem quite simple, but I like simple things. One was to finish an album, which I did, and I feel that was an accomplishment. One was to be in a film, and I’ve done a few. One was to be on Jools Holland and I did that twice last year, which was amazing. The last one was to be able to buy a flat, which I haven’t been able to afford quite yet, but I’m working towards that. I never thought I’d write an album or be in a film but I’ve done both, and I feel proud. WHAT ABOUT ANY LOW POINTS AND CHALLENGES? I was on the circuit as a musician before I got a record deal and only a small group of people knew who I was. They couldn’t fathom why I didn’t have any support so I guess that was hard. However, I have always worked. I had my first job at 14 and I’ve never really stopped. I’ve always had money jobs and love jobs but I’ve always been someone who needs constant stimulation and to work all the time. Yes, it’s been hard work but if I don’t have loads of work I get really panicky. DREAMS? I think everyone is looking for love. I do want to have children and I feel very maternal. WHAT MALE SINGER DO YOU FIND SEXY? André 3000. I just think he has great music taste and he’s handsome. AND IF YOU COULD PICK SOMEONE TO HAVE AN ON-SCREEN ROMANCE WITH..? Robert Pattinson. YOU HAVE A STRONG SENSE OF STYLE. WHAT DOES YOUR STYLE SAY ABOUT YOU? Sometimes I want to recreate an empowerment of femininity and glamour and other times my style just says I’ve got a bloody good sense of humour. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DO IN LONDON? I did have a favourite place in London, but it got knocked down because of the Cross Rail development. It was The Black Gardenia on Dean Street in Soho, my friend’s bar – and it was straight out of a David Lynch film. I am a bit obsessed by that Italian ice-cream place Gelato Mio in west London. It has the best ice cream ever. My favourite flavour is pistachio. WHAT ARE YOUR PASSIONS OTHER THAN MUSIC? Food and cooking. I love cooking, eating and nice restaurants. I like The Cow and a Chinese restaurant called Magic Wok on Queensway. WHEN YOU ARE IN A MISCHIEVOUS MOOD, WHAT DO YOU DO? I quite often feel mischievous, so often cause problems! I am not really a hedonist. I don’t take drugs, and never have done, which is weird for someone in this industry. And it takes me one glass of wine to get drunk. But I’m quite mischievous in the sense that I think my favourite pastime is to be controversial and challenging. For example, I could be in a polite situation and say outrageous things, or be in an outrageous situation and pretend I’m excessively well mannered. I just like to do the opposite of the vibe. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT ACTING? It is nice that I get to do both acting and singing. I am in charge of myself as a music personality, and it think it’s good for me to almost be a puppet for another person’s vision. I get to be somebody else and, in my case, that’s someone I wouldn’t normally be. I enjoy that. I’m really hoping for a role that’s really challenging for me, a character that’s a lot more deadpan, because I haven’t had that yet. I’d like to work with someone who’d strip everything away and challenge me with someone less eccentric than I am – something more real and normal, more everyday.
Finch and Co
HAVE just returned from Dubai, where I was lucky enough to have been invited by Sheikh Mohammed to witness the official opening of Meydan, his remarkable new racecourse. It was entirely appropriate that this massive and awe-inspiring structure should have had its official opening on World Cup night – and in front of an audience of over 50,000 racegoers. The racecourse itself really does erbert H ry ar H d an ley have to be seen to be believed, Liz Hur bigger than Ascot and boasting a grandstand that is over 1km in length. With some $25m in prize money on offer on the night, Sheikh Mohammed drew a wonderful group of horses to Dubai from across the globe. The World Cup itself – worth a staggering $10m – was won by the Brazilian horse Gloria de Campeao, who was trained in France by Pascal Bary. He just held on from Lizard’s Desire, whose jockey, the South African Kevin Shea, had celebrated victory after the winning post only to be informed a few minutes later that he had not quite got up to win. Baroness Madeleine LloydWebber, wife of the great composer, flew over to see her brilliant filly Dar Re Mi storm to victory in the Sheema Classic, having been given a superb ride by the rising star jockey Harry Herbert is doubly William Buick. The winning prize money was £1.8m, which I am sure would have awestruck: by Meydan brought a big smile to Lord Lloyd-Webber’s Racecourse and the face. He, sadly, could not be there due to the beauteous Elizabeth Hurley opening of his new musical, Love Never Dies.
Dazzling Days in Dubai, High Times at Highclere
ERE at Highclere we have got off to a flying start to the flat season with two winners from two runners. We have a really lovely group of horses and some of them will hopefully be running in leading races in the months ahead. Those to watch out for in the blue Highclere silks include Harbinger, Admission, Plume, Decorative, Ritual and Oratory, whilst the Royal Ascot Racing Club can also look forward to two potential stars in Pollenator, who is being aimed for 1000 Guineas and Investec Oaks, and Prompter, who could just develop into a legitimate Investec Derby prospect, which takes place on the first Saturday in June. Another excitement here at Highclere is that the very beautiful Elizabeth Hurley has taken the plunge and joined two of our syndicates. I was introduced to her through a mutual friend, the racing poet Henry Birtles, who thought that Elizabeth would enjoy ownership with us. Having spent a morning on the gallops with Richard Hannon, she was well and truly hooked. There she saw Census who she described as “terribly handsome” and her other two horses are Trend, who is in training with Michael Bell, and Plea, with John Gosden. All three could not look more promising at this early stage and will hopefully be making their débuts by the end of June or early July. Finally, I am greatly looking forward to the release of FQR’s very own Nick Foulkes’s book, Gentlemen and Blackguards and the story of the 1844 Derby, which is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson at the end of May.
