The Digital Journalist

Photograph by William Claxton


I met Aldous Huxley in 1957 through a friend, composer David Raksin (Laura, The Bad and the Beautiful). The two had worked together on a recording of some rare Gesualdo motets, Huxley as writer, David as producer. David thought I would be the perfect person to photograph Mr. Huxley for the record cover. I was ushered into the Huxley house on Kings Road in what is now West Hollywood. His charming wife, Laura, excused herself politely, explaining that she had a doctor appointment. Mr. Huxley, who was by then nearly blind, began our conversation on the topic of the life and work of the German composer Paul Hindemith. He assumed that I knew a great deal about music. He was a tall man and waved his arms as he spoke and moved about the room. Occasionally he would bump into the library door or stumble over a chair. I leaped up and tried to help him, as he carried on about how underrated Hindemith's music was. This went on for such a long time that I began to feel uncomfortable. He must have sensed this. He stopped before another near fall and said, "Good heavens, I've been terribly rude. Would you like some refreshments? Some coffee or tea . . . or perhaps some mescaline? Mescaline. It's a wonderful hallucinogen. You might enjoy it."

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