Location East Village
Rent $3,500 [market]
Square feet 1,300 [three-bedroom apartment over a photo shop]
Occupants Rebecca Guinness [fashion editor, Absolute magazine]; Clare Simms [brand representation, Paul Smith showroom]; Bun [sage]
Where’s Bun? [Rebecca] He wants to stay in his room.
Aren’t you all British? Bun’s and my mother are American. We met in a bar. At first we couldn’t stand each other. But now . . .
You have adjoining bedrooms. I grew up in Ireland. We moved when I was 13 to Wiltshire, near London. I’ve been in New York four years. I lived in the Chelsea Hotel for the first couple of weeks in a friend of my dad’s studio, Barry Flanagan, the artist. [Clare] I went to school in England with a girl whose stepmother is friends with Rebecca’s family.
You’re so tribal. [Rebecca] My brother used to live here. He looks like Christ. [We see a photo.] He brings a certain Nazarene quality. [Clare] A lot of people stay on the couch. We have this most amazing stamp dealer. He goes to auctions. [Rebecca] All the American girls love him. They love all the British boys.
Does he keep his stamps in books? [Clare] We were at CBGB on Thursday. We thought there was going to be a secret Rolling Stones gig. [Rebecca] My brother is really out of control. He used to be a math genius. [Clare] He’s in iLash. I’ll put on some of his music. [Rebecca] Simonez who just left is Bun’s cousin. Simonez is a stylist.
I wasn’t sure what everybody . . . [Clare] This is Rory singing “The Way Things Are.” [Rebecca] My cousin Constance used to live here. She moved to Williamsburg. I have 34 first cousins. My grandfather had 11 children. He was married to Diana Mitford.
The beautiful British sisters—Jessica Mitford’s son lives on 7th. She was the famous writer—she ran away to Spain with Winston Churchill’s nephew. Isn’t Diana the one who married the Nazi? No, Oswald Mosley.
Right, the British fascist. Unity was the one besotted with Hitler. Then my grandfather married my grandmother. They had nine children. Bundles, will you come here for a minute? [ Bun comes into the living room.] We call this the 121 Club.
What goes on? [Bun] Everything. Nothing.
I was reading Furniture & Interiors of the 1970s. That’s when they made furniture for lying about, planetary consciousness. Your futons … [ Clare holds up something pink.] Here’s the magic wand. [ Rebecca] I always thought this apartment looked like a bit of a chalet with the Styrofoam beams. The landlords just put the rent up from $3,200. They’re just fucking ripping us off. We face the park. We always have huge parties and no one complains. I can’t bear to move. I saw an apartment near here, half the size for $3,000. [ Bun] How old are you? I was wondering if you knew my mother.
Who is she? Charlotte Victoria, a photographer. She died. She left here after the 1960s.
I could never have been that old. [Rebecca] My mother was an actress and went off with an author to Ireland.
Was he famous? I don’t know. J.P. Donleavy.
Rather. Then she met my father. [Bun] You’re in the V.I.P. room of the 121.
It’s preferable to be in the center. [Rebecca] It’s also exhausting. Sometimes there is abuse of hospitality. We used to have these parties. Things were stolen. [Bun] My sunglasses. [Rebecca] I have to go and have my hair cut. [ A woman comes in who was trying on a tight chiffon dress with a train in Bun’s room.] I’m going to a wedding . [Bun is rolling a cigarette.] Have you got the jumping-off-the-roof picture? [Rebecca] It’s just lost.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 31, 2006