High life

Will Iman give me a second chance before I die?

23 January 2016

9:00 AM

23 January 2016

9:00 AM

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.

The African Queen and I have laughed about this many times. Iman I never met again, but the producer Michael White once brought David Bowie to the Eagle club and I sat with them on the terrace. I think I told the story and Bowie could not have been more polite when he heard it. But a genius, as the ghastly Tony Blair called him? I doubt it. The gushing after his death would have made a true genius blush, but such are the joys of living in a world in which pop stars outweigh writers, and businessmen who shuffle money around outrank scientists who invent life-saving processes.

And speaking of businessmen, but one who creates jobs, what about good old Rupert Murdoch, and his future bride Jerry Hall, a Texan I met long ago, when she was Bryan Ferry’s squeeze. Rupert came to mind when I read that the 100-year-old New Republic was up for sale again. I’ll be brief: TNR is a leftie weekly that was bought by a young billionaire partner of Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook infamy. Chris Hughes, who is a married to another man, is the American co-founder of Facebook. He is an effete leftie type who announced that his billions would transform TNR into a digital giant. Yes, and Iman and I had a long night of passion in New York 30 years ago. What bullshit.

Hughes tried to get his husband elected to Congress, failed, then lost 20 million greenbacks in one year trying to make The New Republic relevant. Twenty million is peanuts in the newspaper business. It should also be peanuts to a 32-year-old with sudden riches from what is, as far as I am concerned, a dubious invention that was most likely borrowed from two naive Wasps at Harvard. So he threw in the towel and TNR is up for sale. This is where Rupert Murdoch, the 84-year-old future blushing groom, comes in.

The Australian may at times play dirty but he’s lost double that amount in each of the 40 or so years he’s been keeping the best New York newspaper alive. That’s what billionaires should be doing, keeping great papers like The New York Post — founded by Alexander Hamilton — going. And that’s the difference between a Rupert Murdoch and a Chris Hughes. One’s a tough Aussie who creates, the other is an effete American who bought a toy that he broke. Give me the Australian any day.

My only hope now lies with Iman. Will she give me a second chance before I die? One thing is for sure: this time I will have my keys with me.

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Show comments
  • davidshort10

    What an old sleaze ball, lusting after a man’s widow less than two weeks after his death. The Spectators sinks to a new low.

    • Sanctimony

      Ahh, Disgusted from Tunbridge Wells speaks …

      • davidshort10

        I’m Disgusted from Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, actually.

        • johnhenry

          “I’m Disgusted from Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, actually.”

          Did you mean Côte d’Ivoire? What a stump-toothed hick thou art. Probably a denizen of the Cote Native Reserve in Saskatchewan.

        • Sanctimony

          I would have thought that you had enough on your plate in bongo-bongo land without needing to resort to attacking an octogenarian playboy.

    • johnhenry

      “What an old sleaze ball…”

      What an agist hate-filled slur. Why not call him a Greek sleaze ball?

      • davidshort10

        I’ll let you do that for me.

  • Andrew Dougal

    The poor woman has just within the last week lost her husband of 25 years and the father of her young daughter to cancer, after a long and painful illness.

    I suspect the last thing she will want is a come on from an ageing lecher without the wit to understand how insulting he is being.

    Get a grip you dirty old sleazebag.

    • johnhenry

      “…dirty old sleazebag.”

      Agist slur. Why not call him a dirty Greek sleazebag?

      • davidshort10

        You did that for him, you sleazy troll.

      • Andrew Dougal

        My apologies.Let’s compromise on sleazy t**t

  • cdoc

    Your article is both untimely and inappropriate. David Bowie WAS a musical genius, not a scientist, not a mathematician, simply a genius at what he chose to do as many of his peers concur. As for your comments about Iman, I think you flatter yourself to assume she remembers you as anything other than a sad old narcissist.

    • Ade

      I disagree. Bowie does not stand as a genius alongside Hendrix, Miles Davis, or Charlie Parker. He could knock out a good tune, but so can a lot of people. There is nothing that will endure as being invented by Bowie.

      • cdoc

        Of course our opinions are subjective and while I agree that Hendrix, Davis and Parker equally excelled in their field and in fact Davis is a great favourite of mine, I believe that Bowie’s gift as well as his musicianship was the art of inventing the different characters in the different phases of his career and this made him not just a great musician and composer but also a great showman. There was no such outpouring of grief for the three that you mention. The enigmatic Blackstar that was released on his 69th birthday and two days before his demise I think is testimony to his far reaching aforementioned genius.

    • johnhenry

      “…sad old narcissist.”

      Agist hate-filled slur. Why not call him a sad Greek narcissist?

      • davidshort10

        You did that for him, you sad troll.

    • davidshort10

      Taki has never done anything of note because he is just a drunken playboy, rich through inheritance. He doesn’t even cash the cheques for the column. He is a bed blocker for a real journalist who might like to write a column and earn some money to feed his or her children.

  • urbanpixie

    This seems inaccurate so unbelievable – she hadn’t newly arrived in ’85. She moved to the US in 76. You imply you had a chance with her – maybe (but so far, your piece stinks of bravado) but it’s not sounding plausible. You really do sound like some low-life sleazeball – she had David Bowie/David Jones – AN ARTIST and not a mere pop singer! Why do you flatter yourself. You. Are. Deluded!

