So, here it is. Up and running.
I really hope you enjoy it.
Here are some of the pictures Dan took last week at my party…I will add them as and when they arrive. I am having my LA birthday party tonight….should be fun.
Dan took all the pics but thankfully had one of himself.
Ian Drew and Bradley from US Weekly…who told me yesterday that I am indeed in the upcoming A List.
This trip to NYC changed darling Robby’s life.
Sweet friends from LA Jess and her lover.
Victoria Whitbread and her friend Tom with Dee Mansfield who flew from Hong Kong for my party.
Yaniv, Michael (GLADD) and Cyndi Stivers who started Time Out NY
Chase and Joey from The Black Soft came and not only performed their new song for me but totally wowed their new audience.
Zach and Alex
Joan, Lady Rizo and Joe
Greg Lucas and David Stillman Meyer
Kaolin, Friend and Zach
Lady Rizo and Donovan.
Duncan, Charlie Parsons and Tom Desanto
Jeff and Robby
And over to you LADY RIZO!!!
OK, that’s it! More tomorrow from tonight’s party.
My darling God Children give me so much pleasure. Here is a glimpse of them. They have moved to Lake Malibu which is just PERFECT.
Loads going on in SoCal…but just H’wood shit. On HLN again tonight with my valued opinions about Charlie Sheen. SAG awards…blah blah. Aleksa won with her Boardwalk Empire colleagues. She texted me after…so excited. I am so proud of her.
Carol woke me this morning with a fresh lemon and ginger infusion and a big plate of steaming porridge. Ate another breakfast at Copeland House with Georgina.
It’s later on Saturday morning and I am laying under a blanket at George’s house. Feel very beaten up. I managed to wear myself down so badly that I now have bronchitis.
Terrible cough, phlegm, headache. Best thing is: I am at home so everything seems very dealable with. I am so glad that I don’t own anywhere here. It’s so much nicer crashing at Carol’s or laying here on George’s sofa.
Whitstable. Last night. Sitting with Georgina and her grand-daughter Poppy eating shepherd’s pie. Do you remember Poppy? Poppy!
Carol and Marc dragged me out to a small town on the other side of Canterbury to watch a ska band. Even though I felt pretty bad it was nice to be included.
Feels safe here. I arrived from Paris on Friday morning. I rented a car, drove to Calais on the A1 toll road (20 euro). Ferry to Dover (120 euros) then drove to Whitstable. Dropped in at Wheeler’s, Dave’s and Carol’s place.
There is a cute gay boy running the new coffee shop.
Dumb man that I am…I decided to watch Brokeback Mountain again on the flight to Paris. I could scarcely get through the first few moments without having to change channels and watch Friends reruns.
Went back to it and still cried buckets.
Remember when we left for Paris on July 4th? That seems like it happened decades ago.
Why did it take me so long to leave NYC and why didn’t I write about it? Well, we didn’t go because the Little Dog wasn’t well and vomited all over the place so it wasn’t prudent to go anywhere. Anyway, the vet advised me not to.
I was offered a very kind room in a very beautiful hotel to rest my weary body…for free. They really looked after me.
I sat with friends outside Mud, I hung out at the Derby and Joe’s Pub with Amelia. I made many, many new ‘friends’ on line and met with them at obscure locations.
After a few days of being in the city I totally forgot about Jake unless, of course, I found myself on 1st Street or outside the Judd Foundation or on the roof at Soho House which is cleared away…just like the memories I have to clear away.
I no longer thought that any man who resembled him was him and instead marveled at how many men there were who might be him. Cute, short, hairy men with winning smiles. On occasions, as the days passed, I realized that I told too many people about him…that it was obvious to them that I was having difficulty letting him go.
When they asked if I was still in love with him it was difficult to say no without crossing my fingers.
The emotions are far more complex and seem to exist on a far deeper level than I ever planned which is why I took time away from my blog because it just riles me and I find myself posting things that I regret.
I had a number of dates with really extraordinary men but one in particular made my heart sing. I ate dinner at Mary’s Fish Camp in the West Village and met some good gays. A producer, a stockbroker, a TV anchor and a journalist..I found myself thinking: Jake would like these men.
The anchor (Don Lemon) was a cool black dude who said that in his opinion Obama was frightened of white people. Which explains, he said, why Obama is such a loser. The anchor’s bf of 3 years was 20 years younger.
I don’t know how I felt about that.
Aleksa P and I had supper in Chelsea. She talked candidly about how much fun it is for her making Boardwalk Empire. I told her that I get hundreds of people a week looking for references in my blog to her hairy armpits. She showed me how shaved they were with a wry smile but lamented how she must start growing them again soon.
We talked about our absent dads and how this shapes our view of ourselves. We talked about her gorgeously happy marriage. We laughed a great deal. She showed me the pictures of her in Vanity Fair and I felt as proud as any dad could ever be.
We talked about Jake. She was sad for me.
Brokeback: I had forgotten that Ennis and Jack had that fight. That their fight had more to do with their love and their frustration and how much they would miss each other.
The last night in NYC I met a man who I could imagine being with. Just like that. I have no idea if it will turn out like I want it…but we connected. I am excited to see him again. One thing is for sure: I ain’t writing about him. Not any time soon.
TSA pat-downs are really thorough. At JFK the rather good-looking man who inadvertently (or maybe not) held my balls whilst looking for what ever they are looking for looked up at me and I said seductively, “My balls have been held by a lot worse.”
Just missing one day of exercise stiffens my joints. I set off into the Canyon. I pass 51 dogs.
On the first ‘level’ before the steep bit there were 8 old Russian men sitting on the bench howling with laughter, talking over one another and thoroughly enjoying the delightful crisp, Californian Monday morning in mid September 2006.
Yesterday, by ten am, I had already met a handsome black realtor off of the internet. I made it crystal clear that I did not want to have sex. He swung by in his flash BMW and we headed to the farmers market on Vine where I bought 8 huge organic peaches which are ripening in a pale green bowl in the sitting room as I write. The farmers market was JAMMED with people. I have been going to that market ever since I first moved here and I have never, ever seen it this busy.
I saw purple okra and delicious cheeses and ten different kinds of dates. I saw many local people who I recognised, how lucky we all are in Hollywood to have this perfect destination for our Sunday mornings. The internet date was hungry so we headed to the 101 where we were served by Ryan who is a friend of Aleksa and Devon. We had both been invited to Aleksa’s birthday party so Ryan said he would give me a ride over there when he finished work. Saw beautiful boy in 101-looked like a dark Justin Timberlake. I did not get his number.
Internet Date and I then drove to Bonham’s auction house where I saw a pale wood 50′s desk with really elegant legs that I had somehow missed in the preview. It was an early lot so we were far too late to buy it. One of the auction regulars that I nod to occasionally saw me looking at it and told me that it had not sold so I ended up buying it for $50! I love it. Needs some slight repair but mostly it needs to be loved. It has really beautiful legs.
Paulo, my friend who works there, was annoyed because he had been sent out to buy sandwiches. He said, “I didn’t spend $150,000 going to college to be sent out to buy sandwiches.” He is a funny Italian boy who wears a wife beater under his shirt. Anyway, after the desk purchase-which as I had credit at the auction house I did not have to pay for anyway-Internet date drove me home. I don’t know if I will see him again. There was no immediate SPARK.
Jane Garnett called to tell me the great news that she is pregnant. We talked about her film The Illusionist that is a huge hit! I adore Jane, we chatted about the secret project that she knows and she loves. We agreed to meet some time this week. I am desperate to see her, she makes me feel SANE.
Coincidentally I received an e-mail from Georgie Byng yesterday who originally introduced Jane and I several years ago. Georgia was in my performance work, The Host that we performed in The Royal Oyster Company Hall in Whitstable. She is married to Marc Quinn the artist who made Blood Head, one of the great art stars of the Sensations era. One of Jays artists. Marc is a very kind man. If I am mad and difficult, like they say I am, people like Jane, Marc and Georgia are willing to overlook my defects and concentrate on the man they have known and liked for many, many years.
Ryan collected me at 4pm, we drove a little further west up Sunset to collect his friend Steve who had played Dorian Gray in a rather wonderful sounding theatre adaptation of Wilde’s novel. Steve, of course, loves the book and quoted huge chunks at me. If fact, we disagreed about the source of one particular quote and I had to concede, after looking at the book, that he was right and I was wrong. It is always good for ones constitution to admit defeat to a younger prettier man. I really took to Steve, a complex mess of desire, pessimism and loneliness-all spread out on the table for every one to see. An emotional yard sale. There is nothing better than a beautiful boy with a problem. Of course, ugly people never get the opportunity to let everyone know their STUFF. Nobody cares.
We headed over to Aleksa’s birthday party in Griffiths Park. I met her manager Eric Black. Really liked him. Eric told his best friend, also there at the party, a friend who he had worked in the CAA mail room with when they were fledgling agents/managers all about me. Good God, in the telling of my story, Eric’s description of me from a managers perspective made me sound like a TOTALLY insane maverick.
After Aleksa’s party (lasagne and cherry pie) we drove to a friend of Ryan who was having a party near the 101. Valet parking, caterers etc. Met a woman I know from NYC called Annette who is an Australian editor, she in turn introduced me to Trevor Groth from Sundance. Joel Miklely was there with a boy/man web designer. Met another Eric Siddall, a lawyer from San Fran-intriguing. Ate marzipan and drank coffee. We stayed for a while chatting with film people but I never feel comfortable in those places. Inevitably they think they know a great deal more about me than they really do. Most of what they know is sensational gossip. This is why I like hanging out with actors. Actors are less condemnatory. Actors like directors.
We left that party but had a couple of hours to kill so were driving back to my house when I got the oddest phone call from my friend Tim in NYC. Tim is a Whitstable lad (26) who has done very well for himself as a sort of live in life coach for a very rich Jewish American family. He told me that Danny Gallagher was dead.
Danny, another young Whitstable boy, was badly hurt in a car wreck just before I came back to LA. It seems that he got some sort of infection in the hospital and never recovered. “I don’t know how I feel about it, Dunc.” Tim said. I felt exactly the same. You see, I have an affection for those rough Whitstable boys, but it is not always comfortable bumping into them as they drunkenly make their way up Island Wall. Danny, when he was younger, was very homophobic. He would sit outside the Neptune and sneer at local gay man Duncan. But, last year, we sat down and talked and he asked about my life and I listened to his story. His brother had died of cancer. From that moment on he always went out of his way to come say hello and ask how I was doing. I love those rough Whitstable boys. I always have. I am, after all, a rough Whitstable boy who just, for the time being, lives in LA.
You know, when those judgemental people look at me at those swanky film parties they don’t realise just how hard I had to fight to survive. You would have thought that one would not have had to fight so hard in a place like this but you have to fight harder. This is all part of my great AA dilemma. All at once I have to let go and let God, yet I am compelled by my ‘ambition’. I tried explaining my ‘ambition’ to Eric’s friend yesterday, I tried to explain the desire in me, the compulsion to make art rather than money. This is what I think defines me as a maverick. That and the fact that I loathe most people!
So, Danny Gallagher is dead and I am sorry for that.
Steve, Ryan and I then went home and watched my Dorian Gray on the Lap Top. Steve and Ryan really liked it. That made me happy-after all, they are my core audience. We drank strong coffee then drove back up Sunset to Peter’s show of films and photographs. I really loved his work. It is enigmatic, clean, great colours. All of his sexy model friends were there including the devastatingly handsome Jamal Cohen. We hung with them for a while (can’t write about celebrity associations at this party-Peter would kill me) then headed off to find a quiet place to sit. It is very difficult in Hollywood on a Sunday night to find a quiet place. We ended up in Famina! A small Japanese store on Hollywood and Highland and ate crème brule and watched the insane pedestrians, the only ones that are left on Hollywood Blvd at midnight. Finally stumbled into bed at 12.30. I am going to collect my new desk today and write…and go to the gym…and think about rough Whitstable boys.
September 17, 2006 – Sunday
Sunday, day of no walks on Runyon Canyon. No dogs to count, no fat to burn. No.
Runyon Canyon Emergency! Yellow notices posted all over the waste bins, the seats, the notice boards and on MySpace. Attention Everyone! The Parks and Recreation Department want to build a car park at the foot of the Canyon.
What do I think? Will it make any difference to the quality of my life if they build a car park at the base of the Canyon?
Yesterday I wondered if it wouldn’t be rather nice to have a rustic shack selling breakfast stuff at the base of Runyon Canyon with a wood burning stove warming on a cold morning. I found myself dreaming about that just as often as I tend to dream about running the Red Spider Cafe which used to be a rustic shack/beech hut on Whitstable Beach. This summer Barry Green, who owns Whitstable beach, asked me (as he must ask many others) if I wanted to run the Red Spider Cafe. He wants to re-build it. I found this idea very appealing. The simplicity of a very honorable trade: I make you tea and cake, you give me £2.75. I never ever dream about making films in the same fond way that I dream about serving tea and running a small hotel on the Kent coast.
Why can’t people just walk to the Canyon? I walk to the Canyon. I walk everywhere. I walk to the farmer’s Market on Vine. I walk to the Auction House on Gardener. I walk to the Chateau Marmont. I have walked, on many occasions, from Labrea to Doheny to my AA meeting. I even walked all the way from my house to Robertson and Beverly. I really love walking LA. I love peering closely at palm trees, I like nosing into gardens. I like taking alternative routes.
When I was a small boy I walked in my pyjamas from Whitstable to Herne Bay. When I had my drug problem I walked so hard from Kensington to Soho that all my toes turned purple from the bruising. When I was at Shotton Hall School we walked the length of Offa’s Dyke which is an ancient path that runs the border of Wales and England. We stayed in idyllic Youth Hostels and I remember packing coordinating outfits.
I prefer walking to taking the bus. There is so much shame heaped on people who take the bus in this town. I tend to linger away from the bus stop just in case anyone sees me waiting for a bus. Can you believe it? I shall be more robust about my bus taking in future, less shameful.
Unfashionably, I think that Barry Green should be allowed to build beach huts and Red Spider rustic shacks all the way along the stretch of beach that he owns. I do not, however, think that Barry Green owner of the Whitstable Beach, should be able to build a hideous mock light house and crowd generic ‘fantasy Whitstable’ type architecture on the new marina.
I went to see the plans for the new Whitstable Marina development before I left for California with my friend Charlie Parsons and we both agreed that the designs were HIDEOUS. The architect on duty told me that it was the council’s fault but this is patently untrue. The local council merely defines the architectural parameters for the architect: the height, housing density, materials etc. The architect is responsible for the imaginative response to those parameters. Whilst I think that the town will benefit from the new marina, the suggested designs were bland, depressing and what is worse one could already imagine abandoned polystyrene oyster trays being blown all over the ersatz cobbles on cold winter afternoons.
Continuing our Saturday morning tradition I had breakfast with Dom and John Roden at the 101 cafe on Franklin. This old-fashioned, mid-century diner is always stuffed with cute alternative people. Yesterday was no exception. Omelette, no toast, no potato. Yes, I’m starting THAT again Clare Swinburn. The smelly breath diet. We complimented some boy on his floral pants (trousers) and he said, “You have to be really straight to wear clothes this gay.” He showed us what was written on his ass and when we complimented his ass he said, rather seriously, “That’s harassment.” Who put the ass in harassment?
Spent most of the afternoon with my sponsor and then went home to meet Peter Youngblood Hills but lost my phone on the bus, then my afternoon went to shit-missed seeing/speaking with Peter, missed my opening at M+B gallery and when I finally resolved everything it was time to head over to Julia and Sim’s to see their gorgeous house in Silverlake, meet their divinely pretty daughter Elsie and meet their friends from Sheppey of all places and eat dinner in Silverlake. After dinner of Pork medallions and chocolate terrine I took them all up to the Soriano House and fell in love with it all over again. OH GOD!!! I love that house.
Stayed at Julia and Sim’s until 1am gossiping about Whitstable people. It was so much fun. No one was spared. Sim dropped me at mine and I slept like a log. The phone rang twice after midnight. I did not answer. I knew what they were. Two booty calls. Can you believe it? At my age!!
September 16, 2006 – Saturday
I slept until 8.30 this morning. Not even the morning sun pouring into my bedroom woke me. Disoriented by how late it was I started the day by checking e-mails, which, I never, ever do. The squirrel was in the Bird of Paradise tree outside my sitting room pulling seeds out of the huge pods. He was making a terrible racket. Chattering away to himself.
There were more that 80 dogs on the path today. SO MANY PEOPLE. I really don’t like to share the Canyon with that many people. I like the few odd die-hard who get up at six and watch the sun break over Los Angeles. I was wearing a red Buddhist punk hoody, red seems to attract a great deal of attention. I received many nods and unsolicited greetings. I passed the man who pushes his bike without his shirt on-he has a creamy naturally defined body. He looks but does not acknowledge.
I never take a phone or an iPod up the mountain. I need to experience it raw. It is still hard to get up the steep bit without a break but I am really noticing a difference. I feel lighter. I can’t feel so much fat on my back over my kidneys but perhaps I am just kidding myself. Next week I start working seriously at the gym. The fact of the matter is: I am happier when I get to walk my walk, meditate and write my blog. At the start of everyday I feel as if I have achieved something. You know, I kept a diary for over 20 years. A written diary. A Smythson’s leather-bound diary. I had Red calf, black calf, natural pig skin colour. I had a marbled one from Venice. I stopped writing my diary because, when I got sober, I wondered why I was doing it-and it was cumbersome to carry and then when I got here stupid people thought that it was a bible.
I passed the Russians with the blue-eyed dogs; they were rabbiting away in Russian then one of them said in English, “So Armageddon is finally coming.” Like he was expecting his aunt, aunt Armageddon. It certainly feels pretty doom-like at the moment. We get on with our daily lives but something else is determining our future. Maybe there really is a conspiracy of powerful Jews? Maybe Elvis is still alive? Maybe Freddy Star really did eat a hamster?
More OUTRAGE from Muslim clerics because the Pope quoted some odd Persian from an ancient text. Come on lads get some perspective. Who gives a fuck about the Pope? He wears Prada under his cassock.
At the start of my walk I saw an incredibly tall, svelte, young couple with their morbidly obese son. They were in their early thirties, athletic. He was 9 years old and a tub of lard. He was complaining about the smell on the canyon. They were reassuring him that everything was going to be ok. I thought to myself, Oh how sweet, these two are really helping their child. It must be tough, but as a family they are trying to get him in shape. I set off on my walk. On the way down the Canyon I pass the two athletic parents walking on all fours like dogs. The child is nowhere to be seen. They were walking on all fours like dogs. Stretching out their perfect, athletic limbs. Half a mile behind them, dawdling along is their huge son. Alone, fat, abandoned. What can I say?
Dammit, I always forget to mention the half-naked elderly man who I have only seen once crouching in the undergrowth wearing a dog collar and rubber shorts looking like an unloved, abandoned dog. If I was (when I am) a lonely old man, I might be tempted to think that someone might adopt me if I pretended to be a dog without a home.
Yesterday, I wrote, I read, took care of business and did more iTunes organisation. I chatted to Erik the writer about Valentine. I checked out the Bonham’s Sunset sale but there was nothing there worth buying. I saw Paulo, he needs to take me out for lunch sometime soon. Danny O dropped in for a cup of tea. I was meant to be seeing Gianni but Virgil swung by so I had to blow Gianni out at the last moment.
I really think that Virgil might be married. He is so secretive. Remember Quentin Crisps unattainable big, dark, man-kind of dumb but loveable. That is Virgil. He does not know his 10 times table. He eats KFC every day. I asked him what he talked to his best friend about and he tells me the conversation VERBATIM. It wasn’t very informative. He is a huge, gentle, light skin black guy in his mid 40s. He watched me make a salad dressing and when I poured it onto the salad he asked what I was doing. He had never, ever seen anyone make a dressing before. Do not be surprised my homies, this is the USA. Even my more sophisticated friends would not know how to make a salad dressing from scratch. The young ones think, ‘why should I?’ and the older ones think, ‘We never eat at home’. Virgil is a big sweet man. I asked him to take me to South Central LA but he scoffed. He told me that his nieces boy friend and the father of her baby had blown his head off with gun in front of them all.
Dont worry Virgil, I know people like that in Whitstable.
September 15, 2006 – Friday
22 dogs. One young man applauding his Jack Russell for taking a piss. “That’s amazing Billy!” he commended.
There were 15 gardeners trimming the mountain-something I never thought I would see but I suppose some one has to maintain the paths and trim back the vegetation. The undergrowth is so lush.
The walk was good. All the tight feelings in my chest vanished. It was really chilly up there on the path this morning. People at home don’t get the subtlety of the seasons in California, they don’t realise that we have winter nights or that it is very cold when the sun sets. ‘Why do people need winter coats in LA?’ I thought, when I first arrived. In fact, I get to wear all of my winter coats and even my fur hat.
It rained briefly as I was feeding the squirrel almonds from my hand. That animal is so funny. It chases the cats. American people say it is always raining in London. We deal in weather clichés. The truth is that we have had so little rain in the UK that we have to regularly ban the use of hose pipes and non-essential car cleaning, something that would never happen here. Read Joan Didion’s book The White Album if you want to know where LA water comes from-if you didn’t already see China Town.
I have been organising my iTunes library. 22 days of songs. The new iTunes 7 reveals previously unseen album covers on my lap top-suddenly I am excited again by my music collection, flicking through all the music I have. Seeing old friends-like Alice Coopers Billion Dollar Baby-the first ever album I bought. The first single I ever bought was Ben by Michael Jackson. You see! I have always been bi-polar! I was at boarding school in Dorset listening to Alice Cooper from my bedroom overlooking the verdant English countryside.
I liked being at that school. I learned how to make cheese, chutney, jam, milk cows and learnt all about Jason and the Argonauts. Saw a dead badger by the side of the road and when I pulled its tail the thing came off in my hands-I was 13. Country people are not scared of dirt or death. We would camp outside on the lawns and learn to listen to the earth. Check it out, it’s called Monkton Wyld Court. A beautiful gothic, Pugin inspired rectory. One winters day a kid wrote in the snow: Reunion 1999 on the terraces so we could all read it. 1999 came and went but I never went back to any reunion. I hitch hiked there from Whitstable once. Years ago. It took two days.
I remembered horseback riding in the snow, my fingers frozen onto the reigns. I remembered learning to play the piano. Where are those skills? Stored away just in case. Stored away with the detailed maps of Sydney and Paris and Glasgow or Cannes. Stored with my times tables. 7×8=56 Remember that one and you’ll be fine. 8×8=64. Stored with descriptions of Renaissance Art and Golden Rules. Gypsy tart. That’s there too.
Flicking through my collection of music like we used to-things coming full circle. Delighted by something you forgot you owned. An album cover that reminds you of a person or a place. The sound track of my life just here in the palm of my hand. I am listening to nobukazu takemura this morning. I like ambient music for my films and for my life. I listen to Aphex Twin and John Cage. Saw John Cage at The Almeida Music Festival in London when the US used to export its vibrant avant-garde.
At the next school I attended in Shropshire we listened to Roxy Music. Then, ten years later I am at a private audience with Bryan in Notting Hill. Ten years after that I am sitting in his kitchen with his wife. Then we are at the Saatchi Gallery with Tracy Emin signing posters. Makes me feel home sick thinking about Lucy and the kids.
Annie Lennox reminds me of living at Jane McAllisters house in Edinburgh whilst I was working for Richard Demarco during the Edinburgh Festival. Must be talking to an angel.
Yesterday I had a gentleman caller-no sex. Just being held is all I require lately. My new maid started. Angela was here when Virgil the gentleman caller arrived. Virgil and I sat on the roof and listened to our respective stories. He has three dogs and a daughter. Is that a deal breaker? Angela laughed when I followed after her putting all the ornaments, candles etc back in the correct places.
Virgil left at 3ish. Gentle afternoon in doors-some people called to see if I wanted to go out but I stayed at home and read. The Mormon beauty from the BAFTA party for instance-he called. When I first stopped drinking it was such a relief to simply stay at home and go to bed early rather than chase a party. I am not missing anything. Anyway, I have a very social weekend ahead of me.
In bed by 12. I think that I may go to Sydney next week for a month.
September 14, 2006 – Thursday
6.15. Runyon Canyon. Right hand path. 23 dogs. Two blind men with white sticks. Simon Doonan. Five people said hello.
On the way up the mountain I had a God almighty battle of wills between my acknowledged ‘dark side’ and the weaker ‘good’ me. My dark side always has such a compelling argument for any bad/naughty things I want to do. Dammit.
Yesterday I pissed a lot of people off writing my blog. I apologise. It was inappropriate.
Of course there are some things I choose not to write about in this blog but, unlike anywhere else in my life, this is a place where I can be totally honest. I am neither bound by fear of judgement nor at the mercy of a lie. However, I suppose that there are things that I should not write about. For instance, I do not write about sex, because when I did, it seemed to upset some people. I have agreed with myself new blog rules of engagement. I am no longer going to write about my EXPERIENCE of AA. From the moment I step into an AA meeting to the moment I leave the rooms of AA I will not report on what I have shared nor any opinions about who I have seen there-even if I am alluding to them and not making them obvious. I agreed tacitly to this when I joined and so it would be priggish of me to renege now, ten years down the line. I have agreed with my sponsor that I will share my AA type grievances with him. To this end I have removed the offending paragraph in yesterday’s blog and replaced it with a few apposite lines from the AA big book.
However, I will be writing in full about my experiences outside the rooms of AA.
Yesterday morning Chris picked me up from my apartment and drove six shirts and me to the ecological laundry. We had a very jolly time. We were both very happy. He is going back to England on Sunday. I suddenly realised that I would miss him. He is a spirited, sweet, honourable boy and even though I am double his age I learn a great deal from him. He wanted to take me to the Beverly Hills Hotel for breakfast. On the way there Joe called and asked Chris if he had read my blog. Joe was OUTRAGED! Chris, in a very difficult position, could not stop Joe from spewing his indignation. Chris cut him off, telling him that he would have to call him back later. We sat in the car and pretended to be posh for a good five minutes. Of course, if you are truly OUTRAGED by something you have read you do not call all your friends and tell them about it. “Have you read Duncan’s blog? I am outraged!” Even though Chris had the phone pressed hard to his ear I could hear Joe screaming. Chris and I, both having had a great deal of press attention in the past, know that when you are truly OUTRAGED you simply call your lawyer and deal with it. Recently poor Chris had to deal with adverse press and when he called me he was choked with emotion. He did not call all his friends to read the offending material and then be OUTRAGED. I noticed a huge swell in my readership numbers yesterday possibly because Joe was so OUTRAGED.
We ate a wonderful breakfast. We chatted and laughed. After my waffles we explored the Beverly Hills Hotel shop. We found the Beverly Hills Barbie and another Barbie holding the hand of a small child. “Look, Paedophile Barbie.” I said, holding up the box and shaking it. Chris went red and we scarpered.
Went home and read the secret script. It needs work but you can see how wonderful it is going to be. I had a day of DOING things in the house. I cleared out the junk closet in the hall and hung all of my winter coats in there. I closed most of the windows because at night it is now very chilly. I washed the glass. I fed the squirrel-it feeds from my hand. The maid called and told me in broken English that she would come on Thursday as she had a hospital appointment.
I took a cab to the Hyatt where I met Jon and we drove to the BAFTA garden party. OUTRAGED Joe was there not looking quite so outraged or if he was he was unwilling to confront me about it. In fact he did a great deal of cap doffing around Xan. The other aggrieved parties from yesterdays blog were also there and we mutually apologised and that was that. I had a very jolly time. Saw Charlie and Vicky from New York and hung around with them. I saw Marjorie and Xan, of course, and we ate pulled pork and black coffee and there was a very British raffle. Cute Mormon boy invited me to a party at Shag but I did not go. I went home and found places for my tools and threw out the last of Dee’s things that she left at the house.
I re-read the secret script which I love, as i was reading it the Valentine script arrived. That was less inspired.
I had a long chat with Xan before I went to bed. It was reassuring. I was reassured. I am going to pray that good things happen for Joe.
September 13, 2006 – Wednesday
I did not count the dogs on Runyon Canyon; I had a great deal on my mind. I saw the Russians with the baby and they all said hello. The cute boy with the hat totally ignored me. The lesbians said a cautious hello. I felt as if my body were changing today. It was easier to haul up the steep bits. Either I am getting stronger or leaner or tighter or maybe all three. When I lost weight before I lost weight gradually then I got horribly thin in a matter of a week. Must buy scales.
It was a cool, tranquil morning.
As I began my leisurely decent, deep in the wooded part of the Canyon a man started screaming. He was furious, angry against the world. I tried to see what he looked like but he was hidden under a canopy of trees. He was like a monkey in the rain forest letting everyone know that he was there. “Shut up you crazy fuck!” somebody called out to him but it was half hearted-they understood why he was screaming. He was screaming for all of us.
Yesterday was such a day of extremes. Corey took me to see another house. It was a house owned by an Italian writer in Beverley Hills. A beautiful modernist house designed by Georgescu in 1958, sadly it had a ropey view. I have made an offer on some of the furniture, which is all beautiful, mid-century modern. After the viewing Corey dropped me off at the Key Club AA meeting. I stayed for half of it then walked to my 1pm meeting with Jon Larson from the Directors Guild at the Chateau Marmont. I had the salmon that was far too complicated-too many flavours. We sat next to Selma Hayek. She looked great. I met Patty, the director of Monster and Brad Wyman’s partner. Brad was one of the producers on THAT film I directed in Romania. The problem with Monster is that, like The Devil Wears Prada, you have a great performance shining in a dull film. Let’s face it, if Elizabeth Hurley had been playing the lead in either of those films what would you be left with: The Method!!! Ha ha ha.
After lunch I walked home up Sunset via Bonham’s to see the dregs of the fine furniture sale. It all looked ghastly. This Friday is the preview of the Sunset Estate sale. I love this auction. I furnished my entire apartment with things from this auction. June Havers and Fred McMurray previously owned most of what I own. I have their bowling trophies, their bowling balls, furniture, silver, a chandelier and some delightful dining room chairs. Once a month there is an LA Modern auction and I bought pieces by Paul Lazlo. Auctions are my not so secret vice.
