CARLY SIMON YOURE SO VAIN

The singer-songwriter speak candidly about produziert friendship v Jackie Onassis, gift humiliated über Harvey Weinstein und why she has no time for the united state president



Carly simon somehow appears both brittle und unbreakable as she opens ns door to her hotel room in Boston, Massachusetts, whereby a publicist hovers discreetly. She ist wearing a blue sweater, blue jeans and a blue scarf und is smiling broadly. Produziert hair zu sein shoulder length with die familiar short fringe. She hülle on a pair des glasses; lukewarm hotel tea is ordered und poured.

Du schaust: Carly simon youre so vain

The singer-songwriter is chatty und charming. She claims she has nur been listening to ns audio ausführung of her latest memoir, Touched by the Sun, about herstellung friendship through Jackie Kennedy Onassis, ns widow von former president John f Kennedy und the Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. It zu sein read by elisabeth McGovern, who plays die Countess of Grantham an Downton Abbey. That zu sein fine through Simon, a fan of brother TV, consisting of Downton und Last Tango bei Halifax.

Simon was described as a “feminist icon” on ns book jacket of her 2015 memoir Boys in the Trees, a bible von A-list gossip. The daughter des Andrea Heinemann Simon, a civil civil liberties activist, and richard Simon, co-founder of the publication publisher simon & Schuster, she discovered singing in effective way kommen sie overcome a childhood stutter, recorded more than a dozen top 40 hits und offered lyrics that stuck bei the cultural consciousness.

She had romantic liaisons with Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, Jack Nicholson und Cat Stevens, and in ill-fated marital relationship to james Taylor. Now, at 74, if anyone has actually earned die right kommen sie casually fall names and use terms such together “lover” there is no affectation, it is her.


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Carly simon with Warren Beatty in 1984. Photograph: paul R Benoit/APBoth produziert memoirs room searingly frank. Wie she was seven, simon was sexually exploited von a 16-year-old boy. In abusive relationship ongoing until she was about 14. “I think it’s adjusted me zum ever and there was nobody roughly who might possibly oase believed ns stories i would have told,” she says.

“It was just bei awful thing to oase happened. Do i think the would have happened now? ns awareness des it might schutz prevented it. Ich don’t understand that zum sure, but so I’ve to be abused an other ways und by some des the same human being that Ronan Farrow speak about in his book.”

Farrow, an investigative journalist und friend des Simon, has just published Catch and Kill, around his quest kommen sie uncover numerous sexual assault allegations against harvey Weinstein. Simon alleges the she, too, was abused von the disgraced hollywood producer – not sexually, but in other humiliating ways.

“He request me to score a movie that his mam at ns time had made, a little Japanese cartoon, und so ich did it an good faith,” she recalls. “I hired musicians und scored die movie and, at ns recording session, ich said: ‘Well, how shall ich get paid?’ the said: ‘Well, we’ll figure it the end later,’ und he never complied with up.”

There was another incident hinweisen Camp David, the US presidential nation retreat, ns weekend before rechnung Clinton’s impeachment hearings. Weinberg brought his film Paris, Texas zum a screening attended by the president, erste lady Hillary Clinton und guests consisting of Simon.

“At the ende of it, harvey had ns nerve to get this cheap etc from somewhere und bring it zu me in the theatre seat and say: ‘Sing now. Song Anticipation.’ the guitar was out von tune and one of the strings was off it. Deshalb he unpleasant me greatly. I couldn’t not do it because everybody rotate around zu look at me bei the theatre and there ich was.”

How did weinstein get far with so much for so long? “Well, human being obviously were deshalb intimidated von his power and wanted to be on die receiving ende of what one probably thought of as largesse, that perhaps there was goodwill behind all des his seduction. I kann sein just see him in all ns scenes that space painted of er with die women. I was lucky notfall to it is in one of them.”


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Simon and James Taylor, to whom she was married for 10 years. Photograph: Richard feige Aaron/RedfernsBut the way in which Weinstein, and others, take it advantage of her ausblüten rankles: “I think that stealing from one financially may be one step below sexually. I wrote about it zum this book: ich wrote about ns various experiences that I’ve nur talked zu you about, und my editors, all des whom space men, said: ‘No, don’t write about that.’ ich don’t reference them weil das that. It was just that you’re notfall supposed kommen sie talk around it.

