Reggie Kray’s Funeral

Photograph by Justin Griffiths Williams

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Kingsley Amis sees “Beverly Hills Cop II”

Image resultIn 1985, Kingsley Amis was having difficulty finding a publisher for his novel Stanley and the Women “following pressure from those who judged it an outright incitement to misogyny.” “I was outraged” Christopher Hitchens told Martin Amis’ biographer Richard Bradford. “It was an extraordinary case of censorship and I was responsible for placing it with Summit.”

Christopher Hitchens: “Anyway, Kingsley phoned, thanked me and assured me that he owed me a night out when I was next in London. Well, he kept his word and it was a most bizarre evening, in keeping, I later learned, with what had become his routine. Drinks at Primrose Hill followed by more at the Garrick–predominantly whiskies–then a film before dinner. He insisted that we went to see Beverly Hills Cop II, perhaps one of the worst films ever made. Martin and I sat transfixed by its wretchedness but weirdly Kinglsey was rocking back and forth with laughter. During the meal he continued, remarking on how this scene or the other had worked so well and again shedding mirthful tears at the recollection. I was confused. Was he genuinely impressed, amused? That seemed preposterous. Or was he involved in some kind of extended act of self-caricature? Was he trying to provoke us?”

Richard Bradford, Martin Amis The Biography, Constable, 2011.

Donald Trump: You’re As Young As You Feel

“You know when I was young. Of course I feel young–I feel like I was 30…35…39… Somebody said, Are you young? I said, I think I’m young. I was stopping in the final months of the campaign, four stops, five stops, seven stops–speeches, speeches, in front of twenty-five, thirty thousand people… fifteen, nineteen thousand. I feel young– I think we’re all so young. When I was young we were always winning things in this country. We’d win with trade, we’d win with wars– at a certain age I remembered hearing from one of my instructors, the United States has never lost a war. And then, after that, it’s like we haven’t won anything. You know the old expression, to the victor belongs the spoils? You remember I always say, keep the oil. I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you, when we were in, we got out wrong. And I always said, in addition to that, keep the oil. ”

Donald Trump’s speech at the Central Intelligence Agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, January 21, 2017. 

Souvenirs from Liza Minnelli’s Wedding to David Guest

The singer Liza Minnelli married concert promoter David Guest on March 16, 2002. They separated a little over a year later, and things turned acrimonious pretty quickly. But it was by all accounts quite a wedding. Elizabeth Taylor was the matron of honour and Michael Jackson was the best man. My father’s friend was one of the many attendees and was kind enough to bring me back some souvenirs: a heart-shaped box of chocolates and an American flag pin wrapped in an AIDS ribbon, with their names and wedding date embossed in gold.