This site was launched in 2006, in what we can retrospectively call the autumn of blogging: when it was still exhilarating that individuals were able take their words, whimsies, and ventings of spleen directly to the reading audience with no middleman, but also when blogger glut and blogger fatigue were already setting in. In other words, my site came along at a time when a writer like me could still be excited to have, you know, this unfiltered outlet, man, yet this excitement was quickly snuffed out by A) the realization that I was joining the party too late to attract an audience just because I was a professional writer with a site; B) the realization that blogging is just not my métier, though I admire those for whom it is; C) the advent of Facebook and Twitter, which is where people would increasingly choose to spend their internet time, rendering the already-theoretical audience for an author site even more theoretical; and D) my tendency to bring the spontaneity of any blog post to a halt with a tedious, alphabetized list.
All of this is a long way of explaining why, if you’re still reading, I post so infrequently on this site. That said, I felt bad for the ol’ gal that is davidkamp.com (and, yes, I’ve anthopomorphized this site into a wizened lady who was Bryn Mawr class of ’33, a Carole Lombard-like beauty in her day who now bides her time at the assisted-living facility, living for her grandchildren’s infrequent visits, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door). So I thought I’d at least post some links to some Vanity Fair stuff I’ve written, since V.F.’s site has been good about posting my work.
Here is a story I wrote for the December issue about Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, whose return is nearly upon us.
Here is a big piece I wrote for the October issue about the birth of the James Bond movie franchise, now riding high again with Skyfall.
Here and here are the first in what I hope to be many installments of a revival of an old V.F. feature from the 1920s, the Impossible Interview—in which two people unlikely to meet in this life on this earth are thrown together for a dialogue captured in a bright, grabby illo by a gifted artist. (In the old days, the Impossible Interviews were illustrated by none other than the great Miguel Covarrubias. Now the illustrations are done by the magnificent Mr. André Carrilho of Portugal.)
Finally, just because V.F. has started putting up more archival stuff on the Web, here is a piece I resented getting assigned to me 15 years ago: a cover story on a young actor of whom, in 1997, no one outside of Hollywood had ever heard—Matt Damon. He and this pal of his, Ben Affleck, were getting heavily hyped for this movie they had co-written and were now about to star in, Good Will Hunting, and it fell to me to hold up V.F.’s end of the hypeage deal. My aggrievedness is evident in the story’s lede, though I’m not proud of the tone that my younger self took; that kid (me, not Damon) should have been damn well pleased to be writing for a national magazine, period. Anyway, I spent a night watching Monday Night Football with Damon and Affleck in Matt’s hotel room in the Peninsula Hotel in Manhattan. The boys were still unused to such settings, psyched that Harvey Weinstein was putting them up in a five-star hotel with unlimited domain over the room-service menu and the minibar. They turned out to be welcoming, funny, and thoughtful guys—Damon, a product of a liberal Cambridge, Mass., household, ambivalent about his pending stardom and wealth, Affleck trying to make sense of the fact that his next movie was a zillion-budget Michael Bay epic called Armageddon. (He kept bellowing the title aloud, jokingly, like an irony-attuned WWE announcer.) I also admired the candor with which Damon’s mother, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, expressed to me her concerns about the whole exercise we were undertaking. “What happens in a consumer society is that people become objects of attention in a way that doesn’t seem healthy to society,” she said. “I’m happy that Matt is happy in his work, but I’m not convinced he has to be on the cover of a magazine about it. It’s a little hard for me to accept. It’s all so out of the ordinary that I worry he might not grow as I want him to.”
The good thing is, Matt and Ben turned out all right.