Today Lloyd Grove turns his gimlet eye to Andrew Wylie, the successful and competitive literary agent who is known in many circles as "The Jackal" (we always suspect that people with nicknames like that made them up for themselves — that's why nobody famous is nicknamed something like "The Armadillo" or "Eeyore"). In his latest "The World According To " column at Portfolio.com, Lloyd grills Wylie over his ruthless client stealing, heartless friendship shattering, and personal history with dirty poetry. Wylie admits he has "a puppy crush on Amazon" but that he thinks their new Kindle e-book reader ("which I gather weighs 140 pounds") will be a dud. Below, we've snipped out some of the choicest moments from the 140-pound interview. In them, you'll read how Lloyd learns to his chagrin that everything you've ever heard about Andrew Wylie is true.
• On ruthlessness: "If we want to represent someone, the fact that they are represented by someone else is not an impediment as far as I'm concerned. Sometimes it's an impediment as far as the writer is concerned, but frequently it isn't. And if — as was the case with Martin Amis [whose account Wylie took from the wife of Amis's best friend] — his representation had overlooked a critical flaw in the structure of his business, if that had not happened, we would not be representing him."
• On Philip Roth's being caught at a 1969 party with a hundred-dollar bill sticking out of his fly: "That's where he kept his wallet!"
We're kind of falling in love with Lloyd Grove's rambling, sprawled interviews with business celebrities on Portfolio.com. This week, he sits down with Ian Schrager, who is two years into his massive partnership with Bill Marriot, the hospitality king, to build 100 chic hotels worldwide. Below, we've selected some of our favorite moments with the man who brought you the Delano, the Hudson, the Royalton, the Shore Club, the new Gramercy Park Hotel, 40 Bond Street, and that little club he used to run in the late seventies
• On the destruction of his legendary Philippe Starck lobby in the Royalton Hotel by his Morgans successors, who replaced it with a dark-amber jewel box this year: Uh, you know, I think it's nice. Um, I can't second-guess what those guys had in mind. I had no emotional attachment to it, quite frankly. But I think from a business point of view, I would've done something different. But I don't know what criteria they were using and why they did it. And I think it was a very risky move But basically we liked to think that what we did was classic and timeless and would stay, even though it was incredibly provocative. I mean, I've never changed any of my other lobbies.
Lloyd Grove has an interview up on Portfolio's Website with formerly homeless designer Elie Tahari. The whole thing is approximately a bajillion words long, mostly because there are exchanges in it like this:
L.G.: Do you still remember what it was like sleeping on a park bench? E.T.: Yes.
L.G.: What was that like? Do you remember how that felt?
E.T.: Um, I have slept on floors and outdoors and in the fields, whatever. When I arrived in New York — it was 1971 — it was a couple of weeks in Central Park. I was a 20-year-old, and I didn’t even know that Central Park was not safe at night. Now, it’s safe. In those days, it wasn’t safe.
L.G.: But do you remember the physical sensation of what that felt like, to sleep on a park bench? Do you have some muscle memory of that?
E.T.: Um, it was stiff. [Laughs]
Um, yeah. You can't be expected to get through pages and pages of that, so we'll sum it up for you: Elie Tahari was homeless and then he became a fashion designer and founded and sold Theory and, well, that didn't go so great — he's suing his former partner/friend. But it's not like that was the end of the world! His company makes $500 million a year, and Elie, 55, and his 35-year-old wife and partner Rory live in a "$25 million, 9,300-square-foot Prince Street triplex loft designed by Christian Liaigre, complete with a 2,700-square-foot roof deck, a gym, a sunroom, and a screening room," that was formerly inhabited by another May-December couple, Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng. Still, it took Anna Wintour 30 entire years to invite him up to Vogue for a meeting. Which sucks, but not, you know, as much as sleeping on a park bench.
The World According to: Elie Tahari [Portfolio]
UPDATE: A reader just sent us this link to a slideshow of Tahari's insanely envy-inducing apartment. Warning: Viewing may make your apartment feel like a park bench.
With the sub-prime debacle, the barons of Wall Street have learned a lesson about risk. But there's a chancy new fad on the horizon they might not be able to resist. Aaron Perlut, the co-founder of the American Mustache Institute, issued a warning in the morning's Wall Street Journal:
"You're definitely out on a limb when you grow a mustache, especially a flamboyant one, and if you do, you always run the risk that people will think you're going too far."
That's right, folks! Tomorrow begins Movember, a monthlong Australian contest which encourages businessmen grow mustaches, or "mos," in order to raise funds for prostate cancer. This is the first year that the contest has come to the U.S., but it seems that New York's finance guys might be a little too uptight to, ahem, "sport a mo." The Journal points out that none of the chief executive officers at the top-ten Fortune 500 companies have mustaches — although we imagined what some of them would look like if they did, above — "and for young professionals seeking to follow in their footsteps, growing one may seem like a step in the wrong direction." Take the experience of Christopher Doyle, a 26-year-old audit assistant at Deloitte & Touche, who was given a "gentle reminder" to shave after only two days of work. Well, that's Wall Street for you. Clean-cut at the office, drag and nipple clamps at home.
Growing Facial Hair for Charity [WSJ]
Movember [Official site]
Barry Diller is like Madonna — he changes his shtick often and always comes out just a little bit ahead of the Zeitgeist. Fortunately, it appears from his interview with Lloyd Grove on Portfolio's Website that he does not seem to be planning an H&M line for anytime soon. Rather, he’s become an Internet mogul — he’s chairman of the online conglomerate IAC and Expedia.com — and is amassing a collection of boats. “I promise you, it’s not about size,” he tells Grove of his new yacht, the 300-foot-ong Eos, purported to be the largest in the world. “I mean, it’s not for me. It wasn’t like I said ‘I want the biggest boat.’ And I’m sure that at some point fairly soon I won’t have the biggest boat Once you're in boats, you either go bankrupt or you keep going.” Words to live by.
More Diller musings after the jump…
A brief conversation between recently deposed Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove and New York Magazine:
You mentioned some mysterious "multimedia" plans. Is blogging involved?
Well, Nick Denton asked me to guest-edit Gawker, an offer which I stupidly accepted.
How long is the gig?
I'm starting on Monday, and I think Monday is all I can do. I know nothing about the process. I assume I'll write stuff that interests me and try not to have too many misspellings. From what I gather, the job mostly means being really vicious and adopting a tone of incapacitated envy.
Do you feel like you failed?
— Jada YuanEarlier:Lloyd Grove Gives to Panhandlers, Won't Settle for Less Than 600 Thread Count
Name: Lloyd Grove
Age: None of your damned business
Job: Unemployed gossip columnist
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Geraldo Rivera, who fits all of the above categories.
What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
The grilled calamari at Gennaro, washed down with a bottle of Sangiovese.
What's the one-sentence explanation of what you actually do all day in your job?
Ruining lives and destroying reputations when not hawking products and creating temporary stars.