Archives for category: prison

So, yesterday.

I’m sure you want to know.

Firstly, I want to thank the ACLU for co-counseling my suit against the Sheriff.

They have worked for months on this case and they have every reason to believe in a positive outcome.

My personal suit separated from the class action.

I am suing the Sheriff’s Department for a considerable amount of money.

I arrived early at the ACLU office down town.  I met with my lawyers.  I watched the 30 or so cameras being set up from TV stations all over the USA.

Jennie Pasquarella spoke first.  A more eloquent speaker one could not hope to listen to.  A more brilliant lawyer one could not hope to meet.

Like all of the lawyers who work for the ACLU she is motivated by fairness for all.

She said:

The principle of bail is something so fundamental, that you shouldn’t be held until you’re found guilty.

I waited my turn.

I listened again to this startling fact:  The Immigration Department is mandated  to deport 400, 000 people a year from the USA.

This fact alone never ceases to shock and amaze me.  The implications, I’m sure, are not lost on any of you.

The last time I faced a barrage of press like that I was at the Sundance Film Festival.  It was all about me.

Yesterday I was representing thousands of the disenfranchised, the oppressed and the wrongly imprisoned.

In light of Jerry Brown’s veto of the Trust Act and set against the back drop of a recent, damning report documenting violence and abuse in The Men’s County Jail, this case could not be more relevant.

Sheriff Lee Baca has been effectively told that he is incapable of running a jail by the board of supervisors.

Humiliatingly the Supervisors, not the Sheriff, will find someone more competent to run the jail.

Within minutes of the end of our press conference the Sheriff’s representative disputed the charge that the Sheriff’s Department has denied bail to anyone because of ICE holds.

“If you are able to post bail — say it’s $10,000 — and you’re an immigrant from wherever. With or without an ICE hold, we accept that,” said the spokeswoman, Nicole Nishida.

An outright LIE.

A report by prison expert James Austin cites data from Baca’s office indicating that at least 20,000 Los Angeles County inmates, nearly all of them Latino males, were subjected to ICE holds in 2011.

Latino males arrested, held in the MCJ, forced to accept spurious guilty pleas and deported equals: ethnic cleansing.

Nobody cares about them.  Nobody gives a damn about undocumented workers.  They are treated like animals.  Even by my most (so-called) progressive friends.

Latinos spending their lives doing jobs white people don’t want to do, refuse to do in SoCal.  They are the real victims of the economic catastrophe.

During the good times, we turn a blind eye to these men and women working at our behest for minimal wages.

When things get bad they are thrown out like yesterdays trash, rounded up like cattle to satisfy immigration deportation quotas.

It’s the same everywhere, when things get tough:  blame the immigrants.

I heard my own mother blame Eastern Europeans for ‘taking our jobs’ back at home in Britain.

The Spanish-speaking press asked me: “Do you think Lee Baca is anti-immigrant?”

“You mean, do I think Lee Baca is a racist?”  I replied.  “Well, he is just part of the racist problem in the USA but he gets to be the executioner.”

In a country where most people are enslaved by debt, lack of education, obesity, religious/corporate ideology and hubris it is very easy to forget about ones own enslavement and think nothing of enslaving and demonizing others.

The primary reason I would never vote (if I could) for a second Obama term, regardless of his so-called pro gay marriage smokescreen (designed largely to melt liberal hearts) is his appalling deportation record.

The Obama administration’s deportation policies, which rely on cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, have already been challenged in California.

Legislation that would have prohibited sheriffs and police departments from enforcing ICE holds in most cases was, as I have already written, vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown last month.

Barrack Obama has deported more people from the USA than any other President in this country’s history.

It goes without saying that the Gay media and my local Malibu newspaper will totally ignore this story.  I am neither pretty enough nor non-controversial for either to cover the story.

Even though it may be of interest to both communities.

Most gay men are unaware that if they fell in love with a non-American their state marriage certificate or their Foreign marriage certificate would mean absolutely nothing to the Federal Immigration Department.

Their husband/wife would risk deportation.

The gay men I know think that deportation happens to other people… you know… brown people.  Not people like us.

Those same gay men run the gay media.

Scott McPherson from The Advocate told me recently that he totally supported The President’s immigration policy and (after I explained to him what a drone was and who was being killed by them) he told me he had no interest in who drones were killing.

All Scott wants is marriage equality.  Apparently, only for Americans to marry other Americans.

You might think that Malibu is a liberal, open-minded place…. with all those rich über gays living down there on the beach… but I have endured more homophobia in Malibu than even my small home town village of Whitstable in Kent where one might expect the crushingly narrow-minded.

My Armenian neighbor was so vile about me and my young gay renter, her invective so shocking… it almost took my breath away.

So.  It has begun.

Where the runes fall… is none of my business.

Somehow the very act of laying ones self bare, open to all sorts of scrutiny, is a relief.

Regardless of the outcome, I am very happy to be of service to those who can least help themselves.

Ivan

This is my deposition for the ACLU.

Reading it makes me nauseous. It infuriates me that incidents like this happened and continue to happen.

They are happening now in the MCJ.

The gay press, of course, are not interested in reporting what happens in our jails to our LGBT brethren.

White, gay elitists control our media and are paid by big pharma.

Our media know that the prisons are full of black and transgender people but choose to ignore it.

They, of course, are those with the least (perceived) sexual currency in the lgbt community.

Even my most liberal and informed friends think it is perfectly reasonable to say “I could never find a black man attractive.”

The gay press scarcely acknowledges the presence of black or trans let alone write about the way they are continually targeted by the police.

That, my friends, is another story.

I was recently introduced to a self proclaimed ‘champion of the gays’, a ‘spiritual’ gay with a huge blog following.

He told me yesterday that he was only interested in helping the gay community with his good works, that the trans community did not interest him.

His bare faced dismissal of parts of our disparate community galls me as much as the vile behaviors of the deputies listed below.

A good looking, white, young, gay man preaching love and kindness…but only to equally good looking…white…young gay men.

Here you go:

My name is Duncan Roy.

I make this declaration based on my own personal knowledge and if called to testify I could and would do so competently as follows:

I stayed in the Los Angeles County Jail system from November of 2011 to February of 2012.

I was housed at Men’s Central Jail (“MCJ”) in Modules 5200 and 5400, which are the gay inmate dorms.

Though I was able to be released on bail, I had to stay in jail because the Sheriff’s Department refuses to release on bail anyone on whom the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) has placed an immigration “hold.”

However, it is my understanding that immigration holds are only requests – not mandatory orders – that local law enforcement hold people for ICE for 48 hours, thus it was the LASD that refused to release me even though I could make bail.

While I was in jail, I witnessed numerous incidents in which deputies verbally abused, humiliated, threatened, and even physically abused inmates – particularly transgender inmates. In addition, we regularly were denied things like hot water and outdoor recreation time.

Processing into Jail

After I had been asked about my sexual orientation at the Inmate Reception Center (“IRC”), I was whisked away from the general population and placed in a light-blue uniform.

Those inmates, who stated that they were gay, were then taken to the Twin Towers Correctional Facility (“TTCF”), Tower 2. We were placed in a pod with other gay inmates, “green lighters” and those who were given a “K-6Y” wristband.

Inmates who are considered green lighters are targeted by other inmates for either participating with law enforcement, for snitching, or for being a gang dropout. Inmates with K-6Y wristbands had been charged with a sex crime involving a juvenile.

While I was in this pod, I recall deputies asking the K-6Y inmates how old they were and how old their victim was.

One inmate said he was about 28 years old and told the deputy that his victim was nine years old, the deputy said, “That’s disgusting!” Or words to that effect.

Another inmate said he was 22 years old and that his victim was 16 years old. The deputy said, “Well, that’s okay. I understand that. Anyone would.”

This type of questioning was not done privately, but in front of everyone.

After I had gone through IRC, I had to be assessed again for my gay status by the deputies who handled the “K-6G” housing.

There were about 50 inmates in this small room, Module 9400 with beds squished together.

There was also only one toilet for all 50 individuals to share. I was in this cramped room for about five days.

After about five days, I was transferred to 5200 where I was housed for the rest of my stay in jail.

LASD Personnel Repeatedly Verbally Abused and Threatened LGBT Inmates in the Gay Dorm

During the 90 days or so I spent in MCJ’s gay inmate dorm, I witnessed countless incidents of violence, humiliation and retaliation by LASD personnel against inmates as well as by inmates against other inmates.

There were several times when a deputy assigned to the module would escort a new deputy, one who had never been assigned to work with gay inmates, into our dorms and make us cheer for him.

For example, there was an occasion when Deputy Polovich brought in Deputy Gonzalez into our module. Deputy Polovich said to all of us, “Give it up for Deputy Gonzalez!”

All of the inmates inside the dorm then had to cheer and applaud for Deputy Gonzalez. Deputies would then tell the entire male to female transsexuals to lift their uniform tops to expose their breasts to Deputy Gonzalez.

I felt like this was not only humiliating for the inmates to be forced to applaud these deputies like we were circus freaks, but I could only imagine what it must have been like for those inmates who had to outwardly parade their sexual parts.

Hearing deputies use slurs and homophobic comments was quite common. I cannot begin to count the number of times some deputies used the phrase “faggot.” I certainly remember a few examples of deputies’ being particularly hateful.

For example, on one occasion Deputy Gonzalez was escorting the other inmates and me to the visiting area. He told us, “You faggots have a sick lifestyle.” He’d also said that he’d “cut off our cocks” and then we’d need to go to a different place.

When I was housed in Module 5200 a male to female transsexual named, “Rosemary” was transferred into my dorm. Rosemary appeared very feminine, had breasts and looked very pretty. Because of her appearance, she received a lot of negative attention from the deputies.

There were several occasion when deputies would bring other deputies into my dorm and would force Rosemary to roll over from her stomach to her back.

By doing so, the deputies would be able to see Rosemary’s body.

There was also one occasion when I saw Rosemary talking to another inmate about a deputy, Deputy Juarez. She was not aware that Deputy Juarez was standing behind her while she was talking about him.

He forcefully grabbed Rosemary and dragged her over to where the escalators were located. I heard him yelling at her in Spanish. I also saw him aggressively kick the insides of Rosemary’s ankles and then search her very roughly. When she came back to the dorm, I saw and she looked very shaken up.

There were also numerous instances when the deputies would threaten us for minute things. I saw the deputies take out their tasers and pretend to shoot them at inmates or hit their flashlights against their palm to intimidate us. It was quite unnerving to see this.

Deputies Pepper Spray and Physically Attack a Transexual Inmate without Justification.

I saw another incident of abuse occur when I was housed in Dorm 5200. A male to female transsexual named, “Sunny” was standing in line for her medication during pill call right outside the door to the dorm, which was open.

I heard Sunny tell a deputy that she didn’t get her medication. The deputy immediately pepper sprayed her in the face and then five other deputies rushed over to them and threw Sunny on the ground. I was watching the scene and Sunny didn’t attack, threaten, or spit on the deputy who pepper sprayed her.

Shortly after throwing Sunny to the floor, the deputies closed the door to the dorm, so I was not able to see what happened after.

Soon thereafter, someone opened the door between our dorm and the hallway where the incident had taken place. A female Senior Deputy arrived and interviewed the nurse who was passing out the medication and an inmate who was standing behind Sunny.

The nurse who was Asian and wore glasses was very upset that the deputies had reacted the way they did towards Sunny. She said that the deputies overreacted.

I was able to hear what the nurse was telling the Senior Deputy because it was conducted right outside the entrance to the dorm. It was also conducted not only in the presence of the inmates, but also in front of the deputy who had pepper sprayed Sunny. In fact, that deputy was about four feet away from where the interview was taking place.

Denial of Basic Necessities Such as Hot Water and Recreation Time

During the approximately 90 days I was in LA County Jail, we were regularly denied basis necessities and had to suffer through barbaric conditions. For example, there were significant problems with the plumbing, and for more than two weeks, we had no access to hot water. Work orders would be placed, however, I felt the way that the work orders were handled deterred inmates from making complaints. The reason why is because when the maintenance staff would complete a work order, all of the inmates in that particular housing area would have to be taken to a very cold holding area with no blankets and no property. We would have to sit there for almost an entire day until the work order was completed.

Also, trying to get outdoor recreation time was very difficult. I felt like the deputies were trying really hard not to give us this time. The deputy who would escort the inmates out to the roof would mumble incomprehensibly that he was here to escort us to the roof.

Even worse, if fewer than three inmates wanted to go to recreation time, the deputy wouldn’t take them. On a number of occasions, other inmates and I were denied the opportunity to go to the roof because there were not enough of us who wanted to go.

Overall, it was nearly impossible to go to the roof. One would have to understand the rubbish that came out of the deputy’s mouth and then one would still need to get more than three inmates to say they wanted to go for outdoor recreation for us to get escorted to the roof. Even when we did go to the roof, we did not get the three hours of time we were supposed to get or there would be other times when those who were allowed to go to the roof would be taken at odd hours, such as at 9 p.m. It would be incredibly cold but, the deputies wouldn’t allow us to take blankets to keep warm. It felt like the deputies would try to discourage us from having our outdoor recreation time.

I hereby declare under penalty of perjury of the laws of the State of
California and the United States that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Executed this 18th day of April 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

Here it is…

This well written article…the meat and potatoes of the entire, sordid, event.

Love the picture…

Lee Baca's Autograph

Sheriff Lee Baca's Autograph

Things are moving rapidly.

My fight against the illegal incarceration of aliens at the Men’s County Jail in LA and jails across California gathers both support and credibility.

There will be a press conference during the first week of April hosted by NILC.

Follow me on twitter @duncaninla for further details.

Also, if this blog is emailed to you (1800 of you) remember that I often add and edit each post as the day unfolds.

Check into the blog for updates.

