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Monday, November 07, 2005

gore vidalhm Queen Elizabeth II waving n smiling


I really must nail the spelling of Chip Gibbons' name - 's' at the end or not?

Trey Given wishes him happy birthday but calls him Gibbon, begging the question how well the cove knows him to actually *wish* him bonne anniversaire ... but I cavil.

This post is to salute CG's excellent review of the Capote movie and in particular his modesty in saving his and our time with the honest admission that he was

" ... going to write my own review but when I read Roger Ebert’s review, I saw so many of my own observations about the film in his article, I realized there was no need to."

I've heard a bit on radio and Philip Seymour Hoffman sounds creepily stunning.

I head this piece with pics of Her Majesty and Mr Gore Vidal because mention of Truman Capote reminds me of my own time in London book PR as a lowly step'n'fetchit within the empire of the great house of William Heinemann, housed in those days in Mayfair's Great Queen Street. How the puns pack on.

One of the authors on whom I had the honour of dancing attendance was Gore Vidal for his UK press tour for - I forget which - Burr or was it Myra Breckenridge?

Anyway, I was clearly not thought up to the task for one leg of the Great Man's signathon because an outside press relations expert had been hired to make sure things went smoothly and the right tongues applied with sufficient application to the patrician rump.

Ex-army chappie, as I recall - stalwart enough fellow, who went on to make a solid career of ensuring that top writers got the deserved ink and air time.

Anyway, come the end of a particularly gruelling day during which Gore had been magnificent, he commented on the rigors of waving and rictus smiling and dredging up polite responses to ill-informed questions from the press.

Up piped Sarn't Major Press Supremo with the blithe and merry,

"Well, now you know what it's like to be the Queen, hah ha!"

Sans flicker of that patrician brown, Vidal turned to the assembled throng and drawled,

"Quite so." [Pause, and with a nano-wink in my direction] "ChristoPHAH, I wonder if our Timothy is really cut *out* for your cut-throat profession?"

The Capote connection is stirred by a memory of a train journey north to one of those Yorkshire Post Literary Luncheons that the tireless Richard Douro ran with such steely organization.

All the big swinging dicks from Heinemann were aboard so all I was left to do was fetch coffee and sign the dinner bill.

Gore was clearly relaxed because he spent much of the journey in expert mimicry of la Capote.

Also what sticks in mind was GV's insistence on the efficacy of orgies as good for the figure:

It made hilarious sense:

  • You're naked, so you better look good.
  • Most of the time is spent swanning around holding your tummy in lest the cuties dismiss you as just another paunchy doddering slob.

    Getting back to the Army fellah, I do believe he never actually 'got' it, because forever after he was constantly referring to the job as a compliment:

    "Chris will back me up here: mentioned me in 'despatches', so to speak, didn't he, old boy? Silly old queen.

    Anyway, there was Chris - his official publisher's front man - and it was me that got the mention."

    I must have recounted this in loose-lipped company because forever after, whenever authors strayed into his domain, there was competition to see how swiftly they could mop brow and gasp,

    "Phew! They certainly got their pound of flesh ... now I know how the Queen feels."

  • And while we're on about the writer, here's The Times' take on the 'unknown' Capote.

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