When I got home I planned to take a nap but, thrillingly, the secret project script arrived from London and I had to have a long chat with Seth my manager about Dorian and the secret project and Valentine which seems to be coming along well. Then I had a long chat with a financier about refinancing Dorian. Then I had to check my Dorian out-of-pocket figures. I guess that I am owed in the region of $150,000. By the time I had done all of that it was too late to take a nap.
John (works for Penguin) picked me up in his jag and we headed off to the C.U.N.T AA meeting on Robertson. This meeting, as you might have guessed from the title, is a British meeting. I think that my sponsor started it. For me, going to this meeting is like being dipped in acid. It is excruciating but I had promised my sponsor that I would go and embrace my enemies…
I put my hand up and I shared about my walks on the mountain. I told them that I was going where the love was. I hinted that I had found God in the mountains-that I was humbled by the mountains. I do my best in AA, which is all I can do.
After the meeting Corey and I went back to Silverlake to see the house at night. It was so COOL!! I love it. We also revisited the Soriano house on North Dillon. You know, it really is noisy up there. You can hear the valley traffic as if it were roaring through the garden. Too close for comfort.
John and I had a late dinner at The Chateau. I bumped into the adorable Dougray Scott who is working on Desperate Housewives. I met his girl friend Clare. Chris Rock was hanging about the lobby-apparently stood up by Courtney Love. I sat with Jessica Simpson briefly-she looked AMAZING. That girl has the most perfect skin.
John has a great story-he once woke up out of an alcoholic blackout on a plane. He had no idea where he was going. He was on his way to Buenos Aires.
John dropped me home at midnight.
September 12, 2006 – Tuesday
Just returned from my morning walk. 53 Dogs. Today I walked with Corey Nelson my realtor from Sotheby’s. Corey is a stunningly good-looking ex-Bruce Weber model. He and his girlfriend walk Runyon Canyon everyday. We decided to take the other, steeper path. We hiked the three tall peeks and that makes for an altogether longer and tougher walk. We met at the Fuller entrance at 8.30. On the way up it was difficult to talk because I was huffing and puffing like an old man. We passed 4 people. The views are stunning, really stunning. We looked over toward the sea on our right and the Hollywood sign to our left. We made our way down the usual way yet, astonishingly, everybody at 8.30 seems very social, most people say a warm hello. We chatted to people all the way down. I suspect that this is because Corey (26) has perfect pecs and abs.
The strange woman I saw yesterday with the Yorkie strapped to her chest told Corey’s girlfriend that she carried her dog like that because it had been bitten once by another dog so now she is too paranoid about him walking anywhere. We met a dog called, ‘Freakshow’, we met really cool lesbians. We discussed bikes and if I should get one and Vespers and if I should get one. Most of all we talked about property because we have seen so much of it between us. When I was friends with Georgina I am sure that all the Kent estate agents had mug shots of us with BEWARE!! TIME WASTERS written below our names. We saw property wherever we went. New York, Sydney, Fire Island. It is so much fun looking at other peoples’ houses. However, I am genuinely looking for a house to buy here. I have seen so much property but none of it speaks to me or if it does then it’s too expensive. When developers get there hands on it the property is ruined. The additions of prissy ‘Zen’ gardens and horrible hedges of miniature bamboo, I call it ‘gay grass’. They add huge, ungainly kitchens with slate work tops. They lay badly installed hard wood floors. A terrible uniform aesthetic. All the ‘done’ houses are done out of their individuality.
I fell in love with a Soriano house on North Dillon St but it was too expensive for what it was and ultimately needed too much doing to it. Also, if you live at the top of any Hill in LA however gorgeous the view-the noise is terrible. The rumble of LA all day all night would drive me madder than the maddest man in mad land.
I love Silverlake. All of the best architects have examples of their work there.
Yesterday, Corey picked me up at 9.30. We drove to Edgecliff Road in Silverlake to see a house for me to buy. It was wonderful. Built in 1964, perched on a cliff overlooking the lake it has never been ‘done’, thankfully no ‘zen’ garden with water feature, no designer kitchen built for a family of snackers and no gay grass. It is perfect for me. I am going to try to quickly raise the money today. The house really has had little changed since it was built. It is owned by two adorable old queens. They had great furniture too. We were there for hours. The 73-year-old man who owned the house said, rather obscurely, about his neighbor, “He wouldn’t know how to make a pie.” I asked him if he could knit. He couldn’t. I persuaded him to consider knitting as a precaution against arthritis. We laughed a great deal.
After the viewing I went home and I washed the filthy Venetian blinds in the kitchen with oxi clean then hosed them down outside-very satisfactory. I love Oxi Clean. Lazy day at home reading and writing. Should have achieved more but sat and thought about THE WORLD. A good day to think about THE WORLD. It is so hard to articulate ones frustrations about the state of THE WORLD. As I scrubbed my blinds I thought again and again about the choices that I had made that lead me to this place.
We planned a conference call with my manager, lawyer and producer of Dorian. It was the same old story. Arclight stalling, Carl failing, Effie dealing. Carl is the guy who a year ago came on board to raise more money for the film. He seems to spend most of his time on vacation. His big, bovine head grinning inanely. His LA teeth catching the sun. He agrees with anything anyone says. If I did not have the rooms of AA I would be tearing my hair out but this is God’s plan and I have to put up with it. I really don’t worry about it. Art comes when it is ready. It is born out of confusion.
If I choose to make unconventional films in an unconventional way I must expect there to be no convention.
I watched some of the 9/11 anniversary coverage. Did you know that there was an aircraft hanger at Kennedy with the most morbid collection of World Trade Tower scrap in it? Smashed fire trucks, three incinerated floors of one tower crushed into a molten ball, bikes chained to bike racks. It reminded me of something that I had not thought about for 35 years.
When I was 6 I was involved in a terrible car wreck. We were taking my aunt and her children to the airport. My grandfather, grandmother, mother, stepfather, aunt and five children packed into a large car that my stepfather had borrowed. It was a terrible night, torrential rain. My stepfather was driving fast to so we did not miss the flight. I was sitting on my mother’s lap in the front seat when the car hit a huge puddle and aqua planed over the freeway, over the central reservation and into oncoming traffic. I was catapulted out of the side window and onto the road. Thankfully nobody was killed. I suffered major head injuries-hence the scars and missing skull in my head.
A few years later I was staying at my grandmother’s house and found in the wardrobe of the room I was sleeping, zipped suit bags and when I looked inside I saw dirty, torn, clothes splattered with dried blood. I recognized the clothes immediately. I opened the bags and pulled out the clothes that we had all been wearing the day of the accident. My grandmother, unable to throw anything out, had kept them. When I told my mother the bags vanished.
At night, before I fall asleep, I think about the street where we lived when I was a child. I remember the house at the end of the unmade road in Whitstable. Stanley Road. I remember hot summer afternoons on Duncan Down wading in the uncut hay looking for lizards and chasing dragonflies. At this time of year I would collect heaps of black berries and my mother would make blackberry and apple crumble.
I remember the big department store that used to be on Whitstable High Street. I remember the smell of cheap furniture and Santa’s glittery cardboard grotto stored in a room at the back of the store. On occasional moments through the day I find myself in that store, on my own, wandering as a small boy in that strange, sterile place.
September 11, 2006 – Monday
We Are All Americans Now
I was on the mountain by 8am. 24 dogs. Only two hours later than I usually go yet the Canyon folk at 8am are radically different from the earlier crowd. Instead of my usual bunch of single-minded, introverted business people focused on their morning walk at 6am today I saw more people, fewer dogs but all of them seemed to be playing out their breakfast dramas there on the hill. I said a rousing ‘hello!’ to the cute boy in the hat-he was so taken aback that he nearly fell over. I stopped and talked to Jeff the dog walker with his seven dogs. Poo bags tied to their collars. I saw a trainer berating his trainee. I saw a woman with a dog strapped to her chest in a papoose. For the first time ever up there on the dusty Runyon Canyon path I saw a mad person running up the hill insulting people. He offered me his card, when I declined he said, “I’m writing a novel! Say good morning to Barbra Streisand when you get home.” I bowed my head in embarrassment. Did he think that I was Jewish? “If you see Michael Moore, put a bullet through his head.” He ran off.
The woman behind me was shocked by his behaviour. I stopped to talk to her. Gabriella, Italian brought up in Paris. Firm hand shake. Cute dog. We both agreed that the world was a more dangerous place since 9/11. I wonder how many people across the world will be celebrating this day rather than mourning this day? How many people across the world had sympathy for the innocent of the twin towers the day it happened who now celebrate that fateful day? It is a sad shame. As the years pass the complex politic that came to such an appalling conclusion that day is being revealed. It is as if the US wanted to show the world in the years since 9/11 exactly why it SHOULD have happened. What is this war on terror? What do we expect to win when we say that the war must be won? We cannot win a war against an ideology or a philosophy.
Both the US and the UK had no plan to win a war when they marched triumphantly into Baghdad. We were told that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction. They planned to topple Saddam, find the weapons, win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis and take the oil. TAKE THE OIL. If we had left the day after Saddam was deposed the jubilant Iraqis would have given us the oil for free! Where once the people of Iraq were pleased to see us now they hate us. They hate that an innocent 14-year-old girl is raped and murdered by American soldiers along with her innocent family then their bodies burned. If a white 14-year-old girl had been gang raped by foreigners, her white five-year old brother and parents shot in the head in Bethnal Green or Brooklyn what reaction would we have? I tell you now that the streets would be raging with the rightful fury and indignation of those frightened residents. Yet, if the people of Dahuc complain or protest or demonstrate they are accused of being Insurgents or Terrorists and risk their lives to say it how it is. What new FREEDOMS have the US and the UK brought to the people of Iraq? The same freedom the people of the US enjoy? The freedom to be poor, fat, uneducated and lazy? Is this how we express our divine right to freedom?
When the trial of Saddam is done will the people of Iraq reflect on what they gave up? When the US chop off his head will they see just another Iraqi bending to our white will or are they going to cheer? Who will cheer more than Saddam as he goes martyred to the gallows?
George W Bush, like a priggish child, complains that his fellow citizens have to buy oil from folks who ‘don’t like us’. They don’t like us. Why don’t they like us? We have DEMOCRACY for goodness sake and FREEDOM and our girlies don’t have to wear that silly scarf and can get pregnant when they are 13 years old and take drugs and join gangs and live a godless life without spiritual guidance. If we do well we can afford premium cocaine and drink ourselves silly. We can imprison our grandparents in stinking old peoples homes. We can can give our children prescription drugs so that their inquisitive natures are dulled. People of Iraq vote for freedom, for democracy, for decadence.
The day after the Twin Towers fell La Monde declared that we were all Americans now. After the cruel and divisive invasion of Lebanon I saw a placard outside the Israeli embassy that read, ‘We are all Hezbolla now’.
What was I thinking?
My body craved the daily walk up Runyon Canyon that I denied it this morning. My thighs hurt from the leg work out at the gym. Took the bus from Labrea to Doheny along Sunset. Walked down hill from Sunset to Santa Monica. The bus is the university bus so it has fewer mad people on it. Less amputees and hunchbacks, fewer old men singing religious songs. The bus along Santa Monica Blvd is the worst for that kind of freak show. Once I saw a man with his head bandaged in loo roll, a wad of loo roll stuffed in his mouth. He could have been Matthew Barney making some sort of site-specific artwork I suppose but I doubt it.
When I lived in Santa Monica I took the Blue Bus all the way up Wilshire to the agencies. I had meetings with teams of agents from CAA and Endeavour and ICM and all the usual suspects. When AKA happened I never expected the positive reaction and was totally unprepared. Unprepared for the BAFTA nomination. Unprepared for the applause. It is what people come here to LA wishing, praying for and I did not know what to do with it when it was offered to me. You should have seen their agent faces when I told them that I had taken the bus. This was EVIDENCE of insanity.
It should have been a wonderful time after AKA but it was a terrible stress. It was the only time in my life that my enemies had to work over time to keep me down. They were so desperate they ended up revealing themselves. It was good to know that I wasn’t a mad paranoid fool. I had evidence that people did not want me to get on in Hollywood. Threatening e-mails, anonymous phone calls to agents and double-dealing. It was funny that these people were going to all this effort-you know I cannot blame them. They have their reasons but it is true that what goes around comes around. We all pay for our cruelties in the end.
I went from being totally ignored in London, being told that nobody would be interested in my film by Paul T at The Film Council to having all the major talent agencies chasing me. They were tenacious. Even after I had signed with Endeavour one agent drove all the way to Santa Monica to beg me to change my mind about the agency I had signed with. She said to me, in an attempt to persuade me to sign with her, “We have so much in common-we both like being fucked in the ass.” Another, hearing my ambitions to make low-budget films warned that I would “..end up like Ken Loach.” I heard all of their best agent lines and was unprepared for them. I laughed at their rehearsed speeches. If I had that time again would I do it differently? Of course I would! I lasted all of one week with Endeavour.
One smug agent thought that my big black leather Smythson’s Diary that I sat beside me during our meeting was a Bible and calling in the assistant to bear witness to her wit asked me what chapter I was reading. I looked at my diary and said carefully, “September?” The assistant watched her boss squirm for a moment then offered me a coke.
Much of what being successful is, is knowing what to do when opportunity is offered to you. I didn’t. I accept my own part in that disaster. Thank God I have never truly desired more than I could have. The concept of ‘enough’ is alien to most people. I am a single man. How much do I need? Do I need a huge house to kick about in on my own? That would just make me lonely. I think that my house in Whitstable is too big for me. It only really comes alive when it has a family in it. That is what it was built for-a family. Children running and screaming up and down the stairs.
I sat in on my 11.45 log cabin AA meeting but I was twitchy and felt odd once again to be there. It did not feel the same as the ones I go to in London. I did not feel safe there. Spoke briefly to a Brit who wants to use in his hotel room. He may call. I did my duty. I reached out to another alcoholic. I am working my steps with my sponsor. I am doing what I can at this moment.
Claudia collected me from Starbucks and we ate a nasty lunch in a cafe on Cahuenga. We talked about Eugenio as usual. What a life he leads! I am glad not to be pimping for him anymore. Dragging boys up from Hyde or The Abbey to the ten million dollar mansion with Richard for EL to impress with his art and drugs. What was I doing there? What did I think could possibly be the outcome of such a friendship?
I napped in the afternoon.
Made dinner for Victor and Ken and Ken’s wife. We ate two courses then played backgammon. Lovely evening.
When they all left I settled down to write this. I thought about something that has been haunting me for months maybe years. I never understood why Jay Jopling and I fell out. It has always been a mystery to me. He was once my close friend-then I was ignored. One day, last year, I was with a woman who admitted to me that she had lied to him about me. She admitted to me that she told him lies that I knew would have upset him greatly. Jay is a loyal man and will not tolerate disloyalty. SHE destroyed our relationship. I suddenly missed him. I missed him being my friend as he had been and now never would be-even if that woman called him tonight and told him the truth Jay and I would have missed out on so much together.
I remember JBC telling me that our relationship would only work if we ignored what people said about us. My relationship with JBC lasted seven years.
Must go to bed.
September 10, 2006 – Sunday
Sunday. Day of rest. AA meeting to go to. I may walk this evening. The same young man just left the house that left last week. No sex. I was not interested. That’s cool.
Saturday is Dom Day. We had lunch at M Cafe on Labrea. Dom had his oil changed at Jiffy Lube whilst we ate the contents of a bento box. Nothing to say about our conversation. After lunch we drove to Fred Siegel and bumped into Richard Squire and his friend Saweeda. They looked happy. More comments about my beard. In store Velvet bomber jacket by Lanvin costs $4000. I was shocked. I wanted to try it on but they did not have my size. I laughingly told the shop assistant (really sweet boy) that I had no intention of buying a $4000 velvet jacket-what ever the label. I could buy a scooter for that or invest in a new artist. “They don’t care what you look like,” Dom said, “All they want is their commission.” They don’t care about you-it’s true.
After Fred Siegel I napped for an hour and then Devon, very kindly, dropped me off at Marc Selwyn’s gallery on Wilshire to see the work of Paul P. Beautifully executed miniature paintings of boys from historical gay porn. I was the first one there. I enjoyed looking at his work on my own in the gallery. Reminded me of Whistler and Carriere. The dry point was particularly fine. Xan Rufus-Issacs arrived who loved the work and I think he may buy one of the paintings if one comes available; it was, needless to say, a sell out. In that part of town there were very, many exhibitions last night. Mostly new artists showing in established galleries. At Paul Kopeikin’s gallery, however, amongst the new tat I found a perfectly lovely David Hockney photo collage of the artists mother and a young blond man. I loved it. I remember in the late 80′s being bored by those huge ungainly photomontage pieces. Now I see that they are great works. $40,000 seemed cheap.
Xan and I are really connecting. He is very funny and warm. I find that I am slightly in awe of him for all the wrong reasons but am aware of this. I told him what happened with my brother and mother when I was at home. He asked if I had ever made amends to either of them and of course I have never ever made amends to my Mother for past behaviors. I wrote to my brother S offering amends but they were rejected, described as ‘nauseating’. We drove to Gagosian to see some austere black and white Japanese show. It was dull, serious and lacked energy. The crowd was sexier. The men wore expensive hats.
After Gagosian Xan and I sat on Sunset in the Coffee Bean and Xan showed some comedy porn he had on his phone. We drank very sweet frothy coffee.
Marc Selwyn had very kindly invited us to the dinner he was throwing at his house off of Doheny. The most perfectly charming post and beam set in a tree filled lot. The garden had been set for dinner. A hedge of majestic Cyprus keeping the event secret from the larger houses on the hill. We ate chicken with prunes and cous cous. I sat next to some very sweet collectors from Chicago. There was a great deal of discussion about Iraq, Bush, Iran and Israel. There was one very loud, rich collector who had uninformed opinions which I tried to contextualize. He asked for my number. His wife was dressed in clothes that had names printed all over them and two huge solitaire diamonds on her fleshy lobes.
I met Paul P’s boyfriend Scott Treleaven who is a video artist. They live in Toronto but they are moving to Paris. I want them to meet my friend SS. I think that they will get on with her very well. Scott had met Jarman in London and was inspired by him to make video work. I was really impressed by these two young, gay artists. We agreed that American artists seem to shy away from making work that says anything political at all. Why? Are they scared of being un-patriotic? Where is the fire that ignites political art? Can Damien Hirst only make work about love? The only show I saw in NYC that attempted to say anything about current world politics was Joseph Kosuth at Andrea Rosen.
Where are our polemical artists?
I had a great night and was in bed by 12. The evenings are drawing in. Next week it will be impossible to eat outside at night without those fierce out-door gas heaters. Now, I am going to walk to Santa Monica Blvd. and get the bus to my AA meeting.
September 9, 2006 – Saturday
42 dogs on the canyon path today. The path that scars the mountain as you look up at it from Labrea. Blue-eyed man is slowly learning how to say good morning. He glances at me now and cracks the merest smile. “Good morning!” I say. I hiked much later than usual, seven-thirty rather than six thirty, as I had slept fitfully. Daniel came in late with Jesse his b/f. I could hear them crashing around in his bedroom. Another grey morning. I like it grey and chilly.
It started off grey yesterday too but the mist burned off by 11.30 when I set out to meet Xan Rufus-Issacs for lunch. My legs were sore from my first stint with a trainer at the gym. Will, the trainer, is a small 25-year-old actor from the east coast. If he were an animal he would be chip monk. He asked me what exercise I did and I told him that I walked up RC every day. He scoffed. He then proceeded to take me through a punishing and wholly worthless leg programme. My legs, after all, are my best bits. My calves are worked out every day and my thighs and butt get hammered on the Canyon. Will said, “How does that compare with your walk on Runyon Canyon?” I saw that what he wanted was to PROVE something rather than help me. I shall insist on upper body when I go back on Monday.
After my walk I eat dates and nuts and coffee made in the pot Will Self bought for the house in Whitstable.
Lunch was wonderful. Xan and I ate at Italian restaurant on Brighton Way. Our waiter was a bit smelly. I ate antipasto and chocolate cake. We talked about Gus Van Sant, The Dangerous Sports Club-of which Xan was a founder member and his weekend into the wilds of Wyoming. We talked for two hours and afterwards I felt totally invigorated and optimistic. It seems that we have a friend in common-Tim Hunt. I met Tim when I was Lord Rendlesham. I have a very old picture of Tim Hunt, The Princess Anne of Bavaria, Alexis deToquville and me at dinner in Paris in 1982. Tim runs the Andy Warhol Foundation now. I like talking about that time; I so rarely get an opportunity to do so with people who understand it. I must be the same age as Xan. 1978, whilst I was in Whitstable being bullied by my stupid stepfather Xan was leaving a huge stately home and going to Oxford.
Lunch $37 with tip.
Barney’s after lunch. I saw apricot silk velvet pillows that I have been hankering after for AGES reduced from $350 to $100. I had to buy them. Shop assistant gave me his number.
Instead of going home I decided to stop by early at Lisa and Neal’s house that is not far from Barney’s and wait there until Shabbat dinner. I had a wonderful late afternoon playing with Lola, Mikhail and the Bush Baby. They must be all under the age of 4. Isaac, 8, arrived and I pretended to be his father’s retarded friend that amused him greatly. 41 on the outside 8 on the inside. Amanda who is 16 came home from school. We looked at the pictures of her summer camp and then we wandered down to Saks to return a vile Lacost shirt. Saks closes at 6 so we missed it and wandered back. She still owns the shirt. I sat in the den with the Bush Baby’s dad Aaron watching bad celebrity TV. The house slowly filled up with relatives of Lisa’s and one particularly annoying Australian actor friend of theirs who is not only unsophisticated but also ugly. Chip.
Chip is one of those people who insist on trying to get the better of you. He behaves like an old-fashioned school bully. I first met him when he turned up at Amanda’s sweet 16 at Wacky Waffles on Sunset. He was with Nick Sawyer who was Orlando Bloom’s PA and now produces movies-notably he is producing Macbeth with John Maybury. There was some misunderstanding between Nick and myself about illicit drug taking and we needed to sort it out. Anyway, it was unpleasant and was totally inappropriate for this discussion to take place at Amanda’s sweet sixteen. The moment Chip arrived last night he starts goading me about this incident and was delighted that I did not find it very funny. Chip then asked me to open the wine knowing that I go to AA and really don’t like to do it. When I refused he took Lisa’s brother into the scullery and giggled. What a fucking IDIOT. I had my meeting with James Franco to get to at the Chateau Marmont so I took my cushions and scarpered. All the children came to the door to kiss me goodbye.
Arrived at the Chateau. Heard my name being screamed across the lobby. Chris Parker. I could not talk. He was with two girls who looked like they had their phones glued to their ears.
All I want to say about James is this: he is a gentleman. We watched the film. We drank Badoit. He drove me home in his Bentley.
Missed out on dinner with Selina and Aleksa. Will send apology immediately I finish this.
When I returned from London two weeks ago I felt energised. I felt strong. Two weeks into being back here and I feel put upon. That is the only way to describe it. I feel pressured by unknown forces. Low-level dissatisfaction pervades my day. I engage with fools and play their games. I am already sick of listening to the trials of others in one-sided conversations. I do not trust that people will do their best, I like to think that professionals in the UK give their all rather than here where people do the barest minimum. God works hard for me in LA. I hand over a great deal to him. Perhaps today will be better.
Go where the love is.
September 8, 2006 – Friday
How could I forget to mention that the towels have FINALLY been returned to the cupboard in the bathroom where they live. Hurrah! Thank you for your concerned e-mails and notes. Again, I can confirm that Daniel washed and returned the misssing towels.
It is a totally over-cast, grey day on Runyon Canyon. 35 dogs. The elderly Russian men had the stroller with baby as well as a miniature clipped poodle-the ginger variety. Getting to know all of the regulars, what they wear, the route they take, the smell of their antiperspirants. One-man prances down the hill, taking tiny, pointed toe steps like a Lipizzaner horse performing dressage. Bird life evident on a dull morning, I saw plovers, humming birds and crested grouse.
I hope today proves a little less frustrating than yesterday.
It started after I posted my blog. One of my oldest friends called from Europe-I was really pleased to hear from her. She is a very chic art collector who I met and had a brief but passionate affair with when I was in my late teens. As with all of my friends we have had our ups and downs. We have had periods of silence and moments of high drama. I was thrilled to hear from her-I always am but I could hear in her voice that something was wrong, the very same something that I have been aware of for some considerable time. She confronts me-challenges me. We end up having a furious row but instead of slamming the phone down I finally demand to know what was the matter? What was this all about? She tearfully told me that she was going to be 52 next week and the penny dropped. Menopause. It was that that had kept her up all night sweating, reliving the past, feeling inadequate-confronting her own mortality, wanting to relive past sexual conquests. On the edge of madness. It was this terrible hormonal upheaval that she could not speak about previously that now explained everything about our recent history. This is real! This isnt madness and nor was it anything to do with me. Now we have something to work with and work through. She seemed delighted as her friends refused to say that, “Horrible word.”
Chris P arrived for lunch and we talked about his recent past. We never talk about me. He never asks about me. He really knows nothing about me. All he knows is that I am mad. Ate at American Rag. $35. Bad shrimp salad-unsatisfactory French toast. Moody waitress expecting a huge tip. Tips get on my fucking nerves. Tips are for good service. Since when did they become mandatory? My worst tip experience happened in NYC when I paid by credit card and then left the tip (double the tax) in cash. I left the restaurant only to have the not very attentive waitress scream after me, “Where’s my God Damned tip?” I told her that I had left it on the table in cash-we went back to where I was sitting and there it was on the saucer where I had left it. I asked the waitress for an apology, she refused, I took back the tip. Chris and I discussed Joe Townley and why I don’t really want to see him. It isn’t him. It is who I become when I see him. I don’t like who I am when I spend time with Joe.
After lunch Chris asked me why I refused to get a car. No answer.
My friend Charlie P is a rich, successful media man. When I need advice or guidance I call him. He is incredibly generous with his time. Whenever we meet I insist that I pay for our lunch or dinner. I feel that it is right and proper that I do so. He is always pleased because nobody ever pays for him. It suddenly occurred to me yesterday why sexual favours are so prevalent in this city. I have sat on so many occasions with actors advising them about their careers. Who to go to, who is good, who can help etc. Do these people ever think for one moment what this is worth to them? Do they consider that it might me nice to take me to lunch for helping them? Then I realised. They have nothing to give. Young poor men and women have only their bodies to offer for good advice. That is the currency of the Hollywood meat market economy.
I was quoted in US weekly yesterday re John Travolta. Good quote.
After lunch I was meant to be seeing another actor who used to be in Angel but he failed to show up. This flaky arrogant behaviour is so LA. I called him and shouted at him for ten minutes. He is a deeply closeted actor. He accused me of being over emotional. This is the second time that he has let me down. I could have been with Gil and the kids or seen my sponsor or prepared some writing. Instead of which I sat around waiting for a tosser who could not be bothered to call.
I joined the gym. What a palaver. I had decided that I wanted to join LA Fitness at the end of the street. It is walkable, it is new and the facilities are good. I made up my mind, my credit card in my hand I told the girl at the desk that I wanted the introductory offer of $35 a month and could I get a membership? Nothing so fucking simple I’m afraid. I had to meet Carl who was going to show me the ‘facilities’. Carl told me all about his marriage break-up. Carl made no bones about the fact he thought I was gay. ” This is the kiddie room but a man like you won’t be needing that.” He asked what I thought I was doing climbing Runyon Canyon at my age-he suggested that I had to take care of my ‘brittle bones’. “I want you to come HERE every day Roy.” “My first name is Duncan.” I told him for the 5th time. “Is that your black Bentley parked outside Roy?”
Finally, after being shown the sauna, the cardio area and the racket ball courts I got my pass.
Peter Youngblood-Hills for dinner. Peter was in AKA he played Benjamin. We have had many adventures all over the world together and now we both live in LA. He arrived at my house on the scooter I want to buy. I cooked dinner. We had a great time together. We looked at his amazing photographs. He showed me the ones he took of me in Baja. We discussed JA who we stayed with there. We knew then that something was wrong with her. She was so thin and her jaw jutted out. Baja killed JA. All that misery she had to deal with. We talked about the whales we had seen and what a majestic experience it was. Peter has been in Africa with his friend Leonardo. Scoober diving with manta rays. He found cave dwelling shamans and photographed them. We discussed the Sufi myth The Conference of the Birds, which Peter Brook staged in Paris in 1980. I remember seeing that play as if I had just seen it yesterday. I had made my way to Paris just to see the play. I used to love theatre. I just hated making something that existed then there was no real evidence that we had existed at all. It is my arrogance that demands that I leave a mark.
Peter has a show of his work on the 17th September.
September 7, 2006 – Thursday
Only 12 dogs this morning on Runyon Canyon.
I woke at sunrise and slogged up the hill. Very few people are out and about that early. Before the sun breaks over the horizon it is easier to see the path ahead of you. It is not going to be so hot today, 10 degrees cooler. Every day, before my walk, I pray for JA. Yesterday was another bangingly hot day. After yesterdays hike I wrote e-mails and noted that, annoyingly, my blog had moved out of sequence.
Yesterday was a simple day. Chatted more to Chris P about his career. Had lunch with Clifton at American Rag we sat next to two very over weight managers who said things like, “He’s the next Charlie Kaufman.” I ate the avocado stuffed with coronation chicken salad. $50 including tip.
After lunch my beautiful actor friend Josh came over to discuss his auditions. He is so fucking handsome yet lacks that essential oomph that gets him the job. He is probably a good enough actor but when you audition and are THAT fit you need to follow through with direct eye contact (he has piercing blue eyes) and crack that cheeky smile and every single door in LA will open before you. Josh is worried that people will perceive him as arrogant if he is too sure of himself. When you are that beautiful people expect you to be a little bit arrogant. Nobody wants a nerd in buffs clothing.
I have never been that good-looking but I exude confidence and I genuinely believe that things are going to work out. I rarely feel defeated, even when things are DIRE. Since I got sober nothing frightens me. So many people live in so much fear. Financial insecurity, snakes, Muslims, preparing raw meat. When I was younger I was ok looking, young-looking, but when I walked into a room people were aware that I was there: by reputation, by the way I dressed but mostly by my presence. It’s a fact.
