Archives for posts with tag: Christmas
Williamsburg Snow
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Christina Rossetti

It’s snow day here in NYC.  Me and the man are at his place in Williamsburg.  It’s been 5 months now.  Seems to be enduring.  We are watching a neo-liberal straight man mock elderly Russians in Sochi for their old-fashioned views about gay people.  He really didn’t have to go that far to find narrow-minded people with hate in their hearts for the gays.

He could have gone to New Jersey.

As for narrow minds… just because one’s a gay doesn’t mean that you have a naturally expanded view of the world… that you are more insightful, more agreeable, less prejudiced or liberal.  Yet, the pro gay press wouldn’t dare reveal the dark side of the gay for fear of annoying their new pay masters.

Ask dumb gay people what they think about immigration, women’s rights, racism and laugh at their fucked up right wing views. Yes, do it.

What a delightful diversion the gays have become.   Whilst we fight to be in the military the military fights illegal wars, whilst we demand benefits those same benefits are taken away in the name of austerity, whilst we line up to get married the divorce rate soars.

With that in mind I thought I might share my recent queer adventures with the gays.

Given that the gays in AA pretty much write their own rules… writing about them seems perfectly ok.  After all, we are meant to keep what we see and hear in AA a big fucking secret.  The gays rarely play by that fundamental rule.

They sit before meetings gossiping and cruelly discussing what they heard at their gay AA meetings.  “My sponsor HATES him.”  I heard some bitchy queen exclaim.  So I asked what kind of sponsor hates people in AA and tells his sponsee?  That didn’t go down very well.

Nope.

Gay AA is a cult within a cult.

The man just cooked me breakfast.   He really seems to love me.  Being loved is always a surprise. Whenever it happens.  The delightful routine, the domesticity, the kissing.  Taking the dogs for long walks in the snow.

Amelia and Me

With a last moment, radical change of plan the boy and I found ourselves in Woodstock, two hours north of NYC.

An effortless drive with Amelia and Stephanie.

He had arrived from Toronto the night before… looking even more beautiful than I remembered him.  His flashing green eyes, his perfect pale skin.

The house is cozy and beautifully decorated.  The land around it manicured.

The kitchen well designed for making huge dinners for many people.

We drove into the quaint town of Woodstock for Santa’s arrival.  We arrived too late.

There are very many, odd-looking people in Woodstock.  This seems to be the place where hippies come to die.  During their twilight years communing with the ghosts of Jerry Garcia and Janice Jopling.

We gawped in awe at the Hippy Alternative Santa with his bearded female companion.

We wandered the tiny shops that sell scented candles and argyle mittens.

In one of the curious hippy shops an old man wearing a black robe… playing a long flute asked Stephanie riddles.  She looked askance.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She said.

It was a bit too Lord of the Rings for me.

A few too many gardenias painted on  the clap board.

Christmas Eve we ate gigot, a traditional French Christmas eve treat.   We sang Christmas tunes in the kitchen as Mary (our hostess) cooked.

A late night.  The boy curled around me.  The dogs at my feet.  The night before Christmas.

We woke on Christmas morning to a light dusting of snow.  Thrilling!

We ate toasted panatone and coffee for breakfast.

Later that Christmas night we scoffed roast turkeyroasted potatoes, sprouts in nutmeg and creme fresh.   I made a delicious gravy/jus from the dripping in the roasting pan and a bottle of port.

The boy and Stephanie made cookies… they tasted divine.

After Christmas dinner we checked our tarot cards by a roaring fire.  It caused Stephanie a certain amount of comfort and tears.

Amelia suggested that we celebrate the solstice with pagan rituals.  We burned the past in the fire and toasted our good fortune.

Late last night we watched The Impossible which made us all sob.

Occasionally we (he and I) would sneak away from the party and… well you know the rest.

Here you go:

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1.

It is dawn again. Dawn in the desert. The smell of the earth and the dew. The sounds of the chirruping birds.

The pervasive silence of the long black night coming to an end.

My night blindness is getting worse. I sat on my spectacles so am guessing, largely… where the keys are.

The days get hotter and hotter. The sun beating down relentlessly. The lawn toasting, the dogs roasting, the mountain tightens around us as it bakes.

Hot days in Dorset/ hot days in Malibu. Hot days on the sleepy ocean, lapping around me.

Coffee, editing, read the daily news. It sure looks bad in Syria.

We cruise down to the beach and play in the surf. We are tangled at night in the white linen sheets. We read side by side in silence. A familiar smell, a beating heart, the man I want but do not need.

He asks what we are. Nothing. We are nothing, I say. He struggles with ‘what it means’ to love another man.

My struggle is over. I am too old to give love a second chance.

He sees me thinking. He will read this and tell me to talk to him as if talking will solve everything. Just shut up and make love to me. Stop asking me what it means. Don’t expect me to know anything. Work it out yourself.

I don’t really care.

For all the terrible, meaningless cruelty I am still besotted with him. And, like the parent of a missing child, I wonder daily about his safety. Even though he is undeserving of my worry and considers my concern an intrusion..

I continue to fret about him, however violently I have tried to expunge the memory.

2.

I am mostly happy. I know you don’t believe me. I know that you think I am lying to you about my happiness.

Well, if you could see me… if you were the one laying beside me… you would understand.

Island Wall. The tiny cottage there. It was enough. It was perfect.

Now I lay my head down and it is enough.

Perhaps, you say, you could be happier? How much happier?

Facelifts, apparently, make women happier.

Then I realize that you are confusing your own thoughts about getting older with what you think happiness is. How can anyone be that old and be happy? How can anyone have so little and be happy?

Then, you try convincing me that I should want to be young again. Forgetting, of course, that I was never young. Always old. Always.

I have a spectacular ability to get on with what I have and be happy with it.

I don’t want more. Even in the jail. I found comfort. I found solace.

So, you think I am unhappy because you do not know what happiness is.

Could you imagine a happy person killing themselves? I could.

Come death.

3.

I had another dream about the DA. This time my thumb was in her mouth. She was sucking my thumb. Pressed down on her tongue. Like a calf. Her big brown eyes looking up at me.

