Tuesday, a woman I know sent me a revolting picture of a skinned, live puppy attempting to escape a pot of boiling water.
The similarities between these two emails far outweigh the differences.
Black, known to his friends simply as Lance has been around my life as long as we have both been making gay films.
Recently, Lance’s films have fallen by the wayside. His famous friends and perfect Hollywood pedigree can not augment his startling lack of talent. Despite the luxury of many recuts his film Virginia remained almost unwatchable. One of his producers told me that Lance cannot and should not direct.
He claims that he loves my academy award nominated film AKA. Yet, for all his love… he and me have never really connected. I’m not… a) a young blonde boy, b) a Hollywood grandee, c) interested.
Like so many young gay men in Hollywood he is ambitious, ruthless in his own passive aggressive way.
Lance is an affluent, white, gay man. I stress this because it defines who he as a so-called activist.
We see each other at gay apartheid parties in the Hollywood Hills. I am usually the plus one.
He lives in a nice house on Fairfax Avenue in West Hollywood. It is sparsely decorated. For all his riches Lance lives a frugal life. One might say the house lacks imagination which is odd for such an imaginative man.
One of the bedrooms in his humble home is reserved for the two surrogate children he is planning in his not so distant future.
The only fly in the ointment? He will not have children unless married. Sadly, his seeming inability (like so many gay men in Hollywood) to keep just one man, a man to marry… the bassinets remain empty.
Due to the fact that he is drawn predominantly to much younger gay men the subject of child rearing, when discussed, often leads to amicable separation.
It seems that Lance may have at last found in Tom Daley a young man he can marry who shares his desire for an immediate family.
Let’s wish him all the best and that child-birth comes quickly… he doesn’t want to be an old dad, too old to play football with his young child.
Lance’s pre occupation with a nuclear family is at odds with how I would determine an activist. But Lance is no ordinary activist. He passionately wants for us all to perfectly ape what heterosexuals seem to have. Nothing less than full integration will do. He hankers and fights for traditionally right-wing values, for marriage and the military. He hangs out with white men with similar values. He hangs out with MEN.
Gay director Bryan S once told me that he sees no point in knowing anyone unless there is a sexual component.
When Lance first started calling himself an activist and regularly going to Washington to meet President Obama I bumped into him at Cafe Solar de Cahuenga on Cahuenga Blvd in Hollywood. Solar is a tatty south American coffee shop/restaurant popular amongst young actors and writers within sight and sound of the busy 101 Freeway.
I praised him for his film Milk which he valiantly produced and won an Oscar for writing. I didn’t ask him about the controversy whirling around the gay gossip vortex in which we are both hapless victims.
Amongst the back stabbing gays his success and authenticity were being questioned.
Hadn’t he stolen the Milk project from another gay producer? Did he in fact write the script that won him the Oscar? Some people said that Ron Nyswaner had in fact written the final script that Gus shot? The gays told me that he took his Oscar everywhere. That he couldn’t put it down. They scoffed that he used his power and prestige to snare young boys. They said that he used his stature within the community to seduce young boys. They said that he should have been wearing a condom when he was fucking his ‘boyfriend’ in the infamous shots of Lance with a cock in his ass… if he was at all interested in being an ‘activist’ he should have been wearing a condom. They said that he should practice what he preached. They said that the original documentary about Harvey Milk was far better than the film.
Harvey Milk made Lance Black famous. What Milk would have made of Black personally… I wonder. What Black would have thought of Milk if he had met him contemporaneously… I wonder. Milk was a bombastic, driven, older jewish man.
Now, of course, Lance hangs out on the Castro as if it were his second home. Manning the gay white male barricades. Lance regularly hangs with Milk’s contemporary and true activist Cleve Jones. Riding Cleve’s activist coat tails?
He was sitting on his own in the middle of the Hollywood coffee shop sipping green tea. Everyone could see him there. We talked about British equality legislation fashioned by Waheed Ali. I told Lance about British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell. Lance seemed enthralled by Peter’s unique brand of direct action so I organized an introduction. When the time came for him to meet with Peter… Lance bailed.
I sent a dismissive note.
We didn’t speak again until he started dating a dear friend of mine who was at that time living at my home.
My friend is perhaps one of the sweetest man I know. Kind, considerate, thoughtful, intelligent, curious and recently out of the closet. In fact, history repeating itself, my friend came out for Lance. My friend made the first move.
Knowing that my friend was falling for Lance I tried to stay as impartial as I possibly could. As much as I wanted to spew cold vomit all over their burgeoning relationship. I did not. I was supportive and kind. I asked Lance over to the house for his new boyfriend’s birthday lunch. Lance bailed.
During the next few months of their relationship I watched my friend fall apart. My friend started therapy. He was torn and confused and miserable.
At one particular gay pool party Lance rudely left without telling my dear sweet friend that he was leaving.
My friend was distraught.
Thankfully, when Lance took my friend to The White House he didn’t bail. They ran around with Don Lemons stealing Christmas cookies. They had access all areas. They hung in the Oval office. My friend was delighted to see history being made… for affluent white gay people.
I maintained my impartiality.
I have no opinion about Lance and Tom. Sadly, others do.
Tom Daley is being scolded in the bully chat rooms by the petit bourgeois gays for ‘making the first move’ as if his teenage innocence and delight can be construed as a devious attempt at star fucking.
The British public love Tom Daley and they will not let him get hurt or tangled in anything other than a relationship they deem appropriate. For the time being they will give Lance Black the benefit of the doubt. I am sure that the British press will keep tabs on Lance. If he thinks for one gay moment that he can get away with any duplicitous behavior around Tom Daley… he had better think again.
The problem is: no one expects gay men to have morals, or stick to the rules. Gay white affluent man have written their own rules and nobody dares question them. They have become a super elite, their access to the world stage unparalleled. But with wider acceptability comes broader scrutiny.
Elton John once said in front of me, “10 gay men run the world… and I know all of them.”
Tom Daley is a beloved young British boy. We may begin to see this corrupt, elite gay world through his teenage eyes. It is a shadowy world of sexual unmanageability, pedophilia and other unsavory obsessions.
It is not what the elite gays want you to know, whilst they paint a public picture of themselves that makes them seem… just like you.
Sunday 23rd 2012.
New Harris tweed trousers. They are so thick and keep the cold wind from whipping around my legs.
I had two very different experiences on Friday.
The first, an unfortunate spat on Facebook with a Canadian writer called Michael Rowe.
I think you know, those of you who read this regularly, that I struggle with marriage as the means by which gay and straight people find parity.
That marriage in of itself doesn’t seem to work for many of the people who sign up for it… so why do so many men and women in the LGBQ community want it so badly?
Is it just because they want the ‘benefits’?
I thought about it a great deal this week.
For those of us gay men and women who are now in our early fifties marriage was never an option. I never hankered after it, nor cared to think about it.
I read this in a British newspaper.
British MPs are planning to create an “exception” in marriage law for same-sex couples and will not alter the definition of adultery.
Either they don’t take us seriously or we don’t take us seriously?
Perhaps gay marriage is indeed separate from straight marriage because we can’t be trusted with monogamy?
Those I respect seem to value marriage equality… so I have been posting thoughts and feelings on my Facebook page.
I am perturbed by how many angry responses I get whenever I write about my marriage equality concerns.
If marriage equality was all we needed or wanted are we selling ourself short? Are we like any cultural minority that lives side by side the majority needing to be tolerated rather than nurtured? Do we need to be understood? Do they need to learn our language? Or, like Hasidic Jews do we evolve separately once we are ‘equal’. Somehow this is not attractive to me.
This question incensed Michael Rowe.
Where are you getting “all we needed or wanted” from? It’s a basic right. That’s not “tolerance,” that’s equality and strength.
The conversation continued privately.
Talking to Michael was like talking to a Zionist. Realizing that his problem with what I was saying was more about me than the conversation I decided to tread carefully. He is the sort of man who believes that any gay who comes out of the closet is an unqualified hero.
