Here, for the first time, is an intimate and fascinating portrait of Rudolf Nureyev off-stage – a man who was an exacting, unpredictable, parsimonious and often immature individual, yet who, at the same time, aroused great affection in a host of friends.
Simon Robinson frankly recalls his eventful year working for Nureyev. He did everything for this hopelessly impractical dancer except be his lover, much to Nureyev’s disappointment. It was the Russian’s insatiable sexual appetite that eventually destroyed him.
Nureyev had six houses on three continents but no staff in any of them and he couldn’t cook, drive, write a letter, tie a necktie or even change a light bulb. In 1990 Simon Robinson, until then professional crew on a racing yacht, became his PA. For the next twelve months they travelled from the Caribbean to America to Europe, living in luxury in Nureyev’s New York and Paris apartments and in spartan isolation on his tiny Mediterranean island.
Nureyev’s explosive nature was exhausting to live with and many times during their year together Robinson nearly quit – and Nureyev nearly sacked him. It didn’t happen, however, because Nureyev needed his PA’s calm reliability to ballast his own rocky life, and because Robinson knew that genius must make its own rules.