  • johnhenry

    Taki, none of the earlier bloviators on this thread much like the cut of your jib, but as for me, thank you for not once using your trademark phrase “mind you” in it.

    As for David Whatshisname, I couldn’t believe that The Economist last page obituary for the dude was actually two pages instead of the usual one, and indeed, I can’t remember the last time they did that for anyone. It’s happened before, I’m sure. Princess Diana maybe?

    • Gilbert White

      Stuffy old writers for the Financial Times are putting out for David, maybe his rock stocks were part of the brief?

    • davidshort10

      ‘Princess Diana’ (aka by her correct title Diana, Princes of Wales, did not deserve even a one paragraph obit whereas Bowie was a genius with a very large body of work behind him. Taki of course has done nothing of note in his life due to being a drunken playboy because he had a rich daddy but presumes to judge a creative superstar who got rich through his talent and hard work.

      • johnhenry

        davidshort10 tut tuts: ‘Princess Diana’ (aka by her correct title Diana, Princes of Wales…

        Live by the sword, die by the sword – what, what, Shorty?

  • sevencritters

    Is this supposed to be clever? This is disgusting. David Bowie made a lot of people happy, that’s why they mourn his passing. As for Iman, who has just lost her partner, the love of her life, and father of her child, I don’t know if she’d give you a second look (let alone chance, you idiot) but perhaps with such crap as this, maybe you ought to be asking God for a second chance before you die, and leave Iman out of it.

  • pretty peggy

    drivel

  • Alex MacDonald

    Love the reactions. “He was a genius! A GENIUS! And you are really really really rubbish!”

    Keep on keeping on

    • Fritz123

      Who is a genius? Trump?

  • cdoc

    Tacky Taki!

  • mr tuffy

    It’s s shame David Bowie had to spent ten minutes listening to this heartless buffoon’s story.

  • Fritz123

    His first record is very nice. Uncle Arthur and more. The opposite of ritzy.

  • Sanctimony

    I never realised that the Spectator had so many petits bourgeois readers… all stamping their highly-polished dancin’ shoes in self-righteous indignation over the death of a pop warbler…. OK he was a highly-rated warbler and his death might have been contributed to by the heroic quantities of proscribed substances that he indulged in during his early life…. but the faux outrage displayed in these comments is a truly modern modern symptom of the ‘flower-leaving’ classes and memories of the mawkish outpourings following the death of Princess Diana are brought to mind….

    • cdoc

      I didn’t greave for or leave flowers for Princess Diana, didn’t actually like her that much but this I know – had I been in the same position as Taki, I wouldn’t have written such a piece on her so soon after her demise, just out of respect for her family and friends. I’m not expressing “faux outrage”, I’m merely questioning a silly old fool who appears to be attempting to relive his hedonistic youth through this questionable anecdotal article!
      #alltheolddudes

      • johnhenry

        The Twit (#alltheolddudes) says: “I’m merely questioning a silly old fool”

        So, you’re a bloody agist? How about calling him a silly drunk Greek fool?

        … ♪ Ah, you’re drunk, you’re drunk! You silly old fool! ♫ …

        The Dubliners (I think)

        • cdoc

          I know some nice upstanding Greeks and spend a lot of time in the company of drunks. Following this article I prefer to think of Taki as an old age mentioner (“I’m ninety six you know”) who, when he’s not queuing for his pension donning a red velvet blazer while reeking of pee, is wallowing in unsubstantiated anecdotes of things he wished had happened. Poor OLD Taki is grasping at straws!

        • Sanctimony

          Ah, JH, so you are both wacist & drunkist in one short utterance…. what will all the pharisees and whited sepulchres on this blog think ?

      • Sanctimony

        Didn’t she also refer to herself as The Peoples’ Princess … The Royals were wised up about her pretentious ambitions and Phil the Greek had her topped… according to Momo Fayed…. allegedly…

    • davidshort10

      So it’s petit bourgeois to have sympathy for a recently widowed woman? It’s not. But it is petit bourgeois to refer to Diana, Princess of Wales, as Princess Diana.

      • Sanctimony

        I’m so, so sorry… of course I should have used her correct title; the Queen of Hearts !

  • This article is just too ridiculous to take seriously…. good grief.

    • johnhenry

      “Good grief”

      Very true, Maria. Not up to the great Taki’s usual level of banter. But tell you what – why not pull up a pair of freshly ironed panties and track pants and walk down to Bowie’s apartment on Lafayette Street (NYC) with some flowers and lay a transexual teddy bear on the stoop?

  • gabrielle

    This Taki person presumes far too much. Also, using Bowie’s death to trot out his version of a story about his widow in order to make a bit of money. What a despicable person.

    • davidshort10

      He doesn’t need the money He has never cashed the cheque for the column ever. High time he was fired but I don’t imagine creepy-crawly Andrew ‘Brillo Pad’ Neill, the Spectator’s MD, would do it.

  • ohforheavensake

    You’re a shrivelled little soul, aren’t you?

  • Skillaz

    Dear Saddo,
    Nope.
    Love from Karma.

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