I’m not an intellectual, nor am I particularly bright… but I am willing to listen… and I am desperate to understand why I am so conflicted about marriage equality.
Because, I think, it doesn’t seem like equality at all.
So, why am I bothering to fight for something I simply don’t believe in?
It feels like another way to join another elite gang. A gang that will, if given half the chance, bully you mercilessly.
I’ve seen straight women do this. Brag about their married status to their unmarried friends. Causing those unmarried women to burst into tears when they are far enough away from their persecutor.
I asked Michael what he thought marriage would do to our gay culture. I said, I really want to understand your position.
Not sure what there is to “understand.” Until there is no foundation of complete legal equality for LGBT people, the rest of it, worrying about “our culture,” is frosting with no cake. That’s my position.
Our gay culture is very important to me. Even if it is on a separate page, in it’s own section at the book shop or the video store or on Netflix. I enjoy the separation. You see, I’m not very interested in what straight people make of me or the culture that has sprung up around me.
What will marriage equality do to the gay community?
How will these huge changes affect us and our behavior toward other gay man and women.
If a gay man tells his straight friend that he is getting married will his straight friend feel a flush of envy?
I asked if Michael felt ‘more equal’ than his American friends? He said:
Of course I do. I have approximately 300 more rights than American gay couples whose relationships are not legally recognized, rights that have financial and legal implications.
And no, I don’t feel sorry for gay couples who aren’t married by their choice, but I do feel sorry for those who don’t have that choice.
I don’t think that screaming about how proud you are not to be married carries a lot of weight when that right isn’t even on the table.
Like employment protection. Or do you also feel that a law that protects LGBT Americans from being fired also hurts “our culture?”
Oh dear, Michael was watching the NRA press conference at the time so his irritation may be excused.
He is, as you know, a very important Huffington Post blogger.
A ‘gay voice’. In the separate but equal ‘gay voice’ section of the Huff Post.
There is a great deal in this last quote that may make you wince… as I winced.
I come from England where Tony Blair gave Waheed Ali carte blanche to equalize the lives of hetero and homo sexual people.
I remember eating lunch in Malibu with Waheed who explained to me how the legislation was written.
He explained that the word Marriage may have been attractive to some but perhaps a little too divisive. They chose civil unions as the way forward.
Total equality (excluding the word marriage) was a great incremental step in the right direction and one that the majority of my gay friends in long-term relationships were happy to embrace.
Michael is not so sure.
“Civil unions” aren’t marriage, and they’re not equality.
He continued inaccurately:
They weren’t “chosen,” they were all they could get because no one would allow them to be married, with full marriage equality, including the rights of citizenship for spouses.
Just to be perfectly clear: the British do have rights for citizenship for spouses and UNMARRIED partners.
Now, that’s what I’m talking about.
After many years of legal parity, the British gays… from a position of strength are asking for the word marriage and asking a very conservative government to boot. They are certain to succeed.
Civil Union may be the best incremental baby step on offer?
What are the incremental baby steps that seem to get American gays no closer to federal recognition of same-sex marriage?
Married Michael Rowe is very proud of his life.
He has achieved what his parents probably wanted for him all through his childhood. The dream of a heteronormative existence.
The rest of the conversation disintegrated into name calling. He called me tiresome, I ended up calling him a cunt and he blocked me on FB and that was that.
If I were in my early thirties I might think that this is a golden age for gay men and lesbians. That I could enjoy a fully ‘out’ existence, meet the man of my dreams, marry him, buy some surrogate children and live happily ever after.
That is a perfectly lovely dream to have.
But I am still in two minds. Shouldn’t we all be fighting for something more than marriage, that marriage should not allow those who are to have so much more than those who are not?
This is not equality.
Some married gay men (like Michael) are already behaving like my mother and grandmother behaved toward their spinster/old maid/barren friends. Looking down their married noses.
Do I feel cheated out of different sort of gay life? If I had grown up around gay men getting married would I have thought differently about the men I dated and the future we could have had?
I have, undoubtedly, missed the man/man marriage boat. Joe and I talked about it briefly.
When I was growing up the thought of marriage (one man to another) was simply not a consideration. Like an orthodox jew would never think about eating bacon. I didn’t really think anything of not being married.
Being brought up in a small town where the majority of my straight peers had children but no marriage… marriage seemed Victorian and absurd. The people who were getting married were not… cool. They were… boring.
My straight friends who remained unmarried with many children did very well for themselves. They ran successful businesses. Their children went to great universities. They struggled and excelled equally along side those children who came from married families and broken homes.
There really was no difference between them and any other child.
The emphasis on family values seems to have gripped the gays as firmly as the straights.
What ever family means we don’t want to be left out of the explanation.
We all have a family of sorts. Some have blood relatives, others have an extended family of strangers.
Obviously, I have invested in the latter and have never been let down.
Which brings me to the final part of my blog today.
Sitting with the dogs on Franklin outside my coffee shop of choice I met a young Rabbi.
Charming, Cambridge educated and very enthusiastic.
He invited me to Shabbat the following Friday night.
I had, of course, enjoyed many a Friday night with the Cohen’s in LA. David, his wife and their 6 children. 40 people for pot luck dinner around a huge table on the lawn then talking about world events with a talking stick. It was perfect.
This Shabbat was very different.
There were several rabbinical students. I arrived mid prayer. For an hour we prayed.
The most exquisite boy with the most beautiful voice (and a baby) sang something on his own before the others joined in. When he started singing I began to cry.
They prayed and sang (they sang in Hebrew) and faced East, my rabbi friend was particularly enthusiastic. I sat beside him and he kept apologizing for everything, as if it were a trial for me to be there… when in fact it was beautiful.
I sat there thinking about the gays. After my run in with Michael.
I wondered if they would have confused my thoughts about how beautiful the singer was with wanting to fuck him. That most of my gay friends wouldn’t have just enjoyed him, they would have wanted to fuck him. ”He’s hot…”
We ate a huge dinner. We washed our hands ritually. After the dinner and conversations with truly wonderful people (I avoided talking Palestine) we sat together for more prayers and a fascinating chat about the Torah.
The young rabbinical students and scholars discussed in a really modern and interesting way what I had been taught was the Old Testament.
Jacob, Joseph and the blessing of the Pharaoh:
My years have been few and difficult.
They talked about other things.
A young man with thick, raven black hair told us he had just visited Sandy Hook. To offer ‘solace’.
At first I was irritated by the apparent intrusion, it seemed so arrogant.
I was wrong.
He explained that the town was packed with people from all over the world. That he had witnessed a funeral of one of the murdered children and the parents of the dead child were holding up signs in the car that said, very simply: ”THANK YOU.”
I found him after dinner and thanked him for reminding me that it’s easy to let other people do the difficult tasks.
If Sandy Hook had been an isolated incident then I might have felt differently but Sandy Hook is part of a macabre American theme and we must all, collectively… own it.
It is our responsibility.
That young Jewish man and his five friends had taken responsibility and travelled to Sandy Hook.
By doing so, they had a spiritual awakening. They were thanked by the parents of dead infants.
They understood (unlike those of us who did not go) something more about America, about bravery, about priority, about consequence.
The two parts of my day could not have been more different. The childish spat with an entitled gay man and the spiritual warmth of new family offered me by a group of heterosexual strangers.
Inclusion versus exclusion.
Last night Lady Rizo and I had dinner with Winston Churchill’s granddaughter. I was not the only gay at the dinner for 50. I avoided the other gays.
I have nothing to say to any of them.
I don’t mean you dear. Not you.
This post is all about children, real or imagined.
Since Obama’s toothless benediction, the gays have become emboldened.
However, this spurt of new confidence has not translated into any sort of useful direct action or changed the argument in any important way.
All that has happened?
The gays decided to take on the owner of Chick-Fil-E because he doesn’t agree with marriage equality.
Good God. All they managed to do was make that guy a whole heap wealthier. Thanks gays.
I hadn’t heard of Chick-Fil-E before the fuss now all I want to do is sample their factory farmed chicken sandwiches.
