10 May 2010


Dylan Thomas, the great Welsh poet, in the full glamor of talent and youth, before the booze puffed him up. The picture that lit a thousand nails.

Belmondo, French and cool. After nine months of not smoking, I saw Breathless (yes, the irony of the title doesn't escape me). I believed in magic. I went out and bought a pack, and smoked for another three years. Jean Seaberg did not betray me. I did not stage any robberies. I just led my life. And smoked. We remain very distinct, Jean-Paul et moi, despite our shared addiction.

How stupid does that sound: you want to write well and look cool, so you smoke? You want to flirt with death because he passed you by, but when you're young, you're stupid with health and life and so, Death, you look pretty, just like a young Sharon Tate. Worth flirting with, yes, with an angry cherry burning at the end of my cig.

Amy Winehouse, the beautiful mess who sings, suffers, bleeds and surfs the edge so we don't have to.
Preiz pour nous.
At 24, she's contracted emphysema.
Life speeds up. So does death, never a slacker.

Emphysema: your lungs drown themselves. Nature, what a joker: black humor, but clever how cancer turns health inside out and emphysema poetically reverses air for water.

It's incurable. Oh, you might get a lung transfer, but by the time you need one that badly, you probably can't stand the operation.

One of the hard parts of quitting and staying away from the damn things is that you have to move to the Other Side -- the puritans and healthniks, the clean of life, the chaste and the boring. You risk, also, becoming tedious on the subject.

Rather than dwell on it too long, I'll let M. Brynner -- acrobat, singer, gypsy, actor, friend of Picasso and Cocteau, lover of beautiful women -- tell you.

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