Josh is a war hero fresh from Iraq-he should be super confident. I will take him to the next Hollywood do I go to. He needs to be out there, dressed up, making things happen. Letting people know who he is. We all do that in this city. It is like living in 17th Century Versailles. The etiquette, the pecking order, the instant recognition that leads to stellar patronage. Who sits where in restaurants or how they are sitting and with whom they sit. Madame de Pompadour by Nancy Mitford is a great book to read if you really want to know how Hollywood works. As a maverick film maker (Sharon calls me the gay film enfant terrible) I am intrigued by it all but do not invest in it.
One day I would like to make a film about the three most powerful gays in the city. The producer and the two agency bosses. Each of them have such a different style in business and their relationship with boys can be used as a metaphor for their general dealings. One of them is corrupt and corrupting. One creates protégés in the boys he dates and the other hires boys then dismisses them.
The less powerful gays jump up at the table like dogs of these three and a most undignified sight it is. My advice to any young actor arriving in Hollywood: There are certain hot tubs in LA you must avoid at any cost!
Had long chat with Effie Brown who is post producing Dorian Gray. She is a saint. Very business like though, very strong. I really like her, you know exactly where you stand with Effie. No bullshit!!
The Internet introduced me to a young man who came over as a prospective date. We fed the tame squirrel nuts. No sex. He left when Dom turned up to take me to dinner with his friend Andres who is moving to Zurich. Oddly he knows the sister of Antoinette Stern with whom we spent New Years Eve.
The Beef ribs we gnawed on for dinner were disgusting. $25. I was a bit hyper after having spent all day with Josh. Conversation about Lindsay Ls vagina on the Internet. No knickers as she got out of the car. Poor LL.
Will join gym today. May alternate between Canyon and gym.
8:14 AM September 6, 2006 – Wednesday
thirty-four dogs on Runyon Canyon. Saw a group of elderly Russian men pushing a baby in a stroller. Had sudden panic that I could be arrested for smiling at lesbians. “I smile at everybody.” Would be my pathetic defence in the courtroom. Nobody smiles on Runyon Canyon.
Sprinting up the canyon I thought about my father dying of pancreatic cancer when he was only 53. The last pictures of him are on his hospital bed looking defeated but still very fat. He only had one eye. Lost it in a Porsche racing accident. I thought, as I was running up the very steep bit of the canyon, my heat pounding, if I should really be taking it easy at my age. I could just drop dead at any moment. I thought about this: When my father was a young man somebody threw him out of a second floor window because he owed them money.
Yesterday began with Erik L the writer arriving to rake over My Funny Valentine for comedy ideas. We began discussing each character, their motivation etc. We decided that the leading man’s sidekick needed to be a group rather than an individual. We nailed the ‘heavenly’ side of the story into shape and made sense of what happens on earth. Discussed casting. Needs to be cast by AFM. Erik left just after lunch.
Dan Glenn popped by to cheer me up even though I was perfectly cheery. A few minutes after he left Chris Parker arrived with chocolate muffins. We sat by the back door and ate them. The squirrel that lives in my yard likes me spraying him with cold water. Chris and I amused ourselves with that for a little while. Chris may go back to London and get on with his acting. I used to scoff at LA dream chasing but now I see that it is all part of the process. We discussed his career then he too drove off. I am a refugee in this city. I cannot go home and do what I do here. Very hot yesterday and the day before.
Tony my neighbour dropped by to say hello. He had been in Redondo Beech dressed as a Hot Dog for three days being paid $50 an hour. Children hugging his legs. He lost a lot of weight in that costume.
Dinner with Ian Drew at The Chateau Marmont. As we arrived Will Carter screams at me, “Have you been doing BED AND BRAKFAST?” I am stunned. Why would the maitre de of the Chateau Marmont know such a thing? I admit that I have. “It’s all over town.” Ian pipes up. I flounder for a moment. How can I explain just how important it is for me to honour both sides of who I am? When I do b and b I serve rather than be served, I listen rather than be heard. It is terribly important for arrogant bad Duncan to be of service. That’s why I do Reiki. I looked a little perplexed but thankfully Nicole Richie arrived and kissed us all and the B and B topic was, thankfully, set aside. Anyway, this perfectly describes the collision of my two lives.
Ian and I have a very jolly supper. Shrimp/Artichoke/Steak. We discuss my life pre Whitstable this summer when we sort of lost contact-I was traded in for a boyfriend. I told him how mad it became going up to see EL every night. Night after night with Lindsey Lohan and that gang watching them party. We discuss the Prada party that neither of us bothered going to but was apparently the best party of the season thrown by our friend Amanda Demme. The last memorable party she threw was a Prince private concert for 200 people at the Roosevelt. I went with Ian and we must have been the only non-celebrities there. Ian is best known for giving evidence at the Michael Jackson trial. Half way through dinner Ian made us move inside to a very bad table because he thought he saw Elizabeth Taylor. It wasn’t.
I see my friend Steve Garbarino (editor in chief of Black Book) with Stellan Skarsgaard and sit with them for a moment. Maddy, Steves divine girl friend is packing in her room before she heads back to New York. I see the adorable James Franco eating dinner with his charming friends. We will meet this Friday to watch my film. Joel Mikely was busy with Peter Bogdanovitch and Brittany Murphy. I love Joel.
Sadly, I also bumped into DP (Paramount number cruncher) and TB (bit player) who are ghastly people. Snobby DP telling more dreary stories about getting drunk-she had just returned from Deauville film festival and was disappointed that there were too few parties. She boasted, “Last time I was here at the Chateau I was up until 5 getting WASTED.” Ha ha ha. When is she going to realise just how un-cool that is? TB may be amused by the John Travolta US Weekly issue. TB is a (very cute) gay who is vile about gays in public. Ian complimented DP’s new longer, wavy hair extensions.
In the lobby Will introduced us to two very handsome marines who had some how got past security. They invited us to have a drink at the Bar Marmont. I had lemonade. Ian was impatient to get to Foo Bar and belt out something by The Rolling Stones. We love karaoke. Monday nights are better but we had a great time anyway. The marines were sweet and very gay/gay friendly. After Ian brilliantly sang to us all we said goodbye to the marines and drove to Beige on Sunset but it was dead after labor day. Ian introduced himself to anybody we met as Kate Moss. “You filled out a bit Kate.” one rather cute Latino boy cheekily spat back at him. Of course all I could hear on the way home was, “Do you think I’m fat?”
September 5, 2006 – Tuesday
Only 23 dogs on Runyon Canyon today. Why?
After the holiday weekend perhaps everybody had already hiked by 7am or perhaps they come later after a heavy night. I whipped up the Canyon in no time. I had a great deal on my mind. At first I thought about not going or taking an easier path but every time my head tells me to take a day off my workout-to take the softer, easier path-I remind myself that JA is savoring every day as it may be her last and so, out of respect, should I.
On the way down the Canyon I try to say good morning to everyone I meet. I have learned that to simply nod and smile is ignored. The sort of nod and smile that I would appreciate on Whitstable beach for instance. A mouthed ‘morning’ always solicits a reply from old people and people of colour but never from young white men or women. A hearty British old-fashioned ‘Good Morning’ shakes all of them out of their self-obsession. Of course, one can look totally insane doing that. The best way to make contact with any of them is to say hello to their dog. However, I refuse to talk to dogs. “Come on Philip.” Calling dogs’ human names is, quite frankly, batty. I like Dogs to have Dog names like Scamp, Napkin, Ruffian etc. If owners must insist on human names for dogs then choose names that express something about the nature of the specific dog e.g. Napoleon.
Manny’s on Fairfax for breakfast yesterday with the gang (food is just OK, the waitress forgets to post order so food arrives 40 mins after we did.) The couple on the table next to us arrive carrying a dog in a basket-a shaved Pomeranian. Just its face remained Pomeranian looking. They pulled the dog out of the bag and plop it under the table. “Is your dog friendly?” They ask the couple next to us. “No.” I say. We all laugh. We make small talk about the Pomeranian. I tell them that their dog looks like Dakota Fanning. “We never heard that before.” They say, laughing. I ask them if they are trying for a baby. I am forever asking straight couples if they are trying for a baby. “That’s our baby.” she said. On another table there is an Italian Grey Hound that is so thin it obviously has bulimia. “Does your dog have self-image problems?” I ask. They laugh. Imagine that thin dog thing hanging over the toilet-it’s little paw shoved down its throat. My friend arrived with his dog Nick which is a terrier/chihuahua mix and quite sweet I suppose. When we got home I realised that Nick was going to be like a third person in the apartment. When we went to lay on the bed my friend insisted Nick came too. Call me old-fashioned but I do not think that sleeping with dogs is entirely hygienic. So, rather than spend time with me on our own and put the dog outside the bedroom he left.
What preoccupied me as I climbed the mountain? My roommate, Daniel. Where do I begin? The towels have not been returned. Daniel and his very young boyfriend pick at my stuff in the kitchen, nuts etc., but not enough for me to make a decent complaint. I buy a huge carton of kitchen roll; he buys two (to make matters worse his towels are printed with gold-fish). He occasionally forgets to flush the toilet leaving the lid down so when I lift it…
Then, last night at 3.45, I wake, as if from a nightmare, hearing a huge crash in the kitchen, of course, think that somebody is breaking into the apartment I leap out of bed. I see that the rug in the hall is folded over and rather than be timid I shout. “Who the fuck is there?” and charge toward the kitchen. Standing in the dark is Daniel holding a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice. He is obviously very drunk and calmly begins questioning me about why I am screaming around the house. His tone is sinister. “Tell me exactly why you found it necessary to scream.” I heard him say as I retreated. I go to bed. I can hear that my neighbors have heard what is going on and will need to explain to them later.
Joe Townley called. He is having a great time in early sobriety. I remember my first sober New Years Eve. I was in the Sydney Opera House watching The Magic Flute. During the interval we watched the midnight fire works that set the entire Sydney Harbour Bridge ablaze and then we returned to the opera house for the second part of the opera. Perfect. My first six sober New Years Eve were even more perfect than the last. Three mediocre New Years Eve followed (including one with Georgina in Sydney) and then last year, of course, I was in St Moritz with the wonderful Antoinette Stern.
Today Erik the writer comes and Valentine begins in earnest.
November 7, 2006 – Tuesday
Woke at 6.30. Answered British e-mails. Sadly, when I started my hike, I had already missed the Latvian dwarves. For the first time since I started my daily walk up Runyon Canyon I noticed the terrible stench of dog piss at the Fuller gate. Starting an hour later than usual means that there are many more dogs (35) and people in the Canyon, it was also very, very warm. Earthquake weather. I took the steep path. I did not stop to rest. The view from the summit was spectacular over the city to the ocean. I always forget to mention just how many trees there are down there amongst the houses.
Sadly, there were three, very annoying dog owners shouting at their hapless mutts. Poor Roxie the Ridgeback belongs to a couple of old queens of the Liberace variety. Roxie had decided, rather unwisely, to take a faster path down the mountain causing her overly distraught owners to bellow her name in tandem again and again. Roxie, frankly, looked like she had enough. The other screamer was the type I described last time. A fat straight guy who wanted us all to know how powerful he was. Screaming after his dog at the top of his voice. I told him to shut up. He looked less powerful after that. Nobody wants to listen to screamers first thing in the morning. Nobody.
The weekend was potentially fraught with relationship tensions. I did not see Sharon.
On Friday morning I drove to Santa Monica to meet with Jason at the American Film Market and discuss our project Funny Valentine. We will get there one of these days but what a God damned struggle. It was fun to see Jason in his new capacity as MD of Velvet Octopus. He had new specs on which made him look like a Dutch diplomat-very elegant. Saw Houston King, saw Tiffany Whittome-it was obvious that I was going to bump into a bunch of familiar faces it was AFM.
Met with Eric S for lunch. He is such a beautiful man. I then sat in on his conversation with Jason as they discussed how hedge funds work in the film industry. Even though I did not understand half of what they were saying I felt like taking a shower after Matt explained what a shady business it all is.
I cooked dinner for a bunch of architects at my house on Friday night, roasted some garlic and bacon and chicken. Baked potatoes were delicious. Aleksa brought over some home-baked strawberry pie, which we ate with cherry ice cream. I was in bed by 11pm exhausted.
On Saturday morning I drove to my AA meeting in Brentwood then had breakfast at the City Café. Maury prepared some succulent French toast made of Brioche with caramelized apples. Met Eric S who ate more French Toast then drove to his orange, 5 bedroom Spanish Hacienda in the Palisades which he is clearing so that he can rent it. He was going to chuck everything out but his brother and I persuaded him to have an impromptu garage sale. We put up two hasty notices sprayed onto cardboard and the customers arrived in droves. Before long most of the junk had gone and we had pockets full of cash. An honest trade. I am obsessed with this notion. It is the Iranian in me.
On Saturday night I met Nathan for dinner, we had a great time.
On Sunday Nathan and I had breakfast at the 101. After breakfast I sat in the auction rooms at Bonham’s and bought an eight-foot jigsaw of a plane crashing. It is wonderful.
Lunch with Jane Garnett and Marc in Santa Monica then collected Johnny T from airport. Dropped Johnny’s stuff off at his hotel in Century City then ate dinner at Chateau M. Saw Steve Garbarino (editor of Blackbook) and his girl friend Maddy sitting with Val Kilmer. Steve congratulated me on the piece I’d written for him about Oscar Wilde. I loved writing it. I used to write for The Sunday Times Style Section when Tim was editor. When I arrived at Steve’s table I made that terrible cliché of an error of thinking that I already knew Val Kilmer and asked enthusiastically how he was doing and what he was doing next before realising that I did not know him at all. The last time I did that was to Diana Ross in First Class from Cannes to London. OH GOD. How foolish.
After dinner we drove back west to Jason’s party, which was hugely entertaining. Saw Peter Youngblood with the guys who own Revolver. Saw Tiffany Whittome. Did not stay long. Back on the Freeway home. Dropped Johnny off at Guy’s. That boy is going to be a huge star.
When I got home I paid my Canterbury City Council tax over the phone. I then realised that as a single man I was entitled to a 25% discount that I had asked for some time ago but had not been applied to my account. Consequently I have been overpaying my Council Tax for 6 years. They owe me 6x£300=£1,800. When I complained they told me that I was not considered a Whitstable resident. NOT A WHITSTABLE RESIDENT? I immediately contacted my lawyers.
November 3, 2006 – Friday
Thick sea mist cloaked the Canyon. The sun diffused through the cloud like sand blasted glass. The path became mysterious, dogs emerging from nowhere, crickets chirruping, a jogging man singing loudly to himself. Everyone else walked silently on the damp earth crunching under foot. I enjoy the silence.
At the foot of the mountain one man was shouting at his dog. I am developing a violent reaction against people who shout at their dogs. Screaming at the top their voices ‘Come here!’ There is a man I hear regularly who wears ripped jeans screaming at all three of his dogs. One of them is called Lily. He is not shouting at his dogs because he believes that the dog will not come. He shouts at his dogs because he wants to let me know that he is assertive, powerful, that he can bend the will of those around him.
On Tuesday night I had dinner with Erik, my lawyer, at his house in Bel Air. He has an expensive, modern home with a Zen garden. If one HAS to have a Zen garden then I suppose this one, with its Mount Fuji waterfall was fairly accomplished. Inside was a mish mash of mid-century furniture and huge black and white photographs by Herb Ritts. There was a particularly beautiful David Hockney. We watched my film, which obviously baffled my dear friend. We ate tofu burgers and sweet potato chips. The dog snored all the way through which I thought might have been Erik. You can’t win them all.
The following day I visited Katherine Ross who has just moved from NYC to her vast new home in Hancock Park. In each of the tennis court proportioned reception rooms were no more than a sofa and a dining room table. When I asked when the rest of the furniture was arriving she told me that this was it. They live very minimally. They have not, however, had time to install any of their huge art collection so I am sure that when the art is there it will all make perfect sense. We had a very pleasant time together discussing the vagaries of LA and housekeepers and what an exciting time it is for both her and her husband.
I then drove to my lawyer’s office to collect my hat and sign a letter of engagement. Tea and pound cake with Lisa Specter at her house in Beverly Hills and then The Shave where I had my hair cut, my beard trimmed and the gremlin hair on my ears removed. I also had a manicure but the blond woman with the huge breasts who cut my cuticle was a little too eager and this morning I can scarcely type as the ends of my index fingers are red raw.
Driving back up Wilshire I decided to drop in on Marc Selwyn who is showing Mel Bochner in his dear little gallery. We hung out for a little while discussing Dorian, which I intend to open in a gallery setting when the film opens in February. Marc told me that the art world in LA had tried for 50 years to make a relationship with Hollywood and failed. He had various theories: transient population, financial insecurity, cultural insecurity. None of which really made sense. Film people, who already consider themselves artists, simply don’t understand the more obscure art that people like Marc sell in his gallery. They cannot see how buying art will benefit or enrich them in any way more than the art that they are presently engaged with-film making. Ultimately, to buy art one must disengage with ones own cynicism and very expensively engage with half-baked concepts and conceits. Film people are loathed to do anything so dumb.
Whilst we were discussing art my car was being towed. Spent next hour and a half and $180 dealing with that little palaver. By the time I got home it was time to get ready for the Bobby premiere, which was showing at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood and doubled as the first night celebration of the AFM. Sharon brought a couple of very chic dresses and a very pretty fur coat. We looked like a very cool couple as we walked to the theatre from my house-Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is only two blocks away from where I live. When we arrived we went directly to the head of the huge will call line, we were both starving so ate vile hot dogs and diet coke. Spoke briefly with Lindsey L who looked very nervous. After 5 tedious speeches from various dignitaries including the very high voiced Emilio Estevez, the Mayor and Harvey Weinstein we watched one of the worst films I have ever seen. It was like a long episode of Hotel with famous people in it. It was vacuous, tedious, clumsy, laughable. What astounded me was that this terrible film was meant to be a tribute to a man who might have been great? Then, I realised what it really was. Using my Versailles/Hollywood analogy it all made sense: The King and Queen want to provide an entertainment for all of the courtiers and insist that the dauphin and duchesses all take part. The King will write the script and make a humble appearance and all of his friends and the friends of his friends will play the various roles. The King is a genius.
I wish I had not worn my Dior smoking jacket.
Bobby Kennedy had 11 children.
The after party took place at the Roosevelt. Sharon and I dashed over to the buffet where we ate ravenously. We met charming people including the very dashing Paris Latsis who I first met at Eugenio Lopez’s house. Everyone was a little too embarrassed to say what they really thought about Bobby. People we did not know would tentatively ask if either of us had anything to do with making it before telling us how dreadful they thought it was. Holly Elwes, the producer, was standing in the Dakota restaurant at the Roosevelt. She looked shell-shocked. She was wearing a horrible dress. Of course we all told her how wonderful the film was. How amazing she was. How exquisitely the dauphin and the dukes and the little cardinals had performed.
We left at 1.30am. I did not wake up until 8am. Hillary came over and we messed around at mine then drove to hers. Sat in the knitting shop and knitted. Went to Marc Jacobs and bought six pairs of shoes in their one day only 80% off sale. Drove to sponsors house and spewed my guts out about starting a relationship-how vulnerable it makes me feel. The great thing about my wonderful sponsor is that he speaks a truth I understand. His wise words make so much sense to me. I love my sponsor.
Errands included laundry, DMV, cleaning Daniel’s disgustingly dirty room that he finally vacated on the 1st November. I have never in my life been so happy to see the back of someone. I can sleep without fear of being disturbed. I do not lay in my bed expecting to be woken in the middle of the night by party boy lodger and his foetus b/f.
Ate dinner with Ian at Chateau Marmont. Sat next to Geoffrey Rush who was discussing Are You Being Served. We then bowled over to the BAFTA/LA awards at Century Plaza. Sharon had a ticket for me for dinner and the celebrations. Stephen Fry hosting the event very amusingly. Dustin Hoffman, Tim Robbins and Forest Whitaker presenting awards to Sidney Poitier, Rachel Weisz, Anthony Minghella and Clint Eastwood. The awards were good but the party afterwards felt like a suburban dinner and dance just like I remember my parents going to when I was a kid. Blousy women wearing too much make up, too many sequins, the men in moth-eaten tuxedos. The invitation should have read: Join BAFTA/LA to honour Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood with a dinner and dance in the Hove Cricket Club situated behind the gas works. Carriages. It actually said ‘carriages’ at the end of the invite. It should have said, Self Parking.
We ended the evening at Hollywood Social at Aldomovar party where drunk, gay Sony Classic publicist made a fool of himself.
October 31, 2006 – Tuesday
This morning, the polite Latvian dwarves were not standing silently on the corner of El Cerrito Place waiting for their ride to the day care facility. They were at home screaming at each other in Latvian. Rather, I saw the old woman dressed in a floral, floor length house coat on her 5th Floor balcony screaming back at what could only have been the silent husband. She held, in her right hand, a long carving knife. She kicked thuggishly at her screen door on her way back into the apartment. I lingered on the street for a few minutes wondering what would happen next but I really did not want her to clock me out there on the street listening to them..to her. Aleksa told me that the old lady was well-known for screaming, everybody knew about her on the street. I was so sad. She had always been so polite to me. “Good morning”. She would say softly, reverentially.
Amazingly I got ‘looked’ at today on Runyon Canyon by somebody quite cute. Even though I knew I would never act on it just being looked at in that way gave my day a tiny kick-start. When ever I get my beard going I am looked at all the time. My woollen beany over my eyebrows and a big bushy beard and I get looked at. There were no more than 20 dogs on the path this morning. One of them belonged to a very striking fellow who showed me where below us the 101, the 405 and the 10 (freeways) all connected. Very useful information. You could see the 101 snaking over towards Silverlake.
Yesterday was a horrible day. Horrible. I don’t think that I can even bring myself to tell you what happened yesterday morning but needless to say it was all about relationships, expectations, disappointment. Damn! What can I do about this? By lunchtime I was in no mood for anything else to go wrong but it just so happened that this was another day when calls were not returned as eagerly as I wanted them and e-mails remained unanswered.
Spoke to Gary D, really pleased to hear his voice.
So that I might try to fix my feelings in a positive way I caught a bus to the coffee bean on Sunset and Fairfax and ordered a blended caramel frapaccino. I sat outside on the chilly patio and watched a homeless man trying to get food or money from who ever would listen. The people he begged from were polite but he didn’t manage to get anything from any of them. Finally, he sat down at one of the empty tables opposite me and picked shreds of thick black skin off of the souls of his feet that he then placed carefully on to the table. I will never, ever drink a caramel frapaccino ever again.
I went to two AA meetings yesterday after the homeless foot skin incident; I went to one at 5.15 and another at 7.45. The first made me feel OK the second compounded the feelings of utter misery. In between the two meetings I managed to cram in a screaming conversation with both my realtor and the realtor of the house that I am meant to be buying. Buying houses is a shit experience in LA. Shit.
I was in bed by 11.00.
October 30, 2006 – Monday
The sky is grey but it is not cold. The clocks fell back on Sunday so I can climb the mountain at 6am and it’s not going to be pitch black. Today, there were mostly women on the path. 23 dogs. The craggy dwarves were on the corner of my street, she was wearing lipstick..again. He looked very carefully at me when I greeted his wife. Apparently they wait there to be collected for day care. There goes my maid/butler fantasy.
I came home to the smell of fresh coffee and pineapple. I am really loving where I live, at just the moment I am about to pack up and leave. Isn’t that always the way? I spend hours rearranging the furniture, the rugs, the bits and pieces that I have hauled in my luggage to this town to make myself feel better about being here. A big bowl of green apples and papaya on my mirrored table gives me more pleasure than anything I can describe. On a cloudy day like today in LA when there is a certain chill in the air I relax a little more than I usually do. Like taking a roast leg of lamb out of the oven. The juices seem to settle.
On Saturday morning I called JA who has cancer. I dreaded calling her, as she has been so understandably angry of late. But for the first time since she knew how ill she was she sounded really optimistic, joyful even. She spends two weeks in Germany being treated for cancer then flies back to Mexico to build her houses. She really is an amazing woman. When you have a life or death emergency in your life everything becomes very clear. The decisions that you have to make to survive are non negotiable. I heard it in her voice. She told me that she would be spending Christmas in London with her children and I wondered, of course I did, if it would be her last Christmas and if it was then London is the perfect place to be.
The weekend flew past. I spent almost all of it with Sharon zooming around in her little black sports car. We drove to Malibu on Saturday, walked barefoot in the surf, ate huge prawns in a Greek restaurant then headed home. There were several graceful young dear on the Pepperdine lawn looking over at us in our fast cars. That night we had dinner with Sharon’s friend Jeff. Jeff lives in a house close by to where I live but his Spanish looking home is built on a bluff, high up, overlooking Hollywood. There is no access whatsoever by car to his house or the twenty or so other houses he shares his bluff with so one has to take a rickety old elevator from the street to get to it. What happens if his house catches fire, how would the fire department get to him? Jeff made me carve a face in the side of a pumpkin. Ann L says that Halloween is her least favourite American tradition. I think that you probably need little children to truly enjoy it. Anyway, I carved the face in the pumpkin then we had a very jolly dinner of pork ribs, salad and great conversation. Jeff is a 35-year-old producer. He is writing a book called: How to get out of Hollywood. It sounds very funny indeed.
On Sunday morning after my solitary walk up Runyon Hillary came over and cooked our breakfast. She is so funny, nearly as bad as me at falling out with everyone. I found her honesty about it very endearing. When Sharon arrived to pick me up I smelt of bacon and eggs. We went to an 11am private screening of Venus starring Peter O’Toole. Just us in the cinema as the woman from the studio who was meant to be with us had a rat problem at her house so had to leave and call exterminators.
The opening shot of Venus is the view over the Swale from my house in Whitstable. That was exciting. The film was so very nearly brilliant. So very, very nearly. It was a terrible shame. Leslie Phillips was wonderful. Peter was very good. Vanessa Redgrave was redundant and theatrical. That woman’s acting has suffered from doing too much TV. The editing was ghastly. Hanif Kureishi’s crude excesses should have been cut out. So SAD. So very nearly a masterpiece. I could go on. I won’t.
After the disappointment of Venus we ate lunch at M café sharing a plate of roasted vegetables and iced water. In the afternoon I had a nap then drove to Wholefoods with Aleksa and Devon who bought fish for our dinner with Steven Francisco who is the dear from Effie’s party the other night. In bed by 11.30.
October 28, 2006 – Saturday
Saturday morning. Not going for my hike until later. Not going to my AA meeting.
The day before yesterday, after my walk, I had a busy Dillon St/Dorian Gray day. Mortgages, counter offers, meetings with publicists and finally dinner at Ago with Ruth Vitali.
For whatever reason, known only to my mad self, I am being dragged kicking and screaming into this house purchase. Buying a house should be a delight! Instead it is all so fucking complicated and moves at the wrong pace. I feel bullied into making important decisions quickly without due consideration. So, I started the day in the vilest mood making poor Corey the realtor sweat buckets. By 2pm I still hadn’t had anything to eat. I was insane with hunger. The Mexicans in the deli where Corey works looked terrified when I stormed into their quiet lives demanding a cheese sandwich. When I finally ate something I felt normal again. I signed the offer and Corey sent it over.
At 3pm I met Bettina at Fred Segal where we checked over the evolving Dorian press release. I am getting to really like BK even though she has a laconic countenance and a squeaky voice. She gets to know me slowly, deliberately and is obviously very suspicious but why shouldn’t she be? I think that she has prudently learned to keep her cards close to her chest. LA is a tough city.
After our meeting I followed a gorgeous Cuban around the men’s department of Fred Segal. Picked up a pair of Lanvin pants priced at $1,700, and that’s minus the tax. I was outraged! I threw them back at the assistant. Again. Boycott Lanvin! Saw Holly Elwes buying $5,000 dresses.
After no thought what so ever I bought a Dries van Noten cardigan with a long belt. Looks great with my baggy Comme cords. I felt a bit guilty however, so I walked from Fred Segal to The Log Cabin on Robertson in the hope that there might be an AA meeting I could go to but the door was bolted. Took taxi home. I went via Marc Jacobs where the rudest shop assistant in the world quelled my desire for more treats. Thank you God.
By the time I got home it was time to get a cab back to just where I had come from on Beverly and meet Ruth V for dinner at Ago. I was early so I chatted to the swarve Italian guys who run the place. When Ruthy arrived she looked perfect in Chanel, as always. “Of course I still go to London to get my hair cut”. Ate carpaccio and lamb shank. There were six of us gossiping over dinner about the industry. There seems to be a great deal going on at the moment behind the scenes. There was much discussion and conjecture about agents being laid off at CAA. I sat next to Ruth so we mostly chatted all evening but I particularly liked David S who is a smart, very well liked film journalist. After chocolate tart the assistant of the guy who made Perfume dropped me back home. In bed and asleep by 11.30.
On Friday morning I was up the canyon as soon as the sun broke over the horizon. 23 dogs, very chilly, did not pass anything notable. Went up the mountain fretting, came down the mountain with a more placid disposition.
Did not stay placid for long. My mortgage broker arrived and irritated the pants off of me. He simply does not understand how not to be arrogant. I then had a one-hour conversation with Cingular Wireless about my account and how I might get them to send me a letter confirming that I had paid my bill for a year. They refused. I called the man who refused me all sorts of names but he still refused. Tried to keep calm by eating muesli/granola. Drank coffee. That did the trick.
At 3 I had a conference call with the knob who runs the company who is meant to be selling Dorian. I left my rottweiler of a lawyer to deal with him. Our intentions are clear. We do not want this company to rep us as they have no feeling for the film. They hate me and they seem to hate the film. Took A and D to the house-they loved it. We then went food shopping in Koreatown. I invited 8 people for dinner so there was a great deal to prepare. My new dining room table fits eight to ten people perfectly, David F and his wife Aimee, Effie B, Sharon, Ann L, Peter L and Aleksa and Devon. The table looked great, the food was excellent and they all seemed really happy.
