The day I met him someone had built an igloo in the dog park.
The dog pissed on it.
The sun was shining over the distant, roaring city.
Then, quite suddenly I knew I was in love.
Or at least… capable once again.
It’s my new obsession.
Spent rest of morning with ACLU.
Breakfast with Ivan downtown.
Lunch with Robby. We ate octopus.
Love this picture of me.
Oh yes, I seem to have pissed off the cult. AA people…in LA.
There is no easy way to tell you this. No easy way to write these words.
My brother Martin’s 35-year-old, long-term partner Juliet has died. A sweet-natured, complicated woman who wanted a baby very much, finally conceived two years ago.
She was a wonderful mother to my nephew Oscar. A really lovely child.
We heard the results today (13th Sept) of the autopsy. She died of acute kidney failure which lead to a heart attack.
Not one to complain she may have been in some discomfort for months but failed to tell anyone.
She lay dead on their kitchen floor for a very long time before my brother found her body. My infant nephew sat by her, maybe for 24 hours.
The neighbours heard him crying but did nothing.
My mother told me that the little boy had opened cupboards looking for something to eat. He found a pot of yogurt.
My brother broke down the door. He found her. Found them.
There are no suspicious circumstances.
Oscar has gone to live with my mother, his grandmother. My mother is a really great-grandmother.
The local newspaper report here.
Russell Armstrong was the husband/adjunct of Taylor Armstrong…a “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” character in the Bravo reality television series of the same name.
As most of us read this past week, Russell Armstrong is dead. Hung by the neck, fully clothed, no suicide note at his best friend’s Beverly Hills home.
Did reality TV kill Russell Armstrong?
Discovered by his wife and young daughter. This ordinary looking, middle-aged man could not take it any more.
According to friends who knew them, Russell and Taylor Armstrong were living, “Way beyond their means.” He was having, “Trouble at the office.” He was under, “Increasing financial pressure.”
Russell was the sort of guy who, “Had multiple business deals going at all times.”
Meanwhile, Taylor Armstrong says, “It may look like I have it all, but I want more.”
In many ways this couple are typical of many families in post recession, double dip America. Struggling to get by whilst keeping up appearances.
Yet, unlike other families, their problems were magnified on reality television.
On TV, stoicism is perceived as pretension. Fighting to survive looks to the snarky viewer, recalibrated by the producer as: pathetic and desperate.
Without the cameras, prying eyes and competitive resentment the Armstrong’s might have sorted out the messes that many Americans share. They might have had the luxury of a private chat with a financial advisor, a couples therapist.
The problem is: Shows like “The Real Housewives” are not about revealing the cracks in the facade or grown up solutions. This show is about ‘glamour’, confrontation and spurious TV paid for parties.
Away from the cameras these women talk about ‘production’, ‘air-time’ and ‘ratings’. They luxuriate in the language of prime time entertainment.
This is Andy Cohen’s dress up show. Divas, Cougars, Vixen. Andy’s fag hags that he abusively tells to ‘shut the fuck up’ when the drama he created drowns out his own ego-maniacal, shrill voice.
Some gay men love an older woman with botox to parade at parties. Like Capote before him Andy Cohen delights in exploiting families (with which he has no first hand experience) he can only guess at the financial woes that make such good TV, the divorces with which he speculates and profits.
Andy is a single, childless, gay man playing gay God in lives for which he has no care but to make money. He was laughing all the way to the bank…now he is maybe crying crocodile tears…all the way to the bank.
The last thing any reality TV show needs is a crushingly real suicide. There is nothing real about reality TV. Death, is seems, in reality TV land needs a one hour, unscripted, series premiere preamble for Taylor’s costars to explain their grief. I am sure that they will repair their relationship with the recently departed and defend their co-star as the abused victim, the tragic ingenue.
Last week Russell hung himself in the spare bedroom of his best friend one month after his wife filed for divorce.
Until CNN asked me to appear on HLN to discuss Russell’s death I knew nothing of Russell or Taylor, I had not seen one episode of any one of the “Housewives of…” franchise. My only link to the show was having met Andy Cohen on two private occasions.
The short, ebullient, producer of many avidly watched shows. Driven around NYC in his black, overly large limousine, surrounded by sycophantic boys. Lauded for his extraordinary ability to make mass market, trash television then audaciously crashing through the third wall to make himself a character worthy of his own show.
Whilst Andy Cohen plays ‘dress up’ with his housewives, bank balances are shattered, children see their dead fathers hanging from the rafters, divorces are finalized.
The relationship between Andy and his housewives needs greater scrutiny.
Since Russel’s death Andy has been uncharacteristically mute.
I wrote to him asking if he had anything to say about Russell’s death.
He asked for my ‘POV’. I replied:
I hoped you might want to say more about this incident.
There has been a great deal of discussion about just how responsible you and Bravo might be for this death.
Obviously Russell is ultimately responsible for his suicide but one might argue that he was brutalized by a wholly fictional narrative creative by yourselves.
Excluded from the show, losing his wife and child in a public way…a mere adjunct, his masculinity compromised…this could have pushed a fragile man to the edge of his being.
Whilst you are an ebullient survivor type of guy…riding your housewives wave…it rather cruelly occurs to me to ask whether your heart really does go out to the child of this dead man? Or…please excuse me…I wonder how you will benefit financially from this death?
I wondered whether you felt at all responsible for his suicide?
The pressure put on those women to perform for ‘air time’ can skew (ironically) their reality.
Russell ended up a ‘featured extra’ in his own life. The bad guy who may or may not have injured his wife but certainly not able to imagine a time where he would be able defend himself against the inevitably huge wave of negative press a network like yours can generate.
That was my POV.
Hope you are well Andy.
“I don’t think you know me or this situation at all so it is quite bold of you to speculate as you do.”
