Archives for posts with tag: France

 

The Boy Mondino

Google you

Late at night when I don’t know what to do
I find photos you’ve forgotten you were in
Put up by your friends

I do, I Google you
When the day is done and everything is through
I read your journal that you kept that month in France
I’ve watched you dance

And I’m pleased your name is practically unique
It’s only you and a would-be PhD from Chesapeake
Who writes papers on the structure of the sun
I’ve read each one

I know that I should let you fade
But there’s that box and there’s your name
Somehow it never makes the pain grow less or fade or disappear
I think that I should save my soul and I should crawl back in my hole
But it’s too easy just to fold and type your name again, I fear

I Google you
When I’m all alone and don’t know what to do
And each shred of information that I gather
Says you’ve found somebody new
And it really shouldn’t matter
Ought to blow up my computer
But instead…
I Google you

 

It’s 4am and I can’t sleep.  My head is full up with doubt and death, my heart remains broken.   I don’t think it will ever be fixed.  It was herculean, the task of keeping what I thought was worth fighting for.

How long does convalescence take?

There are solutions to deal with this…like prayer…but it’s not always easy to get the path cleared sufficiently.

Yep, after a week of gardening, path clearing…well…the path in my head that leads to clarity and peace of mind is still cluttered.

There’s a great deal to sort out before I leave for France this December.  I am trying to organise a house swap.  Somewhere for paradise.  I want to be in Paris.

I had dinner with Toby on Saturday night and he asked if I had any desire to go to places I hadn’t already been and the answer is no.  I don’t want to visit anywhere I don’t already know.

Who isn’t shocked by the angry white man who murdered all those people in Norway?  I am not often shocked. Angry white men who can’t bear the way the world is changing.  Turning on his own to make a point.  What’s the point?

I have a painful bite on the back of my head.  Mosquito I hope.  Itchy.

The A List airs today.  Why did I get involved?  I know why.  Part of my Jake madness.  Making so many bad choices.  Then I saw Midnight in Paris, it’s a sweet film.  Charming.  Going to Paris with a man you think you love only to find out you can’t stand each other.

I wish him well.

I began to have the same feelings for somebody else recently.  Banished them.  I will not go through anything remotely like the misery of the past year.   I can’t.

Then I thought about the film Charlie and I started writing.  My idea, he developed it.  Neither of us had the stamina to complete it.

It was a beautiful idea.

I am going to write the research this week.  Let you know what we saw, who we met.

I may try sleeping more.  Crawl back into bed.

 

Wild Sage

Yesterday we went for a long hike though the Malibu Canyon State Park.

Beautiful wild flowers.  The Little Dog in 7th heaven.  Drove home via the Malibu Farmers Market and prepared fresh chard for dinner.  Bought delicious goats cheese flavoured with lavender.   Made dinner for three of us then slept FITFULLY as the dog was up and down the stairs all night barking at wildlife in the garden.

Saw Chris Cortazzo the local, gay celebrity realtor wearing jeans that were far too tight for a man of his shape and disposition.

Did you know that I am the eldest of 11 (maybe 12) children shared between my Mother who had my half brothers Stuart and Martin and my errant father Kuros Khazaei who had 8 or 9 further half brothers and sisters with 4 or 5 other women depending on which story you believe.

I have met all of my half siblings except Jonathon (no contact) and Natalie who I have spoken to on the telephone. So, here goes, here are the rest of my half blood brothers and sisters born in wedlock/legitimately by my father:  Dominic, Michael, Natalie, Jessica, James, Rebecca and Jonathon Khazaei.  Illegitimately by my father Karen and there maybe another called Roya…but this might be a paternal myth.  Like the diamond heist.  Can anyone shed any light on that?  Or that the Kray twins threw him out of a window?  Or that he carried a tape recorder everywhere with him?

That’s all there is to tell you about them.  Just wanted you to know.  Some of you think I am an only child.

The beautiful Dane arrives from NYC next Sunday and a couple of days later we will head off on our ‘Great Adventure!’ all of which we will document here and on YouTube.   Obviously it was at about this time last year that The Penguin and I went to France.  I’ve been reading over my rather romanticized blogged version of those weeks.

My anger refreshed.  Remember, the night I arrived in NYC he was already (I later discovered) seeing someone else in a ‘non exclusive relationship’ and decided to fetch his stash of meth from under his bed and snort it in front of me.  I feel so angry writing this.  That he would take such a risk with my sobriety.

By the time we left for Paris he had no respect or love or care for me what so ever.  He just wanted the free ride.

Whilst we were in Europe he was hooking up with other men when ever he could, using internet pornography, skyping with his ‘non-exclusive’ boy friend and lying to me every single day.

I think of those weeks in Europe and my heart sinks.   Mind you, how must his ex girl friend feel?  That on every vacation they ever took together during their 7 years he would do exactly the same.  Hooking up with random strangers in bathrooms then slipping into bed with her.  Her sucking a cock that had just been up a strangers ass.

I have just been writing the final pages of my novel so this revisited fury has some provenance.

