STILL MAD FOR IT
Let joy be unconfined! Mad Men is back and, for obsessives like me, there could be no better news. The fifth series finds Don Draper still king of the ring and sharing a Manhattan penthouse (Don was never at ease in suburbia) with his Jane Birkin-esque bride, Megan. She’s the kind of girl who strips down to her underwear to do the housework. His three children, including the troubled and troubling Sally, are usefully out of sight and out of mind with his former wife Betty, who has put on weight and lost her Grace Kelly glow. Pete, the agency’s rising star, still has his eye on the prize; becoming Don (everyone wants to be Don, except Don) while Roger, the man crush of every man I know, pauses between Martinis just long enough to deliver the show’s best lines. And then there’s Joan. Joan with her surprising swan neck and dimpled chin. Joan with the seaside rollercoaster curves. Joan who walks to her own drum roll. I could go on, but maybe this means nothing to you. You are probably watching the Apprentice and Masterchef and Britain’s Got Talent. Let’s not meet. We have nothing in common.
If the longuers and the calibrated torture of Mad Men’s pacing is too much (I suspect MM appeals to masochists the same way the Sopranos appealed to sadists) then allow me to introduce the instant, eye-popping high of Bob Peak’s masterful illustrations (below). Peak was a real life Madison Avenue man, arguably the most successful commercial artist of the 50s and 60s. He was also my childhood hero. I copied everything I could find. Growing up in rural Kent, Peak’s imagery conjured an alien world of glamour and sophistication where the Rat Pack ruled, leisure wear was king and smoking went with everything. How Mad Men is that?
This has been a banner year for my friend, modelling super-legend Carmen Dell’Orefice; she turned 80 in June, was made an Honorary Doctor by the University of the Arts in July and has kept up the kind of work schedule in the interim that would give a teenager pause.