We all, of course, live in a world of speculation.
Perhaps Russell saw himself as a failure who couldn’t even get Reality TV ‘right’. Shamed publicly for his bad choices, his bad temper, his un-American solutions. If Russell and Taylor thought that they would discover untold riches under the bushel of reality TV then they were wrong.
Reality TV takes any problem and blows it up. Producers, directors and performers are all interested in one thing: drama. Usually that drama is manageable: tardiness, a sly look, a bitter word…then the inevitable reconciliation. Tearful, hugs, eyeliner smeared over acid washed cheeks.
Did reality TV kill Russell Armstrong?
We must take it seriously. Our insatiable desire to see women like Taylor Armstrong shop for things she could no longer afford, a marriage that no longer served her purpose. Her leading man tarnished, her husband a mere co-star who had to be recast.
“You’re a good looking woman, you could do so much better.” One might speculate that there is a far more telegenic husband waiting in the wings to whisk Taylor away from the funeral and onto a tropical island where her only stab at grieving might be a black bikini.
Many people, escaping their own misery, live vicariously through the noxious drama of the vacuous, crude and tasteless lives of these desperate housewives that may very well have killed Russell Armstrong.
I, for one, regret his passing. There will be no reconciliation for Russell, no ‘to camera’ explanation.
Like Willy Loman, Russell Armstrong killed himself because he was proud and foolish and could not take it any more.
Nowhere to turn, nowhere to hide.
Finally, Russell and Taylor’s child will not have the luxury of private grief. There will be cameras trained on her young face eager for tears that will make someone, somewhere a great deal of money.
It’s 4am and I can’t sleep. My head is full up with doubt and death, my heart remains broken. I don’t think it will ever be fixed. It was herculean, the task of keeping what I thought was worth fighting for.
How long does convalescence take?
There are solutions to deal with this…like prayer…but it’s not always easy to get the path cleared sufficiently.
Yep, after a week of gardening, path clearing…well…the path in my head that leads to clarity and peace of mind is still cluttered.
I had dinner with Toby on Saturday night and he asked if I had any desire to go to places I hadn’t already been and the answer is no. I don’t want to visit anywhere I don’t already know.
Who isn’t shocked by the angry white man who murdered all those people in Norway? I am not often shocked. Angry white men who can’t bear the way the world is changing. Turning on his own to make a point. What’s the point?
I have a painful bite on the back of my head. Mosquito I hope. Itchy.
The A List airs today. Why did I get involved? I know why. Part of my Jake madness. Making so many bad choices. Then I saw Midnight in Paris, it’s a sweet film. Charming. Going to Paris with a man you think you love only to find out you can’t stand each other.
I wish him well.
I began to have the same feelings for somebody else recently. Banished them. I will not go through anything remotely like the misery of the past year. I can’t.
Then I thought about the film Charlie and I started writing. My idea, he developed it. Neither of us had the stamina to complete it.
It was a beautiful idea.
I am going to write the research this week. Let you know what we saw, who we met.
I may try sleeping more. Crawl back into bed.
Gary once introduced me to Mark Ruffalo. Mark wouldn’t remember me, Gary would.
Gary was one of the forward thinking guys who set up the ground breaking film production company InDigEnt. He was a really, really sweet man. No news as to how he died but I think, from what I can remember, he may have had a serious illness that he kept quiet about.
He was very discreet.
Crikey, so many deaths! I just diligently report them. It’s rewarding to find something nice to say about the recently departed like poor Wally in Whitstable.
In Jean’s case, it was quite hard. We hadn’t spoken for ages because we had a money issue that neither of us wanted to resolve. He was a terrible drain on his friends and family. Let’s put it this way: it was very hard for Jean to enjoy his gifted life without endlessly complaining or taking drugs.
People die. I just put on my bombazine shift and write the bleeding obituary.
Perhaps I should try writing my own?
I would entitle it: WEAK TEA or LOUD AND DIM or NOTHING REMARKABLE.
To be run in the Whitstable Times in the event of my death:
Surly Duncan Roy (65) found dead in his Swalecliffe bed sitting room. Former Lord of The Lies refused medication for obvious mental illness and made unremarkable films. Campaigned for the Red Spider Cafe. He will not be missed.
I have not written a last will and testament so the fuckers can squabble over what is left. I may leave it all to that little girl or to a bat charity or Jake’s ex-girl friend. That would be funny.
Watched Oscars. Was James Franco stoned? No! He’s been sober for YEARS. He just looked a bit unprepared. I would have preferred if Social Network had won best film. It deserved to. The Kings Speech is constipated TV tosh. Tom Hooper is a director of no importance. Why does Colin Firth KEEP telling the world how important Tom Ford is to him and how he wouldn’t be receiving these awards without having met him? I thought that Firth had a rather long and distinguished career before meeting Ford? Are they or have they been…fucking?
It occurred to me why Portman trumped Benning…Portman has more mileage in her and will generate more cash for CAA. Poor Annette Bening so obviously deserved that Best Actress Academy Award but she’s an old mare and who writes great roles for old mares that Meryl Streep isn’t getting first refusal?
Clip Clop Annette.
According to the CHP report two other vehicles were involved in the accident which happened at approximately 12:25 p.m February 26th 2011.
The Lexus driver lost control of the car and sideswiped Perramon’s Ferrari parked on the right shoulder.
Jean had stepped out of his vehicle because, according to the report, he thought he had hit a piece of metal. As he did so, he was instantly struck by the Lexus.
He was taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
The driver of the Chevy has been identified by the CHP as James Pershing Flynn, 67, of Thousand Oaks, and the driver of the Lexus as Antonio Castillo, 37, of Montebello.
“Tonya Nicole Toma, 37, of Agoura Hills, was present in Perramon’s Ferrari at the time of the accident.”