Whenever I dream about her, her cheap gold jewelry tinkles like ice cubes in a crystal glass.

4.

I am writing my screenplay. Finishing it. I am enjoying a social life. I let the man beside me massage my neck.

I understand that I am in love with struggle. Struggle is sustenance.  It feeds me everything I need to live. I am alive when I fight to survive. I am alive when I feel myself emerge victorious. Even though you could not imagine what I experience as victory.

I dream that I am walking by my primary school in Whitstable. The black, tarmac playground is always empty. The lawn is green. The classrooms, I assume, are full.

I remember the boy who ate coal, the butcher’s son. He looked like a pink pig. Fat, pink, bespectacled. He drowned you know. You knew that… didn’t you? When he couldn’t take it anymore.

5.

Hush, the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers, the tradesmen and pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher, postman and publican, the undertaker and the fancy woman, drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman, the webfoot cocklewomen and the tidy wives.

Young girls lie bedded soft or glide in their dreams, with rings and trousseaux, bridesmaided by glow-worms down the aisles of the organplaying wood. The boys are dreaming wicked or of the bucking ranches of the night and the jollyrogered sea.

And the anthracite statues of the horses sleep in the fields, and the cows in the byres, and the dogs in the wet-nosed yards; and the cats nap in the slant corners or lope sly, streaking and needling, on the one cloud of the roofs.

For those of you who have this blog emailed to you daily I just want to remind you that after I post my blog I usually spend an hour or so editing it and making additions.  Just to let you know.  You may be missing essential details. Ha!

It is raining today.  Can you believe it?

Yesterday I pickled some beetroot.  I cleaned out the drain at the back of the house.  I spent another day happily in the garden…weeding.  Moving pots of rare shrubs.  The strawberries are producing.  Delicious.  Pottering, just like my maternal grandfather. Picking at weeds amongst the cacti.  I like that I might be like him as I get older.  For all of his faults he was a good man.  From what I can remember.

Perhaps my Mother might remember him differently.

On My Grandfather's Lap

He was useless with money, a real dreamer.  I think it drove my Grandmother to distraction.  He had asthma and died during an asthma attack beside her in bed.  A terrible way to die.  Choking to death. She never really recovered.  Catholicism unable to calm her.  She wasn’t a very happy woman.

I remember visiting my Grandfather in hospital, he was sitting outside in the sun surrounded by huge apricot coloured roses.

There was also a sick clown from Billy Smart’s Circus.  He was sewing diamonte buttons onto a silk costume.  The clown told me that he would be on television the following Christmas.  I held onto that memory for six months.  My parents hated watching the circus on TV but I insisted.  I didn’t see the clown.  He must have died…or lied…or both.

The clown gave me some spare diamonte, I still have them.

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=62917

Listening to David Bowie.  The boys are subdued.  There is a huge cloud hanging over the canyon.  The weather is most peculiar.

Last night Tom and Anna came to dinner.   We grilled chicken, sautéed kale with garlic and I made a huge salad with Out of The Box produce.  Tiny new red potatoes, green beans, free range eggs, olives, a tiny gem lettuce, golden beets.  Delicious.

It was a chilly evening so we built a huge fire and gossiped.  I felt oddly insecure knowing that Tom was so incredibly successful.   I was tongue-tied and felt a bit foolish.   For someone who has done so well he is just about the most humble person I have ever met.

Tom brought chicken, Anna brought a huge fruit salad and ice cream.

Finally, a friend of mine called to tell me how much I have changed these past few weeks.

“It’s like being with a different person.”  She said.

It’s true.  Without the demon penguin possessing me I am just my happily old self.  Nothing to prove.  I must just tell you…I forgot to mention it before:  I had a treatment from a Dutch friend of Jennifer’s.   She did this deep tissue massage/healing and made a rasping sound every time she touched me.  It was amazing.  She said that I was so full of poison she began coughing.  Hacking.

The combination of her treatment (I was skeptical) and actually seeing him has done the trick.

Only now when I am out of it I can see clearly just how in my addiction I was.  The demon drink, the demon opiate, the demon corn chip, the demon penguin.

It’s all the same.

You know how much I love Whitstable?  That would be one of my ‘weak tea‘ successes:  my relationship with Whitstable.

I love it there.  I know everyone.  We really know each other.  For good and for bad.

Well, today I received some very, very sad news.  My Mother‘s friend Carol who owns the Tudor Tea Rooms on Harbour Street…well..and this is terrible…her son Tony died.

Known affectionately as Wally to everyone who knew him, he was only 40 years old, tall, gentle, ran his mother’s business with aplomb.

When you order a pot of tea at The Tudor Tea Rooms you get a pot of tea made with loose tea and a strainer.  Quality.

We used to say that they served school dinners at the Tudor but we loved going in there.  Fire burning in the hearth all winter.  Closed on a Wednesday.  Real steak and kidney pudding with a thick suet crust.

Wally was killed during the day on the train tracks at the end of Glebe Way.  Struck by the coast-bound 11.22am Victoria to Ramsgate train just before 1pm.  I have no idea if he committed suicide or not.  That’s what people are saying but I really don’t want to believe it.

He was such a nice man.  Wally and his sister Sue had run that Tudor Tea Room since they were kids.  Since we were all kids.  Serving Steak and Kidney Pudding…opening the tea garden.  He was the sort of bloke you’d see in Prezzo Pizza Place with his young family.

As every Whitstable pub and every other shop front became yet another super chic gastro pub or seasonal/organic eaterie…the Tudor kept the same decor, the same menu, serving the same Whitstable us who didn’t want the bother of seared scallops or poached samphire.

My Mother and I saw Wally just a few weeks ago when I was home for Christmas.  He served us a good old-fashioned English roast.   My mother mocked me for drinking tea with my lunch…like ‘some one from a council house‘ she said.

He stood at the till and asked after my life in LA.  I felt embarrassed to tell him what my life was like in California.  What he didn’t know…what he could never have known…was what I was thinking that cold December day a week before Christmas:  that I would have quite easily traded my life in Malibu for a chance at running the Tudor Tea Rooms.

