Max Schmitt in a Single Scull by Thomas Eakins.

Books, On the Run

Don’t come to New York if you don’t intend to follow this advice

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Crime writers Sulari Gentill, Robert Gott, Jock Serong and Emma Viskic have begun their US tour, On The Run: Australian Crime Writers In America, and have promised a daily update of proceedings.

In this instalment ROBERT GOTT meets the Consul-General, and drops in on a few very particular friends.


Is there a more welcoming and heart-warming sight than two burly policemen, weighed down with ammunition and sub-machine guns? I don’t think so. These chaps stand outside Trump Tower on 5th. Avenue. Getting dressed for the day must be a nightmare.  I don’t think they take the subway to work.  I didn’t go inside.  I’d been inside on previous visits, so I saw no reason to revisit its internal vulgarities.

We met some excellent people in Manhattan. We also met the consul-general, Mr. Alastair Walton, who was generous with his time. After that meeting we went our separate ways.  I had very particular friends I needed to reconnect with, and not visiting them was simply out of the question. You should visit them too, if you’re ever in New York. They’re usually in the same place, they’re very stable, and they don’t mind being stared at, and I mean really stared at. There’s Madame X, by John Singer Sargent, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and while you’re there, pop into a neighbouring gallery and say hello to Max Schmitt in a Single Scull by Thomas Eakins. And for god’s sake, if you have any self-respect, stop by the Fragment of a Queen’s Face, Amarna period, because this is one of the most beautiful objects on the face of this earth.

Fragment of a Queen’s Face, Amarna period – Robert Gott is a fan.

If you can stand in front of this small object and not be awestruck then all your rights and privileges should be taken from you and given to someone decent. And your children should be taken from you because they are at aesthetic risk.

It would be impolite, indeed it would expose you to comment, if you ignored Velazquez’s portrait of Philip IV in the Frick collection. He has to be called upon. He doesn’t insist upon it. I do. Oh, and while you’re at the Frick, check in on the Comptesse d’Haussonville by Ingres. I’m not saying you’ve wasted your trip to New York if you don’t pay these people a visit – well, actually I am saying that.

We left our slightly louche brownstone in Harlem and boarded a cramped and crowded flight to Dallas. Near us was a woman who had come on the plane with her emotional support poodle. Please. Maybe I should contact the Frick and insist that I be allowed to fly with an emotional support Velazquez.

For other instalments in this series, click here.

One response to “Don’t come to New York if you don’t intend to follow this advice

  1. I thoroughly agree…though it might be better to have King Tut’s bed, that we were offered in the Cairo market all those years ago in 1971!!

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