We all agreed that even though most of us were in the ‘business’ we were all definitely off duty. David F and his rather condescending wife left early to go to another party.
Sharon stayed over so we could get up early to go hiking. As I write there is no movement from Sharon who is sound asleep.
October 26, 2006 – Thursday
6 Hour Relationship
The Canyon. It was pitch black until 7am this morning. Pitch black. The air was cold and damp. As usual the small Armenian couple were out there on the corner. As usual they were not speaking, as usual he was smoking, as usual it was she who said “good morning”. I could smell the aromatic tobacco from the gate. Everything about these two was as I had left them two weeks ago except she was wearing lipstick on her thick, old lips. I suddenly wondered why she had made that decision, this morning, looking in the mirror and I wondered if she had put lipstick on for him, the silent dwarf.
On the mountain I tore up the dusty path. There were fewer people, fewer dogs. I only counted 17. One black man in a bright yellow track suit running backwards past little birds taking dust baths at the edge of the path. A pink sunrise over the city. I wore a woollen hat pulled down over my eyebrows. Angry start to the day. I worked off my fury on the incline, one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. My legs turning to jelly at the summit. Why weren’t people more sensitive to me? What about me? By the time I had worked over the summit I was amused by my self-obsession rather than a slave to it. Yet, if I had been sitting at my desk with those feelings I may very well have picked up the phone and alienated myself from who ever was currently not doing things my way.
On Tuesday morning, after we dropped the Hudson News heirs off at their private High School, Tim drove me back to Manhattan. I realised that his job was best described as ‘life coach’ to those rich, teenage boys. Back at Soho House I lay on the huge white bed thinking about everything I needed to do. That afternoon I sat on the 6th floor in the Club Room and met Laura Day who is a famous (apparently) writer of inspirational thoughts. I rather liked her. She asked me to look after her bags when she used the rest room. I thought about Gary Davy my friend in London who is constantly worried that the thieves will come to steal his bags/watch/camera/anything he owns. When she returned she told me her life story.
That afternoon Michael Goduti came to see the film and we watched it in my room. He was thrilled. We ate a late lunch in the new Diner on the corner of 14th and 9th Avenue. My fried chicken was greasy and uncooked. Met very cute actor called Johnny (22) and his shady, older gay friend. I just didn’t trust the gay one and as it turned out I was right not to trust him. He works as a male escort. The escort had too many teeth, too many stories and not enough of the truth. When the gay boy left us Johnny and his mid-west girl friend told me that the he was trying to persuade them to take up escort work too. I baulked. I’ve got nothing against male prostitutes. I used to know Aiden Shaw. In fact, he was in my musical Copper’s Bottom which played for six weeks at Sadler’s Wells. Aiden would get his huge penis out at rehearsals and show the delighted, screaming queens we had dancing in the chorus. I think I had sex with him once. I did have sex with him once. He was lithe and young-as was I. I saw him on the King’s Road recently. We have changed. We are all now so thickly built. Aidan is a great big bull of a man. Many of my friends have been hookers they all had great big smiling faces and dead eyes like fish on a marble slab. I’m glad that I never sold my ass. God knows that I could have.
I left New York at dawn and resigned myself to the humiliation of the security search. Shoes off, belt off, lap top out, keys and phone in the tray, throw away expensive scent, throw away toothpaste. The guys on the x-ray machine are rude and unhelpful. The floor is cold. I don’t like getting dressed at the end of the conveyor belt with strangers watching me. I don’t like any of it. After I put myself back together I went to my gate and saw one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen feeding his baby apple sauce. I introduced myself to Adam (29) and Jayda his beautiful 23-month-old daughter on their way home to Hawaii. So, at Gate 23C began a wonderful 6 hour relationship with a man and his baby in a jet plane over the USA. Before long I was holding the baby, the three of us getting along just fine in row 25. All the hostesses on the plane thought that we were a gay couple traveling home with our baby. I wondered for the first time what it might be like to have a baby with another man. Adam is married but seemed really gay, effeminate almost. It worked, the effeminacy, with the baby in his arms. I saw how things might have turned out if I had been more interested in effeminate men. By the time we landed at Salt Lake City I was smitten. I may never see him again but he taught me something profound about what I might have had, what I could still have.
By the time I got to LA I was so tired but had to summon up all my energy to meet DF and a gallery owner about Dorian and what I intend to do with it. I thought that it was going to be a very hard sell but it was astoundingly easy. After a few minutes I got exactly what I wanted. So, perhaps we should aim higher if that is going to be the level of interest. I was irritated by how many jokes DF cracked all the time and it was this that I thought about up the mountain. I find it difficult to concentrate when there are that many jokes flying around. It did not make me feel very safe.
DF drove me home and I checked to see if any of the silver teaspoons had reappeared. None had. I knew then that it was the end for the lodger. The apartment looked and felt great but I knew that my time there too was limited. I know that I have to move to my own domain, my own home. North Dillon is certain. Whitstable is coming to an end.
Why would I want to move to a city that I patently hate? Why would I move here? I can’t tell you. I just know that I have to be here and that being here means that I have to find a place to live and commit to. I think that I am that sort of artist who needs to be in LA. So, I will learn to love it and make it my home.
John and Susan invited me to John’s birthday dinner. He made the most delicious curry served with that flat Indian bread. I left at 10.30 and went to bed. Slept well.
This morning, after my walk, as I was making coffee Daniel told me that he would be leaving on the first of November. I had sort of made it impossible for him to stay. After hearing his drunken boy friend vomiting in the bathroom the other night. It was over. It was all over.
October 25, 2006 – Wednesday
I am finally, after nearly two weeks of miserable sickness, my normal fit self. The flu’ has gone. No more shivering discomfort. No more sore throat. No more morbid thoughts. I will resume my walks on Runyon Canyon immediately upon my return to LA.
Waiting at Soho House in New York for Maria to turn up and discuss the secret project.
An Orlando Bloom look-a-like is sitting opposite me drinking a cappuccino. I am eating the éclairs they set out for tea. New York!! It is exhilarating to be back east. It was exciting to see the enigmatic city from the train at Newark. It is deliciously chilly yet the sky is huge and brightly blue.
Yesterday, on the plane from LA, we stopped off in Cincinnati because a woman collapsed in a dead faint along the aisle. At Cincinnati airport I have never, ever in my entire life seen so many people with such huge asses. On the plane I sat next to a massively gelatinous woman, her fat arms spilling over onto my side of the armrest.
I arrived at 9.30am in Newark, took the air train to the LIRR then the A train to 14th St and walked two blocks to Soho House. Took me about 30 mins from the Delta terminal to the great big brown velvet sofa I am sitting on right now. Nobody looks ashamed using public transport in NYC. This is where we gather, flirt, deal, and hustle on the subway and the street. On the streets of New York are strangers from every social class making all kinds of connections for the benefit of all. I much prefer this to my sterile street life in LA.
Had Dorian screening yesterday for more buyers. Dunno how well that went. I did not stay for the screening. Brian Jackson the DP saw it too. He loved it. We agreed that we would work together again in the future.
Before the screening I had time to kill so I had a long massage and a hot, hot steam in the Cowshed.
Stayed in Alpine New Jersey last night with Tim N from Whitstable who is working as a live in family counselor for the man who owns Hudson News. It is a made-of-chip-board mansion just like all of the homes here. I don’t know as if you can even raise a mortgage on a wooden house in England. The house has a cinema, basketball court and an Olympic sized swimming pool in the basement. He has a bunch of mates over from Whitstable to help celebrate his birthday. Burt (builder) and Josh (stone mason). They have this really funny game where they congratulate one another for using long, complicated words. We ate dinner at Florant in the meatpacking district. Great food. I had chicken but I should have ordered the skirt steak.
Now, irritatingly, I have to play catch up. So many days have passed since I last wrote anything for my blog. I get overwhelmed just remembering everything that happens. I much prefer to see where the memory of the previous day takes me.
Saturday. 8am Westside AA meeting. Afterwards I sat on my own in the bakery opposite eating a fruit salad. I sat there wondering why such a huge building was being so badly underused. The space effectively benefiting from only 25% of the available sales floor. Ended up meeting the guy who owned the joint who also owns The City Bakery in New York. I told him all about The Good Shed in Canterbury. He was inspired by the notion of a daily farmers market. We exchanged numbers. He already checked out the Goods Shed and wanted to know how it was set up.
Later that same morning I ate another breakfast with Dom at the 101. Hillary popped by. Went up to North Dillon St. The door to the house was open. For some peculiar reason best known only to himself Dom pressed a panic button that, once upon a time, would have been in the master bedroom, the bells were insanely loud. We scarpered.
saturday afternoon Romaine came to visit. We drove back to Dillon and met the builder who told me how much it would cost to make the essential renovations. $300k.
After a long nap I headed over to a party at Effie Brown’s house, yet again I found myself in Silverlake. I met a young boy over there who was very funny, not very attractive, good (social) crime partner.
Young boy and I drove to The Chateau for a late bowl of hot chocolate. We said hello to Heath L who looks great. Better than great. He was drinking tea and his eyes were bright and hopeful. A different man from the crazed haunted man I met last year at the Oscars.
Young boy and I then drove home but he is straight so he slept on the sofa.
Sunday. The following morning we (young boy and I) went to 8am AA meeting in West Hollywood. Breakfast at La Pain Quotidian. We waited so long (45mins) for our food that when the bill came I refused to pay. The manager agreed and comped our food. Comped is a good word. In America we are as precise about our description of the use of money as Eskimos are about snow.
Sunday afternoon the young boy and I drove around the Hollywood Hills visiting random people before going over to Silverlake to see the North Dillon House once again and calming the nerves of the realtors who are waiting for me to get my act together. Ate more food in Silverlake. Pancakes and a side of bacon. Young boy drove me to the airport.
I have really missed collecting my thoughts on Runyon Canyon.
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October 20, 2006 – Friday
Back in LA. I still have had the flu’. Sitting in germ soup on the plane sandwiched between two of the most miserable women alive did not help. What, you may ask, was I doing in the back of the plane? Can’t be bothered to explain that drama.
I am spluttering phlegm all over my laptop as I write. Consequently, due to illness, I have not been up to much. Invitations to LA fashion week went unanswered. Meant to be going to New York today but can scarcely move from my bed. I hate being ill. Ill means weak, ill means powerless, ill means unable to climb the mountain. Stalling at the base.
Thankfully I am sleeping well. In bed by 9.30 last night. It is cold in the apartment at night though. I am sitting here wrapped in a pale blue shawl like a little old lady. I could just turn on the heat. Won’t do it, too British, old-fashioned, put on another jersey or climb into bed.
The day I returned there was an urgent message to call Corey my realtor. He told me the startling news that the house on North Dillon had fallen out of escrow again. Again! That poor house has been sitting there for seven months without anyone to love it. Three times in and out of escrow. Three times. One of those times was me of course. We agreed to meet the following morning to write another offer.
So, on Wednesday Corey collected me from my flu’ pit and we drove in his black Hummer to the Social Security office to get an SS number. The office on Vine was very clean and the staff very helpful. I now have so much to do. For a start I need to get a Californian driving licence.
After the social security office we had lunch at American Rag on LaBrea. Sat next to Ashton Kutcha who has that same creamy complexion David Gallagher has. It is a bit of a lunchtime scene in there. Jennifer Jason Leigh sat sulking with a very loud friend two tables away.
Spent Wednesday evening at home instead of going to parties. Sweating hot and cold.
On Thursday morning, after 18 months of messing around, I walked two blocks from my house and I hired a car. I was so weak and had so much to do I could not stomach buses, taxis or walking. Who writes my freaking rules? Why didn’t I do this sooner?
The moment I pulled away from the strip mall in my rented car I became a Californian.
Before I drove to an appointment with my lawyers in Beverly Hills my friend Hillary popped by for a cup of tea. It was great to see her and for the next hour and a half we luxuriated in a trough of delicious gossip. By the time she left I felt bloated on our feast of The Misfortune of Others. It was very, very naughty.
Met with Erik the lawyer. Discussed various up coming projects and what we were going to do with them all.
I forgot to eat.
Drove home to see Scott at my house where we hung out there for a couple of hours. Drove back to Beverly Hills, stopping on the way at Capellini sale and met with Bettina at Le Pain Quotidian on Little Santa Monica. Strategised and ate huge chopped salad.
As I was close by I stopped in at the Spectre’s house on Whittier but only little Isaac and their mad Mexican cleaner was there. He is such an entertaining little boy, so intelligent. I sat with him for an hour until Lisa came home then I set off for Silverlake but got stuck in horrible traffic listening to some mad man (Tom Likas) on the radio advising young men not to have relationships until they turn 30. He was fascinating. He believes that men can treat women as badly as they want, have all the sex they want and that marriage is for losers. He recently said on air that he would sleep with a fourteen year old girl if it was legal. When challenged he simply stood by the statement.
Even though I was stuck in traffic listening to a mad misogynist I was pleased not to be on the hot streets negotiating the cracked pavements and the cracked out pedestrians.
Dinner with Ann L and her very intense artist husband. Really had a lovely time. They live in a spectacular Schindler house with many, if not all, of the original details. It is one of those houses one instantly loves, it is packed with interesting things. Every piece of furniture they owned was worth looking at carefully. Ann dosed me up with vitamin C and then we had dinner at a Brazilian restaurant nearby but I could not really taste anything.
Dom insisted that we meet on Santa Monica for a frozen yogurt. I sat there on the street sweating, desperate for my bed.
October 18, 2006 – Wednesday
Feel sick, felt sick on the plane. Back in LA, resident alien. Sick as a dog. I spent all day chasing North Dillon St once again. Fuck. That house has fallen out of escrow three times. I really love it. What is God doing to me?
Too sick to climb the mountain this morning, I stayed in my bed until Angela the cleaner turned up with her huge smile. I asked her to iron the pillowcases and wash the windows.
When I got home last night I rearranged the house. I was meant to be eating with Devon and Aleksa but ended up frantically rearranging books and the mantle piece. I was naked. The curtains were not drawn. I did not care.
The day before I left for LA I had to haul my sorry ass down to Whitstable. I had a goodbye breakfast with Phil and Paul at the Mona Lisa. We had had a wonderful time during my stay at her house. Phil was affectionate, undemanding and generous. A good friend. Phil and Moffy left for Portugal and I caught the bus to Victoria Station and then the hour-long trip to Whitstable. I walked from the station directly to Wheelers where I had a coffee with Anita and the gang. The gang being Mark, the genius chef, Adam (Smalls) the teenage recently ex virgin looking all languid and manly and Angela who I affectionately call Sheppey’s Elizabeth Taylor because she has been married more than once. Oh, and Sid was lurking in the back preparing puddings but he had split up from his girl friend and was all quiet and odd.
Whitstable gossip included: the Barratt girl (toughest family in Whitstable) had smashed Shivonne Hewlett in the face at the pub because Shivonne had stolen the Barrett’s boy friend who is down to the final eight on X Factor. The Barrett girl had then sold her story to the Sun and filled the ex boy friend’s piano with tuna.
Bumped into the Barrett girl outside Dave’s deli sitting with two girl friends, suddenly she looked very glamorous as if a dose of minor celebrity really suited her. Oblivious to her recent brush with notoriety I told her how wonderful she was looking. Apparently, according to them, X factor is all a fix because Shivonne’s mother Therese is a friend of Sharon Osborne’s.
What a load of bollocks.
As fate would have it Monday was Danny Gallagher’s funeral so I took my life in my hands and decided to go to the wake, which was happening up at the Marine Hotel in Tankerton. When I got there I realised that there was not much building, plastering or plumbing going on in North East Kent that day as every builder, plasterer and plumber for miles around had found themselves a black suit and was now eating pork pies in the paved area at the back of the Marine. Saw Ronnie R (antiques dealer) who owes me £100. Poor Stuart A (plasterer) was given a very hard time when I arrived his friends raised a huge chorus of light-hearted jeers as I had once very loudly told all of his mates that I thought he was one of the best looking men in Whitstable. I think that crown now belongs to Andy R (electrician) who although a bit dull is very cute.
Saw the very personable Sibley’s (chef and builder), as I sat with them one of my Whitstable brother’s friends said, “There’s Martin Roy’s brother”. I think that it was meant to be a rather convoluted put down. The Sibley’s and I just looked at him askance and continued our conversation.
I stayed all of twenty minutes.
I went back to Wheelers to report on the wake then walked home along the beach with Delia who showed me her plot behind the sea wall where she is building a very grand beach-hut sandwiched between Georgina and Barbara equally manicured plots. When we arrived Michael Fitt, Anita’s man was doing something with his shirt off with string and fence posts.
Finally I made my way home but not before three other people had told me the Barrett/Hewlett story and how Sharon Osborne was fixing it at X Factor..
When I got home Babs took me to my house and good God I have never seen that place look better, cleaner or more organised. Babs had ironed every sheet, weeded the garden, dusted every shelf and vacuumed every carpet and scrubbed every floor. It was immaculate. I felt really odd raiding the bookcase, taking shoes and filling a great big bag with stuff for my new resident alien status in LA.
They made me a delicious pot of tea and biscuits and gave me a lift to the station. They are such good people.
On the train back to London I met Ben the mechanic. HE was delicious. I am always meeting cute boys on the train to and from London.
Dinner at La Famiglia on Langton St with Louise and Toby Mott. Louise is now heavily pregnant and looks a bit tired. Toby seems quite Zen. Their builders have ripped them off. Rabbit and carpaccio. Delicious.
Bed by 10.30, woken at 11.30 by Piers making midnight supper in the kitchen. Crashing around with pots and pans.
October 17, 2006 – Tuesday
Frieze Art Fair Day 2
Listening to Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix.
Spent all day in bed with a horrid cold. Both Phil and I blighted with aching limbs and throbbing heads late last night. Isn’t that odd to get simultaneous colds? I am never, ever ill with this sort of thing. However, I couldn’t think of a better place to be ill than here with Phil. We are in beds at opposite ends of the house. I can hear people arriving upstairs, I can hear Moffy leaving the house with her chums then hours later her footsteps in the hall, chattering about her adventures, “We took the wrong bus, we ended up in Shepherds Bush-there were chavs EVERYWHERE..”
When I was in prison I began writing a novel. It was as if today had been a perfect slice of that novel only on that fictional afternoon there was snow on the ground. Snow on our boots. Fresh snow. I just lay here all day and felt incredibly safe. Nothing could hurt me here in this room. Here in this huge house, sleeping where the cook probably slept once upon a time. Here in this room I do not have to deal with liars or the disingenuous or the black dust that settles on everything in LA. I do not have to climb a mountain to find my serenity.
Melanie De B arrived with medicines and vitamin C and the Sunday newspapers. Her husband had a stroke last night yet she still made her way over. I don’t really have any friends like that in LA. Then Kat G came in the afternoon with chocolate biscuits and we drank hot tea with Phil and Paul. After the second visit I fell into a dreadfully sweaty half sleep. It is now 9pm.
I have not written this diary since Friday and there is now so much to report.
On Friday morning I was meant to be meeting Bella F but we were both late getting up and ended up not meeting. We had a long chat on the phone. She is designing for Biba, which sounds perfect for Bella. Kate B, my glossy mag friend, said that the Biba collection was very good. Kate mentioned that Maia Norman’s collection was excellent, better than anything else that she had seen at London Fashion Week. Maia is Damian Hirst’s rather wonderful wife. Phil and I drove over to the Electric on the Portobello Road and ate eggs with Tiffany Whittome who has recently gotten herself engaged. I saw George, my assistant from The Method; his head seems to have doubled in size. I was very polite to him.
Received very odd e-mail from my Berlin friend insinuating that Phil had left the art fair the previous day looking distressed and then tried to blame me. She warned me to ‘be nice to her’ this advice coming from a woman who, estranged from her husband, sleeps with her 12-year-old son. Both Phil and I found this very amusing.
After our rather late breakfast I made my way over to Maria A’s in Kennington. It was so easy to find her house on the bus. We ate pasta and talked about the secret project and her imminent visit to NYC that corresponds with mine at the end of the month. Maria has the most beautiful garden and the house has been very sensitively renovated. It is one of those huge houses at the east end of Kennington Road. Huge.
At 3pm made my way to Georgia Byng’s in Primrose Hill-another huge house stuffed with beautiful art mostly made by her husband Marc Quinn. I met her new little baby who is a dear and discussed teen violence on Primrose Hill with Georgia’s daughter from her marriage to Danny Chadwick. She is a very pretty, intelligent, 16-year-old. Drank delicious hot tea and ate chocolate. Georgie has had huge success with her Molly Moon books. Sold in 37 territories. It is wonderful to see her doing so well.
As I was leaving she mentioned a conversation she had with Will Self about my film, which intrigued me. I will write more about this at a later date. Will, as you may know, was once a very good friend of mine. We had, at one time, discussed the possibility of adapting his novel Dorian into a film as I had contributed to the research by way of contemporary descriptions of New York etc., which he used verbatim in his novel. Will loved AKA. However, when I realised that he had no idea how a film was made and delivered a 300-page script that he insisted was a ‘shooting script’, which I never even bothered to read, we went our separate ways. I ended up adapting my version of the film from the Oscar Wilde Lippincott original. I sat pouring over Oscar Wilde’s only novel every morning for two months at Sullivan’s hotel in Sydney until the script was finished.
G. Byng was on such good form. I loved seeing her. Have really made the effort, this trip, to reach out to all of my old friends.
From Primrose Hill I took a cab to The Whitehall Theatre off of Trafalgar Square where I met Phil in the foyer and we saw a rather dull production of Bent. Moving but dull. One can’t help but be moved but I am afraid that the lovely in-real-life Alan Cummings ruined the production. He was all over the place. This was particularly sad because Horst played by Chris New, who I met with Christian C the other night, was amazing! I wish that Alan had been a little more focused and less..well..Alan. Perhaps he was jealous that Chris’s performance was so good.
Generally the production was annoyingly over directed, the German soldiers skipping around like scene queens.
Phil and I took another cab to Soho House where we met Clare. She was sitting with some very pretty friends who we persuaded to move to a bigger table. Phil was on the phone to I don’t know who but when she came back she looked perplexed and left quite soon after. After some fun with Clare’s friends we left Soho House for Max Wigram’s party for Ryan McGinley at Laundromat but it was DREARY and terribly ‘arty’.
At Laundromat I saw a boy, who I met at the Miami/Basle art fair, who describes himself as a ‘curator’. He was dancing. I had met the same boy in NYC dancing at an artist’s studio. Now, here he is in London..dancing. Clare and I decided to make a 3 minute art film called ‘The Curator’ some random boy dancing at art fairs all over the world. He said, “Look, art! It’s the new Hollywood”. If only it were my friends, if only it were. A bunch of crazed shopkeepers describing their 15mins in the sun as the ‘New Hollywood’?
We were desperate for an antidote to the pretentious art/new Hollywood party so we decided to go to The Shadow Lounge where we had a blast dancing and flirting until 3am. I met a man who tried to persuade me that we had ‘great sex’ in a bath ten years ago in my flat off of Brick Lane. Even though I knew he was wrong (I never had a flat off of Brick Lane) he was so persuasive that it felt rude not to agree to the memory. I wanted to kiss him and then I wanted to kiss some other good-looking boy for a moment before I realised that I did not have to. The only lips I wanted were elsewhere.
We fought our way through the 3am Soho crowd, the aggressive mini cab men and the drug dealers then Clare drove me home. Slept intermittently. Red bull is a bad idea at 2am.
All day yesterday and the day before all I could really think about was my dinner with Harry on Saturday night. I thought about him as I was thinking about kissing those men in The Shadow Lounge and then I thought about him all through brunch at David Gill’s spectacular gallery in Kennington on Saturday morning. I thought about Harry as I wondered who would buy an 8′ pink Perspex flamingo from David Gill for $60k. I thought about him as I ate delicious food and drank apple juice and played with Melanie De B, Michael Wolfson and Dan Macmillan. I thought about beautiful Harry as I flirted with Desiree and ignored Jane Barclay.
I thought about him as I waited outside the Royal Academy for André for 40 minutes attracting attention in my pink stockings and red shoes and pantaloons. I thought about Harry as we nipped into Bryan Ferry’s house to collect something Melanie needed for dinner. I thought about him all afternoon as I tried to fight off the beginning of the cold I have now.
All I could think about was the tall, fine-faced Harry. All I could think about was looking into his blue eyes and listening to his beautiful voice.
Bye bye squirrel. I love Harry now.
But, when Harry arrived at Langton St at 8.30 I was half the man I needed to be-my cold was now in full swing. Phil thought he was beautiful, Moffy thought he was beautiful, Paul thought he was beautiful. I think that Harry is the most beautiful creature who ever walked the earth.
Dinner with Harry.
All I could think about was mucus in my eyes, nose and throat.
October 13, 2006 – Friday
Moffy stayed in bed yesterday ill with the ‘flu. Poor darling, all limp and pale like a rag doll. I sat on the lilac sofa and wrote my article for Blackbook and filed it by 12 o’clock.
I then headed into Soho on the bus through torrential, almost tropical, rain and ended up in Soho House sitting with Nick Love who I have not seen for a couple of years. He was sitting quietly reading the Sun and drinking a cup of tea. I sat down and it was as if the last two years had simply not happened. After the tiniest amount of hesitation the damnedest thing happened, I realised that we were both suddenly relieved of the burden of fatal competition. Neither of us had anything, any longer, to prove. We looked each other in the eye and it was all OK. What ever it was that had bugged both of us when we stopped talking all that time ago-had gone. Instead of strange looks and odd recriminations we laughed about Tuesday’s Sun newspaper witty headline after Kim il Sung exploded the nuclear device: How Do You Solve a Problem like Korea? Genius. It was delightful to see him.
Nick and I were at film school in Dorset ten years ago and at that time and for a few years after we had a pretty intense, inseparable friendship. The same sort of co-dependant friendship that I had with Richard Green during most of my twenties. These homoerotic, non-sexual, highly charged friendships I associate most with my alcoholism. I have had them with both women and men and they usually end very badly. They are creatively and emotionally explosive but regardless of the outcome, for me, have been the greatest relationships of my life.
When Nick left we gave each other the hugest hug. I kissed him on the neck.
I took the tube to the Frieze art fair where I met Bettina who is organising the press for Dorian. Bumped into and chatted warmly with Tracy Emin, Benedict Taschen, Max Wigram, Simon English, Sam Hodgkin, Paul Kasmin and many, many others. Apart from Benedict, I have known most of these people for most of my adult life. It felt very good to embrace all of them. We are getting older and less ambitious. That is a very good thing. Saw Jay from afar but can still not bring myself to say hello. His rottweiler hench men prowling the stand.
What did I see that I liked? The only ‘art’ I liked was ironically on Jay’s stand. Jake and Dinos Chapman were sitting in a wall papered booth painting people’s portraits, Leicester Square style, for £4.5k. Very witty. Right on the money. Genius.
Missed buying Ryan McGinley’s pissing boy by ten minutes.
I did not see Samia, which was very odd. She was there but we curiously missed one another.
After the show I hooked up with Robert Yates from the Observer and his fiancé. We went to a ghastly Deutche Bank party at 5 Cavendish Square-I stayed ten minutes then walked to Soho House (the epicentre of my London social life) where I met Christian C and his blonde friend from university. The friend wanted, very amusingly to get ‘fucked in the arse’. He was adamant but we remained at the bar and Christian and I just jawed for hours about LA and London and the relative values of each city. The friend, eager for a stuffing persuaded us to go to a tacky gay bar a few streets away where a toothless drug dealer tried to sell us cocaine and pills. I was wearing Dior so had no intention of staying in that ghastly place for long.
Christian, realising that I was in no mood for gams and the young took me to Trisha’s on Dean St, which is a basement room with pictures of the Pope on the wall. An old-fashioned speak easy. It was rather wonderful. Chatted about ‘The Queen’ and Diana of Wales and soap operas. When we ran out of cash we headed over to Soho House where we met Alan Cummings and the cast of Bent. We hung out with them until 3 in the morning and then I took the night bus home. Briefly thought about taking a cab as a bunch of Asian youths were brawling on the street and I was wearing red shoes but thought better of it and caught a number 38 which took me directly to Phil’s. Crept into bed. Slept like a log.
The following day I really did more of the same. Phil and I drove back to Frieze Art Fair where I bought a Ryan McGinley. We had a slight consternation about Moffy and mobile phones, which meant that Phil had to dash off almost as soon as we arrived but before she left we bumped into Samia and her friend Isabella. Samia truly is the chicest woman alive. Mauve chiffon blouse, patent pumps and raven black hair.
I had tea with my brand new obsession de jour-Harry C. We walked from Regent’s Park to the Dover Street Hotel and sat in the lobby, now remodelled, where Scott Crolla and I used to go when Crolla still existed. The high tea with scones etc. cost $150. Absurd. Harry is a blonde, willowy, 25-year-old Etonian with the sweetest disposition. Married. Lives in Paris. Beautiful.
After tea I headed over to Sotheby’s for the Whitechapel benefit auction preview. Beautiful Peter Doig painting on the cover of the catalogue. Saw Danny Moynihan and his very funny cousin who has a company called Joe Boxer and lives in San Francisco. Danny begins shooting his new film in seven weeks, Duncan Ward directing. Apparently everyone thinks that it is MY film. That can’t be good for either Danny or Duncan! Saw Max Wigram, also ex-Etonian ex-willowy, ex-sweet disposition. He called me a weirdo-which I suppose I must be. Danny and his cousin left Sotheby’s to find Maia Norman at the Armani party in Knightsbridge so I hung out with Dominic Burning for a good while. Very funny. Raving about Margate and art and how ART can save the day.
From Sotheby’s to the ICA on the Mall for the Cerith Wynn Evans show, it was very dreary. Max Wigram called me a weirdo there too. The best thing about the ICA was that it reminded me of performing there in our performance art piece PORNOGRAPHY: A SPECTACLE. I could smell it. The memory of being there. 3 weeks of performing in that space. I think we performed The Host there too. Georgia Byng, Marc Quinn’s wife, performed in that.
Ended up, of course, at Soho House with Nick Moran for late egg and chips. Night bus home.
October 11, 2006 – Wednesday
Pouring rain. Soho House.