I will be Testifying at the LA County Commission on Violence in Jails on Monday April 16, 2012 at 9am at 500 West Temple Street 381BM.

And, most excitingly, I was asked yesterday to consider testifying before the senate in Washington.

Look out for interviews in both the LA Weekly and Newsweek during the coming week.

Meanwhile….

20120321-080150.jpg

The dog sleeps by my side, I worry that I might roll on him in the night and kill him.  Or, in a dream, I dismember him then wake up and he is dismembered.

As a very young child I worried that I had torn a dress to pieces that belonged to my mother.

I convinced myself that I had stolen the dress from her wardrobe, torn the dress, trying to make it fit me.

The shame of shredding it lived with me for decades.  One day, some time in my 40′s, I confessed to her.  I told her what I had done.  She laughed, the dress had been her sisters, she had returned the dress.

The woolen crepe feel of it, the silk lining, the dark blue flowers lifted like brocade on the darker blue surface.  The dream, the scissors, the cutting, trying to make it fit….me.

It was a dream.

You know that every word I write is being read by the police, by the brunette DA?  By the ‘victim’s’ lawyers?  They trawl this blog for evidence.  Did I just prove how ‘dark and creepy’ I really am?

In another dream the DA is wearing suspenders and a bra, panties (crotchless) a wet gash, slipping herself onto her much older husband’s giant cock.   She glances at the bible that sits primly on the bedside table and kicks it off.  Her ankle bracelet (an anniversary gift) catches the light, her Christian name written in gold.

Her children are sleeping in another room.  Oblivious.

These are the dreams I didn’t have in jail.  I could not dream.

Another marathon press session yesterday.  This time a fearless woman made it up the mountain.  Blond, slim, attractive.  I asked her who would play her in the movie of her life.  Jodi Foster.  Good choice.

I often wonder, when I am having an out-of-body experience, out of my life for a moment experience…what the hell is happening?

A four-hour interview.  After she left I fell into bed and slept deeply until Kevin arrived.   He chauffeured me into Venice, for dinner with Anna at Axe (where I once made a beautiful boy wear agent provocateur underwear and blow me in the bathroom…)  We ate everything on the menu: the flat bread and the crab and the boiled beef with polenta.  Anna drank a bottle of wonderful white wine, I envied her so much.  I wanted to taste it.  To feel the effect of the wine on my body and mind.  To take a few hours off.

When the sun sets, the nights are chilly, cold enough for a scarf.

After dinner a Mormon arrived from the internet.  We could not keep our hands off of each other.  I slipped my hands up under his coat onto his warm belly.  I kissed him on his lips.  He smiled coyly.  28 years in the closet, 28 years yearning for this.  Yes, he was the Mormon boy you see dressed in a suit wearing a badge, looking like a talent agent.

He’s out there experimenting, meeting men, feeling his way into a gay life.

At home we fell into bed and I found myself giving into him, becoming uncharacteristically submissive.  He came three times.  He didn’t lose his erection in between.  I couldn’t stop kissing him.  I made him mark my neck.  I made him bite me.

Sucking the spit out of his mouth.  The cum out of his cock.

The twins arrived home at 2.30am.  He had long gone.

The silent house.  I lay in bed and listened to my breath fill my lungs.  Enjoying the sensation of being alive.  A sensation I have had often since I left the jail.  I have been so alive since they shat me out of the MCJ. Walk through that door and you’ll be free.

The jail has restored my faith in humanity?  You wanted to know how so?

Because I met men in there, undeserving black men, paying the price with dignity. Because it made me re-evaluate everything.

(He brought me a bunch of hyacinths, the pungent fragrance fills the room.)

I have met extraordinary men and women since I left the jail.  Men and women who restored my faith in America. The USA.  Brilliant, humblingly brilliant minds working to free the men I knew (and men like them) from a barbaric life in an American jail.

This is the Newtonian ‘equal and opposite’ reaction to the life I had before I passed imperceptibly into my dotage, my serious…third life.

Picasso was hot, even when he was 70.”  he said.

The people I am meeting, the places I am visiting are so startlingly different from the life you thought I aspired.  I find myself in dingy offices down town.  Understanding obscure laws.  Recasting myself.  Relishing the next interview.  I am useful at last.  I am useful to them.  Useful for changing laws, illegal protocols…and people are listening.  I am being heard…it feels good.

You see what they did to Julian Assange?  They will try to do that to me.  They will discredit me.  They will try.  Scurrilously, meticulously, evidentially.  They will tell you that I can’t be trusted.  When the moment…that moment we have all been waiting for, the moment before the curtain rises, when the audience hushed, the lights have dimmed.

That moment is fast approaching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spent the greater part of yesterday removing redundant blog entries from this blog.  Bloody hell, what a waste of time.

It was frankly embarrassing re-reading all that shit.  All that fury, that indignation I had for him.  It was just so embittered and…not very well written.  Beware the curse of resentment!

From 11am-3pm I sat with a journalist discussing my ongoing legal story.  They are sending a photographer.  It’s a cover story.  The last time I had this much interest from the press I was making movies.  Now I am doing something for the greater good, I have been handed an oppertunity to help others and I am grasping hold of it.  Nothing will unseat me from doing the right thing.

I left something of myself in the jail. I left that Duncan who deserved no respect.

Do you understand that darling? Do you remember when I was serious, contained?  You found it so attractive?

Everything from my old life, pre jail has become irrelevant.  The artifice, the indulgence, the decadence…it was a worthless occupation.  Chasing infamy?  Even the places I used to visit daily are of no interest to me.  The people I know there, the people I knew…caught up in their own peculiar madness, their preoccupation with power and prestige.

I remind myself to be truthful, to be kind.

The people I have been meeting since leaving the jail, the activists, the lawyers, the human rights advocates…I am humbled by their brilliance, their focus, their dedication.

Lastly, as I was sitting with the fiercely intelligent man who interviewed me yesterday I remembered something about the jail that impressed me.  Something peculiar to the gay dorm, peculiar to that community of trans and gay men.

On the streets, elder trans women ‘adopt’ younger trans girls as their daughter.  These  relationships were strengthened in the dorm, references to ‘my mother’ or ‘my father’ baffled me.  At first.

Family connections emerged, not bound by blood but by commitment.   Young gay men needing advice, support, succor and council turning to those they respected.  Adopting one another as mother and daughter.  Father and son. Letting those about them know that familial ties now existed, that they were to be honored.

My son is fighting.  My daughter wants a dress. My mother has had bad news.  My father’s husband is being released.

As we ate together at night.  These ‘families’ helped each other practically:  feeding each other, sharing the loaves and the fishes.  Sharing the support, the love, the strength, the gossip.   That which may not have existed from real parents, from blood brothers, from those who we take for granted…from whom we were born.

Many young black men from Compton, Watts and Inglewood had spent their formative years co-opted into gangs.  The Bluds and the Crips.

Their coping skills would horrify you, you my dear readers…but kept them alive.  Murder, guns, retaliation, fighting to the death were common for most of the young black men I met.  Frequent.

On top of all that, against that barbaric backdrop they had to deal with coming out.

More of this later.

Since I was released from The Men‘s Country Jail earlier this month I have noticed changes, changes in myself, changes in others.  Even though I have been occasionally combative and resolute when writing here…this may not be the whole story.

The story is revealing itself, the narrative unfolding in ways I did not expect.

There was an occasion in the jail when, after I heard that the immigration lawyers I hired previous to the wonderful Esperanza Immigrants Rights Project had fucked up.  I felt really desperate and powerless.  Carlton, the 24-year-old House Mouse. sat on my bunk and, seeing that I was beginning to flounder, took me in hand and firmly reminded me that The Country Jail was no place for desperation.  He reminded me that if I gave into weakness I would either go mad or die.

He said, “There are too many personalities in here.”  I knew what he meant.  I had lived in Los Angeles for a long, long time.

The other inmates understood that I had a greater purpose for being there and yesterday that purpose became apparent.

Crawling back into life has been challenging.  I feel tender, as if my whole body is bruised. I feel my age.  I am quieter, less prone to irritation, grateful for everything, trying to be kinder.  Becoming vulnerable for all to see, not just those who are the closest to me…everyone.

I had lunch at SH the day before yesterday, saw friends from London who are here for Oscar week.  I saw local friends who knew what had happened but were either too polite or worried to ask details.  If they asked where I had been I blurted out, “I’ve been in jail for three months.”  Then I tell them to read the piece in The Independent.

I sat down with those who needed to know and explained the whole story.

I am not spending every day on the mountain, I am making the effort to live.  I am not making the same mistakes.

Last night we went to a charitable art event in Beverly Hills.  I bumped into Paul Haggis, explained where I had been, the experience of jail.  I told him about Carlton and the men I’d met there.  I’ve no idea why, perhaps because he is a director, I told him things I had not previously mentioned. I painted a more complete picture.

Paul said, “There must have been a reason.”

My jail friend Steve reminded me daily that I was in jail for a purpose, he knew that someone like me doesn’t end up in a place like that without a reason.  That reason is being made clear both on a micro and macro level.

Steve told me, “You can help these people.”  So, it looks like I may very well be able to help.

That purpose will be made clear to you soon.

When I have my ducks in a row.

What is it to be vulnerable, kinder?  What will I lose?  What will I gain?

The boys are here, living here.  Three of them, taking their responsibilities seriously.  Occasionally they clear up without being asked.  Yet, their mess that would have previously pissed me off, scarcely affects me.  Who cares if there are socks all over the place, piles of towels in the bathroom?

What does that matter when I am so grateful they are here.

The life I lived before I was arrested seems like another time, like another place, like a different me.  I am wondering who he was, what interested him, what in hells name I was doing?

I was wondering how he could have got himself into such a mess?  Then I remembered that I left that Duncan back in the jail, the Duncan who was scared of being seen, the Duncan that made unhealthy choices, the Duncan who knew Jake.

When I write about death and suicide, I am really trying to articulate what it is to cast off something already dead. I am not interested in dying.  I have things, suddenly and without warning, that need to be achieved.  Things that before I was arrested never occurred to me.

Am I killing that part of myself that has bedeviled me for so many years?  Can you understand that?  Can you see what I’m talking about now?

Don’t fret my darling friends.  I am emerging from this experience with a different set of principals, new standards of living and unusual priorities.

What was previously important is now worthless.  Clothes, possessions, jewelry, power and prestige.

In jail I learned to get used to the idea of nothing and in nothing I found something I never guessed existed: that very thing after which I had been hankering a whole lifetime.

In nothing I found a peace of mind.

Unusual and wholly unexpected events witnessed at the Men’s County Jail included two weddings held in the gay dorm.

The first within days of my arriving at dorm 5300.

Madeleine and Oscar were married before first count one Saturday evening.  A popular couple.  There was a great deal of excitement in the dorm from both the incarcerated and the deputies.

Madeleine, trans, 23 years old, white skinned, full-lipped, long dark hair, sexy voice marrying Oscar, a madly jealous, beefy Mexican boy with a huge bull-dog under bite.

Hedi Slimane…this is the sort of thing you should be photographing.

Madeleine wore a long white dress and veil made for her that week by a gaggle of excited trannies.  It was fashioned from two shredded tee-shirts.  It looked like a Vivienne Westwood gown.  Madeleine held a bouquet of toilet paper flowers as she walked between the bunks toward her nervous groom.  The rings were woven for them, their names inscribed on both. Oscar had re-purposed his pale blue jail uniform to look like a prom outfit from the 1970′s…complete with bow tie.

The ceremony was very moving, the deputies videoed it and then took pictures of the happy couple through the bars of the observation booth.

The House Mouse officiated.

Later, I discovered that Oscar had married 4 other boys whilst he had been in dorm 5300.  On the streets he’d also married two real girls and had several real children none of whom he was allowed to see.  This was Madeleine’s first time.

After they married they fought all the time.  Domestic violence.  “We fight hard and we love hard.”  Madeleine told me.  They sure loved hard…you could hear them all over the dorm huffing and panting.

The second wedding, held a month or so later in dorm 5200, was very different.  A double wedding for 4 black boys, Juan and ‘Baby Boy’, Reggie and Steve.   The service was very moving.  Ex Marine Juan and ‘Baby Boy’ really loved each other.  Reggie and Steve…not so much.

Juan and ‘Baby Boy’ made their vows and cried.  Juan read an extravagant love poem. “Baby Boy’ cried some more.  A huge cheer erupted as they were pronounced husband and husband.

After the short ceremony we ate a huge nacho spread on an abandoned top bunk.  I was the only white guest.

That night bunks are pushed together creating comfortable double beds, illegal ‘tents’ made of old sheets are hung around the bottom bunk for privacy and voila, the happy home is complete.

Reggie and Steve separated after a violent clash.  Bleeding noses, being torn apart by opposing groups of friends, then separated for ever into different dorms.

‘Baby Boy’ was released, leaving poor Juan to mope about the dorm until he found another boy to bunk with.

As I mentioned before, the bond that exists between these jail house gay boys/trannies can lead to unexpected consequences.  Unable to leave their loved ones behind couples reunite by forcing an unnecessary arrest.  Occasionally, however, by the time the released returns…their boy friend, the love of their life, has found someone else.

There sure was a great deal of fucking in the dorm.  The craziest couple, Kenyatta and Andrew, could not keep their hands off each other.  They fucked all day and all night.  She was a fun, feminine black trans accused of hit and run, he was a masculine latino boy with no personality.  She fucked him.  He couldn’t say no.

Coffee in Venice yesterday.  Lunch with lawyer.  Cooked dinner, boiled brisket, Brussels sprouts, snap peas and quinoa.

Ate a cup cake at midnight…bad mistake…up all night vomiting.  Can’t eat rich food yet.

Every dorm in the Men’s County Jail is represented by one elected inmate, that inmate is the dorm’s House Mouse.

