On the staircase of Anthony Burgess

The Burgess residence is on the third floor of the block of flats at rue Grimaldi 44, La Condamine, Monaco. The restaurant opposite is probably where Burgess was interviewed by Martin Amis for the London newspaper the Observer. The ‘interview’ appears to have become a day-long drinking session. The young Amis emerged from the experience with a hangover like seven Swedes, as he relates in a postscript in Visiting Mrs. Nabokov (a non-fiction collection).

This footage, shot at Grand Prix time, shows how crowded The Condamine becomes with tourists of all nationalities in the summer months, and the crowds tended to drive Burgess and his second wife Liana away to their retreats at Callian, in the Var, Provence, or at Savosa, Ticino, high up overlooking Lake Lugano, Switzerland.

Number 44, rue Grimaldi….is a ten-minute walk from the railway station on the one-way artery that leads to Nice. It is a two-minute stroll from the sea front, though it looks out, from the back windows, on the verandahs of the Bristol Hotel, and, from the front, on to a rather charming vista of belle époque houses, all of which will, in due time, be demolished to make room for skyscrapers. For Monaco is no longer a delectable oasis of art nouveau, restful except in the Casino gambling salons, where the players sweat over their plaques and the running of the ball….Like…Manhattan, it has to expand upwards. It cannot push out into the Mediterranean or back into France, where the Alpes Maritimes stand guard.

(You’ve Had Your Time, Being the Second Part of the Confessions of Anthony Burgess, pp 330-331)

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