Magazine article The Spectator

High Life: Taki

Magazine article The Spectator

High Life: Taki

Article excerpt

The death of David Bowie -- how is it that Stephen Glover always gets it right about our over-reaction and hysteria when a pop star goes the way of all of us? -- triggered a memory of something that happened long ago with Iman, his still beautiful widow. It was exactly 30 years ago, on a rainy and cold night in New York. But first, a brief background to the story.

In the winter of 1985 the mother of my children had taken them to Paris, to her mother's, as a warning to me that my constant womanising would no longer be tolerated. At the same time, an English friend of mine in London had run off with yet another friend, a male, thus making it obvious that I was about to lose both a wife and a mistress. Even more catastrophically, an English woman in New York was dropping hints about having a child, about as welcome at that point in my life as some North Africans are in Cologne nowadays.

Needing to be alone to think, I went for dinner at Mortimer's, a chic watering hole, now defunct, three blocks from my house on the Upper East Side. I had had a couple of bottles of wine and was starting to relax when André Leon Talley, a very tall and talented African American who works for Vogue -- known to us as the African Queen -- came into the place accompanied by a beautiful, and almost as tall, black lady. The place was jammed so I waved them over and they sat down to dinner with lonely old me. Her name was Iman, and she had recently arrived in the States having been discovered in deepest Africa by my good buddy Peter Beard, the photographer.

To call it a convivial dinner would be an understatement. I was in my cups and my guests were laughing at my predicament. I invited them over to my house for a drink but André had to work early and begged off. Iman agreed to one drink. We walked over to my house and when we got there I realised, to my horror, that I had not taken my keys out with me. Worse, I had told the live-in help to take the night off as I had not planned to go out. The terror mounted after I failed to break the door down by kicking it hard on the lock. As I became more and more desperate, Iman started to get scared. I found a crowbar nearby and began to chop away at the damn door whereupon she ran off and jumped into a passing taxi. Just then the door gave in. There I was with a door I could not shut -- the crime rate was still very high in the Bagel -- and Iman had fled the scene. On top of all my other problems. The poor little Greek boy never had it so bad. …

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