April 01, 2017
My last week in the Alps, with the snow gone, replaced by brilliant sunshine, and the silence broken by the occasional clear, sharp wind. The town is now empty and clean, and the air bracing. I love the village out of season, the shoppers finally gone, the locals preparing to free the cows to get out and up the mountains. Training at altitude will make it easier to go hard once I’m back in the city, at least for a week or two. There is nothing like a three-month Alpine break for the old ticker.
Dinner parties out of season are very gay affairs between old friends. Vivien Duffield gave one last week that could have been written by a Hollywood scriptwriter. An Italian nobleman of impeccable breeding forgot himself and took all the asparagus, leaving the rest of us staring at our empty plates. After some subtle coughing, we all began to laugh, and he turned red. The Langoa-Barton 1982 helped. We killed five bottles of it. Afterward I went into a nearby village where the locals hang out. As the song says, “It’s just the usual thing, that attacks one in the spring, when the breezes gently moan, and there is no chaperone.” Mind you, in my case, it’s more “Where is the life that late I led? Where is it now? Totally dead.”
I watched Federer on television win big at Indian Wells, moving as he has never moved before, even as a young man. The reason he’s beating everyone is an improved backhand. He now takes it earlier and more flat, he almost half-volleys the ones he doesn’t slice, and when you take it early you can go up to the net and finish the point. This is easy to say, but one needs great conditioning to do it. My only worry is that he’s peaked too soon. Winning in March is not the same as winning in July and August, when the big ones come around.
Everyone loves Roger because he acts like the old-timers used to, and by that I don’t mean John McEnroe, a great commentator on TV, incidentally. The Swiss had a few lean years that coincided with the American Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, unfailingly in his box. There was no monkey business, but fashion bullshit makes an athlete take his eye off the ball, no pun intended. Having a Vogue editor in one’s box must be like wearing swimming trunks into battle—incongruous. He’s now surrounded by his parents, wife, and twins, and hitting less topspin and winning big.
And speaking of Vogue, I read a hilarious article in National Review about Teen Vogue’s contribution against the Hitler of our age: how to rise, resist, and raise your voice against The Donald. This in Teen Vogue: “To tell a teenager that she should stick to lip gloss is frankly irresponsible.” Instead, Teen Vogue reports why “This 8-year-old Transgender Boy Thinks Trump’s Transgender Action is Ridiculous.” Nurse, help! If you thought slapstick comedy was dead, buy the extremely expensive Teen Vogue and laugh yourself silly.
The magazine is also concerned with birth-control access, something as familiar to Hollywood airhead teens as a blowjob. Teen Vogue is correct. Whitening teeth, using the right lip gloss, and a social calendar dominated by charity fund-raisers in between African basket-weaving classes are redundant pursuits. The little monsters should be aware that the dictator is about to turn them into the downtrodden they have for so long ignored while getting in and out of their chauffeur-driven Range Rovers. Bravo, Teen Vogue. Next they will be distributing it to black high schools in the Bronx for target practice.