Here is my father, the year he met my mother in Margate and Herne Bay.
I felt both overwhelmed and liberated in 2013. Simultaneously.
I spent the past few hours un-subscribing from 100 mailing lists from whom I receive emails begging for money. All perfectly decent causes, gun control, black theatre, saving the ocean, climate control, Unicef, the world wildlife fund, democratic causes, mercy for animals, slow money…
I un-subscribed from cook shops, travel companies, furniture stores and fashion lines. I spent a few moments each day erasing my name from the lists I added myself in the hope of being better informed, no more Gawker or Huffington Post or the Daily Beast.
It was an odd year. It was unusually diverse. I continued writing my film tho I stopped talking about it. I met thieving producers and film industry liars. I spent time with weed smoking Susan Sarandon in the back of her ping-pong club.
Away from the film I travelled to Martha’s Vineyard, to Des Moines and over the Rocky Mountains. I travelled by car all over America. Los Angeles to New York and back again… three times. I was constantly surprised by American kindness whenever I found it.
I fell in and out of love with AA. In and out of love with the gays tho… mostly out of love.
We are presently finalizing our divorce.
During the past months I began a strange adventure with a young man who I tentatively call my boy friend. I began to dream again… of better things… even though I am still cautious and burned. Erring toward single at all times.
I wrote a great deal but never published a word of it.
I wrote indignant things like this…
I am queer. They are gay. They are white and affluent. They want to get married and join the army. They want to assimilate. That’s what they say.
When you question them… when you ask them what assimilation looks like… they still want to keep gay pride, gay bars, gay apps, gay film festivals, gay morality.
They want the gay section in the bookshop, the ‘gay voice’ section in The Huffington Post. They don’t really understand what assimilation looks like because most of them are too comfy not assimilating.
He said, “This is all about your internalized homophobia.” I smiled. “It’s not internalized, it’s externalized.”
One can devote ones life to betrayal. Betrayed by parents, family members, institutions, schools, by loved ones even the country of ones origin. I have felt a smidgen from all of the above. Yet, I forgave my family, my school, the class system, my beloved country.
Because I wanted to be free.
I huffed and puffed about the NSA, I applauded Glen Greenwald and Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowdon. I stopped worrying about who could read whatever I was writing privately or which ever websites I was wacking to because there is nothing private. Not any more.
My counsellor asks things like, “Where in your body to you feel the anger first?”
I began to identify the genesis of my anger and feelings of uncomfortability. It usually starts with a demand for money from a worthy cause. A picture or video of a screaming rabbit as it is having it’s fur pulled off or a pile of euthanized dogs waiting to be incinerated.
It was the hopelessness that infuriated me, the cruelty, the stupidity, the hypocrisy.
I came to conclusions in 2013. That I do not, have never had, am not interested in… A CAREER! Careers, I realized, are… for other people. For those who may be interested in a legacy. I stopped calling myself a film maker and started telling people, if they asked, that I do… nothing.
I understood that wherever I found myself both good or bad I was meant to be. It was all for a reason. A reason that would one day be revealed to me. That my life was a series of choreographed moments. The life of a narcissist. That the cameras I learned to love whilst in the reality show had always been there and had never gone away.
In 2013 I never gave up. I waited patiently. I didn’t worry about the future nor was I enslaved to the past. For this I was grateful.
Occasionally I hankered to go home but knew that after a few days in Whitstable I would find my life shrinking and darkening. I did not go home. Though, I spoke more to my Mother this year and was curious about my nieces and nephews.
Finally the JB entanglement came to an end one nondescript day in November. I wanted to write to him and make amends for the mess I had caused.
But I wrote this instead… it was never sent.
An apology is owed.
I was wrong to lie to you. I was wrong to lose my temper. I was wrong to fight you. I was wrong to have asked for money to be paid when you owed me nothing. I was wrong to have blamed you for any part of our unhealthy association. The blame must fall squarely at my feet for everything that went wrong. The moment you came out I should have politely walked way… I did not. I was advised by everyone I knew and cared about… to walk away from you but chose to ignore their good suggestion. I should have thanked you and walked away. I regret very much that I did not. I am extremely remorseful. Due to my weakness of character I initiated a drama that harmed you and caused distress to your family. I should have walked away. The moment you told me you were gay. I know that you are happy now. I know that your happiness will continue.
It took two years to own up.
2013. Un-subscribing to websites, making amends, keeping my side of the street clean, owning up, anger management.
Let’s see what 2014 will bring.
As the years pass by, unrelenting, amazing, fulfilling, desperate, happy, sad.
Even though I have filled my homes with art and furniture and friends and the lingering smells of delicious feasts… even though I have made films and plays and paintings…. all I have ever wanted, really craved… was peace of mind.
I’m getting there. Slowly. A Happy and Prosperous New Year everyone.
This morning Robby picked me up from the house and drove me to Van Nuys.
The handsome deputy in the court room gives me a cheery wave, the clerk courteously holds open the door and even the wicked witch looks softer… more agreeable.
She’s only doing her job. I can’t be too hard on her.
After our short stint in the court we had coffee with my lawyer who is, it turns out, covered in tattoos.
Since 1984 I have been regularly tested for HIV. Since I was Robby’s age.
It has always been a fearful time for me. I’m sure it is for everyone.
I was given the wrong diagnosis in my mid thirties. A confused New York nurse told me I was HIV positive. For three weeks I thought I had it. Until I fled to London and the doctor told me I was perfectly ok.
In those days an HIV positive result meant certain death. The kind of death that included cancerous lesions inside and out. Opportunistic diseases caught from potted plants, cats and canaries. Dramatic weight loss and the most painful end.
Now, of course, HIV just means being wedded to big pharma for the rest of your life, a huge liver and for most people… a new closet to live in.
It occurred to me, as I sat waiting for my result, how I would tell you all if I had contracted HIV.
I live a public life. I am sure that the shame I have heard others talk and write about would envelop me too.
But, as I sat there I decided to tweet the fact that I was there and what I was waiting for. I gave myself no option but to come out and tell you… if I was HIV positive. I knew it wouldn’t be like telling you I had cancer.
I asked the counsellor what would happen if I was HIV Positive? He gave me the medical facts. It didn’t seem that bad. But we all know: it’s not the medical implications… it’s the social implication that packs the negative punch.
In the gay community there is huge prejudice around HIV and AIDS. The frank discussion we need to have about HIV is not being had.
After he read the result I looked obviously shocked. I really did not expect to be negative. In fact, I rather thought I might be seriously ill.
“Why?” He asked.
Because, and it grieves me to tell you this but after JB and I saw each other that last time… I had no way of drowning my fury so I trawled the internet and transformed from the ‘curious top’ to the ‘pig bottom’.
The pig bottom who wants to be fed. I think you know what I mean.
“Just cum in me.” I said. They were very eager to please.
“It was a suicide bid. The only one I knew would work. I hated him so much…”
“Did you hate him? Or you?” The counsellor asked kindly.
I smiled wryly. “I’m still HIV negative.”
“You dodged the bullet.”
You see, I have never been like most gay men… craving sex many times a day. I have never visited a bath house or a cruising park. I rarely meet the men I speak with on-line. I am not like you. I tried it once… not so long ago and it made me feel sick.
