Monday, February 04, 2008

Every dog has his day. Some of these look like 50's versions of a 17th Century mythological beastiary. That spotted dog with the long neck and moustache whiskers, for example. Is that a leorafus (leopard/giraffe/walrus)? And the sad face of the blue spaniel, and the dour green pekinese steal what little pieces remain of my sordid heart.

This is a smock-style, shapeless shirt. I'd wear it loose and pair it with a turquoise leather skirt and a green cravat. I'm devoted to cravats these days. I'd wear it when I feel like I'm just a dogsbody (rimshot).

I read Jonathan Adler's My Prescription for Anti-Depressant Living over the weekend. Though I believe that the current obesession with 70's modernism is on the wane, and that for the most part Mr. Adler's designs are stunningly similar, nonetheless this is a charming book, filled with lavish photos and witticisms. As well as some very good advice.

Mr. Adler is about the same age as me, and he name-checks some of my favorite (and rarely mentioned) films: Smashing Time, and X, Y and Zee. Both, I can assure you, are better than LSD. The first has a deliriously clad duo of girls from northern England (Lynn Redgrave and Rita Tushingham) who become pop stars after a mere week on Carnaby Street, the second has a crazed Elizabeth Taylor in hotpants with Michael Cane as her skirt chaser of a husband. Mostly they cheat, fight, and engage in lurid acts of interior design. She's got a round bed covered in fluffy white fur!

Mr. Adler also uses his own cinematic visions in decorating. He describes a hotel that he designed in Florida, as having imaginary inhabitants: Mrs. Parker, an Auntie Mame type whose spirit of fun infuses the entire aesthetic. And for the club room restaurant, there's Mr. Parker, Mrs. Parker's very wealthy lothario of a husband, who decorates his lounge with "mantiques": suits of armor, leather wing-back chairs, portraits of pretty girls semi-nude. Hilarious.

I wonder who would be the imaginary inhabitant of my apartment. Say if I had the time, money, energy or inclination to re-do it. Or at the very least, pick-up and sort throught the piles of clothing that clog it up. My cinematic fantasies are all about Barbarella. I want an apartment like her spaceship. Covered in fur, with a big Seurat painting, and a magical closet were I can get dressed in mere seconds.

I've mentioned Mr. Adler before. I love his maxim: Minimalism is a bummer. As you know, goslings, this is something that I live by. He also advocates for overtipping, and refusing to be practical (Chandeliers, he writes, should always be bigger and more expensive than you think you can handle). Great advice indeed. And I totally want to a pet just to name it Liberace. His decorating modus operandi mirrors my own: cover every available surface with the kitsch you love. He inspired me to hang a bunch of Japanese carp windsocks around my loft bed. I’d bought them ages ago for this express purpose, but never got around to it. And I must say they are cheery.

The best advice in this book is about gift-giving. Like most adults (and increasingly, many children) in North America, I have a lot of stuff. I really do not need anything else. Yet on birthdays and whatnot, my dear, darling, cash-strapped friends come up with a gift for me, just as I do for them. Mr. Adler writes that in his decade long relationship with Simon, they have gifted all that can be gifted. Mr. Adler recommends that portraiture makes the best gift. Posed photos, drawings, silhouettes, are all delightful and document that moment in time. Henceforth I propose to offer portraiture to all my friends for special occasions. Now if only I could transform my living room into a portrait studio…

I enjoyed the snippets of his relationship with Simon that he shares with us. How fun would it be to brunch with them in Provincetown and do some antiquing. I also respect how he shares his life story, including the photo of his Bar Mitzvah.

In the closing chapter, Mr. Adler advocates something that was shocking for me, though it is an old-fashioned truism: love is what makes a house a home. He advocates finding someone to love, even if it is a rabbit or a Siamese cat, and Making A Life.

Now for me, the idea of cohabitation has only meant less closet space, and therefore is an anathema. I also love sleeping alone. It’s really more restful. You know I’m right. And how I despise cooking and domesticity, and someone knocking on the bathroom door when I am putting on liquid eyeliner. Indeed, Making A Life with someone seems a project doomed to endless conflict. Unless you are of those lucky few, like Pierre et Gilles, who can find someone who shares your taste in silver lamé and will stand beside you in a matching astronaut costume in a forest made of tinsel.


Blogger SequinExPat said...

I love your blog! Took Daisy to the Met last night, we were talking how much we think you're a genius writer and should be published.

12:35 PM  

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