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.

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

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nicolas Sarkozy, Thrice Married, Says Gay Marriage Humiliates the Family

  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 3:16 PM Watch the Best Part of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run Tour
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.