Pre bug chasing… I didn’t want to have sex with someone I didn’t know. It kept me negative. I wasn’t about to be shamed into having sex with anyone.
When I was a kid, men would invite me into their homes. The mere acceptance of a cup of tea somehow meant agreeing to full on butt sex.
They try to shame you. Get angry with you… but I fought back. Fuck off. I’m leaving. It saved my life.
Now the youngsters who get HIV are similarly shamed. My friend told me (he’s 24) that a guy he really wanted told him they had to fuck ‘raw’ (unprotected)… when my friend protested his amour said, “What? Don’t you believe me? I’m HIV negative.”
He wasn’t. Now… nor is my friend.
Are we kidding ourselves when we say that we are having protected sex?
There’s outrage because Paris Hilton is disgusted by Grindr. She’s right. We should all be disgusted. My women friends say, “There should be a Grindr for straight people.”
I tell them that a usual Grindr introduction consists of one word: Hung? Then: Clean? Then: Dick Pic?
Women are usually appalled when I tell them the way gay men cut to the chase.
I’m happy that I am HIV negative. I’m happier that my death wish has been thwarted. I’m happier still that all that hate and self hate came to nothing.
Writing my film has had a wonderfully cathartic effect on me. He is just a distant memory.
Even though I see him daily on the page he now exists as I want him to. Suffer and thrive the way I want him to… without ever having to suffer myself.
Today… today was a good day to be HIV negative.
It was a day. Yes. Yesterday was a long day. Good. Kind. Revealing.
I walked the dogs. Through the bourgeois streets of suburban Malibu. Early morning. Before the sun breaks through.
I have struggled with writing both the end of the film and the novel. Because, I suppose, they are both so firmly planted in the experience of being me.
My Producer is fine with everything. Everything but the last page. He wants an epiphany.
So, that’s what I am striving for.
The film is about a sociopath, a charming sociopath. In fact, the film is about two sociopaths.
I can’t discount my own bat shit craziness. Let’s face it… I did some terrible things.
For those of you who have been reading this blog for the past two years… I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the balanced and sensitive way I have drawn the characters… but that is not my credit to take.. it is my dear Producers influence.
If I had my way there would have been murders my dear…
His genius for editing and re positioning.. for making me (and you) care for the person I loathed and loved.
For revealing the truth.
I headed into town at 11 to meet my assistant at the club.
I’m test shooting cast this Sunday and having informal crew meetings. I met a very competent First AD this week.
I bumped into Nona Summers who was with a loathsome Greek from my distant past.
Jacob has excellent taste.
I am heartened that these smart young gay men are once again beginning to tell their stories.
For the longest time young gay film makers shucked their own experience in favour of chasing a bigger, straighter audience.
As a result… our community became less vibrant.
The gay film festival circuit, until recently, was lack luster and uninspiring… this year, at Outfest, there were so many interesting and well made gay films. It warmed the cockles of my homo heart.
Gay men want, understandably, well made films with high production values but financiers are loathed to invest… scared that the audience wont come.
The tide is turning.
Brock pitched up looking incredibly sexy in a tight, pale blue polo shirt.
We ate Caesar salad with added chicken.
After lunch we met Rafi Gavron the hot, hot, hot British actor who was ass raped in the TV series Rome. He was with his cousin Dean McKillen the owner of the super chic new restaurant Laurel Hardware in West Hollywood.
Dean invited us for dinner on Saturday.
Brock and I hung with Kevin and Fielder at their home on Martel then decided we would preempt the Saturday invite and go to Laurel Hardware.
The place was packed with a really interesting crowd. A smattering of Young Hollywood and some cool looking gay men. Dean made us feel very welcome, sending us delicious pizzas covered with burrata and basil.
The boys drank beer and I didn’t.
I drove Brock back to his car and met up with my night-time companion, collapsed into bed.
There is an odd collision of circumstance:
Jacob is the best friend of the best lesbian friend of you know who.
One degree of separation.
It doesn’t surprise me. It is a very small world.
We trawled through Facebook.
I looked in awe at pictures of my ex and his new boyfriend. They are indeed an unusual couple. Dressed in outrageous and colourful garb. When my ex’s bf wears his heels he must be 7 foot tall.
There was a picture of them holding each other in a bucolic setting. My ex is quite short and his beau wore heels. The height differential was staggering. It looked like a post wedding picture.
You know, after the vows.
I wondered what they would wear when they actually got married. If Thom Browne would make the costume.
They looked very, very happy.
Diane Arbus would have photographed them. I mean, it was like that… like a Diane Arbus picture.
I expect to feel different things when I see them together but I always feel the same. I am truly happy that he is happy. From a distance I share their obvious happiness. It is a relief.
I am pleased that even though we will never know each other… will never speak ever again… that I was indeed somehow, in some way responsible for forcing that boy out of the closet and into the life he should have enjoyed since his teens.
Mostly I congratulate myself for saving her.
It baffled me, for the longest time what terrified him about being gay. I understand now. He wasn’t scared of being gay, he was scared of being that kind of gay. Flamboyant, creative, a dandy.
Every time I see him in the virtual street my questions are answered. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.
I hope that she is doing ok, that she has found a good man. An honest man. I wonder if she forgave him? I mean, there’s only so long one can hold such hatred in one’s heart.
Perhaps one day she will thank me. I don’t expect any thanks from him.
My great friend, the abundantly talented Lady Rizo is off to the Edinburgh Festival. Packing her Marchesa frocks and her false eye lashes. I urge my British friends to urgently seek her out.
You will not be disappointed.
I am headed to Provincetown to stay with Benoit.
This well written article…the meat and potatoes of the entire, sordid, event.
Love the picture…
So, here is the first press regarding my current tricky situation…read it here.
“Between August 2010 and March 2011 Roy wrote a 50,000-word blog to Bauman.
Roy coldly examines his career to date, how he had been a colourful agent provocateur, his art, like his paradoxes, seeking to subvert as well as sparkle. His own estimation of himself was of one who “stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age”.
It was from these heights that his life with Bauman began, and Roy examines that particularly closely, repudiating him for what he finally sees as his arrogance and vanity: he had not forgotten Bauman’s remark, when he was ill, “When you are not on your pedestal you are not interesting.”
Roy blamed himself, though, for the ethical degradation of character that he allowed Bauman to bring about on him and took responsibility for his own fall.
The first few months of the blog concludes with Roy’s forgiving Bauman, for his own sake as much as Baumans’.
The second half of the blog traces Roy’s spiritual journey of redemption and fulfilment. He realised that his ordeal had filled the soul with the fruit of experience, however bitter it tasted at the time.”
…I wanted to eat of the fruit of all the trees in the garden of the world… And so, indeed, I went out, and so I lived. My only mistake was that I confined myself so exclusively to the trees of what seemed to me the sun-lit side of the garden, and shunned the other side for its shadow and its gloom.
Thank you Oscar Wilde, thank you Bosie.
Firstly, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Robby who never missed a visiting day, who sat behind the bullet proof glass and smiled hopefully and never gave up. He tirelessly searched through many, many boxes for essential documents. He put money on my ‘books’ so I could eat decent food. He called friends, wrote emails, paid bills, drove between far-flung offices in different parts of Los Angeles in his windowless Miata delivering those essential documents to essential lawyers.