Jean introduced me to Malibu. Showed me around. I discovered the house I would end up buying with Jean. We were once very good friends…for many months inseparable. Running up and down that bloody Malibu mountain in his Ferrari, attending AA meetings all over LA.
An unwitting child prodigy, Jean began his career earning money drawing chalk pictures on the streets of Paris. His creative talents did not go unnoticed. After completing art college he was hired as an art director by the important French advertising agency Oscar Mors et Varout. This would lead to his exclusively overseeing the world-wide advertising account for L’Oreal.
He moved to the USA where he became a production designer for the Richard Williams Animation Studio, becoming one of LA’s premier digital directors and designers working with artists and animators to create eyecatching, entertaining projects for clients such as Kellogg’s Froot Loops campaign.
Incredibly successful but mortally wounded by rarely discussed childhood events.
Jean lived with his wife and elderly mother on two lots on Rambla Pacifico. His Mother doesn’t speak perfect English so I would stop the truck and natter with her in French whenever I saw her.
Jean’s Mother remains a charming local character who walks the neighbourhood waving at passing cars. Jean was forever shouting at her.
I called his wife this morning. She sounded understandably exhausted.
Forever remodeling his home. I wonder if he ever finished it? Apparently he did, the house stands as a testament to his creativity and endurance.
His struggle to overcome active addiction was legendary to anyone who knew him. I hope that he died sober.
He was one of the most tormented men I knew.
He will be at peace now.
P.S. A few months later his frail mother died in her sleep.
You know how much I love Whitstable? That would be one of my ‘weak tea‘ successes: my relationship with Whitstable.
I love it there. I know everyone. We really know each other. For good and for bad.
Well, today I received some very, very sad news. My Mother’s friend Carol who owns the Tudor Tea Rooms on Harbour Street…well..and this is terrible…her son Tony died.
Known affectionately as Wally to everyone who knew him, he was only 40 years old, tall, gentle, ran his mother’s business with aplomb.
When you order a pot of tea at The Tudor Tea Rooms you get a pot of tea made with loose tea and a strainer. Quality.
We used to say that they served school dinners at the Tudor but we loved going in there. Fire burning in the hearth all winter. Closed on a Wednesday. Real steak and kidney pudding with a thick suet crust.
Wally was killed during the day on the train tracks at the end of Glebe Way. Struck by the coast-bound 11.22am Victoria to Ramsgate train just before 1pm. I have no idea if he committed suicide or not. That’s what people are saying but I really don’t want to believe it.
He was such a nice man. Wally and his sister Sue had run that Tudor Tea Room since they were kids. Since we were all kids. Serving Steak and Kidney Pudding…opening the tea garden. He was the sort of bloke you’d see in Prezzo Pizza Place with his young family.
As every Whitstable pub and every other shop front became yet another super chic gastro pub or seasonal/organic eaterie…the Tudor kept the same decor, the same menu, serving the same Whitstable us who didn’t want the bother of seared scallops or poached samphire.
My Mother and I saw Wally just a few weeks ago when I was home for Christmas. He served us a good old-fashioned English roast. My mother mocked me for drinking tea with my lunch…like ‘some one from a council house‘ she said.
He stood at the till and asked after my life in LA. I felt embarrassed to tell him what my life was like in California. What he didn’t know…what he could never have known…was what I was thinking that cold December day a week before Christmas: that I would have quite easily traded my life in Malibu for a chance at running the Tudor Tea Rooms.
From where I was standing…his life looked perfect.
Poached eggs on toast. Every day.
My mother accidentally pushed Peter Cushing off his bike one day when she was getting off the bus from Canterbury.
Anyway, Wally was killed on the railway lines. The third person killed in the same spot in less than two months. What’s happening? What a waste of a good life, a sweet family man. I feel for his wife and children, his sister Sue and his lovely mum Carol.
If you get the chance listen to this Jellybotty’s track, Peter Cushing Lives in Whitstable.
It mentions the Tudor Tea Rooms.
Annoyingly I’ve not been able to write about most or any of it and will not be able to in the foreseeable future.
As I have said before, as life gets really interesting the blog becomes less relevant. Real life interrupts blog life and for that I am very grateful.
Eventually, when I am allowed, I will explode all over the blog and tell all but for the time being I am keeping my BIG MOUTH SHUT.
I am having to be covert.
Presently staying with friends whose main morning preoccupation is to read really bad news out loud off of the internet. The corruption, the greed and the misery we create around the globe gleefully read out loud to their increasingly cynical children.
Frankly, there is no reason for a young child to have the worst possible news read out to them first thing in the morning as they prepare for school. Scares them. Scared me when I was a kid. All that bad news about nuclear weapons. I had a recurring nightmare about the atom bomb exploding. On my own walking home from junior school up Windmill Road, Whitstable just in sight of my family home…when the atom bomb detonates. A blinding light then a fierce, hot wind. All I could think about was that I had to get home. Of course, there was no home to get back to.
Right now my friend is telling her 8-year-old, “Brain damage is linked to cell phone use…”
Like a fairy story.
They had a lunch here on Sunday for two German friends. A well-known actress and her film industry husband. Within two minutes of arriving he announced the death of Perry Moore a man I knew in passing from New York. Perry produced the Narnia films. Years ago Toby Mott, Noreena Hertz and I had lunch with Perry and Tatum O’Neal at Freeman’s on Rivington when it was hot to have lunch there. Perry and Tatum were both very drunk and weirdly abrasive. Terry Richardson joined us for coffee.
I was not shocked to hear about Perry’s death as it was somehow gay inevitable. His father sadly telling the press that his son was on fine form the day before. Well, nobody ever expects the death of a healthy young man, no father ever expects to bury his son.
Unless, of course, their son leads a double life. We live, as gay men, lives away from our loved ones. Compartmentalized, fine one day..dead the next, slumped in the bathroom…oxycotin overdose. It is too familiar to me. So sad.