“Maybe die time will come when we frau who have been raped financially wollen be on die record kommen sie talk about that because ich know a last of other frau who schutz been screwed. A last of men oase been screwed, too. There aren’t together many des them as guys who are in powerful positions kommen sie do it, yet I’m certain that it’s most likely being done über women as we speak.” She adds mischievously: “I can see 10 des them right now seducing young boys, saying that they’ll salary them.”

And however she has actually gnawing doubt about die #MeToo movement. “I welcome it und now ich hope the it wollen go zurück to a position where dinge will be normalised,” she says. “Not that ich want anybody to shut up or to not tell it prefer it is, yet it deshalb feels a wenig bit unnatural weil das me that males can’t say a flattering thing to a woman without there gift a feasible reckoning.

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“I’m a woman und I’ve been subject to that and there was die casting couch an a number des cases in my life that ich was harmed by. But i think weist this point it’s nur dangerous zum men to act favor men. Notfall that die men that go overboard und disrespect a frau are acting like men. Sie know what i mean.”

As has come to be clear über now, a conversation with simon is in exercise bei six degrees of separation. On bill Clinton, she says: “When he is interested in a subject and he’s talking around it kommen sie a woman, yes a various energy the comes across. He has ‘the glint’ and he can’t aid himself. That charisma. His challenge changes. He no look the same. His energy comes through the expressions von his mouth und his eyes. That lights nach oben a room with his energy.”

Yet even as Hillary Clinton continues zu speak out, rechnung is conspicuously missing from die 2020 democratic primary campaign, successfully banished kommen sie exile in the #MeToo era. Simon ist dismayed at die thought. “That’s deshalb sad because, to me, he is a significant asset und he’s such a charismatic and brilliant, brilliant man, und whatever lesson he had to learn, the learned it.

“It was des a particular time where there was a hairline des a difference betwee then and now. That didn’t carry out himself proud, however that’s passed, that’s end with, and now allow his brilliance light through.”

Her view des Trump ist rather different. She met him once in New York at a luncheon for Benazir Bhutto, ns late ureigensten minister of Pakistan, und was left cold von his overtures. “When i came into the room, there was Trump und a totality bunch of neu York dignitaries. Trompete wasn’t paying any kind of attention to me punkt all. Why would he?

“Benazir Bhutto summoned me und asked me zu go into the bedroom through her und so ich went und we sat on die bed and she held my hands und said: ‘I nur love her music.’ we talked around different das lied that were produziert favourites and it probably lasted 3 minutes.

“When i went out von the bedroom, obviously ich had all von a sudden come to be important through ns eyes of donald Trump. Deshalb he was very anxious to meet me and invited me kommen sie Mar-a-Lago and was all over me prefer ugly on in ape.”

She rotate down die offer, she says, “because i thought the was kind of repulsive”.


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Simon with bill Clinton bei 2003: “He has ‘the glint’ und he can’t assist himself.” Photograph: steve Granitz/WireImageSimon’s biggest hit, You’re deshalb Vain, seems spookily apt zum Trump. Simon agrees. “He is deswegen vain, that’s zum sure, und not an the best feasible way. The doesn’t carry humour to ns word. Bei the song, hopefully, the personen could wink at himself bei the mirror because he got the joke.

“I don’t think there’s much interest external himself. What möchte happen v a narcissist is that they’re interested in themselves and anything that’s in extension von themselves, maybe their children, yet he’s not interested in the philosophy des great thinkers. Ich suspect.”

Thrice-married löschen has boasted about groping women, and been accused des sexual harassment, und of make a hush-money payment to ns adult film star Stormy Daniels. What would Kennedy Onassis, whom simon befriended in 1983 und whose own first husband was a infamous philanderer, schutz made des him?

“I think she would have been astounded the he could have risen to the position that he kommissar to. And some von the dinge he did and said would oase been fodder weil das her amusement und probably disdain.”

Simon would speak to Kennedy on regular basis from rehab while dealing with anxiety und depression, which schutz haunted produziert as lang as she kann remember. She beginning taking Prozac an 1989 to help produziert deal with a fear of flying und nerves wie man she was hoch for an award at ns Oscars; fortunately, her category was nach oben first, und she won, for the Working girl theme das lied Let the river Run (she deshalb sang no one Does it Better zum the 1977 James bond film die Spy that Loved Me).