From where I was standing…his life looked perfect.

When I was a kid we would sit in the Tudor Tea Rooms and spy on Peter Cushing eating his poached eggs.

Poached eggs on toast.  Every day.

My mother accidentally pushed Peter Cushing off his bike one day when she was getting off the bus from Canterbury.

Anyway, Wally was killed on the railway lines.  The third person killed in the same spot in less than two months.  What’s happening?  What a waste of a good life, a sweet family man.  I feel for his wife and children, his sister Sue and his lovely mum Carol.

If you get the chance listen to this Jellybotty’s track, Peter Cushing Lives in Whitstable.

It mentions the Tudor Tea Rooms.

.

Goodbye Wally.

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A lot of what artists do seems to involve watching and waiting to see what will happen. When I’m desperate enough just to do anything, even if it seems completely stupid, it’s such a relief.

Bruce Nauman

Seems like an odd quote to start my Christmas blog but without doubt much of this years nonsense would have been resolved sooner if I had thrown myself all the more harder into some sort of work..paid or un paid.

Firstly, I want to thank you all for so loyally following my blog.  I bumped into my friend Josh last night at the Pearson’s and he told me how much he loved reading it.  Such a surprise!

Christmas in Whitstable has been a great deal of fun.  The pubs packed with revelling youths.  All the chavs are dressed in padded country jackets.  Caps and Barbour type padded jackets.  They look great.  Consequently I can no longer wear mine.

Met my mother for lunch.  I gave her a lovely etching by Wendy Croft that I found in the Caxton Gallery that my friend Tom’s cousin owns and where I am negotiating to live next summer.

Alma and I are off to Church this morning to sing Hymns.

St Alphage is a blunt, crenellated,  Anglican church on Whitstable High Street where, as a child, I sang in the choir.

I took Alma for communion and we sang hymns very heartily.  There was one very good choir boy..too good.  Amongst the ancient old ladies this tall, mop headed youth..like David Beckham playing on a local 5 a side team.

After the service we hung out in the vestry with the choristers, some of whom were in the choir when I was a little boy.   I showed Alma the picture of me back then dressed in my cassock and surplus.  I will see if I can scan it for you.

Alma teared up during the ‘peace be with you’ segment of the Anglican Christmas Service.  We all shook hands and hugged.  Everybody seemed very genuine.

I had a blog comment about my continuing, yet more occasional (indeed diminishing), mentions of Jake.  I now only mention him when I want to share how obsession/addiction/compulsion ruins my life.    I don’t really care what he, or if he knows about it.   As for how long we were together..that really doesn’t matter.  If your heart has been revealed and riven…well, I’m just telling you…it takes time.

I could write about the big dog being killed every single day.  The two incidents are sort of similar: the death of something special.  I think about both of them every single day.  I don’t care if that inflates his ego.  In some way, whenever I am inactive or having a quiet moment I will either remember the moment she was killed or the moment I understood that he would never be my boy friend.

The death of love.

When the Big Dog was killed I couldn’t stop crying.  It might have been the realest thing I ever experienced.  As a result it brought up every painful moment I ever felt but refused to cry over.  The death of my Grand Mother, my real father’s death…oh the list goes on and on.

It is TIME TO FEEL.  I am happy that I am coming out of it but it was essential to experience.

Before I left NYC I met a young man who has been emailing me and with whom I am building a connection.  He is a really special man.  An artist and an intellectual.  I am not keeping any of his emails.  They are immediately burned after reading.

Yes we did fuck the first night we met which is not ideal…and maybe that will impact on our future liaison but I am seeing where this one is heading.  Let’s hope that this next year will be productive, considerate and filled with love.

Christmas Day was okay.  I found a blond wig and clowned around for the kids.  We opened a million presents and May bought The Little Dog a reflective coat for the miserable New York nights ahead of us.

Alma, May, Me, George Christmas 2010

I forgot to mention that I met my brother’s beautiful little son who had his first birthday on the 1st December.  His name is Oscar and had a ready smile and a charming disposition.  He LOVED the Little Dog.  Perhaps I should leave everything to him when I die?

I have to leave my money to someone…maybe him.  I really liked him.  That’s an odd thought isn’t it?  I have to think about it sooner or later.

Ended up helping with the cooking of Christmas lunch.  The turkey was great..really moist and cooked through.  Cooked for 11 people.  I felt a little distant.  I wonder when I am going to sink back into my own skin?  They asked me why I was so ‘subdued’ I felt that the correct word might be contemplative.

We devoured the St John’s Christmas Pudding with lashings of clotted cream.

After lunch hung out at my friend Sasha’s cottage. Her dog Pip and her friend’s dog played with the little dog who tried fucking them both.  He was very funny.  Saw some very good British TV…however my once friend David Walliams (Clancy’s Kitchen) has a new show that isn’t at all funny.  A mocumentary about airports…terrible.

A few more days in Whitstable.

Need the results of further tests from last Wednesdays hospital visit.

I am going to Florence next week for NYE then I am in NYC apartment hunting.  So, lots to do.

Have a very happy Christmas everyone…unless you are jewish…or a muslim..or don’t give a fuck.

BOXING DAY update.  My friend Rachel Weisz is all over the news today…leaving her husband for Daniel Craig.  I could just tell that was on the cards.  She looked miserable the last time I saw her.

St Alphage Church 2010

 

Alma, May, Me, George Christmas 2010

Sasha

I am sitting at my architect friend Keith’s house in the most unlikely location – Deptford.  An unruly, charmless, largely destroyed by Nazi bombs area of South East London.   His tiny terraced house a laboratory for the work that has defined his career.

After 10 years of messing about with the house…it is finally finished.

Keith’s Site

We drove to Shoreditch for another wander around the back streets and do a little Christmas shopping.  The shops are heaving with customers.  There is NO evidence of a recession here.  I bought a huge Christmas pudding from St John’s and some great socks.  Everything else that we wanted to buy, like a sweater in All Saints, was irritatingly sold out.