I left LA on Sunday after the Bonham’s Sunset sale. I bought an African head-dress. I don’t know why. I love auction rooms; they have a very calming effect on me.
Dom came over for coffee. We discussed my roommate whose b/f is becoming rather annoying. He woke me and the neighbors the other night loudly vomiting in the bathroom. When I confronted my room-mate about it he told me that poor J was drinking the night before-bad excuse. Very bad excuse.
Andreas collected me from my house in his white Porsche and we drove to LAX in light Sunday traffic in took merely twenty minutes to get there. I had almost no luggage so everything was very light and easy.
I met a very sweet boy in the departure lounge who sat next to me on the plane and told he his life story-took about ten minutes. I fell asleep.
We flew into London over Kew, the pagoda there is so pretty and I realised that what I missed most about home when I am in the US are these great acts of public generosity made for the greater good of the people. We have so much to love about our towns and cities, so much that distinguishes them from each other. In LA we have the HOLLYWOOD sign. LA is a one-postcard town.
Arrived in Chelsea and met Phil at the Mona Lisa on the Kings Road where I ate a huge plate of greasy fried eggs and chips. It was wonderful to be back. Phil looked great-really happy. We jawed for hours. Told her about Peter D accusing me of showing off and she said that some people would always, deliberately misunderstand my enthusiasm.
Phil and I went to evensong at St Martins in the Fields then dinner in Soho. After dinner on the way home had to get passport pictures-had them made in Sloane Square photo booth. It took all of 3 minutes.
By the end of Monday I was exhausted. Desperate to go to bed. Slept very badly. Up at 4. Answered e-mails. Could not sleep. No mountain to climb.
Yesterday morning I headed over to Mayfair on the bus where I had business to attend to. Lunch with Bettina at Soho House to discuss film then hung out with Luca M all afternoon at his house until Phil arrived and ate deep-fried spring rolls. There is a new Carluccio on the Fulham Road where Luca and I bought espresso.
Tuesday night NA meeting. Really good.
Dinner at the Chelsea Arts Club with Phil, Piers de Lazlo and his mad, drunk ex-girlfriend. I know that this may cause some controversy but in my opinion drunken women make appalling company-much worse than men. They are so undignified. Bumped into Laura and Peter Carew who were looking very elegant. Peter asked for Xan’s number as they were in the Dangerous Sports Club together and Laura was moved to tears when I told her that I had met Patrick Kinmonth in LA after 10 years of not seeing him. She misses him terribly. Sardines and stuffed pork belly for dinner.
This morning wrote article for Steve G then took bus in pouring rain to Soho. Bumped into and was delighted to see Nick Love who I had not seen for ages. He looked like a man-which he is nowadays. We were at film school together and have been on off friends for 15 years. As he left he gave me a huge smile and a cheeky wink.
October 8, 2006 – Sunday
Friday was another day of boring lawyers and stuff that I simply had to get on and deal with. Signing with new agency, management, publicist and lawyers in one foul swoop. Exciting and EXHAUSTING. All of that palaver had to be handled by the time I leave for London tomorrow. It had to be done. A new broom.
Lunch at Barney’s with Bram.
Had dinner on Friday night with Michael C and two other producers in Beverly Hills. It might have been a jollier evening but I was tired.
I am in London for ten days then I go immediately to New York for Tim’s birthday party and meetings with buyers. Then it’s Sydney for all of November.
Today went to 8am AA meeting. No walk. Coffee in Urth café with Will.
Alexa came with me to Bonham’s to view the Sunset Estate Sale and guess who I bumped into! Peter D. He was Outraged!! He said, “I don’t appreciate that you wrote about me in your BLOG (see yesterday’s blog). I’ve never trusted you. I said to (?) ten years ago ‘I like him but I don’t trust him’. I didn’t have to be pleasant to you first thing in the morning. Showing off about your party.”
This indignant tirade about my blog, which one of my helpful readers had passed onto Peter D by e-mail. How speedily news travels! Then he changed tack and huffed and puffed about how ‘grateful’ he was to me for alerting him to the dangers of gossip. Alexsa, listening in, just laughed as discreetly as she could out of Peter’s view. It took will power not to laugh at his pathetic tantrum there in the middle of Bonham’s. Paulo, sitting behind the desk, asked us three times to leave the foyer.
“Was anything I said made up?” I asked. “No”. he flamed. “Then how have I been untrustworthy?” “You’re right, I shouldn’t gossip”. He said. “So it was you that was untrustworthy?” I asked calmly.
Peter had waited ten years for evidence of untrustworthiness and finally he had PROOF that I was indeed the person he always thought I was, or heard I was, because I simply and honestly reported what he had told me yesterday. As he blustered I just kept thinking, this is nothing to do with me, this man has been waiting ten years for me to let him down. A long-term self-fulfilling prophecy. As I tuned back into his diatribe he said, “How many people did she kill on Everest? Was it two or three?” As he was unable to let the story go I thought that I should, at least, defend my hostess as she had been so generous to me. Armed with a little information from the Internet I said, “What proof do you have that she killed any people on Everest? From what I can gather the worst thing she did was have a copy of Vogue sent up the mountain. If any one of your society friends whom you DO approve of had done that you might very well of thought it humorous. The worst thing Sandy did, as far as you and the bunch of piranhas you hang out with are concerned-is survive”. At that point he totally capitulated and resorted to petty insults.
The great thing about this blog is that I find out very quickly whom I can depend on. Those who loathe being mentioned are usually snotty ex pat Brits who are embarrassed to know me. People who dip into my life to see what is going on but too embarrassed to say that they have been there. Like visiting mad people at Bedlam.
The fact is, I have never felt very comfortable around Peter. He insists on making totally unprovoked bitchy jibes. “Darling, you need to get my boyfriend to give you botox.” I have tried very hard to be as friendly as I can but ultimately this argument has revealed him to be an old-fashioned, self-serving, godless snob. His best friend is a camp, Greek illustrator with an active drink problem who battles Peter in some vile post-modern contest to see who can be more offensive. Peter lives a metaphysical farce.
He is consequently a very angry and resentful man. Of course I know exactly why, but THAT is something I would never, ever write here.
To his credit he did say that the only blog worth reading was Arriana Huffington’s. I agree. It’s very funny and informative and deliciously personal. But, one thing is sure, if Arriana Huffington had had to fight for survival on the side of a mountain like Sandy H did that fateful day in 1998 Peter might have given some thought to what it must have felt like to make life or death decisions. Decisions that in the decorated drawing rooms of West Hollywood would not have seemed terribly chic at all-darling.
Had lunch with Alexa and Sharon at Cheebo.
Dom for malted milk shakes this afternoon.
Michael C picked me up at 9.30 and we drove to the Hollywood sign where a rather odd 40th birthday party was taking place. A drum circle, fire pit, belly dancers and women on stilts. Met a couple of actors, a rocket scientist and a comedienne. After a couple of hours of not really engaging and some spicy chicken wings I walked home.
October 6, 2006 – Friday
I have just returned from my later than usual walk. Finding it hard to focus this morning. Do I need to get my eyes tested?
Yesterday Romaine, my friend from Nice, came to the house whilst I did the laundry and we drank coffee and killed time before I prepared to meet Amanda R in Bel Air.
I had been invited via Amanda R by Sandy H to: A pre-Halloween celebration: “Dinner of the Dead Poets”.
‘It will be held at my ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley on the night of the full moon.
This will be a formal, black tie and ball gown, dinner for just 12 people. I know that you possess both the imagination and the wardrobe to be an important guest at this artistic evening. Please come dressed as a dead poet and bring a poem to recite which was written by the character you have chosen.
In order to facilitate your transportation needs, I would like to send my plane to bring you to Santa Ynez (a 30 minute flight from Santa Monica airport, leaving at about 4:30 PM) and to return you back to Los Angeles before midnight on the 5th’.
So, that is what we did. I decided to dress as and read from Oscar Wilde. As a dead Oscar I interpreted the event accordingly. I wore Miu Miu knickerbockers; my new Dior jacket and long pink stockings with red shoes. Thank God I took my huge aubergine silk velvet scarf that Tania Sarn gave me and threw it over my head. It was freezing!
On the way there I sat next to the pilot, which was wonderful watching the journey unfold in front of me. I was not at all frightened. It was like having goggles on underwater. I can’t swim without goggles because my biggest fear is the unknown. On the way back I sat in the back and I felt every bump-it was scary just because I couldn’t see.
When we got to the tiny airport we were chauffeured twenty minutes to a contemporary house that looked like a vert de gris Mayan Temple. The house was filled with amazing furniture by George Nakashima-one of the best collections of his work that I have ever seen. A beautiful, 24 seat dining table was particularly stunning. The only other person to have such beautiful Nakashima pieces is, of course, Eugenio Lopez.
The really great find of the evening was Bo, our hostess’s 25-year-old son, who is a friend of Oscar H’s. He drove me, at great speed, in his turbo Porsche to the party, which was set in a vineyard ten minutes from the house. Charming, sweet boy.
We ate in the winery, which had been beautifully decorated for the occasion. The twelve of us sat under a diaphanous golden awning. We all had our photographs taken. We then ate amazing organic food that had been fedexed from Ohio. There was a small band that played suitably dead music and a young woman sang gently in the background. Spookily the accordion player looked EXACTLY like Vivian Westwood.
Each course had a poetic theme. Mince and Quince for instance (Lear). Our hostess was charming and funny and dressed as a 9th century Chinese poet. She was wearing a wonderful plum coloured fortuny dress and earrings that were once owned by Diana Vreeland.
In between each course the guests, in order of when they died, stood up and introduced themselves. I stood up as Oscar Wilde and told them about my life and work. I then read the first part of The Ballad of Reading Jail. When I finished Ovid said, “That was intense”. I sat between Emily Dickinson (who looked more like Janice Dickinson) and Bo’s very pretty girlfriend. Amanda R went as Rilke, which was a great choice as she got to wear a wonderful Vera Wang dress. However, the dress was so sheer the poor thing, who is all skin and bones, just began to fade away in the freezing room. By the end of dinner Amanda/Rilke had totally lost her voice and she may very well have consumption by sunrise.
After dinner the car came and we were flown home. In bed by 1.30am.
This morning there were 41 dogs on the Canyon path four of them belonging to Peter D who I bumped into as they were leaving the park. I heard him before I saw him, as did the other concerned walkers who exchanged worried looks at the sound of this man screaming at his dogs. He was shouting at one of his small Yorkies to get back on the path. Peter K in tow.
I cheerily said hello and kissed them both. We were all a bit too sweaty for that kind of greeting. He asked about the film and apologised for not returning my calls. It was at this moment that I began to have a sort of out-of-body experience. My outer me saying, “LEAVE, walk away from the area, don’t tell him anything, just get out of there as quickly as you can”. My actual body is now fully engaged in conversation. I asked about the Sunset Sale at Bonham’s. “I’ve already been”.
I began to tell him about the party I went to last night, he snapped “She’s a NIGHTMARE, she killed two people on Everest”. I did not react. I just looked carefully as him and began to gently erase him out of the picture. I felt rather sorry that he was so angry. “I rather liked her,” I said. “We had a wonderful time”. He just looked at me as if to say of COURSE you would like some one like that. “I’ve got a meeting at the Palisades”. He barked at Peter K who was pulling twigs off of the dog. Peter D, angry before I got there-I bet he’ll be angry all day. He was wearing lurid pink underwear.
October 5, 2006 – Thursday
12 dogs. Russians. Ukrainians. A dog called Mike. Clockwise. Beautiful, sunny, fresh.
Yesterday, as a result of my commitment to contrary action, I had a very business like day.
Met bank about mortgage.
Chatted more with Ruth about film.
Sent various e-mails terminating various business relationships so I can concentrate on the next phase.
I bought a jacket at Dior. I bought socks at Turnbull and Asser for the party I am going to this evening in the desert.
Spoke to Eric. It is raining in San Francisco.
AA meeting at 7.45.
Alexsa and Devon for dinner. Cooked chicken, boiled potatoes and peas. Strangely delicious.
In bed by 11.30. Heard Daniel get in at 3am. How does he do it?
December 9, 2006 – Saturday
New York. It is a bright, cold day in this vibrant city. I am staying at Soho House in the Meat Packing District. They have set me up in a huge suite with a massive white bed, steam room and a butler. I am here to write the secret project with Maria. I arrived the evening before last. Very kindly Tim picked me up from the airport, which was so darned sweet of him. Unfortunately there had been a bit of a mix up over my room booking at Soho House, so the first night I stayed at the gruesome Gramercy Park Hotel. The problem with the GPH is that it cannot work out if it is a dance club or a hotel. As I arrived somebody had vomited on the tile floor in the lobby and a young Asian woman had slipped in the diced carrots and acrid smelling spew. As chic as some say this place (GPH) is no amount of Warhol, Clemente or Schnabel will compensate for how bad and unwelcoming it is at night. It was so dark at the reception that it was impossible to read the booking slip. It was so noisy in my room that I could not sleep. In the morning I quietly made a detailed complaint, understandably they did not charge me for my room. Later that morning it was wonderful to finally arrive at the Soho House. The General Manager Mark and the others immediately made me feel welcome and gave me Danish to eat and latte to drink and told me their various home stories and I no longer felt angry or displaced.
As some of you may have noticed I have not been writing my blog so much lately. It suddenly felt like I was giving too much away. Also, I started going to AA meetings in the Palisades at 7am. As a consequence I have not been walking the Canyon. Instead, I get up at 6am drive west, go to my meeting and am at home by 9. Because I am dressed properly for my meeting I don’t then want to take off my clothes and change for the Canyon.
As for this blog, annoying my friends at the Chateau deeply upset me and made me think hard about what writing an open diary does to the people around you. Anyway, decided that I will write this blog periodically or when I have time on my hands or need to let myself know what is going on.
Had lunch at the Chateau with Hilary C last week. We had a great time. I really enjoy her company. It was odd going back to the CM after my banning, as I no longer feel the same sense of freedom that I had before. It sort of curtailed my enjoyment. I wore a cap and sunglasses and tried to hide my face as best I could. I am so bored with LA and being here in NYC has merely heightened that feeling of discomfort I have about going back.
Sadly, last week, I caught Joe lying about me and trying to cause trouble in my life. Amazingly, he told Hilary that I had stolen Sebastian Scott’s cheque book. Telling me that he was having a dinner, inviting people I knew and letting me know that I was not invited. Why? I would have thought nothing of it had I not been told several days later by another friend that Joe had warned him away from me. I think what Joe seems to forget is that a) more people tell me what they think of him than he realizes and b) that I find it terribly painful discovering that a ‘friend’ has spread such miserable lies about me. Such dull, unimaginative lies.
Bought gloves in Barney’s. Had polet roti in cute restaurant near Barney’s. Had sex last night with some one of unimaginable beauty. First time I have had SEX for months.
The boy who stole my laptop is in prison. His mother called me and told me that I was the Devil and that her son could never have committed such a crime. She hoped that I might find Jesus. The police called and I finally got hold of my laptop to transfer items from that to this. The horrid thief had forced his way into my files only to put most things into the trash. Thankfully I found all of what I wanted except the secret project.
Had business meeting with Victor. It was fruitless. I am no closer to getting Dorian finished.
December 1, 2006 – Friday
At 8am there was a chilled, stiff wind gusting exhilaratingly over the canyon path. I can’t really remember what I was griping about as I climbed to the summit but my head was going ten to the dozen. I met a boy called Anton Dolphin sitting, swinging his legs on the bench at the summit. He was gazing at the crystal clear view of Los Angeles toward Santa Monica. It was so clear I could see Catalina, the smog blown out to sea. The canyons to my left, toward the Hollywood sign, filled with soft misty meringue. The huge, grey mountains beyond Silverlake usually concealed by smoke and mirrors were clearly visible. It was spectacular.
Anton is a twenty-five year old accountant from Auckland. He was doing what most young people do from his country he was taking time to explore the world. Anton is an ordinary boy making an extraordinary adventure. We chatted for an hour then separated on Hillcrest. I love talking to young men. I love listening to their stories, their aspirations laid bare. It is the truth.
Yesterday I had meetings with my lawyer and my manager who has become an agent at a great agency. I have, totally by default, got myself an agent at a great agency. I wonder if he will be able to effect any changes there for me. Anything for me to do? I just want to do SOMETHING other than Dorian.
Went to the Magritte show with Michael and Hillary but Hillary flounced off when I started talking to a charming 19-year-old boy who wanted to know how to interpret Magritte’s work. I had forgotten just how much I actually knew. It all just spewed out of me. John Baldessari (curator) has made a great job of the show. It looked and felt great. The cloud carpet and decorated ceilings, the bowler hats on the guards and the extraordinary collection of work. I loved ‘A Clear Idea’ the best. I did not realize what a wonderful painter he was. The execution was exquisite. I enjoyed seeing contemporary works hung alongside the Magritte, some work an homage to Magritte others a conceptual progression/evolution. Of course these iconic images are all very well-known but as with Rothko or Matisse the experience of the work is key, I felt totally invigorated by the experience of this well-known work.
The 19 year-old boy asked me to look at ‘The Pebble’, which is an odd Lautrec type cartoon painting of a half-naked woman licking her shoulder. The sea is lapping around her. We sat looking at it for three-quarters of an hour. It is the most sensual painting; one can taste the salt on the woman’s skin. One pays attention to her tongue and the back of her neck, the way she holds her breast with one hand, her modesty with the other. Her nipples are like tiny exotic fruits. The more one looked at it the more one realized that it was also one of the most erotic paintings that I have ever seen. Perhaps standing next to a perfect youth made it more so. I have no idea.
Dinner at 101 fried chicken special.
November 30, 2006 – Thursday
I am climbing Runyon Canyon at 8am with Scientologist Joe K the man who sells dog ties who I met on the mountain with Hillary two weeks ago.
It is 6.30; I have looked at the list of films picked for Sundance. Dorian is not one of them. I was really disappointed. When did I start hankering after Sundance? When did it become imperative for my film to exist anywhere other than where it is meant to exist? AKA went to Sundance. Should it have even been there? Some might say that my being there was a wasted opportunity. I had no idea how to make it work. I went with the absurd SM as my ‘manager’. I was frustrated. What a calamity. Bobby, my tiny little agent who wore a crash helmet in her kitchen because she kept bashing her head. My lawyer was the only one who seemed to care. The more I think about it the less tragic the memory becomes. It was absurd. It was a farce. It makes me laugh. Peter arriving with his friend/manager in the snow in a broken car to share the stage with me at the Egyptian. The ‘manager’ latterly ran off with Peter’s woman. What is with this ‘manager’ thing? Here, you be my brain. You make my decisions. I can’t think without you. When did I ever not think for myself?
What is for Dorian now? I imagine that we will do the lesbian and gay film circuit, which I have always loved. They have always looked after me. Made me welcome. That is all I ever wanted for any of my films. All I wanted was to reach out to that audience.
Every time I make a film I start again. Find the true path. Every time I do anything creative I am enriched. I am in pursuit of beauty. Money is only useful to acquire beauty; access to beautiful people, places and things. It is all I have ever been interested in. Even when I was in prison I found beauty in the soaring, dramatic halls of Wormwood Scrubs. These rooms were a quarter of a mile long. At night, working on the wing, the last one out on the landing, I walked the long gantry listening to the individual lives of each man behind his wood. I thought, this is the most beautiful moment I have ever experienced. Even though I was occasionally frightened I was usually delighted, inspired and full of hope. Was it just because I was so young or because I was not drinking or because I had been living a lie for such a long time?
Every time I make a film I start again from beginning to end. I start again. Tossing the coin into the air and see where it lands. Heads or tails?
Last night I had a very unsatisfactory massage. Michael went to see Casino Royale at the Chinese Theatre. I saw Casino Royale with Hillary and Dom last weekend in the mall at Century City.
I might have liked it had Danny’s suits been tailored correctly but sadly they aren’t. In Love is the Devil he was remarkably suave. In Casino Royale his suits don’t fit, his collars are unstarched, he looks like a squat bouncer from a provincial night club wearing a bad watch.
The iconic title sequence of James Bond turning to shoot the gun at the audience at the very beginning of the film was frankly absurd! The Bond silhouette is usually the finest example of old world elegance. The film makers traded elegant, refined and dangerous for Danny Craig dressed as a French onion seller in baggy trousers unable to perform a model turn or even convincingly point his gun.
Sadly, there were too many shots of Danny running. Daniel Craig is no Gazelle, he runs like an old-fashioned athlete pulling a strange, determined face. His blue eyes as wide as saucers, the veins on his forehead standing out like a tube map. James Bond should run effortlessly without breaking a sweat.
None of this, however, is Danny’s fault. There seems not to have been a discerning eye overlooking this film. No taste. No style. And as for the leading woman’s hair at the Casino-it looked like a hat from a jumble sale. In lieu of anything else to applaud about this film we applaud Danny’s indisputable acting ability but acting is not what Bond is all about, Bond is a high camp British cartoon character. Since when has it become imperative for filmmakers to humanize cartoon characters? How long will it be before Scoobydoo suffers from a bout of postmodern angst?
Another cartoon character in the cinemas this winter is Sacha Baron-Cohen’s Borat which, unlike Bond, is very stylish and on occasions simply genius. I now understand what early cinema audiences loved so much about Chaplin. Borat the tramp, the fool, the clumsy could so easily have been a series of dislocated skits but instead this cohesive, stylish, funny film made me feel something far beyond what I ever expected. Both Bond and Borat are peculiarly British cartoon inventions but where as Bond has become another victim of the New British Laddist Movement sinking in the quicksand of postmodern reality Borat turns out to be the most unlikely hero of them all.
November 29, 2006 – Wednesday
It was a very, very chilly morning. I wore my woolen hat with the hood from my red hoody pulled over my head. The wind whipped through the Canyon; thankfully the rain from yesterday had dampened the paths so there was no dust whipped into my face. I took long fierce strides. I was furious. Furious about Michael, furious about my film, furious!
At the summit I looked down over the wind-swept city and did not feel so bad. I kept on begging God to give me a sign that would make things better. A sign that would solve the various problems that now inhabited my beleaguered head. Some sort of sign that would show me the way toward repairing my tattered sense of well-being.
I repaired the damage I caused at The Chateau. I apologized to the general manager for causing him to have to take such drastic action. He was so sweet. For any of us who are lucky enough to have the sort of relationship that I do with perhaps the most civilized environment in LA we have to take our commitment very seriously. If it weren’t for delightful times had at that charming place I would have left LA many, many months ago.
The police called to tell me that they had arrested the boy who’d stolen my laptop so I had to attend an interview at Wilcox LAPD. The detectives that interviewed me were, yet again, courteous, attentive and professional. They recovered my laptop but it is damaged so I will have to have the information removed from it professionally. I felt sorry for the guy who stole it, sitting in his cell, unlikely to get bail.
I dashed home to:
Cook ox tail for my Steven Fry dinner. He was on sparkling form. Joe made a great sidekick for him to entertain us all with one masterfully told anecdote after another. I really had no idea that S Fry was such a great mimic. Michael (the emotional vampire) did not say one word throughout dinner. He sat there listening and eating tofu. Eric was just beautiful. Eric’s boy friend was very quiet and a bit overwhelmed. Dan Scheffy from New York: very sweet. Merle Ginsberg was a sad no-show.
November 27, 2006 – Monday
It is raining. Raining. Beautiful Elliot arrived from Sydney and tormented me with his perfection-he stayed twelve hours then left for Colorado to work as a ski lift operator.
It is very strange living with Michael in my flat. I have known him for so many years in so many different situations. Even though he is a delightful friend he has so many annoying habits. He repeats words one after another in curious voices. He compares situations we find ourselves in to films he has seen. Michael speaks with his mouth full of breakfast and showers me with scrambled egg. We spent the day exploring LA in the car. Silverlake, Los Felis, Down Town.
I thought that we should drive through the rain to Santa Barbara. We went to the Chateau for dinner but when I got there the charming security man took me to one side and told me that I had to leave. Shockingly, I have been banned from the Chateau Marmont for writing this blog so I have had to set my blog to private until further notice. Earlier in the day, at the Farmers Market, on Beverly I bumped into my AA sponsor but he was behaving very oddly. I am really looking forward to getting away. Going to Sydney. Finding my serenity. Of course it does not matter what I lose or what is taken away from me. I believe in my higher power and therefore everything will be OK. It always is.
November 26, 2006 – Sunday
The Canyon. Homeless people live there at night. Once the gates close at sunset they must emerge from secret paths. Occasionally one hears them screaming out. Screaming their truth. From where I live, at night, I see helicopters scouring the brush for them. Hovering noisily over the Canyon with powerful lights beaming, searching, and sweeping the contours of the canyon for the homeless.
This morning a tatty black man with a moth-eaten white beard was petting a tiny black pug owned by a very chic Asian woman. She called out its name. The dog ignored her and licked the homeless man’s fingers. Worlds converged, I watched her anxiously look at her dog and the homeless man. She knew that this old man wasn’t going to harm either her or her dog. We train ourselves to ignore the poor. I ignore their pleas for money, for food, for shelter. The dog/child knew nothing. No amount of training could make a dog differentiate between his kindness or hers. Asian woman had to acknowledged that she shared her world with homeless black man.
Further up the Canyon angry black woman from last week was screaming at her Husky called Runner. Screaming. The husky looked bewildered. I asked her if her dog was deaf. She said no. I asked if it might not be a good idea to put her dog on a lead then train it to accept commands. Angry black woman was outraged. I said, “You know that I am speaking the truth. I am telling you quietly and politely.” She tried to laugh at me as if I was an idiot but the truth was indisputable. “Nobody wants to listen to you screaming.”
I climbed the mountain with Michael Temple who arrived from London yesterday. We had dinner at Taste with Benjamin, Joe and Richard Squire. The food was OK. Richard was very funny but looks washed out. He reminds me of those medieval drawings of the Plantagenet’s. Thin features and flaxen bangs covering his ears. Richard fascinates Michael; he can’t understand how he survives. Nobody really understands. Michael asked a million questions about Richard. Like an alien he might have chanced upon.
Yesterday was spent mostly at home reading and writing.
I thought about Zoë in Whitstable, the mad woman with the red hair who lives on Harbor Street. Michael met me in her basement when I was 7 years old. What was it about her that made me feel like she was where I belonged? Her shop was opposite the Harbor gates and called Napoleon Bonaparte’s 101st Lucretia Borgia. It smelt of bees-wax polish, wood smoke and the harbor. It must have been winter when I first discovered her. It must have been a bright winters day. Perhaps it was snowing. There were kittens in the basement and I sat by the fire on brown leather, Victorian sofas rupturing their horsehair innards. In the shop there were two huge pieces of Victorian furniture and a chandelier. Everything was painted white except the soot licked onto the chimney breast.
Why was I drawn to her? Drawn to Richard Squire. Drawn away from my family? I have a framed picture of me on my desktop. I am seven years old. The harbor is a long way from where we lived.
Too much remembering.
I have been having very vivid dreams. Last night I found myself in bed with Brad Pitt and some woman. I have never ever thought of him like that. It was so..real. I blush just thinking about it. As we were having sex I thought to myself in the dream, “How will I ever write about this in my blog without pissing him off?”
November 24, 2006 – Friday
The Canyon was really chilly and bright this morning. I had to wear a hat, sweat shirt, tee-shirt and long sweats so that my knees didn’t get cold. I think that I may fire up the boiler and burn off all the dust.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving which means nothing at all to a Brit like me. Turkey, buckles and puritans. To celebrate this greatest of all American holidays Dom, Hillary, John and his girlfriend and I ate Thanksgiving lunch at some second-rate restaurant in a huge Shopping Mall called The Grove.
The food was inedible and I could have fed everyone there for half of what it cost me personally. It really annoys me to have to spend good money on bad food. What is the fucking point when one can cook great food effortlessly and cheaply? I should have stayed at John Wolf’s and eaten with the Palladino’s but I felt OBLIGED to eat with Dom. I hate feeling OBLIGED! In fact I hate holidays.
The morning started well enough: Hillary and I walked the Canyon straight up the hard way. I then drove around in search of an AA meeting as the one I wanted to go to was not available to me. Unable to find anywhere convenient I ended up at The Coffee Bean on Sunset where, amazingly, I had an impromptu AA meeting by the fire pit with other grateful recovering addicts who had also discovered that none of the usual venues were open for the holiday. I felt a bit weird holding hands and saying the serenity prayer in public. Apart from our little group holding hands there were ten other people drinking morning coffee at the Coffee Bean on Sunset including Paris Latsis and one of the Baldwin brothers who was playing backgammon in an outfit that could only be described as caramel.
Even though the eating part of our lunch was ghastly I am very fond of Dom so enjoyed talking about OJ Simpson, Netflix, dark meat versus white meat and the guy who plays Kramer on Seinfeld losing his temper on stage at the Laugh Factory and calling talkative black audience members ‘niggers’. Kramer then lamented the passing of lynching ‘niggers’. The Jews and the Blacks have always had difficulties with each other. Why?
After lunch I fled to the security of Beverly Hills and the huge house of Anastasia the Romanian eyebrow lady who was throwing a party with Merle Ginsberg’s sister. The house that eyebrows built nestled serenely in the most beautiful part of Beverly Hills. It was a delightful party with excellent food. I stuck my fingers down my throat, vomited up the lunch I had just eaten and started all over again. No I didn’t. I didn’t vomit but I did eat a second HUGE lunch, which I forced down my throat. It was SUPERB. Merle was on sparkling form. She introduced me to her gay friend who wrote Prêt e Porter for Altman who died yesterday. Look, we are all allowed to make at least one bad film and that was Altman’s. SORRY, but it’s true. I rather liked her sullen gay friend but he had one of those faces that looks as if he has just tasted something very, very sour. I call it ‘gay face’.
I cannot get enough of Merle. Her boyfriend was there who I met in the plane on the way to Sandy Pitman’s party. He looked completely different as he was not dressed as an Arab. I met Anastasia’s Romanian family who were adorable and thrilled that I had been to Constanza where they come from on the Black Sea. I met other friends of hers from Bucharest who knew all about the Elizabeth Hurley scandal. I met one beautiful girl who is a series regular on Nip Tuck who had seen The Method and knew my entire name. Ended the evening talking more to gay face and an Internet gossip woman who tried to pump me for information about who was gay in Hollywood, as if I would know anything more than her. To the amusement of the others I turned the tables and grilled her about her love life. As it turned out this dried up old harridan had no sex life at all and when she did confined it to missionary position with one person. Vicarious sex lives are the worst sex lives of all.
