More from: Stuart Husband
Style January 2021
ART OF EXCESS: The Shah of Iran
In 1971, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi showcased what he called the ‘Great Civilisation’ of Iran with a three-day party amid the ancient ruins of Persepolis that cost $2.5 billion. It’s to be hoped the Shah enjoyed himself, for it was the high point of the oil-rich Pahlavi dynasty. Originally published in Issue 51 of The Rake, Stuart Husband writes that eight years later, with his country seized by Islamic revolution, the King of Kings was looking for alternative employment.
Style January 2021
THE KEEPER OF GREATNESS: Bao Dai
Bao Dai was the 13th and final emperor of Vietnam. He didn’t inspire devotion or much confidence: the American satirist S.J. Perelman, for example, described him as a ‘slippery-looking customer, rather on the pudgy side, and freshly dipped in Crisco’. But, Stuart Husband writes in Issue 58 of The Rake, a legacy can take time to be realised…
Style September 2020
NATURAL MYSTIC: Bob Marley
‘How many rivers do we have to cross,’ asked Robert Nesta Marley, ‘before we can talk to the boss?’ The king of reggae channelled a sense of righteous anger at colonial exploitation, and became an omnipotent symbol of peace and unity. And all before he was cut down in his prime…
Style August 2020
A GIFT FROM A GENEROUS GOD: Sammy Davis Jr.
Some people wanted Sammy Davis Jr. to fight; some wanted him to make peace. Such was the invidious position ‘Mr. Show Business’ found himself in as mid-century America wrestled with its race issues. ‘I didn’t ask to be a trailblazer,’ Davis Jr. said. ‘My passion was to entertain.’
Icons March 2020
Michelangelo and the yearning for tragedy
‘We lived in silence… He has only one way of expressing himself: his work.” So said Michelangelo Antonioni’s first wife, Letizia Balboni. It’s true, the Italian director was notorious for taking existential inquiry — and his own artistic purity — to another level. But what a legacy of film he left behind…
Icons February 2020
To celebrate International Women’s Day we’ve burrowed into the archives, specifically Rake 39 where Stuart Husband takes up the challenge of trying to pin down the ‘real’ Marlene Dietrich. At one time she was the world’s highest-paid entertainer despite being described as a cipher and an allegory. Goddess or strumpet, gay or ‘unstraight’, she is one of the most influential women of all time.
Back Issues February 2020
THE SUNLIT UPLAND
Monaco was once regarded as a seedy bolthole — “a sunny place full of shady people”, according to the writer Somerset Maugham. Enter Prince Rainier III, the stocky, pencil-moustached monarch who, from his palace on the Rock, had a plan to transform the world’s second smallest country… (Spoiler: he kept the climate.)