Mem­ory Lane

The Oldie - - CONTENTS -

Some 35 years ago, my wife and I were in­vited to lunch at the New York man­sion of Bob Guc­cione, the pub­lisher of

Pent­house mag­a­zine. A limo whisked us up­town to his ad­dress in the Up­per East Side, where a se­cu­rity guard checked our cre­den­tials. We were then ush­ered in to what could have been a Floren­tine palazzo. Ro­man col­umns and plinths abounded, and I half­ex­pected a sunken swim­ming pool. Sure enough, there it was, just to the right of the pri­vate cin­ema.

We were led up a stair­case past a suc­ces­sion of Old Masters to a land­ing arch­way. To the left hung a Blue Pe­riod Pi­casso, to the right a Renoir. In­side the draw­ing room was more Ital­ian art, and a grand piano said to have been used by Judy Gar­land.

Cham­pagne was served in gold flutes by the Pent­house Pet of 1993, Julie Strain, all 6ft 2in of her. Apart from an­kle-length boots, she wore just two ar­ti­cles of cloth­ing: a low-cut, white, silk blouse de­signed to show off her mag­nif­i­cently en­hanced bo­som, and gos­samer-thin black slacks, as tight as peach skin. Lunch was hosted by Guc­cione’s wife, a for­mer Miss South Africa, who ate noth­ing but vi­ta­min pills washed down with min­eral wa­ter, all the time mak­ing a ro­bust de­fence of South African pol­i­tics pre-man­dela.

I worked in the wine trade; this sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence came our way as our ad­ver­tis­ing bud­get for Cock­burn’s Port had in­cluded a cou­ple of in­ser­tions in Pent­house. As we got up to leave, some­one pointed out a Bot­ti­celli on the wall. I’m afraid by then the only ‘botty’ I thought worth look­ing at was Ms Strain’s.

By Peter Cobb, who re­ceives £50. Read­ers are in­vited to send in their own 400-word sub­mis­sions about the past

Julie Strain, 1993’s Pent­house Pet

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