Originally called the House Mouth his role is to liaise between the dorm and the police.   He fixes problems, discovers when holds are lifted, dates of release, learns when the police are likely to come into the dorm for unusual reasons and generally makes life easier.

If there is a fight in the dorm it is up to him to get the truth of the fight and make appropriate punishment decisions.

A fight may result in the loss of ‘Programme’: TV, vending machine, late night privileges, even access to the commissary or when things really get out of hand…and the police raid the dorm and rip everything up…we end up without blankets or mats sleeping on ‘steel’ which never happened when I was there but we sure came close.

The House Mouse is a tough job, he has to command total respect from both the inmates and the police.  He needs to understand who he can ask for favours and who he needs to leave alone.

The first dorm I lived in was a mess.  The 5300 Mouse was disrespected.  When he called for silence during the time set aside for dorm business nobody took a blind bit of notice.  When silence in the dorm is required he would call ‘Radio!’ I’ve no idea why but that’s what they do in jail.   It means, shut the fuck up.

In the second dorm 5200 our House Mouse Carlton, a young, great looking black man.  An ex gang member, all he needed to do was call ‘Radio!’ once and there was silence in the dorm.

I made friends with Carlton when he learned how good I was at playing Spades.  After a couple of weeks he moved me into the bunk next to him.  Intelligent, wise and stylish he really shouldn’t have been in jail.  If he’d been white he wouldn’t have been.

The language of jail has to be learned quickly.  If, for instance, we were walking outside the dorm and found ourselves approaching a deputy we would be obliged to call out, ‘Walking!’  which alerted the deputy that an inmate was behind him.  Once, I was being escorted to the attorney room and told that I should always be more than five foot from a deputy.

Many of the the younger deputies came to California to pursue other dreams but those dreams had to be set aside because of the recession…here they were marshaling men who simply hated them.   Marshaling the disenfranchised, feeble-minded, surly, mental patients…I mean…there were so many people in the jail with severe mental health issues.  They needed nursing…not policing.

Many inmates were just nuisances rather than criminals.  It’s an expensive way to look after the mental health of the state of California.

Some of the cops, of course, are unapologetic sadists.  Yet, even though I witnessed unsavory behaviour I had sympathy for those men and women.  They are, after all, in jail too.

We were allowed out of dorm 5200 a great deal.  School of course, outside on the roof once a week for three hours, church on Sundays and AA.  The AA meetings were not like any AA meetings I had ever been to in my life.  Imagine 300 trannies from 4 gay dorms catching up on gossip, not giving a damn about the ‘experience, strength and hope’ of who ever was brave enough to come into the jail and share it.

Some of those tranny hookers were really convincing.  Like really high-end chicks with dicks.  Some of them were just really ugly men with make up and long hair and over weight, crafting some sort of cleavage out of their fat pecs.

The tranny hooker market is so huge that most of them put very little effort into looking like real girls.

When Rosemary walked into the dorm the less attractive, more masculine tranny hookers looked very perplexed.

Rosemary was 5 foot tall, well cut hair, perfect tits, hips…a really pretty girl.  Even the deputies looked at her askance.  Obviously intrigued.  She commanded a huge amount of attention.  Good and bad.  She was caught telling another tranny in Spanish what she thought of a particularly fine-looking deputy.  Unfortunately he understood her, pulled her off the line, bawled at her, frisked her and threw her against a wall.

A big man throwing a small, delicate girl against a wall is not a very heartening sight.

The gay dorm in the County jail is unique, I have no idea if beyond California these dorms exist.  I know that they don’t exist in prison.  Which, by the way, was where everyone wanted to be.  Prison rather than jail.  Prison condition are a million times better.  Nobody wanted to do their time in jail.  There are three kinds of prison, the jail (run by the police) the state prison (greater freedoms) and the federal prison which by all accounts is like a country club.

The problem with the Los Angeles County Jail is that is it falling apart, it is over crowded and technically condemned.  There is no money to replace it and no political inclination.  During the boom time the jails were a luxury used to lure voters to vote for those who promised to fill them.  Now the prisons and jails are a huge financial burden and nobody has the guts or political gall to face this crippling problem head on.

The two biggest unions in California are the police officers and the gaolers.  Even if crime numbers fall the police make sure that the jails remains filled.  Consequently, There are a huge number of parole violators and drug offenders inside the jail squandering precious tax dollars.

Even more galling?  Whilst the police arrest and the judiciary hand down custodial sentences the LA schools are falling apart.

There is a correlation between these two facts.

A fearful tax payer would rather pay for more police and prisons rather than educate their kids.

Just look at the draconian Californian three strike law that keeps many, many men inside who really shouldn’t be there.

It is a totally broken system with too many vested interests.

The twins are living here with me in Malibu once again.  They are dancing downstairs.  Their friend Kevin has moved in too.  It’s raining.  I have to see my lawyer today.  Blah, blah, blah.

Gerard Falconetti looking like Robby

Sunday morning, children all over the bed.  Asking questions.  They want to know everything.  Inquisitive little things.  The sun is bright and warm.  My hostess is making blueberry pancakes and coffee.

Lily, their youngest, had dreams about heaven and hell.  Hell had something to do with a supermarket.  She said, “There were people in hell who shouldn’t have been there.” Which was a very astute observation for a 9 year old girl.

She’s Jewish, Jews don’t believe in heaven or hell.

The Little Dog is confused.  He’s a one man dog.  He’s been with J and J these past few months so his loyalty, understandably, shifted.  We are re-orientating him.  He slept with me last night.  Hung out at the house yesterday.  He lay on his bed as we toiled in the garden.

Robby and I spent the day doing errands.  I have my phone!  The garden is tidy!  The house is returned to normal!  The art is back on the walls!  Lost things have been found! There is food in the fridge!  The dog is happy!

Saw Safe House at the Malibu cinema with Robby, bumped into AA folk.  The film was ok but had one huge and unforgivable plot flaw.

Before the film we wandered down Cross Creek.  Wondering at the night.  The cold, damp breeze on my face.

Robby is the only person I tell everything.  He has seen me vulnerable and survived.  Not like Jennie and the others.  No room!  No room!

Last night we watched September IssueAnna Wintour really is an extraordinary woman.  She is also incredibly generous.  You know, don’t you, that she lent us her NYC house when we made Dorian Gray.  Hamish, I wish we had seen more of him.  I remember meeting Grace with Patrick Kinmonth when they worked at Vogue in  London and again, rather obscurely at a house in North Wales  years later.  She stole the show.

God, Andre Leon Talley is such a twat.  The least interesting character in the film…just because he tries so hard to be fabulous.  Inauthentic.  I knew him when I lived in Paris, we met at Karl Lagerfeld‘s house when Karl lived on the Rue de la Universite in the early 80′s.  Gerard Falconetti and I stopped by unannounced.

Falconetti’s brilliant grandmother Maria played Jean d’Arc in The Passion when she was 19 years old.

For some reason I remember touching Andre’s face, his skin was cold and soft.  Like an old handbag.

Gerard was 11 years older than me, so incredibly handsome.  A wonderful lover.  In 1981 Gerard played Meryl Streep‘s boyfriend in The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

In 1984 Gerard found out that he had AIDS and threw himself off the Tour Montparnasse.

Gerard was a generous, extraordinary friend.  He played Montserrat Caballe singing Tosca when I was sick with flu, he lifted my spirits with delicate macaroons from Carette.   He showed me the Paris I would later show those who have never been. The secret places we all need to know when we discover a city for the first time.

I have, somewhere, a note Karl sent Gerard referencing his grandmother.

That was then this is now…

I have a million things to do.  A great deal of catching up and making good.

I promised to write about being arrested.  Well, I will…but after conversations yesterday with my journalist brethren I’ll let them do the reporting and I’ll take a rest.  There’s still so much to tell you.

As you may know this entire being arrested thang was to do with this very blog.   What can or cannot be said.

Meanwhile on another part of the internet…you simply have to check out what is being said about me by identifiable enemies: an ex-employee calling me a sadist,  a gross individual from Province Town who attempted to malign me last summer,  some cretin accusing me of killing my own dog…these people are wrought with life affecting, overwhelming resentment.  It is so extreme it makes me laugh.

Baying for blood.  Send him back to jail!  Throw away the key!  If only, in some way, they could find a way of getting me locked up for ever…the death sentence even?

I am chuckling to myself.

Chris Lewis of Sydney Australia thinks I want your sympathy.  If I looked like Chris Lewis I would want your sympathy.  Even when he was young he was ugly.  You know very well that I report as I see…as truthfully as I am able.  It is my unalienable right to do so.  I don’t want sympathy.  I need your support.  Those of you who have stood by me, my God!  I never expected such amazing gifts.

Marilyn Monroe, of all people, said that for every fan excited to see her there were 10 enemies waiting to bring her down.   Being hated is an occupational hazard for those of us who do not live in the shadows.  If you think what people write about me is outrageous…try being Rachal Maddow.

Somebody called from the jail yesterday, he is as well as can be expected.  How quickly one forgets. Yet…you know me.  The lure of the uniform…the smell of ruminating men…ransacked sexual fantasies.

Do you know what a Nonce is?  It’s a slang word for a child molester.  I taught the men in my dorm at Men’s County Jail this very English word.  By the time I left they were calling each other Nonce, it was quite inappropriate…but very funny.

By the way, I didn’t get any Christmas cards whilst I was at the jail, I thought you didn’t care!  I now know that many of you sent cards and letters of support.  Apparently, they were all returned as having inappropriate content.  What were you sending me?

One’s body is weakened by three months of inactivity.  Working in the garden was exhausting yesterday.

Thank God for Robby.

As I lay here, at what ever time during that constant night…the ghosts of Wilde and Cocteau, Rimbaud and Verlaine come to me.  The fragrant, aromatic smoke he blows to me through the tiny hove carved between cells.  The great poet cries, “Hard labour!”  And all…for love.

A famous passage from the Ballad of Reading Gaol:

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard.
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word.
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

The line is a nod to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, when Bassanio asks, “Do all men kill the things they do not love?”

A passage from the poem was chosen as the epitaph on Wilde’s tomb.

And alien tears will fill for him,
Pity’s long-broken urn,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.

The day passed without argument or contradiction.

I still don’t have a phone or lap top as the police are holding both as evidence.  It is amazing, however, that I can do without.

Before I tell you more about the last three months I think I should warn you that leaving an anonymous comment on this site is almost impossible to do, as a certain Chris Lewis from Sydney Australia found to his chagrin yesterday.

Chris hoped to leave a nasty message and get away with it.  Well, Chris, not only must you have a valid email address to create a WordPress account but every comment left on this blog has your email and your IP address attached to it.

The IP address will lead, in most cases, directly to you.

Chris Lewis is a good friend of the man I allegedly extorted and contacting me on his behalf by email was a foolish and potentially case destroying decision.  I passed his email and details onto the relevant authorities.

Again, let me warn any of you who think you can get away with leaving anonymous notes on WordPress…you can’t.

Jason just made hot coffee and brought it to my room.  The children are slowly getting dressed, ready for school, they file into see me before they head off and kiss me goodbye.  Max is smoking in the attic.  I will never again take these moments for granted.

Hot coffee, what a treat.  No hot coffee in jail.  No hot food in jail.  I lived on jelly and peanut butter sandwiches, cookies and fruit.  My shit turned the colour of peanut butter and about the same consistency.

Do you want to know more?  I want to tell you. I think you should know.

We are woken, woken by the booming deputy on the loudspeaker.  The fluorescent lights ignited, flickering across the dorm.  She/he bellows, “Chow, get ready for chow!”  Unless it is a Monday or Wednesday morning in which case she/he booms “Clothing exchange!”, meaning of course that we had the opportunity to exchange our uniform, sheets and towels.

We stand in a sad crocodile, scarcely awake, holding up for inspection what we need to exchange to the ruddy-faced, alcoholic looking deputy.  Impatient, rude and ugly…a Max Beckmann caricature, he amused me with his slick backed hair, the broken veins in his cheeks.  His miserable job scoffed at by the younger deputies who held him in obvious contempt.  A career in jail changing underpants.

His teeth stand away from his lips as he barks at me.  Barking at me like a rabid dog.  “Is that a whole sheet?”

I stand in line.  My private thoughts do not show on my poker face.

I do as I am told.  Like a good jew waiting to be gassed.

Then, after he takes his laundry circus else where we lay on our beds waiting for chow, waiting for the trustees to arrive with cereal, milk, eggs and fruit.

We guard the door, peering through the window into the hall.  Moments before the police arrive we are warned to, “Put on your blues and get on your racks.”  Then, one word, “Walking!”  they holler.  As the door opens one of us screams, “They’re in the house!”  We lay silently on our bunks.

“Close your eyes, face down!”  they feed all 90 of us in less than one minute..throwing our breakfast at our rack (bunk).  Beeman stands overseeing the feed, I look at him cautiously, he’s wearing a tie, he has cut his hair.  He’s shorter than his colleagues.  I lay on my bunk wondering if he got laid last night.  Who he fucked, his uniform in a heap on some boys bedroom floor.

After the breakfast is delivered the door is slammed shut and the dorm returns to normal life.

Then the bartering begins.  Inmates roam the dorm like 18th Century market traders calling out “Cookies for juice!”  or  “Cereal for eggs!”  The men with HIV get special diets, rich in protein.   Their food is quickly snapped up by those who know.   Then, it’s time for school.  “Line it up!”

On the wide corridors beyond the dorm we follow prescribed paths.  Keeping an eye on the deputies.  “Tuck your shirt in!”  They bawl.  When they learned that I was English the Mexican officers would talk animatedly about Premiere League Football.  You know, don’t you, that I know jack about football?