As for the novel?  Anything I put my mind to…my heart into…what seems for others a long and painful process has become quite effortless.

I am now working with a book editor from the not so niche publisher.  It is most often described in the press as a ‘leading independent publisher’.   The time difference means that notes were waiting for me this morning when I woke up.  My first notes.  I was so excited I almost couldn’t look at them.

Wow, this editor thang is a revelation.

Working with someone who helps shape, define and redefine the work I am doing.  Helping me be less self-conscious.

As for the imprint by whom I will be published..their rosta of edgy authors is very impressive indeed.

I just heard that Laura Ziskin died of cancer yesterday.  Now I feel terrible.  She was a great friend of The Penguin.  I’m so sorry.

Yesterday I wandered the garden taking pictures.  Here are some of them:

Jess and I decided to put on our best togs, book into the coolest hotel we could find (Hotel Amour) and spend the weekend in Paris.

I woke early on Dean Street and to my delight a young man popped over to say a sweet goodbye.   He stayed a few minutes.  His lithe, hairless, Irish body for my delectation.

I packed…a punch and my suitcase.  After a HUGE English breakfast, we were on the train to Dover.  When we got there however, this grey miserable Kentish town, we realized that we had missed our last train from Calais to Paris.

Bugger.

Good naturedly we decided to press on and agreed that once on the boat we would ask if anyone, by any chance, was going to Paris and could we cadge a lift?

Well, one might think that would be a hard task to accomplish.  Initially it was.  I sent Jess (red tight sweater, full lips) to schmooze the lorry drivers but they were mostly Polish so immune to her pigeon French and hand gestures.  She cut no ice with these gruff eastern Europeans.

Whilst she was gesticulating wildly and grinning like the Joker at fat men…I met a beautiful 24 year old soldier called Nick with blue eyes and the sweetest nature.  Surprise, surprise!

Nick hung out with us for the duration and I couldn’t stop thinking about him…he was/is gorgeous.

Anyway, finally, we found a British coach driver with abnormally bad teeth, pallid complexion and a weasily midland disposition called Leigh.  He wanted our cash so we willingly handed over 200 euros for a lift to Paris.  What he failed to tell us was that the majority of the other passengers on the coach were so drunk that they could not sit squarely in their seats, farted continually and made conversations that made even me blush.  Not because they were lewd but because they were so puerile.

I have not been in such ghastly company for ages.  Jess described them as ‘pond life’.

They all suffered, like children, from the disease of more.  More food, more alcohol..and of course Penny from Wolverhampton, sitting directly behind me could not think of anything but her suppurating vagina as she tried hopelessly to blow one man and coax another into the bathroom..neither of whom would have anything to do with her.

Penny (Pennoy) then grabbed my head and told me to look at her.  I said, “Have you met my wife?”  She then leapt out of her seat to kiss Jess, her alcohol sodden body falling onto my poor, sober friend.

Anyway, seething with resentment, my jaw clenched for three hours we finally disgourged in Paris…as it happens a few kilometers from out hotel so, in a few surprisingly short moments, we were eating delicious cheese and drinking Badoit before falling into a deep and deserved sleep.

I slept with Jess because of a room issue.  She does not snore, fart or talk in her sleep.  I, on the other hand, could not stop thinking about my blond squaddy and what I would do with him if it was he and not her laying beside me.

The room issue is now resolved…so perhaps…nah…well…maybe.

Today we shopped.  Collette, Lanvin, Comme…etc.  My post tumour life.   We ate lunch at Costes.  Hanging out with Jess is so much fun.  Last time I was here I was with the HIM who I rather cruelly but accurately described as Jean-Baptiste Grenouille the guy from the novel Perfume in my vlog.

Slinking behind me like a crippled, foul-smelling, dwarf.

KW Studio Visit

Flying back to LA.

That was quite a chore!

Now, all I have to do is pack up remaining items and move out of LA.  Then it’s the dog orientated trip home flying via Paris to London.

There I will have my operation and hope that it hasn’t spread.

You know that I like to tell you the truth here on these pages.  Well,  I want to share that I found being in NYC really miserable.  Why?  I was anxious that I might bump into him even though I had texted him telling him that I would be there and to avoid where I live and SHNYC.

Even so, I felt terrible and dreaded dread dreaded bumping into him.

I dread the small claims case in October too.  I dread seeing him.  I wish that these painful feelings would just go away.  I wish he had never contacted me.  Why did he fucking contact me?

Manhunt date number 3 was good fun.

A giant of a man turned up…it turned out that we had friends in common.  We talked about Jake.

It’s funny that even though he had been through a similar experience with a man his immediate response was to chastise me for getting involved with someone who was BLATANTLY unready to be gotten involved with.

Yet, as I have found out..we ALL seem to make really bad choices in love.  My straight men friends routinely describe the females they get involved with as insane.  The women I know describe the men they get involved with as douche bags.  People make mistakes in love.

It is very hard to control a yearning heart.

I am just so angry with myself that, a. I believed him.  b. fell in love.  c. took him home.

