Archives for posts with tag: Fred Hughes

There’s a Warhol in the sitting room. It’s a big pink cow originally bought at the Leo Castelli gallery in the 60’s.

During all the time I knew Fred Hughes I only spoke two words to Andy.

I was Fred’s odd teenage ‘friend’.

Andy only once initiated a conversation with me. He asked about gay life in London.  When it became obvious I didn’t really know…he looked vaguely perplexed and walked away.

From that moment on we considered each other from afar, suspiciously and never exchanged another word.

I think Fred preferred it like that.

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The day started out well enough.  Happy, creative and calm.  Then, after a nasty conversation with the bank, an unrewarding chat with my lawyer and a scary call from my doctor I was hit with a wave of resentment and fear so overwhelming and debilitating I was sent into a paroxysm of fury.

Before I knew it I had written a whole blog about Jake, more revealing than anything I had written before.  More detail, names etc.

I am not going to post it.

I just want to forget about him.  I just want him out of my fucking head.

I rue the days he contacted me.  Lied to me.  Slept with me.  Text me.  Traveled with me.  Relied on me.  Lent on me.  Loved me.

A tsunami of emotion that, THANK GOD!…this morning has subsided.

I cried with joy for the release of the Chilean miners.

There was an interesting piece in the NY Times.  The journalist was amazed that none of the miners were prescribed antidepressants but wanted cigarettes instead.    It says a great deal about how deluded Americans are when it comes to the insidious use of these terrible pills.

Alberto Iturra, a psychologist who worked with the miners, talked to them, sometimes several times a day, to sort through their frustrations and depression.  After first sending down nicotine patches, officials later sent down cigarettes to the miners, most of whom were smokers.  Still, Dr. Iturra said that doctors never ended up sending down medication for depression.

So,  late afternoon, Ashley dragged me out of the house to the Getty to see A Conversation with Frederic Tuten and Steve Martin.   I pulled on some old Helmet Lang black pants that now fit me once again.  I have lost so much weight.  I wanted to wear an old tweed suit but I couldn’t find the pants.

I’m not really familiar with Tuten’s work (I knew vaguely about his Lichtenstein connection)  although after I met him I realized, or rather we realized that we had met before many years ago with Freddy Hughes.  They both read excerpts from their respective books.  Tuten’s by far the more interesting although I am going to read Martin’s first as he has written a fictionalized account of the era I was most connected to the art world.

There was a lively and entertaining discussion after they had both read.  The moderator was really bad.  TERRIBLE.  Thankfully these two men were more than capable of entertaining a huge football stadium with amusing anecdotes and bon mot without the intervention of a  moderator.

After the Q&A we all ate a rather delicious dinner together.

Ed Moses, nice to see him.

Ironically the passage that Steve read from his book was a fictionalized description of Art Collector Eugenio Lopez’s house and dinner party.  Eugenio’s name in the book becomes Flores rather that Lopez.   Details included: Eugenio’s legendary lateness for his own events.  The art.  The meticulous renovation of that amazing house.  Christian, the house boy/assistant who lives with Eugenio, was described as wearing black leather.

“Do you think he’ll appreciate the description of his house?”  Steve asked.

“The house yes, the house boy no..”  I replied.

“Oh..”  Steve’s eyes widened.  “Black leather?”

Saw Bettina Kourek who had organized the event and Jonathon from Lead Apron.  Amongst other saw Kevin West and his new boyfriend a psychologist called Justin.  Very sweet couple.  It was good to see Kevin.  He is the West Coast editor of W.

We arrived home to two very excited pups.  I brought them both a huge plate of Kobi beef that was going to be thrown out after the event.  The little dog was THRILLED.

As I was stacking boxes for my move I found a whole heap of diaries from the 1980’s.   The first day to day diary I kept was in 1982 and that was primarily because life had become so exciting.

We open the first book on this day September 5th, 1982.  I am 22 years old.

I am in Greece, on the island of Spetses staying with Sir John and Lady Russell.   I am still, at this time, Lord Rendlesham and have flown from Paris to Athens with an older nobleman called Guy de la Bedoyere of whom I had tired.