It would not surprise me if Jake ended up like Perry.
Anyway the German made some flip remark about Perry dying and gay people in general. He didn’t realize that I was gay. He didn’t realize that I was half Iranian so later made equally racist, inappropriate remarks about Iranian films winning the Berlin Film Festival.
Sometimes you just have to take the bullet so…I challenged him. Within minutes he was threatening to punch my fag lights out. His wife apologized for his behaviour.
Scratch most white Germans and a jackbooted Nazi goose steps out of the wound.
Samia Saouma my Lebanese ex-friend, gallery owner who lives in Berlin and is arguably one of the chicest women in the world was once applying her lipstick in the back of a cab when her white driver told her that she was a rag-head whore who should prepare for her next trick out of his cab.
Recently I took down a whole heap of posts from this blog. Blogs about him. Removed until they had no internet traction. Yesterday I reinstated them without his name attached. Self censorship is not a good thing. I also reinstated the Angry Reader blog that obviously came from ‘you know who’.
It amuses and disturbs me in equal measure that he would think that every achievement, everything of which I am proud he considers worthless. This coming from a man who has achieved NOTHING before he was thirty years old (17th May) when I, in comparison, achieved so much! Much more than anyone ever predicted.
By the time I was thirty years old I had written and directed plays, opened a restaurant, renovated houses, travelled the world. Christ! I did all that as well as being mentally ill, making enemies, etc. etc.
Achievement is not to be judged by others but rather owned by oneself.
I know that he gets drunk, stoned and lonely. I know that deep down he would prefer to resolve rather than reload. Time will tell. Time, as I have often quoted, is the greatest distance between two people.
I know that the we he suggests laugh at me has always laughed. They want me imprisoned or dead. They condemn me and they condemn my friends for being my friends.
He, on the other hand, may be surrounded by friends, family and lovers but at the end of the day he has to face himself, as we all do, in the mirror. I saw him wrestle with his conscience.
At that moment when I was most proud of him I should have just walked away.
As for the film? It takes shape before my very eyes. Working with CP in quite a different way than I have before. That’s all I can say. That’s all I want to say.
I still have no interest what so ever to meet, engage or have sex with any man.
Oscar party week. I am not involving myself until Saturday. Kick off festivities with Sharon…we will do the do…the merry dance. Still, if I am honest, I can’t really be bothered.
I want to make my own film now…not celebrate the achievements of others.
P.S. Tatum O’Neal wouldn’t remember me. She and Melanie Griffith once broke down together in an AA meeting. Crying about the relationships they had failed to have with their children. Meg Ryan looks like Melanie Griffith. They must have had work by the same surgeon. Meg Ryan wouldn’t remember me either.
That was quite a chore!
Now, all I have to do is pack up remaining items and move out of LA. Then it’s the dog orientated trip home flying via Paris to London.
There I will have my operation and hope that it hasn’t spread.
You know that I like to tell you the truth here on these pages. Well, I want to share that I found being in NYC really miserable. Why? I was anxious that I might bump into him even though I had texted him telling him that I would be there and to avoid where I live and SHNYC.
Even so, I felt terrible and dreaded dread dreaded bumping into him.
I dread the small claims case in October too. I dread seeing him. I wish that these painful feelings would just go away. I wish he had never contacted me. Why did he fucking contact me?
Manhunt date number 3 was good fun.
A giant of a man turned up…it turned out that we had friends in common. We talked about Jake.
It’s funny that even though he had been through a similar experience with a man his immediate response was to chastise me for getting involved with someone who was BLATANTLY unready to be gotten involved with.
Yet, as I have found out..we ALL seem to make really bad choices in love. My straight men friends routinely describe the females they get involved with as insane. The women I know describe the men they get involved with as douche bags. People make mistakes in love.
It is very hard to control a yearning heart.
I am just so angry with myself that, a. I believed him. b. fell in love. c. took him home.
Why the hell didn’t he tell his friends that he was gay rather than me? Why? Somehow my TV confession spurred him on to confess..yet, as I pointed out to manhunt date number 3..I am NOT a TV character..I am a man. I am profoundly UNLIKE the way they edited me on TV.
This is ripping me apart. It is just so unfair that I let some crazy fan into my life who wanted me to be like I was on TV and I…fucking IDIOT..fell in love with him.
I was on Dan’s lap top today checking a friend’s Facebook page and there he was making some Camille Paglia comment. His new profile picture was weird. Mugs and fruit. His hair was all flat and he looked thin.
You may think me mad but really what you are reading is the real and daily trial of being an addict. That I can have all at the same time huge compassion for him and a consummate loathing.
There was a moment is Sanary sur Mer in France where he was sitting at the end of a jetty looking at the sunset. I slipped quietly away. He was thinking about her. He was sad.
Thankfully there is still one sacred place I didn’t take him. It remains mine. Unseen by crazy fan eyes.
I pray every day for the obsession to be lifted but I guess it will vanish in God’s time and not mine.
Jennie and I walked the length of Abbott Kinney, found a new collar for the little dog and chatted about our various relationships. She, of course, has a relationship..I do not. She is in love and making a TV series and I am off to Paris with a friend. A friend, nevertheless, who makes me smile.
Last night we saw some cool live music on the roof of the Standard down town..that would be Ryan, Justin and I..then we ate dinner at Bottega Louie. I ate pork chops. Somebody sent us a Shirley Temple with delicious cherries floating around in it.
I have to be discreet about the location but Prince and Lionel Ritchie played impromptu performance on another roof in another part of town..it seems that Prince is always up for an unexpected gig, I have seen him perform at hotels and bars and in that huge house he rented with purple carpet everywhere.