The Bow Monde Just a few steps away from the hubbub of London’s Oxford Street, Patrick Fetherstonhaugh enters a haven of music and tranquillity
TOOK my 12-year-old nephew Thomas (the son of FQR’s creative director) to buy a new bow for his violin recently, which meant a visit to JP Guivier of Mortimer Street in London’s West End – one of those unusual shops that manages to introduce the casual visitor to a whole new world of wonder. Being, as it describes itself, “dealers & restorers of instruments & bows of the violin family”, Guivier is also the oldest established violin dealer in the country. The shop itself provides an oasis of calm and classical music just minutes away from the – admittedly now vastly improved – mêlée of people insanity that often characterises Oxford Circus. Our visit started, as it had to, with an overview of, and introduction to, the enormous number of bows on offer, and this brought back into my mind the fact that everything in life is interesting if you are fortunate enough to be able to encounter it at the right level. For the sensation-seekers among us there is an innate joy in locating the kind of shop that stocks inter alia 19 different styles of conductor’s baton (although since styles D and E seem to my untrained eye to refer to the same shape, perhaps it’s only 18). And although it seems obvious to me now, I, frankly, had no idea at the time quite how much difference the bow makes to the sound of a violin. To have a proper excuse to spend time in a shop like JP Guivier is almost reason enough to take up an instrument of the violin family – or at least to persuade a close blood relative to. Patrick Fetherstonhaugh is, amongst other accomplishments, the brother of FQR’s creative director
A gripping portrait of a national sporting obsession
Fête, Hope & Charity
es habitué Charles FQR’s venerable proprietor and Cann Finch has a word about the Festival May, winter form to the Côte d’Azur in early PRING at last, and I shuffle my weary n, know ly mon Cochons – or, as it is more com for my favourite pig fight – La Bataille des with des colli the mad and noisy world of film the Cannes Film Festival. Here, where taxi drivers themselves amongst the whores, villains, frenzied, desperate party seekers parading and, most Roc ucers – I shall retreat to the Eden and – lowest on the rung, us movie prod brow. en of the South of France tickles my beat likely, smile happily when the soft sunlight the film in not r fails to amuse or baffle anyone Cannes, my favourite working holiday, neve when it loot involved in movies spending all this business. Here are all these people somehow ive… surv to t pictures that the business is struggling is claimed by everyone who knows abou . Left deal a in t by a disastrous movie or screwed I have been beaten by Cannes before. Burn ded atten have I ded by a bad review. Worse still, for dead on the steps of the du Cap, or shred gh, thou , Now k through or a finance deal to close… the Festival and hoped for a movie to brea fully survey the field. I sit back as an old hand should, and care Thirteen s back I arranged a lunch for the Oceans On a more positive note, a couple of year a struggle e quit were raising money for Darfur. It was guys, who – headed by George Clooney – together put en into a lunch with 40 important wom to co-ordinate George, Brad, Matt and co junket. press the while they were also in the middle of by Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele of Chopard funny n dam a raised for Not On Our Watch, and The outcome was more than a million equal no have ical or philanthropic impact, actors lunch. When they focus on making a polit ity events during the Festival. – which is why there are now so many char year its second annual Filmmakers’ Dinner. Last This Cannes, Finch’s Quarterly will host sese, Scor tin Mar moguls including Ralph Fiennes, was a great success with directors, actors and k Mic and z Weis y Thomas, Neil Jordan, Rachel Harvey Weinstein, Darren Aronofsky, Jerem we and , IWC of kindly sponsored by George Kern, Jagger, amongst others. This year we are rand has a rand Tavernier with our first prize. Bert will award the great French director Bert rly British icula er. His knowledge of movies, and part long career both as a critic and a filmmak y to have him as our first honoree. cinema, is astounding. We are very luck where dcast – from the MSN Lounge in Cannes, FQR will also broadcast – yes, I said broa into es com that and talk to them about anything we hope to snare a few famous movie folk See … wers rvie our two very inexperienced inte the head of our wonderful editor, and Finchsquarterly.com for the results. with chett will be on the red carpet, hopefully Meanwhile, my friend and client Cate Blan of Sir Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. me trailing in her wake, for the premiere look too to the buffet at the du Cap, trying not to And, of course, I will be beating a path movie the to rn l and the powdered… Time to retu much like a poser as I nod at the powerfu up my sleeve… and so, this Festival, I have a few tricks
‘A witty chronicler’ Andrew Roberts Out 13th May 2010
Finch and Co
Charles Finch has a history of hotel haunting, hence knows just what makes a good sleeperie
HE hotel season is upon us, then, and – like lemmings on a clifftop – we fall into our favourite hotel establishments in the great cities or on the great beaches of the world, dizzy at the prospect of sun and luxury – and unable, as we British are, to quite believe that in April or May, weather other than fog, snow and London damp, exists. This year my hotel season started earlier than usual due to having sold our London home in December, and building delays on our new digs. A battalion of Polish builders has been unable to provide a roof over my head at the bleakest time of year. This finally drove Sydney, my wife, and Oona, our baby daughter, to mutiny and to head to California for the winter months. Alone and thus abandoned, were it not for Claridge’s I would have been a little like Mr Fletcher Christian adrift in the Pacific with no Pitcairn in sight… The great kindness of the Brook Street team – starting with Stephen Alden, CEO of the Maybourne Group, owner of the hotel, and my new friend, Philippe Leboeuf, the legendary general manager – helped me profit from unforeseen bachelorhood, and I am happy to say I survived rather luxuriously amongst the wheeliedragging, grey-suited business travellers, who take over the hotel for most of the year. The good news is that this wonderful old British establishment with its many stories and secrets and so much history, has to a large extent been preserved from modernisation or, worse, from conforming to an “international” standard. The place, in other words, has been saved through the charm of its staff from becoming another faceless, modernised organism, which many city hotels in the hands of group ownership feel they must become. Living in a hotel is not for everyone, but it does make one a little bit of an expert. A guest notices things, of course, but a resident notices everything
