I was asked to direct this movie, or a movie like it, ten years ago.
It was a script based on the autobiography of Liberace’s lover Scott Thorson.
I read the script, I met the producers, I met Michael Keaton who was, at that time, attached to the project.
Now, I don’t remember the script, I don’t remember the producers.
I remember meeting Michael Keaton in an obscure room in Santa Monica. Michael was very quiet, not at all enthused.
I remember asking myself why he would want to make this movie. I remember sharing ideas about performance and parameters.
He didn’t want to do an ‘impersonation’.
Another script about Liberace arrived, a more dynamic, dramatic and excessive script. It piqued my interest.
It began with Liberace’s final moments in the back of a limousine.
Liberace is often damned for claiming he wasn’t gay, for never admitting to his HIV status. That those around him at the end of his life went to extraordinary lengths to hide that he died of AIDS.
Of course, there are still people, (living people) who never admit they are HIV positive.
Such is the shame around HIV and AIDS.
But equally there were many people at the time of Liberace’s death who went to extraordinary lengths to reveal that he died of AIDS.
They exhumed his already buried body to prove their point.
There were too many people eager to shame him. For that’s what they wanted to do. Shame the gay man.
Liberace never said publicly that he was gay. He denied it. Again and again.
I sympathise with his denial. It was his choice, a choice we now condemn.
In these prescriptive times if you are not willing to say you are gay… someone else will.
Liberace was a brand.
It’s understandable that Liberace lied on oath. He had everything to lose.
In those miserable homo-ignorant times there were plenty who would have delighted and profited from his downfall.
Reading the reviews for this film a theme emerges: Loneliness.
There are countless other references to this ‘lonely’ man Liberace. His ‘lonely’ mother, his ‘lonely’ boy friend Scott.
Scott was ‘damaged’, Scott was a ‘gold digger’, Scott was a ‘lonely soul’. Scott was ‘played too sympathetically because he’s in jail for burglary’.
It seems like the prophecy of fearful mothers comes to pass in this movie, that their gay sons with end up alone, abandoned, unhappy.
The relationship between Scott and Liberace may seem familiar to any powerful, older man who lets a younger man into his life:
“They establish a bond that is a blend of romantic love, father-son affection, brotherly playfulness, and prostitution.”
Liberace, like Brokeback Mountain before it brings into hard focus the lives and loves of queer men.
There is the obligatory delight and revulsion (in equal measure) of the kissing. Two men kissing.
Two men kissing seems to remind many straight men that a tender intimacy can exist between men and that may very well interfere what they imagine we do.
The gay butt fucking they imagine… immediately… after meeting one another.
Men kissing, like men getting married, seems to inflame the homophobe.
I’m wondering why Steven Soderbergh wanted to make this movie, why a gay director wasn’t chosen?
Did he do it because it seemed like a cool thing to do? A straight man, so comfortable in his own skin that he can work with queer subject matter?
It still feels to me like straight boys (actors and director) getting together to prove a point.
With so many talented and extraordinary gay directors in the world how did this end up being made by a bunch of straight guys?
Was Liberace too difficult and distasteful and potentially divisive for a gay director?
When ever I have stood before a queer audience with my queer films (confirmed by other queer, male directors) the audience who have the most problems are those who want to say: I didn’t see me.
Gay man are desperate to see themselves and their lives as they live them in TV and film. It is perfectly reasonable for them to expect this.
Rather than the gay freak, the gay priest, the comedy gay… they, understandably, want to see themselves fairly represented. They want to see gay detectives, gay wedding crashers, gay teachers, plumbers, gay undocumented workers.
Many reviewers of Liberace: Behind The Candelabra smirk at the foolishness and naivety of the straight women who swooned at this obviously gay man.
I once researched a documentary about fag hags. All the women I spoke to who identified as fag hags felt adored and listened to, appreciated, respected by a man. Even if that man was gay.
Those women provide the clue to Liberace’s denial and downfall.
Liberace wasn’t lonely. He was a performing artist who found solace and validation, like many do, on the stage.
Every night he performed he bathed in the glory of his screaming fans. The unconditional love of his audience.
An adoring audience of many thousands will never be any match for the love of just one man.
I remember saying that to Michael Keaton as I sat there in that small room realizing who Liberace was.
Yesterday Anne-Marie revealed her hand.
Wise by name…wise by nature?
DA Anne-Marie Wise is taking her prosecution of me very personally.
Perhaps because she’s in the employ of her ‘victim’?
Perhaps because I wrote she wore terrible clothes?
Perhaps because I had a lurid dream about her?
Perhaps she’s just an old-fashioned homophobe?
Perhaps she is pre-menstral…menopausal?
Perhaps she just doesn’t like me. In which case: Join the queue babe.
I’ve no idea what her problem is…but she sure has a problem with yours truly.
Wise: “He writes about lots of people.” Glances over at me. I smile and nod.
The days of anonymity for anyone in any profession are over. The internet has changed everything. I am allowed to have an opinion about anyone…and I’m allowed to write it.
Anne-Marie Wise is spending your money, dear tax payer, in which ever way she can in her occasionally amusing personal persecution…oh…I’m sorry, prosecution of Duncan Paul Roy.
Yesterday the petulant, pre-menstral hag showed the world exactly what she thought of me and the case she has been specially assigned to.
A few facts:
1. Anne-Marie demanded that my friend Joy, a junior black colleague of hers…unfriend me from Facebook. Joy is now terrified that she may be fired for knowing me. Is that even ethical? Is Anne-Marie Wise a work place bully?
2. She has maintained throughout that she has been eager to find a plea deal solution but her hands have been tied by her boss Alan Yokelson. She told the judge and my lawyers that she has no desire to continue with the case but Yokelson is determined, unrelenting, unable to conclude a deal.
Since Judge Jessic pleaded with her to resolve our deal impasse…my lawyers had a meeting with Alan Yokelson and things were not as Anne-Marie Wise had suggested. Yokelson many times thanked my lawyers for coming to see him. He was amiable and helpful.
Apparently Anne-Marie turns up (previously uninvited) and is rude and petulant. Armed with a huge pile of papers, grimly detailing my ‘anger issues’ (duh) who wouldn’t be angry when they found out they ‘ve been ripped off to the tune of $500k?
The boss sits there silently as she unleashes a tirade against me. Then, when she is done…turns, leaves the office without saying a word of goodbye to anyone…including her boss.
It turns out that rather than Yokelson it is her who is determined to see this all the way into the court room.
The State of California is bankrupt and this woman is spending precious tax dollars prosecuting a case that should have been heard in a civil court. She has personally kept this case alive, spending money the State can ill afford, (fame chasing?) a self appointed arbiter of what should be a civil case and champion of some rip off Malibu realtor.
Listen, either way, I don’t mind. We can resolve this amicably or we can go to court. An amicable resolution as prescribed by the judge will not include a gagging order nor a felony. We have been eager, from November 2011, to work with the DA to find a solution. She has refused.
She continues to treat this unusual and absurd ‘letter of the law’ case as if I am some sort of child murdering rapist gang banger.
All she has achieved so far is to provide the basis for a landmark immigration case, the ACLU and NILC suing ICE and the Sheriff and, surprisingly, a great deal of sympathy for me. By incarcerating me she may have made me a very rich man.
By refusing to find an amicable solution she allows me to have my moment in court before a jury of my peers with the potential of a ‘not guilty’ outcome.
Then, the law suits will start. Oh, please…let this happen.
A court hearing with jury and all the trimmings will cost the State of California about half a million dollars…ironically the amount of money I am owed.
A court hearing will flay the ‘victim’ with lurid details of his personal life and business dealings. It will shine a spotlight into the murky world of Malibu real estate and…no one will come out unscathed.
I’ve no idea what this woman expects to achieve but what ever she throws at me…I’ve dealt with worse. I am stronger for her ill judged, personal loathing of me, stronger from having spent time in jail.
When I look into that woman’s hard face all I see is your tax dollars needlessly spent on behalf of some rich Malibu dude. Tax dollars that could be spent restoring a local school, fixing a road, prosecuting a rapist.
I am secure that our judge is fair and equitable, a good man who has made crystal clear and on the record that my attempts to have stolen money returned to me were perfectly understandable. He wondered who, in this case, the victim was? Me or…you know who.
Anne-Marie do the right thing by the tax payers of California. Find a solution for this problem and find it now.
In the world of nice…this blog isn’t going to go down terribly well.
I was in court yesterday.
Anne-Marie the DA…jeeze. I felt sorry for her. The super-cool judge told her that he would (without using the colorful language) have (in my circumstances) done the same.
He said this…on the record.
He said anyone presented with the same problem would have written a similar letter. Giving someone (who has so blatantly ripped him off) the opportunity of making things better.
He continued that he was trying to ‘get his head around’ the case.
Anne Marie sat at her desk gasping and pouting like a spurned little girl. Noisily shuffling her papers, comparing me with Michael Flatley.
So…Sean McFarlane, perhaps your ‘jumping for joy’ was a little premature. Allegedly Sean (the sex therapist) screamed with unbridled delight, when he heard I had been arrested, “He’s going down!” The crazy cult therapist…to his equally insane clients…to the assembled SAA meeting.
He’s going down? Let’s see shall we?
If the judge thinks what I did was reasonable…what will a jury think?
My favorite line from yesterday’s proceedings? “So, Mr Roy should have just published the blog?” It was my first amendment right.
