The Wire creator David Simon writes moving essay about his friendship with Anthony Bourdain

Tributes to Anthony Bourdain have flowed in since the celebrity chef’s took his own life last week. But one of the most unexpected, and moving, has come from screenwriter David Simon, creator of the hit HBO crime drama The Wire.

In a 4,000-word essay published on his blog, Simon recalls binge-watching Bourdain’s show No Reservations with his teenage son for 10 consecutive hours, both of them spellbound. For his son Ethan, Bourdain was “the absolute coolest person on the entire planet.”

After reading Bourdain’s book Kitchen Confidential, Simon decided that his “primary mission” was to “become friends with this Anthony Bourdain fellow.” So he phoned up the chef out of the blue, telling him he wanted his advice for his latest TV series, Treme, which was partly set in a kitchen.

“It was a lie, however plausible it sounded in the moment, or however true it ultimately became,” Simon writes. It worked: Bourdain joined the show’s writers’ room, and the pair soon became friends.

“A lot of people will tell you that on meeting Tony – despite how extraordinary a being he was – they somehow felt as if they’d known him for years,” he writes. “In part, this was the natural result of having so much of his wit and intellect bleed across our television screens. But just as elemental, I believe, was the man’s almost unlimited capacity for empathy, for feeling the lives and loves and hopes of others. He listened as few listen.”

In his blogpost, Simon praises Bourdain’s travel programmes for encouraging Americans to engage with other cultures, and for offering an exemplary role-model of the American abroad:

“He remains, for many of us, the American that we wish ourselves to be in the world’s sight. To have him widely displayed as our countryman, open to and caring about the rest of the world, and being so amid our current political degradation — this was ever more important and heroic. To lose him now, amid so many fear-mongering, xenophobic tantrums by those engaged in our misrule, is hideous and grievous.”

Simon’s full essay is available to read at davidsimon.com.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tv/2018/06/13/wire-creator-david-simon-writes-moving-essay-friendship-anthony/

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