“And as my brain drowned in jetlag, I thought of the months I lived here. So much of that time I was sick and crippled with anxiety, but all I could think about now as night fell was how much you can love made-up people… and how much you can miss them.”—
“Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.”—American Gods (via somethingsomethingwittycomment)
Oscar Wilde was an old comrade-in-arms of the British operetta writers Gilbert and Sullivan (their impressario RichardD’Oyly Carte had organised Wilde’s 1881 lecture tour of the USA). Sullivan was a shareholder of the new Savoy Hotel in London, built and inititated by D’Oyly Carte. Of course one wnated to have Wilde as a patron at the Savoy. Wilde, as author and wit the inventor of today’s ‘beautiful people’, was a much-desired all-purpose party guest. His connection with the hotel was as spectacular as his scandalous fate.
Oscar Wilde and his friend Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas
Wilde, who gave us such delightful plays as The Importance of being Earnest and a good two pages in any reputable dictionary of quotations, stayed at The Savoy in March 1893. While everybody else was totally taken with the hotel’s modern techniques and features, Wilde scorned the idea of plumbed-in washstands with running cold and hot water: ‘What is it good for? If I want hot water, I call for it.’
His homosexual affair with Lord Alfred ‘Bosie’ Douglas brought his flamboyant lifestyle at The Savoy to a bitter end. He had taken adjoining rooms on the third floor for himself and Lord Douglas. After a ‘wilde’ time, Douglas left the hotel and Wilde moved into a suite overlooking the river. He then wrote to Douglas: ‘Dearest of Boys, Your letter was delightful, red and yellow wine to me; but I am sad and out of sorts. I must see you soon. You are the divine thing I want, the thing of grace and beauty. My bill here is £49 for a week. I fear I must leave—no money, no credit, and a heart of lead.’
Bosie’s father took his son’s homosexual relations with Wilde as a personal affront and instituted legal proceedings. In one of the most sensational trials of the 19 century, Oscar Wilde was charged in 1895 with committing acts of ‘gross indecency’ with a string of young men. A handful of Savoy employees were among the key witnesses for the prosecution.
Wilde was found guilty and sentenced to two years’ hard labour. Thus, the hotel lost one of its most flamboyant guests. After his release from prison, Wilde left England and wandered around Europe for what were to be the last three years of his life. He died in 1900, at another hotel, the Hotel d’Alsace in Paris.
This - his last - hotel stay brought us his famous comment: “This wallpaper will be the death of me: one of us will have to go.”
I’m willing to go out on a limb here and guess that most stories of kindness do not begin with drug addicted celebrity bad boys.
His name is Robert Downey Jr.
You’ve probably heard of him. You may or may not be a fan, but I am, and I was in the early 90’s when this story takes place.
It was at a garden party for the ACLU of Southern California. My stepmother was the executive director, which is why I was in attendance without having to pay the $150 fee. It’s not that I don’t support the ACLU, it’s that I was barely twenty and had no money to speak of.
"Today is your day. You're off to Great Places!You're off and away!You have brains in your head.You have feet in your shoes You can steer yourselfany direction you choose.You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go." I love you.