"Last Wednesday, June 24, Pugs held a luncheon in honor of our first member to depart for the Elysian Fields, or that large CinemaScope screen up above, Sir Christopher Lee, age 93. Pugs club is now back to 19 members, the ceiling being 21. Our president for life, Nick Scott—I actually was the first chief but was overthrown in a bloodless as well as voteless coup by Nick—gave a wonderful address while breaking yet another custom, this one about having ladies present. Our guest of honor was Lady Lee, Christopher’s widow. Now, there’s nothing more that a poor little Greek boy can add to Sir Christopher’s obituaries, which were numerous, glowing, detailed, and well deserved. Except to say that he personified that smoldering restraint of a long-ago England, with his perfect manners and diction, and his ability to be interested in what other people had to say. The big ME was unknown to him. Christopher loved the members of Pugs, all 20 of us, and was equally loved in return. At last year’s annual lunch on an outdoor terrace of a Chelsea restaurant, he was recognized as he got up to leave and was given a standing ovation by the luncheon crowd. Here’s what fellow Pug and knight Sir Bob Geldof had to say about him: 'Christopher, what a bloke. What a Pug. Lives don’t come more lived than that.' What struck me was the fact that Christopher wore his Pugs club tie for his investiture by the Queen in 2009, and was outspoken about the increasing depravity of film. If ever there was a palimpsest of present and past, it was Sir Christopher." (Taki)
"This month, New York advertising man and chronicler of the wealthy set Richard Kirshenbaum (pictured) published a new book, 'Isn’t That Rich? Life Among the 1%.' We tried to interview him about it. It did not work out.
Kirshenbaum’s book first came to my attention in early June with the appearance of a goading New York Post story [headline: 'You should thank the one percent, you ingrate'] based on the book, which extolled the many benefits of trickle-down economics, concluding that 'NYC would still be a dump' without its ample and growing supply of zillionaires.
'This sounds like a provocative defender of the rich who would make for an interesting and contentious interview subject,' I thought to myself. On June 10, I emailed Kirshenbaum’s publisher about setting up a Q&A. I heard back immediately from his publicist, who was enthusiastic about the idea. I asked for a review copy of the book, and she agreed to send one over. On June 18, the publicist emailed me again asking about the interview. I told her I’d never gotten the book. She agreed to send another one. Still very enthusiastic! That same day, coincidentally, my copy of the book arrived. On June 24, the publicist emailed me again. 'Just checking in to see if you had a chance to crack open the book,' she wrote. 'I’d love to get your questions over to Richard ASAP. He is leaving for vacation soon and I want to make sure I get to him beforehand.' As it happened, I was just finishing up my speed-read of the book. We’d agreed on an email Q&A, so I sent her the following five questions to pass on to Kirshenbaum (bold added later, for reasons the astute reader will see in a moment!)" (Hamilton Nolan)
|Both paperback and hardcover are now for sale on Amazon for $74. Click to order.|
"I rarely read two books at once but I broke that habit briefly on Saturday when looking for a reference book, I happened upon a big paperback copy of “Chips; The Diaries of Sir Henry Channon,” published in 1996. I’d read it when I bought it back then, not knowing anything about the man but having perused the names in the index, many of which were the leading characters in British society and politics and literature mid-20th century. Although I’d read most of it I found myself re-reading it with a different eye, as if it were new. What’s new? The world we live in today, compared to only twenty years ago, is radically different from the world of the diarist sixty and seventy years ago. Channon, or Chips as everyone knew him, was an American, born in 1897, who grew up in Chicago, son of an heir to a Great Lakes shipping company. His parents started taking him to Europe when he was a child. By his late teens he was an expatriate, and would remain so. In London where he married Lady Honor Guinness, he became a member of House of Commons and led the life of a social gadfly extraordinaire, who had connections to many doors. His attitude is so British that there’s no reason to think he didn’t seem entirely British, including the accent – although I don’t know about that detail. He was a gregarious fellow who loved society (better yet, royalty) and knowing all the right people. And in his case it was at the end time of the British Empire, and the 'right people' were the names that are now of history. He had a great eye for detail and an intelligence to write about it visually. " (NYSD)
|DPC with Barbara Tober.|
"The city seemed quieter – maybe because of the heat, where there were fewer people on the street because of the high temperatures. I went down to Michael’s to have lunch with my friend Barbara Tober. This was a lunch talking about the books we’re reading, the places and events we’ve been to lately, and theatre. Barbara and her husband Donald who really make an effort to get around the city, have been seeing a lot of Broadway shows. Actually, it seems like they’ve just about everything that’s playing right now. It is a phenomenon that there are so many great shows on right now. Most recently they saw 'It Shoulda Been You.' What was it like? Well, there were moments when they were sitting there thinking: “what is this, nothing’s happening. And then suddenly they’d find themselves laughing so hard tears were streaming down their faces. Needless to say, they loved it. Barbara and Donald Tober are two very active philanthropists in New York. When I say 'active' I mean they are involved in several major charities in which they are not only principals in terms of financial contributions but also players in terms of hands-on participation. Donald, for example, was in on the founding of CityMeals-on-Wheels with James Beard and Gael Greene. Donald was the guy who had the corporate connections that could contribute to this fantastic organization that delivers tens of thousands of meals annually to the elderly, to the ill and infirm and people in need. It’s a perfect charity to describe their personalities: helping in the quality of life of their fellow citizens in the community." (NYSD)