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I waited to start “God’s Favorite Customer”, Father John Misty’s latest album, until the propellers were spinning on the small plane at the end of the runway out of Dublin, headed on the short flight toward Glasgow. The morning was unseasonably bright and clear, directly at odds with the mood and the music as we crossed over the Isle of Man. And I thought about Anthony Bourdain.
I’ve written about Misty – real name, John Tillman – before, as he is one of the more perceptive analysts of the loneliness and separation of our times. In his last album, “Pure Comedy”, he sang about the technological despair of a future marked by ephemeral relations, where we are “bedding Taylor Swift every night inside the Oculus Rift”, predicting that “When the historians find us we’ll be in our homes / Plugged into our hubs / Skin and bones / A frozen smile on every face.” But there’s another lyric that applies more to Bourdain’s situation: “Can you believe how far we’ve come? / In the new age / Freedom to have what you want / In the new age we’ll all be entertained / Rich or poor, the channels are all the same.”
Bourdain - Act - Mention - Note - Days
Bourdain’s suicide looks increasingly like an impulsive act. There is no mention of a note. He hanged himself after a few days of work – eating and filming with one of his best friends, fellow chef Eric Ripert, in a French village. He walked the cobblestone streets with his typical skinny aging rockstar lope. He took pictures with fans. He Instagramed his breakfast, with his normal ironic commentary (Bourdain famously hated Instagramming food, saying in 2014 “It’s bullshit. It’s about making other people feel bad about what they’re eating. And a certain knowledge that what you’re eating is more interesting.”).
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