What Happened When I Introduced Hitchens to My Then-Boyfriend Martin Amis

A wartime lexicon.
Dec. 17 2011 7:28 AM

How Silly—and Happy—We Were

What happened when I introduced Hitchens to my then-boyfriend Martin Amis.

111216_FW_hitchens9
The late Christopher Hitchens

Photo by Getty Images.

See Slate’s full tribute to the life of Christopher Hitchens. Read Slate’s complete collection of Christopher Hitchens' columns.

To be boring and conventional, which Christopher never was, I am going to start  out with my first clear memory of Christopher. Walking down a mossy, medieval alley in Oxford, dressed in preposterous hot pants and high heeled suede boots (don’t ask, it was 1969) with my then-boyfriend, Martin Amis, we ran into two men I vaguely knew—Christopher and James Fenton—coming toward us. We stopped, I introduced them to Martin, we chatted briefly, and we all moved on.

I like to think that was the beginning of the deep, enduring friendship—actually more of a love affair—between Martin and Hitch that was to last 42 years, longer than either of their marriages.

My next memory takes place in New York, where I’d moved the year after I married my husband, Peter Foges. A charming duplex in a brownstone in the Village had come with his job at the BBC (those were the days) and since we had a spacious guest room (and no babies yet) it only made sense that Christopher should come and stay with us for about six months when he moved to New York in 1981.

Advertisement

In those long lost days, when we were young and childless, we often went out to parties together in a kind of gang, and I remember one evening when Martin, Christopher, and my husband and I all arrived—possibly after one or two cocktails—at some upwardly mobile soiree given by Arianna Stassinopoulos (not yet Huffington) in a hideous apartment in one of those white bricked buildings on the Upper East Side.  Why I can’t quite recall now, but Christopher and Martin took it into their heads to start chanting, ”Fuck pigs frolic in a fountain of jizz.”  I think this catchy phrase might have come from a headline in Screw magazine—hey, you can’t say that those hacks don’t have a way with words—and we all laughed so much, while never letting go of the chant, that we were soon, unsurprisingly, asked to leave. Christ, how silly—and happy—we were.

The last time I saw Christopher was in July at a party that Anna Wintour gave at her house in New York when my book was published.  I don’t think any of us expected him to come. He was already very sick and he wasn’t going out so much, but as he put it to me when he arrived, “There was no fucking way I was going to miss Anna’s party for you, so here I am.” With his beautiful wife, Carol, surrounded by friends—James Fenton, Steve Wasserman, Martin and his wife, Isabel—he sat in the garden, drinking whisky, smoking and talking, talking, talking in that beautiful, unmistakable voice of his.

After dinner, there was of course no question of going straight home. Instead we all went off to Da Silvano for more drinks and cigarettes and talk. It must have been way past 2 in the morning when I kissed him goodbye. Forever.

See Slate’s full tribute to the life of Christopher Hitchens. Read Slate’s complete collection of Christopher Hitchens' columns.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

The Ludicrous Claims You’ll Hear at This Company’s “Egg Freezing Parties”

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful, a new book argues.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM Going Private To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 1 2014 10:49 AM James Meredith, Determined to Enroll at Ole Miss, Declares His Purpose in a 1961 Letter
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 10:44 AM Everyone’s Favorite Bob’s Burgers Character Gets a Remix You Can Dance to
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 10:27 AM 3,000 French Scientists Are Marching to Demand More Research Funding
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 7:30 AM Say Hello to Our Quasi-Moon, 2014 OL339
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.