Damn you gays!
That’s not true. I’m not going there any time soon to eat anything.
Meanwhile, Elton is on vacation with David and his kid… and David and Neil and the twins… all wearing matching white cruise wear. Each surrogate kid costing $160k. A fleet of nannies back on the boat.
Elton laments that his kid will never know his mother. He’s quite right. Erasing mothers from the picture… is just wrong.
Amongst the gays I notice a new theme emerging, something that used to be hinted at, implicit… but recently… in polite circles… made explicit… there is amongst a broad swathe of the gays I meet… an appalling misogyny.
“I don’t hate women, some of my best friends are women.” they say (without irony) when challenged.
Those who have surrogate kids grumble that the women who sold their eggs or carried the child might want something more than the money. They might want to ‘see’ the child. They might want a relationship with the child.
They would prefer that the baby not see the mother at all, that the baby be delivered from vagina to the hands that paid for the baby, like a UPS parcel.
Apparently it’s now possible to take the DNA from two men and create a child without any genetic material from a woman. I was told this frightening news triumphantly by a gay man the other day.
“You would still need a womb.” he told me sadly. “But it’s only a matter of time before that (a womb) can be replaced too.”
I was uncharacteristically speechless.
Is erasing the mother from the picture just wrong or am I being old-fashioned?
I met gay Ian, a young CAA agent manque.
“I suppose that’s the benefit of being gay… no women.”
A perfect world for Ian: married, baby, no women.
He, ‘Didn’t see the point..” of women. “Women are our natural enemy.” He giggled.
“Are you single?” I asked him. He looked appalled. My question implied that I might want more than a conversation.
I reassured him that I tended to fuck people my own height.
His modern, bourgeoise anxieties included: he would never be able to afford a surrogate child.
That he would never meet a perfect man and marry him.
His friend Zach chimed in helpfully, “Surrogate kids are only 8 grand in India.” No problems with permits he assured us and the women can’t find you.
The gayby industry is being outsourced.
The vitriol spewed over me (as usual) in the Data Lounge is worth noting.
Writhing with xenophobic zeal these queens who hate me seem to hate me for all the things us gays are meant to aspire: beautiful men, money and uniqueness. Ill informed opinions about my house etc. can be ignored.
I feel sorry for the young gay guy who wanted to celebrate me then ended up apologizing for all the nastiness.
Those resentful old poofs who hate me? Well, you’ll have to try little bit harder. As you simper at home writing anonymous shit about me… I’m out and about having a great time.
Thank you very much.
Remember, after ten years a resentment has more to do with the person harbouring it than the intended recipient. Get over yourselves.
Of course, some resentments are fresh and well deserved.
My ex has every reason to loathe me and I wouldn’t expect anything else. I made his life hell after we split up and increasingly, every day in fact, I wish I could put that genie back in the bottle.
P.S. Do I think I’m better than most people? Nope. Do I look down at you from a lofty place judging you? Would I want anyone else’s life? Nope. I don’t envy anyone… ever. I really love my life… good and bad.
And finally, something more to celebrate.
As I’ve written before, I saw those amazing pics of the ex bf with his current beau. They looked great.
They are unashamedly gay.
I applaud his apotheosis.
It is time for us all to jettison the mantle of straight acting, embrace our gayness in what ever form that takes.
That ex of mine has come a very long way since I first met him, from the artificially deep voice, the bad clothes and heterosexual relationship (he even berated my occasional gay flourishes) to dating a man who skips around his closet in 6 inch heels.
Some of my friends who viewed the style u like vid wondered how a man like that could call himself a jock… well my dears, he can call himself anything he likes.
When you have really loved someone and they fuck you over… however long it takes, the aim must always be to forgive and forget.
Loving him gave me a great deal of pleasure and pain but it was something.
We sure had something. And, when they ask me what that something was I can look them in the eye and say, with all honesty, that it was nothing they would want… but it suited me just fine.
However an impossible fantasy it was.
He was like an imprisoned child back then, in desperate need of parole. Boxed in by lies and deception. He became my child, my gay child.
Like every daddy I wanted the best for him.
When I didn’t know where he was, I worried about him… like a child.
Now I know that he is happy… I am happy.
Wasn’t that always my intention? To make him happy, however he wanted it?
What transpired was completely at odds with what I first wanted… Because I fell in love.
I tried not to… but I couldn’t help it.
I let myself fall like an olympic diver into a magnificent pool of crystal clear love.
Sadly, I hit the bottom of the pool and bashed my brains out.
I am obsessed with my Tumblr account.
Sitting with 12 year old Hannah learning how to do it properly.
Sitting up all night searching for images, videos, quotes from a long life.
Constructing a narrative where all events harmonize. Where color and texture blend from one image to another. Telling public and private stories simultaneously.
As for the rest? My other life?
I had tea with a producer on Friday ostensibly to talk about my new film…then unexpectedly he asked me to read a script which they are looking for a director.
I drove back up the 10…happy, joyous and free. Perhaps the hell of the last two years is truly coming to an end?
Dinner in Venice, then bumped into my ‘friend with benefits’. He said, although drunk, that he was embarrassed to introduce me to his friends because I am so much older. I told him that was like me being embarrassed by his being a jew or gay…I walked away. He’s a kid. What do I expect?
He needs to learn to own his own life.
I explained to Robby why I was feeling so optimistic, hours before the script was mentioned. Looking out over LA from the 13th floor.
I explained why seeing the man I once loved in love was so reassuring.
To be excluded from the life of one for whom I had been so instrumental…had driven me insane.
The emotional investment in another, even when that relationship changes into something else…well…one is always looking to recoup.
The dividend…was to see him happy. I saw irrefutable evidence that all our hard and painful, beautiful and passionate time together…was worth it.
I don’t need, nor do I deserve to have the enduring love of another to make me happy…all I needed to know was that he, he who I love…was loved.
It is very simple to me…though confusing for most.
My ‘failed relationship’ has meaning now. A context.
During the past two years I have written so often about finding peace. Peace and understanding. This is it! I announced grandly…this is the peace I have been searching for! Well, I was wrong.
It was merely an illusion. A false hope. The glaring eyes of many storms…a momentary peace…which I mistakenly assumed would last. The 100 foot waves continued to break over the bow and I was lost again.
Seeing those two men pressed together, harmonious, happy…well…who couldn’t want for them what I was never able to achieve?
I know what you think…that I deserve what I get, that I am not very nice, that I have been very cruel. Well, it’s true. I have been cruel and mean but I don’t think it was anything other than necessary for us to go through what we went through.
The only people, as I have written before who are deserving of my apology…are his parents and sister who I demanded into our violent storm, who I insulted and maligned.
For that I am truly sorry.
I have no idea, ultimately, if he intended for me specifically to see those things but he must have known. Wether he intended to try making me jealous..well..that’s another consideration and we’ll leave it at that.
What I have learned these past few years is that (in a quieter less public way) so many men and women are tortured by love…in and out of love. Choosing inappropriate partners, chasing hopeless dreams.
Sadly, there is no cure for curiosity.
New York. May 2012
There you are. Finally. For all to see.
Like bumping into you in the street. That’s how it felt.
But you were where we met…virtually…on the internet.
Peony, the rain, the winsome songs.
If we had bumped into each other in the street, I think I would have felt the same. I left the page with a sweet smile on my face. I felt proud of you. I know how exciting life must be for you.
And if I had bumped into you in the street and you had told me that you were in love…inevitably you wanted me to know that you were in love and inevitably I crumbled.
I am indeed that cliché you despised so badly.
I called Robby and he listened. I called Joan and we looked into your life and we all agreed that it was swell.
The end of the film needs rewriting.
All the world can see your love. Ironic huh? Now you know how I felt when I wanted to publicly celebrate what we once had, when I wrote about us.
There you are, together…pressed together. In love.
You looked great. Your hair well cut, your pants the right length.
Your boy friend looks extraordinary and familiar. Celine is a great brand.