Why the hell didn’t he tell his friends that he was gay rather than me?  Why?  Somehow my TV confession spurred him on to confess..yet, as I pointed out to manhunt date number 3..I am NOT a TV character..I am a man.  I am profoundly UNLIKE the way they edited me on TV.

This is ripping me apart.  It is just so unfair that I let some crazy fan into my life who wanted me to be like I was on TV and I…fucking IDIOT..fell in love with him.

I was on Dan’s lap top today checking a friend’s Facebook page and there he was making some Camille Paglia comment.   His new profile picture was weird.  Mugs and fruit.  His hair was all flat and he looked thin.

I know that sooner or later this mess will pass.  That I will start to forget.

You may think me mad but really what you are reading is the real and daily trial of being an addict.  That I can have all at the same time huge compassion for him and a consummate loathing.

There was a moment is Sanary sur Mer in France where he was sitting at the end of a jetty looking at the sunset.  I slipped quietly away.  He was thinking about her.  He was sad.

Thankfully there is still one sacred place I didn’t take him.  It remains mine.  Unseen by crazy fan eyes.

I pray every day for the obsession to be lifted but I guess it will vanish in God’s time and not mine.

CNN wasn’t much fun this evening.  I just wasn’t into it.  I was on for the entire programme.   I prefer to spar a little and no amount of coffee was going to lift me out of my sowhatness.

What the hell am I doing here having opinions about Tiger Woods?

Therapy this morning.  Huge English Breakfast.  Chatted with my Mother.  Lunch with a friend.

I forgot to mention that yesterday on the way back from letting in the new and adorable renters I chatted with Nicola H all the way from the PCH to Robertson.  We hadn’t spoken for years.  Lost each other.  She lives in France.  Dione’s daughter.  Trying to have a baby.

She found me via reading my blog.  It was a perfect example of just how this blog works for me rather than against me.   Occasionally full disclosure has its benefits.

Back to the renters..the ones that left Sunday morning at 10 had broken every single rule but I handed back their deposit.  I could have so easily kept it.  Smoking, under age, party..etc.  I just smiled as they tried concealing their tracks.  Nothing broken, no stains.  Used their own sheets.

The new renters were charming.  A middle-aged man and his wife and small dog.  Very sweet.  They leave on Thursday.  I am going to fill the truck with stuff and take it over there.

Facebook etiquette.   Jake’s great hobby (other hobby given his obsession with online hook ups) is Facebook where he regularly trawls through the lives of others, mocking his old school friends and their marriages and babies.

As if to prove my famewhore monika I now discover that pearshaped Jake made the right move by Facebook defriending people he met through me yet, I notice, not everyone..he kept hold of friends of mine on Facebook who he considered useful..including my talented chanteuse friend who, upon meeting him, wondered why I had chosen such a ‘dull man’ to make my lover.  Mind you, it was one of those scintillating evenings when he just could not get off his iPod or texting on his phone.

I realize now that when he is so intensely involved with his phone/iPod/laptop he is busy with other fuckbuddies.

I begin my small claims action against him today.

Duncan and Jake bauman

Well, that’s that. I ended it. My relationship with lying Jake is over. That would be Mr Darling NYC and the mysterious travelling companion. That would be the man I paid to take to France.  My literary agent.

He is gone and I am relieved. As relieved as they say you feel when you file for bankruptcy. The tension and holding on and making good is over. The plans, the desire, the moments of hope that things will turn out better are turned to dust.

The very fact that I want to call it a relationship is somehow absurd. He didn’t want a ‘relationship’ because he is ‘protective of his independence’ one can read that as: wants to do whatever he pleases, just like he always has. Before by deception, now by finding an idiot who’ll put up with his shit.

It seems to be true that sometimes you can’t be friends with those you have loved. There is simply too much baggage.

I really loved him and I loved making love to him. I loved holding him in my arms but I often wondered who he was really thinking about when we made love. After all, you were so often drunk or stoned or, on that one ghastly occasion, high on nitrate.

As the days passed since we returned from France my serenity began to slip away. I was less happy with our arrangement, with our situation, with our open relationship, with the just enough rope he let me have that tightened exponentially around my neck.

What I didn’t want, upon our return, was how things were before we left: a chasm that could only be filled with jerk off sessions on Skype, even though he was without doubt a genius at performing on his web cam. That was our staple until we got to France. Sex webcasting, firstly in his old place when he was with her then in his parents kitchen whilst they were out at work. Hygienic eh?

I realised that John was right..his ‘smidgen of compassion’ remark hit me hard. He saw that I was prepared to put up with not a great deal and be happy when actually I wanted and deserved a whole heap more.

You know, when the axe falls it falls swiftly and all communication must be cut. No more texts, no more Facebook, no more telephone call or emails. It is the only way I know how. I don’t hate the guy. Of course I feel used. I feel let down. The absence of reassuring emails before I went to have my testicular scan was evidence, irrefutable proof that he really didn’t give a fuck. Complete strangers seemed more interested in my health than he did.