I left Beverly Hills at 7.30 and joined Ian Drew at a very odd little party in Larchmont. There was no traffic so getting around LA was very quick and easy. You could understand how convenient it must have been here once upon a time for drivers. Anyway, Ian was sitting with seven women, six miniature dogs and some silent designer who looked like that freak from the band Sparks in the 1970′s. I ate more pumpkin pie and offered to start a food fight but the woman who owned the house looked a little shocked. I did my favorite comedy party trick and put one of the tiny dogs into the microwave. I did not press the button although I was tempted.
Home and in bed by 11.
November 22, 2006 – Wednesday
The canyon was virtually empty this morning as most people were packing or heading off on their Thanksgiving holidays. There were two scrapping dogs brawling in the dust. Their lesbian owners did almost nothing to separate them. Like Clare Staples who has a Great Dane most of them think that these creatures are their children and rather than pulling them apart like animals the lesbians were ‘negotiating’ with them.
Meet Princess the four-legged dog/child that can be locked in the house for ten hours a day and eats its own shit. Taking a dog out for an hour each morning then locking them up in an apartment all day is frankly cruel. At least when CS brings her child/dog to LA she has bought it a huge dog run but most people who live here are just not that lucky. The same screwed thinking that makes ‘animal lovers’ imprison their dogs in tiny apartments with an hours exercise a day also makes them believe that eating a salad with a huge meal makes the meal healthier. As if eating lettuce cancels out all the damage a massive plate of pasta is doing to them before they haul their fat asses into their cars, up elevators or the path of least resistance.
I love Runyon Canyon, this morning it was quite chilly and grey. Silent. Green finches chasing each other. I always head up there feeling angry and resentful and return feeling peaceful and creative. If I don’t work out my resentments on the side of that mountain I work them out here in this blog.
Yesterday I ran errands, met Benjamin in the morning. We ate an early lunch and drank coffee in various locations all over town. I went to Silverlake to look at the house. I wish some one would buy it so that I could stop thinking about it.
Jesse Metcalf called in the afternoon, a young actor I have not seen for ages. For reasons known only to himself he wanted to swing by the apartment. He arrived with another short, good-looking 22-year-old ‘actor/producer’. I sat on my sofa wondering what the fuck they wanted. Apparently they wanted to meet me.
Flirtatious, dangerous straight boys in my house. They knew Bryan Singer, Joel S and Bill Condon and now they knew me. I had invited Aleksa’s family for dinner so I was sitting in my apron and tending the oven as they told me all about their huge projects. Jesses’s sister is called Mindy and I think may be the wrestler who lives next door to Sharon.
At 7.30 the boys were still there and invited themselves to dinner. I fed ten people easily as I had massively over bought thinking that I could make enough for lunch today. Aleksa’s grandmother and grandfather Tony Palladino are amazing and I can only hope that if I ever make it to their age I will be as vibrant. Tony is the artist who created the Psycho logo for Hitchcock.
By 11 they were all gone so I went to bed. Getting tired of sleeping on my own. I want to fall in love.
November 21, 2006 – Tuesday
Lap Top Stolen
The top of the Canyon was obscured by thick, low-lying cloud. Met Glen Williamson and his new puppy. I hauled my ass up the hard way. The later one climbs the more screamers there are.
I’ve not written anything for three days. Such drama! Whilst I was having lunch, on Friday, with Merle Ginsberg in Beverly Hills somebody came into my house, pushed my maid and stole my laptop from my desk. Later that day the thief called me on my mobile phone demanding $2,000 to be put into a bank account. I can’t write anything more until the police have dealt with it. Thankfully, I learned many years ago to back everything up. Nothing vitally important has been lost. Most of my really important day-to-day information is stored on my Blackberry. Photographs will have to be reloaded but what the hell. I was more annoyed that my maid was reduced to tears. Poor thing, when I got home she was standing in the kitchen twisting her handkerchief in her hand, her face wet with tears. “Mister, a man came”. She sobbed.
The police were wonderful, really prompt and polite and interested. The two detectives were so different from British police who really don’t seem to give a damn. It was very impressive.
I had to somehow forget about the missing laptop and concentrate on feeding 12 people who were invited for dinner. Merle Ginsberg, Sharon Swart, Hilary Carver, Julie Delphy and her German boy friend, Marilyn Heston, Loren Beck, Aleksa and Devon for lamb and roasted beets which were DELICIOUS. Joe, Ian Drew (plus three) and Dom arrived after dinner with pudding and eggnog.
It was a remarkable success.
The following day I went to AA meeting then took Joe Townley to Brentwood for breakfast. Maury looked very busy. Met Sharon after breakfast but I was in shock about my lap top and unable to communicate effectively. We drove to Burbank in the truck and bought rugs at Ikea. I felt introspective. SS didn’t like me being so quiet so I went home and napped. We have not spoken since.
On Sunday I got up early and instead of my hike I went to the Hollywood farmers market where I bought more flowers. I saw KD Lang buying groceries. I then drove that huge truck to AA meeting in West Hollywood. An hour later, feeling very good about life I headed to the Grove to buy a new laptop at Apple. It took two hours but it was worth it. Met Dom at Barney’s where I bumped into Brian Ferry and his young wife. He looked great, she looks like Lucy. Dom insisted that we eat lunch in a nasty Beverly Hills diner. Why? Dom tried to convince me that he is on some sort of frugality drive which means that we have to eat at a cheap, ghastly diner. In fact he is spending all of his money taking JT to the Barbra Streisand Concert. He is obsessed with JT.
Buying chocolate in the chocolate store on Canon Dom and I saw a young Ethiopian girl with a pair of false red pumped lips like you some times see on celebrities here. At first we thought that they were real and dashed out of the store for a closer look but the girl took them off and Dom and I screamed how wonderful the false lips were and how much she looked like the “Dreadful Jocelyn Wildenstein”. “Yes! Oh my God how much like the dreadful ‘Bride of Wildenstein’ you look”. Dom chimed in. “That Wildenstein monster!” And, as if by some ghastly say it three times magic we noticed, sitting, eating a light lunch out side, not ten paces away was Jocelyn Wildenstein no longer enjoying a quiet bite whilst she listened to a morbidly obese queen and his svelte friend screaming about how vile she was. When we realized our catastrophic faux pas Dom just ran up the street. There is nothing more heartening than watching a fat man running.
On Sunday night I met my new neighbor and hung out at my place.
Yesterday had tea with S Fry at Chateau. Introduced him to Joe. Of course they got on like a house on fire. S Fry really loves Dorian. He looked a bit disheveled. Talked more about the Dam Busters.
Dinner, where else but the Chateau, with my friend Richard and others. Saw Michael Bellisario. Clare Staples joined our table briefly but after telling us that she had just spent 6 million dollars on her new house and that she only came down from her room because she thought that I was Duncan from the boy band Blue I lost interest in her. She wonders why she is single? Most probably because she has grown a cock and bathes in testosterone every night.
Don’t worry love, you’re buying a 6 million dollar house and you live in LA, you won’t be single for long.
November 17, 2006 – Friday
Carine Roitfeld, Robbie Williams, Claire Danes
It is 8.30am. I just got back from my walk. It was far too late to find any serenity up there on the mountain, there were far too many chattering people. I stopped three times to speak with people I know. On the way down I slipped on the steep path-it was the first time. I wouldn’t want to break my hip, not here in America where nobody gives a shit.
I am driving a huge pick up truck. Somebody mentioned yesterday that the truck must make me feel more powerful. How could a truck make a man feel more powerful? I hired it to haul stuff back from Bonham’s. This apartment needs fresh flowers. The cleaner is in today; as usual she will be here for hours and not really achieve anything. I am going to be here too. I want to see what she does.
Yesterday morning Hillary came over at 7am. We hiked the huge Runyon path that stretches over three peaks. At the summit we met a Texan called Joe who makes ties for dogs. He was quite odd but worth investigation. At the gate we bumped into Julia Verdin who, for the first time, seemed genuinely pleased to see me. Perhaps I was deluded from the exhausting walk but I felt unusual warmth from her. Hillary cooked breakfast (eggs and bacon) then we drove to the Barney’s one-day only sale, which was crap. I felt bereft leaving that place empty-handed. In search of more breakfast we drove west to Maury’s City Bakery in Brentwood and ate bagel croissants and fruit salad with ginger yogurt. However, I was feeling very peculiar. Not ill but not well. On the way home I fell into a deep sleep in Hillary’s car. When she dropped me off I felt even odder. Out of sorts. Miserable.
I spent most of yesterday in bed critically unable to do anything. Spoke to sponsor who told me that taking a day off is fine, but lets face it: I have been taking ‘days off’ for twenty years. I knew that the feeling would pass and when I tried to work out why I was feeling so odd I kept on thinking about my grandmother. All of that stuff I wrote about her yesterday. Perhaps she died? I lay in bed. I tried to eat but I couldn’t. All day I suffered sudden flash backs to obscure moments in my life. Most alarmingly I vividly remembered fetching the milk from the farm-yard when I was at Shotton Hall School. Lugging churns of milk from the farm, freezing before sun rise, into the Land Rover. It set off a chain reaction of odd memories. Shotton memories ending with that fateful kiss with Linda the member of staff who was subsequently fired for her ‘unprofessional’ involvement with me.
At about 8 last night Arrick called, persuaded me out of my bed and took me to the101 for Thursday night fried chicken special. He was playing Baby Face in the car and I realised that all Baby Face does is yodel. All any of those singers do is yodel. Beyonce yodels. Listened to him yodel through a Beatles song. He dropped me off at 10. I sat wrapped up on the sofa watching gratifying home decoration programmes until midnight then went to bed. I slept well.
The day before was great. I had lunch with Amanda R at the Chateau. I adore her. She is such a chic, intelligent, funny, charming woman. We ate chicken salad. Sat next to Jason Resnick from Focus who told me that I had lost weight. The beard is such a great way to fool people into thinking you have lost weight. He mentioned that he had seen Sharon making out with some guy at the New Yorker party the previous evening. That guy, of course, was me. “I thought that you were gay”. He said. “If only it were that fucking simple”. I smiled. Somebody sent a picture to Sharon of us making out at the AFI party. We have become a very public couple.
Amanda was wearing a pair of bottle green suede boots that Rogier Vivier gave her.
That night I had dinner at The Chateau M met the utterly charming, handsome Stavros Nicharos, Carine Roitfeld (editor of French Vogue). Dinner with Marilyn Heston, Ian Drew, saw Robbie Williams, Claire Danes, Hugh D’Ancy and others. We love Carine. Ian kept reminding me that, amazingly, Carine R is 51 years old. She looks, in candle light, like a 19 year old girl. I felt great wearing my burgundy silk velvet D&G jacket, Dior pants, and some slim navy Todd’s. Claire Danes found everything Hugh said very, very funny. I don’t remember him being THAT funny. Interestingly, Doug Christmas had not mentioned our fight to Marilyn Heston. I gleefully told her the nasty Doug Christmas story, as a consequence she may think twice about doing business with him in the future. Am I being vindictive?
November 15, 2006 – Wednesday
So hot today, already, at 8am. I feel delicate this morning, fragile even. My skin is uncomfortable on my fingers. Pins and needles. I remember my grand mother saying ‘pins and needles’. ‘Suck it and see’ was another one of hers. I don’t suppose that I will ever see her alive again. I don’t want to see her. She is in her assisted living room in Herne Bay, stuffing food into her mouth that she can’t swallow. My grand mother is 96. I would like to say something to her. I would like to apologise. I just can’t seem to forgive my grand mother or my mother. I try to, God help me, I try to forgive them but I can’t. So, the last time I saw my Mother and Grand Mother was on Island Wall in Whitstable near the first cottage I owned. Nana was in her wheelchair. I kissed her. She had some food on her chin from the lunch she just ate. I am sitting here trying to forgive her.
I remember visiting her at her neat, seaside, semi-detached house in Herne Bay when I was a child. She had orange curtains in the spare room where I slept decorated with black reeds. I liked when the sun would shine onto them as everything in that room would have a warm orange glow. Before she went to bed she would lay the table for breakfast so that if I woke before her I would sit in the dining room quietly, the room smelling of sweet apples. Little boy delighted by the expectation of breakfast. The curtains drawn. I loved that house. I liked that the back garden was ordered, the lawn closely cut. In the wooden water-butt I could pick at mosquito larvae that wriggled in the black water.
When I stayed with her I especially liked taking the bus on adventures to Reculver, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. I liked falling asleep in her lap. I liked the sharp smell of vinegar on fish and chips. I liked the junket she made with nutmeg.
Does she remember what joy she gave me when I was little? She is well looked after by my Mother who is a good daughter and Grand Mother herself.
I don’t really have much to do with my family nor they me. Without family that I can trust suits me fine. I no longer feel isolated. I do not expect anything different nowadays. I used to think about that man who shot those children in Scotland. I thought about how much pain he was in to do that, how fraught and bitter he must have been. Then I think about those school children that shoot guns at school killing teachers and other pupils. They are always described as being ‘alone’. He was a ‘loner’, but to be a loner you have to be ignored, shunned, misunderstood. It takes two. The people of the Scottish town did nothing to reach out to the man who shot their children before he shot them. They almost certainly mocked the lonely old man. The children who took guns into their school were mocked for their individuality. The Muslims feel powerless so gang together and vent their frustration. Do I feel alone? Thankfully I have God, a God of my understanding. I am never alone.
I have been so angry in the past. I am getting too old to be angry like a young man.
Yesterday I had lunch with Mickey Cottrell at Musso and Frank. I spent the afternoon at home. Bettina’s party on Melrose for The New Yorker was OK although I did not see the point of it. The goody bag had water in it. Goody. Sharon swung by to see me, kiss me. She had 12 pages to write so I met Joe and Dom for a late dinner. We ate at the ghastly Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Beverly Hills. This was my second experience at this terrible place. We had the worst table sat by the work station and the waiter had all the charm of a squid. The curried short ribs were disgusting. The chocolate soufflé was almost inedible. The only thing worth complimenting were the water glasses, which are very beautiful. Thankfully I did not pay. Dom and Joe quizzed me about my burgeoning relationship with Sharon. Of course I am just as baffled as they are but I really like her, being with her. Connected.
November 14, 2006 – Tuesday
7am. Yet again I missed the dwarves. I listened for her screaming but I could not hear her. The usually blue LA sky full of towering silver clouds. Down town the fragile skyscrapers are scraping the sky. I passed the elderly Russians with the baby and a photograph of Scruffy with LOST written under his name, pinned to a fence. Last week I was asked by his owners if I had seen him. Scruffy, I fear, has gone forever.
I took the steep path and sat at the top of the Canyon for a moment wondering about the world and how the west was ‘wooing’ Iran with stern words to help them get out of Iraq. “You’d better help us Iran or you’re going to be in very hot water!” Said Tony Blair wagging his finger (tail) at the bemused Iranian president. This entire situation would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. Before I set off on my walk I looked at pictures of all the British men and women who had lost their young lives in Iraq. I thought about the wounded with missing limbs or faces or minds. I thought about the vanity of my Prime Minister and his cabinet. I remembered my faithful to Queen and country military friends telling me with absolute conviction that going to Iraq and finding weapons of mass destruction was essential. Why are the British so involved with the US? What in God’s good name is in it for us? On the day that the Democrats were elected and the Republicans started planning their withdrawal from Iraq it was announced by the head of MI5 in London that they had uncovered many (300) deadly Muslim terrorist plots. Do the Brits believe this? I don’t think so. Most of them, us, don’t know where to turn in a country that has two effectively identical political parties. Where the police now roam the streets with sub machine guns and the truth is vanished. Like Scruffy, Tony Blair (another cherished lap dog) is lost in the wilderness. What can we do?
Had breakfast with Joe T. He looks great and is doing well. Joe Moller came over in the afternoon to talk about putting together our Dorian happening. Stephen Fry very kindly saw Dorian and said, “It has all the poisonous wickedness one simultaneously dreads and adores in the original and in the Huysmans originals.”
I stayed close to the house all day. Writing, making calls and tidying my desk. Bills needed to be paid and calls needed to be made.
Several people have written asking about my issue with Doug Christmas. Doug owns three galleries in LA called ACE; the publicist Bettina Kourec, with a view to using one of his venues to show Dorian as an installation, introduced him to me. She warned me ahead of time that he did not have a very good reputation or pay his bills but I took the meeting and he asked for a copy of the film, which I gave him. Two weeks later when we asked for the film to be returned he refused, for reasons known only to himself. He a vile crooked man who could have quite simply avoided all of this nonsense by returning our DVD. Instead, he chose to pick a fight. Sadly, he chose the wrong man to pick a fight with.
Aleksa cooked a delicious dinner last night of chicken and red peppers. After dinner Devon pointed up at the window of the apartment block opposite where the female Latvian Dwarf stands like a mad woman in a play. She is up there every night staring out of her apartment. When she is not at day care with her husband, she is screaming at him in her floral house-coat. Then, when the sun sets, she stands motionless, framed in her window staring, waiting for dawn.
November 13, 2006 – Monday
Monday morning. The weekend was long and eventful. I did not climb the Canyon on Saturday or Sunday. This morning I woke at 6am, pulled on my shorts and thick tee shirt and began my walk. No dwarves, no screamers. I was so deep in thought I did not notice the view nor did I count the dogs. I was thinking about what I had, what I needed, what I wanted. I was thinking about Whitstable and how much I love it there. I was thinking about my friends and the cottage where I used to live. I was thinking about the over 60′s centre.
The weekend began last Friday lunch time, Tiffany and I went to Orian’s spanish 1920′s apartment in West Hollywood and saw a good chunk of his new film Control, which is about that guy Ian Curtis from Joy Division who killed himself. Directed by Anton Corbin, it looks great. After looking at some of the film the three of us had a very long lunch at the Chateau M. When I arrived Steven Fry bellowed my name out over the garden. Discussed Venus with Geoffrey Rush who did a sparkling impression of Leslie Phillips playing Falstaff at the RSC. Hamish McAlpine and his partner Carol were eating lunch at the table beside us, they are great friends of Sharon’s. It was Veteran’s day so the poor dear at the desk had to spend the entire afternoon turning away ghastly looking civilians. However, one table of vulgar interlopers who would never usually be welcome in our little garden paradise had managed to get past him. They were pointing, staring at celebrities. The staff responded by ignoring them completely. Even though the civilians were bothering us like bears in a bee hive, we had a very jolly lunch that lasted well into the afternoon.
Bought groceries at Wholefoods and started cooking for Tiffany, Sharon, Houston, the Palladino’s and BIG MISTAKE my shallow gay neighbour and his ghastly friend. The gays giggled and made snide comments and one of them scarcely knew how to pick up a knife and fork. How can you be gay and not even know how to eat properly? I made it quite difficult for them to stay so they left before the pudding. Cooked sweet potato and sprouts, which I par boiled then threw into hot olive oil until the edges were singed like bubble and squeak. Chicken baked in red wine and bay leaves.
The following morning I went to my men’s AA meeting in Westwood and afterwards had breakfast with Loren at the City Bakery. The caramelised French toast and bagel croissants are food dreams are made of. After breakfast we went to the Peterson Museum where Bonham’s were having a Steve McQueen auction. We were just in time to see a pair of Persol Sunglasses that SM might have worn sell for $70,000.
When we left the auction Loren and I headed to the bunch of small galleries situated there on Wilshire near the Peterson. I wanted to take one last look at the Hockney Photo Montage at Paul Kopeikins gallery before SG bought it. We were in the back of the gallery with Paul when who should walk in? None other than the beastly Doug Christmas! “Why, it’s my old friend Doug Christmas.” I said. You should have seen his face, even with all that ‘work’ it visibly sagged. His mouth fixed into a terrible leer. He flushed the colour of fresh liver spots. Doug hastily made his way out of Paul’s gallery and, rather foolishly, into the one next door. I said, “God’s punishing you for being so dishonest.” The gallerist sitting at the desk suddenly took notice. Now, it may come as no surprise to any of you but I love an audience and this one was rather more receptive than I could possibly have imagined. I suddenly and unwittingly became Doug Christmas’s very own nemesis. I followed this sprightly senior around the various galleries whilst asking him loudly when he was going to return my property. By the time I had hounded the old fart into the car park I noticed that all of the gallerists from the various galleries were watching and listening to us from a safe distance.
Doug, rather pathetically, tried to physically intimidate me but I am a little too tall and he was a little too old to do anything other than sneer at me from very close quarters. Knowing that I had extremely bad coffee breath all I had to do was breath hard into his wrinkles. He recoiled, called me an ass hole, told me how rich he was then climbed into his car and shot off. When I went back into the car park to collect Loren all of the gallery owners came out and congratulated me for confronting him. It felt like that moment at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz when the munchkins climb out of the bushes to congratulate Dorothy for killing the witch. All of the little munchkin gallerists had stories to tell about Doug Christmas ripping them off. It was a triumphant moment.
On Saturday night Sharon and I went to Paul Allen’s house for supper with Harry Bellefonte. Dianne Carole in attendance, she has big hair and a bigger diamond. Harry told interesting stories about being a communist here in Hollywood in the 1950′s and recently meeting Chavez. He speaks very slowly and quietly. Burned my tongue on something wrapped in filo pastry.
The Fountain prem party was ok but the film is not very well-respected and one gets the feeling that everyone was just going through the motions of having the ball and congratulating the Dauphine. Had a long chat with Rachel Weisz who is a great friend of Phil’s and Daisy Coburn’s. “Are you enjoying being a star?” I asked. She looked momentarily pained as if I had said something cruel. It cannot be easy for Rachel to do this Hollywood nonsense. She is an intelligent woman. She told me to send love to Phil and Daisy and I kissed her warmly and waved good-bye.
On Sunday I headed over to West Hollywood AA meeting. There was a mad person listening to his personal stereo. Went to Sunset sale where I saw and ignored Peter D who, I notice, now has a long scaley tail! Had breakfast with Dom and Hillary and Dom’s friend Keith at 101. When Hillary left we went to see Volver at The Arclight, which we all loved. Penelope Cruz looking like Gina Lollobrigida, playing brilliantly in her own language.
AA meeting at Cedars then dinner then coffee on Santa Monica Blvd then I crawled into bed tired but happy.
There are very strange reports in the newspapers that the USA are to begin talks with Syria and Iran about the future of Iraq. Can this be true?
November 10, 2006 – Friday
I stayed in bed well after my 6am alarm. By the time I started my walk it was 8.30. This morning I lay in bed paying bills on-line and looking at pornography. I answered e-mails then hauled myself out of bed, into my shorts and onto the street. The Canyon was quite eventful, bumped into David Thomas and his boyfriend. Then, hard on David’s heels, I bumped into the Peters (D&K), Peter D scuttled past me like a reptile but dear, sweet Peter K gave me a big hug. That man is a class act.
A dorky straight couple held up a picture of a nondescript dog, “Have you seen our dog Scruffy?” The plump male one whined. “We have lost our dog, Scruffy”. The female warbled out Scruffy’s name. If I were Scruffy I would be in some kind of witness protection programme, living in Florida.
Last night I went to the Angel Food Project hosted by CAA. Brian Lord and Kevin Huvane doing good works for the local community. Robert Downey Jr., Adrian Brody were there to add a certain Hollywood pizzazz to the mixture of worthy, suited agents clustered around Brian and eager art dealers there to get the best prices for their clients work. Jason Weinberg is a strange man, he seemed pleased to see me then started critiquing my outfit. I was wearing a Bridget Riley inspired tie. The games people play.
My favourite part of the evening was seeing the despicable Doug Christmas not two days after he had been so rude to me. He was standing with Marilyn Heston. I towered over him showering praise on Mrs Heston, chatting about our friends and imminent dinner. Doug tried to make some sort of amusing comment about me but neither Marilyn or I took any notice, Doug’s chicklet teeth framed in a desperate smile.
The auctioneer was a young female New Yorker who quipped all the way though the auction. Although she was very amusing after ten lots her shrill humour grated on me and she took a very long time to get through the 30 lots on sale. Many people left the auditorium before the end. All of the lots sold for well above the reserve except Peter D’s vile friend Konstantine whose ghastly ‘mural’ did not sell at all. They raised a great deal of money for a very worthy cause. I bid on the Philip Taaffee and a particularly beautiful Elliott Hundley.
Everyone from Christie’s very excited about last weeks extraordinary Klimpt prices.
Had dinner with Loren Beck at Wolfgang Puck’s overblown new restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel on Wilshire. Richard Meier, the guy who designed the interior, blatantly drawing on the work of Schindler. All those obvious details, skimpy false buttresses, pale wood elevations. The furniture was terrible; the tables too large, the office type chairs skidding around on casters. The place is simply too austere for my taste. Too much space. Space is not a luxury in LA. The restaurant would have been perfect in New York. We need intimacy and proximity here in this sprawling city. The staff, dressed like prison wardens added to the needlessly oppressive atmosphere. Our waiter was particularly charm less and more interested in flirting with two women on a nearby table. Before our order was taken the suited meat man arrived with a tray of Kobi beef which he introduced to us like his new-born baby. For only $200 a marbled slice it looked as if it could clog your arteries with just one bite. Rather put off by the beef demonstration we ordered a mixture of starters: tongue, beef sashimi, asparagus, and beef tartar. Oddly, Warren Beatty was in the hotel bar looking less leonine than usual, he was drinking with a pretty blond woman.
I spent the greater part of yesterday trying to hunt down curtain rings for the black curtain rods in my sitting room. Needless to say the most obvious places failed me. Ended up in a haberdashery on Labrea about five blocks from where I live.
The previous day I had lunch in Westwood with Paris L and Terry his business partner then hung out with Maury at City bakery. Got home just in time to pull on a suit and drive over to meet Sharon at the Environmental Media Awards where we celebrated outstanding achievement within the Entertainment and Environmental Communities. Bullshit. It was a Lexus event to promote the Prius electric car. Anyway, I met Graham Nash from Crosby Still Nash and Young who is my total hero. I asked about Joni Mitchell. He said, “Joni’s recording an album, she’s angry, really angry”.
Met the boys from Maroon 5 (?)
After the awards Sharon and I were given two huge bags, which we filled with organic produce. There was a man dressed as a cow promoting soy products. We had a lovely time but she went home on her own. As I stood in the line for my car the cow introduced himself to me and we had a coffee together.
I have been spending more time over in Silverlake. On my own, eating breakfast at the little bakery on Silverlake Blvd. Checking it all out. I sat in what would have been my garden on Dillon. Shall I sell Whitstable? Where am I?
November 8, 2006 – Wednesday
It is unseasonably warm. At dinner last night there was more chatter about it being ‘earthquake weather’. Anything unusual with the weather, anything unseasonable is described as ‘earthquake weather’ here in Los Angeles. I have never experienced an earthquake. I do not own an earthquake survival kit. Of course I am aware that keeping my very expensive, hand blown glasses that I bought at Gump ten years ago on an open shelf is frankly ludicrous. Sometimes I lay in my bed and wonder if John and Susan’s bed from the apartment above will come crashing down on top of me when the earthquake finally hits.
The Canyon. Wednesday. 34 dogs. No shouting, no odd behaviour. The view was wonderful. Somewhere in the east there was a smoking chimney. Unusually the smoke was held like a fat flat frying pan around the building, a slim tail drifting onto the horizon. Everything, this morning, looked very calm. Placid. The hills and valleys spread out below me like a magical kingdom. I could not make out anything ambitious, wilful, cruel or selfish from up there on the side of that canyon. I could not hear the jubilant conversations Democrats were having as they celebrated their election victory. I could not see the young homeless woman in the wheel chair that begs on the corner of Hollywood and Vine or the dancing black woman who stands there too. Dancing all day like a Masai warrior, stamping her big black feet on the ground, her mini skirt rising up almost in slow motion as her body twists and turns on the corner of that grimy intersection, listening to music that plays from something she is holding in her hand. All I could make out was the sprawl of humanity.
Monday, went to two AA meetings. Met Sharon on the roof of the Arclight Cinema parking structure, which the AFI had transformed into an amazing party/reception area. Ate curried chicken.
Yesterday I had breakfast at the Chateau M with Stephen Fry. This was the first time since we met two years ago that I did not sit opposite him feeling like I was no more than a well dressed baboon. When he took me to the Garrick I was completely overwhelmed, my long hairy arms negotiating the condiments, my orange fur matted with kedgeree, my huge monkey face full of huge monkey teeth, my black beady eyes gazing around the recently decorated room. When we met in New York and had dinner with Barry Humphries after The Dame Edna show on Broadway I was less embarrassed but kept quiet. I felt more evolved. Yesterday all of my digits felt like they were the right human size. I could understand every word he said and even made him laugh. I ate porridge he ate muesli. He is here in LA writing The Damn Busters for Peter Jackson. We discussed Blair and how Iraq will be cut into his dead heart as Calais was on Mary Queen of Scott’s. We both agreed that if it had not been for Iraq Blair would have left office one of the most important British leaders of all time. SF used to write speeches for TB.
We discussed bi-polarity, AIDS and a film that he wants to make about an obscure Indian mathematician. It was wonderful to see him. He is a very kind man who, I am sure, struggles with his genius.
After breakfast I drove to the DMV off of Willoughby and passed my driving test. I am now the very proud owner of a Californian driving licence. Hurrah.
I had lunch with Clifton in Beverly Hills and bought another pair of shoes. I have since made an agreement with my AA sponsor that I cannot spend any more money. I am out of control. It is so destructive. Bought tickets for Australia. Have to go to NYC for a week in December.
The afternoon was spent listlessly trying to tie up loose ends. Tried getting back my DVD from Doug Christmas who is a nightmare of a human being.