– the shape of the doorman’s shoes, perhaps, or a change in the room-service menu, the phalanx of bodyguards hanging around the lobby waiting for a Middle Eastern family… What is a great hotel? What does it smell and feel like? These are mysterious places where strangers have lain interlocked in embrace – lonely, listless, or both – in these very sheets I now wake in! Where some have dreamed of greatness, and others achieved greatly, but many have just come and gone without so much as unpacking. The marble floors of palaces polished by decades of handmaids tell stories of their own, and reflect our own secrets – and in hotels they truly are secrets… Before I married, I spent a good deal of time and money sleeping in hotels. They were, for me, a respite from the battle of movie making. Hotels changed little back then in that tailcoats and management existed as they had since the last century, and menus remained as they had been for decades. The traditions of the great hotels and their formality probably gave me comfort from the shifting sands of my fast-paced life. In London I moved happily between the fine Irish linen sheets of Mayfair’s three great hotels: The Ritz, Claridge’s and The Connaught. In those days, if I made a movie or hustled up a writing gig, I would catch the first flight back to London from the States, and spend all my money for a few nights of old world luxury… A certain Mr Ford, the liveried hotel greeter, an emissary from what was then the Savoy Group, would meet me at baggage claim at Heathrow in his splendid green braided uniform. “Welcome home, sir. Nice to have you back,” he would beam. And how these words made me feel! That somehow the whole nation was welcoming me back! Mostly, I could afford three nights living like a duke before the real world snapped at my heels, and the pathetic state of my finances slapped me in the face, but three nights were enough to dream and, as I never slept well in Los Angeles – particularly after the first couple of earthquakes – a good sleep was well worth the money. Until my mid-30s the only places I felt safe in were wonderful old hotels. The Ritz was a personal favourite in the summer for the blue corner suite with a view up Piccadilly from one side, and Green Park from the other. I still highly recommend lunch on the terrace, as I believe The Ritz has one of the finest kitchens in England. I would choose Claridge’s for a grand stay – that is, if I was flush and wanted to feel like a king in one of the big suites – but The Connaught was my little club and, back then, the cosiest hotel in the world. It will come as no surprise, then, when
I tell you that I was in fact conceived some 47 years and nine months ago in a hotel: Room 101, at the Hôtel Raphael, Avenue Kléber, Paris. The Raphael is still a wonderful place to stay. When I was casting my first film, Priceless Beauty, with Christopher Lambert, we would meet for lunch and have a brandy at the bar with Serge Gainsbourg. My pal John Malkovich stays there often. It is like staying at a grand private house, a little forgotten by time and by its owners. I am a sufferer of restless nights. My insomnia possibly results from a childhood incident when our housekeeper at Launceston Place – Tilly from Ghana – allowed me to watch a terrifying vampire movie from which I am convinced I suffered post-traumatic stress! So terrified was I that I resisted all attempts by my mother and our Irish nanny, Mrs Murphy, to tell me that vampires did not exist. Even the family doctor, Stephen Blakey, failed to calm me down. My father – profoundly superstitious, terrified of voodoo and all black magic himself – was not much help. So superstitious was he that he would have a white cross on his door in Jamaica or carry a white chicken feather or the other way round… Having spent much of my life in the Caribbean I will not claim that I am immune from his fears or beliefs. Hotels offer an instant solution to this psychosis of mine. I rationalise that any vampires roaming the halls of Claridge’s are odds-on going to go for the virgins… It was to a great hotel that my mother, sister and I retreated when my parents’ divorce hit the newspapers back in the Sixties. Ill advised by his lawyers to take a strong position in the divorce, my father cut off the lights at our home, Boundary House, and in the middle of the night my mother bundled us into her Mercedes and headed for what was then the Hyde Park Hotel. Here we felt safe and illuminated amongst the liveried valets and porters, and thus started my addiction to expensive nighteries and chandeliers. On another occasion travelling to see my father in Positano our plane was cancelled from Rome to Naples, and we found ourselves stranded at Fiumicino airport. I remember travelling into the Eternal City in a taxi, clutching my bucket and spade, my sister Samantha perched beside me, looking up at the great arched entrance of The Excelsior as we pulled up. At The Grand, the only room available was the Royal Suite. My mother, never one to dither at cocktail hour, took it immediately. I remember vividly a dinner of spaghetti Napolitano arriving on a huge rolling silver platter served by liveried footmen followed by a foaming bath in the
Kate Lenahan’s Travel Confidential - A Personal Spring Clean
There’s nothing better than cleaning up one’s act in total style and luxury. Short- or long-haul, Kate Lenahan knows best
HAILAND has many special resorts dotted around its various islands but the one to visit right now is Soneva Kiri. Located on the island of Kood, off the south-east coast of the Gulf of Siam, it’s just over an hour’s flight away from Bangkok in the resort’s own eight-seater plane. The newest addition to the portfolio of Six Senses’ sustainable luxury properties (sister Maldives resorts Soneva Gili and Soneva Fushi are among some of the others)
has one-bedroom Pool Villas, all with pools on either beachfront or hillside, plus wonderful dining areas (a heavenly discovery for me was an ice-cream parlour bang next door to a chocolate room!). It is extremely private, with its larger residential villas – some as big as six bedrooms – nestled up on the hills of the resort with views over the stunning bay and pristine beaches. After a few days’ pure indulgence we were whisked off to detox at the Six Senses Destination Spa on its own island off Phuket. It has a calorie-controlled menu, with wine only allowed after 6pm – which, by day three, no longer mattered to me as I embraced the wellbeing programme with enthusiasm, along with the incredibly beneficial daily spa treatments. Make sure to pack only cotton as it’s too hot for silk or linen – a yoga-style top and drawstring trousers are thoughtfully provided for both sexes to be worn throughout the stay, so no dressing up’s required. This is definitely a twodestination experience that’s highly recommended to invest in both cost- and timewise, and after which your rested body and mind will thank you for a long time.