From out of the woodwork crawl all sorts of characters from the past and this week an old friend called after he lost his job. It was all the more interesting because we had not had a cordial end to our friendship a year and a half ago but time heals and we said our brief apologies and got on with being friends again.
There is probably more to gain from knowing me than not knowing me.
Time is the greatest distance between two people. Tennessee Williams wrote that. It is time that will end up miraculously mending all the smashed Ming vases that I am surrounded with. Remember what I said about love being like a Ming vase?
Joan brought me a rather splendid Japanese tea-pot for my birthday that arrived in a huge box from Memphis. I felt like a five-year old again. Opening my birthday presents.
This day last year the darling big dog was killed. Ripped apart in front of me under that truck..she kept on trying to live, trying to stay alive for me as we lay together in the back of my truck..in the flat-bed. Jennie drove us to the animal hospital on Ventura Blvd and the nurse put her down with a lethal injection as I sobbed my little heart out.
The next day we collected her from the freezer and I cried all the way to Malibu, apologizing to her, reminding her of all the great time we had, crying and laughing until we buried her in a coyote proof hole in the garden she loved.
Sarah sang a beautiful song. The little dog said his goodbye.
This year has been all about death. The death of friends, the death of my dog and of course the death of love. Tomorrow I want it to be different but I cannot be sure. All I know is that I am trying to be the best man I can be, let go of the past..even the recent past, and forge ahead.
7am Friday morning Los Angeles. It’s time to come clean.
This week last year was the last I would spend with my Darling Big Dog who is now buried in Malibu.
I miss her so much.
The occasions when I just breakdown and cry for her are fewer nowadays but it still happens.
If it weren’t for the little dog I don’t know how I would have survived the darker days this year, the dread comes upon me but I have to get up and go on because his needs come first. He is a little dog, he comes from a damaged place and I made a promise to him..
There is, I hear, something quite magical about drowning. There is a euphoric moment just before death that could make a long swim quite an attractive prospect.
Up and down, up and down. The trip home will, I know, keep me balanced and sane. So much to do and see. Spoke to my travelling companion last night. He seems well and happy.
Yesterday I woke at dawn and filled my time until I could legitimately start the day. The little dog sleeps as I potter around in my bathrobe and read the news. I am going to climb Runyon this morning.
Over in Malibu I saw another huge snake in the garden but it was hot and angry so I didn’t fetch my shovel. Anyway, I still feel guilty for killing the last one. So may people asked why I didn’t keep the meat and eat it.
The problem with changing your life so completely is that you are left with a huge hole where your life once was. Sex Addiction meetings are not enough to keep me happy or secure or in touch. Gratitude lists look paltry when written down. Even meeting up with my friend and mentor can’t seem to shift the immense longing I have in my heart that periodically casts such a deep shadow over me.
My happiness eclipsed I look to the usual suspects to shine light into the darkness. Sadly their batteries are dead.
Listening to loud and uplifting music can go some way to making life better. My choices may seem suspect, Elton et al. I can’t listen to Joni, her obsession with lost love merely plays into the pessimistic thoughts I am already prone to when the sun stops shining.
Dentist yesterday. The dentist gave me a lecture about flossing and I lectured her about the perils of white flour/sugar/rice etc. I don’t think any kind of doctor here likes being told anything because they are so used to dispensing advice and usually remain unchallenged. She tried to scare me with apocalyptic visions of the bone around my teeth falling away that can only be solved, she said, by spending thousands of dollars and endless hours in the dentist’s office.
I think I will ignore her advice and see my lovely dentist in Sydney when I am there this winter. Oh yes, I am going to Sydney this winter. I decided this morning.
After seeing Sebastian this week I thought a great deal about my father. Dead, maligned, reviled..much like I expect I will be.
Another Sebastian to think about, my friend Sebastian Horsley who has finally become the glittering star he always wanted to be. I knew it. In death he has become the man they wanted him to be. Death becomes him. In death we can acknowledge the fantasy of who he was rather than the stinking reality, the crazed drug addict. I will remember him for twenty-seven years from Edinburgh to London. I will remember him struggling to stay clean, vulnerable, and helpful to other heroin addicts. How can I forget?
I stopped in on Andrew yesterday. He had a square, roughly glazed vase of white hydrangea mixed with other tiny, yellow flowers. The mere act of filling the house with flowers lifts the spirits. They have hung huge photographs and his found chair collection grows weekly. I fell asleep on the sofa and when I woke up he was gone. When did I stop appreciating these tiny gestures of good will? When did I stop buying flowers? How did my house get so full of other stuff? That’s why I like going to the Malibu because I have stripped out all of the mess. I am left with an African seed pod on a porcelain plate.
When did I start forgetting that aesthetic? The aesthetic that Patrick taught me when I was Andrew’s age?
Meanwhile I am dealing with the birth of a monster. One I can scarcely contain. One I have done my level best to avoid for many years. The goblins hold a cracked mirror to your face and all you can see is the ugliness. Not the age, (because I am sure of my age) but how very ugly one is. My confidence stems from this: that when I look into the mirror I appreciate what I see and hope that others may see me just as I see myself.
OK, off to Runyon with the Little Dog. Time to go now. Time to get on with the day. Busy, busy, busy.
Loads of messages from friends re. Sebastian.
I had long chat with PH this morning about the trip home and how amazing it is that we have survived at all.
I have been miserable about turning 50 in three weeks but better to be turning 50 than turning in my grave.
It was such a tonic chatting with my darling PH, she has always been there for me. Always. Anyway, that’s just the way I need to start my day with a bit of loving validation. Suddenly I feel like I can cope with ANYTHING.
Held here in sunny aspic LA. Suspended in solid jelly, I can see out and they can see in but I am waiting for the jelly to melt around me.
Last night’s dinner with friends was delicious. We played a few games of backgammon after. When John realized he wasn’t going to beat me he ran off leaving his wife to try her luck. Nope, she didn’t win.