I know you didn’t put that Tumblr page up for me but you knew I would see it. You knew I’d have an opinion.
It was a perfect way to let me know.
If we hadn’t ended things so badly and we’d met in the street…I would have hugged you. I would have thanked you. I would have smiled gently. I may have shed a tear.
I loved you very much…you know that. But, we knew what we had was fleeting…needed to happen for you to set yourself free, free for this relationship that you celebrate so publicly today.
The metamorphosis is complete and you have emerged fully into the world…a beautiful young man capable of great love and glamor…and your underwear was chic as all hell.
I know that you will make something amazing one day…something I would have never guessed.
A film or a book or a room or a garden. You are capable of all those things.
Of course I still love you. But not like that.
This is all I ever wanted, to know you are happy and to share your happiness
By publishing your life so publicly I am relieved…even though I cried, I cried because you were there on the street telling me what I needed to know.
That you are happy and in love and…of course…beautifully dressed.
PS I bought the book.
Woke up early. Wanted to get the daub onto the stove. It’d been marinating all night.
Then, something about the process, the action of stirring the pot, as it began to simmer…broke something in me. Like I was having a rare moment of clarity, sanity…and I felt a terrible guilt for the way I had treated…not him…but his parents…drawing them into our drama. Collateral damage.
I wanted to write to them and tell them how sorry I was.
They were innocent.
Then I found that Avadon picture of Ginsberg and his long-term lover Orlovsky. And I thought about them ‘long-term’ and what they were thinking, or not thinking when they kissed for the camera.
I thought about the way they, we…I…describe what we have as long term.
Long term insists that we take what they had seriously. Ginsberg had not just met some man on the street and taken him into the studio. He had made some sort of commitment. Long term.
And I thought that marriage would be just that…long term. That our beards would grow long together. That I would never ever tire of looking at you. Kissing you.
Then I remember that I am here in LA. You send me a picture of Washington Square. It’s all I need right now. A picture.
The whole house smells of beef in red wine, fresh herbs, fresh garlic.
I had lunch with Robby on Monday. We ate a lamb burger at Gjelina. I drank ginger and mint italian soda.
He has been having a wonderful time. Earning masses of cash, loving his man and roaming with his homies. Yes, I wrote that.
On Wednesday I met a friend for lunch, a lunch that didn’t end until 3am. He is 23, he lied about his age. He told me he was older. A masculine dilettante.
Have you heard of Red Medicine? It’s that restaurant, Jordan Kahn’s place…that everyone is talking about.
We ordered far too much. Each baffling plate arrived covered in flowers or Dadaist condiment.
We ate: DUNGENESS CRAB / passion fruit, brown butter, black garlic, Vietnamese crepe, hearts of palm $32
We ate: BEEF TARTARE / water lettuce, water chestnut, nuoc leo, chlorophyll, peanut $15
We ate: AMBERJACK / red seaweed, buttermilk, lotus root, tapioca, succulents $16
Then, after dinner, we lay in the back of his SUV by the beach and kissed each other until my face was raw, my heart was racing, my legs were trembling. I was so completely overwhelmed that I could not drive for ne’er a mile before I had to stop and beg a cigarette from a passer-by.
He is beautiful. He gnawed at my neck until I could not bear it any more.
So, that’s what love looks like in a warm climate. For a moment. Not long-term. Not to be taken seriously. Just a moment. I have trained myself not to yearn for more.
So, the daub will cook for four more hours until it is tender. We will eat it with home-made noodles.
“Gagged by snobbery.” I like that. That’s what happens in England. I’d forgotten.
I deleted my Facebook to see how it felt. Well, it feels pretty damned weird. Just suddenly cutting out a whole world of communication. Can I do it?
Like stepping back in time. I am an Edwardian Gentleman. Another procrastination eliminated?
I began decoupling myself from social media. Facebook was kinda easy. Twitter less so. I can ‘protect my tweets’ what ever that means.
I wonder how long I can stay away from Facebook?
Give me some time. What else? This. I can set this to private. I’ve tried before but failed.
The dog is farting toxic farts this evening.
This weekend I met someone I had ‘friended’ on Facebook some time ago, we had sparred, ‘liked’ and written to each other. When I actually met him he was short, rude and surly…and orange…like a bald snookie.
I want real people in my life…not virtual ones.
Part of the problem I had with fuck-face was: he thought I was one thing when I am without doubt totally different from what he imagined me to be. Mind you, he did what many of you have done, he confused what he saw on TV with the real deal.
As for seeing him again last week? Same venue, usual shit, the same absurd grin…these people are like petulant children. He told his father (the shrink) that I was crazy. Uh? Crazier? More crazy than when he met me? Who is the crazy one?
There was a moment when I walked too close to him and he began flailing his short arms. Pointing at me…calling over the deputies. Well, Jenny and I just left the building and had lunch.
I wonder if he will ever realize how absurd this all is? That it means nothing.
What did he want me to be?
I am neither sophisticated nor particularly educated. I take what little I have and spin it into a life.
Other people tell me that their ex lovers try to blame everyone other than themselves for their wrongdoing. He tried blaming his ex too, it was her fault for not realizing that he was gay…because he had ‘no interest in sports’. He was so angry with her.
It is a common theme…not to accept ones part…amongst those who mistreat their lovers.
Forced to listen to absurd justifications. I used to think that everything he did was somehow original because I had never encountered it before.
Now, more than ever, I see that he is merely unevolved.
I know that as he grows older, has other meaningful relationships…he will learn.
Waking up next to a beautiful boy this weekend.
Having beautiful boys to look at first thing in the morning…always charges the soul.
Here he is:
Spent time with Z and T. We had a lovely time. Read Vanity Fair whilst traveling. Conrad Black, unashamedly talking about his time in prison. I don’t know how I feel about that. There are real crimes…and he committed them.
By 4am I began to feel totally bereft and reinstated Facebook. An exercise in futility. That’s how pathetic I am. I have an English friend called Craig who deleted all but 500 of his 2000 ‘friends’. I envy him. I am naked out there. Too many people know too much. Obviously they only need know up until today. After today they need know nothing.
I am already blogging less. Revealing less.
I had not prepared before I deleted my Facebook account. If I ever do it for more than 12 hours I will prepare. There are some friends I see in the real world who I make plans with on Facebook.
This weekend was dramatic in other ways. Started out well enough then disintegrated.
I had no idea yesterday was Friday. I thought it was Wednesday. That’s how disorienting the mountain can be.
I have been trapping squirrels. Peanut butter and Weetabix. My secret weapon. The little dog at my side. Spent the rest of the day under the deck clearing dead leaves.
Paid water bill in Malibu, picked up some milk.
Dinner with friends. Crappy Cafe Habana. The rudest waitress on the planet.
Cold mist over the mountain. The weather is totally fucked up.
Apparently The ‘A’ List is very amusing. Ian had an advance screener. I probably don’t come off very well. Never mind. I am, according to Ian…referred to as ‘smelly’. Watch the show on Logo, Monday night. More will be revealed.
Because you love me (huh?) an anonymous ‘friend’ out there decided to send a recent picture of Jake.
Please don’t do it. As you are well aware, it just inflames the situation.
I don’t want to see him or hear anything about him. I am at peace with him. Want the best for him.
I forgave him for writing that horrible email, for lying to me. His lies, in retrospect, were perfectly understandable. He was in a terrible situation. I forgive you for being selfish and insensitive….for doing what perhaps all your non-sober friends would think perfectly reasonable.
I forgive you for wanting me to be something I never was. I forgive you because you didn’t know.
What is my part in all of this? When everyone around me was warning not to get involved I ignored you all. I ignored John. I ignored Mr. P. I ignored Dr. D and my therapist Jill. Instead of going to meetings and connecting with dependable friends I sank into my addiction. Acting out with a straight identified man.
Regardless of what he morphed into…he was not mine to love. It is indeed very alluring to be told that you are loved but I am old enough, experienced enough to have seen it for what it was. I chose not to.
