Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography
I experienced an Anthony Bourdain weekend. I downloaded Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography by Laurie Woolever. In between bouts of reading, I'd look up the film shoot locations, the happy locations, the dark mood locations. I loved the writing. I kept wondering--do all these people really have this wonderful vocabulary? Or is it the author's hand? It was an amazing book. Snippets of family, friends, and work partners talking about their interactions with this shy person who created a bad-ass persona and became a celebrity, chef and media great, in his mid 40's because of his book, Kitchen Confidential (reviewed here in the past). All who loved Tony were just trying to understand why he did it. What went wrong. This book was an amazing account of Tony, his life in his later years, his move to TV, his celebrity; his personality, his moods, his work ethic, his moods. :) So, when I put down my book to cook because all of the talk of food made me hungry, made me want something other than water, I made myself some lunch and put on an episode referenced in the book in the background as I cooked and ate. I watched an episode about the closing of El Bulli, the No. 1 restaurant in the world, on the Costa Brava of Spain (my son is going there in the spring). I had gone there when I was 16 when I lived in Germany as a military brat after being evacuated from Iran (in 1979) and my parents were trying to give my sister and me even more culture. I started crying quietly watching it. The head chef was amazing, Tony was amazing and gracious, the huge staff in the kitchen, the fish stew on the beach with his chef friend, Jose ... I just cried.
At dinner tonight, I talked to my family about my weekend: the book, the next book I'm going to read (Tom Vitale's book) and how I felt at the end of this one. Devastated. We are all big fans of all of his shows. My husband said, Sandy, if he'd met you, things would have been different for him. You'd have helped. I don't know, I think I would have tried, I'm the type to love unconditionally and maybe I'd have been a match for Asia Argento? Maybe not. No tattoos. Not as beautiful. Much older. Salt and pepper gray hair suits me just fine. Smart men. Men who can cook. I know we all fall in love with celebrities, and I know they need their space from fans. Tony needed his space but at the same time was reportedly very generous with his fans. My celebrity crush.
I once ran into Sam Waterston of Law and Order fame in Avon, Connecticut at an Au Bon Pain and I admit I acted much too star struck. And Sam did not like that, standing just in front of me in line. I told him I loved his show; I should not have spoken.
I have put my heart and soul into watching episodes of the Cooks Tour, No Reservations, and Parts Unknown. I would never have tried to approach him because I would never have wanted a Sam Waterston repeat. It's crazy. Celebrity. I would have wanted to stop him though for thinking he was alone. Thinking he had nothing else to give to the world. God yes, he did.
I felt depressed after my Anthony Bourdain weekend. I miss him. It is sad that he's no longer with us. But by reading and watching him again this weekend, it encouraged me to cook a very nice dinner, to continue writing my novel, made me inspired by his energy and persona as depicted on screen. I try not to think about how it ended for him. It made me think about my mom in heaven, about death in general, about how none of us understand it. I thought of all the fun times my kids, husband and I had watching him on screen and his sense of humor. I googled Asia Argento and .... ehhh. I would have loved him unconditionally, if I didn't already love my husband. :). I don't really want to hear her name again, although I know deep down it wasn't her fault. Unlike in the movie, Roadrunner, the book discusses Bourdain's last days.
Discusses the Argento phase at length. People try to theorize about it, understand it.
I feel for his family, his daughter, his ex-wives, his work people, all of his friends.
Life is short; try to embrace it or reach out to someone who you feel might be having problems.
I want him back and I'm sure that feeling is even more amplified in everyone who knew and loved him closely. I loved learning about all his friends and I laughed out loud while reading the book. I admit I also laughed out loud watching his shows. My husband thinks I have a curious sense of humor! I admit I do. Tony made me guffaw :) The photo above by the way is actually connected to one of his shows!
So in honor of Anthony Bourdain, I've posted Give me Shelter (and have pledged my unconditional love!)
Paste the second link above in your web browser. I love it!!! The music is great. War and suicide are tragic. Miss you Tony!