He answered my calls on a Friday night when most beautiful 21-year-old boys should be out chasing equally beautiful people, places and things.
He never gave up. He never let go. He told me he loved me when I felt unloved. He proved, once and for all, that God exists.
I want to thank Dee and Nicola for their extraordinary generosity by paying my lawyers bills. I want to thank Jason, Jennifer, Anna, Dan, Zelcho and Joan for picking up the phone, for listening, for laughing and caring.
I want to thank Mel for paying the mortgage.
The people on the outside, those good and honorable people complimented those I shared the majority of time inside the Men’s County Jail. The men who convinced me that everything would work out. The men who taught me how to play Cribbage, Spades and Feral (my brain REFUSED to learn Pinocle) and made me join in when all I really want to do was sleep away the day. Every day.
I want to thank my convicted friends Ivan and Steve, two men my age who sat with me daily (like the council of elders) laughing gently at the antics of the young.
So it began…
The day I was arrested in early November 2011 heralded the beginning of the end of possibly the worst two years of my life.
The end of the mid-life crisis that had well exceeded its sell by date. It was the end of the madness that had determined far too many bad choices.
A series of catastrophic decisions made after the The Big Dog was torn up in front of me: a relationship with a man who could not possibly give me what I needed and from whom I should have run as fast as I was able…as soon as he revealed the truth about himself. An appearance on a TV show that merely underpinned the rancid thoughts I had brewing about my self.
Finally the reason, that reason…the reason I cannot explain at this particular moment because the lawyers have told me to keep my big mouth shut and on this occasion I have agreed.
This morning at 3am, after a 6 hour wait, I pulled on the musty clothes I had stowed in a clear plastic bag nearly three months before, from a different year.
For the first time in 3 months my arms were covered. My legs felt warm. My feet enclosed in fur-lined Marc Jacobs boots rather than flopping around in Chinese, black cotton pumps.
The glass door behind which I had been escorted and left, changed out of my baby blue smock and elasticated pants. On that door the deputy had written in clumsy, black letters K6G.
I was on my own. On my own for the first time in 3 months. I could take a shit on my own. I didn’t.
I pulled on the black knitted Ralph Lauren cardigan. It smelt as it looked.
Opposite me, a similar room crammed mostly with Mexican immigrants. Pulling on their terrible street wear. Their grinning, greasy, fat faces pressed up against the glass. They knew what I was, they had seen me in the distinctive costume, they knew what K6G meant. I stared back at them. I wasn’t afraid.
I had not expected to be released. The narrative I had long accepted included: 4 more months in Men’s County Jail, a further 6 months at a Santa Ana Immigration center and a lengthy deportation. I had long given up on ever seeing my home, my dog, my view…ever again.
This was the judgement of my expensive but woefully inadequate immigration attorney. Imminent catastrophe. God, as it turns out, had other plans.
Frustrated by their miserable prognosis I set about firing them and contacted the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project. A Catholic organization run by two super smart, compassionate women and paid for by the Mexican Government.
I had my first meeting with them two weeks ago. They made representation last Friday. Today I was released from the immigration hold that had polaxed me these past three months.
Of course there were people who were very happy that I had been arrested. Thrown into jail. I was told that some were gleeful when I was arrested. “He’s going down!” they screamed.
I have no idea when this will end. No release in sight. No plea deal. No, no, no.
Perhaps I will never see the Ocean from my mountain ever again? The abrupt loss of life, like a suicide, coming here is like committing suicide. I cannot imagine, dare not imagine returning to that glittering life.
The dream of some future is dashed.
I was arrested on the PCH. I can’t tell you why. You’ll have to find out for yourself. All in good time…more will be revealed.
All I can tell you is this: I was arrested and charged, when I attempted to bail out I was told that due to an ‘immigration hold’ I was to be kept in custody. Sent to jail. I made frantic phone calls, I cried until my face was wet.
At that very moment the line would be drawn between those friends who were able to help and those who turned their back.
After being processed like a bad meat pie out of The Hidden Hills Police Station they drove us to the jail. They took the scenic route. They drove along the PCH, past Tom’s house, David’s mansion, The Malibu Inn where I had watched Pink perform a few nights after I met her.
They drove the same route I had driven many, many times since I had moved to Malibu in 2007. I was in the back of the police bus looking at the hazy dawn, the rising sun over the ocean. The greasy waves flopping lazily over the sand.
They picked up other newly arrested men from an assortment of locations all over Los Angeles.
Those first few days away from home were unpleasant but, thankfully, I remained teachable. I knew that the harder I struggled the deeper the hook. I sat behind my eyes, doing as I was told. Finally, after hours in the bus, we were processed into the jail. A theatrical experience designed to frighted and malign.
“Look at the floor.” they screamed. I looked briefly into the blue eyes of the startlingly handsome officer. He growled, “Don’t look at me.” It was hard not to eroticize his demand.
Flipping from aggressor to victim.
We were given sandwiches and told to sit on metal benches. Nothing you can do will hurt me. You cannot hurt me.
We were interviewed. “Are you gay or suicidal?” He asked. I knew that I hadn’t lied about my gayness, not now or ever. The moment I told him I was gay I was torn from the line, the general population. My name called out. “Roy 066!” A huge black deputy cut off my wrist band, looking spitefully at me. “Gay?” he spat. I nodded. He attached another band to my wrist.
A yellow wrist band, it said: K 6 G.
My life in jail would now be as different as my life on the streets.
Another few days of being ‘processed’. Peered at, prodded, questioned. Many men opted for the gay dorm, straight men, but few achieved their aim.
The straight men want to fuck the convincing trans boys. The straight men didn’t want the ‘politics’. The ‘politics’ in the California jail and prison system means living in the racially divided dorm. If you are black you speak only with the blacks, if you are white or latino you do the same. If you are caught fraternizing with a black, latino or white (or those who have chosen with whom they will run) you’ll get beaten, stabbed or worse.
Even if you know people on the streets…your best friend even…your affiliations mean nothing, could be deadly. You keep to your own.
Sadly, this racial divide is perfectly mirrored on the ghetto streets of Los Angeles. If you weren’t a racist before you went to jail or prison you’ll be one when you leave. Lessons learned, not easily unlearned. Tattoos on face and neck. Tattooed collars, graphic letters…numbers on sculls and forearms. Boys become men when they hold a gun, shoot a stranger, murder their enemies…BK=Black Killer.
I didn’t experienced the ‘straight’ dorm so I can’t tell you what it feels like to make others invisible because of the colour of the skin. I can tell you however, that the majority of the white men I met in the gay dorm were despicable, homeless freaks. Consequently, I hung with my new black buddies. Most of whom, incidentally, had been co-opted into gangs as young children.
When I arrived they were suspicious, when I left the dorm yesterday evening they surrounded me and held me and cried.
When it was time to settle down and open my bunk to another man it wasn’t a white man I chose.
In the observation tank I met my first latino ‘green lighter’. He was hiding. In organized crime, gang and prison slang to green-light a person is to authorize his assassination. Jose. We talked for hours. I found him very desirable. He told me that someone had once paid him 3o bucks for a blow job.
