Remembering Sylvia Kristel


Rosemary Hill in the LRB blog:

Like many of my contemporaries I sawEmmanuelle in its much-censored British version at the Prince Charles Cinema off Leicester Square. I went with my first long-term boyfriend. We were both working in Foyles in our gap year, commuting in from Sevenoaks or thereabouts and I suspect that beneath the somewhat laconic discussion afterwards we were a bit shocked by it. I know for a fact that I was.

It must have been almost exactly ten years later that I met Sylvia Kristel when she opened her front door to me in Ghent. It was just after Christmas. Ghent, which I had never seen before, was looking like a scene from Breughel, the snow thick on the hump-back bridges over the canals, the cafes brightly lit and inside them tables covered with richly coloured Turkey carpets. I had just got married and was there with my husband, Christopher Logue. Christopher was an old friend of the Belgian writer Hugo Claus, with whom Sylvia had lived, on and off, since the 1970s. She looked at first sight a bit of a mess, hair on end, puffy eyes, and still in the afternoon wearing a lumpy towelling robe and big pink fluffy slippers, cigarette in hand. I was hugely relieved.