Seventies Nostalgia

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Fran Lebowitz - 1979

In 1979, I interviewed Fran Lebowitz for Ritz Newspaper over tea at Browns Hotel. The celebrity photographer Michael Birt, who was just starting out took this nostalgic still of her, which he has just unearthed in his archives.

In those days, journalists and camera crews were usually allowed to decorate the lobbies in London's top hotels with their equipment instead of being shunted off to the Tradesmens' entrances. But Browns, which Fran described as 'American P.G. Wodehouse with shit in', forbid Michael to take a professional snap of her anywhere in the hotel's ground floor. In the end, he had to sneak this picture of her when none of the hotel staff were looking.

Barry Taylor, then MD at Olympus Cameras hadn't yet given me a freebie tape recorder so I was still using my shorthand to do interviews with. Alas, I couldn't hear everything what Fran was saying about her book "Metropolitan Life" as she softly garbled her words, but I did hear her ask me to look her up in New York when I visited.