Vanished Years

Ropert Everett
Publisher
Little, Brown
Price
£13.99
ISBN
9780349000213

Andy Warhol sat on a banquette at a club called Area with his latest protege, a young black artist named Jean-Michel Basquiat. That season the two men were inseparable. They were well matched. Andy was an arts-seasoned vampire and went out to feed on new blood at night. Jean-Michel, also a hungry opportunist but green, blunt and addicted, was learning the ropes. It was here in the coloured shards of light thrown from the glitter ball, where the rich and famous got messy, that they conducted their business. It was here, and possibly only here, in this corner of that rat-infested isle, that you could sell a printed silk-screen signed by an assistant for a $100,000. They sat motionless, these two household gods, neither talking nor moving, just waiting, a pair of flesh-eating vegetables, for some mosquito with a bladder full of plasma to buzz by.

Isabella stalked into the club, looking from right to left. Flanked by the beautiful Colin on one side and me on the other, both of us moving instinctively into a sort of flotilla, with Colin's girlfriend taking (it) up the rear, Isabella ploughed ahead, our wooden figurehead, breasts exposed, a demonic smile fixed on her face, and laughter already gurgling up from inside her like water from faulty drains.

Andy Warhol acknowledged our arrival with a helpless wave. It was all we needed. Our formation wheeled, banked and dive-bombed onto the banquette next to him. In the game of Snakes and Ladders we had. thrown double sixes and were flying up the big ladder right to the jackpot.

'We're so naughty!' screamed Isabella over the music, winking at Colin and me as we sat down. There was no room for Colin's girl­friend and Isabella rolled her eyeballs. She had a short fuse when it came to girlfriends.

'Andy, would you mind moving up a bit,' she said, and then burst into honks of laughter. 'I can't believe I'm telling Andy Warhol to budge up,' she told the photographer who had appeared out of nowhere. Flash. When we had all settled down she introduced Colin to Andy and Jean-Michel, careful to leave no detail of Colin's ances­try uncharted.