OR a closer-to-home wellbeing trip the newly opened Sha Wellness Clinic in Altea, Alicante, is the closest to a Chiva Som-style experience you can get in Europe. A microclimate allows for great weather all year round, and the Uruguayan architect hired by the charismatic Alfredo and Alejandro Bataller to create a stunning, intricate collection of rooms and terraces, has done a great job, providing a sense of space and peace within the surroundings. Best of all for foodies who have to drop the pounds but still crave great flavour is an exceptional macrobiotic menu from an El Bulli-trained chef, so you aren’t totally cut off from one of life’s great pleasures! The therapists for all sorts of conditions (insomnia, suger dependency, smoking, life etc.) are highly trained and you cannot help but come away from the minimum four-day programme feeling totally rebuilt and ready to face the world again – and with no bad habits for at least a couple of weeks! Sha Wellness Clinic,www.shawellnessclinic.com Soneva Kiri, www.sixsenses.com Kate Lenahan is FQR’s travel editor
IT’S A DOG’S LIFE by CICERO Cicero was an Emperor And orator to boot, He was my antecedent, Though I’m somewhat more hirsute! My ancestral canine lineage Links me to Tibet, Just like the Dalai Lama, Though I haven’t met him, yet! I have met Kevin Spacey And Robert Altman too, And Jeff Bridges came to dinner, To name just a few! I keep august company, Man, ain’t a dog’s life hell! My autobidography Is a who’s who kiss and tell! I live next to a rock star, Who’s worshipped like a god. “If you don’t know how to do it, I’ll show you how to walk the dog.” Thespians adore me, Lesbians do too, Gays can’t keep their paws off me, Man, what’s a dog to do? I may be a dog, But I’m one cool cat! Jazz is my scene, And Ronnie Scott’s is where it’s at! It’s time for true confession; I have a mistress fair, Sometimes I get to see her In her underwear! It wasn’t my intention In her bedroom to intrude Upon her naked person, But what’s a dog to do? My mistress is the goddess Of the artistic scene. It would be indiscreet to name her. Oh what the hell, it’s Sally Greene! They say this is a dog’s life. Man, ain’t life a bitch! It’s all about who you know, dude, And my best friend is Charles Finch! You don’t believe a word of it? You’re jealous but it’s true! The dog days are over, man! What’s a dog to do? Sally Greene OBE is the Chief Executive of The Old Vic
Sally Greene and Kevin Spacey at The Old Vic
Richard Young/Rex Features
Sweet Dreams Are Made of This
“I am His Highness’ dog at Kew; Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?” Alexander Pope
FQR Gourmets’ Counter
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele raises a glass to the prince of wines
HERE are very few legendary brand names in the world where the term “brand” is an inappropriate denomination because it sounds too commercial. But such is the case with Romanée-Conti, which has attained truly legendary status, and maintained it year after year. This historic wine, greatest of all crus from the old Duchy of Burgundy, was once reserved solely for the table of princes. Its exact origins are lost in the mists of time, but for more than two centuries it has delighted and enchanted the palates of the world’s most exacting wine connoisseurs. The miracle is that this extraordinary wine, a world treasure, comes from a relatively small and at first sight unremarkable strip of land resembling many others along the Côte de Nuits, halfway between Dijon and Beaune. In this case, it’s true to say that less can sometimes be more. From this modest patch of soil – under four acres and with a strictly limited number of vines – on average, fewer than 6,000 bottles under the exclusive Romanée-Conti label from a single subtle grape variety, Pinot Noir, are produced per year. By comparison, this is about a 50th of the production
of Château Lafite, and even Pétrus – minute by Bordeaux standards – covers six times the area of and Romanée-Conti produces around 10 times as much wine. In keeping with its phenomenal and enduring quality, very limited production and constant worldwide demand, Romanée-Conti uses the same painstaking care in choosing those who are allowed to buy and distribute its products. I therefore felt more than privileged when Le Caveau de Bacchus, my specialist quality wine company in Switzerland, received the coveted accolade and the responsibility that goes with it. Actually, privileged is putting it mildly – I was simply amazed, and immediately decided that I too, as a representative of such a hallowed name, would use the same care in choosing the very limited clientele we allowed to buy it. I particularly wished to avoid “wine speculators”, the people who purchase the great crus not for their personal enjoyment and appreciation,
