Arrived on Fire Island. I’m here for the next few weeks… until I decamp (via Martha’s Vineyard) to Provincetown for a month or so… then it’s LA for the rest of the summer. Nobody wants to be on the East Coast for August. Not when one has Malibu… everyone agrees that Southern California is gorgeous in August.
I finally found an affordable and rather beautiful house near Whitstable to buy. Just far enough to be close to those I love… yet out of harms way. There’s so much on the market. Everything in my old home town seems for sale. Everything.
I’m staying, as usual, in The Pines… a guest in the most gorgeous house. I stayed here last year. So many pretty things to look at, art to admire and crisp white linen to drown in at night. A fancy cooks kitchen, every utensil one could possibly wish for.
As I was winding down last night I noticed that the house is loaded with alcohol, bottles and bottles… and I am all alone. It’s odd isn’t it? What keeps me, and those who want it badly enough, away from the booze. Sober. Nobody would ever know if I took a huge gulp of something before I went to bed. Only me.
What’s stopping me from taking a drink from the well stocked bar? Even if it’s just me? I suppose… I would know and God would know. The power of ones conscience. I’d lose the only thing I’ve ever worked really hard to keep.
I realize that many people don’t get sobriety. The disease, the god part, the endless AA meetings. During the past 17 years it’s been a struggle to remain interested or focused. There’s so much to put you off. Sober people can be a big pain in the butt. The endless revolving door of people you meet who commit to sobriety then drink again, the deaths, the drama, the fucking rules… but I tell you, if this is a cult (and many say it is) I’m a happy member.
I’m cooking a very old-fashioned coq au vin. A hearty treat for a chilly May evening on Fire island.
I bought a huge green fur hat from Marc Jacobs. It’s very warm, very green and attracts many, many comments.
The people who comment fall into three distinct groups.
1. The people who comment most are African-American men and women who approach me with huge smiles and open hearts and say wonderful things about the hat.
They tell me how happy it makes them. They ask where they could get one. They love the color. They hold me at the checkout at Trader Joe’s and ask if they can touch it. Black school kids holler across the street.
2. White woman tentatively tell me how much they like it, how warm they imagine it is. They rarely look me in the eye and their diminished confidence allows them only the slightest… but genuine opinion.
3. Gay men. I sighed writing that. Gay men. I sighed again.
When gay white men (strangers) talk to me about my hat it is always with sneering disregard. They go out of their way to say something catty and unpleasant. They look at me witheringly, their comments infused with: who do you think you are wearing that absurd hat? They dress compliments up in such a way that confuses the listener.
If the African-Americans who complement my hat had not done so I would have nothing to compare the responses of the gays. I might think I was going crazy. But I’m not.
We all know what a heartfelt compliment sounds like and the gays seem incapable of giving one… unless (of course) they want to get laid.
Here are more pictures of our brief stay in Malibu and our trip home.
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.
The Little Dog is, as usual, very chill. He becomes more trusting as he gets older.
I spent two days in the hospital having a stent removed from my gall bladder. Yes, I did.
I had dinner with Fern Mallis… who, as you know, invented fashion week.
After dinner we decided to attend the Giorgio Armani One Night Only event.
When we arrived we were whisked off to meet Armani who refuses to speak english but spoke english to Fern… because Fern is a legend.
On Sunday we went to the doggy Halloween parade in Tompkins Square Park but we couldn’t be bothered to wait in line.
In Woodstock we met a man wearing a lovely sweater.
I met a friend of Wendy Asher’s.
The hedge fund billionaire who owned the apartment also owned a perfect Nakashima coffee table.
The lounge is perfectly beautiful and looks like the Beverly Hills Hotel interior on Acid.
This is my Halloween costume:
It is a paper napkin with two slits torn into it.
The following day I went back to Woodstock to look at a lake house I want to buy.
This is me and The Little Dog in the view taken by Angelo:
I haven’t written anything for so long.
