Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Zadie, Bombay and I

I started with Ice Storm and then The Bourne Ultimatum on the plane - at last BA has video-on-demand and a decent-ish back catalogue. Imagine in the future when we will have access to any film ever made on-demand - can't wait!

Ang Lee's film holds up well - in many ways it is a better film than Brokeback, and equally contraversial in its exploration of the erotic world of children. I was puzzled by one thing though: how did the student character know about what had happened back home in New Canaan? Was it a hiatus in the plot, or telepathy, or did it relate somehow to the Fab Four comic metaphysics in the beginning sequence (the family pushing you out into the void, sucking you back in). His impulse to get on the train is understandable enough - but how come his family were waiting for him at the station in the morning? Answers on a postcard please.. Between the two films, I read from Cormac McCarthy's novel No Country for Old Men - it looks like I am going to have to read more of his stuff (next stop, The Road) - he has an incredibly taut vernacular prose style - Raymond Chandler heads Deep South....

I began to regret saving a couple of hundred quid getting the BA that lands at midnight plus forty rather than the one that lands mid-afternoon. The plane took ages to dock, then we had to wait an hour for the luggage. It was past 2am by the time that was all done.

I changed some money at Thomas Cook and there she was - the suspicion of Zadie Smith in profile (that nose, those freckles), with a lanky oyinbo by her side sorting the money. I glanced and glanced again (she glanced back - the anxiety of fame leading to the anxiety of anticipated recognition) and was sure it was her, but was theoretically sure it was not her (why Bombay, on the same flight?) I traipsed out of the hall, and among the sea of names of hotel boards was Zadie Smith, Taj Palace. The taxi I'd booked for the Oberoi was of course nowhere to be seen. I turned around and there she was, coming toward the exit - boyfriend/husband a good few metres behind. The word opportunity formed in my head and floated out like a smoke ring.

Naturally being the inquisitive/nosey type, I introduced myself. We'd met years before, a couple of weeks before she became the new wunderkind on publication of White Teeth, at a party in Camden. I blagged a ride down to Colaba with them. We chatted, while the boyfriend/husband stayed shtum (I imagine its because he's a poet, all moody and thoughtful). She told me they lived in Rome but are leaving in 6 months. I thought about how much Teju Cole would love to swap places with me right now (and ditch the boyfriend/husband in the process)..

Anyway, enough village-boy. I'm knackered, and its 10 days of vipassana from tomorrow at Dhamma Giri. There's just time for a quick trip to Fab India and Wasabi at the Taj Palace...
I am about to disappear until the New Year. To all my readers: have a fabulous and lovely holiday and a great new year.

PS: see if you can spot me at the Berlin conference: here.


Anonymous,  2:13 pm  

Have a good break Jez! Enjoyed reading your posts. Keep up the good work (if you can) when you return.

Anonymous,  3:12 pm  

Read "The Road" asap. Sparse, grey, economical and loaded. Possibly one of my best reads this year.
Salaam to you in Bombay

Wordsbody 5:07 pm  

Oh, there you are with your hand up...

ZS: I was gearing up to snap her at the Orange Prize 07 ceremony only for her to (deliberately) look away as I clicked. I tried to take another but she kept her face averted. Then one of her companions said, rather rudely, "I don't think she liked that first one, do you?" The champagne's flowing into someone's head! I thought of the friend. I had the last laugh, because Levy (04 winner) later dragged the 07 winner for a long photocall with ZS, who couldn't now look away. I nearly stuck my tongue out at her rude friend.

Anonymous,  6:37 pm  

Jeremy, the "holiday" is called CHRISTMAS. Try saying it slowly and see how easily it trips off the tongue. KRRISSMUSS...
Here's hoping you enjoy the silence and then come back firing from all cylinders in 2008.

uknaija 7:45 pm  

As the Americans would say "Happy holidays" :-)

Uzo 9:18 pm  

Oh India....Love, Love Fab India and all those fabulous kurtas...

Happy holidays...

dede,  1:41 am  

I think I spotted you. The one raising the hand?

Fred 5:40 pm  

Don't tell the missus, but I love Zadie Smith. Rrr…

lolaojiks 6:29 pm  


Isn't it a little too early for "Goodbye till New Year"

Belema 12:01 am  

Adieu bro have fun!!!

Anonymous,  7:25 pm  

Spotted - you are in picture #6 December 14th........
Aaaah, boredom :)

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