More importantly I had enough. His final email summed it up:

I realize a large part of your life is devoted to confession and full disclosure but though honesty and directness are important to me, I deal with things differently than you do–not by speaking in front of large groups or blogging about my life…

He had seen me on TV then met me through my blog, deceived me into believing that it was my blog and not me that he was interested in then moaned when I wrote about what was going on between us. Suddenly privacy was paramount. You might be wondering why he went to France with me? Well, who in their right mind wouldn’t want a free trip to France with a doting fool?

As for honesty being important to you? I think others might think differently. When I challenged you in London during our street fight that you had lied to a woman for seven and a half years you kept on telling me that I was wrong, ‘I didn’t lie to her’ you cried, so deep was your denial.  Every time he fucked a man behind her back he lied to her.  A woman who expected to marry him.

He told me once that he was ‘addicted to lying’.  He certainly seemed addicted to drugs.  Using weed daily.  Crystal meth during sex.

He said that he didn’t want a hyper-emotional relationship yet the first five months were spent listening to him, willingly listening to him, divulge every detail..often in tears..of his coming out. He was always crying.

I lost my usefulness to him. he seemed to forget that I was there for him in his darkest hour yet he could not be here for me as I embark on what could be mine.

This morning was the final straw. “Why are we talking about me?” he whined when I asked about him. Suddenly he was off-limits. From the incredibly intense weeks of his ‘coming out’ where I made myself available to him 24/7 his story was suddenly secret.

Oh Jake, what a silly billy you are. You think ‘freedom’ means meeting endless fuck buddies on Manhunt. You thought that I would put up with that because just a smidgen of compassion would do. You thought that you wouldn’t bring two very different people to the same conclusion about you.

You were wrong.

I totally get why she doesn’t want anything more to do with you.

There was a moment in an airport somewhere in the world when I was irritable with you about something or other and you looked sad, sad that you had treated her like I was treating you.

My friend saw the pictures on Facebook that I posted of us and he said, ‘He doesn’t even like you.’ I felt sick because often I felt that, that I was doing the loving for both of us. That at the end of the day you would and did tell me I was too old and difficult and all the other reasons you gave me for not letting me have a hope in hell..then you’d come crawling back when things weren’t working out for you. A drunken text on the train home. I knew that when you were with the other Manhunt men I just became an irritation. Like she was when you met me. She was just getting in the way.

It is vaguely irritating that I let him so close to everyone I hold dear in my life. It is even more irritating that he has made friends with my friends yet I know not one of his. Telling isn’t it?

You met me here, we’ll say goodbye here.

For more information on JB please see Adam_Patch on Manhunt. He is looking, so he says, for good people. Oh yeah, and don’t be a cliché.

Avoid this man.   He will lie to you.  He’s cute but he’ll only be interested in you if you have money and let him get away with doing exactly what he pleases.

 

Understandably I totally erased from my memory the briefest of moments we spent in St Tropez.

There is something you should definitely know about St Tropez:  St Tropez is shit.

Two miserable hours in what could only he described as a hot Margate – the tackiest of British seaside towns.

Like Margate there were miserable old ladies with dyed, fluffy blond hair cut short over ruddy complexions eating styrene trays of limp French fries.

Crowds of hopeful ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ types sit silently looking over at the multimillion dollar yachts hoping, one assumes, that they will glimpse the filthy rich (with whom we were meant to stay) eating their three-leaf salads served by lithe flunkies.

In between the vulgar, plastic looking yachts and their brasserie bound spectators a torrent of fetid, badly dressed tourists divide the audience from their theatre.  Like an open sewer running through what once was paradise.

We drank coffee behind a defunct HSBC.  It was interesting that none of the ATM’s worked in a place that relies so profoundly on the buck, the yen, the mark and the pound.

Our original plan had included an extended stay in St Tropez but thankfully we did not.

Our final days on the Cote d’Azure were, at times, a little sad. Not only was our nearly month away together drawing to a close but after spending every single waking hour with one other person one becomes slightly worn by that other person..even if one really loves them.

In nearly three weeks we had traversed major cities in three countries and two continents with a little dog, far too much luggage (my fault) and my BIG BIRTHDAY.

Before we left Europe we had one final excursion to Cap d’Antibes.

As St Tropez is shit, Antibes is gorgeous.   We spent hours exploring this authentic little port.  This is what, I assume, St Tropez used to be like before Roger Vadim and Brigitte Bardot made it famous.  I wonder if this travesty will blight my darling Whitstable, made vile by it’s own success?  For that I feel partly responsible.

We happily wandered the tiny, cobbled streets until dusk then found a divine little restaurant called La Taverne du Safranier and ate St Pierre and Frito Musto.  The crowd: reassuringly posh.

On our drive back to Cannes we saw the tail end of the international firework festival exploding over the sea.  The beaches were crammed with half-naked young people grilling on makeshift bbq and playing unnamed ball games.

The train to the airport the following morning he fell asleep on my shoulder and when he woke up we chatted to a handsome, 18-year-old musician called Clovis.