My diet means that I can wear clothes I have not worn for a few years. Last night I wore a pair of crisply pressed silk Prada pants and my Comme cardi. Lovely.
From the 26th floor of Soho House I stared out over LA as dusk fell. The car lights on Sunset Blvd snaking for miles East, white and red. A huge black cloud from the west hastening the night.
Really making an effort to get out of the house. I am not sitting indoors for 12 days. Interminably long days. Perhaps I should just take the car and drive across the USA? Actually, that isn’t such a bad idea.
I could stop off in Nashville and see Joan! How about it Joan?
Very exciting European prospects ahead. I am particularly looking forward to seeing my friends and walking the streets. July is always such a glorious month in London.
I am so happy she called. So happy.
Sebastian Horsley my dear friend this past twenty five years has been found dead in his Soho apartment. Heroin overdose. Good God. How many more friends will I lose this year to the disease of addiction?
He struggled so hard to stay clean and sober. Endlessly failing, endlessly trying again. He had the sweetest soul.
Hopefully I will be in London for the funeral.
Too many friends found dead on their own. A ghastly yet familiar story.
The truth is, he should have died years ago. He cheated death a million times. I will miss him but somehow this ending for Sebastian was almost inevitable.
From an earlier post:
Sebastian lives on Meard Street in Soho. On his front door are the words, THIS IS NOT A BROTHAL, THERE ARE NO PROSTITUTES HERE which is total lie. There are always prostitutes there..in Sebastian’s bed.
Recently, I took a genuinely normal boy to meet Sebastian-my very sweet friend Chris Parker the TV actor from Eastenders. Chris is utterly charming. Previously I had taken him to The Colony in an attempt to delight him with a glimpse of an alternative London. My experiment failed. Chris thought that the Colony, the great beating bohemian heart of London was horrible. He didn’t like it. He looked scared. He was not interested in the art or the characters dressed in huge jewels or zoot suits. Those people in that tiny room shocked him, he was unaware of the history of that room. In that room the greatest art dramas had been played out, that Francis Bacon held court there, destroyed the confidence of his boyfriend publicly in that room. Go see the film: Love is the Devil if you want to know more about The Colony.
So, Chris and I are shopping in John Pearse on Meard Street. I bought a pink linen shirt. You know who John is? He made The Sargent Pepper uniforms for the Beatles. John owned a shop on the Kings Road called Granny Takes a Trip in the 1960′s. As we were on the same street, on the spur of the moment I wickedly decided to introduce cautious Chris to Sebastian. Chris is 5’10″. When Chris met Sebastian, 6’5″ tall wearing a lurid cerise tie, his raven black hair swept into a huge bouffant in his rooms in Soho, he was struck dumb.
Chris looked at the pictures of the crucifixion, the limbless woman and the sharks. He was visibly distressed when he saw the nails that been nailed into Sebastian’s hands during the crucifixion. He was appalled when I told him that Sebastian had fallen off the cross. Chris noticed the gun by Sebastian’s bed. “What is that for? Is it real? Why do you have it by your bed?” Sebastian, picking it up to show us the real bullets said, “I don’t believe in unprotected sex.”
In his own words:
“When I was young I thought the recipe for happiness was devastating good looks, a blazing talent and a colossal income. I was right. As for love? The rich think that the most important thing in life is love. The poor know it is money. It is the only thing poor people do know. Given that money is the root of all evil, they should be very virtuous. But they’re not. No, they just moan, groan and drone, looking for a loan. Why don’t they just get rid of such luxuries as food, clothing and shelter, and give us all some peace? Give me the luxuries of life and I will dispense with the necessities. Fancy a fuck?”
50 years ago this month my Mother, eight months pregnant, was scrubbing floors for nuns at a catholic ‘Mother and Baby’ home in the depths of rural Kent. For 6 months, this teenage girl, had undergone an emotionally disfiguring baptism of shame.
The young girls in this Catholic facility were persuaded that for their acts of fornication and subsequent pregnancies they should be punished before God and their unborn, bastard children maligned.
This penance would not edify my Mother. She would not repent. She had already glimpsed the burgeoning freedoms of post-war Britain. She had met a rich, well-dressed, exotic, Persian boy who drove a sports car and had given herself to him. She was aspirational, a teenage girl with an appetite for the modern world. She wanted what he had, the freedom he had but he wanted less from her than she from him and after moments of unbridled passion she was pregnant and abandoned. One can only imagine how dreadful she felt telling her Edwardian parents that she was carrying me, knowing that her life would never be the same again.
My grandmother, disgusted by her willful daughter’s precocious ambition, spoke to a priest who organized seven long months of incarceration at the Mother and Baby home where she would be forced to abandon her dreams in exchange for shame, resentment and fear.
My grandparents abandoned her to her fate. During the 7 months she was sent away they did not visit her once. After I was born they accepted her home begrudgingly.
Most of the girls would give up their babies. Some of them willingly some, like my mother, unwillingly.
She could not breastfeed me. I refused to suckle. Perhaps I already knew that life was not worth living? The nuns insisted and forced me onto her nipple. My mother left me behind at the Mother and Baby home to be adopted but fate or circumstance or racism intervened. I could not be adopted. My skin was olive toned, my hair curly, my eyes jet black. It was obvious to all the prospective parents who viewed me during the time I was offered up for adoption that I would not fit invisibly into any nice, white family.
By July the 8th 1960 the day of my birth the door had well and truly shut on the promises of the age.
Remember, during the first few months of the 1960’s my mother was unaware that this decade in the United Kingdom would be described variously as ‘swinging’, ‘progressive’ and ‘free’.
What of these nuns now? These Brides of Christ? Where was Jesus when all of this was going on? Where was the love of God?