It was Guy’s Turner that I had marveled in Paris a few days earlier and whose butler, much to my horror, had washed in a washing machine my new Crolla ties.

The magazine Harper’s Bazzar had published the pictures of my infamous birthday party thrown for me by Scott Crolla at the Almeida Theatre.  Word was just reaching me in Greece that people were not at all happy.  Not at all.

If you click on the diary pages you can read the original entries.

I am in love with a beautiful Swiss boy called Robert and it is he that I wave goodbye to at the beginning of the entry.

The following year September 1983 there is no diary entry until I am released from prison on the 18th November.

September 1984 I am in rehearsal for Pornography: a Spectacle at the ICA in London.   There are huge articles about us all in Time Out, The Face and a now defunct London mag called City Limits.  I am living in Balham with a girl called Victoria.  By day I am in a play about gay pornography and by night I sleep with what was effectively my girlfriend.   So was the complexity of my life.  “Every gesture must be full and complete.” says Neil.  Neil Bartlett, director of the show.   During these days he and I began to fall out.  Irrevocably as it turned out.  When we left each other in Toronto months later after our North American tour we would never speak again.

September 1985 I am writing whilst stuck in a tunnel under the alps on a train from Paris to Venice.  My and Ivan Cratwright’s great adventure to Venice.  Staying, en route with Fred Hughes in Paris.

The diary for 1986 was missing but now found.  I will transcribe the entry.  I am yet again in another heterosexual relationship with a woman called Louise.  Why?

“Oh dear, I am in The General Trading Company off Sloan Square – Louise by my side.  Firstly I did not expect the Bahamian bombshell to come back to Whitstable to see me.  I rather thought that she might have given me a miss.

Yesterday before Louise arrived my pinks from Kingstone (?) Cottage arrived, they came to me in a brown cardboard box wrapped in local newspaper.  I planted them carefully, laying a foundation of stones for good drainage and surrounded the root system with peat. Maria helped out the best she could but spent the best part of yesterday drawing on the beach.   The day before that too she had worked hard on minimalist drawings incorporating the seascape – noticeably the foreshore and the horizon, terribly witty references to dead fish – (?) a family with prawn.

Ivan (Cartwright), we collected him from Whitstable station – Korda (Marshall) and I, he was in such a good frame of mind .  He prattled on about being arrested for car thieving and told a remarkable story about having been picked up on Park Lane (London) dressed only in a full length pink, synthetic fur coat, cowboy boots and a micro polka dot bikini!  He was picked up by a vast black men in a Buick.

Korda was completely freaked out by Ivan and as soon as he had the opportunity – left.  However, Ivan enchanted both Rachel (Whiteread) and (?) with his wit and intelligence.  We left for the pub far too late.  Ivan was wearing a pair of black cotton stockings, a black tee-shirt and short black sweat pants all topped off with this platinum blond hair and that face which as you know contorts like nobodies business.

We all slept late and woke early, that’s why when big bertha arrived (Louise) I was knackered.  We took off for a long adventurous but utterly fruitless journey to a closed park.  We did go to Beech House (Hospital School in Chartham)  I remembered yet again the horror of being taken there when I was a child – I remember that it was in that place that my life changed direction and I began to fight, so it was rather apt that I went there – my life again on the edge of a potential nightmare.  India,  8th October 10.15 – 9 months.   It rings in my ears.

As we drove to London yesterday Louise and (?) wrote that evening’s narrative.  For she as an eye for the ironic.  Firstly we locked ourselves out of Louise’s car and house then we saw the corpse of a man freshly killed, his legs crossed at the ankles, in the road.  His clothing partially hidden under a green waterproof police modesty blanket.  All of us knew that ambulances take only the living to be mended as best they can.  Death has no care.  I wondered about his family.  The pulse stopped and the narrative ending for him.  We drove slowly.  Later the image of the corpse quietened me and made me listen.

Louise is my strength whom I do not deserve.  Late last night I felt truly happy and secure.  That’s enough isn’t it?  Enough for a man who rarely lives safely, who is destined to become a lonely old man with personality problems.”

