Monday, August 25, 2008
So, I'm reading The Dud Avocado and it's a lot of fun but I have profoundly mixed feelings about its author Elaine Dundy for the following reason:
I used to have this old friend (she was old, I mean, I didn't know her for all that long) named Lise and when GK4 and I lived in London (she was an old friend of his family's in both senses) we spent a lot of time at her apartment. Later she and I got really close and I stayed with her a few times. She was utterly marvelous; she had the deepest whiskey tenor you've ever heard and she smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish and you could ask her anything from where to find the best salt beef to where to rent a top hat to the best car service plus how to get discounts therefrom - and she knew!And she was endlessly generous and loved to help people in a very unfussy way. She was also one of those people who's incidentally met everyone in the world. She never brought it up but if, say Peter Ustinov or Samuel Beckett or Simone de Beauvoir or the Labor Whip came up, it turned out she'd in fact known/translated for/worked with/dated all of them. When she died it was a great loss to the world.
Anyway, apparently once in the 60's she and her husband were throwing a party (they were known for their marvelous parties) and Kenneth Tynan and Elaine Dundy (to whom he was married at the time) were there, and Lise spied Elaine Dundy grinding out cigarettes into the rug. Lise asked her if she wouldn't mind not doing that, to which Elaine Dundy replied,
"Fuck off, bitch."
Said Lise, "This is my house, and if there's to be any fucking off, it shall be by you," and kicked them out.