My Mother was neither free to keep me even though she begged to do so and the home I would eventually end up in, although loving, was certainly not progressive nor swinging.
My Grandmother, in a rare moment of charity, decided to go fetch me and I ended up, once again, with my teenage mother and her mother and her mother in a small, semi-detached house in a genteel seaside town. Besides these three women I lived with my two aunts and my sickly grandfather. Victorian Herne Bay was, was at that time, still enjoying the benefit of the second longest pier in England, a bandstand and the cavernous Kings Hall where polite tea dances were held.
There are photographs of me ensconced in the bosom of this dysfunctional family. I was the son my grandfather never let my grandmother have. She doted on me, walked me through the streets come rain or shine. Then, she let me go.
During the darkest days of my childhood I would try to get back to that house. A house I knew and loved but when I got there it was never the house I remembered. She sent me back again and again.
I lived there for two years until my mother married a local lad and we moved to Whitstable. My Grandmother was thrilled to have her sullied daughter married. It was, in fact, against all the odds. She was ‘taken off my hands’ my Grandmother later told me.
50 years ago. 50 years. I have lied about my age for so long that I am in shock when I type those words. The number has come too soon. I am not prepared to be this old nor was I ever expecting it. Shocking! Why did I never expect to live? On many occasions during my childhood I expected to die at the hands of my angry step-father.
When I finally escaped that man I sought out equally destructive situations.
I have been hankering after the long sleep since I was born.
As I sit at my desk in Los Angeles my greatest triumph, if at all my only triumph, has been to survive. To avoid the catastrophic blow that I expected every day. I may not have fulfilled my potential but I have certainly achieved more than I ever expected, more than I was told to expect. In spite of my temper, my addictions, my desire to take up where my murderous step-father left off I am alive!
It is only recently that I tentatively acknowledged that life must be lived.
For as long as I can remember I have imagined and reimagined my death. For long as I have flown in aeroplanes I have reveled in turbulence. As often as I have picked up strange, beautiful and dangerous men I have wished death come to me.
Shame has cast such a deep shadow over me that all I ever managed to do is struggle blindly down life’s treacherous path. Stumbling into people along the way who could see. Many of those people realizing that I was blind did not help without benefit to themselves. Many of those people, when I understood what monsters they were, were shocked when I ferociously bit their hand off up to the elbow.
Perhaps this is why I stayed close to my family home, a family that did not want me. Even to this day I hanker after Whitstable. There are still elderly parents of friends my age who remember the small boy who escaped his home whenever he could and seek refuge in theirs.
During the next month I am going to write an abridged memoir. We know the beginning and most of you know where I am right now. So, as I make my way East through New York and Paris back to my old hometown of Whitstable I will let you know what I remember, what I care to remember from the last 50 years.
Today, the little dog is on my bed waiting to walk through the Californian sun to our local coffee shop. There are people there who know me from the television. People who might wave a tentative hello. Tonight I may hear from the man I love and tell him so without shame or expectation. It’s not much to ask is it? To be loved, to love. To be loved..to love?
Feel like the skin has been burned off of 90% of my body. Vulnerable to the memory of the Big Dog. Remembering her broken and bloody body. She comes to me and reminds me of what I am capable of.
The conversation was at first a crude attempt at land grab in the emotional terrain we had been inhabiting these past few months but after a while we settled into a healthy dialogue about much-needed closure.
The last vestiges of what was are now stowed away. The resentments are dealt with, every fact revealed, keeping my side of the street totally clean. For that I am proud. In the realm of full disclosure I am king.
I had to listen to truths I would rather not hear. I am smarting from words like ‘damaged’ and ‘unhealthy’. I just took them on the chin. It would be easy for me to fight back, to make excuses, to tell the story of my life but really..I consider the source. Everything I am left with is for me to deal with without recrimination or harmful actions to the other.
The little dog is restless tonight, unable to find a place to get comfortable. He perfectly reflects the way I feel. After Josh’s cancer party we walked the streets of Hollywood and I gazed at men longingly, as if strange flesh would make my head ache less.
I wish that I could drink, sit in some bar somewhere and get totally wasted. I wish I could take drugs like vicodin or morphine. I wish I could open my veins to let out theses screaming demons. I have only one solution and that is to pray. That is my weapon of last resort. As the obsession shrinks, the man diminishes, the heart fills full of love once again rather than the desiccated scarcely beating leaden thing that fills the place where my heart should be.
If I pray to that God others have such a problem believing in then all will be well. I have been embarrassed by my belief in God when that was all I really had, what I came to believe, that gave me succor and a will to live! I am alive today. I did not die when I wanted to. I chose to live so now I must live the best life possible however ‘damaged’ I might be.
Oh damn you addiction. Damn you for taking me once again to the brink of oblivion. Damn you for blinding me to the consequences. The unenlightened live in a world without consequences.
The greatest insults were not leveled at me today, the ones I truly deserved. That I had been willful and disobedient before my creator. God had shown me the path to happiness elsewhere and I ignored it. How embarrassing! How totally and utterly embarrassing that I should have got caught up in some suburban drama, a bit player in some bad soap opera. Acquainting myself with those who do not have the willingness, honesty and open-mindedness required for living a serene existence before God.
I am crushed by own actions. I have no one else to blame. I now retreat into what has held me for 13 years, that has continued to show me forgiveness and opened its doors and arms to me. It is my true love, it is the only path I know that will help me achieve my initial desire when I first got sober: Peace of Mind.
Remember the relief you felt when you first saw the word God written in the 12 steps? I offered myself to God because I had nowhere else to turn. Tomorrow I will do the same thing, I will sit with men and women who came to believe, who daily turn over their extraordinariness to a God of their understanding so that they might live a humble life with Peace of Mind their goal.
I know that they will understand, that they will forgive me and help me to forgive myself.
