~le pâle squelette joue des castagnettes~

October 1st, 2008


Le pâle squelette/De mes amourettes/Joue des castagnettes…
(The pale skeleton/Of my little loves/Plays castanets…)
~Serge Gainsbourg, Les Oubliettes

Charlotte Gainsbourg has kept her father’s apartment at 5 bis Rue de Verneuil, Paris exactly as he left it when he died seventeen years ago. I now have an idea what it would be like to be Serge, rise from the dead, and waltz down the hall past cabbage-headed sculptures and ashtrays over-flowing with long-ago smoked Gitanes.



Being in New York–in the country at all in fact–for the first time in nine months is strange enough. Being in the apartment that is basically a museum of Alfonso and me is down right spooky.



I have begun to make images to send to Alfonso, a sort of preview before he arrives in two weeks time, or “Our old New York through my new eyes”. It helps to give the experience context somehow.



It is truly a parallel universe, not exactly It’s a Wonderful Life, but something like it–everything is still here–the people, the shops, my dusty olive oil (!)–just I’ve been somewhere else. It is a bit like rising from the dead, or maybe being dead, a ghost.

This evil vetoed lipstick is called “Modest”. I was looking for something in “Unrepentant Hussy”…

However spooky, the city is also shining it’s love light like crazy. Even at the MAC counter, where (as a wedding thing) I was made-up in such a way by a sweet goth-damaged young miss as to inspire Jenna, my dear friend of twenty-five years to say, “You look like the actual portrait of Dorian Gray!!” I washed off one hundred years of debauchery before our massages in China Town.



I’ve been several times to the Upper West Side to a well-respected tailor (who can handle the five layers of bias-cut silk that is my dress) and stood in front of a cluster of impatient ladies-who-lunch customers while being fitted. Pretty much the dentist was more fun, though Silhouettes and Profiles is a great old-school NY business run by a kind woman who–when she learned this would be my wedding dress–said in all seriousness, “It must be perfect then.”



Today I wandered the West Village and Chelsea in the rain before my dinner date with some dear friends I was glad to see after so long. Then I headed “home” to Greenpoint and my museum/apartment for the first night (I’ve been staying with Jenna until now).




A package waiting for me held the custom linen shirt we ordered for Alfonso to be married in. Not wanting a monogram I had typed “none” in the box that demanded an text entry, and voila! His cuff says…


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