I saw Jonathan A yesterday. He was a friend of mine once. He’s the kind of gay guy who overly cleans his room (it is spotless) so nobody would suspect how grimy his interior world is.
He heard me at a recent SAA meeting tell them I wouldn’t be back any time soon. Of course, I can change my mind. Any time I want. I can step right back into AA or SAA. That’s the way it works.
Try stopping me. I’m laughing out loud.
The tramps and the hookers and the thieves. All the filth comes out at night…
Jonathan’s head looks like it has been carved from the flesh of a rotton pear. If you bit into it: pappy, bitter…spit it out immediately.
Fresh off the boat. He’s beautiful. He has a fresh, open face…his pale skin is flawless.
He hadn’t been in Hollywood for longer than a month but already he’s on the arm (unwittingly) of a so called LA ‘producer‘ who, it seems, has immediately pimped the boy out to the head of programming for a popular network.
The no name, no hope LA producer pimping the boy out…so that he might curry favor with the TV grandee.
(just to be clear…the same LA producer hires young boys to ‘read scripts’ so he has access to their young boy world)
The whores and the pimps and the fairies…
So the good looking kid arrives and he tells me that he’s working in NYC with an equally scummy NYC ‘producer’ who always has some starstruck kid on his arm.
The NYC producer looks like he has downs syndrome, he looks like his teeth are too big for his fat, useless head. He looks like he’s wearing a wig but the fringe ain’t deep enough to cover the alcohol bloat, the never was visage.
He was a bullied kid at the expensive school his mother sent him to…signed him up the moment she heard the sperm had hit the egg.
Both of these producers have one thing in common: they have loads of inherited money and never produced anything.
They might have their names attached to invisible projects, they might have inveigled their way into the production meeting of some meaningless movie, thrown a little cash behind an artless indi. But, they ain’t never winning no awards, they ain’t never been invited to no Sundance, Berlin or Cannes.
They’ll go anyway, keeping their mouths shut to those who matter and lying to those who don’t.
Should I tell you who they are?
So I’m keeping my head down. I’m not saying a word. I’m instagramming the bar man, I’m already elsewhere…waiting for something real to happen.
Dobby, the network head shows the man I’m standing with his very smart, smart phone. He’s so excited. There are hi def pictures and video of the same wide eyed teenager at Dobby’s huge house wearing just…a towel.
Yes. The kid is wearing a towel around his waist, his perfectly sculpted body on full view and standing beside him is another, equally cut young teen.
Two young boys.
The inference? You don’t need me to explain this to you do you?
So I take this kid to one side and I ask him if he’s gay? He’s not. I ask him what he thinks of the network head showing everybody his new naked body to anyone the network head needs to impress.
‘They are good guys.’ he reassures me.
No, I say…they are anything but good guys.
You know, all he wants (this kid) is a job, a chance, an opportunity, the dream of celebrity…freedom. He can almost taste it. He knows that these men make all the difference.
His desire for a better life is palpable.
He’ll drink the drinks. Undress, get into the hot tub.
You know, I love beauty. I love it. Look, I’m surrounded with beauty.
My ex-friend might say, oh your just jealous. You’re just jaded because you want what they’ve got,
Believe me, I do just fine. But on terms that do not compromise my integrity.
Would I show random strangers the body of some boy who stands feet from me? Knowing that those artless, semi pornographic images suggest that we are more than just…innocent friends?
The network head winks, smiling…dribbing over the screen on the smart phone. Dobby’s nose is dripping from undisclosed snorting.
He says, without saying anything: That teen boy…the boy with the perfect abs. He’ll do anything..because he thinks I’m going to get him a role, find him an agent…make him the next teen sensation. LOL.
LAUGHING OUT LOUD!
Dobby wants you to believe he fucked the boy. Dobby is powerful. Dobby can get whatever he wants. Even the virgin ass of a young boy fresh off the boat. Particularly…the young ass of the boy standing feet away from us, oblivious that he is now the victim of rank objectification and intrigue.
Proud to be gay? Not today.
So I wrote a short email to the NYC ‘producer’ guy. I told him what was going on with his protege. He wrote back immediately…he thought it was hilarious. I reminded the fat, vodka marinated, creep…that the boy…has parents.
Today Bradley Manning is in court again…his fate predetermined…the rest of his life in jail assured…for being a hero. Nobody I know in the gay community gives a damn. Of course, if he looked like the beautiful teen age boy at the gay hollywood party…things might be a whole heap different.
I saw Jonathan yesterday and he reminded me why I am alive. What living is all about.
He has a job in marketing and a spotless room but he has a filthy, miserable interior world. A world that shames him. A world from which he cannot escape, a world that will never include anything of which he dreams.
Amanda Eliasch is very, very rich. The ex-wife of Johann Eliasch, owner of tennis racket and sports wear company Head.
Currently Amanda is trying to get me to remove a blog reference made last week after she posted some nastiness about me on Facebook. Sadly, as Jake found to his dismay, even if I removed any or all evidence…the blog will remain in the virtual ether forever and ever. FOREVER.
Then, she persuaded some weird friend of hers to say that I only have 3 readers a day…that’s like telling a man he has a very small penis.
Let me remind you how I know this woman Amanda Eliasch…she was/is going out/hooking up/in confused hyper emotional ‘relationship’ with my old friend the genuine article…writer Tim Willis.
Poor Tim, the first time I was summoned to her house he was a quaking, smoking and drinking wreck. Exiled to the tennis court at her architecturally significant, now recently sold Beverly Hills house. His already weakened body covered in welts from Amada’s sharp little tongue.
The 1st and least problematic problem with Amanda: she is a bully.
In some lame attempt to stop me from posting anything about her on my blog she reminded me that she had let me visit her home. OK. So? I reminded her (pompous hag) that I let her visit mine. The next barrage of emails, no doubt, will include reminders that she paid for a couple of lunches.
The emails after that will include homophobic slurs.
Well known to architects, and interior decorators as a person who loathes paying her bills. (I know two personally) She is currently working with ‘interior designer to the stars’ Martyn Lawrence-Bullard who told me that he went to Eton..does anyone know if that is true? I met ‘interior designer to the stars’ Martyn Lawrence-Bullard with Chris Cortazzo the “The King” realtor.
Why will ‘interior designer to the stars’ Martyn Lawrence-Bullard definitely get paid for renovating Amanda’s new home in LA? The simple fact is: ‘interior designer to the stars’ Martyn Lawrence-Bullard is far too well-connected not to get paid.
As well as converting Amanda’s new Wimpy home (ex Janet Leigh) into a white clad Wimpy home ‘interior designer to the stars’ Martyn Lawrence-Bullard is also converting a small apartment in Sierra Towers Los Angeles as something ‘nice’ for Elton’s Nanny and child.
I really did not want to start the year slagging an old slag but hey, at least I’m not writing about Jake eh?
The most perplexing problem with Amanda: she is totally bonkers…and not in a good way. She has no style, no friends and leaves a nasty taste in ones mouth whenever one may chance upon her.
Her conversation is limited and punctuated with barking noises…is this some sort of tick? I have never once been able to get a reasonable opinion or for that matter ANY opinion out of the woman that hadn’t been cribbed from some Daily Mail commentator/op ed…consequently her politics are slightly right of Hitler’s.
Amanda once complained to me, like many of her ilk, that there wasn’t a decent right-wing newspaper in Britain.
Now, I know that she will take issue with the ‘no friends’ claim but after her $500k fiasco of a birthday party last year where half her Facebook friends didn’t turn up..and, like an eastern European traveler, she tangoed for her startled guests then..to their growing horror played a sycophantic film ‘produced’ by her friends waxing bout how wonderful Amanda is. I wonder how she manages to keep the friends she has!
Good God! You can’t make this stuff up!
Amanda is surrounded by a certain type of woman, the ball breaking Aliai Lady Forte, the ball breaking Tracy Emin and the drunk most of the time but harmless..unless sober when she too becomes a bone fide ball breaker…Kay Saatchi.
Throw a few insignificant men into the black lacquered pot and bob’s your uncle: Amanda’s World.
The unforgivably huge problem with Amanda (and British social-climbing women like her) she is ever so slightly homophobic. She likes to remind gays that in Amanda’s World they have no right to demand rights or equality ‘what ever that is?’…that we have no place in the army or in sport…she questions our integrity in the school room and she tells us that we are of ‘no use’ to her…unless we are ‘decorating’ or ‘making things look pretty’.
Amanda, like her ball breaking friends, is also a low-grade racist and treats her black chef with imperial disdain.
Amusingly she has a desire to be close to film stars and celebrities but they are not eager to be seen with her. Her life interminably chasing yet another film festival, film opening, red carpet event…film star etc. is pathetic at best…tragic at worst.
Amanda, if she doesn’t mend her ways, will end up like Wallis Simpson who, though remarkably chic, died isolated and miserable. At Wallis’s funeral the bulk of the wreaths came from vendors all over Paris who, without doubt, missed her very generous patronage.
My point, contrary to the other more morally confused commentators, was that it is perfectly OK for Montana to make a pornographic film. That her father Laurence Fishburne‘s career will not be hampered by difficult questions on the red carpet. That as far as I was concerned Montana’s decision was a ‘feminists dream’. Of course I was being deliberately incendiary but it’s a news entertainment show. That’s my role.