But simon continued taking medication, consisting of those not necessarily prescribed weil das depression, however which “changed mine consciousness”. She admits now: “I oase a distinct interest an pills. They have a particular effect on me bei the same means that wenig candies would. If ich want kommen sie change my consciousness, particularly if I schutz a disastrous headache, yes sir something an extremely promising around taking a pill. I developed a connection with them together if there was something much more secretive about it than there really is. Now i take pills in front des people or not bei front of people.”

When recovering from breast cancer, she took the opioid OxyContin zum about two years but, uneven millions des Americans, did notfall become addicted. There schutz been various other drugs. “Is cocaine easily being excellent still, i wonder? I’ve excellent it 4 times, on my gums, and I loved it. Ich thought ich was so wonderful. The made me feel confident. That made me shed all des my self-consciousness. I just thought: ‘My God, I’m not worried about how ns coming across.’ ich was in reality recording, however it wasn’t on stage.”

Simon has seen a radical shift bei attitudes towards drugs during produziert lifetime. She is adamant: “They need to all it is in legalised. It provides it viel more attractive to ns wrong people if it’s not legal. It makes the preis soar. If prohibition hadn’t happened, it wouldn’t oase created some of the alcoholics.”

Alcoholism play a part an the breakdown in 1983 of her decade-long marriage kommen sie Taylor, she says. “I was auch young. I think we were both auch young zu understand what the disease des alcoholism was like. He was blinded by the force of the alcohol and the various other drugs he was high on.

“I didn’t know how zu deal with it. If ich had to be stronger, ich would schutz done. I tried dafür many various things and I was wrong about at least geholfen of them. Ich was wrong about saying you kann sein never perform that again or it no matter, I’ll perform it v you. Every turn i took seemed to be ns wrong turn, but ich tried really hard and so did he. He really tried hard.”

The couple had two children, Sally and Ben (“John lennon was our nextdoor neighbour und the zuerst person that provided us a giftig after Ben was born”) und “inspired each various other artistically”, she recalls. However she und Taylor have not spoken weil das years. “That’s one von the sad things in my life. He just doesn’t desire to oase any call with me weist all. Ich don’t recognize what he says around it bei interviews. Ich think he just avoids the question.


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Simon v her freundin Jackie Onassis in 1989. Photograph: Stephen Rose/Getty Images“I aufführen to some des my songs now as if through James’s ears und I don’t like them because ich think: ‘Oh my God, what was i thinking? What would certainly James have thought?’ ich listen to his music, especially the older music des his. I just hear it on the radio all ns time and it always makes me happy. The wistful, but glücklich because i love his music dafür much. I love him.”

After Taylor, simon was married to die writer james Hart for 19 years – castle divorced in 2007 und he come out together gay. She has actually been in a connection with richard Koehler, a surgeon, zum nearly 14 years.

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“Monogamy ist a very hard thing,” she says. “Very hard. Ich think there’s always an attraction kommen sie novelty … that more von a masculine problem. I have never well-known a man who wasn’t attracted to die adventure des seeing even if it is he could get a woman zu be interested in him.”

It is a emotion that evokes Simon’s most famous lyric, “You’re deshalb vain/You probably think this song ist about you.” exactly how did she kommen sie to create it? “It was at a splitterpartei that my sister and I were offering because i was living through my older sister at the time und somebody to walk into ns party. Und I thought: ‘Wow, he’s dafür vain.’”

Since ns song’s release bei 1972, ns identity des the vain man has been die subject von intense speculation. “I schutz told a number of people,” she claims cryptically. Simon has previously asserted that the second verse was about Beatty. But now she qualifies: “Maybe. I was forced zu say something.”

Before she travels rückseitig home kommen sie Martha’s Vineyard, in affluent island off Cape Cod, she wonders whether the same lyric would have generated together intrigue if written über someone else. “I don’t recognize whether it was me hinweisen that time in the cosmos with the men that ich was with. The certainly zu sein fascinating that it would certainly be dafür interesting. God, ich should think des some more provocative titles!”

Simon’s memoir, Touched von the Sun, published by Little, Brown, zu sein out now, price £20. Zu order a copy zum £17.60, go to guardianbookshop.com. Free UK p&p on orders of more 보다 £15, online only.