I’m sorry I wasn’t stronger. I’m sorry for bruising you inside and out. I’m sorry that I couldn’t stop myself from loving you. I’m sorry that I was insensitive and selfish. I’m sorry for shouting. I’m sorry I lied. Most of all, I was wrong to have waged this war against you, not least because I have done myself irreparable damage.
I was wrong.
I was weak.
I fell for him…as many will.
You are a beautiful, sexy, romantic, intelligent man. Above all…you are curious. If you are not already, you will make someone very happy, very proud. You will make some equally honorable man a great husband, you will be a good father.
I wanted you for myself. In a different narrative that wouldn’t be so bad. But you had just come out, bravely left one life to make something brand new. I should have been a support, a conduit.
Peace comes from acceptance and forgiveness.
I hope one day you will find it in your heart to forgive. I don’t need to know that you have.
I imagine that he is out there doing his best to be honest. Living in New York, working every day.
Connecting to his new gay life.
I hope he marvels at his good fortune: his new gay life. The opportunities it affords. With marriage and babies and freedom…it’s a great time in New York to be a gay man.
Both Zach and Dan told me that I should stop writing about Jake. Zach told me that it made me sound weak. Well, that maybe. Weak or not, it’s time to move on.
At some point soon I have to remove (yet again) any reference to him from this blog. Any photograph, his name etc. It just has to be. Not because I am being forced but because it is the right thing to do. As if it never happened. As if we never happened.
This blog and his name written here ties him to me as much as I have strapped myself to him like a suicide bomb.
So, Adieu my friend.
I am writing this at The Country Mart in Malibu waiting for Karim as he stands in line for our lunch.
Some of those places we visited. I will cherish those memories. I will overlook the problems. I will keep quiet now about what we loved most because only we know.
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.
After a late breakfast I met Michael L at Mud. He was wearing a DIVINE pair of Prada shoes…an extraordinary wing tip/espadrille hybrid with Nike soles.
I LOVE YOUR SHOES.
I told him that I had seen JP at my AA meeting.
On the spur of the moment we decided to go to Savage Beauty, The Alexander McQueen retrospective at the Met. Sunday afternoon, it was OVER RUN with people. JAMMED.
Jammed with people who may or may not love fashion but certainly not enough to line up for two hours!
Thankfully we were Met members so went directly to the front of the line.
I didn’t give a damn how many people were there. I just loved the show from beginning to end.
This enchanting, inspiring exhibition gave me a great deal to think about.
Firstly, let me tell you that I hadn’t seen McQueen’s work up close like that. Why would I ? I don’t know Daphne Guinness.
Not a single photograph anywhere does his work justice. It really has to be seen to be believed. I was utterly dumfounded by the drama, the workmanship, the unexpected depth of emotion it inspired.
There were a million obvious references: Balenciaga, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier (fucked him once after the IRA bombed The City of London). Regardless, it was uniquely beautiful. Uniquely Lee. Westwood without the bustle. Balenciaga without the cassock. Gautier without…
I loved the fabric woven for the Plato’s Atlantis collection. Fabric woven to look like the re-imagined skin of mythical serpents.
The Razor Clam dress was exquisite. The dress sprayed by ballet dancing robots…heavenly.
My most favorite costume were from the spring/summer 2005 collection, It’s Only a Game. Using burlap, hessian, raffia, leather, crude mechanical embroidery. I loved, most particularly, an appliqued Japanese inspired, floor length dress. Lilac tulle softly billowing out of the structured bodice around the feet. Sublime.
This entire collection (as curated) left one breathless.
Eshu 2000, a simple shift made of tiny yellow beads and black horsehair. The yellow beads spread like caviar on crisp toast, dripping provocatively onto the horse hair.
McQueen bejewels the constellation of dead couturier that include Christian Dior, Yves St Laurent, Paul Poirot, Madame Gres etc. Twinkling stars inspiring us from above. Isabella Blow is sitting right there beside him laughing with her protégé at how mortals now wait in line to worship at his alter. They were never meant to. The world of high fashion, like the world of high art, is exclusive by design and inclination.
I thought about the very few times we met. Check on Wire Image for the picture of me, he and Lucy Ferry. If you don’t believe me.
I thought about his suicide. How lonely being that much of a genius can make you. How protected he was by the women in his life who never really approved of any of his boyfriends because they felt ‘married’ to him. Lucy, Sam, Naomi, Kate, Isabella, Daphne, Anna etc.
No one was ever good enough for Lee so he became more and more isolated.
Too embarrassed to introduce the kind of boy he wanted to those grand arbiters of taste. How could he spend all day designing beautiful things and bring that home.
Fag hags think they are doing you a big favor by keeping trashy boys out of our lives…in fact…all they did was keep Lee McQueen lonely. I hold all of those women partially responsible for his death. If he had only been allowed to fall in love…but those kind of women are little bit too eager to have an opinion about a gay love life thinking that Lee was just one of the girls.
Straight women really don’t understand gay men as much as they claim they do.
Ben Cohen is a straight British rugby player who is making a name (and a great deal of money) for himself by championing LGBT causes. Beloved by the gays he has a cherubic face and huge chest.
“I can’t understand a word he’s saying…but he’s gorgeous.” One man cooed.
Ben was making an impassioned speech about bullying and homophobia. The gays just looked on in awe. Objectifying poor Ben and gorgeous Taylor. They didn’t give a fuck. ”Take you shirt off!” They screamed as he appealed to them for a more tolerant world.
GLAAD gave him some award. ’Cute Straight People Who Like Us’ award…or something. Michael (?) the head of GLAAD NY was there last night. ”It’s not political.” He reassured me.
Then something rather irritating happened. Zack’s really dull friend arrived. The sort of boy who thinks he’s attractive but hasn’t got two damp sticks to rub together to get any fire started….anywhere. He pissed me off sufficiently to make me shout at him.
Apparently my present anger is quite healthy. I am so…fucking angry. With myself. I have NO ONE else to blame. I used to be angry with The Penguin. Now I am angry with me.
Livid that I let myself be duped. Blinded by love. Blinded by compassion. I don’t blame him. I can’t blame him. There’s nothing to blame. Other than the CON. I don’t blame him for making me fall in love with him…he is just a child, as was evidenced when I saw him with his parents. Bouncing on his mother’s knee.
A sad situation existed in that house. I realised why I found the father so interesting…he reminded me of someone. Rather than concentrate on his son and wife, he was staring at us. Not because he was trying to intimidate…he was just…more interested.
Emotionally absent father, more interested in solving his patients problems than focusing on the needs of his son. The Penguin wanted his father’s love so badly. It’s not his fault. Shame on them! I can imagine that he wasn’t just absent for The Penguin but for the entire family.
Mother and son thrown together in some emotionally incestuous swamp. Hanging onto each other for dear life.
If I can’t have you my husband….I will have him. My darling son.
He looked…like an aspergers boy when he was with them. Which is odd because isn’t that his father’s speciality?
Let me tell you how things have changed since I saw him. I blame myself for being so damned stupid. I blame myself for letting a petty conman/thief run rampant through my life. I blame myself for constantly letting him off the hook. I blame myself for convincing anyone who would listen that I loved him. I blame myself for thinking he was beautiful. I blame myself for not running out the door the moment he took heavy drugs from under his bed and asked if it was ok.
I have been a fucking idiot….and I am really, really pissed off with myself.
Gjelina with friends…$97.
When I left Joe after 7 years I could not understand why he was so angry with me.
I was old enough to know better.
Perhaps he had separation issues? My arrogant reasoning. Whatever it was, after I felt him his fury lasted for two years. Perhaps I deserved it? My ‘kindly’ leaving him, after all that I promised, was worth being punished for?
I know now that I certainly deserved it.
There is no good goodbye. There is no way to ‘kindly’ leave someone you have loved and who loves you. I loved Joe so badly but when it was time to go I had to pack my bags and leave. Of course…it was not going to be that simple…I had the full weight of a billionaire’s wrath focused on me. We ended up in court…well, I ended up outside a court room negotiating with his representative.
