Kill the Fairy Tales!
Paul Sevigny and me, at the going away party Paul hosted for me before I went to Israel last summer.. a hopeful time
Three boys hang themselves in the course of less than two years. One, a musician. The second, an artist from the core. The third, worked in the music business. They were all friends with each other. I had met all three of them when I travelled with a Brit pack who stomped ground between London and New York, a group that I’ll say, liked to traverse to the dark side of the moon.
They were called Tarka Cordell, Lee (Alexander) McQueen, and a cute boy named Jesse (with shaggy hair, who once dated model Amber Valletta) and whose last name I never did catch. But, I do remember joking around with Jesse, who flirted, laughed easily, and whose sunny disposition seemed to shine for miles. He hung himself a little over a week ago. He had found Tarka, his friend in the same position and perhaps the memory of that had left an indelible impact.
They say that bad things happen in threes.
Tarka, whose father Denny Cordell — a famed English producer of bands like the Moody Blues — used to play gigs around New York. Perhaps, because of his good looks– warm brown eyes, killer smile, and unusually sexy white curly hair (dyed, even in his twenties)– people placed his music as secondary to his general charm. I first met him while he tended bar at Sweet and Vicious on Spring Street. He later returned to the UK, then travelled to India, supposedly experienced a transcendental mirage over there. About a month later, Jesse found him dead in his Notting Hill apartment.
Tarka– also an ordained minister of some sort, presumably via the internet– married two friends of mine. Lee McQueen had designed the dress. Jesse, who eerily resembled the groom, was also close to the couple. She, an actress. He, an artist. They now, have filed for divorce.
To protect their privacy, I will not reveal their names, but she did say to me after Lee’s tragic suicide. “I feel like the pillars of my wedding are crumbling.” That turn of phrase broke my heart.
I watch as we grow older — that certain group of us who arrived in Manhattan in the Nineties and kicked it up in underground places — about the ones trapped in a party train: the ones who didn’t get off when the rest of us realized that no real destination existed. Yeah, it was fun while it lasted as long as you made it to the other side in one piece. But often, we… people… arrive broken. And sometimes, it’s tough to piece yourself back together again. The luckiest of us can still kick it up without losing ourselves.
So bizarre, this era of insta celebrity, where doing drugs with the right tween wreck can propel someone into style pages of magazines or the internet. We fail to tell human stories or to value a person for his or her talent, creativity, or even a smile that makes you feel connected. I only knew Tarka socially, but I remember his smile. He could hug you with it. But most folks in this era would want to know him because he had dated Kate Moss.
Well, the people in the minions surrounding the stars, the people who work for them sometimes or surround them to propel themselves to fame, they care. Even certain people who call themselves journalists use the media calling card to enlist a whole blackberry of celebrity friends.
At the end of the day, it’s bullshit. It really is, since, famous or not, we all use the toilet. And a lot of famous people I’ve known are bloody miserable.
I remember last year at this time, planning my summer in Israel, a place where I have genetic roots, but also a land of incredible beauty and magic. (My friend Paul (above), who has survived and has thrived in NYC nightlife, presided over my going away fete.) Perhaps, because Israel is surrounded by enemies and also because the Palestinians live in a no man’s zone that needs to find peaceful resolve, Israelis can’t worry about the type of bullshit with which we obsess here. That’s not to say, I wish America hosted its own war zone, but let’s get real.
Let’s simplify and take care of our friends and value people for things that matter before it’s too late.
In the coming weeks, I will feature fiction installments from a new novel, based on `the New York life,’ on this website. Perhaps, some of you will be able to relate to it.
Kill the fairy tales before they kill us.