Dinner at the Chateau with MR turned into a bit of a fiasco when he overslept and I was left table-hopping, which can sometimes be fun, but all I really wanted to do was hang out with Sharon. Saw Diego Luna who I am having breakfast with this Thursday. Saw Steve Garbarino who showed me the mock-up for the edition of Blackbook that I am in. It looks fantastic. He was dining with Chloe Sevigny.
Finally called Sharon who was over on Formosa with delightful friends who had prepared delicious feast of tender beef and roast vegetables. They were all a bit drunk and high on the fact that AFM had ended, their AFM ’06 war stories were very funny though. One of the buyers was shown a live action dog film which the asian buyers narrated throughout as there was no sound. “Now look, the bad dogs are coming..” We discussed film sales and how to sell art films. We discussed James Bond. Fierce discussion. Loved it. Went home alone and slept like a log.
Yesterday, in the hotel dining room, there were a sweet couple who are visiting Toronto for the weekend to get married. One was a very young, very tall, strapping jock and the other a much older, smaller, Jewish man who did the talking for the both of them. An odd couple. A pair that I would never even had pegged for a successful date let alone as lovers or as married but there you go, they were obviously very happy and excited by the prospect of their ‘big day’.
After an hour of quite baldly intrusive questioning I determined that they were getting married for all the ‘right’ reasons. They loved each other. They were committed to each other. They wanted to celebrate their union in the company of their friends and family. They were not concerned to have retirement/health/tax benefits. This is Canada so that is already part of the deal. In the USA the gays who bay for marriage seem to think only of what it means to them fiscally.
Why is it that US gay political figures have not advanced the rights of gay people in any meaningful way during the past 20 years where as we in the UK (with our deliciously out gay, joint toting cabinet ministers) and Canada, South Africa, Australia and across Europe gays have equal rights? The tactics used by American gays are obviously not working.
My gripe, ultimately, is with the gays and not the withholding ‘straight’ majority. The majority are just that: THE MAJORITY. Using the gay marriage stick to beat the straight donkey just makes the old mule stubborn and refuse to budge.
Gay activists must make many lawyers across the US very rich indeed. Demanding things from the entrenched. Making headway then having it all taken away. You can get married, you can’t get married. The wailing of the gays. Stop asking to get married because you are doing it for all the wrong reasons. AND you are pissing them off or worse delighting them every time they flick their tails and repeal your meagre reforms. I know that it may seem an odd question but given that you can’t and wont be able to any time soon in any way that equalizes your financial/inheritance situation. Why do you even want to get married? I want to know. The Toronto boys would have been perfectly happy with a get together on the beach with their family. All they wanted the world to know was that they were in love.
My concern for gays in the US is that they just want to be like ‘everyone else’ that they refuse to acknowledge their obvious difference and embrace and celebrate it. The middle class gays that determine the gay agenda are committed to the politics of invisibility. They want the right to get married not because they love each other GOD FORBID but because they want to be just like them (straights). Gays want to get married, have children, and live in elegant houses just like them. Sit on the school board just like them. The middle class gays with heterosexual aspirations want the trappings of the lives their parents had, the comfort and middle class normalcy and when they get it genuinely believe that the OTHERS might not realizes that there is any difference between them and us.
There is a huge difference, no matter how much we hide in fear from their reproachful eyes. We are different. However much we love ‘straight acting‘ ’100% masculine’ we will always be evident in the way we walk, talk, dress, play-it is time to acknowledge that we are the ‘other’. In accepting who we are we can then stop demanding from the majority that they respect us. Nurture us. Give us permission to be just like them.
I have no intention of being anything other than what I am, I will not pretend to be more like them so that they can tolerate me, or worse ignore me because I have made such a great job of pretending a life that they have prescribed.
I have made a choice to live in a ‘free’ society. I have made a choice to commit to the freedoms of the USA. Yet, from my meager bluff overlooking the sea I don’t think that many people in the US are free at all. How can you be free when you live in fear? When you weigh so much that your ass can scarcely fit into a car, when you cannot identify the flora and fauna around you?
As I tour the US and the world with Dorian I listen to the way gay artists make work-although most gay artists are only eager to talk about money-and I am fascinated by how little new drama for this huge audience is being made. Where as once we were thrilled to have our stories told, the language and locations of gay life revealed-now we are perfectly satisfied to see ourselves on Desperate Housewives. Yet, ironically, mainstream gay and lesbian product is being made but it is not allowed at gay and lesbian film festivals. Gay and lesbian film festivals are not allowed to show Notes on a Scandal or Transamerica because the distributors of these films don’t want to be ‘pigeon holed’ as if amazingly they cannot embrace both kinds of audience. As if showing these films to gay audiences will some how devalue their product? This is unbridled homophobia and we colluded with it. We have little or no respect for our own culture so whilst the distributors get away with willful homophobia then gay film makers are not going to show or make work for gay audiences because they understandably feel that their work will not be taken seriously by those who hold the purse strings.
When gays devalue their own culture when deferring to the mainstream they become a lot dumber in the process. We have traded our rich culture for the mindless thump of our clubs and bars, spend our money on drugs and alcohol yet if prodded pretend that we are just like them, no difference at all. The similarities between Quentin Crisps 1940′s London and present day USA are startling. The attitude of gay men that by being different we ruin it for the rest is all too common.
I see men my age at bars in West Hollywood at the big cock contest, or men older and more powerful than me who will only sleep with straight guys. What have we become? I almost want to buy a wig and paint my nails, after all, drag in its purest form has always been an effective act of aggression.
May 17, 2007 – Thursday
There is a large John Lautner house out on the PCH for sale, it will cost who ever buys it 33 million dollars. At night it looks like it has been carved in amber.
I am in Toronto, here for the gay film festival. I am staying in a bed and breakfast that was once a very grand house. Dorian is the opening night film and I can’t get out of bed. I can’t move out of my room. I am ‘on line’ to various friends. Various websites. Looking, my eyes getting very tired.
Isabella Blow killed herself. She drank weed killer, paraquat, and took 3 days to die. Her husband’s father did the same. Her grandfather committed suicide too. She was an occasional friend to me. When I made The Baron in The Trees she oversaw extra ordinary pictures of me for Vogue. The week before she died she visited with Philippa in Langton St with her sister Lavinia. The last time I saw Isabella she was at a party Lucy Ferry threw with Si Newhouse at Lucy’s home in Kensington. She was with some Argentinean man who looked like a second-rate gigolo. I don’t remember her for her hats. I remember going to Hilles to see her and Detmar and Amory with Philippa and my friend Justin from Whitstable who was a simple lad who also committed suicide a few years later after he was set upon by homophobes in Camberwell. Isabella took him under her wing, realizing that he was totally out of his depth and said,” You know what you need young man-a pork pie!” and dragged him in his car to the village and bought him a HUGE pork pie.
I have one very funny picture of Isabella and Jay Jopling in my photo album. He looks bemused and she looks like an alien in mourning. He looks young.
You know that she was Tim Willis’s girlfriend for years but left him for Detmar Blow. I called her the night before she was to marry Detmar to ask why she was marrying him and she said, “I’m not marrying a man, I’m marrying a house.” Which was true. I used that line in AKA.
KB wrote yesterday:
‘Sorry, darling Duncan, missed all the excitement around Dorian – though I saw Mrs. Merton last week, who mentioned she’d seen you. Issie’s funeral yesterday. Amazing send-off with horse-drawn hearse (very beautiful – though I forgot to remind Detmar that she had wanted a glass coffin a la Snow White!) from Glos Cathedral. kept remembering their wedding there and was sad, but service was rather uplifting and Rupe Everett gave a very good address. Detmar did a good wake at Hilles afterwards and I saw lots of old friends.’
I met Issie when I was twenty-four. She was seeing Tim Willis in those days and they had just moved into Tim’s apartment in Notting Hill. Tim Willis married Joanna and then I became the God Father to their child. Issie could not have children. There was some shenanigans about Hilles and children and how Detmar’s mother wanted her daughter (can’t remember her name) who married Crusty Levinson (who was married to Philippa’s sister Francine) and their children to have the house. In aristocratic circles to lose out on the big house is a DISASTER. She indeed married the house but it was stolen from her.
Good-bye Isabella Delves Broughton nee Blow.
Since I last wrote my blog I have moved to Malibu and now sit high above the sea on a small bluff. Everybody visits so I am not alone. I am in Toronto unable to leave my room and I miss it terribly-my house. The very light traffic outside my hotel room woke me at 5am.
I moved from Whitstable finally-just as the peonies were about to bloom, ants on their sticky buds. I have not really stopped grieving my Whitstable loss but will do when my stuff gets to Malibu. In some ways I wish that the whole lot would sink in the Atlantic. But that might mean that people would get hurt which I don’t want.
Dinners during the past month included: Birthday dinner for and with John Dewis and Kevin West where I met the utterly adorable Elliot Hundley. Opening of Dan Flavin show at LACMA. New age baby shower on Mulholland with babies spirit guide who had been ‘communing with foetus’ and wanted us all to celebrate that the baby was looking forward to being born, to be made flesh. Derek Frost and Jeremy invited me to dinner in Pimlico when I traveled to London for premiere of Dorian. Dorian, up on the big screen in Leicester Square. How did it feel? Not great. I love the film but others were not so kind. People who get it-get it. The others are the others and perhaps they are right. Even so, this experience is more exciting than AKA, which was only great when it got to Outfest. Then that soured when the onslaught happened and I was unprepared for them, for when they love something and you don’t believe it.
Melanie threw a dinner for me with Mickey Wolfson and others came too. My new best friend Wendy A had lunch in Malibu with her and Barry Levinson and others.
Seeing a great deal of Joe who made moving effortless and wonderful. In fact he is making my life all that much nicer by being good to me.
I gave my brother Martin my Porsche, which seemed to delight him. I gave my fridge to Babs and Tony. I took down all the curtains and deconstructed the house. I said goodbye to every one of my plants. I felt like such a traitor for leaving them behind. Tim came by with Jo and Sibbley. He brought gypsy tart and we ate it at Babs house with hot tea.
When I returned from my final month is Whitstable Dom collected me from the airport and when I got back to the new place Joe was in the new kitchen cooking dinner. The new garden is a huge undertaking. Thankfully I have discovered a nursery that is closing down on the PCH and is selling everything very cheaply. Yesterday I bought an 8 foot cactus and planted it.
Bought Euphorbia and aloes and agaves.
I listen to the coyote at night howling and chattering and eating baby deer. I am eager to see a rattlesnake. I saw a mountain lion. A raccoon got into my car and ate skittles. A Blue Jay raided the humming-bird nest and stole all the baby humming birds. Trevor stopped by and heated the Jacuzzi and we lay in it with Eyal the Israeli boy who is dark and mysterious.
So much more has happened but I can’t remember or don’t want to remember. I had a great time in Miami and lay by the pool at the Raleigh with VD and CZ. I am as brown as a nut and looking forward to great wrinkles on my face.
April 9, 2007 – Monday
I walked from my house on Wavecrest to Janet Street-Porter’s house half a mile away toward Seasalter. She has attached an ugly wooden fence to the sea wall since the coastal defense agency raised the height of the beach.
I only saw two dogs. The beach is much brighter than it was. They spent last summer trucking tons of new stone onto the old beach filling the gaps between the new wooden groins. They used a whole forest of timber, I wondered if it came from a sustainable forest.
From the train the new beach looks beautiful but the new stones are mostly flint like a Deal or Dover beach rather than a Whitstable beach. The stones on a Whitstable beach are small, treacle and honey colored pebbles. These flint rocks are huge and difficult to walk on. This has caused much consternation to the dog walkers and weekend strollers. People collect the larger flint pieces and stack them up for others to see. The spring tide had obviously been very high as there was a ribbon of black, dry seaweed swept onto the new pale shore.
I walked back into town and bought a free range corn-fed chicken that I am going to cook for Cathy and Rufus. I stopped in at Wheelers and drained a cup of tea. Mark Stubbs the genius chef arrived, as I was half way through my cupper. I sat in the parlor at the back and finished my tea and flicked through the Whitstable Times. Mark Stubbs is the chef at Wheelers and I have known him and his delightful family since he was a teenager. I have seen him evolve into a fine chef. He understands how to take risks with flavor, he knows how to set something onto a plate and make it look delicious. He is a master because he cares.
Most of the shops on the High Street were closed, as it is bank holiday Monday. I had promised Cathy that I would make bread and butter pudding as per Arabella Boxer’s recipe. It requires that I use stale French bread. Thankfully Dave was in the deli and gave me a heap of stale brioche so I will use that instead. My God, what a change! When I first started making bread and butter pudding 15 years ago it was impossible to buy a vanilla pod on the High Street let alone stale brioche from a friend.
I felt sad in bed last night. I kept thinking about Danny. I am a long way away from my LA AA. I received e-mail from one of the morning gang, urging me to come home. It cheered me up tremendously.
I have no idea if I will be moving into my Malibu house when I get back as I have heard nothing from Kelly. I may just stick around in London. I have everything I need here.
The house next door has been renovated so mine looks spectacular. I got used to living next door to a derelict house. I am almost pleased that I am staying. The plot at the end of the garden has been cleared and looks like the building work is well underway. It is good to be grateful for the world around you. I try to and see the best in everything. However, when I get ill I tend to have a very bleak outlook. Jet lag, a cold and a long way from an AA meeting made me feel despondent.
I wish that I had my Premiere tonight I would feel like I could rise to the challenge.
After a few years in the USA with their can do attitude I am dumbfounded by the petty attitude of the British. The ones I know-but mostly I don’t. They say sneeringly, “Oh you art directed your own film.” As a sort of put down. Why should this be? Of course I want to art direct my film. I would shoot it and edit it too if I could. Last week, my head full of cold I was in no mood to defend my film. This week I am.
April 8, 2007 – Sunday
I am sitting on the balcony overlooking the pale gray/blue sea. I have been in England for a couple of weeks but have still not overcome my jet lag. Part of me seems absent without leave. I slept in a bed on the plane from LA. It was very odd. I decided to open the B&B for Easter. I hung the freshly painted sign and made the beds with new linen and made a trip to Somerfields to get bacon and eggs. This morning I cooked the eggs and bacon for my guests. They were a nice couple from Stratford; they worked for Carlsberg-good folk from the Midlands. She ate a bacon sandwich but he ate the full English and I was pleased as they left too much on their plates yesterday.
A bee is trapped in my bedroom and keeps bashing its face into the glass. The front of the house is gleaming white as after the guests paid me I took a mop bucket full of soapy water and a stepladder and washed the ship lap. I used a dishcloth on the boards but in fact I should have mopped the front of the house but this idea only just occurred to me.
Rather a lot happened since I last wrote my blog.
So, as I am back in Whitstable with no real plan to return to LA I shall start my walking and writing routine once again. There are no 7am AA meetings here. There are no mountains. I began smoking again three weeks ago. Have stopped this past three days.
The Oscars, lets start with them. They were very dull this year. I spent the few days before the big day and the day after with Todd Eborly the Vanity Fair photographer. Todd very kindly dragged me willingly from one obscure party to the next. We originally met at Eugenio’s house at some function although I may have met him with Samia at Art Basel in Miami. I think we met this time at the Robert Wilson after show party. Amazingly, ever since I had my run in with the ghastly Doug Christmas I bump into him everywhere and it was at the Ace Gallery that Robert had his show. I first met Robert Wilson in Paris when I was 19 years old. He didn’t remember me but we discussed Philippe Chemin and his girlfriend (now his wife) Robin who apparently are still together.
It was because of them that I (apparently) fell out with Samia all those years ago-a resentment that the old ferret had held onto for 25 years. After ten years a resentment has more to do with the person who bears it than the person it is about. Anyway, Robert asked me what I thought about his show and as I had not seen it I made some clever, nondescript remark that amused Todd. Met Darrel Hannah and a bunch of über gays. Doug Christmas and I looked at one another suspiciously across Eugenio’s huge drawing room-past the Twombley and the Warhol’s.
Two days later Ronnie Sassoon, Todd and I watched a huge Jeff Koons, green metal elephant craned high into the blue LA sky reflecting the palm trees and dropped into place in Eugenio’s newly landscaped garden whilst his maid fed us Mexican food and the curator of his collection danced like a demented pixie in the street in a black satin Balenciaga rain coat and fedora. It was bright but bitterly cold. Ronnie and I wrapped ourselves in cream cashmere blankets.
Eugenio has bought a bunch of bronze spiders that look like they are by Louise Bourgeois but in fact are just tat. When I asked Richard Squire at our lunch with Joe Townly and that sweet lesbian he hangs out with why Eugenio would buy such rubbish Richard replied that it was really none of my business as Eugenio was, “Richer than God.” Joe and I, to this day, laugh about his answer.
Soho House opened in LA for their usual Oscar fortnight in a huge house quite close to where Eugenio lives. Ate lunch there with Ronnie and Todd. Given much free stuff. The night before Oscar night snogged Sharon there again. Met Amy Berg who was nominated for an Oscar for her documentary about child abuse. Met Hillary the real producer of Children of Men who was furious that her picture had been ignored by the Hollywood establishment. She dashed furiously about Soho House followed by three assistants who trailed miserably in her wake.
The Diane von Furstenberg/Barry Diller party at their sprawling Bel Air estate was very pleasant. I met Paul Allen and Shirley MacLean. I ate lunch with David Hockney and discussed the camera obscura. Helen Mirren was adorable and I was happy to have had the chance to meet her. I flirted a great deal with a realtor called Chris from Malibu and have met him twice since then. Dennis Hopper and I reminisced about Romania. He had just seen Coppola’s new film-an art film. Dennis was deliciously confused. Rupert Murdoch, David Geffen and other powerful men as well as the prerequisite fashion crowd who were horrendous. Tamara Mellon and her fat, gay, best friend who is some how related to Joan Collins sat with her ex husband. Oswald Botang was there with his bunch. There were a few film stars and a cute waiter as well as some delicious boy from Sydney. Todd and I stayed till the end. I will prob never go to that party again so I was determined to squeeze every moment out of it. Paris and Stavros were also at Barry’s garden party dressed in almost middle-aged, sensible clothing, they looked like a perfectly normal young couple.
However, at Paris Hilton’s birthday party the following night at her ugly little house she transformed into PARIS! the celebrity with crop top and trashy hair. I am convinced that she has two homes, one for trashy Paris and one for chic Paris. Her birthday party was only worthwhile as one got to gaze longingly at Stavros who is not only incredibly beautiful but also the most charming man alive. Paris’s trashy house is full of portraits of her and terrible people but Todd, John Dewis and I had our pictures taken by a company who make 3d laminated fridge magnates. We spent more time in the valet parking than the party.
Spent the Oscar awards at Dede Gardener’s (runs Brad Pitts production company) and her husband’s beautiful house in Hollywood. As the ceremony unfolded there was much talk about Brad Gray and Brad Pitt and their involvement with Scorsese’s The Departed. All too convoluted to explain here. Their child is adorable and her house is packed with great stuff and marvelous art. Great vintage wallpaper in the bathroom-huge silver cranes dance against a pale blue landscape.
I spent time at Soho House and did not go to the Chateau Marmont.
Very sweetly Damien (Hirst) invited me to his show at Larry Gagosian’s and the party afterwards at the Bar Marmont. There was a very odd moment when I found myself with Damien and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I didn’t say much. We just kissed and that was it.
Spent a good amount of time with Maia, Damien’s wife. She was wearing a white pleated leather dress by Jil Sander.
I met my friend Justin the model at the after party and we headed over to Eugenio’s when we tired of Damien’s crowd.
Met Lynn Wyatt and a bunch of elderly, stick thin socialites at some gay rich boys Hollywood house. Dominick Dunne and others there. Fried chicken-apparently he cooked the food himself. Todd took wonderful photograph of Lynn Wyatt by portrait of Betsy Bloomingdale.
Ronnie commissioned Todd to take pictures of the Singleton House by Neutre, which she has restored. It was very beautiful but I am afraid not nearly as beautiful as her own house, which is so stunning, I cannot begin to describe it. It was so beautiful it made me cry. Actually, the Singleton House is ruined. I cannot beat around the bush and as much as I love Ronnie she has ruined that house with sunken bars and huge non descript rooms. There, I wrote it.
My film premiered in London to a bunch of sour faced gays and lesbians and five baby celebrities-the Geldof children and some band front man. This is exactly what happened to AKA. Sneered at by UK gays. If I had been a Mexican or Japanese they would have loved it but as I am home-grown I tolerated their pursed lips and arched eyebrows.
I couldn’t care less about them. Two days previous my good friend and occasional lover Danny Ross was killed on an LA freeway so all I could really think about was his sweet face. That night I erased his number from my Blackberry. I was numb. Stayed with Sharon Marshall in Brixton. The girly self-help book that she is writing with Tara PT strewn over the dining room table.
I have stayed numb ever since I heard about Danny. His death has made me angry and despondent. Nothing really matters.
Since I have been home my cousin Caroline came to visit me, her huge, sad Irish eyes and long fingers in my kitchen. She wanted me to remove any mention I made about her father in my blog but I refused. Nothing will make me censor the truth in these pages.
I bumped into my brother Martin; I walked The Kings Road with Joe. Phil and I could not sleep so we sat up into the night drinking tea and giggling.
I have lost a bunch of weight and last night a man I know from London drove here and stayed over. It was a fruitless exchange. My head was with Danny on the freeway, thinking about his body smashed to pieces on the cold hard road. I thought about his smile and delicate kisses. I could not stop thinking about how much I wished I had made time for him the day before I left LA but instead I was finishing a film for a bunch of piss elegant, precious gays who did not deserve my time.
I know that Dorian is flawed, like an unfinished work of art. It is art. I know it.
I know that my film is sort of broken to pieces but I love it. I know what I have to do to fix it but I can’t. It’s too late. I am angry about the death of my friend.
February 2, 2007 – Friday
I am back in LA. Feels like I am back at work/school/LA. Various pre-Oscar dramas unfolding, Hollywood intrigue playing itself out in front of me. I am not as invested as I was last year. Last year I was at the center of it all with Sharon to see how it worked. It was utterly exhausting. I will not be going to the parties this year. I may pop into the Soho House rented mansion. Anyhow, I am just not interested in the films they have in competition this year.
Went with Kevin Zegers to Hyde. He is a sweet thing. Interesting listening to his take on the making of Trans America. He is Canadian. Liked him a great deal. At the Golden Globes last year Brad Pitt said to him, ‘Trans America is your Thelma and Louise.’ Which is a pretty damned cool thing to hear. Kevin stole Trans America from David Gallagher. David lost TA and made DG instead.
Up on the Canyon this morning it was very cold. It has been really cold here. I like it. There were very few people there, fewer dogs. The guys that tend the path were using a very noisy machine, a ‘low blower’ they said, and that is what it does-very loudly. It blows dust all over the place. What about using a broom?
So, I thought about how lazy we all were and how much I hate the TV remote control and how it was the best and worst invention of the past fifty years. I thought about those ‘home entertainment’ rooms that folk have here and how many remote controls these people have lined up in front of them desperate to be entertained. Last week I invited a friend to my home and he was amazed that I don’t own a television set. American TV depresses me. It makes me miserable. The commercials are grueling, relentless and mind altering. The content is formulaic baby food. When I live in NYC I lay on the sofa when I can’t sleep and watch the Home Shopping Network because there are no commercials and the content is exactly what it is-selling. The Home Shopping Network is authentic, amusing, dramatic, reality TV at its very best. I love it. Occasionally I am tempted, like an alien from another planet, to pick up the phone and buy something. Austrian Art Glass or a cover all powder that gives a translucent glaze to any skin in any tone. I listen to the rehearsed testimonials and I am transported.
Jean and I drove in his Mazeratti to Malibu and the mountains around there. As the sun began to set, low in the winter sky, the grassy hillocks at the base of the mountains were covered in silver grass that looked like fur. We had gone to look at a beautiful modernist house perched on 15 acres of land on the top of a huge mountain that is For Sale and we were tempted to pool our resources and buy it. The air was bitter. Remember it had been snowing in Malibu only two weeks previously.
Had lunch with Amanda Ross who invited me to Laurie Simmons event at The Billy Wilder Cinema at The Hammer. It was an ‘art’ film. Meryl Streep can sing! There was much applauding the work but I must be honest, I do not understand why Laurie Simmons feels that an obscure art film needs a conventional narrative. I don’t get it. Laurie’s film was shot by Ed Lachman who had introduced me to Brian Jackson the Dorian DP. She had worked with Mathew Weinstein who I had a brief affair with when he lived in London 20 years ago. He was so gorgeous then. I had dinner with Merle Ginsberg at Red Pearl Café after the film. Met Amanda’s rather handsome fiancé.
Had meeting with my agent at Urth Café flushed from his trip to Sundance.
Back at school, getting on with shit. Every moment of every day, in every situation in LA we work toward our filmmaking goal. Every relationship and situation unfolding in front of us like so many jewels, sifting out the paste from the diamonds.
January 28, 2007 – Sunday
FIGHTING IS MY GENIUS
I seem to have fought all of my life with people, places and things yet I perceive myself as having a placid soul. For as long as I can remember it was inequity, in all its manifestations, that caused me to become furiously angry. As an infant I knew instinctively that the way my stepfather treated my mother was wrong and caused us all the loss of dignity. I fought hard against him even though his cruelty was more than any match for a small boy. I knew that the way my Uncle Norman beat his wife was wrong and caused her to lose her baby but nobody seemed to do anything about it. The desperate screams of women were familiar to me when I was a boy. My brothers may scoff at this description of our shared history but sometimes I think that they may have lived in a dream of our childhood where their father was some how absolved of his brutality simply because of their blood relationship with him. Because they were his children the beatings they received were not as unjust as mine?
Even though we had a tough time at home it is good to remember that only sixty years before I was born in Whitstable there were still child prostitutes in Victorian London that a man could buy and take to padded rooms in Wimpole Street and kill. We were, my brothers and I, lucky children of the post war, 1960′s modern world and all of the promises of the age were just revealing themselves to the men and women of my parents generation.
When I was born my shamed mother and I were hidden away from society yet only ten years later life in Britain had changed so radically that my ‘behavioral problems’ had been identified and I was taken to child psychiatrists, sent to hospitals etc. so that my maladjustment might be healed with group therapy and words. The massive head injuries that I received in a car accident when I was 5 would nowadays be factored into understanding my erratic behavior and vile temper but this was simply overlooked.
Like so many men I have tried, all my life, to make sense of myself. To have the luxury of sitting comfortably in my own skin. Ten years ago, after a life of therapy, hospitals, transactional analysis, cognitive therapy, prison encounter groups, sweat lodges, reike, traveling etc., after a life of talking it through and telling my fucking story over and over so that sooner or later the truth of my mad bad head would be magically revealed I ended up in a beautiful house in Kensington on my own snorting coke first thing in the morning knowing for sure that things were not meant to be like this.
By the time that morning came around I was unable to leave the house due to paranoid delusions and periodically black liquid flooded out of my nose at the most inappropriate moments, at dinner in Quo Vadis for instance. Ten years ago I self-medicated with hard drugs and alcohol and even used to attend sessions with my expensive psychiatrist high on coke.
I then began my sober journey.
It became apparent that the question I so badly needed answered by so many therapists I did not know how to frame. I knew that I was a mess, that my life was in ruins, that I was somehow responsible but the fundamental question remained. The question that I needed answered through out my adult life was this: How come I hated my stepfather so much yet became so much like him? How come I had scant regard for those around me when I was so plagued with the terrors of inequity? How come I thought nothing of screaming at those who were only trying to do their best? How come?
The answers are not always palatable, even to me.
The reality is that I do not live a good-hearted world of benevolent people eager to do the very best for one another or even themselves. The skills of hard heartedness that my stepfather taught me are skills I needed to embrace rather than heal with therapies.
Recently I have begun to thank my stepfather for making my skin thick enough to fight for what I believe in or take the hard knocks and learn how to box with precision. I do not tolerate being beaten by those who give me pains or lawyers who give you bad, self-serving advice or untrained, untested co-workers who expect an opportunity but give very little in return. Married women who want you to fuck them yet blame you when you do. Straight boys who put out but hate you for exploiting their desires.
I can thank my step-father for teaching me not to be led by the nose or having overwhelming capitalist fantasies. I don’t want a big house. I have never wanted a big house. All I have ever desired is one room with a perfect view. What else could I possibly want? What is ENOUGH for one man?
At Anthony’s house this week he asked me what he needed to do to make a low-budget film. ‘How did you do it?” If I have been asked once I have been asked a million times. How do you do it? As if there were a private door from a previously hidden corridor that they may not have noticed behind which the secret of making a low-budget feature film lay. Usually I am polite when I am asked this question and try to help who ever is asking delude themselves that they will make feature films. For part of the truth is this: If you are asking me this question it is unlikely that you will ever make a film. If you are looking for a softer, easier path then you will never make a film. The secret door does not exist.
The truth of how I continue, against the odds, to make films is: I am a GENIUS.
I am a GENIUS because: I get off my ass, I write the script, I raise money, persuade people to work and then I force the film into the world. I do not feel fear and when problems arise I deal with them creatively and in a way that benefits the final product. When the film is made I call my friends in the press and get them to write about it and then I sell it all by myself. That is how I do it and if I need to do it this way then so be it. I never answer questions about budget because it’s personal. When people ask me how big my budget is I tell them that it is 8 inches long and quite thick. Asking about a person’s budget is more personal than how big his cock is. Don’t ask. Nobody ever tells you the truth.
I am a GENIUS because I am making films and you are not. Do gallery owners get asked endlessly how to open a gallery or novelists asked endlessly how to write a novel? I have no idea. When I made theatre nobody ever asked me what they needed to know, what great secret I had that they needed to know to make theatre.
I am a GENIUS because when I make a film I can’t take no for an answer and for that I am truly grateful to my beastly step-father and Derek Jarman who gave me that piece of advice long before I even contemplated making films.
I am a GENIUS because even if I had to make a film using my mobile phone I would do it.
Remember the other great and terrible truth about film-making: Nobody wants to make your film.
Even if you are really, really famous and well-connected and a marvelous director nobody wants to make your film.
The only films worth making are the ones that you are passionate about.
So, I am a BAFTA nominated, award-winning GENIUS and so is everyone else who gets off their ass and makes a film.