I was a litigant in person which meant that I repped myself. I handled my own divorce. I was happy with the outcome. Who wouldn’t be?
I was also, at that time, two years sober. I couldn’t have left him if I had been drinking. The foundation on which our relationship was built had been sodden with white wine and Maker’s Mark since we first met.
Even after we had thrown everything we could at one another during our very messy divorce I still wanted to be his friend. My love is not so easily discarded. Like it or not people (his friends) we have seen each other since that time. I wanted so badly to be at peace with him.
Surely that’s not unreasonable?
I made a hefty financial and emotional amends. I paid him over $1, 000, 000. I refused to hate him. Yet, like it or not, I was on a solitary path. On my own. From then on I just couldn’t bear the pain of falling out of love.
Not until last year did I risk opening my heart again. Ha! Look where that ended up. What galls me most is that I attempted, yet again, a kind goodbye and yet again I was rebuffed.
When relationships end it seems unthinkable that a workable peace cannot be achieved. That an amends can’t be made. That adults can’t find a solution and part amicably.
My part. What is my part? How do I take responsibility for my actions? The choices I make? I assure you that I know all too well that given the correct information ahead of time I will try to do the right thing.
Even if, as was the case, I was duped into my last relationship.
How can anyone make the right life choice when the facts have been so skewed?
When I am lied to, when the truth is withheld from me how am I expected to make good choices? That is how we find ourselves in this present pickle.
I simply would not have entertained knowing JB if he had told me the truth.
The house smells of hyacinth. The boys are making themselves midnight snacks. They dragged me to the movies. We saw Paul which we really enjoyed. We were the only people in the cinema.
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 here 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 am 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 the meat off of the bone.
I am 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 parents beautiful summer home 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.
I never met John Galliano. Nope, never met him. If I looked for him on FB, if he was even on FB, we would probably have buddies in common but to my recollection I have never actually pressed the flesh with John Galliano.
Love, love, love his women’s wear, never cared for the men’s line.
John Galliano! The man is a fucking genius and a total KNOB. He just did that gay, alcoholic cliché thing of totally sabotaging his entire career.
A genius, iconoclast, nihilist…alcoholic.
An alcoholic knob. I mean…he just flushed that amazing career down the toilet.
He will lose everything.
In a brief statement, Dior said because of his “odious behavior” Dior has sidelined Galliano and initiated proceedings to fire him.
I just LOVE the word ‘odious’.
Galliano, in the video I saw of him in that super cool Parisian bar La Perle on the Rue Vieille du Temple…apart from looking totally PISSED (drunk) he reminded me of David Bowie playing the alien with no finger nails Thomas Jerome Newton in the Man Who Fell To Earth.
Lonely, beautifully dressed, politely out of control.
With great poise he told the people he was insulting that their ancestors should have been ‘gassed’.
Unlike Mel Gibson who was screaming anti-Semitic insults at the only jewish cop in the LAPD.
John…darling…lovey, you’ve come so far. Humble beginnings…your dad was a plumber. Want a solution? Want to deal with your grandiosity? Go to AA. You don’t want to end up dead like Alexander McQueen or Isabella Blow? Do you?
Go to AA based rehab. FAST.
Alcoholics Anonymous was designed for people like you.
You probably don’t even remember your rant.
A sober speech by Christian Dior chief executive Sidney Toledano and a finale bow of applauding, white-robed seamstresses and craftsmen bookended today’s Dior fall-winter fashion show, which went ahead under the shadow of the anti-Semitic outbursts that led to the ousting of its couturier, John Galliano, earlier this week.
“It has been deeply painful to see the Dior name associated with the disgraceful statements attributed to its designer, however brilliant he may be,” Toledano said, in the only reference to Galliano, never mentioned by name. “What happened last week has been a terrible and wrenching ordeal for us all.
“So now, more than ever, we must publicly re-commit to the values of the House of Dior.”
The show, held in a giant tent in the gardens of the Rodin Museum, had little of the usual front-row hoopla, but the usual thumping music and army of models.
“What you are going to see now is the result of the extraordinary, creative, and marvelous efforts of these loyal, hardworking people,” Toledano said of Dior’s teams and studios.
As reported, Galliano is to stand trial this spring in a French criminal court on a charge of public insult after three people filed complaints alleging Galliano hurled racist and anti-Semitic remarks at them.
Galliano has apologized “unreservedly” for his behavior in causing any offence, assured “anti-Semitism and racism have no part in our society” and reiterated he denies the claims made against him and has commenced proceedings for defamation and threats made against him.
PARIS — The show must go on.
That seems to be the mantra at Christian Dior SA, which is soldiering ahead with the Dior fashion show today despite John Galliano’s dramatic ouster over anti-Semitic outbursts.
It is expected to be a straightforward affair, with little of the usual celebrity hoopla. News organizations have been instructed that photographers will have no access to backstage or the front row. That hasn’t stopped what Dior’s public relations battalion describes as “overwhelming” demand for invitations. (For more on the Dior brand, see page 6.)
According to sources, the attendance of luxury titan Bernard Arnault — typically flanked by glamorous Dior ambassadors such as Charlize Theron and French government figures — is not assured, owing to the tug of other business obligations.
Meanwhile, the John Galliano fall collection is to be presented on Sunday in its appointed time slot, but in a different format and venue. Sources said plans for a runway spectacle in landmark Left Bank brasserie La Coupole have been changed in favor of a tableau vivant format in a hôtel particulier. The designer will not be present.
Dior, which controls the John Galliano company, has yet to disclose its intentions for the business, now that its namesake designer is to stand trial this spring in a French criminal court on a charge of public insult after three people filed complaints alleging Galliano hurled racist and anti-Semitic remarks at them.
If found guilty, he could face six months imprisonment and a fine of 22,500 euros, or $31,207 at current exchange, according to the Paris public prosecutor. Galliano has apologized “unreservedly” for his behavior in causing any offence, assured “anti-Semitism and racism have no part in our society” and reiterated he denies the claims made against him and has commenced proceedings for defamation and threats made against him.
Dior initially suspended Galliano from his duties on Friday and then ousted him on Tuesday amidst the mounting allegations and an explosive video depicting the maverick designer saying in a slurred voice, “I love Hitler.” Dior condemned the statements made in the video and commenced termination procedures.
Galliano, a London-born wunderkind who was the creative architect of Dior’s rejuvenation, has been its couturier since 1996. Succession rumors continue to swirl in the hothouse atmosphere of Paris Fashion Week.
It is understood Dior is in no hurry — and is legally unable —to name a successor until it has completed its procedure to terminate Galliano’s employment.
Under French employment regulations, the procedure to terminate employees can go quickly for what is known as faute grave, a serious misdemeanor. If the reason for termination concerns a personal matter or incident off the company clock, it can take several weeks.
Delphine Arnault, deputy managing director at Christian Dior and the daughter of the billionaire LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chairman, is said to be a champion of Tisci. In a splashy cover feature in Madame Figaro magazine in January, Tisci coaxed Arnault to be photographed among five women said to be under his spell. (The others were Liv Tyler, Isabelle Huppert, Vahina Giocante and Lou Doillon.)
“There won’t be any choice for quite a while,” said one source familiar with the French luxury group. “They’re receiving offers.”
It is understood overtures have been made recently to Ackermann as a possible candidate for Dior, or to succeed Tisci at Givenchy, should he be moved over to Dior.
Approached at the Ann Demeulemeester show Thursday, Anne Chapelle, chief executive officer and owner of Bvba 32, which controls the Haider Ackermann brand, declined to comment, saying the focus for now should remain on Ackermann’s own show, scheduled for Saturday. Asked whether the designer would contractually be free to work for another house, should he be offered a role, Chapelle replied: “Everybody is free.”
