Published Jul 01, 2001There's been so much glamour in my life lately, it almost makes me want to throw up, a very glamorous response to glamour. Because you see, as I've tried to explain before (but nobody really listens anymore), what most people don't understand is that my idea of glamour is much different, nay, positively contradictory, to what most people might consider glamorous. For example, on my recent trip to Milano to interview and photograph glamorous Italian starlet Asia Argento, I read in the glamorous National Post that two local gay men had died of meningitis, a rather glamorous disease owing to the fact that it is highly contagious and overtakes and kills you in a matter of hours. Speculation was rife that the unfortunate pair may have contracted this deadly bacterial infection in a bathhouse, so every mother's faggot son was running to the doctor or the free clinic to get the glamorous antidote in case they'd been in contact with it. I, on the other clammy hand, was on my way to the airport with a hundred bucks and a couple of glamorously maxed out credit cards in my pocket to catch a plane, paid for by a glamorous New York magazine, to Milan, glamour capital of the world, where I had a free hotel and glamorous per diem awaiting me, but I was convinced that I would come down with the aforementioned disease half way across the pond and perish, glamorously infecting everyone in my vicinity.
What a glamourous predicament to be in.
I figured that the outbreak of the deadly disease had been just barely far enough in the past to put me out of danger (which was almost too bad, because danger is dead glamorous), so I decided to soldier ahead and risk the trip, because otherwise I'd be liable for the unused plane ticket and lose a job on top of it. And as long as I didn't kiss anybody for the next 24 hours, I figured I wouldn't end up the new Patient Zero, whose glamour I could never aspire to.
It's a good thing that I went, because Asia more than lived up to her rather glamorous name: almost as big as the continent itself (she was eight-and-a-half months pregnant), and twice as mysterious. I first laid eyes on her in the lobby of the Hotel Principe di Savoia, one of the most expensive and certainly most glamorous hotels in all of Milano, her protruding belly covered by a red shawl, and her glamorous little Chihuahua, named Dziga (after the famous Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov, who directed The Man with the Movie Camera) shivering at the end of a long leash. As she had been staying at the hotel for the last couple of months while shooting some wildly popular television show that she consented to do only to repair her image after a glamorous hit and run she'd been involved in two months previously (it was quasi-glamorously blown out of all proportion), the concierge, who clearly worshipped her, allowed us free use of the Governor's suite to do our little photo shoot.
After conducting the first part of our interview during a light lunch during which we shared a bottle of wine and several cigarettes (smoking and drinking while visibly pregnant, within reason, is uber-glamorous), we retreated to the room for the shoot, but once we got their I realised that I had glamorously forgotten the film in my hotel room. Asia and I had bonded by now (she was already a fan of my movies), so she Anna Magnanimously consented to wait, smiled at me and thrust an umbrella into my hand and directed me to run out into the rain to retrieve some film at a nearby kiosk.
I nervously jumped into the elevator and ran through the lobby, which was glamorously bottle-necked with mean-looking men in black suits and sunglasses whom Asia had told me were there to provide extra security for one of the Spice Girls (who have long since squandered what little glamour they once had) who was scheduled to arrive soon at the hotel. Slightly panicked, I ran all the way to the kiosk and back, bobbing and weaving through a sea of black umbrellas, arriving back at our room just as Asia was glamorously applying her blood red lipstick. The shoot from then on went swimmingly, somewhat literally, with Asia naked in the bathtub with her big tummy, partially covered by the tattoo of an angel, sticking out of the suds, a cigarette, we had mutually decided, most glamorously jammed in the corner of her mouth. Glamour doesn't get much more glamorous in my humble estimation.
The next day I had lunch with Asia and her glamorous rock star boyfriend near his recording studio in a part of Milano called Naviglia, which is criss-crossed with canals. We ate at a restaurant they frequent which is run by the Italian Mafia (glamour), filling up on large plates of pesto pasta and ripe polenta as we watched little Dziga, Asia's male Chihuahua, vigorously and relentlessly (and glamorously) attempt to hump the large male Dalmatian of the Mafiosi. Speculation about the biological inherence of homosexuality in nature ensued, along with my observation that for a tiny pooch, Dziga certainly had a big dick, proportionally speaking.
