Yesterday I came out of emergency oral surgery (roll your eyes I’ll wait) with a swollen face and jet lagged from a whirlwind in London to the news that author and actress Carrie Fisher, who’d been hospitalized for four days following a heart attack, had died at age 60. Ms. Fisher the writer came up with the great line: “Instant gratification takes too long.” Any friend or even acquaintance of “Bill” can relate. My best friend and fellow writer in high school gave me a signed copy of Ms. Fisher’s novel “Postcards from the Edge” (he signed it) with the quip: “here’s your postcard, kiss kiss.” All the headlines of course included the Princess Leia moniker and metal bikini photo from Return of the Jedi. At first I felt bad for Debbie Reynolds, Ms. Fisher’s old school movie star mother, because no matter what, it’s gotta suck to have your child die before you. Makes one wonder about the notion of the God of anyone’s understanding. But then I got to feeling bad for Ms. Fisher herself, a writer whose talent I liked and appreciated, a human being/doing who, although head-started with no doubt some bit of nepotism in life, kept on despite addiction and mental illness and slings and arrows and metal bikinis. Dare I use the word SURVIVOR here without yet another eye roll and a snicker from the George Lucas peanut butter gallery. In the acclaimed Warren Beatty movie “Shampoo” in 1975 Ms. Fisher plays a spoiled Beverly Hills rich bitch who hates her mother and is ready to participate in Mister Beatty’s mental seduction. This is likely more true to life than the notion of the word SURVIVOR. But we’re all survivors in one way or another. Age 60 is not old anymore, it’s almost like middle age, which makes me still young, in my prime, ready for the next big thing. Ms. Fisher, like George Michael and Prince and many other pop culture idols who died in 2016, left too early. Or did they? The good ones are dying off in a Kim K/Taylor Swift world of basic mundane surface diluted fame and fortune with no real authentic white knuckled journey as a preface. Maybe they’re all better off. Zsa Zsa lasted till 99, and Paris Hilton is till going at thirtysometing (I assume). I know, the future seems as bleak as ever. So sayeth the SJW.
London is always glam, although getting gentrified in the sparkle of shiny Russian cash just like Manhattan is, perhaps not as old-school bohemian as it once was, but nothing really is anymore, so with the flow we must go and just insult-tweet about it later. In London I felt the need to remain strong and silent when the necessity for actual vocal interaction arose. The distain for Americans is everywhere, I can feel it, and while its not necessarily unwarranted, it feels a little unpatriotic of me to not combat the down-nose derision with some backhanded commentary on overbites and bad food and overcompensation for other obvious weaknesses. Yet our hosts were the self-effacement types, very easy to throw shade at and not feel the zinging sting of a haughty English insult too deeply, so I felt in safe hands in the back of their Range Rover. They even have one of those duck hunting country houses wrapped in tweed I love so much although I didn’t get to shoot anything whilst a weekend guest. I am quick to remind everyone that I’m of Royal Irish descent and Irish people are at the top of the human echelon of cultural and prideful dominance, yes, even more than those tarty Brits. I never wait for a response to these annunciations, I just raise a glass and say cheers thanks a lot as my female alter ego Patsy Stone would. Enough said. I dressed myself as if a Men’s Vogue photographer were snapping me at all times, and it felt right, like I was amongst my peeps, the pride and prejudice coterie of couture junkies and scarf-wearing contrivers whose main objective in life is to stay as badass as we’ve always been. But alas I was glad to get back to New York where the weather is kind of like anyone who dwells above 34th Street: languid and uninspiring.
R.I.P. everyone who’s dead: from Princess Leia to those whose lives didn’t seem to warrant NY Post headlines. As the year comes to an end I am re-thinking my vehement opposition to New Year’s resolutions. The small voice of Yoda keeps ringing in my ear: do or do not, there is no try. Right, keep it simple. Living in the moment means that tomorrow doesn’t exist and instant gratification already left the building. For the record I was never a Star Wars fan and I think George Michael’s “Freedom” video is one of the best ever made along with Madonna’s “Borderline” and… I can’t really think of any others since I haven’t watched MTV since 1986. Still, uniqueness, like a Naomi Campbell facial expression, remains unique, and every once in a while a new discovery furthers my faith in existence, for another day, the reluctant optimist, cheers, thanks a lot.