As principals at LVMH hunt for a successor to Galliano, some are hoping to make a profit from their final decision. PaddyPower.com, the British online betting site, has odds on Stefano Pilati (11-8) or Hedi Slimane (9-4) getting the top job. The odds are lower, however, for Tisci (3-1). Meanwhile, Nicolas Ghesquière, Kris Van Assche and Roland Mouret are all tipped at 4-1. Alber Elbaz trails them with odds of 6-1. The site specifies that all bets apply “To the next permanent, top Dior Creative Director after John Galliano.” The person must be confirmed as a permanent appointment by the ceo of Christian Dior.
I had a lovely time today with you. You must have been twenty years old when I first met you. Now look at you. I like when you wear your jeans tighter. Cargo pants really don’t suit you. I like when you read poetry to me. I like when you crack my fingers.
Help yourself. You can have whatever you want. Take what ever you want.
Spent yesterday, all day, sorting our film structure.
It’s so much fun working with CP. He makes me laugh all day.
His ideas are strong and sensible. He thinks in a way that I can understand.
We worked methodically through the original treatment, exploring each element.
Who are these men? Who are we dealing with? Where do they live? How did they get there? The structure, the logic and the sensibility. By the end of the day I really felt as I knew exactly what was happening and why.
Where as I was trying to make these characters more like me he was, quite rightly, identifying the sort of men who would actually make the life we were creating for them.
Our approach to structure is very different (I think in acts and timing) but we end up finding common ground. This is perhaps the most grown up working relationship I have ever had. I am willing to share, defer, negotiate. Why? Because I trust him.
He knows that I am not convinced by own ability in some spheres. I know that the project, like any film, is bigger than me and therefore, as a director, must agree to be replaced if I am not the right man.
Directing the film is not my aim. The film is my aim.
By the end of the day we were both totally exhausted but I felt so happy that we were well on our way to being able to present a coherent idea to our writer..when we finally choose him/her.
I cooked lunch. We ate dinner in Venice.
As I sink myself further into this project the less interested I am by past concerns. The more I invest in making art (a life beyond myself) the more complete I feel.
I tell you what I love about our working relationship: he understands that when I am passionate I am not being angry. He is not sensitive. He sees that the ideas I believe in I will fight to keep but not every idea is worth keeping. He will not lecture me about my ‘attitude’ or how ‘difficult’ I am because he understands the rough and tumble of this highly charged creative process.
Over dinner we discussed his remarkable achievements. I felt really humbled by his success.
We have lumped all of our agent meetings into one day.
Had breakfast with AA chums in the Palisades.
Don’t want to fight any more. The war is over. The bloody war is over.
Take your life and live it. You won’t find you on these pages any more.
You couldn’t say a kind goodbye so I must accept what you threw at me.
I had such a lovely breakfast with the boys. Everyone of them so thrilled for me. I don’t want to ruin it with petty acrimony.
Listen, owning up to the genesis of my anger has been a chore.
I wanted, from the very beginning, to set you free from your bondage but ended up chaining you to me like a Siamese twin.
I have been looking and longing for so many years.
Take it…take it all.
You know who coined the phrase Mad, Bad etc? Lady Caroline Lamb of course…about Byron! Although my fun friend…sadly departed Matilda, Duchess of Argyll thought the same of her predecessor, the even more glorious Margaret, Duchess of Argyll whose husband found Polaroids of her sucking a huge cock..naked but for a string of pearls. Frankly my dear..I would rather have been Margaret than Matilda.
She said once. “If you have to be a Duchess you may as well be the Duchess of Argyll.”
I loved my Duchess adventures in Edinburgh and The Highlands playing back gammon and drinking whiskey…even though she hated paying her gambling debts.
Tell me how brilliant that is? That Amanda was warned off of me? Most people are in no uncertain terms. It certainly separates the chaf from the corn. (The Chav from the Thorn)
The people who remain in my life are up for the adventure of knowing me. My new friend Ed, for instance, who I am spending tomorrow evening with…what a sweetheart. Of course there’s a long list of oafs who cannot bear the heat in the kitchen…more fool them.
When I left Joe he told the friends who remained my friends that they were ‘spineless’. I am PERFECTLY sure that I would do EXACTLY the same.
I am excited by my own life all over again. What adventure will I have next?
Amanda and Tim are once again breaking up…but the truth of the matter is that Amanda..poor old bird…can’t bear to be separated from Tim. I know THAT feeling. I hate to be separated from the man I love. I want to punish the fuck out of him…so now she’s upon FB slagging him off like an old fish wife.
I was never so lonely as the moment I left him.
Tim’s being very discreet but really!! These two star crossed lovers must decide what they want to do! I can’t be the sacrificial lamb every time they fetch out their AK 47‘s.
Amanda’s beef? Tim bought her a voucher for a ‘Garden Center’ turns out that the ‘voucher’ is for her to buy something from the glorious Chelsea Physic Gardens a stone’s throw from her Cheyne Walk home. Now, I would love that as a gift. I don’t really care if Tim berates me behind my back. It’s his prerogative but the simple fact is…I don’t care! He’s in excellent company.
What’s been going on in FREEZING COLD Whitstable? Had breakfast at Windy Corner Stores. Wandered home along the beach. In the very short time it took me to get home something of a miracle happened…I began to inhabit my own skin once again. Every time I pray for something it is swiftly delivered. The only problem is…I don’t pray enough..because I’m frightened that the magic won’t work!
Typical Boxing Day…cold meats, TV, pickles, a trip to the pub.
Whitstable, my darling home town grounded me. Everything is going to be OK. This is where I have lived and I will die. The people who know me..know me. I am so happy here..even though it is not my current home there is always, and will always be room for me.
PS You’ll need more than a chaperone to keep safe around me.
Boxing Day 2010
A lot of what artists do seems to involve watching and waiting to see what will happen. When I’m desperate enough just to do anything, even if it seems completely stupid, it’s such a relief.
Seems like an odd quote to start my Christmas blog but without doubt much of this years nonsense would have been resolved sooner if I had thrown myself all the more harder into some sort of work..paid or un paid.
Firstly, I want to thank you all for so loyally following my blog. I bumped into my friend Josh last night at the Pearson’s and he told me how much he loved reading it. Such a surprise!
Christmas in Whitstable has been a great deal of fun. The pubs packed with revelling youths. All the chavs are dressed in padded country jackets. Caps and Barbour type padded jackets. They look great. Consequently I can no longer wear mine.
Met my mother for lunch. I gave her a lovely etching by Wendy Croft that I found in the Caxton Gallery that my friend Tom’s cousin owns and where I am negotiating to live next summer.
Alma and I are off to Church this morning to sing Hymns.
St Alphage is a blunt, crenellated, Anglican church on Whitstable High Street where, as a child, I sang in the choir.
I took Alma for communion and we sang hymns very heartily. There was one very good choir boy..too good. Amongst the ancient old ladies this tall, mop headed youth..like David Beckham playing on a local 5 a side team.
After the service we hung out in the vestry with the choristers, some of whom were in the choir when I was a little boy. I showed Alma the picture of me back then dressed in my cassock and surplus. I will see if I can scan it for you.
Alma teared up during the ‘peace be with you’ segment of the Anglican Christmas Service. We all shook hands and hugged. Everybody seemed very genuine.
I had a blog comment about my continuing, yet more occasional (indeed diminishing), mentions of Jake. I now only mention him when I want to share how obsession/addiction/compulsion ruins my life. I don’t really care what he, or if he knows about it. As for how long we were together..that really doesn’t matter. If your heart has been revealed and riven…well, I’m just telling you…it takes time.
I could write about the big dog being killed every single day. The two incidents are sort of similar: the death of something special. I think about both of them every single day. I don’t care if that inflates his ego. In some way, whenever I am inactive or having a quiet moment I will either remember the moment she was killed or the moment I understood that he would never be my boy friend.
The death of love.
When the Big Dog was killed I couldn’t stop crying. It might have been the realest thing I ever experienced. As a result it brought up every painful moment I ever felt but refused to cry over. The death of my Grand Mother, my real father’s death…oh the list goes on and on.
It is TIME TO FEEL. I am happy that I am coming out of it but it was essential to experience.