After a harrowing day or so in the vilest of cells waiting to be officially classified as gay they take me to a small office and a distinguished senior officer interviews me. The officer tries to determine how gay I really am. “Which gay bars do you go to?” He looks at me suspiciously when I tell him that I don’t drink. I tell him that I make gay films. “Porn?” he chuckles. Finally, I am determined as a convincing homosexual. My dark blue ‘straight’ uniform removed, exchanged for a pale blue ‘gay’ uniform…I am sent to the relative safety of the gay dorm. Dorm 5300.
Nowhere where there are deputies is anyone gay…safe. I have abandoned my cloak of invisibility. They can see exactly what I am. The deputy whispers threateningly, “You gays have a sick life style.” He can’t say it loudly. They can’t beat us, not like they used to…not since the controversial undercover FBI sting that lead to the end of ritual beatings and institutionalized homophobia.
The night I arrived I watched the flat screen TV Robert Downey Junior had bought the gay dorms after his stint at The County Jail. The inmates watch Law and Order. CSI. Anything by Tyler Perry. By the time I left 5300 I had watched everything Tyler Perry had ever made. He makes really bad films.
Dorm 5300 was like an insane and exotic freak show.
There are four gay dormitories, each holding 90 men.
80% pre-op transsexual, 90% HIV+, 50% homeless, 90% meth related crime, 80% parole violators.
The gay white boys had Supreme White Power written on their alabaster bodies. They had badly drawn pictures of Norse Gods. Claiming their white supremacist, Odinist heritage whilst fucking chocolate coloured trannies.
The tranny hookers, the homeless white boys, the squabbling couples who indulged nightly in domestic violence.
I watched in awe as a young man, caught by his fierce tranny wife fucking another ‘girl’, throw a chair through the flat screen TV bought by Robert Downey Junior.
I knew that I had to keep my mouth shut. I had to learn quickly. I listened. I learned.
Statistically, there is more violence in the gay population (inmate against inmate) than in the rest of the 6000 plus general population.
When they finally slept I walked between the serried bunks.
If I stroll between the bunks at dawn I remember what it is like to be at home in England. I can smell the sea, the shingle on the beach crunching under foot, wrapped up warm against the bitter easterly winds, just me and The Little Dog. We don’t need anyone else. Did I tell you how much he loves the snow? Leaping carelessly into the great drifts.
One day I will see you again England. I will walk gratefully in the rain, on the London streets and country lanes. If I am able (if I can get back to you) they will drop us at the edge of the valley and we will walk to the house, past the stream where we would play, the pasture, the forest of rhododendrons, along the drive flanked by ancient Douglas Fir.
The door will open and they will be pleased to see me, hug me, feed me. They will let me sleep until I am recovered.
As I embark on my 15th year of sobriety are things as I imagined they would be?
Well…they are as they are.
In God‘s perfect world there is nothing I can’t handle.
I have enough.
Enough is all I have.
What was it like before I got sober? It was a daily, living hell.
This is the day I that I yearly recommit to sobriety and this is the day that forces me to take stock and move forward unburdened.
The day where I take a thorough inventory, both good and bad.
Some things need left behind. You know what I am talking about.
Some things need embracing.
Life needs to be lived.
For all the love/health/death/aggravation of the past year…today I am strong and secure. Today.
It seems that although forgiveness is key…it is a hard thing to swallow.
My friend’s 13-year-old troubled child is here at the house.
To tell you the truth…I don’t find him very troubling. Why? Because I was just like him when I was his age.
Difficult, intransigent, argumentative, addict manque.
Though our home situations are very different I began feeling a deep regret for how I had treated my mother and brothers. Without doubt the genesis of my anger toward them had some basis.
Seeing him treat his parents so appallingly, confound them, fight them…distresses me and everyone who witnesses it. He demands money with menace, internet privileges and rides to see other equally troubled, weed smoking teens.
It has been a particularly hard week for my friends. Interrupting a drug deal he was making with a pair of 16 year olds in a car, a deal funded by money he had stolen from his mother, he attacked his Cambridge educated father and literally ripped the shirt off his back.
Until that moment his father had been his great ally and protector. Until he saw what the rest of us had seen for some time…that there was nothing his own child wouldn’t do to get what he wanted.
The violence toward his parents is shocking to witness but he tends to behave properly when I am around because, rightly, he is scared of me. I refuse to co-sign his bullshit. I am bigger and potentially twice as violent and, of course, he knows that I will not acquiesce.
He steals anything he can lay his hands on and lies about it.
The last time I was at the house he stole $20 from me. I just demanded it back and he handed it over. When caught he tends to walk into a weird cloud of denial. Glazed, fearful.
After he attacked his father the police came and cuffed him. They wanted to take him to juvenile hall but his parents balked at the last moment.
It is only a matter of time before he ends up in very serious trouble.
I was sent to boarding school so my parents could live a normal life. It suited me to be away from the house. It suited them to get on with their normal, family life.
The problem seems to be that this kid has no passion for anything other than money. He isn’t, as I was, sketching imaginary couture collections, writing plays or poring over houses I would one day build.
His stated aim: the acquisition of money. He will do anything he can to get hold of it. He doesn’t have anything particular he wants to spend it on. He just craves hard cash.
Ultimately he will leave home and make his own mistakes…in his own time, on his own dime…but for now he tortures his parents and sisters with tantrums, violence and vile words.
When things get really bad at the house his desperate mother calls me and I sleep over.
Calm is restored. Last night we made tea and dipped strawberries in chocolate.
I know, of course, how things will end up for him: jails, institutions and death.
It is the way of the addict. We are all similarly destined until we take those imperative steps toward sanity and abstinence.
Yesterday a pair of young film makers turned up at the apartment to work with me on their well written but unfocused script.
The man was leaving as they arrived.
They said, “Wow, he’s gorgeous. Where do you meet men like that?”
Not in clubs or bars, not grindr or Manhunt. I meet men like that as we pass in the street. He said, “You looked mean.” I am…I suppose. I do. Keep the fuck away from me.
This is the third time I have heard this story, or one like it this past month. His sex partner had not told him the truth about his HIV status before he agreed to have unsafe sex.
He had been lied to.
I was shaking with rage.
Like J risked J’s life when he was fucking HIV+ artist Pal S behind her back, like X had been lied to…these innocent folk had made bad decisions based on the lies they were told.
On each occasion the liar had tried to make it the victim’s fault.
” You shouldn’t have believed me.”
“You must have realized.”
“I can’t talk about this right now, you are complicating my life.”
“What kind of straight man doesn’t play sports?”
He is 25 years old. A young man dealing with a huge problem. He told me that he feels like he has ‘gone back into the closet’, that ‘no one could possibly love him’, that he is ‘damaged goods’.
“How do you feel about the guy who infected you?” I asked.
“He’s evil.” he replied.
“Misguided?” I suggested.
No, I told myself, not misguided. I knew he was right. Deliberately infecting or risking the lives of others…is simply evil.
My phone rang, I made a plan to see a friend the following morning.
The boys looked at me askance. What? I said. “I’ve never seen anyone make an arrangement like that on the phone. We text each other.” I felt suddenly dislocated from life. How come I didn’t know?