Seriously though, we are only ‘shocked‘ and ‘outraged‘ because a rich girl decides to make a pornographic film. Why are we shocked? Because our preconceptions about pornography and women in pornography are blown out of the water. We still believe that women who make a choice to go into porn have no choice at all. That they are the naive victims of unscrupulous men and to be sure, there is some truth to this on some occasions but not all porn is the same.
I am perfectly sure that when my friend Jenny Ketcham made porn she knew exactly what she was doing.
Montana Fishburn legitimizes pornography and scaily, for some people, may encourage a different sort of woman to make pornography a legitimate career choice.
Montana’s choice blasts the lie of the ‘sex tape’ out of the water. Let’s face it, both Paris and Kim knew exactly what they were doing when their sex tapes were released. They were complicit. The tape would never have been released without their consent. To be sure Rick Hilton never lost any sleep about the impact on his career after his daughter’s tape was released.
We live in Hollywood, fame and celebrity (even notoriety) is the goal for most people who live here. To live in your father’s shadow when you too crave what he has but your options are few…what’s a girl to do?
Porn has become a legitimate way for a starlet to reach a mass audience and become a star. The press is more than willing to collude with the associated lies. That both Paris and Kim shot their sex tapes covertly merely attempts to disguise the truth.
I take my hat off to Montana Fishburne. Let’s hope she makes a whole heap of cash. The kids of the rich and famous are notorious wasters. If this girl is as clever as she seems to be she’ll never ask her father for another cent. For the time being Montana Fishburne will glory in the spotlight that until now has been reserved exclusively for her father and my guess is that more people, in the long run, will see her film work than his.
The South of France is my kind of South and my kind of France.
After a delayed, bumpy, listless, sanguine (huh), laconic train-ride to Marseille with little to eat other than the ham and cheese I bought at Monoprix we finally arrived on the Riviera at 2 in the morning.
Of course the taxi driver tried to charge us 20 Euros for a 6-euro trip but I refused point-blank to give in to his extortion.
Marseille is the oldest city in France.
The Hotel Tonic, accommodation that Eric very kindly found for us, was directly on the Vieux Port, which, unsurprisingly, was less romantic than I remembered it when we – Richard Green and I – visited here 20 years ago.
At 3am bawdy groups of handsome Arabs sit around the harbor, some wearing dejellaba, gesticulating and smoking.
We walked the dog then fell into two tiny beds and fell fast asleep.
The first part of the first day was incredibly frustrating.
Our plan to rent a car and drive to Nice was scuppered by Hertz et al who said they had no cars. They told us gravely that there were in fact no cars to hire in the entire region!
After the preceding days of London drama we fell into an immediate funk. Being forced to stay an extra night in Marseille, getting on each other’s nerves. When we finally returned to the Hotel Tonic I slumped into the elevator and told him that I wanted to go home.
Tired and demoralized after all that had happened in London, unable to rent a car, sleeping in a miserable room, not hearing from the people we were meant to be staying with in St Tropez..
As it turned out it was really the best thing that could have happened.
Circumstance has a rather wonderful way of shape shifting.
Firstly, the good people of the Hotel Tonic upgraded us from our tiny room to a huge room in the attic with a majestic bathroom.
Once there we set about trying to rent a car on-line and immediately did so. The car paid for, as was a train from Nice to Paris on Thursday, we could relax for the first time in 48 hours. I unpacked my suitcase, had a long shower and washed the little dog.
Once settled, we decided to walk up the steep hill to the Notre-Dame de la Garde, the church with the huge golden angel on it overlooking all Marseille.
On our way there we explored the tiny, cobbled streets, leaving the tourists at the port, having my hat blow off my head many times in the refreshing gusts of wind that grew stronger as we climbed the hill.
It occurred to me, once we got there, that my climbing Runyon and praying was obviously a very human spiritual solution. Climbing clears the mind, exhausts the body and once at the top one is somehow prepared to pray.
There was a beautiful boy leaving the church when we arrived, pulling his shirt off for the decent. He had fluffy black hair and perfect disk like nipples. We were both entranced. Walking on either side of him two older men complimenting his perfect body. There was something utterly erotic yet innocent about all three of them.
Dogs not allowed in the church I briefly sat on my own and prayed for serenity.
On the way down the hill we chanced upon and made a reservation at the Passarelle on the rue du Plan Fourmiguier, a small yet intriguing looking restaurant tucked behind the Radisson Hotel on the Vieux Port.
I knew immediately that the Passerelle would make us both very happy. With blue and white awnings over the decked al fresco tables and chairs it all looked reassuringly authentic. As if to prove my point a very chic woman was cooking in the kitchen and took our reservation.
We discovered, quite by chance, a famous bakery called Four des Navettes on the rue Sainte that has sold scented loaves and hard, rose smelling/tasting bread sticks since 1781. I bought the hard sticks of byzantine ecclesiastical ‘bread’ and a sugary ‘brioche’ that was, in fact, a huge doughnut. The bread sticks were disappointing…like eating deodorant.
After a well-deserved nap we dressed for dinner and walked the half-mile back to the Passerelle and ate the most delicious food in the most perfect circumstance. I started with the salad of jambon Palme, melon, mozzarella, rocket and basil sprinkled with toasted seeds. After my salad, a tagine of lamb and couscous (I hate the word garnished) but it was indeed garnished with a delicious stewed pear. He ate grilled Loupe and ratatouille.
Unable to choose between the four deserts we ordered three of them. Yogurt with honey, chocolate tart and fruit salad.
During the dinner there was a children’s fashion show, ten very sweet infants paraded, hand in hand in the most charming crocodile showing off very pretty, beautifully made dresses.
After eating every last mouthful we sat under the awning chatting for a very long time. Drinking coffee and smoking aromatic French cigarettes. The walk back to the hotel, past throngs of happy, drunk holidaymakers was a rather wonderful way to end what promised to be a rather miserable day.
We spent a very long time making love that night. It was perfect. Offering his ass to me. Cumming in his mouth.
The following morning we woke late, fled to the station collected our car; kangaroo hopped (stick shift) back to the Hotel Tonic where he manhandled the luggage into the tiny Ka and off we went.
Weaving our way East along the coast we discovered La Ciotat a small tourist town where we saw yet another beautiful man with a perfect smile and even more perfect body/nipples than the man on the steps leading from the church.
There were beaches and beaches covered with equally beautiful, tanned men…we gazed out of the car longingly. Gay men on vacation in the South of France looking at beautiful men. What could be more normal than that?
Interestingly and appropriately for us La Ciotat was the home to the first publicly projected movie by the Lumiere Brothers.
After a few hours of driving we settled into Sanary Sur Mer, a simple town that transformed at 7pm into a huge craft market and fete. In the Victorian bandstand a French rock band sang very spirited covers of amongst many, many others Maroon 5, The Band and Santana.
I upset the kebab shop man by buying kebab meat for the dog. The kebab man was a rude, nasty piece of work and I delighted in feeding the little dog his dinner even though the traveling companion ate half of it before the little thing had a chance.
We ate dinner in a small restaurant near the town center called (I can’t remember sorry). We started with the Moule Marinere then had the freshly caught grilled Tuna. He had the Paella, which had rabbit and chicken and huge prawns in it.
Two glasses of Rose for him only cost three euros. This made him very happy as he is incredibly careful about money.
Walked around the port back to our hotel and fell into a deep and immediate sleep.
I found a book of photography called Chaos by Josef Koudelka at my house in Malibu that Kristian gave me for my birthday some years ago. In it he wrote:
“I thought this book was very apt. Life is never black and white yet always flowing with chaos. I feel this book goes some small way to prove that even in chaos there is beauty.”
It was lovely to find his note. A message from Kristian, from the past. The past, where we must leave him.
I had to make some huge and grown up decisions today. Decisions and about romance and finance. The two are unconnected yet have been hideously intertwined as I grappled with one or the other for the past few months.
As my fear of financial ruin overwhelmed me I turned to him to deliver me from the truth. Today, I just had to face my unfortunate situation head on.
My financial insecurity is undoubtedly connected to uncomfortable feelings of self-worth, prestige and power. The romance I want but cannot have. Some things are just not meant to be. It is challenging to come to terms with these sorts of truths but as I have written here in this blog on many occasions when I do make decisions they are swift and sure. Something, actually, Drew Pinsky taught me whilst I was on the sex rehab show.
I have deliberately avoided talking about either the romance or the finance on this blog but more importantly I have kept it secret to those who love me best. Fuck, it is exhausting keeping secrets. I really hate it. I have no intention of going into any specific detail about the romance or the finance right now. All you need to know is that I sat with John after the cake was cut and the presents were opened and told him everything I had been hiding for the past few months. Phew.
As we all know: the truth will set you free.
I let go of a secret I was determined to keep. Everything I have ever let go of has been relinquished unwillingly. With claw marks all over what ever was finally gone.
Deep down I am as sure as I ever was that everything will turn out just the way it was meant to be. I believe in my fate.
My relationships burn like super novae in the cosmos then shrink and die. I have an opportunity right now to make a different set of choices: taking contrary action, living in acceptance and handing over what ever gives me pain to my higher power.
Just a few days away from my trip to Europe where I will celebrate a hefty milestone. I have chosen to travel with a close friend. Someone I love but not a lover. We (and The Little Dog) will explore London and Paris. For the sake of The Little Dog we will once again visit the wallabies in the Jardin des Plantes that my darling, loyal pet found utterly spell binding when we visited Paris last Autumn. I am sure he must have thought that they were the biggest squirrels he had ever seen.
