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New York Mag X Gay Talese

Still the Greatest

Still the Greatest

Back in 2003 it was about a year since I quit working for Universal Motown Records and I was scrambling to get enough freelance writing work to keep the lights on and the rent paid. I’d heard many times and in many different forms from many a scribe that I respected that good writers should always be reading good writing.

page2_ali_patterson_aug66_200True, so one of the magazines I started picking up and paying more attention to was Esquire Magazine. Though for years I’d always flipped through issues in passing, seeing Muhammad Ali on the cover of October 2003 issue (itself a play on its August 1966 cover (left) which featured Ali and Floyd Patterson) motivated me to actually buy it (and subsequently subscribe since a 12 month run was like a dirt cheap $8 at that time).

The point of this story is that in the middle this 70th anniversary issue of Esquire was a small pamphlet that contained what is considered by many to be the greatest magazine profile of all time; “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” by Gay Talese. At the time I wasn’t too up on “New Journalism” and all the hoo-ha it’s been given over the years. I just knew that Gay Talese was an incredible storyteller and his gift with words was pure inspiration.

Considering today’s limited word counts and the stumbling publication industry, it’s sad to think that a next Gay Talese or Hunter S. Thompson—better yet, Harry Allen or Bonz Malone—may never get his or her proper shine. Epic dissertations, no matter how creatively informative, just don’t mesh with the day’s blog at the speed of type, or Tweet in 140 words or less, culture. All this is to say that Talese is dropping a new book and one of my favorite publications, New York Magazine, has a profile on the distinguished author.  [A Nonfiction Marriage via New York Mag]

Coincidentally the profile is written by Jonathan Van Meter, a founding editor of Vibe Magazine; a mag whose recent drama, is nothing new.

Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” [via Esquire]

April 27, 2009 - Posted by | Freshness, Hip-Hop, News | , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. chuuch… great writer. interesting point about today’s communication. although, people still read lengthy pubs… it’s a matter of mastering the art of marketing, and most writers (especially really good writers) are too introverted to self-promote and too starving to pay a publicist.

    Comment by sia | April 27, 2009

  2. lovin it man!!!!!
    Gay Talese drops that ish!

    Comment by brook | April 28, 2009

  3. If I remember correctly, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” was the piece where Talese interviewed everybody BUT Sinatra for this story. I’ve craved for stories like that in hip-hop mags and books forever – yet there’s a dearth of them. It’s about interviewing the artist and getting secondary, blah-blah. One of my favorite books that clearly takes a page from Talese is Donnell Alexander and Bruce Williams’ “Rollin’ With Dre”.

    Comment by Slav | April 29, 2009

  4. @ Slav; Another great Dr. Dre book is Ronin Ro’s “Have Gun Will Travel.”

    Comment by aqua | April 30, 2009


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