The kid with HIV is now at the mercy of the pharmaceutical companies who stand to take millions of dollars from him as he tries to stay healthy.
The same companies who promote their products in our gay publications… paying top dollar to do so.
Look at the pictures. Strapping, healthy boys living with HIV.
Big Pharma shaping this generations attitude toward HIV as a manageable/livable with disease… just like diabetes!
Turn your back on health education, embrace ignorance and a life shackled to Big Pharma. Enslaved at 25. My heart bled.
“I never knew anyone who died of AIDS.” he said.
It is another gay lie.
We don’t treat each other very well. We don’t talk about not treating each other very well.
They stop bullying us…we start where they left off.
If they don’t damage you…we will…with my lies and infected sperm.
It’s not getting better for the young man I met yesterday. It’s getting a whole heap worse. Straight bullies didn’t lie and infect him with HIV. Gay men did.
Gay men lied to three of my friends…confirming that it is not just an HIV epidemic, it is an epidemic of lies, betrayal and life threatening denial.
Uneducated, shamed, arrogant, drug fucked gay men with no principles.
Just like Jake.
The only reason I have to come back to NYC so frequently is to meet Jake in court. Prolonging the inevitable.
Forced, yet again, to indulge his tantrums, his ego, his selfishness.
Without me in his life to define him as the victim…what is he left with? Without me and his appearances in court…he returns to the mundane fixtures and fittings of the life that was…if one can call it a life?
Yet, when I am here in NYC, I make the most of it. Happily wiling away the days, finishing my novel, seeing movies, hanging with my buddies, walking the dog, enjoying the humid nights tangled in your arms.
When he left this morning we both said, almost in unison, ‘I don’t do goodbyes’. I don’t. He had his bicycle over one shoulder, he didn’t look back. I can still smell him on my fingers.
I will have a shower when I get back to LA.
OK, so here are a few interesting clips from 1991.
There’s quite a bit of nudity and cock…so beware.
Bournemouth Film School…the house I shared with Lawrence and Charlie.
There’s some great stuff from Green Street, Orlando’s club in London.
Damien Hirst, Maia Norman, Orlando Campbell etc.
Kevin at City Gym in Sydney. The beautiful Dane I met in Florence and spent the summer. Whatever happened to him? I wanted to weep when I saw him again. He was beautiful.
The local Whitstable boys. Luke, beautiful Luke.
If any of them ever loved me I was blissfully unaware.
And…there’s a lot of…hair. During most of this…I am drunk or fucked up, remember that. I wouldn’t get sober for another 6 years.
There’s a lot of dancing and dressing up. I seem to be lip synching to Judy…missing some man. Again.
What a destructive theme.
I woke up at the Piettes.
I made Max some breakfast. Sausage and egg.
After some confusion, half of us (we left Lily and Hannah at home) set off for the Eat Well festival in Culver City.
The event made one feel very nostalgic. I kept on thinking, gosh…I was there. I was alive, going to gigs, Michael Temple dragging me up to Liverpool to Eric’s where I saw everybody perform.
Thank you Michael Temple for dragging me away from Ellesmere and my comfortable inertia.
I had a lovely time. I like galleries. I like Toby. I like Honor. I like the past.
I set up the video for them and wandered around with my phone shooting supplementary material.
Al Pacino and Jeffrey Deitch in attendance. Artists fawning over the latter.
“He’s the most powerful man in art.” Toby said. I was shocked. Really?
I used to be a Quaker, a member of the religious organization also known as The Society of Friends.
I went to my first meeting when I was 13 years old, primarily to get out of British boarding school Sunday morning chores.
My headmaster John Lampen and his wife Diana were running the small independent school near Shrewsbury called Shotton Hall. They were both very enthusiastic Quakers. They radiated that peculiar peace for which Quakers are renowned.
When everything at school seemed chaotic John would provide, in retrospect, a different kind of solution. I was drawn to him yet baffled. Nothing seemed to annoy him…and he knows I tried.
His alternative Oxbridge way of thinking both irritated and inspired me. He was self-assured but never smug.
He had something I most definitely wanted.
I asked if I could go to their Quaker meetings.
Sunny Shrewsbury Sunday morning. The meeting was held in a regency building set off the High Street. Cobbled streets, plane trees, red sandstone peculiar to the region.
I was an unruly, difficult child. At my first Quaker meeting I felt immediately accepted. This was an inclusive church. One where a young gay boy might find solace rather than damnation.
I heard, “There is that of God in every man.” and I was sold. The God I knew existed. No longer dressed in extravagant robes, tradition, canticles or phony ritual. A simple room filled with love. No more priests or clergy to funnel God into me like a goose choking back the corn, but there I was a 13-year-old boy looking within to find God in my heart.
I started going to meetings regularly, sitting silently for an hour, attempting to find and nurture a God of my understanding. “Like a spec of gold.” Diana said. If moved to share, a Friend would stand and speak. Sharing whatever God Shot was on his or her mind.
This was revolutionary! We were all priests.
It was as evident to me then as it is now that this was how human beings, focused on a power greater than themselves connected with their ‘God’ and each other…found joy. Without the myths and tales and dogma of organized religion it was here that we set aside our differences and focused on thinking our way into right action.
I knew instinctively that when I sat quietly in a room of meditating humans I was probably doing something that we had learned to do millions of years before. On the tundra, in the shadow of Stone Henge.
Some of us.
Reflection and God-consciousness does not suit every man. It is apparent that not all men are created curious.
My years as an active Quaker were perhaps the happiest times of my life. I loved the room. I have never been frightened of old people, different people, sick people. Perhaps that’s why I get into so much trouble?
I left school, striking out on my own into the dramatic new world of my own creation. I left the tranquility of those Quaker meeting houses behind me. I left God behind me. Nearly twenty years later, smashed to pieces by my own bad choices I would once again seek out some fundamental truths and a relationship with a God I knew was indeed in every man….including me.
I did not return to The Society of Friends but to the rooms of AA where a healthy relationship with God is essential for an everyday peace.
Yesterday was my birthday and hundreds of you wished me well. One of the great benefits of Facebook: we can celebrate our lives with an extended community of friends and acquaintances. Amongst the notes Kevin Sessums wrote to me.
He said, “Happy b’day .. have a special day with special friends not just FB ones …”
I wondered if friends on Facebook were any less special than those I met in the real world. I have never met Kevin yet I enjoy our Facebook friendship. I don’t know if I would necessarily enjoy him more if I met him.
Pen Pals we used to call them when I was a child. People I wrote to in different countries who would tell me about their exotic lives and I would live vicariously through them. Facebook is no different. I like to engage as I do in the real world. I like my ‘friends’ to see what I am up to and like when they comment. I like when they share their holiday snaps, their location and trial and tribulations.
I have several real communities that I keep up with virtually. Whitstable, Sydney, New York. I have friends in all of those places (Jake cruelly called them my sycophants) and Facebook allows me the opportunity of enhancing and deepening my ties to those disparate people.
Real people disappoint me. Facebook friends rarely do. I have no expectations of those I meet on-line. Enter my world or my house and I may not know you for very long.
I had lunch with Jennie Ketcham in Venice. We hadn’t seen each other for an age. She looked great.