Am I prepared to walk away with dignity? From people, places and things?
What I own is not who I am. Who I love cannot define me. Of course I would love to be in love with a man who loved me as much as I loved him.
I have come a very long way this past year. The road to serenity, self-love, sexual sobriety is littered with the corpses of those who could not.
I must have buried 30 people during the last 12 years, killed by addiction. Overdose, suicide, etc. Every one my hero for keeping me sober. Each and every one.
This evening I celebrated my friend’s daughter’s 5th birthday. I sat with his family and watched his happy little girl blow out the candles on her cake. After supper I wandered into Soho House on my own and found people I knew to take my mind off of the grueling aloneness. I am not lonely, I just can’t be bothered to make the effort to accept the invitation nor get in the car and drive to people who genuinely love me.
On my way home, as if by magic, friends called me. Emails arrived, text messages appeared on the screen of the iPhone and I was wrenched away from the promise of a night of self-pity. I can be such a pig at that particular trough.
I said to him the other night that what I found so hard to let go of was the promise of enduring love. The door had been opened then slammed shut. I am the wise uncle, asexual, decrepit yet ultimately willing to be of service to those who need me.
Without the crutches of objectification, intrigue and seduction I can some times flounder. I can sometimes fall. Late at night, when all hope is gone I wonder who will catch me? Who will catch me when I fall?
For a moment back then, I thought it might be you. I thought, foolishly, that it might be YOU. I thought it was you when I was 20, 30, 40 and now. Being in love with Richard in my twenties. I was heartbroken when he would flirt with girls. At my birthday party on Island Wall, Whitstable my Mother saw the pain I was in and tried to reach out to me but shame got in the way.
The legacy of shame.
Love has always been my goal. To be loved. I crave love the way most men crave sex.
I told him: I’m really scared that I will never love again. That I will never be loved. How could I have got this so wrong? To believe that love was possible, enduring and could be one day mine?
From out of the chaos comes beauty. It will give me succour when all else fails. I am going to Europe to fill my heart and soul with art and architecture. To walk the streets and parks of two great cities. To explore what it might have been like to be loved. I know that when I get back he will be gone. It is our swan song, our last hurrah. But before I write the end I must enjoy the journey. I must not fear the future nor have unrealistic expectations, I must set aside my shame and feel the sun on my face, in my heart.
Eating cheese and pastrami with lashings of piccalilli smeared over the top. The inside of my mouth is burning. My lips are burning with desire. Not really. My lips are just bored. I am waiting for the mail to arrive so I can walk to bank and get on with the day.
I just scaled Mount Runyon with Sherpa Lil Dog, we saw two gorgeous yeti and had to: Alert! Avert! Affirm! It’s simply no good for me to gaze longingly at the perfectly honed abs of my fellow Runyon climbers.
Yesterday I realized, after chatting with a friend of mine with HIV that the average drug company will make over $2, 000, 000 out of a single person with HIV during their life time. Where is the incentive for those drug companies to educate gay men about staying negative? Anyway, I am fast realizing that the sexual health education that gay men need is nothing to do with safe sex and everything to do with self-love.
The drug companies have no compassion for gay men, no desire to educate an underclass with no real rights, who are despised by most Christian bigots and have so little respect for themselves that they routinely get infected with HIV and become another $2, 000, 000 meal ticket for big pharma.
Pharmaceutical executives must be rubbing their hands in glee when another gay man converts from positive to negative.
This has to stop. We must start educating the next generation of gay men to love themselves enough to make good sexual health choices.
I got to thinking about my friend Amanda and how we recently hit a bit of a rock. I think deep down, even though she has gay men around her to dress her, she really has no respect for gay men. For many people we are clowns who have no right to complain or behave as anything other than grotesque queens. We are, to her, useless absurdities. Her notion that it is somehow ridiculous for us to have children, for us to have politics, opinions, etc. She’s not alone; I think many people are outraged by all of that and more.
Whatever I may have written about gaybies in the past I now see gay men having children as a delicious act of rebellion. It confronts homophobia head on.
British class shame is nothing a regular gun-toting American would or should know anything about. Whether or not one has an understanding of manners, social hierarchy or top hats is neither here nor there.
I have spent blog time bashing America but really, the Brits are just as bad-if not worse. My friend Pierre in New York, upon moving here at the behest of his company, missed London terribly but after a short while, much less time than I, understood why we come here and why we want to stay. Pierre began to notice a change in himself and those around him. He felt valued, pumped up, fearless. In America he could feel like a man.
Like me, when he meets Brits who stay at home he marvels at their naivety.
It takes a huge amount of self-loathing to ‘know your place’.
In the USA there is no shame about bettering and reinventing ones self. There are rules, of course, but every one of the rules (guiding principles) is designed to be broken.
You may have to pay a disgruntled employee a ton of money for a spurious sexual harassment claim but that’s how the dispossessed get their share of the pie.
Everyone is on the make, everyone! It’s an on the make, nickle and dime affair that I am having with the USA. It’s better than pecan pie and nuclear waste! It’s more thrilling than Guantanamo Bay.
As a Brit I still hanker after public art and healthcare but the rampant small mindedness of my countrymen, their embittered jokes masquerading as irony, their post imperialist arrogance and their total inability to allow anyone to grow beyond the class they were born into keeps me from going back home.
I suppose for all my anti-American sentiment I love the hurly-burly, the hegemony, the extremes, the greed, the excess, the stupidity. I love their terror of art and history. I applaud their dogma and their denial. I love that they think that they are the very best at everything they do when they are patently not. I love that they behave like willful children. I love that they think knowing about nature or food is elitist. I love that an engaging presidential candidate can emerge from nowhere and take the world stage-where as the British produce a bunch of familiar, threadbare politicians like so many provincial repertory actors delivering lackluster performances in what passes for political theatre. Imagine British MP’s sitting in their shared dressing-room waiting for lurid makeup to be applied before performing their ‘great scene’ during Prime Ministers Question Time. Smoking, sinking rummers of whiskey, discussing their expense claims, squabbling over cabinet positions and who’ll wear what at the state opening of parliament.
We don’t cast our parliament terribly well. Here they cast the Whitehouse like a huge movie. No wonder Rahm and Ari Emmanuelle are behind Barrack. They recognized his star potential and like a baby starlet hanging out in the Chateau Marmont plucked him from obscurity and handed him the best role ever in their box office blockbuster political thriller-so whilst the Emmanuells steal the money they got themselves the bestest alibi ever..a black president. They got themselves a well-dressed first lady descended from slaves. They got tears of joy at the inauguration and a divided, blind sided America whilst the spoils of the middle class were being divided up by unscrupulous hedge fund managers and Ponzi schemers betting on the downfall of their own and other nations.
So, there’s Barrack blustering over the war and the economy in his professorial tweeds, his sweet and sexy demeanor softening the hearts of the liberal elite and providing drama and focus for the next lot-the emboldened white Christian right. There he is dithering over healthcare and everything continues just the way it was.
Am I the only one who can’t imagine Tim Geitner having sex with anyone other than himself? He is such a WEED.
If China wasn’t running the world-this could look dangerous!
When British politicians get caught with their hand in the till-what paltry amounts of money they steal! Awarding their friends dodgy $150,000 construction contracts and creaming a few quid and a meat pie for themselves…subsequently getting caught and fired. An American politician wouldn’t waste his time or his position stealing so little. Tony Blair is the only politician to get away with stealing real money. He got away with the money and murder. He understood what few in the UK do-that American politicians are not elected to represent their constituents but to steal as much money as they can within their 4 years in office.
And, you might ask, why shouldn’t he? The Blair’s are just doing what the Royal family and the landed gentry have done for hundreds of years. He just took what he thought he was owed for getting to the top of the pile. It must piss our lowly politicians off to go through all the pain of getting elected to public office and then once there, look around…bleak…lonely…underpaid. Servants of the democracy that we hold dear and never really getting what they deserve-compared with the politicians in the USA who are on the fucking gravy train!
Drill baby drill, bailouts, healthcare, there’s money in them there policies..money for every politician in Washington, TONS OF IT! Politicians accepting donations from whomever and where ever.
Poor old Dennis Kucinich-he’s the congressman President Obama lassoed into helping change the mind of the bold progressives who were holding out for a radical public option during the last few moments before the Healthcare Bill was forced into law.
Well, dear Dennis lives in a one room apartment in Washington…never accepts a dime from anyone..but he lives in a one-bedroom apartment with his wife Elizabeth. If he had played his cards right, abandoned his principles and cut himself free from the people he was sent to represent then he could be living in a huge house in Georgetown-which is what the people expect by the way. To the average American there is something vaguely retarded about a man who is able to steal the money but doesn’t.
That’s why we elected you into office! To steal the money but, mind you, not so much that you piss the other thieves off who have seniority or think you are stealing too much. Of course, once in a while an odd politician needs to be thrown to the lions so that the public think that the other politicians have some sort of morality.
This is America and once you get a handle on it it’s not that bad. As long as you understand that to survive here you have to learn how to steal. You have to learn how to lose. Learn how to pick yourself up. Not get trampled in the stampede.
You must definitely learn to rub belly..pat head..