but for the accumulated eventual gain in value. We have resolutely adhered to this rule ever since. I was honoured to pay an extensive visit to the domaine with my wife, and will always remember our first feelings on entering the cellar. We immediately felt surrounded by the sheer passion for the product and their involvement with it emanating from the remarkable group of people producing the wine, headed by Aubert de Villaine and Bernard Noblet. They are maintaining a great family tradition and reputation and yet are resolutely determined not to rest on their laurels, using natural methods, not scientific ones. I was also impressed by what I can best describe as their “biodynamic” approach to the treatment and production process and total respect and care for the wine. My team tries to repeat this care and respect in our representation. The wines of the domaine are kept in cellar for about 36 months after harvesting before being put
Not Naughty, But Niçoise
INGREDIENTS Maya Even’s particular take on a salade 2 handfuls thin green beans Niçoise 4 eggs 1 small Cos or 2 Little Gem lettuces 500g fresh tuna AMOUS dishes have history. They have a provenance. They 300g small cherry tomatoes have lineage. Think soufflé Furstenberg. Think Béarnaise. Handful pitted black Provençal olives – roughly chopped Even the humble salad – really composition rather than 4 handfuls coriander – finely chopped chemistry – has its royalty. Think Caesar, think Waldorf. All have 2 handfuls parsley – finely chopped proper fathers, backstories; they have Form. All except the most 1 thumb fresh ginger – very finely chopped famous. Like Cinderella, salade Niçoise grew up an orphan. 6 spring onions – finely chopped She had no starred chef for a parent, rather, a city claimed 2 large cloves garlic – peeled and very finely chopped her as its progeny. And that’s where the trouble started. 1 clove garlic – peeled but left whole Ask a Niçoise what goes into his salad, and you’ll get as 3 small red fresh chillis – very finely chopped many answers as there are Niçoises. Here is an (edited) Handful fresh chives – finely chopped list of ingredients I have so 7 tbsp sesame oil far compiled. Black 120ml good olive oil olives. 4 tbsp soy sauce Juice of 2 limes METHOD Salt Eggs Start with the tuna burger. Pepper Chop the tuna so that you end with a and green Drop of runny honey beans. very fine dice but not a mash. Combine in Boil the eggs for about 5 minutes a large bowl with half the coriander, parsley, chopped garlic, onion, ginger, chilli, all the soy and to achieve a softly set yolk. (Depending on the size of your eggs, this might take 4 tbsp sesame oil. Mix this with some energy till all anywhere from 5 to 6 minutes.) Stop the cooking the ingredients look well combined. Leave for a few process by running the unpeeled eggs briefly under cold minutes to amalgamate and then add salt and water, and then shell carefully and leave to one side. pepper according to your taste. Form the mix into Top and tail green beans. In plenty of boiling salted four flattish patties and refrigerate till ready to cook water, cook the beans. You do not want an overly raw – anything from half an hour to overnight. bean, so this should take about 4 minutes, but by all Make the dressing. With the flat side of a knife means adjust the time according to taste. When cooked, bash the whole garlic clove and stick the bashed clove drain the beans and rinse in very cold water to preserve on a fork. Place the fork in a measuring cup with the their colour. Drain again and dry well on some paper clove still attached. Over this, pour the olive oil, lime towels. In a small bowl, toss the beans with about half of juice and the honey. Mix well with the fork to emulsify. the remaining dressing. Add salt and pepper. Set to one side, leaving bashed Finishing the salad. Take the tuna burgers out of the garlic in the dressing, but not forgetting to remove fridge. Wash and dry the lettuce leaves and slice the before you use the dressing. Make the salsa. Quarter the cherry tomatoes. In a bowl, leaves into long strips. On a large serving plate, arrange the leaves in a tidy fan. Yes, it is naff, but the French mix with the chives, olives, and the rest of the spring have symmetrical issues – think Versailles. Drizzle some onions, chillis, coriander, parsley and ginger. Pour over of the remaining dressing over the leaves. Cut the eggs most of the dressing, reserving about a third for later. in half and place them symmetrically (that word Mix the tomatoes with the dressing till well again) around the leaves. Divide the beans in combined. Leave to macerate for a few minutes eighths and repeat. In the centre of the and then add salt and pepper to taste. plate, heap about half the Leave to one side.