Later that night Toby threw an impromptu party for me at his house and many LA friends arrived to wish me well. Were they special friends? The ones I know from AA and SAA most certainly are. I have a deep connection with those friends with whom I sit quietly, go in peace and share a common interest in God.
I didn’t take any pictures.
Regardless of any drama that may or may not be unfolding in this real world I recognize at my core a stillness that I learned as a teenage boy from long dead Quakers on quiet Sunday mornings in Shrewsbury. It is to you that I give thanks this morning. Thank you Joyce, Priscilla, Raymond, Susan, Diana and John. Thank you.
If I hadn’t met you, if you hadn’t shared so humbly what you knew to be the truth about God I don’t think I would have celebrated this last birthday nor many, many before it.
Yesterday we went for a long hike though the Malibu Canyon State Park.
Beautiful wild flowers. The Little Dog in 7th heaven. Drove home via the Malibu Farmers Market and prepared fresh chard for dinner. Bought delicious goats cheese flavoured with lavender. Made dinner for three of us then slept FITFULLY as the dog was up and down the stairs all night barking at wildlife in the garden.
Saw Chris Cortazzo the local, gay celebrity realtor wearing jeans that were far too tight for a man of his shape and disposition.
Did you know that I am the eldest of 11 (maybe 12) children shared between my Mother who had my half brothers Stuart and Martin and my errant father Kuros Khazaei who had 8 or 9 further half brothers and sisters with 4 or 5 other women depending on which story you believe.
I have met all of my half siblings except Jonathon (no contact) and Natalie who I have spoken to on the telephone. So, here goes, here are the rest of my half blood brothers and sisters born in wedlock/legitimately by my father: Dominic, Michael, Natalie, Jessica, James, Rebecca and Jonathon Khazaei. Illegitimately by my father Karen and there maybe another called Roya…but this might be a paternal myth. Like the diamond heist. Can anyone shed any light on that? Or that the Kray twins threw him out of a window? Or that he carried a tape recorder everywhere with him?
That’s all there is to tell you about them. Just wanted you to know. Some of you think I am an only child.
The beautiful Dane arrives from NYC next Sunday and a couple of days later we will head off on our ‘Great Adventure!’ all of which we will document here and on YouTube. Obviously it was at about this time last year that The Penguin and I went to France. I’ve been reading over my rather romanticized blogged version of those weeks.
My anger refreshed. Remember, the night I arrived in NYC he was already (I later discovered) seeing someone else in a ‘non exclusive relationship’ and decided to fetch his stash of meth from under his bed and snort it in front of me. I feel so angry writing this. That he would take such a risk with my sobriety.
By the time we left for Paris he had no respect or love or care for me what so ever. He just wanted the free ride.
Whilst we were in Europe he was hooking up with other men when ever he could, using internet pornography, skyping with his ‘non-exclusive’ boy friend and lying to me every single day.
I think of those weeks in Europe and my heart sinks. Mind you, how must his ex girl friend feel? That on every vacation they ever took together during their 7 years he would do exactly the same. Hooking up with random strangers in bathrooms then slipping into bed with her. Her sucking a cock that had just been up a strangers ass.
I have just been writing the final pages of my novel so this revisited fury has some provenance.
As for the novel? Anything I put my mind to…my heart into…what seems for others a long and painful process has become quite effortless.
I am now working with a book editor from the not so niche publisher. It is most often described in the press as a ‘leading independent publisher’. The time difference means that notes were waiting for me this morning when I woke up. My first notes. I was so excited I almost couldn’t look at them.
Wow, this editor thang is a revelation.
Working with someone who helps shape, define and redefine the work I am doing. Helping me be less self-conscious.
As for the imprint by whom I will be published..their rosta of edgy authors is very impressive indeed.
I just heard that Laura Ziskin died of cancer yesterday. Now I feel terrible. She was a great friend of The Penguin. I’m so sorry.
Yesterday I wandered the garden taking pictures. Here are some of them:
Gorgeous day here in Malibu. Another day on the beach with the twins. They are dragging me out of the house and making me laugh. More to come. A heat wave with record-breaking temperatures. I may go into rehab sooner than I thought. Long chat with therapist/admin at Pinegrove Mental Health Facility in Hattiesburg Miss.
The film is progressing. We have a title at last.
Scroll down for the Patmos transcript.
Look at the view! It’s a warm morning where I am. The sky is pale pink, the sea is almost blue. The rain this winter has caused every Ceanothus to bloom. Almost blue.
Not like the one I planted in my Whitstable garden which bloomed purple, fleshy flowers.
The garden herein Malibu is now Fire Safe. They have cleared the brush and hoed the beds. The trees are almost fully in leaf. The tiny quail and their tinier babies search in the tilled soil for food. I don’t know what they eat.
Stephen, Kristian’s one time boy friend send me a collection of his writings that I have not had time to read yet. Kristian Digby. Where are you? I wish you were here. I wish you were alive.
I think that it may be Jean’s memorial today. I’m not going. It would be hypocritical. We were once friends. I want to remember what it was like to be his friend. Sit quietly with the memory.
Too many deaths recently. Too many unnecessary deaths. Each time they tell me that someone else is dead I have to look at my own fingers and imagine them bone and parchment.
I want to find you that page in my diary when we were on Patmos, Phil and I, and we looked into the charnel house and saw the desiccated remains of… people. Tangled together, wearing their simple peasant garments.
I couldn’t sleep.
Phil splashed cologne around our bedroom. It soothed me.
It’s a beautiful day today. Best I concentrate on that?
I felt the shame. Shame is like scraping meat off the bone.
I’m writing about one isolated man being saved by less isolated men. Was this past year such a waste? This was the year when obsession became my higher power. Now I have a chance to know God once again. Will I ever get home?
Here are the Patmos diary entries for August 1990.
I am with my darling Phillipa Heiman. We are staying in her mother’s beautiful summer house overlooking the Aegean.
We are lovers. We visit the charnel house.
Wednesday August 15th 1990 PATMOS
The masseur said that I should wear something loose. I opted for my frog boxers, Victoria Whitbread gave them to me, green frogs hopping all over my genitals. She poked and prodded and soothed, she twisted my arms and legs, her breasts pushed into my face, “I hope I’m not suffocating you.” She said.
Her fingers glanced over the end of my dick.
“Your lymphatic system is now working.” she declared as my stomach rumbled for more cold chicken. She told me that, like many people, I had been frightened as a child and had reacted with my right side. This reaction has begun a slow deterioration of the tissue in the areas seized and now they were completely ‘blocked’.
After a fag break she told me that I shouldn’t drink, that I should do Tai Chi and should have six more sessions costing a further 3000 drachma per session. Thank the lordy for new age medicine! The alternative society has got it made. I am rushing back to London to learn anything I can to lay a few letters after my name. D.P. Roy Alternative money-maker. A.M.M.
As a final booster she poked me with an electric prod. Very nice.
Philippa returned from a walk around the village, she had been to a church service which, from her description, sounded delightful. We ate what was to be my last unfettered meal. We stepped, after lunch, into the hot afternoon.
