Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Another one bites the dust

With the death of Colin Tennant, 3rd Lord Glenconner last Friday at the age of 83, the world loses another larger than life character.
Colin Tennant

Tennant was once the master of the magical island of Mustique in the Grenadines. He purchased the island in 1959 and set about turning the mosquito plagued barren acres into a millionaires paradise. Along the way he presented HRH Princess Margaret a plot of land as a  wedding present when she wed Antony Armstrong Jones
Margaret built her dream holiday home there (designed by the famous stage designer Oliver Messel) and over the next 30 years the island became a playground for international jet-setters and rock stars, criminals and thugs.
Princess Margaret parties on Mustique

You had to be interesting to be even allowed on Mustique. 
Tennant ruled the place like a feudal landlord. 
As he spent an estimated $100M inheritance living a charmed life - he once said  "people like me aren't expected to work for a living"- Tennant gradually took on partners in the luxury resort and eventually found himself an outcast in the paradise he had created.

The New York Social Diary has a good round-up of various British reports on Lord Glenconner here

 And there is a critique of a film made about Tennat here :The Man Who Bought Mustique. How the film came about makes a story in itself.

Maragret's holiday house
Watch a clip from the film here. It's a delicious piece where Tennant rounds on an American couple who are involved in preventing the lord from living in a grand marquee he has erected to hold a dinner party for Princess Margaret on the island he founded. The end of the clip where he sends the couple packing as they arrive to invite him to their cocktail party is priceless.

It's said that Lord Glenconner left an anecdote packed diary to be published afer his death. It should make fascinating reading in a world obsessed by minor celebrity and reality TV stars.
If anyone saw the 2008 film The Bank Job they will recall that the gang who break into the London bank were after photographs reputedly of Margaret holidaying on Mustique and inflagranti with some dark locals. We may finally learn if the tale is true.