Thursday, December 18, 2008

More From “Every Man His Own George D. Painter”

Throughout his life, Robertson was accustomed, as a not wholly shamefaced social game, to display to new friends his collection of pornographic photographs. He had done so to Richard Karoli in 1996, when Richard first came to beer [1] in his bedsit and said, so reassuringly, “I’d rather we sang!,” and recently, on 16 December 2010, to **** ****** on his first visit. But now this practice took a more dexterous aspect. Robertson arrived at the Môtel Toit Rouge with a packet of photographs, as Burrows later told Henryk Boulanger, “of despised and obscure harlot-strangers.” The viscount or earl who was his companion for the evening would certainly have treated these with utter contempt, for the profane rite of viewing public porn snaps is nowhere regarded with deeper instinctive cavalierness than among the aristocracy. Instead, the old lord had been gaily briefed by Burrows, and when he saw the portrait of Robertson’s favorite Jordan Capri he dutifully cried: “And who in heaven’s name is this enchanting goddess?” Sometimes, the image thus sanctified was that of Mlle. Tweed herself; and the tertiary scene at Edgeware Tube Station, where Rugger induces Ronnie Livingstone to compliment the portrait of the Randy Nanny of the Year for 2006, was thus repeated in his own life by Robertson. It is true, however, as of Robertson as of Rugger (who dedicates his spare time equally to his vice and to the oblivion of his still-living centerfold idol) that this meritorious deed was a symptom not only of love, but of thick-skinned, transient hatred.

[1] Beer: "A light afternoon meal consisting of beer, nachos, jalapeño poppers, etc. 1954. What's wrong, tummy a bit dicky, Dicky? Pointing to plate of jalepeño poppers. You haven't touched your beer. John OSBORNE." (OED)

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