Perhaps I just ran out of things to say.
Roger Ebert died. He wrote to me recently urging me to write more. I have no idea why.
The house in Malibu is filled with my things again and the garden, this beautiful spring, overwhelms me.
Moving back in gave me the opportunity to start editing once again. I threw out three huge boxes of old clothes. Cashmere, labels, everything loved for a moment back then. Helmut, Yves, Issy, Comme des Garcons… boxy shirts from another era, trousers that I can (after my op) still get into but have lost interest in.
I kept all the Helmut Lang couture. It’s just too special.
I feel myself floating over the surface of my life.
The road trip across the USA was spectacular. Chicago, Denver, The Rockies, Utah and Vegas. Just me and the dogs and a car full of art and luggage. I met lovely people and saw cities I had only ever heard of.
I never went over the speed limit.
The operation to have my gall bladder removed was painful but since having the surgery I feel wonderful.
I didn’t realize how much pain I was living with. How the pain made me grumpy, listless and intolerant.
Now, without that girdle of pain, without the imminent GB attacks… I feel perfectly happy. Peaceful.
I can concentrate. perhaps that’s why I need to write?
During the past few months so much has happened. Things I can tell you and things I can’t.
Yet, after the moment passes, I can’t be bothered to write it down.
Editing the huge amount of stuff I own to a few essential pieces. Taking my old stuff to vintage stores, consignment stores and auction houses has been cathartic and profitable. Who knew things were so valuable?
But more than that. It feels like I am winding down. Not is a morbid way.
With less stuff and less girth (since the op I lost a great deal of weight) I feel not only lighter but more agile, more energy to do important things (for me) more time to devote to others, causes, delights.
As you know, those who know me, I like my decisions to be made for me. I LIKED my decisions to be made for me.
Recently I have taken control of the reigns. Less at the mercy of Duncan Roy. Do you know what I’m talking about?
At this time of life it is time to take a good hard look at what is and what could be.
The obvious frailties: reading glasses, aching joints, the prospect of a life without enduring love.
If I had only invested in a surrogate child. All my fears may be allayed.
That, for the uninitiated, was irony. You know how I feel about those surrogate gaybies. Abandoned to nannies until they can talk. Dressed up like performing monkeys.
“They spent every weekend on Fire Island this season and didn’t take the baby once.”
I am judged by what I own, by the company I keep, the baby I can afford, the art on my walls, the boy in my bed, the ideas in my head, the club I belong to, the house of my dreams, the car in the drive, the clothes on my back, the God of my understanding. I am judged.
Who am I? Take all of this away and leave me on the streets of Brooklyn and I am content. I want to be just like you. My history erased. My name changed. Once again.
The fire sweeps through the apartment building. The fire captains excited by the prospect of a real fire, manageable, heroic. Nobody is injured. The windows are smashed. The art deco facade blackened.
The jews are on the streets blowing their horns for the new year.
“Are you Jewish?” The young Hasidic Jew asks me.
” No. I’m not a Jew.”
I change my mind the next time I am asked. “Yes,” I lie, “I’m a Jew.”
He takes out the ram’s horn. I stand there in front of this eager youth with boyish whiskers and a large black hat, (the bastard child hat of the sombrero and the fedora) and for ten minutes he chants incantations and blows his horn.
Delightful Prospect Park adjoining the Museum could have been designed by Capability Brown but was (of course) designed by Frederick Law Olmsted the designer of Central Park.
We ate at the new burger joint in Park Slope. My burger was made of Elk.
As I was ordering my elk burger I opened an urgent email. My friend’s brother had been shot dead on his farm in Maryland. He was found, partially eaten by animals, on his tractor. They have no idea if it is suicide or murder.
I filed the tragic news as ‘pending’. I called his Mother and offered condolences and help.
These streets. They yield all manner of fine opportunity. I can disappear on these streets.
Today it is dark, wet and grey. The wind is warm however, the rain splashes onto my face. The Little Dog sits patiently outside the coffee shop.