I have only one person to thank for this: My step-father who taught me to never back down, to take it on the chin and ultimately not be afraid and keep on fighting. He taught me to think beyond what was expected of me and anticipate problems way ahead of anyone else. He taught me to ignore what people say about me, the lies they tell, whether it is Oscar or Joe or anyone else. Perhaps that is why I never really found it hard to forgive him and never forgave my simpering Mother.
I have wasted most of my life trying NOT to be like my stepfather David Roy when all along I needed to follow in his footsteps and embrace every single thing he ever beat into me as the living truth.
January 24, 2007 – Wednesday
I killed a mosquito this morning. I slapped it against the wall with a pair of yesterday’s underpants. It exploded all over the place with my fresh red blood, blood it had just sucked out of my foot. I am sitting in the Book Kitchen waiting for Zoë, Anita and Teddy so that I can order my poached eggs. Last night Zoë’s landlord’s Ross and Renata cooked us dinner and their highly entertaining children (Dom 6 and Nick 10) amused us with made up jokes and mayhem.
I spent the afternoon with Anthony S in his rather nice Woollarha house watching The Corporation, which is a very long documentary essay about the history, excesses and fight against capitalism. Susan Sarandon’s voice was very irritating. I was moved by the description of the Bolivian water riots. Decided to make some changes in life when I got back to UK-am already not leaving too much of a foot print but could be leaving less. Anthony’s gruff, rich, stepfather arrived in the middle of the film and Anthony turned it off as if we were watching pornography. We continued watching only after he had left the room. After the film we ate sweet things in Jones The Grocers then I drove home.
Two weeks ago I saw Steven Frear’s film The Queen. I didn’t really want to see it because I find anything to do with Diana very, very disturbing and, like Brokeback Mountain, did not want to risk bawling my eyes out. Anyway, I had to see it as I am a BAFTA voter and take my voting very seriously. The experience turned out not to be as painful as I thought. Helen Mirren was great but I really wouldn’t expect anything less. She is an English Character actress who has worked with really outstanding people-Peter Brook for instance. Pretending is what our actors do best. Pretending to be Tony Blair and The Queen shouldn’t be that hard with a voice coach and a good wig. In fact I thought that Mirren’s range within her role of The Queen was rather limited, she spent the entire film pulling one face, a perplexed look of gentle concern. Like she was gazing into the middle distance desperate for answers. Do people really think that HRH is like this? Do they think that HRH is a sweet, benign little old lady? Do they think that Cherie Blair provided fish fingers and comic relief to her husband and children and is capable of feeble thinking as written by Peter Morgan? Did he forget that she is one of the most highly regarded Barristers in the UK?
This my HRH The Queen evidence:
I saw her once at Smith’s Lawn shortly after I left prison and could see her suspenders quite clearly through her boucle skirt. I saw her on TV crying when Blair took away her yacht Brittania. She did not cry when the rest of her people were crying at the death of Diana.
Strangely, some years ago I was invited to a gruesome, Conservative Party Dinner and Dance held at the cavernous Kings Hall in Herne Bay. I sat next to the ex Mayor of Canterbury. I can’t remember his name but he was a kind, small old man of simple taste and brain. I asked him if he had ever met the Queen. To my amazement he told me this story about HRH The Queen.
In his Mayoral capacity he had to greet the Queen upon her arrival in Canterbury with the Lord Lieutenant of Kent and sit in the car with HRH and Prince Philip for the duration of an official engagement. It was a freezing cold, winters day and The Queen arrived by Royal train at Canterbury Station for some Christian event at the Cathedral she is, after all, the head of the Anglican Church-nothing between her and God. The train arrived late and one of the equerries or Ladies in Waiting sprinted over to the Mayor and his party giving him the heads up that HRH was in a filthy mood as she hates being late for anything. A few moments later a very grumpy HRH got off the train, leapt into her car refusing to stop to speak to wheel chair bound constituents who had been waiting in the cold and wet for hours. The Mayor begged her to stop for a moment to speak with her subjects. “Do we have to?” She moaned. At the Cathedral she met the Arch Bishop performed her function then the worthies retired with her to the Arch Bishop’s home. At this point the Mayor had to present HRH with a book as a present from the people of Canterbury. When he handed it to her she said, “Not another book!” Dismayed the Mayor, a very simple man, said, “It’s a very valuable book Ma’me.” The Queen looks at Prince Philip and says, “Oh valuable is it? That’s good, we’ll sell it when we lose all our money.” The Queen and Prince Philip then have a fit of laughter at their ‘joke’.
The mayor was neither impressed with the behaviour or attitude of The Queen or her notoriously rude husband.
I met Paul Keating (ex Prime Minister of Australia) this week. He has the most famous HRH story of them all. The back touching. The faux pas. International outrage. He was pottering around at his house. Paul Keating is definitely one of my heroes.
Katherine Phillips, my occasional friend, had lunch with HRH in Scotland but was thrown off the table for having a cold, “Has that girl got a cold?” HRH said. Now, I don’t know if this last story is true but worth retelling anyway.
So, I saw Frear’s movie The Queen and I thought that the Royals came off rather well. What really happened at Balmoral may very well have been a lot less calm and openly hostile to the memory of our Princess Diana. The Princess, which The Establishment worked so tirelessly for us to love in their gruesome soap opera was dead. When she died I will never forget how they wheeled out those old, bitter Queens to defend the Monarch, St John Steevas and that hump-backed monster historian who has the history show on TV and The Moral Maze. It all makes me feel sick. Yet, do I subscribe to The Establishment, The Corporation or The People?
When Diana was killed in the car accident and the flowers started piling up outside Kensington Palace Princess Alexandra sneered at them wondering if the poor had better things to do with their money than spend it on the memory of Diana.
Like The Corporation The Monarchy will go to any lengths to protect its power. So, The Princess is killed in a tragic accident. Within hours The Establishment seeks to disable our memory of her and refocus us on the good works and youth of The Two Young Princes Harry and William. It takes time but finally we embrace them once again. We do so eagerly, as we are told to do. But as hard as I want to forget I will never forget that morning when I woke up and, like so many people, believed that I lived in a country that had assassinated it’s ‘people’s princess’ regardless of whether it was true or not.
Book Café, Surrey Hills, Sydney
It is raining today. Hard. The streets are flooded. Rain drops loudly on the tin roofs. Nobody complains about the weather because of the drought. This morning, like every morning for the past week, I have ordered poached eggs and bacon.
I spent the early part of the morning at the dentist having a crown replaced that fell off in the 101 Cafe in LA 6 weeks ago. I did not feel the needle go in. My nose is still numb from the anesthetic and I am concerned that stuff is hanging out of it because that’s how it feels. I have to go back tomorrow to have the last of the mercury fillings removed and replaced with white porcelain. Finally getting rid of all those ugly, unnecessary fillings British National Health Service dentists made us suffer just for an extra tenner a pop. That’s what they were being paid by the government to fill our teeth. Taking perfectly fine teeth drilling them and filling them with mercury. I have been traumatized by British dentists just like so many 40 something men and women. Consequently, my poor gentle Australian dentist has to deal with me in his office sweating and squirming and swearing at him.
As the end of my Australian trip approaches I must tell you all that I have had a lovely, relaxing time. I left my hotel on Oxford Street and stayed with my friend Zoë Wane. Together we have traversed the city from one huge house to another. When we weren’t enjoying the many mansions of her rich friends we sat in the Cricketers Arms that Zoë’s brother runs where we sat with Vito who looks like Bart Simpson all grown up (see pics) and Jack who looks like Castro and her twin friends Teddy and Larry. Last week, Anita, Teddy’s girlfriend cooked a Malay feast at her home which was so delicious I thought that nothing I would ever eat again would ever compare to what she served at her table that night. Zoë and I ate at Fratelli in Potts Point with Zoë’s friend Ben Brady and endless coffee shops in all the Eastern Suburbs with various combinations of the above.
Last night Ben’s girlfriend Jasmine and her mother prepared Persian food and we sat and ate on their balcony discussing Lebanon and Iran and watching forked lightning dance over the sea.
I had dinner with my friend Vassilli Kalliman who took me to his brand new gallery and introduced me to the wonderful work of Sally Smart and David Griggs. We ate at Bird Cow Fish on Crown St., which was very satisfying. I saw Sophie Mears and Anthony Sissian and swam with them at Bondi they told me that they had been living three blocks from me in LA. I walked around Coogee bay with Kate Fisher and we sat fully clothed on the rocks being sprayed by huge waves. I ate pasta on the lawn of the Darling’s beautiful home in Bellvue Hill with their son Daniel and his gorgeous South African girlfriend.
My dear old friend Charles Wilson, the furniture designer, and I ate dinner at his house and whilst trying to assemble his very chic candelabra I spilt a huge mug of coffee over my white trousers. Ken Neal took me to one of many dinners I had at Fish Face on the Darlinghurst Road. I ate the sashimi on every occasion, had everything on the menu once and the fish curry twice.
I saw Jess Cook who prepared a lunch time avocado salad for me to eat in her loft. I saw Rose who took me to a one nighter at the Flinders Arms called Health Club. I tanned on various beaches and had occasional tangled phone calls with people in other countries. Saw Dreamgirls and hated it. Saw Babel and respected it. Saw Marie Antoinette and loathed it but remembered what it was like to shoot AKA in Versailles. I finished the first draft of my new Untitled LA Project and I wrote a gratitude list every day and sent it to my AA sponsor.
I slept alone and often wondered about someone I had left behind in NYC-you know who you are. I thought about Sharon and developed a nasty resentment against Samia who has not returned my e-mails despite the fact that at this time last year she was so obsessed with me that she flew uninvited to LA and behaved toward me like Glen Close in that bunny boiling film. As usual I got all the blame.
Unsatisfyingly bumped into Oscar H at Fiveways who was all snipes and false promises and Peter S at The Bayswater Brasserie who was frankly annoying although I enjoyed seeing his brother Charles and his charming uncle.
I will miss the friendship, the food, the beauty, the vista and most of all I will miss who I become when I am here. The man I allow myself to be. Calm, kind and full of hope. I will try to carry all of this good me back to LA and The Oscars and to Baja Mexico where I started blogging last year and where this year I am meeting Phil H to watch the whales migrate at the beginning of February. Thousands of them.
January 10, 2007
The Book Kitchen, Surrey Hills, Poached eggs.
I have found a new walk to walk every morning. Bronte to Bondi along the coastal path. Up at 6.30 I wake poor Zoë and drag her out of bed, drive to Bronte and we walk. God damn, such beauty we pass in nature and human form. “You missed that one.” Zoë said this morning as some perfect being sprinted past us and out of sight. And such is the nature of my addictive personality I want to run back and catch a glimpse of what ever I had missed. We mostly both walk quietly, however, lost in our own thoughts. Gazing out to sea. It always looks so inviting even though there were warnings of bad currents at Bronte. The air is wet and piquant with sea spray that dries the moment it touches our faces. I love my morning walk, all my thoughts are collected there. I don’t have the same sort of meditative experience that I have on Runyon Canyon but quite frankly I am never so full of loathing and resentment here as I am in LA. Here I am calm and fearless. Perhaps my renewed vigor in AA has caused me to be less furious. Perhaps I just feel safer and why shouldn’t I? Anyhow, what ever it is, I am losing weight, being calm, tanned and start the day with a new kind of optimism. I passed three dogs on the path. This is not a dog culture. No tiny house bound, constipated dog children to negotiate, no screamers, no dust.
What will be will be.
We were going to Bronte yesterday to swim with Teddy and Anita but ended up at Nelson’s Park which is a harbor beach packed with Greek families swimming within the confines of the shark net. We swam beyond the net risking being eaten by great whites. Met Eugenie who used to go out with Oscar and had a brief flirtation with one of the Grimaldi boys and a bunch of Zoë’s very thin chums who were being perved over by men who sat like vultures at the periphery of the group. The girls are so thin most of them look like boys. No wonder thin women feel they need breast augmentation. I swam with Teddy and James in the warm water then we went for a precarious rock climb along the shore. I am not a sprightly as I once was and lagged behind these 22-year-old boys who scampered over the rocks like lizards. On the way back we discussed how a lobster sheds its shell. They did not believe that a lobster could shed its entire shell and sit soft and vulnerable on the ocean bed whilst it waited for its new exoskeleton to harden up. This odd knowledge comes from me hanging around the kitchen at Wheelers listening to Delia, who, by the way I miss terribly. When we all got home and verified the disputed lobster information on the Internet I won a $5 wager.
On the way to the beach a small, old woman was trapped in the drive of her huge Vaucluse home by a selfish person who had parked in front of her gate. We commiserated with her and wondered who could have possibly done such a thing. I told her it was probably the muslims which she agreed with without a seconds thought. It would seem that Muslims and global warming account for all most every bad thing that happens nowadays.
Anita cooked dinner for us all at her Mother’s house and then we drove to Hyde Park barracks to listen to Hip Hop, which was all part of the Sydney Festival. Ugly Duckling were the headliners and of course we found ourselves back stage with the politest most unthreatening rappers you ever did meet. I entertained them with my meeting Jay Zee in New York and The Game in LA stories which dumb found people who know about rap. Anyway, Zoë knew the guys who were on before Ugly Ducking who are the sweetest, blue-eyed, public school boys who rap about how nasty stale muesli is and his mum asking him to tidy his room. Very sweet. The white, middle class audience bobbed around half-heartedly. White rap is not as authoritative as black rap. You simply don’t feel that thump in the chest that you do when you hear black rapper men shouting at you. We went to the gaslight after the concert and bid farewell to James who flew to London this morning. I did not envy him flying back to London. Not one bit.
January 7, 2007 – Sunday
It is cloudy again today but deliciously warm and humid.
Most of my days here in Sydney are spent doing what I came here to do: write. I write in the mornings. I get up at 6am. I spend a good hour messing around on the internet. Read mail, the news: BBC, Huffington Post, look at messages left for me on various web sites. I write my required AA lists then my private diary. I leave the room to write my film (75 pages so far) and this occasional blog at a deli on Victoria Street where I am in love with the boy who serves coffee (flat white). As we all know it is impossible to buy a bad coffee in Sydney. I get back to the hotel room and check the Dorian Gray web site stats. We are getting a huge volume of hits from France where David Gallagher is a TV star. I mean over 2000 hits a day, which is phenomenal for an unpublicized site.
On occasions I don’t write at all and just explore the streets of Sydney either on my own or with my friend Ben. On Sunday morning Ben, Jake (the artist) and I found a cafe in Erskinville and ate chicken salad, drank delicious coffee and I poured Demerara sugar straight from the bowl on the table into the palm of my hand and ate it like a child. We sat there for hours discussing Australian art whilst tropical rain fell torrentially onto the streets. A uniformed policeman and his female mate came into the cafe to escape the rain, he was so beautiful I asked him if he was a stripper.
I walk despite my poor burned hip which is horribly painful. I have bought books and food but little else. I am training myself to follow a pre-planned path and not get way laid by beauty. I have only seen one must have item: a modernist carved marble lamp in my friend Ken’s shop in Darlinghurst.
Cooked dinner last night at Zoë’s house. Huge frizze salad with boiled egg, lardons, walnuts and chopped freshly cooked asparagus. We bought some delicious salami and mozzarella and Turkish bread, which we all tore apart and devoured the moment we sat down. Baklava for pudding with guava juice. Ben, Zoë, Rose, Teddy, Larry, Jack, Jack’s girlfriend and another girl all no more than 22 years old. Very Sydney, so much fun.
Zoë is renting a beautiful basement in Surrey Hills and has invited me to move in tomorrow so I rented a car and am suddenly FREE! Whenever I get here I am trapped by old habits. I never really move from Sydney yet there I was washing my smalls in the hotel laundry waiting for the dryer to dry and I started looking at a map of Australia. I knew immediately that if I did not take advantage of this opportunity I never would. I am going to drive into the desert, the red heart of Australia. I have only ever explored New South Wales and parts of Victoria. I have been to Nyngen, Forbes (Charles Wilson’s beautiful country house), Melbourne, Tilba and Condoblin where I travelled with Georgina and Oscar Humphries who wrote very offensively about the Australian country tradition of the Batchelor and Spinsters ball. I took millions of pictures that ended up in a sunday magazine and an exhibition of Australian reportage.
Back in tedious LA things have been going a pace. Before I left Hollywood I realized that I had been the victim of a terrible fraud and so had to deal with it. The worst thing about knowing that things are ‘not right’ when you are naturally paranoid is sorting the fact from the fear based fiction. I had to write a difficult letter. The truth, and nothing but the truth. It took a week to write the bloody thing. That said, when it was done I felt a whole heap better. Lawyers in these circumstances are not your best friends. When I fought my ‘divorce’ in court I did it on my own and as honestly as any one can in the circumstances. The courtroom and the truth are not, one quickly realizes, synonymous. Even after I had written the letter my index finger hovered dangerously over the return key for a good few days. I just kept praying for guidance and asking God and my few trusted friends what they thought of what I was doing.
I hate having to fight fairly yet when I fight unfairly I end up loathing myself. In a world which seems rigged against most of us most of the time this primitive side of my nature becomes essential. The courage to change the things I can, it’s tough to be courageous. It’s hard to turn up in a city with nothing and make a film from scratch. It’s tough to do things in an unusual and challenging way. For all of producer Brad W’s defects of character he taught me to pick my battles wisely.
I pressed the button and off it went for only God to determine the outcome.
I have been thinking a great deal about Tracy Emin-what a great artist she has become. I saw a photograph of a sculpture that reminded me of the roller coaster at Dreamland in Margate and of course that is exactly what it was. A scaled down naive sculpture of the roller coaster at Dreamland. It was so wonderfully evocative. Tracy and I both come from Kent, villages that are not so far away from one another and we are about the same age. She was the girlfriend of Billy Childish who I was at art school with and very close friends with. It was because of Billy, I suppose, that I was suspicious of the authenticity of her work but let’s face it: if she was ever influenced by Billy Childish as he loudly claims she has well and truly flown his coop. When she makes work away from the mirror she excels. Building the Whitstable beach hut in the Saatchi gallery for instance was a stroke of genius. I loved her helter skelter tatlin tower at White Cube and now I love her roller coaster. I remember the experience of Dreamland so well. The coconut matting to slide down the helter skelter. The clockwork ticking of the roller coaster, the abrupt ending and the fearful screams. I loved it, as did she. Tracy has evolved into a bone fide arts star. One of the best of British.
I cannot tell you how much I love being sober, how much I love my sobriety and how I am loving writing the most thorough and grueling step one. Sometimes I feel so ‘here’ that it’s as if all my skin has been removed and I experience the world as a raw unborn thing.
Every night I watch the bats in the sky, huge fruit bats flying haphazardly in the twilight. Streams of them, black flapping chattering to each other all the way home.
January 6, 2007 – Saturday
Sydney. lay on Bondi beach yesterday with Charles, Anthony and Sophie. Had dinner at Lotus with Cameron and Zoe. Decided to go to bed early. Burned my hip in the sun. I am happy. Not really worrying. Drifting aimlessly when I am not writing or walking or going to AA meetings. I am bored with my hotel so am going to move. I may hire a car tomorrow and drive down the coast. I will. I think that I will.
The script is coming along very nicely. It is better than I expected. Works well.
Decided definitively that I am going back to London to live as soon as I can.
When I walk the streets I am inspired, alive, able.
December 28, 2006 – Thursday
Sydney New South Wales Australia
I am back in the southern hemisphere, arriving on the chilliest day of the summer. It was a relief, however, not to step into sub tropical Sydney. A delicious wind cooled the usually sweltering mid summer city. I left my lap top in the taxi but it was returned to me. At night I noticed how hot the stone buildings were, that my skin was already mildly burned. I managed to deal with the jet lag in two days. This morning I woke at a very respectable 7am.
Since I arrived in Sydney I have eaten three times at the new Tropicana (chicken salad) now finally at home back in its original place on Victoria Street. I have eaten flourless orange cake at the new Dov also on Victoria Street and tasted their delicious, home-made, sticky nougat loaded with candied cherries and almonds. I saw Ursula and Kate who now part own Dov with Matt Onions. I walked the streets to see what else has changed. I walked so hard that my calves hurt. I joined the gym, and worked my chest and shoulders. I found NA meetings and AA meetings and caught a cab to Bondi Junction and met Ben and drank more juice at The Tropicana.
I visited the dentist and had my teeth cleaned. I made further appointments to have a small filling in a tooth on my upper jaw and replace a broken veneer.
I listened to the varied bird song and realized what I missed so much in LA but for all my bitching and complaining how LA had reconnected me with AA, a connection I hadn’t felt for years and years. I bought a phone and got myself a new phone number. I smelt the sweet lush blooms on the trees on the street and listened to the mewing of the birds that sound like crying babies. I looked out for familiar faces and found them. I looked at the bald black-headed egrets in Hyde Park; I gazed at the huge bronze sculpture of Queen Victoria. I was just too damned excited. I have not seen the huge fruit bats migrating from Centennial Park but I am sure that I will.
I walked to Kings Cross, Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay and Woolloomooloo. I began walking up Oxford Street to Paddington but decided to do that some other time. I realized that the lower gay part of Oxford Street was now filthy dirty and far too many toothless drug addicts asked for spare change. For every fit, beautiful Sydney boy/girl there was a scrawny homeless addict to remind one where one might have ended up or might yet.
Surprisingly Sydney does not feel as optimistic as it once did. It feels like an anxious place to be compared with the ebullience I felt here a few years ago. Apparently, according to friends, China is making some parts of Australia fabulously rich but not here. Buying minerals, feeding the great 21st Century Chinese expansion.
I have no expectations for New Years Eve. What ever happens, happens. May go to bed, may watch the fireworks.
I have written 21 pages of my new script and I am falling over myself to complete it. It flows out of me like a torrent. It always happens like this here in Sydney Australia, in the Southern Hemisphere. I find my voice. It was here at this table that I wrote Dorian, it is here that I am writing Untitled LA Project and already a new world exists on the page. What could be more exciting than that?
December 19, 2006 – Tuesday
Deal or no Deal
I am still in bed with what has developed into a hideous chesty cough. I should never have gone to my AA meeting last night or had dinner at Ago even though I love risotto and had truffle shaved all over it.
As I lay in my large bed my mind drifted from this illness to the first time I remember being in hospital when I got my scull crushed in a car accident when I was 5 years old. The next time I ended up in hospital was when I was 13 years old for being a nuisance at school. I thought that I might spend some time this morning writing about that. I remember playing canasta with Edna, hiding the drugs they gave me in my ear so that I did not have to take them, St Augustins, Pandora with the flakey teeth and the morgue. I thought that I might write about my being hospitalized when I was 25 in Sutton at the Hendserson Hospital and describe Sarah who killed herself and the blood in her room and knitting during group therapy but I have decided that I am going to write about that some other time.
Instead, I am going to write about people who read this blog and try to use it against me. Who contact friends and organizations with disinformation, who try to derail my film and me. For it came to pass this morning that I was sent a whole heap of e-mails from people I had worked with who are dissatisfied with me, who are working tirelessly against me and my film.
The more damage these people cause, the less likely I am inclined to get the film out of the box and try to raise money to finish it. The less likely I am able to attract an investor. As you may know, if you have been diligently reading this blog, I am about to start making a movie in the UK. Some of you naughty minx seem to be under the misapprehension from you’re e-mails that you can do damage to me. If I lived in the scum you call you’re lives then no doubt you could indeed hurt me badly. But I do not.
Nothing you can do to me will ever stop me being creative or living a wonderful life. Nothing you can do to me can take away my sobriety, which is more important to me than any fucking film or any one of you.
I have passed these e-mails to my lawyer and any further attempts to scupper our film will be met with fierce counter measures. You are not the only ones who can make life very difficult. I urge you to consider this: You do not hurt me when you do these things you merely hurt the people who genuinely want to benefit from making art. the DP, the actors etc. By reducing the value of the film you merely stop yourselves from getting the money you are rightly owed under the agreement of your deferment deal. You do not and cannot hurt me. You merely hurt yourselves and the others that are owed money.
I urge you to work with me to deal with this problem as best we can.
December 17, 2006 – Sunday
Last night I dreamt that it snowed in Los Angeles. The snow glinting in the sun, melting fast, too fast to fetch my camera. The snow held on longer in the valleys in the deep shadow. It was an exciting dream.
I have been very ill in bed with my cold. I am too ill to leave the apartment, too ill to call anyone. Dom came over yesterday but I no longer trust him and eyed him suspiciously over the matzoh ball soup he very kindly delivered me. He is so crazed with love for Joe it is embarrassing and frankly, tragic. Joe is just as bad using poor Dom to fill his time before he does the decent thing and goes back home to England to do something sensible. Dom genuinely believes that he can be Joe’s boy friend.
By yesterday, full of phlegm, I had had just about enough of being here. I craved my little cottage and the brown Whitstable sea. I craved The Tudor Tea Rooms, Wheelers and The Whistle Stop. I craved Mother’s pride and Marmite. I craved poached eggs. I craved anything that wasn’t me here and now. It was apparent that nothing I could do was going to change any component part of what I am suffering.
Joe the mountain scientologist visited me and showed me his new bicycle helmet. Merritt swung by and set up the printer that had been sitting in it’s box since it was bought weeks ago. Devon brought more soup as did Aleksa’s mother Sabrina who made a wonderful, soothing concoction of limes, cayenne pepper and hot water.
Being ill here reminds me of this time last year when I ended up in Cedars (hospital) with that terrible leaking spine. The devastating head ache, unable to speak, to stand up. Then being saved by and staying with David and Hunter. Meeting Hilary. The way the doctor fixed it with that blood patch. I refused the anesthetic. Laying there begging that the pain be taken from me. I thought that I was going mad. I thought that I was having a nervous break down and all along spinal fluid was draining out of me. Just like George Clooney.
Phil left text messages. Cheered me up. She will never make it here-maybe in February for Mexico and the whales.
It was cold when I woke this morning; there was a bite in the air. I cannot stay in bed all day. I can’t do it. I have to do SOMETHING productive. Make lists. Write.
Apparently, if you threw a cat onto a 15th century funeral pyre the cat represented the devil. When I was a child I had a recurring nightmare that I had thrown a kitten into a fire.
December 15, 2006 – Friday
December LA. I have just returned from NYC. Whilst I was there Will Self walked (for the press) from Kennedy Airport to his Downtown hotel. He is here in the USA to promote his new book. It will be just as bad as all of the recent others. I can just imagine him striding pompously along the LIE puffing on his pipe baffling the accompanying journalist from the NY Times with a whole lot of long words. He is truly the Gerard Manly-Hopkins of our age.
It is not perhaps the time to admit this but whenever he used to visit me in Whitstable I was always terrified that he would break something. He would change a shitty baby on a white bed or open oysters directly on wood causing great scratches in the wooden kitchen counters. One night I had Janet Street-Porter, Will Self, Deborah Orr and Jay Jopling around that tiny zinc dining table in my Whitstable kitchen. They are all HUGE people in stature and ego. Deborah used to be huge laterally which caused everybody I know to think that she was extraordinarily fecund. You just have to imagine Will Self and you start using words like fecund. Will is a sweet man but he uses his celebrity to ensnare then his verbosity to crush too many willing victims. What ever may or may not happen to Will and I, I am glad that we have been friends.
Time is the greatest distance between two people.
From a distance one quickly sees the people one has known for who they are and forgive them their defects of character. Janet is a cold fish, a snob to boot but her eccentricity is what makes me proud to be British. At dinner Deborah asked Janet why she had never had children. It was a question only Deborah could have ever asked Janet. Janet told us that one of her husbands had had a child who died. She said that she never wanted to suffer the pain she saw him endure. It was really very touching.
Deborah Orr. I never really trusted her or her incessant moaning. She is undoubtedly a genius, more so than her husband. Her intellect is a thing of great beauty. I would much prefer to hear her spout than her moribund husband. She endlessly reminds anyone who will listen that she comes from Govan, a very rough part of Glasgow. When Deborah and I met Lulu at Jay’s house one night I made Deborah tell Lulu where she came from and Lulu made a grand whooping noise and brushed her fingers against her nose to indicate how POSH it was. Lulu grew up in the Gorbals, which used to be a total shit hole.
Anyway, enough of the aptly named Self’s.
I walked the Canyon at 7am this morning. It was so pretty but my heart was heavy. I cannot imagine living here after I get back from Australia. I will do a few months of Dorian then it is time to get on and go back to Whitstable. I expect to be there by June. I listened to the same sort of conversations on my way up that I heard when I left, two frumpy women in badly fitting sweats complaining about some one who had wronged them. On the way down two executives were discussing powerful studio men. They were in awe.
I have done my stint, paid my dues to LA. I have stayed sober in LA. LA has been an interesting home for me but as I have said before it is like living in Whitstable, yet there in no allure. LA is a small town with small people. Self important, heartless and occasionally very, very cruel. The squabbles are no different or important from those I might hear in The Duke of Cumberland. The fights I witness in Hollywood are as vicious as any I have seen outside the kebab shop on Whitstable High Street.
Thankfully my shrewd investments may make this year my most profitable yet my ‘profit’ of course would scarcely pay for the mixers at one of Jay’s parties!
I am on the edge of something here in LA. On the edge of a continent or on the edge of my own life? I cannot continue this journey without a serious moment of reflection yet wherever I settle I am at the mercy of my own madness. My life has been all about shopping and fucking yet with none of the irony that this may suggest.
Somebody once asked me if I had ever been proud of anything in my life. I can honestly say that I am proud of every achievement I have ever made. Every play, film, dinner, room, article, sobriety, garden, blog. I am proud of all these things because I have had to do such terrible battle with myself to get anything done. The worst part of ME has always been my most terrible adversary. There is no one else to blame. I used to blame my stepfather but whatever seeds he sowed I have propagated. Every day I wonder who will get the best part of my day, that Duncan Roy or this Duncan Roy.
Finally, whilst in NY I contacted very old friends. A Whitstable friend and someone I had not spoken to for seven years. It was such a relief to call him. I was walking in what used to be the shadow of the twin towers. I suddenly remembered his telephone number and like a spell, a long forgotten spell I dialed the number and listened to his voice. It was wonderful.
Today I counted 27 dogs on Runyon Canyon.