on the market – that is six months to a year in bottle for the reds and about a year and a half for the Montrachet, which stays in barrel for a shorter period. When to drink? I would recommend, according to specific cru and vintage, eight, 10, 15 years or more in a good cellar in order fully to reveal the very refined bouquet, amplitude and nuances which develop over the years. EOPLE also sometimes ask me: “What food would you recommend to accompany one of the great Romanée-Conti varieties?” and are often surprised when I answer, “None at all, if possible.” For these are wines to be tasted slowly, savoured and honoured for themselves alone, and allowed to express the full palette of their possibilities. Each vintage possesses its own expression and signature and often has amazing differences – it’s down to earth and yet subtle at the same time. In this respect, I have a special affection for La Tâche. Start laying down the 2006 and earlier recent years and, in time, you’ll understand exactly what I mean! Karl-Friedrich Scheufele is the owner of Le Caveau de Bacchus and co-owner, co-president of Chopard
Black olives are the one component everyone agrees must be part of a Niçoise salad. After this, all hell breaks loose. Tomatoes, green beans, anchovies, eggs, tuna, broad beans, artichokes hearts, onions, lettuces of many varieties, capers, basil, celery, peppers, rice, potatoes, pineapple. OK, pineapple, we can perhaps say right now, should not be part of a salade Niçoise. Pineapple belongs to another course altogether, for heaven’s sake. Be assured that these ingredients and the recipes of which they form a part, do not come from food websites with names such as chowhound, or nosh n’ grub (well, except for the pineapple). They are taken from Larousse, from Paul Bocuse, from Heyraud, the acknowledged authority on Niçoise cuisine. In other words, sources with impeccable credentials. And they can’t agree. Black olives. They agree on black olives. That’s it. You can have a black olive salad. Thank you. So what is the answer? The answer, I think, is to frame your own Niçoise around a core of ingredients that typify Provençal and Niçoise cooking. Olives, we’ve understood. Garlic and olive oil in the dressing. Tomatoes. Anchovies or tuna – take your pick. Haricots verts: yes. Eggs – because I like the colour and the creaminess eggs bring to the salad. The rest is really up to you. I have gone slightly off piste with a more elaborate recipe that can be resized as a starter or main course. You decide. Only please, no pineapple. Maya Even is Finch’s Quarterly Review cookery editor
tomato salsa. In a large frying pan, heat the remaining three tablespoons of sesame oil till very hot. Sear the tuna burgers for one minute on each side. Place the burgers around the salsa. Drizzle over the rest of the dressing where needed. Serve with the remaining tomato salsa.
Living Up To A Legend
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FQR Ars Longa Vita Brevis
Malkovich à la Mode FQR Literary Editor John Malkovich on the novel inspiration for Technobohemian, his menswear collection
TECHNOBOHEMIAN” is a phrase I read in an Italian novel and I liked it and decided to use it for my collection. The line includes shirts, trousers and coats for men. I can’t really describe it in a sentence; it’s more what other people feel it is. It doesn’t have a particular period, it doesn’t follow a trend, and it’s pretty uniquely my own take. I pick the fabrics alone, design it alone, and I have it all tailored. I would say that it doesn’t have the coercion of some fashion lines – it is certainly more eclectic. I did have a line quite a few years ago, for about five years, and then didn’t like the way it was being produced, so I stopped it. Then an Italian company and a fashion designer asked me to start another one, and I agreed. I love working with fabric. Most of the time I use Italian fabrics – with the occasional Japanese material for special things, and maybe one from Spain or Turkey – but it’s really mainly Italian. As far as what the fabric is composed of, I don’t really mind. I don’t so much mind if I use natural fibre or synthetics – I’ll use fake pony and fake fur. To me, it’s more about the feel and texture. I like things to have some degree of texture. I don’t think that there is any concrete relationship between being an actor and being a fashion designer. I’m sure acting has influenced me to some extent because one is always the sum of one’s experiences – and because I’ve done a lot of film and theatre work, I have worked in many different periods. I enjoy being part of both the fashion and acting worlds but, really, I never think of myself as being a part of any particular world. I only concentrate on the work I have ahead of me. In terms of what I would to achieve with like Technobohemia, I don’t really know. I think we just express ourselves… And what is achievement, really? Is it just that I do the line, or
The Spectator Columns by Taki published by Quartet Books
High on Life Thank goodness there’s still Taki, says Nick Foulkes
HEN I last spoke to Taki in February, he had just broken some ribs and, if I remember correctly, a nose, while skiing without a helmet – I daresay at night, at speed, on a black run, after having partaken of some Alpine refreshment… Not bad for a man a little north of 70. I like Taki. When I worked on the Evening Standard as a commissioning editor during my childhood, one of the first things I did was ask him to write a restaurant column and then a leader-page article under the headline,
that people buy it? Achievement for me is trying to make something pretty. It is the creating of the line that gives me so much pleasure and that I find so special. I don’t know why. It’s the same thing with any form of self-expression: you express yourself and it becomes actualised and, of course, there’s always a distance between what you meant to express and what is expressed. I found out a long time ago that you can’t really do anything about this; it’s innate in any form of expression. I think creativity is natural to
Finch’s Summer Reads Gentlemen and Blackguards: Gambling Mania and the Plot to Steal the Derby of 1844, Nicholas Foulkes. Quite possibly the best book on gambling in the 1840s and the Derby of 1844 that you are likely to read this summer.