Time to reconcile, to forgive and forget. Time to see Jennie. Time to catch up, to make up, to explain. Time to confide and wear dark glasses again.
“Let us suppose that I have wept, on account of some incident of which the other has not even become aware (to weep is part of the normal activity of the amorous body), and that, so this cannot be seen, I put on dark glasses to mask my swollen eyes (a fine example of denial: to darken the sight in order not to be seen). The intention of this gesture is a calculated one: I want to keep the oral advantage of stoicism, of “dignity” and at the same time, contradictorily, I want to provoke the tender question (“But what’s the matter with you?”); I want to be both pathetic and admirable, I want to be at the same time a child and an adult. Thereby I gamble, I take a risk: for it is always possible that the other will simply ask no question whatever about these unaccustomed glasses: that the other will see, in the fact, no sign.”
Living in love, in a state of grace, in acceptance. Living outside of pornography, fantasy, catastrophic thinking-living in truth, trust and kindness.
In Europe things, economic things are getting a whole heap better. House prices climbing, job prospects improving.
It’s funny listening to British people complain about their lot. They really have no idea how lucky they are. They are blissfully unaware what is going on here. Nobody really reports it-no journalist can bring themselves to say these words: America as we knew it is over. America where all our dreams would come true. Where the promise of freedom would be fulfilled, where truth and equality would be respected. Where innovation and hard work would be rewarded.
There has been an economic catastrophe in the United States of America, brought on by endemic greed, corruption and false Gods. The American people are angry and rightfully so-but because they are so badly educated their anger is totally misdirected. Because they have no democratic choice their vote is meaningless. Because their government is utterly corrupt they have no voice. Their youth are disinterested in anything other than instant fame, fast food, sexual gratification.
The elections have become Corporate America’s great firework charade, costing millions, lights up the night then all smoke and ash leaving things just the way they were before. Conning the dumb people into believing that they have choice and change they can believe in etc etc.
The last election was the most cynical of all. Listening to Obama make any promise he could to get those folks to vote for him then watch him and his party of fools renege on every one of his election promises-knowing that the American people will never lift a finger to defend themselves from their worst enemy-their very own government.
Today I listened to Tim Geitner finally admit that the millions of lost jobs were not coming back anytime soon. Just as I predicted. When as my ‘smart’ white AA Palisades friends were looking down their suburban noses at me telling me that things would be back to normal in a year or so. I looked back at them in utter disbelieve. Who were they trying to convince? I would gently remind them that nothing was going to return to ‘normal’ any time soon. They sneered at me. They laughed because they didn’t understand. They are complicit you see. Complicit in the demise-in the USA’s financial melt down. Do you think they just totally underestimated the depth of the deception? The greed? Or was this a risk the rich were prepared to take?
I don’t trust Tim Geitner, I don’t trust Rahm Emmanuel, I don’t particularly trust Obama. But in a world of distrust I would rather have these bandits than the last mob. The characters in this administrative pantomime are more entertaining than the last.
This ‘Democratic’ administration cast by Ari Emmanuelle. Make up by..hair..
The flight back home from New York was 45 mins early, which made up for the 6-hour delay on the way there. The staff were sweeter too. One of them gave me free food. If you could call it that-processed crap.
I had had a lovely time in NYC and even though it rained and rained I felt at home, like I always do, in the big city. I loved it. I really did.
For my last night in town Joan took us all to the Spotted Pig. I sat next to Lady Rizo and opposite Joan’s husband. He told us how he once dated a girl Elvis was dating and even though I had heard the story twice before I was still captivated.
Jake mooned over Lady Rizo’s husband.
The sunlight is steaming into my apartment. Everything here is so colourful. The silk cushions, the porcelain, the art. The little dog ate an entire chicken breast. Sara has set up camp in my apartment whilst she deals with her breakup and somehow her being here has given me an enriched perspective on my own situation that I didn’t previously have.
Eric, Sara and I drank English tea and ate thick slabs of banana and walnut loaf-I made two more of them yesterday-and gossiped.
Emotionally I am very strong but maybe only until the sunset, until the demons come knocking. These are old demons. Feeding off ancient insecurities, child hood trauma as well as present day fears. They have a veritable banquet of old behaviors, resentments, fears and shame from which to feed their ghoulish appetite.
This coming week has everything going for me. I am excited that American Airlines DOESN’T have WiFi.
An incredibly kind gesture by a very generous fan of Sex Rehab allows me to spend the next week in NYC. I leave on Wednesday.
I have a great deal of practical work to do this week as I have let almost everything else in my life slide as I was summoning all of my psychic power to will what I wanted most to come true. I am exhausted. I spent almost of all of Sunday in bed.
I unpacked my script and took a good hard look at it. Things have to start changing now. Harnessing the power of the universe to make huge amounts of cash- marshaling the money Gods to provide!
All of my art has gone off to auction. The app has to be developed-with help from by great lawyer. The house WILL be sold now the road that leads directly to it will get built. The great move East begins here.
On occasions I wonder who God wants me to be? If I am to be his humble servant or a leader amongst men. If I am present to accept the will of God then how do I square my ambition with my fear that I am taking my will and my life into my own hands? Ambition must be celebrated. Willfulness condemned.
By deciding to be part of Drew’s Sex Rehab I and my fellow Rehab travelers opened the door to much that American society considers taboo: sex addiction, sexual unmanageability, sexual powerlessness, the gay equivalent of all the above and my openness about erectile dysfunction. I have no shame what so ever discussing these issues as every time I do I am overwhelmed by the messages of hope that I receive from fellow sufferers who judge themselves by their inability rather than there ability.
Those of us who have been brutalized by abuse are forced to address the consequences we all suffer daily, consistently and forever.
Psychological and behavioral effects of child sexual abuse may include low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, fear, hostility, chronic tension, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, self-destructive or suicidal behavior, post traumatic stress disorder, dissociation, multiple personality disorder, repeat victimization, running away, criminal behavior, academic problems, substance abuse and prostitution.
Gosh, I can tick most of those boxes.
Anyhow, as comes the solution so comes the erection. I love being sober. I love my life when it includes him.
There is a solution.
Sunset fears? No, not tonight.
From Steve Dunkley, first published on the BBC news website…with a few edits by me.
I should have credited him previously but failed to do so. Sorry about that Steve!
If I do quote other writers I usually highlight in italics.
Forgive the pun, but I’m sick of listening to the ideological bigotry being used by both sides in the current debate over healthcare reform. Even the fallacy that the debate could possibly be encapsulated by “two sides” makes me so angry. The very idea that being able to shout louder than someone else or that a few words written on a placard contributes anything to a debate on such an important issue is simply asinine. Such behavior, including mindless chanting of simplistic slogans, effectively halts all objective discussion and obscures the real issues.
So, stop mouthing off, stop quoting anecdotal examples and stop using prefabricated, emotive labels designed to perpetuate already polarized thinking.
This maybe a revolutionary idea, but why don’t we start looking at factual evidence backed up by legitimate research. Yes I know this a new concept, but just bear with me for a while, you never know, we might then draw some reasoned and sensible conclusions.
Here are some facts:
• The United States of America does not have the best health system in the world
• The United States of America does not have the worst health system in the world
• The United States of America has some of most advanced healthcare expertise in the world
• The United States of America’s delivery of overall healthcare and its health outcomes do not compare well to most other industrialized countries
• The United States of America has the capability to offer expert treatment to patients of all ages
• The United States of America has an illogically high incidence of infant mortality and avoidable death rates
Here are some factual statements and observations:
• The United States of America spends more (per capita) on administering the bureaucracy of its healthcare than any other country in the world. Sometimes by a factor of three or four over countries with effective universal systems.
• There is no particular reason why employers should continue to be responsible for providing healthcare. It is an invidious practice that can be extremely detrimental to both employee and employer interests. The practice has its origins in the pay freezes of World War II, yet now seems entrenched in the American working life. Why should your employer decide what health cover you get? Your family physician doesn’t tell you where you should work!
• There is no reason why a national, universal health plan should increase individual or government healthcare costs. Individual tax costs will increase but, if a scheme is implemented effectively, there will be no health insurance premiums to pay. Employers should no longer have to pay their portion to the insurers and there should be no co-pay. In case you missed that – NO CO-PAY! Your employer may even pass his or her savings on to you as a wage increase.
• Effective preventative healthcare makes an enormous contribution to the quality of life and the longevity of that life. In the current situation prevailing in the United States of America, there is little incentive for health insurers to finance preventative care. The premise is that, as people change jobs and healthcare insurers, the financial benefits of preventative medicine might be enjoyed by organizations other than those that originally funded it.
• Viewed from afar, the citizens of the United States of America are hypochondriacs obsessed by illness. This hypochondria is fueled by a constant barrage of television commercials for prescription drugs containing information that should only really be evaluated by competent medical professionals. Trendy acronyms only exacerbate the obsession – why not become obsessed by health and wellness instead?
• Market forces and human nature are generally inappropriate in healthcare. Physicians are encouraged to treat where treatment is perhaps unnecessary. Pharmaceutical companies need a steady stream of new illnesses, gullible or mercenary physicians and new drugs to keep them in business. Health insurers need to be able to promise nurturing care from cradle to grave and yet be able to deny treatment on all possible occasions.
