Adrian Darmon, a long-time serving journalist and art historian who created half a dozen magazines and the artcult website in 1996, seems to have disappeared on February 18 on his way to testify before the correctional court of Toulon with the hope that the dealer who stole from him a rare Derain fauve painting between February 2 and 4, 2016, would be metted down with a harsh condemnation.
Alas, the TGV train he boarded in Paris at 6.10 a.m was left stranded in Burgundy for six hours. As a result, he arrived in court at 5.10 pm without being able to plead his cause to the woman judge who decided against all odds to close the case leaving him in disarray since then.
But was it this day that this man who predicted the World Trade disaster in a book written in 1995 which all publishers he contacted rejected on the ground that what he wrote was over-exaggerated truly disappeared ?
Before that, he had covered the Munich Olympics in full in 1972 and had been a year later the first journalist on earth to discover that Leopold Trepper, the famed chief of the Red Orchestra network during World War War Two had landed in London after being allowed to leave the Soviet Union with his wife, a scoop that earned him to be appointed correspondent in Paris by Reuters.
He could also have disappeared on September 8, 1974 when he
was due to fly on the TWA Boeing 707-331 B which exploded over the Ionian Sea
with 79 passengers and nine crew members aboard but that day his reservation had been
cancelled at the last minute with his seat being given to someone else for
For several years he covered international summits attended by Henry Kissinger, Harold Wilson, Gerald Ford,Helmuth Kohl and President Giscard d'Estaing as well as cabinet meetings at the Elysée palace and other big international events or disasters, such as the March 1973 crash of the Turkish DC 10 airliner over the Ermenonville forrest which made him wander among 351 mutilated corpses but suddenly he had to resign from his post in August 1978 for family reasons which also forced him to turn down Christie's offer to become their new PR man in London.
In the meantime, he had embarked into another discreet career under the name of Michael Monboyard (the anagram of Boy-his nickname as a child in Paris- and Darmon) creating the French version of the Playgirl magazine launched by the strange Joachim Conrad, a German adventurer, the true reincarnation of marshall Goering, who embezzled millions of dollars before his small empire collapsed in 1978.
Still working as an independent diplomatic correspondent, Adrian did not go along very well with Conrad and his incredible fits of anger who wanted to be served as a king. Ordered one day to kneel before him, his response was that he had no master and he lost his job but the German woman who also worked at the Le Point magazine, called him after six months and begged him to come back assuring he was the only man of the situation.
Facing back Conrad again, his first words were that he was not coming on his knees but fate had already unravelled its doom. Soon after that, the two-year-old son of his unbearable boss drowned in a pool of water on the island of Porquerolles, his wife was raped after a row which led her to roam in the Bois de Boulogne and the woman journalist who got him reinstated died in a truck accident during the Paris-Dakar desert race.
Apparently, 1978 seemed to mark the end of his promising career but he was still alive, escaping death by a whisker when he interviewed at his home the former Iranian Prime minister Shapur Bakhtiarjust before the latter was murdered by a group of assassins sent by the Tehran's revolutionary regime.
Surely, he had had enough with international politics preferring to work for the leisure magazine « IL » which gained him access to many celebrities of the 1980's, such as Sylvie Vartan, Jean-Marie Rivière, Fabrice Emaer, the king of Paris nights,Jane Birkin or Serge Gainsbourg but his boss, jealous of seeing him becoming too popular never gave him a rise and started to humiliate him to the extent that he resigned and created in July 1982 a new concept called « Le Nouvel Homme » (New Man) with the help of a bunch of financiers who in turn came out of control to the point of obtaining his scalp three months later.
His dream were shattered and the only thing he could say was that they would lose over a million dollar in one year while they advised him his interest was to stay put since he was still a partner of the magazine but one nigh he had a strange dream which prompted him to rush at the official registry office where he discovered that his signature on the Le Nouvel Homme statuses had been imitated with only 5% of shares allocated in his favour instead of 18%. This fraud enabled him to get substantial damages but his adversaries launched a smear campaign that prevented him to find work during four years.