Friday, August 22, 2008

Andy Warhol and his posthumous typist!

One of Warhol's favourite actors, Joe Dallesandro - for relevance see below*

I’m soooooo excited I can barely speak. I have discovered the woman who typed the Andy Warhol Diaries. Actually she self-discovered herself to me but don’t get pedantic, bitches. The other day I made the revelation that this huge, important book is my favourite loo read. It’s a bit heavy on the legs it must be said and sciatica sufferers should read it elsewhere (bed perhaps with the book on top: a missionary with Andy) but this person is the famous Arcatiste Lee Randall, Assistant Editor (Magazines & Arts) Of The Scotsman. Fate brought her to me. I clasp her to my bosom (such as it is). Her life will be forever altered by association.

She has now sent me a Scotsman article she wrote about the Warhol 18-month assignment. Even before she started typing (what a lovely archaic word that is: now it would be inputting) she had an indirect connection with the woman who plucked off Andy’s wig at a New York book signing on 30 October 1985. She started the project with the notion he was a “manipulative jerk” but slowly realised he was complex and acute, never missing a trick. He had the great gift of being right on just about everything – socially, artistically, politically, personally, even medically.

I still picture him, a world famous artist, scurrying about NY streets giving away copies of his Interview. Could you imagine anyone today of comparable stardom doing that? Then again I can’t think of many magazines I could be induced to accept gratis let alone buy. Monocle? Put it away you dirty beast.

Warhol dictated his diary over the phone almost every day to his factotum Pat Hackett. Lee doesn’t say that one of the reasons why he kept such a diary – so full of celeb goss and insight – was to keep an account of expenses. The IRS had persecuted him at the behest of the Nixon admin (I think) because he was seen as a pinko commie fag or something so his diary was a gift to history as well as a shield.

Lee Randall (nee Seifman, her original name] recalls: “As [Hackett] waded through thousands of pages editing them down to single-volume size, I'd type them into coherent chapters. We did it twice, start to finish, a bit like painting the Forth Bridge.”

A flavour of the Diary: “Truman Capote stumbles through. Baryshnikov materialises on Liza Minnelli's arm and Warhol wails that he can't go to dinner with the new ballet boy because he's already dining with Nureyev at the Iranian embassy. Jackie Curtis dies and Sean Lennon celebrates a single-digit birthday. Warhol discovers Jean Michel Basquiat. The fun never ends.”

I know Warholites like Victor Bockris and Ultra Violet quite well and they confirm the Diary is a wonderful facsimile of the Warhol character and life. So thank you Lee for your great piece. As Warhol might have said, you’re so up there.

I can't find the article at so read Lee's Duncan Fallowell interview instead, click here. (He's writing his ghost novel, yknow)

*One of Warhol's favourite actors, Joe Dallesandro, star of Flesh, The Loves of Ondine, Trash and other Warhol/Paul Morrissey movies. This naked pic has been gratuitously added for no good reason and has nothing to do with the words above, a practice newspapers should follow, the literal cunters

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