Breakfast at 6am, lunch at 10am, dinner at 4pm.   Snacking on overpriced vending machine food in between.  A ramen noodle costing 20 cents on the streets costs an inmate $1.30.  The store, run by a Kansas City based company called Keefe gouges those who can least afford it.

Hunger determines everything in jail.  Men are hungry.  Very hungry.

It’s easy to be a Jail House millionaire, it costs about $135 a week.  For that a huge bag of store arrives and those who do not have target those who do.  The younger, attractive boys lay down with the elderly.

I buy fish from the commissary, packets of sardines in hot chile sauce.  I buy fish because it is unlikely to be stolen.  To buy is to be judged.  A large bag of store is complimented, a small bag attracts derision.  I am quizzed by those I least expect about how much money I spent on any particular Monday. When the surly commissary man hands over my purchase I scurry back to my bunk.

Yet, to buy too much somehow ties one to the jail, makes one vulnerable.  Attracts the wrong sort of friends.  If the deputies decide to target the dorm and tear it up, they steal your store, confiscate your vending cards.

When I first arrived I bought the soup, the ramen noodles.  I hated the bloody ramen noodles.  They were only good for trading.

One can buy just about anything with a packet of ramen noodle in Men’s County Jail.  I saw a beautiful boy with clown tattoos on his face sell his ass to an HIV+ older man for a packet of noodles.   Boys like him are called commissary babies.  They didn’t wear condoms, fucking raw costs more, even though condoms are distributed in the dorm once a week.

On Monday nights, the night Keefe deliver the store, the men gorge themselves on Chocolate and soda.  Those who have nothing wander the dorm like Bombay beggars asking for shots of coffee, food, selling razors from the ‘indigent kits’ that are delivered to the poor on credit from the state of California.

After second count at around 9pm the lights are dimmed, never switched off entirely.   We stand in the half-light, men stand in small groups preparing their night-time spread as the tranny’s dance.  Noodles are softened in luke warm water, packets of chicken and chips are crushed and reconstituted.   Pickles are diced, spam chopped, cheese grated on home-made graters.

We sit eating the spread, enjoying the freedom.  “Quiet time!”  they call after midnight.  “Quiet time!”  Waiting for 3am count and bed time.  I pass out long before.

We sleep during the day, when we can, between classes and AA and church and hospital visits, phone calls to loved ones, attorney room passes and the ubiquitous pill call.

Pill call, four times a day the sweet Irish lady arrives with her cart…the men with HIV stand and wait, scoffing down their expensive HIV drugs.  It costs a great deal of money to keep a gay man in the jail.  $500 a day without transportation and medication.   Double with both.

It cost the Californian tax payer $45,000 to keep me in jail.

During my time in Dorm 5200 I read the entire works of Dickens (Steve Harris and I promised we would do that when we retired) and Voltaire, (I LOVE VOLTAIRE).  I read Dominick Dunne‘s fascinating collection of essays Fatal Charms and The Mansions of Limbo…heartened that he started writing seriously at 53 years old but became quickly bored by his snobbery and petty resentments.  I read what ever I could.  I read bad novels and good novels.  I read Lauren Bacall’s whining auto biography.  I hadn’t read so much in years.  I became a voracious reader, bereft when I finished anything, especially if I had nothing lined up to read next.

Now I need to write.

Now I am home and before I forget the precise flavour of the jail I need to write it all down.

I still wake at dawn although my face is no longer scarred by doing so.  I still have one foot in the jail. Thinking about those men.  My friends.

Tomorrow I will describe the arrest, the vain judiciary and the whippet DA.   All of who seem, in retrospect, like characters from a restoration comedy.

Malibu.  It is even more beautiful here than I remember.  Especially after the heavy rain. Verdant.

It is the second day since I left the Men’s County Jail.

Yesterday the maid washed my clothes and folded them on my bed.  Robby arrived and smiled a crooked, anxious smile.  It was wonderful seeing him.

Friends joined us for dinner.  14-year-old Max and came home from school wanted to know everything.  The girls hugged me for ages, especially Hannah who at 12 years old really understands what is fair and what is not.

I spoke for some time with my friends in Whitstable.   Dee called from Antibes.  She told me that she did what she could which was, as you know, more than I could have dreamt of.  I sat on the phone with him and explained how it felt…he was sweet, understanding, baffled.  I wanted to kiss him.  I didn’t tell him.  He knew.

Sadly, I received the first pass from a really good Producer for my new film It Gets Better.  Everyone else has responded very heartily to the material. Never mind.  I might not have mentioned before I was arrested I was sending out my new script.

Began talking to the right people about the play/spectacle I want to devise using my jail experience as a spring board from which we can leap into something unimagined.   My fancy choreographer friend just returned from Venice.  We’re meeting soon.

Today, I chatted with everyone who ever meant anything to me.

When I have a moment, I sit quietly and collect my thoughts, re-reading the diary I kept religiously whilst in Jail.

I don’t want to forget.  It was too extraordinary.

Shall I tell you some more?  Shall I tell you how I was moved from Dorm 5300 after the mad boy broke the TV with a chair to Dorm 5200, the so-called ‘Honor Dormitory‘.  The school dorm.

Every day we woke at 6am, scarfed our breakfast, filed out (shoulders pressed against the wall) past the grumpy deputies, attending class for most of the day.  I learned to type.  No more one finger typing for me.  Typing classes taught by the kind and wise Mrs E.

I lapped up the Anger Management taught by C and M.  Apparently anger like mine is shame based.  On Monday and Thursday an ex gang member inmate called Jesse taught us life and leadership skills.  On Wednesday a gay inmate called Jeremy taught Gay Equality but…not very well.

He was far too self obsessed to be a competent teacher.  However, the gays never had anyone take their story seriously so they loved his class.

He taught us the origin of the pink triangle..which I am sure you all know originated in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.

On August 3, 2011 Rudolf Brazda died at the age of 98, he was the last known homosexual deportation survivor.

My fellow travelers didn’t know about the pink triangle, they didn’t even know about the concentration camps.  They didn’t know much.

They knew I was English but they didn’t really know what that meant.  I told one of them that I was British, “Wow!”  He said, “You speak English really well for a British.”  They’d ask me about England then follow-up with a case specific question like: “Do people use meth in England?” or “Do people like transgender in England?” or “Do English people have tattoos?”

I found a huge atlas and showed them where I lived.  I showed them Whitstable, my fingers tracing over the English countryside toward Dorset.  My friend Ivan asked, glancing his hand over the entire country, “Is this all London?

“No.” I replied.  Incredulity scarcely concealing my contempt.

Left on my own with the atlas I traced the route we had taken from New York to Paris, Paris to Marseille, Marseille to Antibes.  We traveled vast distances in a very short time of knowing each other.  Foolhardy, impatient, surly.  What did we think we were doing?  I wonder if it was indeed a love affair?  I can’t remember.  Two desperate men clinging onto each other for dear life as their world crumbled around them.

I remember him as if he were a child.  Then I feel tremendous guilt.  As if I had kicked a defenseless dog.

I took the reigns from Jeremy the bad gay teacher.

I taught them what Neil Bartlett had taught me.  I taught them about Fanny and Stella the two trans boys arrested in Burlington Arcade in 1869.  I reminded them that had these boys not been arrested we might not have had any evidence that Fanny and Stella and men like them had ever existed.

I reminded them that being arrested assures future generations that we were here.  That we are part of an honorable gay history.  I told them about Private Flower who was arrested in a public lavatory in 1850 for lewd conduct.  If you want to know more about our gay history read this.  It is invaluable.

“At Marlborough Street Court, when the assistant gaoler Scott called out “Ernest Cole,” a person looking like a well-dressed woman stepped into the dock and gravely faced Mr. Denman, the presiding magistrate. No one would have imagined that the prisoner, who was attired in a black fur-trimmed winter mantle, large black feathered hat and veil, and carried a muff and neat hang-bag was a man. It was alleged that the prisoner was a suspected person loitering in Oxford-street presumably for the purpose of committing a felony. Detective Gittens, D Division, deposed that, while in company with Detective Dyer, he saw the prisoner in Oxford-street on Monday evening. The prisoner was behaving like a disorderly female. He went up to the prisoner, and told him that he believed him to be a man. The prisoner endeavoured to escape by jumping on to an omnibus.”

The Times, January 2, 1901

Not everyone approved of the classes or the notion of an honor dorm.  Some of the deputies loathed the idea that we were being cossetted so.  The officers, the deputies.  Rookie cops, their young fearful faces.  On their own, on the way to the attorney room they would engage in conversation.  Their faces momentarily discarding that look of disdain.

My favorite was the fascinatingly sexy Deputy Beeman.  Short black hair, piercing blue eyes, a body to die for but most delightful of all…his sexy swagger, his perfect ass…his figure hugging uniform holding him snugly, perfectly…fueling ghastly fantasies…late at night I would imagine him forcing me to do unspeakable things.

As I have said…for people like me…it was hard not to eroticize his demands.

The school dorm is the idea of forward thinking Deputy Baca, the controversial head of the jail.  Baca believes that inmate education is the way forward.  He has thrown his weight behind the Share Tolerance scheme run by the kindly and considerate Deputy Vargas.  Share Tolerance is aimed mostly at breaking the cycle of recidivism and gang related violence in the General Population but we (the gays) took the class too.

We were taken to a warm carpeted room (the jail is freezing cold) decorated to stimulate and comfort.  We were asked to kick off our shoes, sit where we wanted then invited to watch a mawkish video about intolerance introduced by the awkward Deputy Baca.

The story may have been familiar to me but I learned fast that for most the ideas posited in the video were entirely original.  We watched gays and homophobes working together at the Museum of Tolerance, mothers sobbing at the deaths of their young sons to gang related violence.  Tentatively introducing these men to a new way of thinking.

It was a crudely made video and occasionally naive but the enthusiastic Vargas has a real heart and believes passionately in what he is doing.

There is an odd right-wing Christian bent in the jail.  I was told that John McCain was a hero to many of the men who worked there.  McCain and Jesus Christ.  I heard both McCain and Jesus quoted during the Share Tolerance class.

If Vargas and Baca wants to beat recidivism in the gay dorm they are going to have to work quite a bit harder.

For a start…relationships form in the gay dorm.  Fearfully loyal and tenaciously protected.  Gay boys, queens and tranny-lovers.  Remember, many of these people have nobody, they have burned all their bridges.  Most of them just have the streets, a card board box, mooching off customers at Sizzler.

I have so much in comparison.  I never forget how lucky I am.

I witnessed many instances when a star crossed lover would get deliberately arrested days after release simply to return to his still incarcerated husband.

Every day it seemed like an old friend would wash up in the dorm, looking beaten by the journey but happy to have arrived.  All the tranny hookers knew each other.  Clutching their mat and a few miserable papers.  A cheer erupting as they entered the dorm.  A swarm of cackling men carrying the new arrival, their old friend to her bunk and listen avidly to the ‘T’ (the gossip).

At around the time of the second trans murder on Santa Monica Blvd., (“She was shot in the weave!”) the trannie hookers sat together sharing their memories of her in hushed tones.  Murder or the threat of murder is an occupational hazard for these girls.  “He held a gun to my face and told me to blow him, then he took off without paying me.”  They agreed that back on the street, looking for clients, they would alter their routes, stay in the light, never stray far from the others.

Trannies are violent and fearless.

Months earlier a straight friend of mine, high on crack had his car stolen by a tranny hooker.  When he shared his sad story at the Wednesday morning SAA meeting the other men were outraged.  It seemed outrageous.  I was outraged…now it would make me laugh.  He deserved it.

Trannies are resourceful and creative.

At night, after lights out, someone would find a stick and a towel and beat the bathroom window like a drum.  The black trannies would parade between the bunks wearing amazing clothes they had fashioned from the four official items of clothing we were given.  They tore up everything they had and re-purposed it.  It was like being on Project Runway.  You wouldn’t believe just how many ways you can wear, remake, recycle one pair of short, Chartreuse boxers or a white tee.  The tee would be shredded and dyed pale blue with the wrapping from a toilet roll.

Sabrina cut up her plastic mat cover and made a warrior princess costume with shorts and bra.

Then the Portugese tailor arrived who made himself a needle.  He made a needle.  You heard me.  He made it out of a found paper clip.  He sat cross legged on his bunk and started sewing.  Suddenly the girls were all wearing beautifully hand stitched gowns cut out of blankets and trimmed with their pale blue uniforms.

Girls sure love to be girls, even if they are boys with their cocks tucked between their legs.

 Their mini skirts, their halter necks, their contraband bras proudly showing off their implants, their hormone induced, lactating titties.

At night after second count, in the half-light, singing tribal songs, parading, shimmying, twirling, cat walk, house of Ferragmo…the singer introducing each performer by his/her drag name…when the singer called out Shablam! the dancers would hit the floor and writhe around until it was over.

At night after second count we would eat together, ‘cook’ a ‘spread’.

I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow.

Duncan RoyBefore I tell you.  Before I make it public.  Before I describe the beauty and the beast…before I feed the children, before I take the dog for a walk I want to say thank you.

Firstly, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Robby who never missed a visiting day, who sat behind the bullet proof glass and smiled hopefully and never gave up.  He tirelessly searched through many, many boxes for essential documents.  He put money on  my ‘books’ so I could eat decent food.  He called friends, wrote emails, paid bills, drove between far-flung offices in different parts of Los Angeles in his windowless Miata delivering those essential documents to essential lawyers.

He answered my calls on a Friday night when most beautiful 21-year-old boys should be out chasing equally beautiful people, places and things.

He never gave up.  He never let go.  He told me he loved me when I felt unloved.  He proved, once and for all, that God exists.

I want to thank Dee and Nicola for their extraordinary generosity by paying my lawyers bills.  I want to thank Jason, Jennifer, Anna, Dan, Zelcho and Joan for picking up the phone, for listening, for laughing and caring.