September 1987 I am a patient in the Henderson Hospital in Sutton Surrey where I spent the majority of that year.   I had a breakdown after a particularly bad bout of Hep B.  The Jay who would be fetching me from hospital is, of course, Jay Jopling.

For some odd reason I did not keep a complete diary in 1988.   I am not fully well from my breakdown but have decided to go to New York to see Ana Corbero and Colin Cawdor.  Paul Benny the artist was also staying in the huge apartment.  An entire floor of a converted girls school just over the Williamsburg Bridge.

There is no entry for these dates in 1989.

1990, my thirtieth year.  Living in Chelsea with Phillipa having what looks like a rather glamorous time.

1991 Coppers Bottom has opened at Sadler’s Wells.  Karen, the lead actress is threatening to walk.  I am now living with Anthony H. in South London.

1992 Tim and I are laughing about Damien Hirst not winning the Turner Prize that he seemed so certain to win.  I rather cruelly called Jay and told him how sorry I was whilst sniggering with Tim.

Not long before I get sober.  Just another 5 years.

After 1992 I kept a journal less and less.  I began every year enthusiastically writing everyday like I do now in the blog but by July had lost interest or life was simply too overwhelming.

Anyway, that was fun?

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

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

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

Good… but never good enough.

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

Always there, never present.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was hooked.

Theatre!  I must make theatre.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I had to get a job.

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

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

Clare Rendlesham and others

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

The land of sublime artifice.

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

Pina Bausch died this year.

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

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

Duncan 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turner

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

David Gothard Riverside Studios

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

I listened and learned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Come Dressed at Duncan Roy’ the invitation demanded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Theatre

Pornography: A Spectacle. 1983/84 Actor

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

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

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

The Critic by Sheridan: 1984 Actor – Mr. Puff

  • Edinburgh Festival

The Host: 1987 Writer/Director

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

Bad Baby: 1989 Writer/Director

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

Marrianne Fearnside in Bad Baby

The Baron in the Trees: 1990 Writer/Director

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

Copper’s Bottom: 1991 Writer/Director

  • Sadler’s Wells Theatre, starring Aiden Shaw

Call me Susan: 1993 Co-writer

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

Plane home to LA.  Lovely few days in NYC.  Returning Delta.  Man had panic attack and had to be removed just as we were taking off.

Really lifted my spirits.  (The trip not the panicking man.)

Upon my arrival in NYC and the ghastly Comfort Inn I had a few moments of bitter disillusionment (the cause of which was mainly in my head..actually the cause of which was totally in my head)  I had the best time with Jake, Dan, Lady Rizzo, John and Jamie.  The little dog hated the rain but didn’t like being left at home.

Drank far too much coffee in the East Village.

At the behest of a new friend Bernard, who works for the Judd foundation,  John, Jamie, Jake and I privately toured the Donald Judd private residence at 101 Spring St, Soho and reminded myself that on that very corner one cold winters afternoon in 1983 Fred Hughes and I saw John Gotti smoking a fat cigar.

We brought expensive cookies and marveled at the Japanese themed bathrooms and kitchen.  How come the HUGE Dan Flavin in the bedroom felt like it was spewing microwaves?   That thing, however beautiful, must have fried Judd, his wife and children.

I was recognized by one of the staff who LOVED the sex rehab show.   “How you doing now?” she asked with a sympathetic crumpled brow and puckered lip.

After The Judd residence tour Jake and I celebrated his birthday with a dinner at the restaurant of his choice and the waiters brought him his desert with a candle on top.

Last night Dan and I attended a charity auction at the Milk Gallery to raise funds for the Stephen Petronio Dance Company.  I was in a spectacularly good mood and was seen to be so.  I met Cindy Sherman who had donated a huge, dark work, which raised over $20k for the troupe.

I bought 3 works including a very beautiful Dustin Yellin.

Dan and I had a late dinner at Westville where we saw Sam Rockwell.

Back in LA soon where I have a traffic court date, a returning lover and Mary the organic gardener has her new driving license which means she can continue tending the garden.  I have a great deal to look forward to and a huge amount to be grateful for.

