Sunday, 11 September 2011

Ten Years Removed

      Ten years ago today I had a window seat on the 8.45 am flight out of JFK. "Looks like the World Trade Centre's on fire" said a voice behind me. 
      I turned and saw a pencil plume of smoke rising from the top of one tower. The first plane had just made impact on the other side, out of sight. During the flight, over and over I checked the news channel, despite my rational brain knowing very well that they are pre-recorded videos. The instant we landed at Heathrow our pilot, in a strict, sombre tone, ordered everyone to leave phones turned off as he had something to tell us. And then he revealed what had had the rest of the world transfixed for those seven hours while we were suspended in elevated isolation.
     If you seek a tribute to the characters of New York City, one of its finest citizens and my precious friend, the musican and producer, Nile Rodgers, has his auto-biography out next month. The New York Times magazine has run this excerpt today. Read it, you will thank me:
     I was privileged to be there as Nile drafted some of the manuscript, in complete admiration of his hip-eloquent turn of phrase and the way his prose had me lead-by-the-hand behind the most exclusive velvet rope then humbled to be party to the most personal recollections. His extraordinary intelligence and his own prodigious musical skill allow him to always credit talent and charisma (and the rare instances they co-incide to make superstars) while never being intimidated, for he is not only on that par but above it. 
     We are privileged, too, to have many more friends in that city, a place that I characterize as a person of irresistibly magnetic qualities. No other city ever inspired me to run my finger tips along the walls of buildings as I walked down its avenues, as if caressing a lover, so happy to be reunited.

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