Now that you’re thinking about shouting or painting a placard, here are some comparisons that will restore your faith in man’s inhumanity to man
• Universal schemes can only provide the greatest good for the greatest number and will spend any and all amounts of money provided
• Private schemes will drop you if it looks as though you might get a long-term illness
• Universal schemes will always treat acute cases first and will generally do these well. less urgent cases may well wait some time for treatment
• Private schemes will treat your acute or less urgent conditions entirely in respect of financial considerations, but will have you back in your car about the same time the anesthesia wears off, often causing you to come back again (with another co-pay) in a couple of days
• Universal schemes often provide unintentional long-term accommodation for the homeless
• Private schemes always use the latest and most expensive treatments irrespective of whether they are superior to proven treatments.
• Universal schemes are often unwilling to adopt new procedures until cost and/or patient benefits have been established
Here is a dirty word:
Actually it’s two words, but you get the drift. Most universal or national health schemes operate this policy. Supporters of the status quo in United States health policies consider it blasphemy. It is a prime example of the emotive labeling so apparent in current healthcare discussions.
Single-payer simply means that payment for medicines and treatment comes from a single source. That single source is the organization that operates the health service – almost invariably the government. Pharmaceutical companies and medical practitioners abhor this policy because they are unable to play numerous payers (with differing priorities) off against each other. Instead they have to deal with a single body that has the single objective of balancing cost and patient benefit – more simply known as value for money. The VA health system bureaucracy “sorta-kinda” operates in a similar way to single-payer.
This does mean that many medical practitioners will get less for the work that they do. Pharmaceutical companies will undoubtedly claim that they will be unable to research new treatments. Personally, I can live with this because the physicians that earn substantially less will only be those who have been financially focused in their practices. Pharmaceutical companies will continue to research and develop because that is what they have to do to exist. Maybe these new pressures will force them to be more focused on effective remedies? Am I the only person who wonders whether drug companies develop new products and then look for an illness to treat with it? The objective of a healthcare system is to look after the receivers of that healthcare – not to make a few professionals obscenely wealthy.
The bottom line is that the current healthcare systems (in terms of delivery and outcomes) in the United States of America are ineffectual and probably irreparable in their current form. Federal and state politicians are scared to death of the pharmaceutical lobby and failure to be re-elected (but then I repeat myself). The AMA represents the interests solely of the medical profession and has stood four-square in the way of any proposed initiatives that benefit patients at the expense of their members. I don’t think insurance companies care one way or the other because they think they will still get a large slice of the cake whatever happens. When it dawns on them that single-payer may become a reality, they will get the rest of the politicians that the pharmaceutical companies missed.
It should not (and cannot) be beyond the wit of the US Government to take the time to investigate the healthcare schemes that are the most successfully operated in other industrialized countries. Surely, somewhere in this nation, we have officials with the ability to judge and evaluate the best of those and surely we have the expertise to implement such a scheme here.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OEDC), in 2003/2004, per capita health expenditure in the United States of America was $6,120 (15.3% of GDP), life expectancy was 77.5 years and infant deaths, per thousand, were 6.9. During the same period in Japan, per capita health expenditure was $2,249 (8% of GDP), life expectancy was 81.8 years and infant deaths, per thousand, were 2.8.
Here are some final kickers. How can the country that considers itself the most advanced economy in the world, allow its citizens to be denied preventative healthcare because of corporate avarice? How can it allow around 700,000 families each year to bankrupt themselves seeking healthcare? How can it let people die for lack of healthcare?
For those that say government cannot afford universal healthcare, consider this: in 2003 (according to the World Health Organization) the United States government spent more, per capita, on healthcare than each of the governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden. Two countries that each have universal healthcare, the citizens of these countries did not have co-pays and both countries achieve generally better health results than the United States of America can boast.
Personal net expenditure on healthcare would drop significantly under a properly implemented universal scheme and a single payer scheme would have the potential to cut billions of wasted dollars out of administrative costs.
Finally, President Obama’s scheme will not work because it does not address the fundamental underlying problems. The supporters of the status quo will gladly watch the percentage of GDP spent on healthcare rise to 20% in the unreasoned belief that the marketplace will deliver effective healthcare and that we already have (of course) the best healthcare in the world. Basically we’re screwed!
Oh what a tangled web we weave. Loads on my mind today: Taxes, Tiger Woods, and Mr. Darling NYC.
The dogs are sitting on the bed looking expectantly but God only knows when we will walk again judging by the gloomy weather reports.
I seemed to have stirred up yet another hornets nest.
I want to make something clear to my hornets. Like many of you I pay thousands of dollars in tax: federal, state and local taxes. I pay sales tax, road tax and property tax. In fact of all the taxes I pay the one that galls me most is my property tax, which at $17,000 a year is unforgivably huge.
SEVENTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR.
An equivalent property tax in the UK for a similarly priced home would be $3,000 at most.
I pay all of my many and various taxes begrudgingly because if I don’t the state will take my home. Why begrudgingly you may ask? Well, a good proportion of my tax funds bogus wars I do not agree with and bank bailouts that counter my free market sympathies. Wars and bailouts that just make a few people very, very rich and kill many, many innocent people.
My tax dollars help kill thousands of innocent people.
As one reader points out, I can’t vote so I am not able to have a say in the way my taxes are spent. I am not allowed to get involved with politics here in the USA so I have no legitimate soapbox from which to stand and complain. I only have this blog.
Rather than cast me as unpatriotic, ungrateful or as an America basher why can’t you understand that I, as a taxpayer have every right not to agree with the status quo. The attitude some of my readers have that we have no option, that we are powerless in the face of government, that an opposing view is un-American, that the IRS has a right to rip us off so we may as well get used to it..is simply astounding.
My desire for all of us and our children is that we get what the rest of the developed world takes for granted: that for just about the same amount of tax we pay or less in the case of the British the PEOPLE get so much more. Let me tell you again: three free years of education, public transportation, well maintained highways, healthcare, public arts, BBC etc. etc.
It is sickening that the majority of our tax dollars are simply drained away from the public to fight expensive wars, imprison people in private prisons, subsidize the pharmaceutical industry..the list is endless! As a taxpayer I am outraged that so little of our hard earned cash works for the common good, for the investment in people so that we might halt this rapid decline and encourage invention, entrepreneurialism, and industry.
The price for a total lack of investment in the American people will be catastrophic.
Is it even logical to saddle the young with huge student loans and expensive health insurance whilst you fight costly wars or fund bank bailouts? Can’t you see that education and healthcare are basic human rights and serve any prosperous nation? An educated and healthy workforce will serve a country so much better than those who live in fear of economic insecurity or health related bankruptcy.
I maintain my assertion that yesterdays mad Joe into the IRS stunt was a metaphor and should be understood as such.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear to all of you. I believed in this country so much I moved all of my personal wealth from Britain only to see it vanish because of appalling fiscal mismanagement and endemic government mandated greed. Greed that has not only destroyed our shared dream, the American Dream that many of us still believe in but the dreams of the next generation.
Of course I don’t want to fly an airplane into an IRS building but can understand the murderous frustration of someone who does.
The transformation begins. The property is suddenly alive with Sean and his partner Mary pruning, tilling, weeding and the like. The terraces that run down to the property line in front of the house are beginning to look like vegetable beds and as I have said before the earth is rich and soft after the heavy rain.
The torrential rain caused damage to many roads across the region and this time our neighborhood was not spared. In the mountains above me the upper part of Rambla Pacifico has fallen away. 100 feet of road crumbling off of the mountainside like royal icing off a wedding cake.
The fencing for the goats has been mapped out and at the beginning of March I hope to complete this part of the project. After a long discussion yesterday with Mary and Sean I think I may very well become a vegetarian. This will please those of you who think my plan to eat the goats was cruel.
The only problem for me being in Malibu is what happens to me when everybody leaves at the end of the day. I feel incredibly lonely. So, last night I headed over to Jennifer and Jason’s house near Trancas and fell into a deep sleep on their sofa.
It was fun waking up to their three children and their sleepover friends screaming around the house. We ate thick creamy porridge and black coffee and I drove home.
However, the truth is, before the children woke up I woke up feeling desperately sad. Apart from the usual sense of doom that overcomes me each morning when I remember that half of America is gripped by a terrible financial firestorm-as well as the snowstorms that have snarled the capital and all other major East Coast cities. I was sad because I woke up too many thousands of miles away from the man I want to be waking up besides.
I am falling in love.
Falling in love is not an easy thing to do for a sex addict.
The moment things don’t go my way my default is to retire to a safe and quiet place and lick my wounds. Why should romantic love be so damned painful?
It has been hard these past few days to make sense of what happens to me when the love thang kicks in. Of course I want to see him but he is in NYC and he is otherwise engaged. Why can’t I meet someone who lives close by and is good at farming? Anyone know a good gay farmer who wants to spend his days in total paradise with me..I suppose THAT is the fly in the ointment-me.
Who would want to do that?
PS Obviously anyone in London who knew Lee McQueen is upset by his untimely demise but I am especially sad as he was so maligned after Issie Blow’s death. Artists are fragile creatures, he was especially so. Somehow, at the end of the day, art is simply not enough to sustain anyone.
Waiting at JFK outside a Peet’s Coffee and Tea drinking a paper cup of inflated airport priced coffee. Peet’s charges a dollar extra to drink coffee at JFK than at any other location.