The flight home was a little uncomfortable but once we landed we were swiftly processed through customs and immigration.

I watched four films on the plane:

Tom Ford’s A Single Man is without doubt one of the most indulgent movies ever made.  Tom should be an art director rather than a film director?   An exercise in style over substance.  The attention to detail (art direction and costume) was painful- though not quite as painful as the total lack of any human emotion throughout the entire movie.

Brokeback Mountain was also about gay men experiencing loss and stifled emotions.  The differance?  Brokeback is a wonderfully human film told with charm and compassion and a Single Man is not.  It’s odd isn’t it that two inarticulate cowboys made me cry buckets whilst an uptight English Professor with excellent taste could not.

Stephen Jones, the milliner, mentioned in an article for Vogue that Ford had lent heavily on Madonna during the making of the film and that is why it is perhaps so profoundly flawed.   There was some nice editing and camera work but it was like a huge fragrance commercial rather than a film about loss and love and yearning.

Irritatingly there is an unreasonable death..the protagonist: this SINGLE MAN could not grieve and make his partner’s death a part of his life…oh no..he had to die.

The boys he encountered remained unkissed and unfucked but in Ford’s world as long as your shirts are well pressed and you are drinking from a Lucy Rie mug…don’t get me started.  Even watching him take a shit..you just KNEW his shit didn’t smell of anything other than vetiver.

There was something chaste, restrained and totally chic about it all..and I use the word chic pejoratively, although I never, ever thought I would.

There were rather weak attempts at some polemic as Firth spars with Julianne Moore about the sanctity of gay love and his students about Aldous Huxley.

Firth’s performance is worth noting.  Unlike many others (I am not being deliberately contrary) who thought his performance ‘amazing’ it was Firth’s disregard, disconnect with/for the character he was playing that amazed me.  What a straight person thinks a gay person is.  The oft applauded and often awarded performance (as well-intentioned as it might have been) of a reserved gay English gentleman is in fact, like the rest of the film, totally heartless.

My guess is he actually had very little respect for Ford as a director who most certainly had no idea how to communicate with a classically trained genius like Firth.

After A Single Man I saw An Education again which is well worth seeing a second time and as it is so damned good.  Funny, well put together, brilliantly acted.

An Education followed by I love You Phillip Morris, which is definitely my kind of movie.  If you can…SEE IT!!!

He reminded me when I finished writing this that we also saw Polanski’s Ghost. What a load of old bollocks.

Disgorged at JFK.

10th street was lovely to come home to and Dan and I sat together as I debriefed him on the preceding three weeks.

Here I am back in New York.  The streets are hot and humid; the parks are jammed with sturdy men in silky shorts with huge smiles.   I am drawn to want to befriend all of them.

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The final day of my holiday with the mysterious travelling companion.  We are staying in Cannes then will make our way home tomorrow.   Will update you all on the tone of the past few days when I get some space between the adventure and me.

We arrived in Cannes yesterday afternoon.  Last night I ate salad Nicoise in a small brasserie behind the Majestic that I enjoy whenever I have been here for the film festival.

The last time I was here was when Suzanna and I rented that house in Seillans.  I had driven to Cannes to take Dicky to the station curtailing his time with us.  After a walk around the harbor he decided to stay.  Now, THAT vacation was hard.  Surly children, love affairs and God knows what.  From what I can remember, I seem to have paid for the lions share of that holiday…for eight people!

Cannes, here we are again.  We chanced upon Suites Hotel on the Blvd Camot.   It’s like a hotel from the future!  The bed linen is really crisp and expensive feeling, the room is huge and well laid out and the bathroom and toilet have a pod like quality.  It might be described as flexible accommodation.  There are Japanese type raffia screens that divide the room if so required and even though the colors and fixtures are not to my taste it is incredibly comfortable and ergonomic.  The television moves around on wheels, there are a desk and a daybed.

 

Our room in Canadel at the Hotel de la Plage looked much nicer than it turned out to be.  The bed was uncomfortable, the room was noisy and the breakfast unbelievably expensive and not, as we first thought, included in the price.  Consequently, we paid eighteen Euros for a basket of bread.  The day before I had spent only twenty Euros in the market feeding us both for the entire day.

I have really enjoyed the last week here in France more than our time in London, mostly because everything, apart from Cannes and St Tropez, was new and unusual.   Showing someone around your life can have its drawbacks.

Yesterday, on our way to Cannes from Canadel-sur-mer we spontaneously stopped off at a cliff overlooking a small bay.  We scrambled through the brush over hot red stone to a rocky outcrop and swam in crystal clear waters.  The little dog watched from a shady ledge.  The sea was teaming with tiny, silver fish skimming the surface looking for food.

You know, there were times when I was with JBC, toward the end of our 7 years together, when we would find ourselves in some remote, beautiful place and I would hanker to be with someone I truly loved.  That this maybe beautiful but to make it perfect one must share the moment with a man that I loved.

Dicky

There is something dismal about looking at a wonderful view and not have a lover by your side.  I think, during this past week, we may both have felt that.  To be with someone familiar, hopeful and in love.