We had lunch at Shoreditch House where I bumped into Robert.  I knew I would.  Very handsome.

Ate gorgeous traditional Sunday roast beef.   Dog in a bag under the table.

Last night Carol and I walked to our local labour politician’s Christmas party.  It is amazing how they, like so many local Whitstable people, read this blog.  I am delighted!  Our host and his wife are good, old-fashioned socialists..the sort McCarthy and now Sarah Palin HATES.

Surely I couldn’t possibly be surrounded by so many devilishly intelligent left wingers who were, like me, excited by the wholly unexpected political reinvigoration of the young we saw last week in London?  This, after so many years of inertia from our traditionally vocal students.

We salute you British students and urge you to continue to daub, poke, shout..etc.  I give you permission to make this government as uncomfortable as you possibly can.

Apparently the mad, bad Duchess of Cornwall was ‘poked with a stick’ by a demonstrator.  It was positively revolutionary!   Tim’s great friend David Gilmour‘s son was photographed hanging off the cenotaph (our national war memorial) great!     Polly and David are very embarrassed, the son, apparently…isn’t.

The Duchess of Cornwall poked with a stick..like something dead in the road.

What else have I been up to?  Good God…the most beautiful man in Wheelers last night.  A cabby from Essex.  29 years old, navy blue eyes and the reddest lips.  I resisted taking his number but I know for sure that once a path is crossed it will cross again.   He was beautiful.  We chatted on Whitstable High Street and you know when a man looks directly into your eyes…you know that feeling.

What else?  Went to local farmer’s market and bought a shoulder of goat for dinner this week.

Keith, when we got home this evening, gave me a pot of Medlar jelly that he made with fruit he found at a friends country house..it had a wonderful taste.  Another strange coincidence ?  Only this week I learned what a medlar was.  Now I have a pot of it.

We ate stilton and delicious Christmas cake made by his boy friend of six years.

Driving to Paris tomorrow to get rid of car as the hospital treatment kicks in on Tuesday.  Can’t say that I am looking forward to it but hey ho.


Totally trapped in Whitstable!  So many old friends to be trapped in the town with.  Lovely seeing everyone.  Had tea in Wheelers with Anita and Michael.  Adam and I drank more tea and ate mince pies by the fire at Carol’s house.  Saw Tim at Tea and Times where Ronnie came a’visiting and I caught up on all the local gossip.

Ronnie showed us pictures on his phone of a dead polar bear.

Meant to be in London today dealing with Jake’s iPod fiasco but God dumped a trillion tons of snow on Kent so we are all stranded.  Hurrah!

The Little Dog just LOVES the snow as you can see from these pictures.

I am rather hoping that I get stranded here for Christmas!

By the way, did I ever mention to you that whilst I was in the police cell that miserable day in July Jake met a man from Manhunt and sex with him.    That was supportive wasn’t it?

Woke up at 4am.  Bugger.  Spent a little time online then went back to bed.  Fell into deep sleep.

A knock at the door at 9am.  I had meeting with a writer from a popular TV show who had read my blog and wanted to meet to talk about her new TV show.  Kathy.

A charming and funny woman who is currently dating a very beautiful ‘A’ gay director friend of mine.   What a gorgeous couple!   The meeting was meant to last an hour but ended up lasting 3 hours.  Ashley joined us at the end.

Whilst we were talking I remembered one of the fabulous Whitstable gays I met as a child who totally shaped my idea of what it was to be gay.

Firstly, he taught me that being gay could be WONDERFUL.  That man, an antique dealer from Thanet, was called Christopher Stocking.  He drove into Whitstable weekly to search for antiques and that’s where he found me, sitting at the back of Zoe’s antique shop one cold winter’s afternoon playing with her kittens by the fire.

The shop used to be on Harbour Street opposite the harbour entrance which was rather sadly demolished in the 1970’s when all that grubby Georgian architecture seemed to bore town planners.  Thankfully, Whitstable was largely ignored by Canterbury Council so there was little to no ‘urban regeneration’.   No wholesale destruction of our old homes and shops.  Whitstable was left to decay.   Thank God.

Jake and I went to Whitstable…he loved it…that was a nice moment.

Anyway, Christopher Stocking found me in the back of the shop and realized IMMEDIATELY that I was a trainee homo and took me for a spin in his pink Jaguar.  I remember his sweet and unusual smell.  He asked a bunch of questions and I remember being so ashamed of where I came from that I think I lied every answer.

I really looked forward to Christopher’s weekly visits.  He taught me what was what without ever mentioning the word gay.

He’d say, “He’s gorgeous isn’t he?”

And I would get all red-faced and nod my head.

He was a perfect role model…consequently I never had any difficulty being a gay.

It all seemed perfectly natural.

A couple of years after we met Christopher told me that he wanted to tell me something.  Seriously.  We sat in the Tudor Tea Rooms, he held my hand and told me very gravely that if I was going to have a good life, any life..he stressed the word life..I would have to leave Whitstable.  That this small seaside town wasn’t going to be big enough for me.

He told me urgently,

“You have to get out of here and make something of yourself.”

I knew that he was right but I didn’t think it was possible, plausible…mine to have.

Heroes are never quite who you expect them to be.

A man and a boy holding hands in an English Tea Room talking about the future.  About the future. He was saving my life..and he knew it.   He knew that there was no one else in that place who could possibly tell me what I needed to know.

That my life could be assured if I left Whitstable.  That I would be valued, validated, loved.   Sadly, his dream and my dream for enduring happiness diverged as I grew older.

The disease of more.  Who could have foreseen that outcome?

For those of you who think bad thoughts..no..we never did anything inappropriate.  He was a very appropriate man.  I was 10 when I met him and 14 when he vanished.  If he had made a move would I have let him?  You betcha.

That afternoon in The Tudor Tea Room I saw my future reflected in his face and knew instinctively that it was essential for me to listen very carefully and remember every word he said.