I am now up in the air on my Virgin America flight back to LA writing this. My back is sore from clambering around Cooper’s air mattress and there is a small child behind me deconstructing the tray table. Over and over again. When he is not slamming the tray table he is kicking the back of my seat. On no occasion has the accompanying parent corrected the child. I am in no mood to correct the parent.
Apart from my deliciously pro Octomum rant, the blog post that caused the most negative reaction from readers was my blog about civility-also inspired by airplane etiquette. The lack of civility between people simply interacting, in public life, or between countries.
Some examples stick in my caw: Paris Hilton’s ex bf pissing on a homeless person, the guy on the flight to New York shoving his seat forcefully back ward or the racist congressman Joe Wilson calling President Obama a liar in the White House.
There is little or no politeness/humility/vulnerability evident anywhere and that, as far as I am concerned, is the end of civilization. Nor, I am afraid, are any of those attributes neither considered virtues nor championed by the media.
Yet, arrogance and self-centeredness is sadly understandable. The culture of self-obsession encouraged by ‘therapy’ (I’m too selfish to have a relationship, I’m working on MY stuff). Languishing in self. We are all we ever think about.
Against a backdrop of unsanctioned wars, lying politicians, unchecked larceny committed by public servants entrusted with our hard earned money! On top of all THAT-we deal with the cheaters and the liars who emotionally asset strip within the context of personal relationships. Who wouldn’t just concentrate on their own stuff?
When I arrived here I warned myself that I risked losing everything and that indeed may very well happen. The entire system is based on taking as much as possible from any working mans pay cheque legitimately or illegitimately-preferably as quickly as possible.
It still amuses me to hear people here tell me how much more tax we pay in the UK. That UK citizens are not free, that our healthcare stinks. Total lies! Comparatively Americans pay far more tax than the Brits yet get nothing useful in return. The only thing Americans really love spending huge amounts of money on is security. Hence the theft of billions of dollars in Iraq on bogus reconstruction projects and bribes to terrorists organizations supposedly keeping the peace. Their huge taxes, their government, their church and now the corporations enslave Americans. As I have said on numerous occasions slavery did not end in 1863, that was merely the year slavery was mandated for the rest of us. We are all enslaved.
Enslaved by debt, obesity, shame and fear.
Whenever I write about inequality I am accused of America bashing. Go back to Whitstable they squawk-if only I could get back to my darling home town-but for the meantime I am here and whilst here in the land of the free I can exercise my right to free speech. Is this what freedom means to you all? The freedom to steal from each other? To treat each other like shit? To allow some the right to marry and equal rights and not others? What kind of half-baked FREEDOM is this?
Is it wrong of me to want the very best for every man? To understand the frailties of men and make provision for them? To face up to the messes of my own making? Am I responsible to offer my hand when those around me are drowning or do I just think about myself?
We watch images of people desperately trying to feed themselves in Haiti or after Katrina and describe it as looting. Every day the government and the corporations loot from every one of us. This time they have gone too far, destroying the middle class, creating an unbridgeable gap between rich and poor.
My detractors fail to understand how much the British taxpayer gets in return for our supposedly huge tax payments. I can only speak on behalf of my family but during the past half century I have received excellent health care, three free years of university education as well as the BBC, public arts etc. The list goes on and on.
And, as much as I used to loath them-we even get a jolly good, year round entertainment called The Royal Family with all the prerequisite dramas of any good soap opera: Murder, marriage, duplicity, infidelity.. you can’t write this stuff.
I left behind, on the cold winter New York streets, a man that I love. Conflicted about us he may be but I believe in my heart that he will find a true path and follow it. If only he could let himself off the hook. I looked into his eyes and told him that I loved him. I kissed his mouth and eyes and remembered how hard it is to say I love you to another man. I remember the first time I loved another man-when I was just a boy. To another man? When two men say I love you how special and different that feels.
Man, manly, love.
Roque couldn’t meet me in the morning so went for a brisk walk down the Bowery in the cold wind. I walked to my barber on Rivington St but he and his wife have moved to LA. That, as we say in England, is a ‘result’.
Dogs do not, initially, like cold wind but get used to it after a bit and scamper along happily. The Little Dog has become very grumpy of late, he shouts at bicycles, motor bikes and skateboards and I am sad to say-the morbidly obese.
It would be easy for me to take issue with everything in the world just like the little dog but I really don’t have the energy. Again, this is exactly why I don’t have a TV-it just irritates me. This morning Dan had his TV bleating whilst I was trying to write and Michael Steele was boasting about how much money he had in the bank. Why would the chairman of the Republican party be boasting about that?
One of the greatest lessons I have learned during the past few years from my elderly friend ‘Coach’ (79 years old) is how to deal with negativity. He says, “Don’t take things personally, even when they’re meant personally.” It’s great advice. I am rarely rattled by personal insults or attacks and my belief in God keeps me safe from those who want me to know how much they disapprove of me or my lifestyle.
Hanging around the rooms of AA for many years has taught me so much. Mostly how to grow old with dignity, to understand the rigors of getting old. I used to fear infirmity but I am at peace with that too and whatever time may bring. Old age will hopefully come to us all. I know that many fear it-and they have every good reason. We do not treat the elderly with any great respect.
My mother never allowed my Grandmother to go into a home and visited her every day until she died age 96. Thank God for free health care as the poor woman spent the last 6 months of her life in hospital after a massive stroke.
Perhaps my mother would have made different decisions about my Grandmother’s life if she’d have had to think about how much keeping her own mother alive would cost.
If keeping my grandmother alive would have bankrupted my mother would she have pulled the plug?
Free health care, affordable education. Human rights. Not privileges.
The book deal that I came here to sign has been moved forward to Tuesday.
Lunch with Joan, Alexi and Dan at Café Cluny. Lots of fun. Bought a pair of shoes in the 70% off sale at Marc Jacobs. The sales guy in the store was so beautiful I told him that he was breaking the law. How can being that beautiful not be illegal?
Last night Dan and boyfriend Eric took me to an avant gard happening in the West Village that was, rather annoyingly, a pretentious load of old tosh. We stayed for the first half and left. Took a cab to Joe’s Pub where we met the gorgeous Lady Rizo.
Ate dinner with Lady Rizo and others at Bowery bar, my burger was very poorly executed, then headed over to DUMBO to see her perform at Galapagos. She really is a remarkable performer.
In bed by 2.30am. A perfectly lovely evening.
The young man sitting in front of me reclined his seat with such force I nearly lost my teeth. When I asked him very politely to recline gently, he refused. He told me that he could not think of any reason why he should.
Now, had this been Delta I would have expected such rudeness but Virgin America? No, not here, not on my countryman Richard Branson’s airline.
It is exactly this attitude of entitlement that has turned the great United States into a third world nation run by arrogant, corrupt, entitled politicians/bankers with little consideration for each other or anyone else. The attitude of indifference politicians have for the people percolates throughout the nation.
The man who rammed his seat into me might have said, very simply, “Oh I’m sorry, I should have considered that.“
All would have been well.
That’s what we would have done. The British. We apologize immediately when we know we are wrong. This young, foolish man decided, at the point of enquiry, to attack me. A very silly thing to do as I am now jamming my knees into the back of his seat.
There is a notion that any apology, owning up, making amends etc. is a sign of weakness and it pervades American culture. The stress this self-righteousness causes and ignorance it generates shortens lives (Americans statistically live less years than anywhere else in the developed world). It keeps them poor and makes people across the world uniformly hate them.
I moved to the USA for a reason-I believed that one could be truly free. Sadly, I don’t believe that any more. What changed my mind? Hurricane Katrina changed my mind when I heard how folks treated one another-the government ignoring the devastation. The Bailout changed my mind when I saw that the Wall Street elite would never be punished for their mindless avarice but instead became richer and more entrenched. Lastly, the attitude of those around me who blame the unemployed for unemployment, the homeless for being homeless, who don’t see the benefits of socialized medicine, who ignore how many children are being killed not only in places like Afghanistan but also in their own country due to poor health care and nutrition.
The young man sitting in the seat in front of me had no idea that he represents to me everything that is bad about this great country. That he would inspire an essay that will ultimately embrace the socialist thinkers of my youth.
I am proud to come from a country that may (or may not) pay higher taxes yet one can get free healthcare, an education and rely on those about you to give a damn.
What happened to America? What happened to the America I aspired to? Did it even ever exist? Was the Brady Bunch a myth?
It breaks my heart to see that today whole families are now in homeless shelters. The soup lines of the 1930’s have been replaced with food stamps. The evidence of extreme poverty is merely disguised. Even my Russian taxi driver noted just how many homeless people there were on the streets of LA-yet, even here amongst the homeless exists a dumbfounding arrogance.
A friend of mine devoted his holiday to helping the homeless by working a homeless shelter and delivering blankets to those who lived on the streets. He reported that occasionally the poor would throw back the blankets and demand money, they would say, “We don’t want blankets, we want money.” The same people would insult and degrade the people who doled out free food.
Poverty and homelessness does not necessarily engender humility. Why should it? Perhaps when a man loses everything he only then begins to fight for his life. I imagined, incorrectly as it turns out, that there was a community of homeless on skid row helping one another to survive. Just as I naively thought that there would be a community of actors helping each other in Hollywood.
Hasn’t history taught us that when we work together we can overcome adversity? Ah, history-another American casualty.
I have, of late, started to think of myself as an old fashioned socialist. Like Michael Foot or Tony Benn. I have been remembering their rhetoric and rereading what they believed. I read and I believe Tony Benn. I trust him.