I want to thank Mel for paying the mortgage.

The people on the outside, those good and honorable people complimented those I shared the majority of time inside the Men’s County Jail.  The men who convinced me that everything would work out.  The men who taught me how to play Cribbage, Spades and Feral (my brain REFUSED to learn Pinocle)  and made me join in when all I really want to do was sleep away the day.  Every day.

I want to thank my convicted friends Ivan and Steve, two men my age who sat with me daily (like the council of elders) laughing gently at the antics of the young.

1.

So it began…

The day I was arrested in early November 2011 heralded the beginning of the end of possibly the worst two years of my life.

The end of the mid-life crisis that had well exceeded its sell by date.  It was the end of the madness that had determined far too many bad choices.

A series of catastrophic decisions made after the The Big Dog was torn up in front of me: a relationship with a man who could not possibly give me what I needed and from whom I should have run as fast as I was able…as soon as he revealed the truth about himself. An appearance on a TV show that merely underpinned the rancid thoughts I had brewing about my self.

Finally the reason, that reason…the reason I cannot explain at this particular moment because the lawyers have told me to keep my big mouth shut and on this occasion I have agreed.

This morning at 3am, after a 6 hour wait,  I pulled on the musty clothes I had stowed in a clear plastic bag nearly three months before, from a different year.

For the first time in 3 months my  arms were covered.  My legs felt warm.  My feet enclosed in fur-lined Marc Jacobs boots rather than flopping around in Chinese, black cotton pumps.

The glass door behind which I had been escorted and left, changed out of my baby blue smock and elasticated pants.  On that door the deputy had written in clumsy, black letters K6G.

I was on my own.  On my own for the first time in 3 months.  I could take a shit on my own.  I didn’t.

I pulled on the black knitted Ralph Lauren cardigan.  It smelt as it looked.

Opposite me, a similar room crammed mostly with Mexican immigrants.  Pulling on their terrible street wear.  Their grinning, greasy, fat faces pressed up against the glass.  They knew what I was, they had seen me in the distinctive costume, they knew what K6G meant. I stared back at them.  I wasn’t afraid.

I had not expected to be released.  The narrative I had long accepted included: 4 more months in Men’s County Jail, a further 6 months at a Santa Ana Immigration center and a lengthy deportation.  I had long given up on ever seeing my home, my dog, my view…ever again.

This was the judgement of my expensive but woefully inadequate immigration attorney.  Imminent catastrophe.  God, as it turns out, had other plans.

Frustrated by their miserable prognosis I set about firing them and contacted the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project.  A Catholic organization run by two super smart, compassionate women and paid for by the Mexican Government.

I had my first meeting with them two weeks ago.  They made representation last Friday.  Today I was released from the immigration hold that had polaxed me these past three months.

Of course there were people who were very happy that I had been arrested.  Thrown into jail.  I was told that some were gleeful when I was arrested.  “He’s going down!”  they screamed.

I have no idea when this will end.  No release in sight.  No plea deal.  No, no, no.

Perhaps I will never see the Ocean from my mountain ever again?  The abrupt loss of life, like a suicide, coming here is like committing suicide.  I cannot imagine, dare not imagine returning to that glittering life.

The dream of some future is dashed.

2.

I was arrested on the PCH.  I can’t tell you why.  You’ll have to find out for yourself.  All in good time…more will be revealed.

All I can tell you is this:  I was arrested and charged, when I attempted to bail out I was told that due to an ‘immigration hold’ I was to be kept in custody.  Sent to jail.  I made frantic phone calls, I cried until my face was wet.

At that very moment the line would be drawn between those friends who were able to help and those who turned their back.

After being processed like a bad meat pie out of The Hidden Hills Police Station they drove us to the jail.  They took the scenic route.  They drove along the PCH, past Tom’s house, David’s mansion, The Malibu Inn where I had watched Pink perform a few nights after I met her.

They drove the same route I had driven many, many times since I had moved to Malibu in 2007.  I was in the back of the police bus looking at the hazy dawn, the rising sun over the ocean. The greasy waves flopping lazily over the sand.

They picked up other newly arrested men from an assortment of locations all over Los Angeles.

Those first few days away from home were unpleasant but, thankfully, I remained teachable.  I knew that the harder I struggled the deeper the hook.  I sat behind my eyes, doing as I was told.  Finally, after hours in the bus, we were processed into the jail.  A theatrical experience designed to frighted and malign.

“Look at the floor.” they screamed.  I looked briefly into the blue eyes of the startlingly handsome officer.  He growled, “Don’t look at me.” It was hard not to eroticize his demand.

Flipping from aggressor to victim.

We were given sandwiches and told to sit on metal benches.  Nothing you can do will hurt me.  You cannot hurt me.  

We were interviewed.  “Are you gay or suicidal?”  He asked.  I knew that I hadn’t lied about my gayness, not now or ever.  The moment I told him I was gay I was torn from the line, the general population.  My name called out.  “Roy 066!”  A huge black deputy cut off my wrist band, looking spitefully at me.  “Gay?” he spat.  I nodded.  He attached another band to my wrist.

A yellow wrist band, it said: K 6 G.

My life in jail would now be as different as my life on the streets.

Another few days of being ‘processed’.  Peered at, prodded, questioned.  Many men opted for the gay dorm, straight men, but few achieved their aim.

The straight men want to fuck the convincing trans boys.  The straight men didn’t want the ‘politics’.  The ‘politics’ in the California jail and prison system means living in the racially divided dorm.  If you are black you speak only with the blacks, if you are white or latino you do the same.  If you are caught fraternizing with a black, latino or white (or those who have chosen with whom they will run) you’ll get beaten, stabbed or worse.

Even if you know people on the streets…your best friend even…your affiliations mean nothing, could be deadly.  You keep to your own.

Sadly, this racial divide is perfectly mirrored on the ghetto streets of Los Angeles.  If you weren’t a racist before you went to jail or prison you’ll be one when you leave.   Lessons learned, not easily unlearned.  Tattoos on face and neck.  Tattooed collars, graphic letters…numbers on sculls and forearms.  Boys become men when they hold a gun, shoot a stranger, murder their enemies…BK=Black Killer.

I didn’t experienced the ‘straight’ dorm so I can’t tell you what it feels like to make others invisible because of the colour of the skin.  I can tell you however, that the majority of the white men I met in the gay dorm were despicable, homeless freaks.  Consequently, I hung with my new black buddies.  Most of whom, incidentally, had been co-opted into gangs as young children.

When I arrived they were suspicious, when I left the dorm yesterday evening they surrounded me and held me and cried.

When it was time to settle down and open my bunk to another man it wasn’t a white man I chose.

In the observation tank I met my first latino ‘green lighter’.  He was hiding.  In organized crime, gang and prison slang to green-light a person is to authorize his assassination.  Jose. We talked for hours.  I found him very desirable.  He told me that someone had once paid him 3o bucks for a blow job.

After a harrowing day or so in the vilest of cells waiting to be officially classified as gay they take me to a small office and a distinguished senior officer interviews me.  The officer tries to determine how gay I really am.  “Which gay bars do you go to?”  He looks at me suspiciously when I tell him that I don’t drink.  I tell him that I make gay films.  “Porn?” he chuckles.  Finally, I am determined as a convincing homosexual.  My dark blue ‘straight’ uniform removed, exchanged for a pale blue ‘gay’ uniform…I am sent to the relative safety of the gay dorm.  Dorm 5300.

Nowhere where there are deputies is anyone gay…safe.  I have abandoned my cloak of invisibility. They can see exactly what I am. The deputy whispers threateningly, “You gays have a sick life style.”  He can’t say it loudly.  They can’t beat us, not like they used to…not since the controversial undercover FBI sting that lead to the end of ritual beatings and institutionalized homophobia.

The night I arrived I watched the flat screen TV Robert Downey Junior had bought the gay dorms after his stint at The County Jail.  The inmates watch Law and Order.  CSI.  Anything by Tyler Perry.  By the time I left 5300 I had watched everything Tyler Perry had ever made.  He makes really bad films.

Dorm 5300 was like an insane and exotic freak show.

There are four gay dormitories, each holding 90 men.

80% pre-op transsexual, 90% HIV+, 50% homeless, 90% meth related crime, 80% parole violators.

The gay white boys had Supreme White Power written on their alabaster bodies.  They had badly drawn pictures of Norse Gods.  Claiming their white supremacist, Odinist heritage whilst fucking chocolate coloured trannies.

The tranny hookers, the homeless white boys, the squabbling couples who indulged nightly in domestic violence.

I watched in awe as a young man, caught by his fierce tranny wife fucking another ‘girl’, throw a chair through the flat screen TV bought by Robert Downey Junior.

I knew that I had to keep my mouth shut.  I had to learn quickly.  I listened.  I learned.

Statistically, there is more violence in the gay population (inmate against inmate) than in the rest of the 6000 plus general population.

3.

When they finally slept I walked between the serried bunks.

If I stroll between the bunks at dawn I remember what it is like to be at home in England.  I can smell the sea, the shingle on the beach crunching under foot, wrapped up warm against the bitter easterly winds, just me and The Little Dog.  We don’t need anyone else.  Did I tell you how much he loves the snow? Leaping carelessly into the great drifts.

One day I will see you again England.  I will walk gratefully in the rain, on the London streets and country lanes.  If I am able (if I can get back to you) they will drop us at the edge of the valley and we will walk to the house, past the stream where we would play, the pasture, the forest of rhododendrons, along the drive flanked by ancient Douglas Fir.

The door will open and they will be pleased to see me, hug me, feed me.  They will let me sleep until I am recovered.

More tomorrow.

On 29 May, Private Bradley Manning will have been held in USmilitary detention without trial for one year. A 23 year old openly gay man, he faces a battery of charges, including “aiding the enemy” – a crime punishable by execution under US law.Manning’s crime? It is alleged that he blew the whistle on war crimes and cover ups by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. If this is true, the man is a hero. He is a defender of democracy and human rights. His actions are based on the principle that citizens have a right to know what the government is doing in their name. Bradley should not be in prison. The charges against him should be dropped. Set him free. Instead, put on trial those who killed innocent civilians and those who protected the perpetrators.

Bradley Manning is a true patriot, not a traitor. He reveres the founding ideals of the US – an open, honest government accountable to the people, which pursues its policies by lawful means that respect human rights. At great personal risk, he sought to expose grave crimes that were perpetrated and then hidden by the US government and military. These are the characteristics of a man of conscience, motivated by altruism. Any misjudgements he made in the alleged release of certain documents are fair outweighed by the positive good overall. Thanks to Manning, we, the people, know the truth.

One aspect of Bradley Manning’s commitment to human rights is his active support for LGBT equality. He has participated in Gay Pride marches and campaigned against the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ restrictions on US gay military personnel. In 2008, he attended a rally in New York to oppose attempts to ban same-sex marriage in California.

For nearly a year, Manning was imprisoned in harsh, inhuman conditions at Quantico marine corps base in Virginia. He was subjected to long periods of solitary confinement and many extreme deprivations, which amounted to pre-conviction punishment. After worldwide protests, he was recently transferred to a standard medium security military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where his treatment has significantly improved.

Manning is being held on the as yet unproven allegation that he leaked classified US military and diplomatic documents that were subsequently released by Wikileaks. These documents exposed US war crimes, as well as US foreign policy dishonesty and duplicity.

A senior United Nations representative on torture, Juan Mendez, reprimanded the US government in April 2011 for not allowing him to meet Bradley Manning in private and in confidence. This is the kind of censure the UN normally reserves for authoritarian regimes: http://tiny.cc/nq3mq

Mendez, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said: “I am deeply disappointed and frustrated by the prevarication of the US government with regard to my attempts to visit Mr Manning.”

My friend US congressman Dennis Kucinich and a representative from Amnesty International were likewise refused permission to visit Manning.

Also in April, more than 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars signed a letter protesting against the mistreatment of Manning during the nine months he was detained in Quantico military brig, arguing that his “degrading and inhumane conditions” were illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture: http://tiny.cc/bs95c

The open letter by these scholars states:

“For nine months, Manning has been confined to his cell for twenty-three hours a day. During his one remaining hour, he can walk in circles in another room, with no other prisoners present. He is not allowed to doze off or relax during the day, but must answer the question “Are you OK?” verbally and in the affirmative every five minutes. At night, he is awakened to be asked again “Are you OK?” every time he turns his back to the cell door or covers his head with a blanket so that the guards cannot see his face. During the past week he was forced to sleep naked and stand naked for inspection in front of his cell, and for the indefinite future must remove his clothes and wear a “smock” under claims of risk to himself that he disputes.”

The letter goes on to question the US government’s motives for detaining Manning:

“The administration has provided no evidence that Manning’s treatment reflects a concern for his own safety or that of other inmates. Unless and until it does so, there is only one reasonable inference: this pattern of degrading treatment aims either to deter future whistleblowers, or to force Manning to implicate Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in a conspiracy, or both.”

The list of scholars who signed the letter included Barack Obama’s own constitutional law professor, Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America’s foremost liberal authority on constitutional law.  He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.

You can read this Guardian report about the mistreatment Manning suffered at Quantico: http://tiny.cc/junb2

In summary, the Guardian report states that was being kept in solitary confinement 23 hours a day, in a windowless room 12′ x 6′, and shackled hand and foot when he was transferred to a room where was allowed only to walk around in a circle. He was fed a daily diet of antidepressant pills which disoriented him, forced to stand naked, forbidden to exercise in his cell, and woken if he attempted to sleep in the daytime. Manning was continually subject to what is called “maximum custody”, and also to a so-called “prevention of injury” order, which among other things, deprived him of his clothes at night and also of normal sheets and bedding in favour of a blanket he describes as being like the lead apron used when operating x-ray machines. He was allowed no personal possessions.