Through the alleys, to the monastery. My spirits were high. We faced the wind together, holding her breasts through her thin silk dress, letting her feel my stiffy on her thigh, she said that the monks would be shocked.
We found a fig tree and picked fresh figs, they tasted of nothing. We found a pear tree and the fruit tasted of nothing. We saw an English couple removing their shorts under a very unshadeful tree on top of a windy promontory. Like the middle of a motorway, next to the rubbish dump full of plastic – not rotting, away from Xora there were plastic bottles, scores of them, strewn over the brown grass.
The hot afternoon my spirits are still high. I’m making a lot of jokes at everybody’s expense – mostly Philippa’s. She’s enjoying it, her period has started so she’s happy again, woe betide me if I’d mentioned this as a contributing factor to the tears. The tears were so terrible to see. I am a broken man when I see my lover cry. I see my mother and grandmother and aunts Evelyn and Margaret in her tears and I am a broken man.
We walked on, she wanted to see the graveyard which you can see clearly from the window in the drawing-room. I am sitting opposite that window, all I have to do is to stand up and I can see the graveyard walls, a couple of white crosses, the blue iron gate and some white box out-houses.
We went the long way round, over prickling grass and clumps of brown dry plants and plastic bottles rolling around on the parched earth by the Meltemi which is a wind, a wind called the Meltemi.
We found the gate. Most of the graves were new, some had photographs of old people. One old man sitting on his chair outside the front door. He looked like a loved man. A candle burnt in a tiny marble and glass casket. An eternal flame.
The graves were made, in this concrete covered place, of tiny man holes. A ring pull on top. We looked inside an abandoned tomb. These were obviously used over and over we concluded. We thought that the bodies rested here for a bit, with the flame and the photographs and the plastic flowers and the crucifix. We concluded that they would be cremated and scattered over the Aegean or the terraced island.
Our spirits high, we looked into one of the empty tombs. Under the concrete. A hollow waiting for its fill. Maybe it would be Petula (our maid) with her twisted hair and apron. Her bare, dead legs under the stone. Petula, Petula compromised because we rearranged the cushions, the red, gold and orange ikat instead of pink delicate John Stefanidis print. We’ve made the home ours now Petula.
Old Petula can rearrange the cushions under here. Under the stone.
We made our way to another gate at the back of the graveyard. We balked at an old coffin laid beneath a tree, we saw that it was laminated maple, birdseye maple effect. A birdseye maple effect coffin to be transported from the village to the hole, there to be cremated and the little old man to be scattered into the Meltemi and over the sea. Not a bad end.
“Wait a minute,” Philippa says, “Let’s look through here.” I was on my way out, my spirits were high. I looked past the evergreen where she stood ahead of me. So beautiful! Her large smile and eyes sparkling out to me – all radiant and all mine. I don’t want her to go any further. I want to leave there and then, our spirits high, home to a plate of cold chicken and potatoes. Maybe our bed.
She turned into the other plot and I followed, ran ahead. Past a small, stone, white building, to a shack stacked high with coffins. Eww I said, how horrible, a shack full of coffins. I wanted to get out. I wanted to leave there and then.
“Look.” She said gaily, “Bones.”
I ran ahead to where she was pointing, I ran right up to what was undeniably a thigh bone sticking out of the ground.
“They’re human.” I said, my spirits no longer high, as high. Not hit rock bottom. Just a bone. We looked into a pit. An open hatch, like a cellar door straight into the ground. It was not just a bone, it was a whole man or woman with clothes on, maybe two men or two women or three, with their nylons still sticking to bits of dead flesh. With the sun on the white bone, the flesh torn away.
Fascinated, I looked into this death-bed, this corpse mine. Looked at the big bones, no sculls and it was occurring to us what the godforsaken truth was. There was no scattered ashes over the Aegean but this ossuary. We stepped back from the pit stuffed with bones and slippers and old nylons pulled over what was once a plump thigh. I retreated past the small white, stone building with steps that lead up to an open window.
“Look that room up there is full with these.”
I ran ahead, up the steps, my tee-shirt over my mouth. I didn’t even think about it, it was natural that I shouldn’t breathe the same air as the dead. I looked into my own hell. Through the open window into a huge room crammed with rubber shoes, cheap by any standard, the paper liners eaten by maggots. More arms and legs and ribs, all forked into this place.
Strewn into this terrible room.
I couldn’t leave it alone, I couldn’t leave it. I couldn’t pull down the tee-shirt over my face and run away. I couldn’t be sure that these weren’t donkeys or dogs somehow tangled up with jumble, that my eyes didn’t deceive me I needed to see a skull.
I stepped up higher so I could see past the mound of bones and clothes and shoes full of maggots. I looked past all this and into the face that confirmed exactly what we already knew, what I had to see and wish I had never seen. My spirits drained out of me, my anal sphincter winking in fear, my feet wanting to run as fast as they could from this Byzantine holocaust.
Phillipa, still smiling and flirting and dancing around. Her belly just about to empty its bloody dead contents into her knickers. The old man sitting by his front door, Petula the maid, her hair all snaked up around her head with her old, thin fingers. Forked into that room. This heaving room, where flies and rats can come and live off of the dead.
We walked out of the graveyard, past the blue, wrought iron gate and into the hot alleys and the afternoon sun. We trailed back home, my spirits drained away. My mind working on the image of death. We could hear the bells calling the faithful to their pews, to the holy water, to the Festival of the Virgin whilst the tangled remains of granddad, children, motorbike accident victims all hugged one another unwittingly in that terrible room.
Back at the house I fell asleep on Phillipa’s stomach. When I woke up I tried to make light of what we had seen. We couldn’t. My mind working on that image of death. We had a rather bright dinner with the French. I couldn’t eat much, the meat festered in my mouth.
I could see the grave candles burning from the night terrace, comets burning over our heads, my feet burning inside my silk slippers. The twins arrived, showed us photographs, we drove into Skala.
Phillipa went to church, I went to the bar so I might forget.
I drank. Sprayed with champagne. It was our table that drank the most booze, our friends who danced the hardest, our friends who fell into the sea drunk and all the time my mind is working out that image of death.
Into the eyes of death, a death’s-head, not facing me. Leading me into further horrors.
Olivier the sickly twin and I had a long talk about his girlfriend, what he felt for her. How he became her. I gave him a big hug because he seemed to need it. He stroked my face, he told me that he didn’t need to be ‘superficial’ with me. He told me that I was a friend. Sometimes I didn’t understand him because he used a language that only a twin can understand. A description of one life as two people. They are an extra-ordinary couple.
I went home to Phillipa. We drank tea and then they left.
I got into bed and great waves of fear passed through me, my mind working on that image so that the bones started moving. The dead sat waiting beside the front door, sat in the fridge disguised as roast chicken, the maggots danced inside the rubber slippers, the nylons gnawed by fat rats.
Phillipa felt me cold sweating there in bed, listened to my fitful cries and sprinkled perfume on the mat and offered me kind conversation and squeezed into my back. I fell, finally into an unfettered sleep.
PS We met the rich Greeks who are building their ‘luxury’ home next to the graveyard.
“Fantastic views.” said she.
Can you imagine who empties those graves? The man we see in the street? Maybe the tall, mad man we see in Vagelis – the restaurant with the garden. Can you imagine seeing the graves being exhumed? The contents pitchforked into that place? The man couldn’t sell the plot.