After smoking a little hashish (just a soupcon: Italians like to prepare their offspring for the harsh realities which lie ahead), Asia and I grabbed a cab across town to a famous cemetery, which glamorously features much Gothic statuary, to continue our photo shoot. When we arrived, however, it was already late afternoon and the cemetery had just closed five minutes earlier. Asia, with a black shawl around her head her dark glasses looking for all the world like a pregnant Italian war widow, used her glamour power to talk our way into the place, even though a) it was closed, b) there were no dogs allowed, and c) there were no cameras allowed. (We didn't bother to tell them we were there to take pictures.) So we wandered around the bone orchard for an hour (we said we'd be five minutes) as I surreptitiously snapped Asia in front of weeping statues and ancient mausoleums. It was beyond the valley of glamour.
After getting back to Toronto, my thirst for glamour was whetted, so off I went to Sneakers, our glamorous hustler bar, for a little hustling adventure. I picked up a rent boy named Fidel who told me he was a famous skateboarder but he was bummed because somebody had stole his board a week ago so he was grounded. He had a cute face and a nice little body, but actually I was more interested in his tall tales some about living in L.A., some about being in jail so I gave him the money for the crack and we headed back to my glamorous bachelor pad. Thing is, the dude had made me buy some cheesy men's magazines like Maxim at the 7-11, and the only way he could get off was to jerk off on me while looking at all these decidedly unglamorous photos of desperate half-nude starlets. And when he ran out of magazines, he started jerking off to any women he could find in the Cinemateque Ontario program guide I had lying around, including, I believe, a picture of Tony Curtis from Some Like It Hot. That was pretty glamorous, but even more so was when I sent him out with 50 bucks to get some more rock and he never came back, even though he'd worn my X-Large hooded sweatshirt that I'd generously loaned him to keep warm. I kind of didn't want him to return anyway I had a business lunch the next day, and besides, he wasn't exactly what you might call well-equipped for his chosen profession, if you know what I mean, although I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say it may have been attributable to his choice of drugs but it was an unexpectedly glamorous turn of events to be ripped off by a trick as I have been so glamorously often in the past. Although I'm a world authority on hustlers, I still always fall for their cheap tricks.
A few nights later I went to a birthday party for glamorous Scott Thompson at his new digs in an obscure location in Toronto I can't name because he's hiding out from a glamorous fatwa that was placed on him by some disgruntled followers of Islam who took umbrage to his ex-boyfriend's scathing documentary on Saddam Hussein which aired recently on the CBC's excellent series "Rough Cuts." Scott had only several nights before caused a scandal by trying out some new, rather risqué material (that wasn't even gay-themed) in front of a bunch of stuffy Can Lit establishment types, including Margaret "I Talk Like a Ventriloquist" Atwood, who in fact walked out in a huff in the middle of his act. After his jokes went over like 99 lead luft balloons, Scott asked the assembled guests why they'd invited him in the first place, which made them even more uncomfortable. The whole sordid affair ended up on the cover of the National Post, our most glamorous right wing daily newspaper.
The previous week I had attended another very uncomfortable event involving a famous comedian making an entire audience nervous: Jerry Lewis speaking at the Learning Annex. Unfortunately I can't write about it here because I promised the story to another publication, but believe me the whole event had a very Altamont kind of trajectory, very "Gimme Jerry." Very glamorous.
And last but not least, just today I essayed a Honcho photo shoot with a porn star from the suburbs who looked like he was straight out of the great 70s porn classic The El Paso Wrecking Company. He was a strapping man with a handlebar moustache who drove a four-wheel drive half ton truck and smoked cigars. I shot him in an abandoned gravel pit, but before I started to snap the pics, he whipped out a bottle of trazedone and a needle and injected his penis with the liquid, which apparently gives one a constant erection for four or five hours. And that's enough glamour for one week.