This abuse of Manning constitutes illegal “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment”, contrary to the UN Convention Against Torture and the 8th Amendment to the US constitution. It has been condemned by many civil liberties and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International: http://tiny.cc/7sr4w

The International Criminal Court should commence legal proceedings against the head of the US government and military commander-in-chief, President Obama.  He bears direct personal and legal responsibility for the mistreatment of Manning. He knew about it, publicly endorsed it and did nothing to stop it.

The transfer of Manning from Quantico to Fort Leavenworth – and the subsequent significant improvement in the conditions under which he is being detained – occurred just days after the legal scholar’s letter was publicised, and appeared designed to preempt plans by Manning’s lawyers to mount a legal challenge to the harsh conditions of his detention at Quantico. It also followed an online petition by avaaz.org which gathered half a million signatures in one week in early April.

Private Manning, a US military intelligence analyst, was arrested in Iraq following the release by Wikileaks of video footage of a US Apache helicopter attack that gunned down 11 Iraqi civilians in 2007, including two Reuters journalists and men who had gone to the aid of the wounded. Two children were also gravely injured when the US helicopter opened fire on their van. The video records US soldiers laughing and joking at the killings, and also insulting the victims.

The video of the massacre can be seen at: www.collateralmurder.com

This slaughter had previously been the subject of a cover-up by the US armed forces, which claimed dishonestly that the helicopter had been engaged in combat operations against armed enemy forces.

It is only (allegedly) thanks to Bradley Manning that we now know the truth about this slaughter of innocent civilians – and about the killings of hundreds of other civilians in unreported and undocumented incidents.

Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, which exposed US lies and criminality in Vietnam, has hailed Manning as a hero.

Manning is a humanist and a man with a conscience. When he discovered human rights violations by the US armed forces and duplicity by the US government, he was shocked and distressed. He became disillusioned with his country’s foreign and military policy; believing it was betraying the US ideals of democracy and human rights.

The abuse that first triggered Manning’s disillusionment was when he was posted to Iraq in October 2009 as an intelligence analyst. He was shocked to discover US military collusion with the repression of dissent in Iraq; in particular “watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police….for printing ‘anti-Iraqi’ literature.” The offending literature exposed corruption in the US-backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. When he complained that US forces should not be assisting with the suppression of free speech and peaceful protest, he was told to shut up and that the US armed forces in Iraq should be doing more to silence opponents of the Maliki regime.

Manning is a US citizen but also a British citizen via his Welsh mother. Since he has been in detention, he has received no British consular support. Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg have failed to help him. They have never spoken publicly against his maltreatment or, as far as we know, made any private appeals to the US government and military to halt the abuse that Manning suffered at Quantico. So much for the coalition’s professed commitment to human rights and civil liberties.

Manning’s mother requested assistance from UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to ensure a British consular visit to her son. This request has been ignored: http://tiny.cc/4e732

TAKE ACTION – What you can do:

1.    Write to Bradley Manning. Send him your support: PFC Bradley Manning 89289. Fort Leavenworth Military Detention Centre, 830 Sabalu Road, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, KS 66027, USA. 

2.    Sign the petition in support of Bradley Manning: www.bradleymanning.org 

3.    Ask your MP and MEPs to urge the British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to ensure a British consular visit to Bradley Manning, and to press the US government to drop all charges and release him. You can email your MP and MEPs direct via this website: www.writetothem.com 

4.    Phone or write to the US Embassy in London – 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 1AE – 0207 499 9000

5.    Write to President Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC20500, USA

6.    Please tweet this message: 

If Bradley Manning blew the whistle on US war crimes, he’s a hero. Free him. Sign the petition: www.bradleymanning.org  #bradleymanning

 

Prison Calendar 1983

This is the calendar that I kept in my cell.  I marked off the days one by one.

The month before I was released from my ten month stay in prison in 1983 was perhaps, like many prisoners,  the most difficult of any time I spent there.  I had what is commonly known in British prison parlance: Gate Fever.

The terror at the prospect of release.

Since my arrest the preceding February I had  spent time in both Brixton prison, at that time a holding pen for the unconvicted or remanded prisoner, then once convicted I was transferred to Wormwood Scrubbs Prison in West London.  I was offered the chance of going to an open prison which would have been very comfortable indeed but I had fallen in love with Tommy, the prisoner with whom I shared a cell.

Our relationship lasted the duration of my sentence.  I was released before him and upon his release he returned to his wife and children.

Foolish love, it seems, has always caused me unnecessary repercussions.

Why in hells name was I in prison?  Well, I hadn’t murdered/raped/robbed anyone.

I was convicted at Knightsbridge Crown for Criminal Deception a charge relating to my not paying a credit card bill..my own credit card.    Not, as commentators would have it, someone elses.

At the time it never really occurred to me that I was being unfairly treated.  I had not paid the credit card bill and had avoided doing so.  In retrospect the sentence of fifteen months in prison seems like a gross over reaction by the court to what was surely a nothing sort of crime.

Stephen Fry At 17, absconded with a credit card stolen from a family friend and as a result spent three months in Pucklechurch Prison.

Fry stole someone else’s credit card and got 3 months at exactly the same time I was handed a 15 month sentenced for over using my own.

I was 22 years old when I was sent to prison for this non-violent victimless crime.  A crime like mine in 2010 would not even be a crime in modern Britain.   It was nothing short of class warfare that sent me to prison in the first place.

Posh versus Common.

Let’s face facts, I was sent to prison for my unusual back-story.   A back-story that should never have been mentioned in court because I was pleading guilty.  A back story that included royalty, the ruling class and a working-class upstart like me.

The Lords and Ladies who had become my friends during the time I pretended to be a Lord were indignant but I don’t think any one of them would have wanted me to be sent down.  The class outrage that caused such a harsh sentence was, of course, motivated by the aspiring middle class.

Judge Babington was a bourgeoise, one-armed circuit judge who died in 2004.  His family was described embarrassingly  as ‘well-to-do’  and in so being was in awe of the aristocracy, in awe of a title and outraged that I had simply acquired mine by lying about it.

Stephen Fry took me to the Garrick Club years later and there he was, Anthony Babington sitting in an over stuffed chair reading a broad sheet.  I looked at his withered arm and chuckled.

Stephen once said to me, “They don’t want to forget that you have been in prison Duncan.  It’s very unfair.”

Prison has defined my life.  I am that guy who went to Prison.  Jay Jopling would tell people, “Duncan has an amazing story.”  In this way I became a very British performance art piece.   A social freak.

When I am scolded for treating 30 year olds who make mistakes like grown ups I often remember that I was forced in a very public way at a very young age to accept my wrongs and grow up.

Even though, when I was released,  I did not crawl away and die like Patrick Kinmonth suggested.  Prison left an indelible mark on my psyche as well as my public and private standing.

Sure, had I not been sent to prison I would never have made as much money as I consequently made from AKA or telling that story over and over for TV, Radio and the like.

I would never have developed a taste for working class heterosexual men and I might have kept on the straight and narrow.  Prisons in the UK are often described by those of us who have experienced both as reminiscent of British boarding schools.  Consequently I rather enjoyed the routine, the monotony, the sex.

Once you have been imprisoned unfairly..YES IT WAS UNFAIR!..one has a very low regard for society and the rules of society.  Part of my fearlessness comes from knowing that if sent back to prison I would know what to do immediately.  How to behave.  Whom to defer.  Who to fuck.

I would not miss the endless choices of the modern world.  I would not miss a full wardrobe, a well written menu, compulsive internet use?  No.  It would be a relief.

I would miss my dogs.

If I could only get back there without breaking the law.

I have no shame about going to prison because I should not have been there in the first place.  It was like visiting a foreign country.  That’s what it felt like when I was 22 years old..like visiting a foreign country and I, a mere anthropologist, sent to eat their food and study their culture.   My crime and the associated press amused my fellow inmates and warders (screws) alike.   Nobody took my Criminal Deception very seriously.

Some of the men that I shared cells with whilst on remand in Brixton (the red headed rapist) are still in prison.  They never left.

There was one slight man who murdered a little girl.  Tiny little thing he was.  Never wanted to leave prison.  Never applied for parole.  Wanted his own death so badly.  Already dead inside.  Sad.  Those who killed loved ones, family members were the saddest of all.  Wishing that they were dead.  These men were not abstract villains, their names writ large on the covers of tawdry newspapers, they stood beside me in line waiting for cabbage and sausages.   It amazes me now how forgiving and accepting I could be with them…however ghastly their crime.

Funny, isn’t it, that I could accept and forgive the most terrible people capable of the most terrible crimes but I could not forgive you my dear JB.

So, today I am free?

I am free?  I am free to choose?  I am free to say what I want when I want to?  I am free to love a man?  I am free?

These freedoms do not make me free.

We are in Marseilles.   Bad hotel in the port but very welcome after our long journey from Calais.

Our trip?  A spontaneous event.  Bought a ticket and jumped on a train.  The train was packed and we were moved around a lot.  The dog was in good spirits. The coffee was delicious.  In Lille I ran to Monoprix and bought ham and cheese forgetting that Jake doesn’t eat cheese.

We sat next to very good looking man and his gf who I befriended.

The last part of my stay in London was irritatingly dramatic.  A largely drama free vacation morphed into the worst kind of melodrama.

Firstly, the iPod turned up.   Whether it was in fact stolen or not is another matter.  It was not my iPod.    Yes, you heard me.  It wasn’t even my iPod.  Yet, I felt incredibly responsible.  It was Jake’s iPod – and critically, if not found, would jeopardize my relationship with whomever the fucking iPod belonged to…Jake.   Pride before a fall.   My pride before my fall.

I have only myself to blame.

A little more information about the incident:

The cast of characters I mentioned yesterday included a tall spotty boy who was recently expelled from school for stealing a girl’s virginity in the school toilets.  Ruby, a small, fat girl with bright red hair with a nasty mouth and attitude – until she wants something of course, like a fag then she sweetens up pretty damned fast.  The ugly gay friend and his pretty Greek ‘best friend’ were perhaps the worst of the lot.

Paul, Phil’s long-term man friend explained to us how rude and impossible he found them all.   He told me that Ruby was a thief.  Actually he really fanned the flames once the iPod went missing.   It seemed like there was no other reasonable explanation.

Sure I over reacted but nobody tried to help.   Yet, it was none of my damned business.  The moment it went missing I offered to pay for it as if I were somehow responsible.  Why?

I had no reason to feel responsible for somebody else’s stuff.  Especially as they were drunk and had lost the damned thing.  I was sober and didn’t lose anything.    When I left my sunglasses in Whitstable I didn’t expect anyone to pay for them yet for some extraordinary reason the moment someone else loses something I feel as if it were my fault.

As I was sitting in the cell I had a series of catastrophic thoughts.  The dog was dead, my friend was dead, my stuff had been ransacked.  I sat on the edge of the bed blaming myself for introducing someone essentially blameless into a den of thieves.

As it turned out the kids had not stolen the fucking iPod and it was LOST.   I was angry with myself that I had brought a sweet, kind, good person into a den of thieves but as it turned out I brought a forgetful person and my temper into a largely innocent adolescent smoking den.

As much as I loathed them for their promiscuity, their smoking and rudeness I had no reason to jump to conclusions.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

There is an Indian woman taking very loud telephone calls on her very large phone with a very loud alarm that goes off with appalling regularity.   I think every train should have a mobile/cell free zone where other travelers can escape.

Delightful dinner with Charlie Parsons at Dean Street Town House.  Just me Jake, Charlie and delicious food.  Calves liver.  Bumped into at least twenty old friends on the streets of Soho including Tania who was in Clancy’s Kitchen.  Ended up at Soho House with Richard and his friend.

Today we are going to rent a car and aim toward Monte Carlo.  The streets at night around the port are transformed this morning.  I am wearing a brightly patterned Etro shirt and my black sandals.   I am tired but eager to get on the road.

1983, the year I met Sebastian

Is it possible to believe in God and still take drugs and drink?  Is it possible to believe in God and sleep with hookers?  Is any of this possible?  Obviously it is.

Sebastian will be buried on Thursday, July 1st 2010.   There’ll be a horse-drawn cortege from Meard Street to St James’s Piccadilly where the service will be held.   Stephen Fry will be speaking,  as are others.  Stephen very kindly offered to say a few words on my behalf.

Rachel Campbell-Johnstone wrote to me yesterday inviting me to the funeral, she said,  “We are mountaineers roped together heading for the summit of beauty.”   She warned us that the funeral will be filmed.

Remember, I was 23 when I met Sebastian.  That was 27 years ago.  He was still a teenager working for Jimmy Boyle in Edinburgh.   Our show, Pornography, a spectacle, invited by the Richard Demarco Gallery would play in Jimmy’s cold performance space where Sebastian and I met for the first time.

I would later work for the Demarco Gallery and meet Joseph Beuys, the greatest conceptual artist of our age.   There was a fascinating dialogue between Beuys and Boyle..then styled one of the most dangerous men in the United Kingdom.

The dialogue was initiated by Richard Demarco whilst Jimmy Boyle was serving a sentence of life imprisonment in Barlinnie Prison for murder.  Beuys went on hunger strike because of Jimmy Boyle’s removal from the Special Unit, Barlinnie to Edinburgh’s Saughton Prison where he was no longer able to continue making art.

Sebastian claimed in his book Dandy in the Underworld that he was sleeping with Jimmy and I have no reason to doubt him.  I would have too if I had had my chance.  There was something wildly attractive to me about ex cons and hard men and dangerous criminals.  Remember I had been in prison the year before I met Sebastian and developed a nasty habit for sex with brutal straight men.

If anybody was going to fuck me he was going to be a man who deserved me.    He was going to be a man who knew what he wanted and how to take it.

