Header image: Ralph Brown, Anita Lewton, Jen, Gary Kemp, Donya Fiorentino with David Fincher, Annie & Paul McGann (circa 1992, Ralph Brown)
Actor and writer Ralph Brown (March 2009, Simon Dack / Argus Weekend)
“If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters both the same…” said Rudyard Kipling in his incomparable poem “If…”. Well I can’t. I pretend I can, but no, I prefer the triumphs. Is that what they’re called? Those goals into the top corner. Those victories. Yes, I prefer those imposters to the failures. But people always say wise self-help guru stuff like “you learn more from your failures” or “crisis and opportunity is the same word in Chinese” or even “I get knocked down but I get up again”. You know? I prefer not to get knocked down at all. I feel like my life was built on crises. But still they come.
In 1994 I was living in Los Angeles. It was David Fincher‘s idea. He’d directed Alien 3 in 1991 and suggested that Jenny and I move to California. “Come to LaLa” is actually what he said. In 1992, after we’d got married and shot Undercover Blues in New Orleans which coincided with our honeymoon, (see My Pop Life #158) we rented an apartment in West Hollywood and stayed for three years. David was very disappointed with Alien3 because the studio hadn’t accepted his cut, indeed had hacked the shit out of his cut, and after the glamorous premiere in LA and razzamatazz opening weekend fizz had died down, it was a film which didn’t knock everyone out, neither the public it seemed nor the critics. David took it very badly – personally and professionally. He spent the following two years silently fuming and plotting his revenge, and his next move. We spent a lot of time together, round his apartment which at the time was on Beverley & La Brea with his new wife Donya Fiorentino, and Rachel his PA, her boyfriend Paul Carafotes, and David’s friends Chip & Carol, Ron, James, Marcie, and other friends. We had a handful of friends already there – Anita Lewton from Moving Parts days (early 80s) was in Venice Beach, Suzy Crowley and Tony Armatrading were hanging out too.
Thanks to Joe Frady