 

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At night.  On my own.  One more time.  By myself.

I am lip-syncing Judy Garland torch songs around my drawing-room.   After Judy I shall perform for the little dog a medley of miserable break up songs.  But actually I am not unhappy.

I am having rather a good time.  Listen, it’s all OK.  I am pretending that I have long hair that I can twist into a chignon.  I am pretending that I have long smooth legs and perfect breasts.

I got a bit irritable today.  Christ what was I thinking?  Trying to hold on..that’s what I was doing.  At least as one gets older and the break ups happen the fall out is less toxic.  I am trying hard not to be mean-after all he was totally out of his depth.  I might try to con myself into thinking that I did all the work but that simply isn’t true.  He fell into a snake pit-unwittingly.  Poor lamb.  Falling in love with me is like biting into something that smells wonderful but is actually totally rotten.   Like an old pineapple.

His life was really just how it was meant to be before he met me.  An ordinary gay man in an ordinary closet just about to have a cast of extraordinary characters unleashed upon him.  It must have felt like he was walking around a movie studio.  The freaks and the clowns and the whores.  And me, the most freakish, clownish whore of them all.

I only told him one lie whilst I was with him.  Just one.  When whoever wrote to me chastising him for leaving her.  I didn’t tell him how vicious they had been.   I didn’t tell him because he was being so brave.  He was already in such torment.  I know what it is to live a lie.  To live in the dark.  I know what it is like to be scared of who you are.

And as I unravel the short time we spent together I have to ignore that he hates me writing this-but that’s how we met.  The blog.

Sad note from a friend of Kristian’s today.   There’s no getting over some people.  Kristian, Dione and Justin will live on in my heart forever.

What a fucking palava!  If I died right now (and I think about that all the time) if I died right now I have had a fucking blast!  Actually, I hope that there is one great passionate love affair before I die.  Some one with as much flair and enthusiasm as I have. As brave as I am.  As magnificent!  Someone who is as anarchic and as manly and womanly and I am.

What a surprise, who could forsee? I come to feel about you what you felt about me.  Why only now when I see that you have drifted away, what a surprise what a cliché.

I am not wearing a black velvet jewel encrusted gown.  I am not wearing a wig.  I am not wearing makeup.  But I wish I was.   When I think of my totally uptight male film industry friends (like the fat pig agent) I take time to wonder how many of them could express themselves like that?  With verve?

You know what?  Every person I have ever fallen out of love with has come crawling back to me.  Every one.  They never somehow forgot what they were first attracted to.   Arrogant huh?  I don’t care.  Not tonight.  Look, my first boy friend was Fred Hughes.  One can’t get more glam than that dear.  He had his chance dear.  He had a moment in the fucking sun.

Maybe just one never came back to me and that was Matty but he was oddly like the last one.  A kind of blank canvas.   An ordinary boy hankering after a bigger life but not brave enough to take what was on offer.  The fact is-I am not a civilian.  Never was and never will be.  The ups and downs are all part of the deal.  Emotional Boom and Bust.  And fuck it I would rather have that than the parsimonious, mediocre life on offer to most.

Nobody expected anything from me and look what they got!

I’ve been to paradise but I’ve never been to me..

Ranting on a Friday night before I go out to dinner.   Perhaps I might take other risks tonight.  Perhaps I might take the truck and cruise the streets.  I have a parking place now.  A Hollywood parking place.  I can go where I want and a have a place to park when I come home.

Take my hand, let me take you love to love land..float on..

Now I am smiling and jigging about to the Doobie Brothers.

No Joni tonight.  It’s toooo depressing darlings.  Not Joni nor the Brokeback Mountain theme.  Not tonight.  Now, it’s time to flush this toilet and go out for dinner.

Thanks everyone, thanks for being there.  I don’t know what I would do without you.

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.

Duncan and the Big Dog

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

My therapy session yesterday with Jill cleared my muddy mind.

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

I love talking to you because you remind me..

Duncan and Clare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little Dog asleep in suitcase Paris 2009 with Comme

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

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

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

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