We did not stop for lunch after the swim so by 5ish I was exhausted and desperate for water.  At moments like these I feel like I may have become Uncle Monty from Withnail and I.   Monty, the tenacious old queen who pursues Withnail with gay gusto.  Example: the day before yesterday the car had been laden with food to eat and water to drink.  Yesterday, with the companion in charge, the cupboard was bare.  Instead of just buying more food I sort of expected my companion to think ahead and do as I do.  To no avail.   A sticky wicket that one..expecting.

Like leaving your fingers in the car door to prove how selfish someone is when they squish them.

Do you know the film Withnail and I?  It used to be a cult film.  Uncle Monty arrives in the freezing country cottage where Withnail and his friend have escaped from London.   They have no money; unable to light a fire, nothing to eat and both look utterly miserable.  Within seconds of Monty’s arrival the table is groaning with food, the fires are roaring in the hearth and the lighting is perfect.

Unlike Monty, and men like him, I have a limited desire to provide and make perfect day after day.   I foolishly expect him to think ahead when he just can’t.   It is not in his nature.  It’s not his fault.  You see, I have a fantasy that includes being looked after as well as I look after him or others.   It is a fantasy, it is unachievable, and it is my role and my role alone.  I have only myself to blame when even the most simple of expectations remain unfulfilled.   If I want water in the car then I must buy it, if I want delicious food then I must go to the market.

As vacations draw to a close there is the inescapable dread of going home.  We return to very different scenarios.  He climbs back into the bosom of his family with yet another vacation and I will peel off elsewhere to make something happen with that extended family of AA men and women who have become my solace.

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The last few days of our great adventure.   We left Sanary and the Hotel de la Tour yesterday morning taking time to stop at the market to buy chicken, fruit, macaroons and a delicious loaf of artisan bread.  Fruit included huge white peaches, yellow plums and sweet apricots.

We loved Sanary Sur Mer and were delighted to discover that Aldous Huxley lived there.  After 1933, when Hitler came to power, dozens of German intellectuals took refuge in what was then just a sleepy fishing port – amongst them Bertolt Brecht and Thomas Mann.

The road along the coast is not nearly as busy as one might expect.   We drove through Toulon which was badly bombed during the 2nd World War and onto the Iles d’Hyeres where we ate the delicious chicken and fruit on a huge beach and swam in very warm water.   The little dog is not allowed on any of the beaches so we smuggle him everywhere in his little bag where he sleeps contentedly.

After lunch I call Edouard who, by amazing coincidence, lives a mere hour away from where we were swimming so we arranged to stop in on him and his visiting Australian friends.  Edouard’s parents house is a Provencal gem.  A huge pool overlooking the ocean, hundred year old terracotta tiles and elegant furnishings.

Nearby we found a small hotel for the night called the Hotel de la Plage recommended by the Guardian Newspaper (described as Cheap and Chic) where I am now sitting at 8am under the unusually fragrant Oleander writing this and answering emails.

We joined Edouard and the Australians for a lazy afternoon swim in the tiny bay.

After our delicious swim they drank chilled rose and I citron presse.  The young men tidying the beach were, as usual, gorgeous.  The companion noted that Europeans are generally hairless.  As the sun set we lazily climbed the hill back to Edouard’s house and they grilled Daurade Royale for dinner which was totally delicious.

The Australians are singers.  Julia Gurry and her brother are Melbourne based folk singers and are currently touring France this Autumn.  Abby Dobson was also at the house as she is dating Julia’s brother.  Abby used to be the singer in a band called Leonardo’s Bride and had a huge hit with a sweet love song in the 90’s called Even When I’m Sleeping.  Abby entertained us with astrological analysis.  Apparently Cancer’s are prone to be moody.  Who knew?

The more tired I get the worst my stick shift driving becomes.   The car is full of dirty underwear.  Must find laundry.

We were meant to be staying with friends in St Tropez, people I had royally accommodated when they were visiting LA..anyway, they have totally let us down.  Really puts one off hosting anyone ever.

Occasionally dip into the Huffington Post but too depressing and bleak and all those damned pop up advertisements!   Arianna addicted to bad news and gloating…too many tabloid elements.

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Sanary, La Hotel de la Tour.

The South of France is my kind of South and my kind of France.

After a delayed, bumpy, listless, sanguine (huh), laconic train-ride to Marseille with little to eat other than the ham and cheese I bought at Monoprix we finally arrived on the Riviera at 2 in the morning.

Of course the taxi driver tried to charge us 20 Euros for a 6-euro trip but I refused point-blank to give in to his extortion.

Marseille is the oldest city in France.

The Hotel Tonic, accommodation that Eric very kindly found for us, was directly on the Vieux Port, which, unsurprisingly, was less romantic than I remembered it when we – Richard Green and I – visited here 20 years ago.

At 3am bawdy groups of handsome Arabs sit around the harbor, some wearing dejellaba, gesticulating and smoking.