Amongst the shop owners there were other gays.  There were the gay twins who ran the antique shop on the corner of Albert Street and Harbour Street which is now an elegant tapas bar.  Johnny and Jimmy.  Clones:  checked shirts, full moustaches and tight denim jeans.  They scared me a bit but they were kind to me.

Everyone was.

They guessed, they knew, they never made mention, they saw the bruises, they held out their hands just in case I needed to hold on.

The years passed.

For a few weeks I moved in with Michael the gay tax man.

Our local gay bar: The Guinea on Island Wall.  Florence, the very grand landlady, was always throwing people out for no good reason.  She had thick red lipstick on her lips and teeth…a crow black bouffant.

When the boys got too hot and bothered in the snug she snarled,  “Darlin’ you’re barred.”

The kissing boys would feign outrage, throw their scarves over their shoulders, theatrically deliver a particularly vicious bon mot from the threshold of the pub, slam the door and scamper out into the night..until tomorrow of course when they would sit in exactly the same spot nursing pints of thick, warm beer and kiss each other as Florence was serving out of sight.

I remember when you could be thrown out of a bar, a gay bar, for kissing another man.

So, this morning, Kathy and I talked about gay men and the community.  Our community that existed around the bar.  Every community has a bar.  THE BAR.

When the Guinea closed we headed to The New Inn, Margate.  I didn’t drive and God knows how I did it but I got there and back 30 miles every Saturday night.   Compelled by the need to meet other gay men.

I rarely went home with anyone.  They were all so pig ugly.  When the pub closed at 11.30 my very camp friend Mark and I went to a  ghastly Margate club which was always half empty..called Skids.  Ew.

The men there knew I was different from them.  Somehow.  They urged me, like Christopher had years before, to take my big ideas elsewhere.  In their own way they let me know how much more of a world there was than the one I had chanced upon in Margate.

We talked about being bullied and I told her that I was bullied at school and life was pretty miserable for a few years but I just knew that high school was not the sum of my life.   I knew that Christopher and men like him were out there somewhere.  That I could and would be like them.

I knew that my time at boarding school would eventually come to an end.  Anyway, as I mentioned before..bullied by day, blowing by night.  Usually the same boys.

All these bullied kids killing themselves.  I know it’s hard to be singled out to be gay by your peers, but you can’t be so sensitive.   Get tough!  Fight back.  Ask for help!  The sad fact is, when I was being bullied I rather enjoyed the attention.  I learned to fight back.  Ruthlessly.  I knew the people who bullied me were simply appalled by my difference.  It scared the shit out of them.  I learned that to be different you had to seek out your own kind.

I have searched and searched.

So…I went to Paris and New York and I ended up here.

Thank you Christopher Stocking..wherever you are.

I owe you my wonderful life…when I can remember that it is wonderful.  I owe you my Malibu view.  I owe you my aspirations.  Thank you Christopher, thank you the boys..thank you the girls..where ever you are…thank you for reading…thank you and good night.

I found a book of photography called Chaos by Josef Koudelka at my house in Malibu that Kristian gave me for my birthday some years ago.  In it he wrote:

“I thought this book was very apt.  Life is never black and white yet always flowing with chaos.  I feel this book goes some small way to prove that even in chaos there is beauty.”

It was lovely to find his note.   A message from Kristian, from the past.  The past, where we must leave him.

I had to make some huge and grown up decisions today.   Decisions and about romance and finance.  The two are unconnected yet have been hideously intertwined as I grappled with one or the other for the past few months.

As my fear of financial ruin overwhelmed me I turned to him to deliver me from the truth.   Today, I just had to face my unfortunate situation head on.

My financial insecurity is undoubtedly connected to uncomfortable feelings of self-worth, prestige and power.  The romance I want but cannot have.   Some things are just not meant to be.  It is challenging to come to terms with these sorts of truths but as I have written here in this blog on many occasions when I do make decisions they are swift and sure.  Something, actually, Drew Pinsky taught me whilst I was on the sex rehab show.

I have deliberately avoided talking about either the romance or the finance on this blog but more importantly I have kept it secret to those who love me best.  Fuck, it is exhausting keeping secrets.  I really hate it.  I have no intention of going into any specific detail about the romance or the finance right now.  All you need to know is that I sat with John after the cake was cut and the presents were opened and told him everything I had been hiding for the past few months.  Phew.

As we all know: the truth will set you free.

I let go of a secret I was determined to keep.  Everything I have ever let go of has been relinquished unwillingly.  With claw marks all over what ever was finally gone.

Deep down I am as sure as I ever was that everything will turn out just the way it was meant to be.   I believe in my fate.

My relationships burn like super novae in the cosmos then shrink and die.  I have an opportunity right now to make a different set of choices: taking contrary action, living in acceptance and handing over what ever gives me pain to my higher power.

Just a few days away from my trip to Europe where I will celebrate a hefty milestone.   I have chosen to travel with a close friend.  Someone I love but not a lover.   We (and The Little Dog) will explore London and Paris.  For the sake of The Little Dog we will once again visit the wallabies in the Jardin des Plantes that my darling, loyal pet found utterly spell binding when we visited Paris last Autumn.   I am sure he must have thought that they were the biggest squirrels he had ever seen.

Am I prepared to walk away with dignity?  From people, places and things?

What I own is not who I am.  Who I love cannot define me.  Of course I would love to be in love with a man who loved me as much as I loved him.

I have come a very long way this past year.  The road to serenity, self-love, sexual sobriety is littered with the corpses of those who could not.

I must have buried 30 people during the last 12 years, killed by addiction.  Overdose, suicide, etc.  Every one my hero for keeping me sober.   Each and every one.

This evening I celebrated my friend’s daughter’s 5th birthday.  I sat with his family and watched his happy little girl blow out the candles on her cake.   After supper I wandered into Soho House on my own and found people I knew to take my mind off of the grueling aloneness.  I am not lonely, I just can’t be bothered to make the effort to accept the invitation nor get in the car and drive to people who genuinely love me.

On my way home, as if by magic, friends called me.  Emails arrived, text messages appeared on the screen of the iPhone and I was wrenched away from the promise of a night of self-pity.  I can be such a pig at that particular trough.