Before I left NYC I met a young man who has been emailing me and with whom I am building a connection. He is a really special man. An artist and an intellectual. I am not keeping any of his emails. They are immediately burned after reading.
Yes we did fuck the first night we met which is not ideal…and maybe that will impact on our future liaison but I am seeing where this one is heading. Let’s hope that this next year will be productive, considerate and filled with love.
Christmas Day was okay. I found a blond wig and clowned around for the kids. We opened a million presents and May bought The Little Dog a reflective coat for the miserable New York nights ahead of us.
Alma, May, Me, George Christmas 2010
I forgot to mention that I met my brother’s beautiful little son who had his first birthday on the 1st December. His name is Oscar and had a ready smile and a charming disposition. He LOVED the Little Dog. Perhaps I should leave everything to him when I die?
I have to leave my money to someone…maybe him. I really liked him. That’s an odd thought isn’t it? I have to think about it sooner or later.
Ended up helping with the cooking of Christmas lunch. The turkey was great..really moist and cooked through. Cooked for 11 people. I felt a little distant. I wonder when I am going to sink back into my own skin? They asked me why I was so ‘subdued’ I felt that the correct word might be contemplative.
We devoured the St John’s Christmas Pudding with lashings of clotted cream.
After lunch hung out at my friend Sasha’s cottage. Her dog Pip and her friend’s dog played with the little dog who tried fucking them both. He was very funny. Saw some very good British TV…however my once friend David Walliams (Clancy’s Kitchen) has a new show that isn’t at all funny. A mocumentary about airports…terrible.
A few more days in Whitstable.
Need the results of further tests from last Wednesdays hospital visit.
I am going to Florence next week for NYE then I am in NYC apartment hunting. So, lots to do.
Have a very happy Christmas everyone…unless you are jewish…or a muslim..or don’t give a fuck.
You want him dead…well, maybe suffer some agonizing disfigurement…you can’t say his name without spitting it and you want to harangue every happy couple you see on the street. Not very nice, but it beats being numb and limp.
Rage gives me edge, keeps my blood pumping, gives me a reason to get up in the morning. In fact, we live in a culture that encourages us to express our anger; doctors and therapists agree that repressed anger hurts our psyches and bodies. We’re supposed to let it out.
But raw, primal rage has its limits.
So we smash every plate in the kitchen and rip up every last picture of him-all we’re left with is a mess. Cathartic but not constructive.
Moving forward is what we ultimately want to do.
One way to start is to acknowledge the anger and fantasize revenge, and then forgive yourself for feeling that way. You’re allowed these feelings- you’ve lost so much, and you’re so tired, disappointed, and wounded that you want someone else to hurt.
Reveling in rage can give you the will to live again…but clinging to anger only warps your own heart. You have to move beyond anger if you want to recover completely, that is, if you want to become a trusting, caring person again.
It’s a beautiful day here in Southern California. I woke at dawn. The huge eucalyptus outside my bedroom window, back-lit by the rising sun, it’s smooth silvery bark and majestic limbs delightful to wake up to.
I made iced coffee. I am going to boil an egg.
Must not forget to eat today. This thin thing is getting tired. I am too thin and my nails are cracking.
Regardless of my dwindling weight I am feeling totally settled again. In my own body. Out of my mad head. Thank God I am no longer waking up in the morning feeling like shit. The morning has always been my favorite time. Renewed, refreshed, full of promise.
I awake every day to the glorious, sun drenched morning here in California. I am a lucky man.
Remind yourself: I am a lucky man. I have lived a life others could only have dreamt about and if it ended tomorrow..well, I would be at peace. That’s all I ever wanted, to die at peace with a smile on my face. Ducks in a row.
Last night was one of those nights when the sun went down and it didn’t get any cooler. I suspect it’s going to be like that all this week. If it becomes unbearable I may just head over to Hollywood and stay there until it cools down. I don’t like watching the dogs panting, it distresses me.
The organic box arrived yesterday from Jennifer. The raw butter, yogurt and milk are all delicious. The vegetables were mainly good except the rather pathetic beats that are small and shrivelled.
The fridge is now full of wonderful things to eat including crab claws from Santa Barbra, fresh pasta, home cured bacon and free range chicken and pork loin.
I am cooking with Ashley today. We are having a lunch for thirty but I suspect more people will arrive. Today has THAT sort of vibe. This is a great house for a party. It always has been.
Ah, finally..there is a light sea breeze washing through the house.
Now I have a date for my operation I really don’t give my balls much thought. I know that this thing is inside me and I know that if I don’t deal with it..well, we all know what will happen.
I can spend hours in this house not really doing anything at all. Just rearranging. This is a good substitute for me being a writer? No, not really but now the love shackles are off I can concentrate on other things. It’s a great start.
It was a terrible madness: enmeshed, co-dependent, destructive, cruel.
I remember writing this: I am never lonely when I am on my own, I am only ever lonely when I am in a relationship. I yearn for the other at the detriment of all other things.
Today I am not lonely. I am capable. I am a good person.
Try saying that out loud!
“Hello, my name is Duncan and I am an alcoholic/addict…and a good person.”
I am a stranger to those I have loved. Let’s keep it that way.
I spent the night in Hollywood. Had breakfast with John but didn’t go to therapy. I had the dogs with me and wasn’t going to leave them in the car whilst I was inside getting my head fixed.
Finally, just three months late, summer is here and despite all the drama of the past months I find myself feeling positive, upbeat, fearless.
I described it yesterday to Frank as no longer being possessed.
Frank and I had dinner with friends in Beverly Hills. We sat next to Stevie Wonder..which was kinda wonderful. As they were eating their desert he and his friends sang to each other so we were treated to an impromptu performance. This is LA.
My friends are film finance wizards from the UK so, after we deconstructed the British Film Industry, we talk love lives. They were fascinated by the Sex Rehab show.
Two women with very differing pathologies. One said that when ever she falls in love she becomes unrecognisable. The effective, fully functioning business woman becomes needy, obsessed and emotional. Huh..I nodded a lot as she described the symptoms of obsessive love. The other woman couldn’t be more different, trusting her man to the point where she becomes suspicious of any man who asks her randomly what she is up to. She, of course, is very happily married. The other woman..is not.
Dinner was BETTER than therapy.
I ate a small cobb salad. They very kindly paid for dinner. So sweet.
I spent the day in Malibu being that handyman I had wished daily would just come with a screwdriver and do all the things I had been putting off ever since I first got here four years ago.
I put up a mirror in the bathroom, a shelve in the hall and a hat rack too. I hung curtains over the double doors and whilst I did all this Ashley cooked the most delicious breakfast which we ate on the back terrace. I had scrubbed the huge, wooden table with vim and a scrubbing brush like a mad man until it was a delightful silvery grey color.
This morning I filled the truck with books and draws and cushions and the remainder of my shoe collection and here we all are at the house. It’s 80 degrees. The dogs are slumped on the marble floor…panting.
This morning we ate breakfast in the Farmer’s Market on Fairfax and Third. Ordering scrambled egg and sausage…the deal is you sit down and they call your name when it’s ready. They called my name very loudly. I was aware that some people thought they knew who I was but having my name operatically yelled over the terrace confirmed their suspicions.
I chatted with a young fan. He was adorable.
Anyway, very excitedly expecting my box of meat and veg from Jennifer’s organic delivery service.
P.S. Forgot to mention that I went to the Prism opening (vernisage). The gallery belongs to my friend Jared. I had a lovely long chat with Stavros Niarchos about Spetses and the Russels and Engenio Lopez. Bumped into Degan Pener who wants me to write something about art for The Angelino. Saw Kevin from W but he was frosty. You can’t win them all.
The problem with Prism is that there is no frisson. It needs to take itself seriously rather than be the gallery ‘toy’ of two rick kids. Remember going to Tracy Emin‘s White Cube show? There were a thousand people in Hoxton Square..even class war demonstrators?
Where’s the audacity? The verve? Those boys need to cut a dash.