We walked the dog then fell into two tiny beds and fell fast asleep.

The first part of the first day was incredibly frustrating.

Our plan to rent a car and drive to Nice was scuppered by Hertz et al who said they had no cars.  They told us gravely that there were in fact no cars to hire in the entire region!

After the preceding days of London drama we fell into an immediate funk.  Being forced to stay an extra night in Marseille, getting on each other’s nerves.  When we finally returned to the Hotel Tonic I slumped into the elevator and told him that I wanted to go home.

Tired and demoralized after all that had happened in London, unable to rent a car, sleeping in a miserable room, not hearing from the people we were meant to be staying with in St Tropez..

As it turned out it was really the best thing that could have happened.

Circumstance has a rather wonderful way of shape shifting.

Firstly, the good people of the Hotel Tonic upgraded us from our tiny room to a huge room in the attic with a majestic bathroom.

Once there we set about trying to rent a car on-line and immediately did so.  The car paid for, as was a train from Nice to Paris on Thursday, we could relax for the first time in 48 hours.    I unpacked my suitcase, had a long shower and washed the little dog.

Once settled, we decided to walk up the steep hill to the Notre-Dame de la Garde, the church with the huge golden angel on it overlooking all Marseille.

On our way there we explored the tiny, cobbled streets, leaving the tourists at the port, having my hat blow off my head many times in the refreshing gusts of wind that grew stronger as we climbed the hill.

It occurred to me, once we got there, that my climbing Runyon and praying was obviously a very human spiritual solution.  Climbing clears the mind, exhausts the body and once at the top one is somehow prepared to pray.

There was a beautiful boy leaving the church when we arrived, pulling his shirt off for the decent.   He had fluffy black hair and perfect disk like nipples.   We were both entranced.   Walking on either side of him two older men complimenting his perfect body.  There was something utterly erotic yet innocent about all three of them.

Dogs not allowed in the church I briefly sat on my own and prayed for serenity.

On the way down the hill we chanced upon and made a reservation at the Passarelle on the rue du Plan Fourmiguier, a small yet intriguing looking restaurant tucked behind the Radisson Hotel on the Vieux Port.

I knew immediately that the Passerelle would make us both very happy.  With blue and white awnings over the decked al fresco tables and chairs it all looked reassuringly authentic.  As if to prove my point a very chic woman was cooking in the kitchen and took our reservation.

We discovered, quite by chance, a famous bakery called Four des Navettes on the rue Sainte that has sold scented loaves and hard, rose smelling/tasting bread sticks since 1781.  I bought the hard sticks of byzantine ecclesiastical ‘bread’ and a sugary ‘brioche’ that was, in fact, a huge doughnut.  The bread sticks were disappointing…like eating deodorant.

After a well-deserved nap we dressed for dinner and walked the half-mile back to the Passerelle and ate the most delicious food in the most perfect circumstance.  I started with the salad of jambon Palme, melon, mozzarella, rocket and basil sprinkled with toasted seeds.   After my salad, a tagine of lamb and couscous (I hate the word garnished) but it was indeed garnished with a delicious stewed pear.  He ate grilled Loupe and ratatouille.

 

Unable to choose between the four deserts we ordered three of them.  Yogurt with honey, chocolate tart and fruit salad.

During the dinner there was a children’s fashion show, ten very sweet infants paraded, hand in hand in the most charming crocodile showing off very pretty, beautifully made dresses.

After eating every last mouthful we sat under the awning chatting for a very long time.  Drinking coffee and smoking aromatic French cigarettes.   The walk back to the hotel, past throngs of happy, drunk holidaymakers was a rather wonderful way to end what promised to be a rather miserable day.

We spent a very long time making love that night.  It was perfect. Offering his ass to me.  Cumming in his mouth.

The following morning we woke late, fled to the station collected our car; kangaroo hopped (stick shift) back to the Hotel Tonic where he manhandled the luggage into the tiny Ka and off we went.

Weaving our way East along the coast we discovered La Ciotat a small tourist town where we saw yet another beautiful man with a perfect smile and even more perfect body/nipples than the man on the steps leading from the church.

There were beaches and beaches covered with equally beautiful, tanned men…we gazed out of the car longingly.  Gay men on vacation in the South of France looking at beautiful men.  What could be more normal than that?

Interestingly and appropriately for us La Ciotat was the home to the first publicly projected movie by the Lumiere Brothers.

After a few hours of driving we settled into Sanary Sur Mer, a simple town that transformed at 7pm into a huge craft market and fete.  In the Victorian bandstand a French rock band sang very spirited covers of amongst many, many others Maroon 5, The Band and Santana.

I upset the kebab shop man by buying kebab meat for the dog.  The kebab man was a rude, nasty piece of work and I delighted in feeding the little dog his dinner even though the traveling companion ate half of it before the little thing had a chance.

We ate dinner in a small restaurant near the town center called (I can’t remember sorry).  We started with the Moule Marinere then had the freshly caught grilled Tuna.  He had the Paella, which had rabbit and chicken and huge prawns in it.