Dinner with Anna in Los Feliz. We discussed how focused one has to be to make a film… how determined. More importantly… we both really have to want to make film. Neither of us are motivated by studio films.
I am in perhaps the most ideal position ever to make another film yet without a script that I really believe in what’s the point?
The same goes for my book. I don’t want to write it. I was writing it with him and now he has gone so my interest has burned off like the marine layer over the Malibu Mountains. Oh fuck.
The problem with the last script? It is really two films crammed into one… like Siamese twins I have to very carefully separate them. This requires me being meticulous and I can’t summon the interest. Where did all the energy come from before? How did I muster the enthusiasm?
I have lost my enthusiasm for film, for love, for life.
I have been asking normal people about falling in love.
It seems that most people believe that they are worth loving. I have never felt like I was worth loving.
Tonight I saw a gay couple leaving the restaurant. One of them was much older than his boyfriend. My heart sank. They looked so happy. Both of them probably believed that they worth loving. They didn’t come from a damaged place, they hadn’t had their childhood ripped apart by shame, violence, lies, resentment. I hope not. I really do.
I wouldn’t wish my early years on my worst enemy.
I wanted to kill myself as soon as I understood that it was possible. I tried when I was 12, then again when I was 17 and finally gave into the interminably slow suicide that alcohol and drugs offer the committed self hater.
At dinner (crispy crusted pizza) Anna and I discussed pornography.
In search of that authentic moment in the narrative. Isn’t that why so many people go to such dark places on the internet? Looking for a moment that is indisputably real?
How could any man ever measure up to what I see there? Whilst love makes a fool of me I seek solace in pornography. I prayed again tonight for some sort of deliverance from the obsession.
Send me somebody kind I say-but would I know how to let them love me?
Oh, I have been loved so much-so often. So many men. Yet, until recently, I thought that anyone who loved me was a fool. If I couldn’t love me how could anyone else? So I thought again about the long sleep-longer than the one I have been awake for.
Down the dark corridor.
Kristian’s death has affected me more than I might admit. Rather foolishly I had a picture of him on my phone that lit up every time somebody called. I deleted it today-I was making myself sadder than I needed to be.
Found myself looking at pornography last night-late-trying to soothe myself-trying to throw a warm blanket over my feelings. It didn’t work. I still woke up this morning overwhelmed with fear. I wrote to John:
5am. Waking up in huge amounts of fear. Crushing, overwhelming fear. Think I may have come to the end of the line. Cannot go on. Making bad decisions. Can’t face anything. Financial ruin facing me. Nowhere to run to. Don’t trust anyone. Obsessed. Looked at porn this morning to try to sooth me-did not work. Nothing works. Do not see any more life ahead of me.
As dawn broke over the mountain I expected those particular ghouls to vanish, yet, those pesky demons lingered all day-like they were waiting patiently to claim me.
My father died when he was 53.
Found myself looking at pornography..
Now, that sounds like it happened to me rather than me searching around for that perfect porn moment. Porn is like research, it’s scholarly, frustrating, intense.
Feeling desperately sad. Not sobbing like when the Darling Big Dog was killed.
Throwing the towel in. “Goodbye my friend.” Remember when we were best friends with Matt Rowe who wrote all those huge number one hits? “Goodbye my friend.” Remember New Years Eve at The Mercer Hotel in NYC with Melanie Sporty Spice and Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman? Odd mixture that night? What a night.
So I’m chatting with a friend about his childhood and he tells me that his father was sent to prison when he was 11 years old. The only way he knew how to deal with the shame was to lie to his classmates. He knew where his father was but told his friends that his father was on a business trip-he told lies because the truth was far too complicated. Gosh, I related to that. Lying to make life easier: My father is on a business trip. Telling palatable childish lies leading to a life of fantasy, pornography, disconnection.
It took me so long to let the truth set me free. Now I try so hard to tell the truth. Lyle brought word from England that I had a terrible temper. Oh yes, I remember that. My temper was a daily occurrence for so long. Before I went to Sex Rehab I really had no idea why I was so angry-after sex rehab I fully understood why I was angry and the mechanism that controlled it. So, to all that I shouted at and screamed at and made cry-I was wrong, I was wrong, I was wrong.
Sorry to repeat myself but..
When Kristian died suddenly a door opened into a world I considered closed to me. I had considered suicide for as long as I can remember but never seriously. Death, after all, is a very long time. Suddenly there are enough fun people in the after life that I might have a good time. Giggle with. I am not scared of death-I was just scared of being bored when I got there-now with Kristian dead-death seems like a realistic option. Holding the door open for me.
I am looking for clues for what might keep me alive? What can I believe in?
This morning I heard John talking about being asleep and how much of the time I have been asleep. I fall asleep when I first meet some one-a deep sleep. I always thought that it was because I felt comfortable but now I see that it was to escape intimacy or worse that something might happen to me.
Moths in my clothes, little dog pawing at me…home sick for Whitstable, for Battersea Park..can we walk there together you and I?
Selling art-legitimate source of misery? My friends didn’t want to buy my art. They want to buy art from a legitimate source. Funny.
Lying. It’s a choice. To tell the truth or lie? It seems obvious doesn’t it? Well, these muddled days, as Michael Moore reminded us when he picked up his Oscar, are ‘Lying times’. Within a relationship there are all kinds of lies but I don’t want to tell HIM lies. I just want him to know the truth.
The silence in the Malibu Mountains, the thudding base from the music playing in the apartment above my Hollywood apartment. Both the silence and the interminable base making my head ache. My head aches.
The questions that haunt me: How could he have taken such a risk? How can he be calling me to join him there and why am I listening?
One day I will write about FULL DISCLOSURE-a most unsavory practice.
I love you MR DARLING NYC-you are keeping me alive, your love and your perfect smile are keeping the worst of these terrible demons from driving me to the gates of hell.