My cell mate Tommy Cowling, married with two children from Hoxton, East London was the most beautiful man who ever lived.  When the lights went out in our cell he said, “I’m asleep now, you can do what you want to me.”  For nine long months we did exactly that, everything we wanted when the lights were out.   He could make me cum by just rubbing his stubble over my soft face.

Perhaps this is another reason why I spurned the soppy men that I met in gay bars and gay clubs?  Perhaps this is why I would rather have my head buried in a squaddies (soldiers) groin, the smell of wet pussy on his cock than a nice boy from The Abbey.  Prison spoiled more than my reputation.   It proved, if any proof were needed, that straight men with furious urges, hard and hairy bodies and urgent desires were far more interesting than living in the half-light of shameful, gay London, Paris or New York.

This is all a matter of taste of course.  My desires cannot be compared to yours.

Yesterday something a little untoward happened.  At Anna’s birthday party she rolled me a fag and it had a few crumbs of weed in it.   I was as high as a kite for a good few hours.  Everything was totally wonderful.  I had that gorgeous feeling of euphoria and masterful abandon.  I hadn’t felt that feeling for nigh on 14 years.  I demanded to speak to Jake because I wanted to know how the experience of me being high would affect what I thought of him.

He was complaining that it was late and he wanted to go to sleep…he was blithering on about how people might think he was some sort of man whore if I compared his experience of being gay with men who died of AIDS in the 1980′s.   Obviously, I didn’t mean that.  I was trying to be nice.

Fuck it!  Go and be a man whore.  All of you!   Go and be whores.  It doesn’t matter to me.  I was sucking squaddie cock and getting fucked in the back of cars by East End builders.  LUSH.  I didn’t wait around to have a gay life.  I emerged from the womb searching for the most perfect penis to suckle on.

Anyway, as I did not deliberately get high I am not going to reset my sobriety time.  I still believe in God but I’m not going to be so fucking pious.

I will miss you Sebastian Horsley.

Whitstable, that’s where we grew up.  The High Street, a shingle beach, abandoned oyster beds, abandoned boat yards.

I always knew that I wanted to make something.  I never knew quite what.

Writing, knitting, print-making, drawing, theatre, acting, fashion.

Good… but never good enough.

Wanting to be included but unwilling to participate.  Confident to be part of what was going on but seldom sure.

Always there, never present.

Had I been allowed, as planned, to go to St Martin’s College of Art to study fashion I would have become a fashion designer.

I still have note books crammed with crude fashion drawings and swatches of hideous fabric made when I was 8 years old.

Each ‘season’ I would design a new collection and between ‘collections’ I would write and illustrate articles about the history of fashion.

An avid fashion commentator who had unwelcome, precocious, prepubescent opinions about everything.

My damning critique of Princess Anne’s ‘boring’ ivory duchess satin wedding dress in 1973 irritated my short tempered, royalist Grandmother.  “Look at those ghastly sleeves…”

I was an industrious child.  At boarding school I excelled.

When I wasn’t busily designing imaginary runway collections I worked hard remaking my life, a life I could control.

A life reimagined included: a 30 page illustrated story about a happy family of mice.

As a pretentious teenager at boarding school I spent months writing rambling plays about unrequited love with other boys.

I saw my first proper play on a high school outing to Stoke on Trent.  Bertolt Brecht‘s, The Caucasian Chalk Circle with Bob Hoskins.  1975.

I was hooked.

Theatre!  I must make theatre.

The lights, the tension, the smell of the theatre.  The warmth and silence of the audience, laughter erupting around me, muffled crying from the red velvet stalls.

Oddly, I had absolutely no great passion for film or television.  Of course, I had seen many films but it wasn’t a world that piqued my interest.

I had a fondness for black and white Hollywood films from the 1940′s (particularly musicals) that I would either watch on the television on my own or walk up Whitstable High Street to the cavernous Oxford Cinema.

I was inspired.  Stealing an idea for my ‘new collection’, a sleeve or muff.

I watched the credits roll:  costume designer Edith Head…Funny Face.  Adrian, who designed the costumes for The Wizard of Oz.

I’m 12, I discover Marilyn Monroe without ever knowing she is a gay icon.  The following year I insist that my parents buy me Norman Mailer’s illustrated biography for Christmas.

Theatre and fashion people referenced film but nobody I knew would ever have thought about making one.

The years after I left Shotton Hall School in 1976, before I went to prison in 1983 were culturally the richest of my life.

I scraped into Medway College of Art and Design with one ‘O’ level and met and befriended the extraordinary Billy Childish.  I learned how to etch and screen print and draw.

Punk was determining fashion, graphics and music but scarcely impacted the institutionalised, established, sewn up world of British contemporary art.

Britain would have to wait until 1989 until Michael Clark, Tilda Swinton and Leigh Bowery performed in the Anthony d’Offay Gallery.

Whilst at Medway,  I saw a very ordinary man wearing a badly cut suit commuting from London holding a copy of The Sex Pistol‘s single God Save The Queen and nearly fainted in fear.

I was wearing a pair of my mothers bottle green woolen tights.  I wonder what he must have thought about me?  He alighted at Rainham.

Devastatingly I was not allowed to study fashion at St Martin’s College as my garrulous stepfather refused to let me.

I had to get a job.

The job I was offered, selling clothes at Yves Saint Laurent on Bond Street, London became the beginning of what would turn out to be a great, although misguided, adventure.  An adventure that would shape the rest of my life.

I met Lady Clare Rendlesham and within a few months I was in Paris pretending to be her son.

Clare Rendlesham and others

Apart from changing my identity in Paris I threw myself into the very accommodating worlds of fashion, performance art and theatre.

The land of sublime artifice.

During the pret a porter I would run with my friends through the streets of Paris from show to show.  Although my time in Paris seems less, in retrospect, about theatre and more about fashion and art, I was introduced to Robert Wilson and members of his company, traveled to Holland to see Lucinda Childs in Dance with music by Phillip Glass and travelled more to see beautiful work by Pina Bausch.

Pina Bausch died this year.

I was one of the first people in Paris to wear a Walkman.  I think I may still own that original item.

Some rich friend of a rich friend left it at my place and never asked for it back.  Suddenly I had my very own soundtrack.  My life scored by Super Tramp.  The optimistic opening bars of  Take The Long Way Home soaring over the controversial rebuilding of Les Halles that seems only recently to have settled into its surroundings.  Music altered my perception of where I was and how I experienced it.  Paris was never so beautiful.

Duncan 19

It was during this time in 1978 that, as a willowy teenager, I chanced upon Fred Hughes at John Jermyn’s Rue de Bellechasse home.  That beautifully, wonderfully decorated house..rococo monkeys and Fortuny silk.

Fred had been, the year I met him, diagnosed with MS and had become nihilistic and surly.

When Fred got sick, he had to go to the American Hospital, and I decorated his room. I went to visit him, and brought pictures he liked, from his house and flowers, and decorated his room…”  Julian Schnabel

Perhaps because of MS Fred, so reviled, cut a sad and lonely path through his own life ending up incapacitated, angry and alone.  At the end, surrounded in his Lexington Avenue home by the most beautiful things, nothing could placate him.

When I met Fred he had slicked back black hair and tailored suits, he lived in an apartment on the Rue du Cherche-Midi and was, to a provincial teenager, incredibly glamorous..a true dandy.

“It was I who found Fred Hughes his Paris apartment on the Rue du Cherche-Midi, where Warhol would stay.”  Pierre Berger

He probably only liked me because I told him I was Lord Rendlesham but later, when he knew the truth, he would laugh and mock the moment we met and feign outrage.

Fred took me to New York, bought me Vetiver and appropriate underwear, gave me drugs at Studio 54, lent me shirts that belonged to Farouk, the last King of Egypt, wrapped me up in linen sheets and laughed at my jokes.

Fred introduced me to Yves St-Laurent and his muse LouLou de la Falaise, Baron Eric De Rothschild, flame haired owner of Egoiste magazine Nicole Wisniak.  I sat entranced by these people.  Wearing clothes Fred had bought for me, a name that was not mine…casting off a past I had no need for.

Perhaps we understood each other because we had both abandoned our past for a far more thrilling present.

Latterly, he was described as ‘a consummate liar, social climber, and a bespoke SOB who grew to total ghoulishness because of his connection to Andy Warhol.’

Who cares?  Isn’t everyone a social climber of some kind and why the hell not?  It is galling to have Fred’s memory so maligned.  From what I saw and heard he managed or rather..baby sat Andy Warhol, pulling him out of relative poverty, protecting him from unworthies.

Unless that was a lie?  I really don’t have a clue.  As a teenager I thought he was just swell.

It is so sad to him like this, stricken with MS:

This photograph is amusing.  Tim Hunt, Princess Anne of Bavaria, Me and Alexis de Toqueville at Anne’s apartment in Paris.

Samia Saouma’s Gallery (another social hub as galleries tend to be) I was introduced to the work of  The Baron de Meyer, Man Ray and Joseph Kosuth.  I followed the crowd and applauded the sparse and mannered work of Robert Wilson.  We saw I Was Sitting on My Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating and Death Destruction and Detroit.

In Paris I learned about artists and their power and prestige.  Most of these men and women, invited to Europe during the late 70′s early 80′s, were American.  Flooding the world with new ideas; polemical and challenging.

What happened to the arts?   Even though British theatre seems to have maintained it’s edge, British art has become increasingly bland and decorative.  Says nothing of the war or the bloody peace.

Paris was just how Paris is meant to be: an education for a young man.

Before we leave Paris there was one sublime moment.  It was a moment.  We all need them.  Romantic.  I had been invited to the house of some elderly Duke.  On an orange velvet wall hung a huge sunset by Turner.  Surrounded by furniture, a light supper served in front of it.  This is how art should be enjoyed.  Domestically.

Turner

Returning to England I was given the telephone number of Erica Bolton by The Princess Anne of Bavaria.   I met Erica at The Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, West London, where she worked as a publicist.   My great love affair with the theatre began in earnest.

David Gothard Riverside Studios

Erica Bolton, in turn, introduced me to a community of successful writers and directors.  Men and women who inspired me to make my own theatre, my own films, my own art.

I listened and learned.

Erica sneaks me into the theatre to see Kantor’s sold out show Wielopole, Wielopole. I sit in the Gods looking down at syphilitic soldiers marching, wax figures strapped to the living, a monochrome set with Kantor in the middle of it all tweaking his memories and watching sadly as the dead come back to life.

It was triumphant, breathtaking theatre and in sharp contrast to the very British, academic work of Peter Gill (Cherry Orchard) who I met that year (1978) and his then assistant David Levaux the now hugely respected Broadway director.

There were so many exciting people to hang out with at The Riverside like the precocious Hanif Kureishi fresh from his triumphant stint at The Royal Court.

Pioneering David Gothard, the artistic director, the genius at the very heart of the Riverside Studios.   Responsible for bringing Tadeusz Kantor, Miro, Shuji Tereyama and many others not only to Hammersmith but to the UK.

Night after night we sat in the canteen drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.  I loved every moment.

In 1979 I made my way to Paris to see Peter Brook’s Bouffes du Nord.  The unplastered walls and magnificent arches quite unlike any other performance space.  To Paris by boat and train to see Brook’s Conference of the Birds.    I can’t remember where I stayed that night.  I was in heaven.  I remember the Persian rugs on the floor, the chirping of the cast as they imitated different birds..a chorus..the dawn chorus.

I wanted to make theatre so badly.    When I finally got around to it I made just one good work The Host.  The other works (as it turned out) a preamble for my later film making and really not that good.

In 1981 I moved into a small flat in Furlong Road, Islington.  The home of director Michael Darlow.  The flat came with a job:  nanny to their wayward 13-year-old adopted son.

Wandering the streets I discovered the derelict Almeida Theatre where I would end up having my 22nd Birthday thrown by designer Scott Crolla.  Furniture Designer Tom Dixon was our doorman.  William Burroughs came.

‘Come Dressed at Duncan Roy’ the invitation demanded.

Here are Kadir Guirey and Tom Dixon in their band Funkapolitan…

The Almeida Theatre, bought and renovated (Bouffe de Nord style) by Lebanese born Pierre Audi.   I managed, by chance, to witness the birth of an institution.   Even when derelict, Pierre still used the space as a theatre.  Amongst many, early notable Almeida productions I saw A Dybbuk For Two People with Bruce Myers and in 1982, at Saint James’s Church, Chillingworth Road at the Almeida International Festival of Contemporary Music, John Cage at 70.  Stunning.

Early 1983 I was arrested and imprisoned for running up a huge bill on my credit card.   I spent the next ten months starved of  theatre and art but found another altogether unexpected beauty.

I was 23.  Prison, as I have said before, was beautiful.

People like Erica bid their adieu and I would never really see them again.

1983, months after I left Wormwood Scrubbs Prison I answered an advertisement in Time Out Magazine. Neil Bartlett was looking for performers to open his show PORNOGRAPHY, a Spectacle at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

It was a gruelling process, one that I found hard to get to grips with.

Acting, as you may know, requires the performer to be real and by this time in my life I really had no idea how to do that at all.

As with my appearance in the ‘A’ list thirty years later, people mocked my decision to be in a gay play about sex and sexuality.   Life is for the experience..isn’t it?  For one grand adventure after another.

