Vanished Years by Rupert Everett

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Rupert’s brooding and beautiful face graces the cover of his memoirs, Vanished Years – Rupert Everett. As he reflects on his youth with the advantage of hindsight, we get a sense of his nostalgia for those vanished years: the book’s apt title. We are taken through the glamour; humour; regrets; sadness; death and partings of Rupert’s life, all of which are beautifully written. Lulled into the book on the first page:

‘A waterfall cascades down a cliff into a series of pools filled with gigantic bleached goldfish that stare at you with vacant mulatto eyes’

Perhaps the most moving chapters are of his long-term friendship with Isabella Blow who is both hilarious and tragic. Everett is known for being a enthralling character, always shrouded in an air of glamour – which of course he is – especially having seen him play the role of Wilde in The Judas Kiss at Hampstead Theatre, now on at the West End, but in his friendship with Isabella, we are given an insight into the raw and ugly world of mental illness where even Rupert can find no glamour. Certainly not when Rupert expresses his acute fears of AIDs as his closest friends contract the disease.

Rupert’s various acquaintances – including with other celebrities – some more fleeting than others have a habit of reappearing, such as an earlier lover called Alfo. Twelve years later as Rupert passes him in a restaurant window in Amsterdam; Alfo looks at Rupert, ‘the ghoul in the window’ and ‘there they were again, the same but completely different, weathered and harder.’

There is so much of interest in this book, but what else did you expect from the dramatic life of an actor such as Everett? Both on and off the stage.

by Heather Wells