I said to him the other night that what I found so hard to let go of was the promise of enduring love.  The door had been opened then slammed shut.  I am the wise uncle, asexual, decrepit yet ultimately willing to be of service to those who need me.

Without the crutches of objectification, intrigue and seduction I can some times flounder.  I can sometimes fall.  Late at night, when all hope is gone I wonder who will catch me?  Who will catch me when I fall?

For a moment back then, I thought it might be you. I thought, foolishly, that it might be YOU.  I thought it was you when I was 20, 30, 40 and now.   Being in love with Richard in my twenties.  I was heartbroken when he would flirt with girls.  At my birthday party on Island Wall, Whitstable my Mother saw the pain I was in and tried to reach out to me but shame got in the way.

The legacy of shame.

Love has always been my goal.  To be loved.  I crave love the way most men crave sex.

I told him:  I’m really scared that I will never love again.   That I will never be loved.  How could I have got this so wrong?    To believe that love was possible, enduring and could be one day mine?

From out of the chaos comes beauty.  It will give me succour when all else fails.  I am going to Europe to fill my heart and soul with art and architecture.  To walk the streets and parks of two great cities.  To explore what it might have been like to be loved.   I know that when I get back he will be gone.  It is our swan song, our last hurrah.  But before I write the end I must enjoy the journey.  I must not fear the future nor have unrealistic expectations, I must set aside my shame and feel the sun on my face, in my heart.

The good news:  I can keep goats and hens on the property in Malibu.  I spoke with a very polite lady at the Malibu Council code violation department.

I was expecting a very long conversation, instead, it was very short.

“Can I keep three goats on two acres in the Santa Monica Mountains?”

“Yes.” She replied, adding.  “You can keep 3 goats on your property as long as they’re 50 feet from anything humanly habitable.”

Silence.  She cleared her throat.

“Is that it?”  I said, expecting more.    “Yes.” she replied, “that’s it.”

“I think I may very well be in love.”  I murmured.  She giggled like Marge Simpson.

The last vacation tenants just left the property leaving a rather unpleasant egg smell behind them.   Perhaps they were vegetarians or something.   There was orange peel on the paths and some child had broken a faucet that cost $85 to mend.  I shall take it out of their deposit.

This morning, after breakfast with John and the others, I started my list of things to do for the New Year.  Suddenly I was thinking about yield per acre, chicken coops and chevre.

Malibu house.  The dogs just love it here.  Luna spends hours exploring the garden-just like the Big Dog.  I missed darling Big Dog so much today.  Jerome left pictures of her in the mail box that I could not bear to open.  They remained unopened since Christmas in a large pile on my desk marked ‘urgent things to do’.  I thought I better look at them.

It made me feel sick with grief when I saw her sweet face.

I wish I felt that way about my grandmother.

Anyway, I spoke to a very eager sounding vegetable garden planner, my architect and a lady who lives near Sacramento about buying goats.    Our call was dropped so I’ll call her again tomorrow.  She is a ‘grazing service provider’.  I met the plumber  at the house who mended the faucet and tomorrow, first thing after breakfast I need to make a list-like call Lewis for instance who will reconfigure downstairs so I can start living there in April.

There is just so much to do!  I just need to do it.

At breakfast I confided in John that all my life, my real career has been the maintenance of my addiction and anything else I got up to was a hobby.  Making films was a hobby, making theatre..a hobby.  A distraction from the disease of addiction.

My primary purpose has been the pursuit of selfish pleasure.

Today, I have only good news to report even if Luna trotted out of the long grass covered in ticks.  Everything was very dealable with, not nearly as scary as I expected-and I never once had to take a nap.

I find myself, like the rest of the Christian world, in limbo.  The dark, dark days between Christmas and New Years Eve.

Woke up at decent hour.  Fed dogs raw meat their Special Christmas Treat and apparently very good for them.  They seem to love it.    Long walk around Hollywood wearing my red shoes.   Seems to cause consternation to some passers by.  Red shoes, yellow socks.

Not wearing my waistcoat-we don’t say vest in England unless referring to an under garment.

Watched Another Country before I went to bed.  Cried buckets of tears at the end.  That movie still speaks volumes to me.  I wonder how Rupert feels if he ever sees it?   Him looking so beautiful.  What must any of those actors think?

It reminded me, of course, of being in love when I was young.  Yet most people must think of first, young love after watching that movie.

You know, I have been in love.  Real love.  The sort of yearning love that hurts so much you want to die.  I’ve felt that.  Oh bugger.  I loved you so much!  I loved you in spite of my worst fear.  I wanted you to love me back-so badly.

‘That’s a deep sigh.’  He said.  “Falling in love with a man is so exquisite.  Every time I feel this way I don’t know if I can carry on.”

Fred Hughes, I just wanted to write a moment longer about Freddy Hughes.  Remember, I met Freddy in Paris when I was still a teenager and he couldn’t have been much older than 30.   He was running the Andy Warhol empire.  Chic and funny he captivated me with his charm, not his life.  I didn’t really understand his life until I arrived in New York and lived with him in that remarkable house on Lexington.

I spotted Robert Dupont on the street as Kay, Jerome and I were drinking hot chocolate on Christmas Eve.  Either Robert or his twin Richard was Freddy’s real boyfriend-I was the secret affair.   I am always the affair, the secret obsession outside of a marriage.  Always the mistress, never the bride.  Wanted to mention Freddy because I was remembering men I had loved.

The year I met Freddy he was diagnosed with MS.  Toward the end, wheelchair bound, he was so angry with everything and everyone.  I don’t want to die like that.  I am aiming for peace of mind-to die in peace.

After my morning bath I called my friend and fellow philanderer Toby Mott to tell him that Kay Saatchi had bought one of his paintings.  He was thrilled.   We chatted about money.  He had never been paid for the painting by the gallery who sold it but was simply thrilled to have sold it to Kay and really, he said, didn’t care about the money.  Very British.  Very bourgeois.