Theatre

Pornography: A Spectacle. 1983/84 Actor

  • Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 6 city UK tour, Poor Alex Theatre, Toronto, Canada
  • Devised with Ivan Cartwright, Neil Bartlett and Robin Whitmore

Robin, Ivan and Duncan in ‘Pornography, a Spectacle’

“Pornography is quite wonderful, outrageous, intentionally shocking — but with real human beings stepping through the sensationalism at regular intervals to speak between the screams of cliché in normal conversational tones about who they are and how they really feel. The recurrent theme is one of intense pornographic description, which the actors suddenly stop, pause, and say, “of course that was merely a quotation,” or “but it really wasn’t like that.” Sky Gilbert

The Critic by Sheridan: 1984 Actor – Mr. Puff

  • Edinburgh Festival

The Host: 1987 Writer/Director

  • Institute of Contemporary Art London and National Review of Live Art Glasgow with Georgia Byng and Tatiana Strauss
  • October Gallery

Bad Baby: 1989 Writer/Director

  • The Penny Theatre, Canterbury, Kent, Hen and Chickens Theatre, Islington North London
  • Using a cast of local Kent performers this play examined issues of child abuse using Beatrix Campbell’s Unofficial Secrets as the basis of the text.

Marrianne Fearnside in Bad Baby

The Baron in the Trees: 1990 Writer/Director

  • Adapted from the Italo Calvino novel of the same name for The Penny Theatre, Canterbury, Kent

Copper’s Bottom: 1991 Writer/Director

  • Sadler’s Wells Theatre, starring Aiden Shaw

Call me Susan: 1993 Co-writer

  • Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh; Edinburgh Festival Fringe;
  • Call Me Susan explored issues surrounding prostitution across Europe. A dramatised discussion between two prostitutes interspersed with real-life recorded testimonies and pictures of prostitutes working in six European cities.
duncan roy as anthony rendlesham

This week, we met Thomas Salme and Adam Wheeler, the former fined for lying about holding a commercial passenger pilot’s licence and the latter for reinventing his academic career.

When I read about men like this, I remember the time I was, in the words of the News of the World, “The Lord of The Lies”.  I was the “Credit Card Earl” who apparently funded his “jet-set lifestyle” by spending money on his credit card with no intention of paying the bill.

For this petty crime I was sent to prison for 10 months.  I was 23.  Made an example of just in case there was some other working class lad who thought he could con his way into the aristocracy.

Wheeler, also 23, was “showered with scholarships” and will be harshly punished; Salme has escaped with a smallish European fine.  Yet, even as they wish to punish them, the public’s attitude toward accomplished liars will be tempered by some envy.

Yes, of course, it’s scary that a man with no formal training can fly commercial passenger jets but, really, who gives a damn if Wheeler reinvented his CV so that he might enjoy the delights of a great university?  Wouldn’t we all, at some level, like to reinvent ourselves?   Public condemnation conceals a private longing for becoming who we always wanted to be.

Come on! Let’s face it, we all tell lies. Some of us just do it rather grandly.

I was 18 when I changed my name. The press loved to describe me as coming “from humble beginnings”.  I would describe my childhood differently: born into a complicated family shamed by illegitimacy.   I realised that there was a better life, a simpler life to be had by telling a lie.  Lying from the earliest age because I simply had no idea what the truth was. My family was riven with lies. My father was in fact my stepfather and the entire family colluded to keep a secret from me, a small boy, by telling lies.

I ran away to Paris, away from the tears and the drama, the secrets and lies. I took the truth by the scruff of the neck and chucked it on to the Rue St Anne. I not only changed my name to Anthony Rendlesham but also appended a delicious title.

Lord Anthony Rendlesham.

Oh, just remembering it now, that moment in Paris after nearly 30 years of not lying about my name causes the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end. It was so bloody exciting!

When I first lied about my name I expected the lie to vanish after a few hours. In fact, I would tell the same lie for nearly three years. Every time I said my name I buried my sad and ghastly past under the psychic woodpile.

Both the fake pilot and the fraudulent Ivy Leaguer must have known that they would one day get caught. Yet, from my experience that risk fades into the back of one’s mind as the lie grows exponentially. The lie becomes one’s life; the past becomes hard to recognise as one’s own. I often wondered when the ghost of Duncan Roy would come claim me.

For some, pretending is cathartic – a rubbing out of the past one seems to have no control over. I can spot a liar at 50 paces and can tell the truth about others like no one else I know, but the truth about myself was far too excruciating.

Telling the truth is made harder because we live, in the words of Michael Moore, in “lying times”. Honesty has very little currency in modern life – especially in the US where everyone feels that to tinker with the truth is essential if one is going to get on – from the monumental lies politicians tell about weapons of mass destruction and secret torture to the grotesque micro lies we tell ourselves when we allow the plastic surgeon to reinvent our faces.

Both of this week’s imposters worked very hard on their lies: Salme trained all night on a flight simulator; Wheeler became a convincing academic. I was a mere amateur compared with these two. I did not profit from my lie (the credit card was in my own name – I used it right at the end of my adventure, to pay for dinners and shirts).

I simply changed my name and learned how to hold a knife and fork properly. The various aristocratic tribes I infiltrated seemed to accept what I told them as the truth because I sounded right and I was a great deal of fun. They liked having Anthony around.

Of course I didn’t know how (Anthony’s) friends would react to finding that they had a dog in their aristocratic manger. Years later, however, a few of them contacted me, invited me to dinner and told me how sad they were that I had vanished, that they wanted me to know they had liked me, whoever I was pretending to be.

It was a very moving moment. Yet, regardless, they didn’t really know me.  I didn’t really know me.

It would take years of therapy, trauma work and sobriety for me to get to know who I am and put a stop to the fear and shame and resentment.

Like Wheeler and Salme, I know how it feels to be thrust back into one’s own skin.

Part of me will always be Lord Anthony Rendledsham. Anthony is the dynamic, charming, forceful part of me that gets things done. He is stronger than the Duncan me. He protects me when I feel vulnerable or afraid. He is the furious part of me, the catty, sharp-tongued bitchy part  of me who can make terrible enemies. I know that he wants me for himself.

Recently in therapy I realised that I can take what I need from Anthony, the good parts, and leave the rest.

Occasionally I can feel him surging through me.  Whenever I feel that crippling toxic shame I used to feel every day – I can feel him want to stand in front of the child me and fight those who give me pain. But now I can say to him, hey, I can deal with this. Thanks, but no thanks. And he skulks away.

As I grow older I strive for authenticity. I embrace the truth. Even though I fail, I try living without telling lies.  It is the hardest thing of all, the decision not to delude others or myself.

Duncan and the Big Dog

Everything falling: today’s theme.  The unusual sound of rain falling over Hollywood, Luna falling off of the bed at 3am and having to be helped back up.  The little dog burrowed beside me. I think his dewclaw has fallen off.  He looks more comfortable.  As for claws or nails or rain or cats and dogs falling-the little fingernail that fell off after my Big Dog was killed has finally grown back.  A full seven months it took.

My therapy session yesterday with Jill cleared my muddy mind.

People ask all the time about the clothes I wear on the show Sex Rehab.   The sunglasses I wear are either Paul Smith  ($65 on sale) or Tom Ford ($350 not on sale).  Let me put your minds at ease:  I usually spend NOTHING on clothes and keep them forever (I still wear a Romeo Gigli suit I bought 25 years ago) wearing them well after the moths have eaten them.  The secret, of course, is buying beautiful pieces and developing a specific style.  I love the cut of my Dior pants, the theatrical kick of a Vivienne Westwood jacket..and her accessories-my favorite sweater full of moth holes is a Westwood classic.  I used to wear tons of Helmet Lang before Gucci fired him.  I bring out the Lang for special occasions.  I have a beautiful Helmut bondage cardigan that I am going to wear today.

I love talking to you because you remind me..

Duncan and Clare

My favorite designer is Rei Kawakubo for Commes des Garcons.  Oh Rei, how I worship you-I worship Japanese designers:  Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Rei.  REI!  Every time I wear the navy cardigan I bought in Paris from your hidden store on the Rue Saint-Honore people jump out at me!  They notice the elegant detail, they want to know where..who..how.

Well people, the secret is in the search and the timing.  I never buy anything unless I LOVE it.  Every season I buy just one item at the full price to enjoy the experience, having it served properly, having it wrapped beautifully.  Then for delicious bargains, getting to Barney’s or Fred Segal at just that moment when sale items crash from 40% off to 70% off.

If you arrive in Hollywood with a suitcase and a dream then you have come for one thing and one thing only…the film industry.  The most handsome boys and the most beautiful girls from all over the USA.  The prom kings and queens who sparkled in their High School musical all end up here.  From all over the world writers, directors, producers they too turn up in LA sooner or later. Some of them end up leaving as fast as they came, others become waiters or waitresses looking to be discovered and for a select few there will be a place at the table.  It’s the same thing in Paris.  The streets jammed with hopeful, hopeless lovers of fashion.  As I would arrive in Hollywood years later in search of the studio-I arrived in Paris aged 17 totally in awe of the big fashion houses, worshiping at the iron gates of St Laurent as I would the gates of Paramount.

Paris! What an amazing adventure.  Apart from reinventing myself as Lord Anthony Rendlesham I also illustrated for fashion magazines, styled for photographers (where r u Jim Greenburg?), formed opinions about haute couture, prêt-a-porter and ‘tendance de la mode’,  I went to every show every season, met every designer: Karl, Yves, Chantal, Emmanuelle, Angelo, Thierry, Jean-Paul…I watched elderly women with soft voices cover an entire couture frock with 14 lbs of tiny jet beads.  I learned how to sew a cuff onto a sleeve, a collar onto a blouse, a placket, a peplum, to drape, a toile, organza, interfacing!  The language of fashion became my language.

These are the languages I learned during the past 45 years: fashion, cuisine, film.  I can speak all of them fluently.

It was in Paris that I met Fred Hughes, elegant mercurial Fred Hughes.  His slicked back hair and beautiful apartment on the Rue de Cherche Midi, his paintings by Girardot , his linen sheets, his vetivert.  He showed me how to take cocaine and heroin.   You know, I was such a prude.  I didn’t have sex ever with any of them.  Now they are all dead.

Fashion, take it as seriously as you want to take it.  I love it as much as I love cooking and film making.

Within a few years I would learn an altogether different language:  the language of prison.  I can speak that fluently too but I seldom get the chance. Thankfully.

Little Dog asleep in suitcase Paris 2009 with Comme

I read about Bernie Madoff in his medium security prison yesterday.  Harlene Horowitz, who lost her Brentwood, Calif., home and other assets in Mr. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

“For someone who lived so high, he can’t be happy in his surroundings,” she says.

It struck home forcefully.  Not because I agree with her but because if Bernie is anything like me then he’ll be doing just fine.  He’ll be making the best of it.  He’s a survivor.  Bernie Madoff is cushioned from the reality of prison by fantasy.  The same fantasy that persuaded him he would never get caught.  I know what that feels like.  I know what it’s like to be in prison, treading carefully, never looking anyone in the eye or speaking unless spoken to.

It is really hard not to look at pornography. It’s really difficult when you wake up at 4.30am with a troubled mind not to use porn like you might take an Ambian.

Being sober for 13 years, sadly Ambian is out of the question.  I have no option other than to sit with uncomfortable feelings until they go away-or climb Runyon with the dogs.

When I first moved to Paris in my late teens I stayed in a small room on the Rue de l’Universite. I had no idea why I was there other than I had escaped my country, my family, my other life.  I was in shock.  A refugee.  At first the mere prospect of walking the streets terrified me.  I found a bottle of sleeping pills, I would masturbate then take a pill, waking up many hours later only to repeat this sad ritual until all the pills had gone. Like heroin, a rush then a deep sleep. I have a very selective memory (forgetting people especially) but I remember these days as if I had just lived them. I remember the stains on the sheets, the empty bottle and the relief I felt when I left the room and walked back into the city.

I have only recently learned how to live in my own body. To exist in my own skin, within the parameters of the life laid down before me. I have only recently learned to trust the next step forward. You may think that I am confident, dressing up in tiaras and laughing with my friends but my bravado masks, and has always masked, a profound sense of discomfort.

When they sent me to prison, after the initial shock of being sentenced, I loved most every moment of it. The routine, the food, my cellmate, my cell, the language, the echo, the vast and towering Victorian halls. There is something very operatic about a British prison.

I was never scared in prison-my basic needs were always met. I was never attacked or picked on-after all my crime was a JOKE! Being sent to prison for not paying a credit card bill.  I felt like an anthropologist in prison-visiting a foreign land. I felt the same in the Pasadena Recovery Center. I was visiting the land of reality TV, the land of mass media, the land of shattered dreams and unrealistic expectations. It was the second great act of my operatic adventure.

(If only my life were an opera.)

I loved being in Rehab exactly like I loved being in prison. Drew thought that I would leave Sex Rehab within the week-he was sure of it. He had no idea just how much I desired incarceration. How much I love having my options removed. How much I relish my own death. I immediately loved my fellow inmates in Rehab far more than I could love them in the world. The depth of love I felt for them could never be replicated beyond the walls of the rehab. My coconspirators. My brothers and my sisters. Equally the loathing I felt for the producer and production team was rarely masked. It perfectly replicated my prison/hospital experience. My fellow prisoners/patients and the guards/nurses who looked over us.

You see, I was born to be fearless.  I was born to take risks.  To be an artist and a gardener and a butler and a saint.

So, when I wake up in the morning and I don’t masturbate to porn-I choose life. I choose not to throw a warm blanket over my feelings and start the day raw.

Jennie and I walked Runyon yesterday. It was beautiful up there. It is always beautiful up there looking down from Mulholland over the great, gasping city of LA.

I had the oddest memory. New Years Eve twenty years ago in a huge New York club-taking ecstasy, being really fucked up and thirsty and not being able to find water. I am with Camille and Gulshan. The water in the bathroom had been switched off forcing people to buy bottles. There are no bottles left.  Nobody would give us a sip of their water. There were acrobats above us and I thought to myself-this is what hell is. This is what hell is.

Oh yeah-fuck you Tyra for not having me on your show-but actually I don’t care, she’s too tabloid – even for an attention hound like me.

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