everyone. There’s always a desire to make something, to have actualised something that existed in your mind. I’ve been interested in designing for many years. I took costuming in school, and have designed the costumes for quite a few plays. Mostly, though, I’ve had to learn as I go along, which is the same method I’ve employed for everything I’ve ever learned or done in my life. I am pleased with the way Technobohemian has developed. Of course, you are not always satisfied by what you end up with. To me it’s a bit like doing a play – everything could be better. I am not really someone who can ever say, “That was ideal” or that something I have created is perfectly what I meant. Maybe it will never be the case, but I keep trying. Among the many things I have to be grateful for is the fact that I’ve been given so many opportunities, and I still enjoy pursuing them. Designing Technobohemian is already a fulltime job, but it’s my fifth full-time job. But I love working. I work always, every day. I can’t actually remember the last day I had off. John Malkovich is Finch’s Quarterly Review literary editor and had most recently toured Europe in the opera; The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a Serial Killer in which he plays a notorious Austrian serial killer
if memory serves, “Why I will die with a suntan on my face…” Around 20 years later I still regard it as one of the great highlights of what, in my more pompous and optimistic moments, I refer to as my career. Taki has reached that enviable position in journalism of having written a sufficient number of words in one place, The Spectator, to have a “body of work” and, of course, the beauty of a “body of work” is that it can be collected, edited and published, simultaneously delighting the reading public and generating useful extra income. Not, of course, that Taki needs the extra income. As a youngster, I asked my more sage colleagues on the Standard whether Taki was so rich that he might think it offensive if I were to offer to pay him for his contributions. It is a combination of financial independence, derringdo (and, as in the skiing accident, a little derring-don’t) and truth to himself that has made his “High Life” column so readable for a generation. I am a snob, but a romantic snob, and, as such, my favourite Taki columns are the ones dealing with the vanished world of the old jet set and, on this subject, the cumulative effect of Taki’s pieces en masse is more sustained and elegiac than when delivered in weekly episodes. He is probably the only person alive who can write with authority such lines as, “Even playboys ain’t what they used to be” – he should know, as he boxed with Rubirosa and had a knack of knowing the great gentleman racing drivers: Piers Courage, Wolfgang von Trips and the legendary Marquis of Portago, bobsleigh champ and gifted horseman, who died while driving in the last Mille Miglia in 1957.
Balzac’s Comedie Humaine (all of it) The epic series of novels covering the period from Napoleon until the 1840s, the decade in which Britain went gambling mad.
Dickens’ complete works (all of them, including the journalism) Especially Martin Chuzzlewit written in 1844, the year of the infamous Derby.
Count Miklos Banffy A Transylvanian Trilogy Plenty on gambling, sadly none of it in the 1840s and woefully short on information about the Derby of 1844 but still well worth discovering. And did we mention? Gentlemen and Blackguards: Gambling Mania and the Plot to Steal the Derby of 1844, Nicholas Foulkes.
Quite correctly, Taki’s contempt for the modern world of brassy celebrity is evident throughout; however, it is leavened with humour and humanity. He cannot help but admire the chutzpah and energy of Donald Trump, while duly noting The Donald’s almost heroic lack of style. And it is this humanity that surfaces in one of the most moving and meditative of the pieces in this collection: a Rear Window-type essay about watching the baby of his neighbours in New York grow into a young adult. Of course, I don’t agree with all his opinions, but that is the point: you are not supposed to. And as for his political opinions – well, even the foreword to this book feels obliged to print a health warning, observing that “people say he is a racist, a snob, a vulgarian, a sex-maniac, a cad, a fascist and a drunk”. I think that it is safe to say that part of Taki’s stock in trade (although not caring for the commercialisation of modern life he has never struck me as excessively keen on being “in trade”) is the bating of sententious and sanctimonious liberal opinion. But it would be a hard-hearted liberal who said that he did not write elegantly. He wears his erudition lightly, using a pinch here and there to season his copy, for instance, acknowledging his debt to Balzac in describing Agnelli’s face as lined with “private defeats”. And indeed, the prolific French novelist might have been describing Taki when he wrote, “The moralist cannot deny that, generally speaking, well-bred people addicted to a vice” – if, as seems to be the case, these days living well is a vice – “are much more likeable than the virtuous are.” Taki Theodoracopulos is a journalist and writes for The Spectator and edits Taki’s Mag www.takimag.com
even the foreword to this book feels obliged to print a health warning
FQR Ars Longa Vita Brevis
Charles Saumarez Smith on why the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is democratic and eclectic – not to mention a jolly good show
T IS slightly odd to think that the Royal Academy’s annual Summer Exhibition has taken place every year for the past 242. First shown in Lambe’s auction rooms at the east end of Pall Mall (on the site now occupied by the Institute of Directors), it then moved to the top-lit, top floor of the west side of Somerset House, where the whole of London’s smartest society would climb the precipitous stairs to see pictures hung from floor to ceiling. For a period of 30 years from 1838 to 1868 it was shown in large rooms in the east end of the National Gallery; and, from 1868, in the wonderful, grand, first-floor galleries that were added by Sydney Smirke on the back of Burlington House and which are possibly the greatest public galleries in Europe. The Academicians themselves (there are about 130 in all, although not all of them submit work) are allowed to show six works each. This means that the Summer Exhibition is a showcase of current work of the artists of the day, including architects, who tend to show drawings or models (and now sometimes photographs) of recent buildings or of work under construction. But because the Academicians are themselves an eclectic group, drawn from different generations of artistic practice – some figurative, some abstract, elected at different times over the past 40 years – this inevitably produces an eclectic result. It was intended to be, and still is, an 18th-century salon, the last survival of the idea that it is good for the public to see what is being produced by artists each year, however diverse the selection.
