Looking around her apartment in the Dakota above Central Park, Lauren Bacall saw ‘my several lives’ surrounding her. ‘Going from room to room,’ she writes in her 1994 memoir, Now, ‘I am faced with one or more of my collections, my follies: books, pewter, brass, Delft, majolica, tables, chairs, things... how did it happen, the acquiring of all this, the accumulation of it? Now that I have it all, what do I do with it? Who will want it?’ Quite a few people, it turns out: at the auction of Bacall’s belongings at Bonhams last week, every lot sold, from the Henry Moore sculptures to the Louis Vuitton luggage to the Ted Kennedy lithograph of daffodils (the auctioneer joked about the ‘collective gasp’ in the crowd when he announced that this one had ‘lots of pre-sale interest’), to the miniature bronze statue of Bogart in his gumshoe get-up (14 inches high; $16,250).
Beauty, acting, stardom: we do and don't want to think it all takes work. Jennifer Lawrence is a gift to both points of view: a disciplined pro with a bow and arrow, who really did skin that squirrel for Winter's Bone, and who already at 24 has three Best Actress Oscar nominations (and a win) behind her, she's also the pointedly low-maintenance everygirl who drinks too much and throws up, trips over her dress when accepting her Academy Award, announces on the red carpet that her strapless Dior dress is giving her ‘armpit vaginas’. Stephen Colbert riffed on her reputation for earthy authenticity when he suggested that, like Katniss Everdeen, her character in the Hunger Games movies, she was plucked from obscurity to become an eventual role model, and that Kentucky, where she was born and grew up, is ‘a little District 12-y in places’.
‘Do you really like movies?’ a weary Lindsay Lohan asks another woman in The Canyons (2013), Paul Schrader and Bret Easton Ellis’s languid micro-budget thriller. ‘Maybe it’s just not my thing any more.’ Widely considered uninsurable, Lohan has had a hard time getting cast in anything for years: the footage of her social life and legal troubles has been far outstripping her film career for a very long time, and she’s still only 28.
Four months after Amanda Knox was acquitted of murdering Meredith Kercher, HarperCollins has paid her several million dollars for her memoirs. We will soon be able, we're told, to hear ‘her side of the story’ – except that her side, an account of the ‘nightmarish ordeal that placed her at the centre of a media storm’, to be told with the help of a ‘collaborator’, already sounds a little familiar.
In my favourite picture of Amy Winehouse, she’s holding a hoover. It’s partly the thought that Amy Winehouse did the hoovering, partly that she looked like that – hair aloft, fag askew, lids weighed down with liner – full-time. She always mixed the real and the unreal. Her voice, described in the New Yorker as a kind of ‘aural blackface’, belonged in several decades at once. Her version of ‘Valerie’ made the Zutons’ sound like a cover; the way she sang it, it could almost have been an original Motown song – the reverse of what Phil Collins once did to ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’. Detroit met Southgate somewhere in her voice.