Phillipa returns yearly to Patmos but I never did. The beautiful house was sold. Phillipa and I split up on the way home from Greece and when we arrived in London Amoury Blow picked us up from the airport. I was all over the press. Again. Front page of the Evening Standard.
Owned by Shaun Regen this is by far the most interesting gallery in LA and consistently shows challenging and stimulating work.
Regen Projects is currently showing work by German artist John Bock.
Born 1965, Gribbohm, Germany
Lives and works in Berlin.
The show reminded me (inevitably) of fellow German Martin Kippenberger.
Kippenberger is one of my favorite artists. His work has been inexcusably and crudely plundered by the YBA (Young British Artists).
John Bock is a performance artist and sculptor whose three-dimensional works often serve as props for his performances.
Bock creates entire universes using a wildly eclectic range of materials, described in multiple languages, and presented with an antic energy that is equal parts mad scientist and Buster Keaton.
A dizzying mix of pseudo-scientific, aesthetic, social, and political commentary, Bock’s works defy logic.
This view of the world has various precedents, notably in the post World War II Theatre of the Absurd, a movement whose goal was to shock audiences into facing up to life “in its ultimate, stark reality.”
Bock believes the pre-conscious associations inherent in words are unavoidable and that only through experience and empathy can we penetrate what he terms the “heavy numb dumb world” of daily life.
Bock’s lectures seduce and confound, simultaneously proving perhaps, the inexplicability of the interrelationship of man and his universe.
When I let God take the reigns of the humble buggy I drive down the promised path of happy destiny I am sure of one thing: things are going to turn out just the way they are meant to. Good and bad.
When I angrily push him out-of-the-way and drive myself I am sure of nothing.
I used to think that if I let God take control of my life, my life might be ever so slightly boring but that simply isn’t the case. God and I can still go on a wild ride, we can still have excitement and ambition. We just do it the right way.
I get to have all that life has on offer without paying the terrible price I seem to pay when I wilfully drive the buggy myself.
I used to think (convinced myself) that doing the right thing meant that I had to live a pious life.
This simply isn’t true. God doesn’t want me kneeling at his feet all day praying that his will be done. He knows that I believe in his will being done, but what I have come to understand of late is that his will needn’t be dull.
Everyday things get better in my head. Everyday without the grip of obsession, compulsion and the like I am calmer, more centered, more and more in my own skin.
Getting back to work and in touch with my God-given desire to create (and a means to do so) I feel more like the man I was meant to be rather than the man I have been lately.
Yesterday I went back to the doctor, had more scans and lo and behold there are yet more problems to deal with. The difference between this time and the last is that I now have a skill set to deal immediately and healthily with these problems rather than the last time when I associated the problem with him.
It is remarkable to me that for nearly a year I let somebody else rule my head and my heart. By so doing I allowed the deep shadow cast by another to blot out the sunlight of the spirit.
When I talk about God I don’t mean a christian…organised religious God. I mean a God of my understanding, a higher power to whom I must defer at all times if I am going to live a healthy life.
Have no plans for tonight and happily so.
My friend Blair drove 30 miles from Wingham to take me to breakfast. We hadn’t seen each other for 20 years and pretty much picked up from where we left off. It was really wonderful to see him. He’s still married to his wife and has three kids. After breakfast we went shopping for his boy’s 18th birthday.
Blair reads my blog and told me to stop moaning so much. It was funny and heart warming..he said, “I know that’s not you..” Which is true..I have not been myself for some considerable time.
Honestly, I think that the Sex Rehab programme/experience really went to my head.
I changed in many ways after I left the show..some good…some bad. The limited fame and attention, the intoxicating buzz I had every day whilst being filmed…and then the crazed fan who I thought might love me.
With the all clear comes the ALL CLEAR!!
Blair and I wandered up the High Street. I must have chatted with 20 people of varying ages. Each of them asked what I was up to and if I was happy…some of them read this..so they knew LOADS. One of my favorite Dengate boys (rugby player) and his sweet infant stopped me outside Budgens and warmly greeted me.
I always feel so honoured to have these people in my life.
Something really has shifted.
I got caught up in something peculiarly Hollywood. I got caught up in the inconsequential periphery of the industry and the unhealthy effects and lost my way. Now I have to put that all to rest and own up to some glorious mistaken identity.
We watched a bad TV documentary about Michael Jackson last night and the various fixers and characters around him..of course I know the real players in that story and none of them were in the show. The guys who make the real money, make the real decisions. It was fascinating to see how the documentary maker had the wool pulled over his eyes..yet, it’s true that the bigger the family you belong to in LA the more likely you are to get on. SAA, AA..Scientology etc. each a legitimate family for the waifs and strays washed up on the west coast.
My legitimate family is here in Whitstable. They can and do absorb the greater part of my ego. I am sitting with Georgina at the B&B trying to repair her tumble drier. Does that seem absurd? That this makes me happy?
I missed my nephews birthday party because I was sick with this flu.
New Years Resolution Number One: Don’t write blog until I have completed a stiff walk up a steep hill.
I bought two new hats:
Congratulations to Tanya Sarne and Wendy Dagworthy..my new OBE friends.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Emotionally, physically and spiritually life has been particularly nasty.
Now, unencumbered with either fear of imminent death, financial insecurity due to exceptional sales of art and my recommitment to a more sober life (without internet obsessions) I will fight what ever I need to fight to make my life comfortable and fair.
I will step out of the shadows and into the light.
I promise you all that the next man I let into my bedroom will be treated like a whore. The next man I let into my heart will be treated like the king I expect him to be.
No more half measures. No more wasted tears. No more.
I will never again let a liar and a thief rampage through my life expecting him to value what he is given. I would rather be alone than suffer another fool. Diminishing returns are not my thang.
Monkey man on my back. A crazed fan who thought he knew me from seeing me on the TV and was appalled by who I actually am. Even how old I am. Oh, God…thank you for delivering me from him. There are occasions when no amount of forgiveness will do.
As for going back home to LA? I sent a picture of my cock and sack to my worst enemies and told them to expect me home soon. I let them know that they might have been wishing for a different outcome but their prayers failed.
That includes you…my Westchester readers. Go fuck yourselves.
The first thing that needs to happen? The house comes off the market.
The second thing that happens? I make my next movie. Try stopping me.
The third thing that happens? I move back to NYC .
If I ever see his ugly mug again? I will chase him up the street like the cheap crook he is. God didn’t give me a second chance to get weak..he gave me a second chance to make my dreams come true.
I do not need a man to make me whole. I am whole. I am strong. I do not need to love a man to make me feel complete, nor do I feel lonely when I am alone.
I have never needed anyone but quite by chance I have you…the people who read this and make me feel better, connected…thank you…again…thank you. The people who only met me on the TV, the people who know me for real…the people who opened their houses and their hearts during this most terrible few months.
I left school when I was 16. I did everything I could to survive-including not sleeping with every man who promised me a dream. My greatest adventures are still to come.
Did you like the picture of me and the Picasso? I thought that sitting below a $35, 000, 000 picture would give you a clue to where I can sit when I put my mind to it.