Montesquieu summed up the French approach to money more than two centuries ago, observing that ”money is estimable when it is scorned.” The Bordeaux nobleman and philosopher was very, very rich.

Where ever there has been a ruling, aristocratic elite an artificial shame is constructed around the discussion of money.

I remember my Grandmother and Mother both chiding me for wanting to understand money.  “Discussing money is vulgar.” my grandmother would say.  As a consequence of my never being allowed to discuss money (like sex) I now find it almost impossible to define my value, to monetize my success, to have a sense of what I am worth.

I lament my Grandmother shushing me when I first showed interest in money.

Whilst my ‘class’ were blushing about money the rich weren’t having any qualms at all and talked about it all the time.

As I found, during my years as an aristocrat, if one can talk freely about money then one may understand how it works and how to acquire more of it.  If one is persuaded that conversation about money is shameful then we may never know how money works and lose it to those who do.

When the rich say, “I’m not the slightest bit interested in money. I just don’t pay any attention to money.  It’s rather vulgar.”

They lie.  They lie.  They lie.

Amanda under a portrait of Amanda

Christmas Eve with Amanda Eliasch, Tim Willis and Kay Saatchi in Beverly Hills.

I wore a tweed waistcoat.

I chattered with everyone.

It was a great night.

I was the last to leave.

Tim

Amanda cooked dinner for twenty.

We ate turkey, beef, brussel sprouts, assorted roasted root vegetables.

Every scrap was eaten.

The dogs ate beef bones.

I told other guests about my self sufficiency plan.

They were delighted.

Also discussed Health Care debate and-unsurprisingly-reality TV.

Luna and The Little Dog

Kay Saatchi wore a red silk Marni dress and took many pictures.  Tomorrow she is going to Arizona.

Luna was the belle of the ball.  Everybody loved her.

The Little Dog found a boy to trust.

They both ate tons of beef and turkey.

Earlier in the day Kay, Jerome (French cultural attache) and I took Kay’s Mustang onto Rodeo and drank hot chocolate bumping into Sharon along the way.

We were way laid by the 50% off Prada sale and Ralphs to buy Cranberry juice.

That morning I fretted for an hour about what to wear.  Finally opting for

Amanda

tweed waistcoat and cordroy trousers.

No jacket-just a shawl.

Once I arrived, formally, that night I wore birds in my hair.  Pulled two stuffed birds off the Christmas Tree and made the hat.

As I said, I was the last to leave.  No traffic at all on the way home.

Christmas morning 2009 Kay made eggs, bacon and roasted tomatoes.  We set the table in the garden and ate breakfast in the Californian sun.

By the way, my presents included these fab highlights:  1. A cashmere covered hot water bottle-I opened it and it smelt just like they used to when I was a boy.  Rubbery.

2.  A pair of scull socks from New and Lingwood.

3.  Several scented candles.

For a short while they roosted here..

4.  A promise of sobriety.

I spent most of Christmas Eve with Tim.  We have a great deal to remember together.  Trips to Greece, Scotland, Yorkshire a particularly drunken toga party on Patmos when we both fell through a plate glass coffee table.

We remembered Issie Blow who he was with for two years.

I love how Tim gets on so well with Jack and Charles-Amanda’s two grown boys.  Jack showing his love for Tim by customizing a pair of kicks for Tim’s Christmas present.

Tim’s delicious present from Amanda:  a frock coat by Paul Smith.  He looked divine.  By Christmas

Mid-Day Tim had been totally made over by Ms Eliasch.  Again.

Oh, I am all over the place.  My chronology is ruined.

Tim and I love giggling about how RUDE we had been.

I love Tim.

By the time we got home the dogs were exhausted!  They went straight to bed and we all slept like logs until the alarm went off on Christmas Morning.   I went to a 7.30am AA meeting which was TERRIBLE.

Amanda and Kay

After Kay cooked breakfast I met Jake and  his wife for Finnish rice pudding and licorice.

DON’T!  I know.

I must have received well over 200 Christmas text messages and emails and tweets, calls and Facebook messages..

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!

Fanny Cradock/Justin BondChristmas Eve in Beverly Hills last year was a mass of heaving bags, frantic women and dissolute men.   This year there was scarcely a soul on Rodeo Drive.  ‘Deck the Hills’ Beverly Hills tacky shopping slogan-hadn’t worked.  Tim, Amanda and I walked briskly from shop to shop nere another shopping bag to be seen.

In the spirit of Christmas Past I was wearing a pair of black cashmere pantaloons with pink socks and buckled shoes.  I had both the dogs with me.  All eyes on Duncan.  It is possible to be a chic farmer-as Martha Sitwell proves.  I am so sick of dressing DOWN.   Bland, dreary jeans, meaningless sweats: how can a man of any sexuality express himself sartorially?

Women, for that matter, don’t seem to have it any better.  Note the tribes of identically dressed club girls waiting in line on Ivar.  Shivering, tiny, rectangular micro-mini dresses and boucle crop tops, emaciated spikes of pink/brown flesh once born as arms and legs.

Since my rehab experience I am having a cris de coeur.  A real one.  A bone fide cris de coeur.  Well, not so much a crisis of the heart but of the cock.  A cris de pallique!

I am having an unplanned, unwanted, unloved revelation about my sexuality.  I really don’t know if I am gay anymore.  I think I might not be.  Genuinely.  I am having a MOMENT about my gayness.  Somebody wrote on some board somewhere, “If Duncan Roy doesn’t like gay sex-he isn’t gay.”  Well, as it happens, that might be true.

Lets face it; my sexual relations with man are based on recreating earlier abuses.  I seldom get excited-if ever.   I don’t get no-satisfaction. Perhaps if I trained myself to be present during sex with men but…even…even that seems like nonsense.   I just don’t enjoy men.  I lay there wondering, unengaged, what the hell am I doing here?  Out of body.  Thinking about Delia’s thick bean and bacon soup.

Wearing pantaloons does not make you a gay.  Nor do pink socks.

Justin Bond

There’s something about dressing up, wearing wonderfully exotic clothing that makes me feel complete.  Frankly, at my age, I can wear what ever I damn well please.  I could wear make up if I wanted-and have been considering it.

