New York Sunday Times & Howard Hughes

What a joy to once again relax with the fat and redolent New York Sunday Times. No other paper has writers with such style and class, no one can put their finger on the East Coast Pulse like the Sunday Styles section. One essay that stood out was by Katherine Tanney, in the Modern Love column. She described a scene, after a wedding, in a hotel at 3 am, with her permanent boyfriend lying on the twin bed beside her. They agree that while they are happy to celebrate other people’s nuptials, such a thing will never happen between them. The cartoon artwork depicts a couple standing, kissing, while the man is sawing out a hole in the floor beneath him, creating an escape hatch. He keeps on dropping these little wedding bells hints, but she resists, and then finds herself pining for a real proposal. A fascinating and insightful read.

The other volume I’m racing through is the new biography of Howard Hughes. This is the one that has been made into the critically acclaimed new film with Leonardo de Caprio as the reclusive billionaire. So far we are still in the early ‘2os, with Howard financing this big budget movie called “Hells Angels” starring Jean Harlow and a cast of other stars. Hughes comes across as a cad from day one, cheating on his adoring wife, lusting after male stars, even bribing another man to let his wife have a divorce so she can be with him. Hughes also makes the movie stars nervous by filming gun fights with real bullets in the Thompson submachine guns and forcing them to film mock airplane crashes and then one of the pilots dies.

This is a fantastic if somewhat sensational bio of an intriguing personality. The book’s forward about how many filmmakers have fought over the rights to film Hughes’ life adds to the allure of the subject.