Two glasses of Rose for him only cost three euros.  This made him very happy as he is incredibly careful about money.

Walked around the port back to our hotel and fell into a deep and immediate sleep.

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I left LA last week (July 2nd) though it actually feels like months ago, so much has happened.   I flew into JFK with bags and dog and chaos.  He was waiting for me and whisked me off to a beautiful house set in perfect woodland and rolling lawns.

We ate and walked and talked.  I never tire of listening to him.   We have done our fair share of soul-searching these past few months and now it is time to have a few laughs.   I know that at the back of his mind he worries, that he is not truly free.

I loved the countryside and delightful clapboard houses on the border of New York and Connecticut.

In distant, very white upstate town Katonah there were two very black gay men from the Caribbean eating a light lunch.   They were the only black people for miles around.

 

Two days later we were in a taxi back to JFK and onto one of Air France’s spectacular Airbus A380.   The huge plane was almost empty!  Deciding to fly on July 4th was a great idea.  Taking off over a million 4th July firework parties.  Fireworks exploding all around us.

The first part of the journey was not without drama as we managed to get delayed for 3 hours by a bomb scare at JFK.  The entire airport emptied out just minutes before we were about to fly.    We were herded outside and sat around smoking cigarettes and drinking water.   After a couple of hours in the sun we stampeded back into the building directly onto our planes and landed in France 6 hours later.

It is delicious to be back in Europe.  Away from the tangled life I have left behind in the USA.   Once in Paris we checked into Mama Shelter in the 20th, seconds from the cemetery Pere Lachaise.  We loved it!

 

Although I smuggled the dog into the hotel-actually we had no need as dogs, we later found out, are allowed.   The food and service were excellent.  The only vaguely irritating thing was the Internet wi-fi connection which was linked to their rather modern but baffling Apple TV.  Apart from finding it impossible to get on-line their sophisticated interconnected system meant that the TV remote would also remotely control our lap tops..hmmm.

It is so easy to concentrate on what is wrong in life or in others without noticing how beautiful things are.  The staff at the hotel were gorgeous and we drooled over them everyday.

First day of Couture shows in Paris.  We had lunch with William Stoddart at Hotel d’Amour near Pigalle.  Gosh that area has changed so much!   When I lived there with Claire Sant it was ghastly.  Last week it was wonderful.   The weather has been gorgeous everywhere we have been.

The beautiful Edouard joined us afterwards for coffee.  We had dinner with him the night before and 6 others at Italian restaurant.   Very pretty German model who was obviously rooting for Germany in the World Cup..she was tall and womanly and intelligent.  We talked France’s ignominious exit from the competition and sneered at the British teams pathetic attempt to get into the last 8.

 

Three days in Paris followed by a train ride to Calais and a ferry to Dover after a short taxi ride home to Whitstable we were sitting on the beach eating venison burgers and the travelling companion couldn’t believe how beautiful it all was and complained that I had underplayed how Whitstable really is.

 

Today there are warnings that old people may overheat.  We are going to take a train to London.

I am sitting writing this from my room overlooking the sea in Georgina’s home in Whitstable.   It was my birthday yesterday.   The day started well enough with coffee at Dave’s deli catching up on gossip and drinking his perfect latte.   I left the companion in bed.  He is not really a morning person.  We met my mother for lunch at Wheelers where Mark Stubbs the chef there continues to surpass himself-this time with delicately spiced soft shell crab.

I really had no desire to see anyone other than who was at that table.  I am certainly not interested in tangoing in front of 500 people like an eastern European gypsy.    My mum and Georgina bonded over their hatred of Asylum Seekers.  My mother pointed out that some asylum seekers were pretending to be gay so that they could stay in the country.  If it’s not the Mexican’s it’s the Eastern Europeans..there always someone to blame for never having enough.

I thought that the fear of others getting something for nothing was an American phenomena but no!  It’s British too.

After lunch Adam took my picture as part of his photographic Whitstable project and his lovely mum cut my hair.  We sat in their lush garden drinking lemonade and lusting after his gorgeous, recently tattooed, diver brother.   After the pictures were taken we walked the couple of miles home up the beach.   I have never been so happy.

When we got home the companion had a drama unfold which he needed to deal with.  When he finally tore himself away from the Internet we sat in the garden and ate dinner with Georgina.  We ate huge organic pork chops that I managed to burn on the bbq.   After dinner we sat outside the Neptune pub with Barry and other drunksters.   The dog was tired and lay on the beach and fell asleep.  The night was balmy and the sea lapped lazily over the shingle.

This morning I woke at 6am and walked the dog up to the harbor.  He loves it here.   The Greens who own the Oyster Company scrawl unfortunate notes on black boards all over their property.  Don’t do this and don’t do that. Those black boards used to be charming now they just look vicious.

Some people like to get their own way..I am one of them.  When you finally meet your match, as I seem to, it can be less than comfortable.  I am trying to be sensitive to the needs of others but I am a stubborn old fool.

As for him..the traveling companion..he’s finding his feet and I am finding mine.

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