Five questions Benn insists should be asked of any powerful person: What power have you got? Where did you get it? In whose interests do you use it? To whom are you accountable? How do we get rid of you?
I remember when I was 13 years old my stepfather mocking a badge I wore that said solidarity with the miners. He accused me of not knowing what the badge really meant. He was right, I didn’t really know. I wanted to know. All I knew absolutely was that there seemed to be some unfairness in the world and it needed to be addressed. I saw that there were people, unlike my stepfather, who refused to believe in absolutes, who understood the world to be more convoluted, complicated, chaotic than I had been taught.
So, my solar energy investment is just not an investment in me but in the planet. The goats eating the brush for the well-being of the environment. Pumping spring water into the vegetable garden to benefit us all.
The psyche of the British has been unmistakably molded by years of thrift after the Second World War. We have a desire to make do and mend, to bargain hunt, to work an allotment, restraint. Frugality is still perceived as a virtue.
The people of Great Britain, France and Germany all live with elements of socialism that run hand in hand with capitalism. I can assure you that the sort of socialism we in Europe live with works.
What in capitalism is ever ‘too big to fail’? When did it become ‘socialist’ to care about our fellow man?
In a country that routinely says it devotes itself to Jesus where is that Christian teaching evident?
The airplane is getting bumpy and hopefully the silly boy in front of me will have gone to sleep. I am going to forgive him. That’s what I do-I forgive. I can’t imagine him being able to do the same any time soon.
To all the young men and women who arrive in Hollywood looking for stardom, this post is for you.
It’s not the thorough advice I give my students at UCLA nor as involved as the conversations I have with young actors I meet daily at coffee shops all over Hollywood.
I want to help a legion of unprepared youngsters before they arrive in California.
To help them avoid the traps so many young people fall into when they arrive here in Los Angeles expecting to ‘make it’ in the film industry.
Hollywood is not for the fainthearted or for the under-prepared.
Remember these two important words: INDUSTRY and BUSINESS.
The youngsters who make it Hollywood, those who make movies of any kind are naturally inclined businessmen and businesswomen.
These serious men and women want to do business with the like minded and make it their business to sort out the winners from the losers.
Business. Money. Industry.
Young film maker/actor/actress there are a few things you urgently need to know:
Firstly, if you live outside of the greater LA area don’t even think about packing your bags and coming here unless you are:
a) Invited by a reputable agent/manager because you have ‘made it’ else where.
b) You have thoroughly researched your move to California before you arrive.
Too many people arrive in LA thinking that life is just one long episode of Entourage punctuated by Entertainment Tonight type red carpet appearances.
They believe that they will be ‘discovered’ in an instantaneous ‘America’s Got Talent’ kind of way and become household names within a year of moving into what is one of the most heartless cities in the whole world.
Remember this: You Will Not Be Discovered.
Let me say again: Don’t come to LA and expect to be ‘discovered’. It won’t happen.
Oh, actually, you will be discovered but not by the people you expect to be ‘discovered’ by or in a way you’ll be writing home to mother any time soon.
It is sadly true that for every young, good-looking boy and girl who arrives in Hollywood there is a predator waiting to fuck you.
They will mercilessly lie and cheat you out of your integrity and your virginity.
This post, I hope, will help you keep your dignity and your virginity intact.
These perfectly charming predators (with fabulously important jobs) will show you their huge houses, take you to premieres and parties but the outcome is always the same: Another suitcase in another hall.
Prepared to be totally washed up in no time at all if you fuck anyone who promises you anything.
Even people who should know better end up having clandestine dinners with well-known married producers discussing projects that will never, ever happen.
Of course there are some aspiring actors/actresses who think that blowing the occasional producer in their hot tub is a perfectly reasonable trade. Indeed, they may think that it is the driving force behind Hollywood’s star making machine.
They site Marilyn Monroe as the archetypal ‘career for sex’ success story.
This reciprocal arrangement is both rare and undignified. It seldom leads to anything other than STDs and a stint in the rooms of AA.
If you feel you have acting talent think about taking acting classes before you get to Hollywood. Any advantage you have over the thousands of willing hopefuls who arrive in LA everyday will get you closer to your goal.
If, say, Brad Pitt is your hero, study his life and how he got to where he is today.
READ BETWEEN THE LINES!
This information will help you decide if Hollywood may work for you.
If you genuinely want to be an actor or actress be sure, well before you get here, that you have researched the industry you want to be a part of.
Read Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. From these two publications you will learn everything you need to know about Hollywood, the way it works and what is being made and where.
Get yourself a copy of The Hollywood Creative Directory and read it.
If you want to be a film actor research the directors you like, find out who produced their films, the casting directors who cast them and what they are doing next.
If you want to be a TV actor learn the names of all the casting directors at all the Networks.
See how you can get close to the people you want to do business with.
My low budget film making students at UCLA laugh at me when I tell them to precision bomb when making decisions about their careers. Carpet-bombing is expensive, risky and often misses the mark.
(This applies only to those of you who have demonstrable talent.)
I tell actors to print 500 head shots and 500 resumé, buy 500 envelopes and 500 stamps. Address them to all the usual film industry suspects.
Reserve all but ten. Take the 490 stamped and addressed head shots and resumé and tear them into tiny pieces and put directly into the trash.
At least you get the satisfaction of throwing them away rather than some bored assistant.
With the ten reserved head shots and resumé take them directly to the industry people you want to do business with.
It works, it really does.
I used to say to actors, “Never take no for an answer.” I don’t tell them that any more.
I reserve that advice for directors and producers.
Remember, actors/directors, you are the only asset at the company you are about to create in your own name.
To make your dream come true requires tenacity, an encyclopedic knowledge of the film industry and a keen sense of direction.
Life in LA can be very lonely. You may be surrounded by many ‘friends’ but you will not be able to trust any one of them.
Nobody but you wants you to succeed in Hollywood.
If you have been kicking around LA for a year or so waiting tables, don’t have an agent or a manager and have not been seriously considered for any sort of acting role in a legitimate film production: go home.
Most roles being cast in Hollywood today are for actors between the ages of 35-45 years old.
Go home have a decent life… then, if you are still hankering after Hollywood, return when you are 35.
Frankly, you will have more chance of making it then.
Woke up at decent hour. Fed dogs raw meat their Special Christmas Treat and apparently very good for them. They seem to love it. Long walk around Hollywood wearing my red shoes. Seems to cause consternation to some passers by. Red shoes, yellow socks.
Not wearing my waistcoat-we don’t say vest in England unless referring to an under garment.
Watched Another Country before I went to bed. Cried buckets of tears at the end. That movie still speaks volumes to me. I wonder how Rupert feels if he ever sees it? Him looking so beautiful. What must any of those actors think?
It reminded me, of course, of being in love when I was young. Yet most people must think of first, young love after watching that movie.
You know, I have been in love. Real love. The sort of yearning love that hurts so much you want to die. I’ve felt that. Oh bugger. I loved you so much! I loved you in spite of my worst fear. I wanted you to love me back-so badly.
‘That’s a deep sigh.’ He said. “Falling in love with a man is so exquisite. Every time I feel this way I don’t know if I can carry on.”
Fred Hughes, I just wanted to write a moment longer about Freddy Hughes. Remember, I met Freddy in Paris when I was still a teenager and he couldn’t have been much older than 30. He was running the Andy Warhol empire. Chic and funny he captivated me with his charm, not his life. I didn’t really understand his life until I arrived in New York and lived with him in that remarkable house on Lexington.
I spotted Robert Dupont on the street as Kay, Jerome and I were drinking hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. Either Robert or his twin Richard was Freddy’s real boyfriend-I was the secret affair. I am always the affair, the secret obsession outside of a marriage. Always the mistress, never the bride. Wanted to mention Freddy because I was remembering men I had loved.
The year I met Freddy he was diagnosed with MS. Toward the end, wheelchair bound, he was so angry with everything and everyone. I don’t want to die like that. I am aiming for peace of mind-to die in peace.
After my morning bath I called my friend and fellow philanderer Toby Mott to tell him that Kay Saatchi had bought one of his paintings. He was thrilled. We chatted about money. He had never been paid for the painting by the gallery who sold it but was simply thrilled to have sold it to Kay and really, he said, didn’t care about the money. Very British. Very bourgeois.
Montesquieu summed up the French approach to money more than two centuries ago, observing that ”money is estimable when it is scorned.” The Bordeaux nobleman and philosopher was very, very rich.
Where ever there has been a ruling, aristocratic elite an artificial shame is constructed around the discussion of money.
I remember my Grandmother and Mother both chiding me for wanting to understand money. “Discussing money is vulgar.” my grandmother would say. As a consequence of my never being allowed to discuss money (like sex) I now find it almost impossible to define my value, to monetize my success, to have a sense of what I am worth.
I lament my Grandmother shushing me when I first showed interest in money.
Whilst my ‘class’ were blushing about money the rich weren’t having any qualms at all and talked about it all the time.
As I found, during my years as an aristocrat, if one can talk freely about money then one may understand how it works and how to acquire more of it. If one is persuaded that conversation about money is shameful then we may never know how money works and lose it to those who do.
When the rich say, “I’m not the slightest bit interested in money. I just don’t pay any attention to money. It’s rather vulgar.”
They lie. They lie. They lie.