I don’t want to be a star cross dresser rather a star-crossed lover of beautiful things.  After all, there’s a tranny deep inside of me-who’d like to be deep inside of you.

Somewhere along the way I became confused, disillusioned or just plain bored of GAY.   It used to be fabulous; it kept me coming back, the mere spectacle of GAY..but now look..it’s crazily banal.  The bars, clubs, private parties are all the same.  The same ghastly narrative, the same Benny Hill type chases, the same miserable, vacuous queens.   I didn’t sign up for that.  I signed up for glamour and individuality.

Would any of you mind if I just stopped the gay bus and got off?

Yesterday, I found myself in conversation with a woman whose life I had been at the periphery for many, many years.   We met at lunch with Amanda and Tim and, as so often happens, we had both been caught in the same social cobweb.  But, whereas the spider had already sucked me dry-my friend is in the process of being eaten alive.

I am incredibly attracted to a certain kind of woman as I am attracted to a certain kind of man.  However, a man’s intellect does nothing for me.  I don’t wake up thinking about his brain-I wake up thinking about his cock.  His story is a means to an end.  A woman’s story can, and often does, lead to intimacy.

Okay, more of that later.  Some other day.  More will be revealed etc. etc.

I voted round one for the Academy Awards.  My personal shortlist (films I had seen) was three times longer than 2008.  The Academy will be thrilled to hear that I took my voting duties very seriously this year.

The best actor category was the hardest vote to cast.  Gordon Levitt from 500 Days of Summer left a lasting impression-but really, that was IT.  So much easier to vote for the women!   There seemed to be real choice.  The role as written for women hasn’t gotten any better but women seem to have fun with their performances.  Whilst the men seem imprisoned by introspection the women are having a fucking blast…think Up In The Air.Fanny Cradock/Elizabeth Bowes Lyons/Justin Bond

Finally for Christmas!  My Christmas cheer:

If you have the chance, time or inclination do please check out Fanny Cradock.  Fanny, a 1970’s TV chef of the British snob variety became a ‘camp ’ legend, rude, funny and disparaging she predates Simon Cowell by thirty years.  Fanny had all his savvy but in those genteel days was fired for being a bitch whereas nowadays she would be given a pay rise.

My Grandmother couldn’t stand Fanny because she’d wear long sleeves whilst say, stuffing a goose.

I always wanted to create a mid-century modern TV bitch type character based on Fanny Cradock but Justin Bond got there first with his Kiki in the award winning show Kiki and Herb.

Johnny Cradock after eating a freshly made doughnut once said, “Mmmm, delicious.  I hope all your doughnuts taste like Fanny’s”

Bumble's Christmas Cake

1.

There were few people and fewer dogs climbing Runyon today.  I read some vile, homophobic comments on the Sex Rehab message boards.  I reported them as ‘harassment’ and they magically vanished.

When we were making our Sex Rehab show Amber told me never to look at the ‘boards’.  I vowed that I wouldn’t but vanity gets the better of me.  I want to know what people think.  Well, they think I am sanctimonious, they think I bullied James, they think I like having sex with little boys etc. etc.  They say that they would never let someone like me near their children.   They think I am brave, sexy, handsome, and more attractive with longer hair, less attractive with a beard, well dressed, and should have known better.

The nasty things people write sometimes turn me on-that’s the kind of sex addict I am.

Whilst Sex Rehab airs, I have enjoyed that so many thousands of you have bothered to read my blog.   The singular benefit of appearing on the show-that I have been able to share myself fully with you all.  As the show winds down and it’s treachery becomes apparent I will miss your kind words and kinder prayers.

2.

It’s hard when someone you love thinks that they know more about everything than you do.  I have learned to keep my mouth shut because ultimately it means little or nothing but at the moment, at that infuriating moment when I am being told things I have known for thirty years, I just want to say, “yeah, and?” but I don’t, I nod as if this is the first time I have ever heard these scintillating insights.

Whitstable Harbour Street

3.

I remember, as my mother approached 65 years old, she burst into tears.  She was crying because she had been looking in the mirror and seeing an older woman look back at her, look her in the eye.  An older woman than she remembered ever being.  She was crying for lost youth.  She said that she felt ‘the same’ but looked ‘terrible’.  There is a theme that runs through our family about lost opportunity, lost youth, unfulfilled dreams.  We were unable; it seems, to close the deal.

4.

Bumble Ward posted a picture of her freshly baked Christmas Cake.  I was thrown into a nostalgic tailspin for everything I had left behind in my Whitstable kitchen.  Bumble baked a rich fruitcake to which she had added cardamom and bitter cherries.  Every year I lived in Whitstable I baked a Christmas cake and made the marzipan from scratch.  I rolled out white, shimmering with glycerin, blankets of royal icing.  I would bake with whoever was around to join in on the fun.  Usually it was Georgina and her grandchildren.  We would drive to Sainsbury’s, buy heaps of dried fruit then haul it home and beat and stir and bind and grate.  Then, if we were feeling particularly ambitious we would make a huge Christmas pudding.

Blackberry and Apple crumble with Georgina and Henry

A great, steaming pan of fruit, molasses and shredded suet bound in white muslin.  Oh I love cooking so much.  I love the smell of allspice, orange zest and nutmeg, I love peeling almonds and soaking sultanas and currants in rum.  The house filled with the intoxicating aroma of Christmas baking and pine trees.  I love wrapping presents and serving mulled wine to my friends.  I loved cutting out cardboard stars and covering them with silver paper. I loved the little children singing carols on my doorstep and the rare Christmas when snow fell.   I love my glittering advent calendar and everything that a Christian celebration has to offer.   I loved going to midnight mass with my bawdy, drunken friends to sing carols loud and clear.   I love my Victorian town decorated festively.  I love Christmas.  I really do.

On Christmas Eve, after the smoky pub, weaving my way home through the matt black night I would sit by the fire and knit and listen to the sea gently lapping over the shingle.

Whitstable Christmas Beach

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