Alongside the work of Academicians is the work submitted by artists from all over the country and now, to a lesser extent, from other parts of the world. This year we have over 11,000 submissions, the equivalent of a medium-sized museum collection (to put it into context, the National Gallery only owns about 3,500 works of art). Painters, trained and amateur, young and old, as well as architects, sculptors and printmakers, submit their work to the annual ordeal of being judged by a panel of Academicians, who are constituted as the Summer Exhibition Committee and are selected by an immensely complicated system of annual rotation according to the medium in which they work. Only about one in 10 works of art is
Critics may sneer, but the public continues to enjoy it selected to be considered for the exhibition. These works are then taken across from the temporary warehouse at the back of 6 Burlington Gardens to the galleries in Burlington House. But not all those selected for consideration are hung. There is a double cut. So it is a fairly rigorous process. In recent years, great efforts have been made to give the Summer Exhibition a bit more artistic shape and character. Two or three Academicians are given responsibility for choosing the overall theme (this year it is “Raw”), overseeing the hang, choosing who should hang individual rooms, and either encouraging or inviting other artists to submit (there is a critical distinction between encouragement, which means that the person is required to submit to the jury process, and an invitation, which allows them to skip it). The convenors this year are Stephen Chambers, the printmaker, and
Sir David Chipperfield, the architect of the Neues Museum. In so far as this year’s exhibition has a distinctive character, it will be owing to their intervention. Having observed the process of selection and hanging for the past two years, I have been impressed by the care, time and trouble that the Academicians put into the selection and, even more, the display. The whole process takes several weeks, from late March to late May, fortified by long lunches and beef tea, which is brewed to an 18thcentury formula. To the critics it may look like a bazaar – too random and too miscellaneous to be a real showcase for contemporary work. But behind the display is a machine that ensures the selection of the best of the work submitted and its display in rooms, each of which has a subtly different character, depending on who has hung it. There is another great, and possibly undervalued, aspect to the Summer Exhibition. It provides an opportunity for people who are not necessarily specialists to buy works of art, even if they are not interested in, or knowledgeable about, the art market. They can come and see the exhibition, choose a work of art, and buy it there and then, without having to negotiate with a Cork Street dealer, nor having to be eyed up by some smart young woman who guards the gates of the commercial art galleries. In this characteristic, as in others, the Summer Exhibition is deeply democratic, open to anyone to enter, not ruled by any single view of taste or fashion, the residue of the 18th-century view that the best judges of art are not the critics but the public. Critics may sneer, but the public continues to enjoy it, precisely because it gives them an opportunity to make up their own minds about what to like. Charles Saumarez Smith, CBE is Finch’s Quarterly Review Fine Art Editor and Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts
FQR Ars Longa Vita Brevis
Giving Censorship The Finger
HILE some 1,000 artists have recently been of no interest but to a few enthusiastic foreign art forced out from their studios by greedy and collectors. Nobody else seemed to care too much about unscrupulous real-estate developers from the these images, covered in dripping paint, thereby evoking Zhengyang district in Beijing, one artist acted with what the idea of sweat, tears and blood, as suffered by the seems to be with foresight a few months ago and moved Chinese people. In the days when Chinese contemporary (back) to London. Sheng Qi, who notoriously self- art caught the attention mainly of foreigners, and when amputated his left pinkie in 1989 and buried it in a the Caochangdi art zone was quite remote from the city flowerpot before leaving, penniless, for Rome and, centre, no one seemed to care too much. eventually, London in the mid-Nineties, has made the With the recent explosion of Chinese art onto the English capital home again. international scene, record While living in London in prices being achieved at the Nineties, he enrolled at international auctions (the Central Saint Martins College current record stands at of Art & Design, and his $9.7m for a Mask painting work was included in the by Zeng Fanzhi) and the reFortune Cookies exhibition at emergence of China on the Fabien Fryns writes about the the ICA in 1997. Upon stage, international inspiring Chinese artist graduating, he moved back to censorship has been Sheng Qi Beijing in 1999. He tightened – much to the continued to practise his displeasure of many artists, politically charged art, mainly including Sheng Qi. While and photography he continues to keep his performance at the time, in studio in Beijing – until what seemed like a much further notice of demolition more liberalised Chinese art – he has decided to move capital. back to London with his wife and nine-year-old son. He When I opened F2 Gallery in Beijing in 2005, Sheng might enjoy freedom of expression in the UK, but I just Qi’s studio was right across the street and we soon started hope that the fact that he no longer lives in Beijing does to work together. His Confidential exhibition in May not diminish the important messages delivered through 2006 at F2 Gallery luckily went by without controversy, his art. given the fact that paintings of tanks in full charge on Fabien Fryns is a Beijing based gallery owner and Chinese Tiananmen Square to “celebrate National Day” seemed art collector, www.fabienfryns.com
FQR Art Exclusive
EITH COVENTRY is known for his work combining an accomplished technique with a sure-handed grasp of the underbelly of the modern world. His clear understanding of art history allows him to address frequently dark topics through the idealised media of Modernism, the future (as it was then) used to represent the present as it is now. In his most recent show at Haunch of Venison in London, his subjects ranged from the lucky-by-birth to the everyday-gone-wrong – from an Albany habitué to the denizen of a crack den – all treated as a combination of the bad and the beautiful. Patrick Fetherstonhaugh