Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Dennis Hopper and brown sauce

In May 1995 I interviewed Dennis Hooper at the Cannes Film Festival for Empire magazine's How Much Is A Pint Of Milk? feature. Dennis, as we suspected, played ball and took the odd line of questioning with good humour and grace. Then it came to the query about "ketchup or brown sauce?" "What's brown sauce?" asked Dennis. I told him it was like ketchup but brown and spicy. "Like gravy?" inquired Dennis. Not really, I replied, and again I found myself in the somewhat surreal position of having to explain the taste sensation that is brown sauce, a condiment that clearly hadn't crossed the Atlantic at that time. (I'm not certain it has now, to be honest.) Dennis looked at me and offered an answer which I believe was ketchup (my memory fails me on this part) and we carried on. (I wish the piece was online, I'd link to it if it was.) After the interview I asked Dennis if I could take his photo with my Polaroid camera. He said yes and signed it too. I think he's one of only two interviewees I've ever asked to take a photo of — I don't approve of the practice personally, and I only asked in this case because I'd just got the camera and he was a photographer, so it seemed appropriate somehow.


Hal Gracie said...

Man, you must own some amazing stuff! (and I finally picked up a copy of the re-available Art of Tim Burton, and saw you being thanked for your Burton artwork!!! Colour me jealous!)

In March, I rented an apartment in North Carolina that Hopper used to own. I'm not sure he ever lived in the place, given he bought it during the filming of Blue Velvet when it wasn't yet an apartment and it couldn't have been converted during the shoot. But the locals still had many tales to tell. The bar down the street (the brothel, or Ben's house in Blue Velvet with the 'This Is It' neon sign outside) still sell Pabst Blue Ribbon on special in honour of Hopper (or more accurately Frank Booth). You wouldn't dare go in there and ask for a Heinekin!

Mark Salisbury said...

Now that sounds mighty cool. I hope you wrote all those tales down. And took many photos.

When I spoke to Hopper, even though he was lovely and charming, I couldn't get the thought out of my mind that I was sitting opposite Frank Booth, so ingrained was that performance.

Adam said...

So can we see the polaroid then?

Mark Salisbury said...

I think it's in storage. I'll do a double check, though.