By far the most compelling person we met today at brunch was a man by the name of Laurence Isaacson. Laurence is the owner of Paris Commune, was George Harrison's schoolmate and is a raconteur of great verve and passion. He's a big gay mountain of a man who smells strongly of cologne and whose accent and wealth nearly obscures his poor Liverpudlian upbringing. He was the owner of Cafe des Amis du Vin in Covent Garden for a number of years before he sold it for $6 mil and moved to New York. We have organized his stories into a handy biography of three short chapters.
I grew up in Liverpool. In those days Liverpool was like Ireland, you either had to go to a Catholic school or a Protestant School. I ended up going to a Protestant school even though I was Jewish. The school was so Protestant that they didn't allow Catholics to enter prayers. George Harrison, who was Catholic, went to this school too. So every morning at nine we were locked up in a room together, George and I, while the rest of the class went to the chapel. He used to beat me up everyday. George was a ruffian and I, I was a nice Jewish boy from the right side of the tracks. I'd come home from school and my mum would say, "I bet you and George were fighting again." And we were. I'll be honest with you, when he died, I wasn't sad at all. I didn't hate him because he was self-righteous. I hated him because he was common.
II. Early Manhood
When I was 24 and still had a waist, a lot of incredibly wealthy men would chase me around. One of these men saw me in London and invited me to have dinner with him in Paris. So I did what any 24-year-old would do: I said yes. So the next day he sends his private Lear jet to pick me up and he flies me to his Paris home. The man owned the Perrier company, so he was fabulously wealthy. He's wining and dining me and he's clearly trying to get into my pants but I'm not giving it up. Finally he says, "I"ll give you anything you want!" And I said, "A ticket home!" So the next morning, true to his word, he arranges for the jet to take me back to London. I'm sitting in the jet and the stewardess offers champagne. And then I see this other woman in the plane, slightly older but very well dressed. "Bonjour," I say, "Je m'appelle Isaac. Et vous, madame?" And she says, "Coco. Coco Chanel." So we spend the flight back to London talking about how basically our mutual friend had tried to rape me. But she just laughed and said, "Ah, Gussy. That is his way."
III. Middle Age
Now I live in a gigantic penthouse apartment on Crosby Street. I have two pools. It's all very Mommy Dearest meets Auntie Mame. But I used to live under Courtney Love and Lenny Kravitz. That was hell. I once saw Courtney rolled out of the building in a gurney with her arms tied down screaming. Another time I confronted her in the lobby where she had her suitcase and had tossed her lingerie all over the room. "Courtney, I said, what are you doing?" "I'm looking for my Xanax! I need my Xanax!" Lenny Kravitz used to show me his abs all the time. If I had to choose between his abs and her underwear, I'd pick his abs any day of the week.
I also have a beautiful house on Fire Island, in the Pines. The people who live in [nearby] Cherry Grove are short, ugly and hairy. And that's just the women! The men are poor and all old. In the Pines you either have to be very rich, very good looking or very witty. Thankfully I'm incredibly wealthy.