Yesterday I lay in the arms of a beautiful boy who wanted me to fuck him. His cat curled up in a shoe box.
After he came we lay watching Glee in bed.
Mawkish, sentimental nonsense, a world invented by gay men where periodically an entire orchestra will appear from nowhere and youngsters will start singing hearty cover versions of popular tunes. A world run by the LGBT community. Bullying each other with waspish bon mot.
The drama is lackluster and situational.
The one-dimensional characters problems are slight, their solutions are wholly achievable. They worry to the point of suicide about their home town until they are saved by the gay hero.
This new gay frontier, where blue-collar dads talk like Kant, where black trans boys walk freely and unchallenged around a mid-west high school in full drag… this homo-utopia merely betray the dreams these gay writers had about their own youth. The dream of freedom.
“You’re Fired!” “You’re Cut!”
But of course Kate has a drinking problem and a lost dream and Whoopie wants to be Maya Angelou.
I took the dog and the train into Manhattan where I met with old friend Oscar Humphries who looked amazingly well.
We have had our fair share of adventure (all over the world) these past ten years: Driving 24 hours into the Australian bush to a Bachelor and Spinster ball for the Sydney Morning Herald. Louche nights in Paris and London…
Son of Dame Edna Everage creator Barry Humphries he is perhaps one of the most talented yet self-destructive people I know. We went to an NA meeting on Prince St. Then dinner at Cafe Select. I just adore him.
I had a late date after dinner with a charming man. We brought cup cakes and drank hot chocolate on West 4th St.
I climbed into bed at midnight and fell straight to sleep.
Nightmare: The Cohen’s, David and his 6 children are looking after The Little Dog. I bump into the youngest son who tells me without compassion that “You’ll probably be sad when I tell you this but…” they had to put The Little Dog to sleep because it was too ‘nippy’.
Were I the Moor I would not be Iago.
In following him I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so for my peculiar end.
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am
I was diagnosed with neck arthritis some tine ago after losing strength in my arms. It is, of course, a degenerative, condition.
Yesterday, after a long hike up Runyon Canyon with Vincent,and the Little Dog I was dismayed by the increased dull aches and weakness in my arms and legs.
Getting older with anything degenerative is a depressing idea.
Last week I managed to get the 24 hour flu which included stomach cramps, nausea and general malaise.
Apart from the weakness and flu life has been a great deal of fun.
Laural Hardware, after two and half months, has become THE coolest place in LA.
Even so, they remain the humblest success stories in town.
It is that time of year. After a day of writing I put on my autumn style and head off to whatever event seems most appropriate. The Fendi Baguette party was wonderfully organized. Peggy Moffitt, Victoria Hervey and Jeffrey Deitch etc.
Victoria Hervey goes to everything. Rude and pompous.
You know, of course, that I knew her brother John who, at the time of his death, was The Marquess of Bristol. It was he who introduced me to Freddy Hughes and radically changed my life.
In these modern times there’s really no reason for a girl like Victoria to behave so despicably… I mean… what does she actually do?
I hear that she is on the verge of being banned from a very exclusive club here in LA for being vile to the staff.
I have been spending a great deal of time at Vincent’s house in Brentwood. Such a beautiful home filled with wonderful art and books and mid-century modern furniture. Such a history! Presidents and celebrity sitting in the same furniture where I now sit watching Vincent’s crackling serve.
He knocks balls all over the tennis court and I swim lazily in the lap pool.
There’s a croquet lawn at the house but I could never win. Vincent is a croquet fiend and scoots around the course in as much time as it takes me to negotiate the first few hoops.
Exciting months ahead as the year draws to a close.
Regardless of where I’ll end up we are going to shoot the movie in January. I have been meeting with actors and heads of departments and line producers. It’s fun to be so involved with the process once again.
I have been asked to write an AA expose. There’s only so much exposing one can do in 1,500 words.