Before I start. Before I show you more pretty pictures.
(I am loyal to those I love.)
I have something to say.
Something that needs capitalized.
I want to remind you that ARTISTS WILL PREVAIL. Unfalteringly. However or how often they are plagued by false accusation or malicious slur. However their friends are forced to defend them. Everything gets added to the pot.
The older, the more immune one becomes. I hear it all. Before… it made me crazy. Now I am inured. Eventually those who dare say it are forced to face me. Try stopping me.
These plebeians. No, no, no.
I was house hunting this weekend upstate. Looking at pretty interiors. Imagining cottage gardens. The full, fleshy petals of pale pink peony around the house. Imagining blackberries and apple. Dahlia in the autumn.
I’m trying to write everything down but somehow the past few weeks have blurred into one long delicious adventure.
NYC and back again in the car.
Let me remember.
I drove east through death valley and this was the temperature:
I drove through Utah during the day which was very wise. Utah is very beautiful. Devastatingly beautiful.
You see. I can’t find the words.
I stopped in Des Moines and enjoyed the state building and the wonderful contemporary sculpture park given to the community by John and Mary Pappajohn, a Des Moines venture capitalist and his wife.
I met a young hair dresser with blue hair.
I stopped in Chicago and met a huge football player.
I spent the 4th July in Chicago. The Fireworks terrified Dude, my little brown dog.
I arrived in NYC. Just in time for the horrible heat wave.
It was so hot I had to leave the dogs inside the apartment during the day or risk them dying of heat exhaustion.
I sat uncomfortably in AA meetings.
I stayed on the upper west side. A block from Central Park.
We walked every day off leash at dawn around the Great Lawn. We saw beautiful young men exercising. We, being me and the dogs.
I met a beautiful man in the street and kissed him.
Why was I there?
I had gone east to reclaim my gayness after months of feeling like an ex-gay. Hanging onto the word queer as the only way to describe my isolation from the gays.
I spent my birthday at the cloisters with Richy.
I read from my blog at a Lower East Side gallery and they paid me for doing so.
I met more interesting people on the street.
I helped a friend edit his movie.
I rented a small house on Cedar Walk but didn’t spend any time there at all.
From the moment I arrived I had one extraordinary experience after another.
I met cool people, and coveted their things.
I was invited into their homes and onto their yachts, I met their friends and ate their food. I returned their hospitality by paying for them as and when they would let me.
I walked to Cherry Grove where I had breakfast with John Walters.
I had dinner with Andy Tobias…
… in my favorite Fire Island Pines home.
I met a gang of charming gay men from NYC who were kind and considerate.
I spent time with all of them in the city once I returned.
This one is called Jon.
As I let myself fall into the gay Fire Island days I began to remember how much fun being gay is. Even if I was sober and a little bit older.
I walked the beach.
I had a huge old man crush on this beautiful boy:
Who worked here:
I saw Justin Bond.
I looked in at the house where we lived for so many years.
And I met more men.
I spent time on my own. I found an abandoned cock ring on the board walk.
I walked miles of boardwalks with the dogs who came home covered in tiny ticks.
I finally met a beautiful man who left for India but lives in Paris who stole my head/heart.
I was so god damned happy.
The morning after the Pines Party I prepared to leave.
After ten days I took the ferry, then another ferry to Provincetown.
I rented a small apartment on the beach and met more men.
I hung with my friend Benoit Denizet Lewis but the sparkle that used to exist between us has gone.
We explored the graveyard. We found Norman Mailer’s grave and a pretty headstone with a small dog carved into it.
I ate a great deal but didn’t put on any weight as I walked so many miles every day.
I found this beautiful ceramic mirror frame:
I met more men.
Eventually I drove back to New York and stayed with friends. This is their view:
I partied with Jeremy Kost…
…and his friend.
I had dinner with Dan at Mary’s Fish Camp.
I had dinner with Thom at my club on the roof by the pool:
I wore this chic watch:
We worked on my film.
Then, after another week in the city I took the car all the way home again.
I met a hitch hiker who travelled all the way to California. His name is Albert.
I stayed in The Lincoln Hotel in Chicago.
I stayed in Denver.
I stayed in Utah.
We drove from Cedar City to LA in half a day.
We drove up the mountain in Malibu, up the drive and finally slept in our own bed.
It has been misty and cool.
It is a black day for the international LGBTQ community.
He is presently kept alive by a tangle of opalescent tubes.
In Russia activists are targeted by government sponsored bullies.
In London intellectuals are beaten to the ground by members of the EDL.
Trans people are murdered every day all over the world, often without investigation.
Have you heard? There is, amongst the general population, a perceived inevitability about LGBTQ equality.
Some amongst us are becoming complacent. Bloated on the success we think we have.
Basking in the support we think we get from the President. In fact we are silenced by him.
His words over deeds have silenced us.
We must speak up. Continue to challenge. Continue to be seen.
We must not shirk our responsibility to queer martyrs like Clément Méric.
Speak up. Heckle.
I congratulate Ellen. Finally, a voice for the queer poor heard over the screaming voices of the queer rich.
Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.
Remember. As we strive for parity there will be those with equal and opposite views.
There will be violence.
There will be those who will kill an 18-year-old queer boy because they can.
The women’s movement of the 1920s, side-tracked for a generation until the 1960s, with so many needlessly broken lives and life expectations as a result.
Queer people are being attacked all over the world: Paris, Moscow, New York, London by increasingly emboldened haters.
As we demand equality in the workplace, the home and in the establishment these attacks will become more frequent.
We must, whether we like it or not, form a true LGBTQ alliance not only in name but in practice.
It is too late for fear to drive us into the shadows. We are out. We are visible.
We need to be more fearless and more visible.
This means YOU.
This means ME.
Reading about Clément Méric this morning, looking at his sweet, boyish profile… I began to question my own behavior.
I have, of late, let resentment toward the gays shape my own kind of homophobia.
For those of you who have read my blog these past couple of years the provenance of this loathing may seem understandable.
Today, I need to jettison those resentments.
If I truly believe in this fight… I have to accept those I detest as my queer brothers and sisters.
Continuing my occasional ‘Fuck you’ series of LA essays I nominate the ‘award winning’ illustrator and elderly Greek queen Konstantine Kakanias as my latest Fuck You.
Konstantine threw a party last night.
Who put the kaka into Kakanias?
This guy has tried it all.
Artist, writer, illustrator, jewelry designer.
B’jesus with this much talent this homo should be a household name!
He’s tried so hard to be something but for poor old Koni, nothing seems to stick.
He’s just a socialite with a great talent for persuading other socialites to take him seriously.
You know, I have known the rancid Konstantine for many, many years.
We first met with Manolis Mavrakis and Fred Hughes in New York in the early 80′s. Fred loathed him. Manolis laughed at him.
Koni painted my portrait then tried to have sex with me. I declined. He was smelly and creepy.
I left the portrait on the easel.
We periodically bump into each other all over the world. Much to his chagrin and my infinite amusement. It was he I referred to as Nona Summer’s vile Greek escort last week.
Konstantine attracts the WORST sort of people. Nona, Peter Dunham, Justin Kern, Alex Hitz etc.
As his last incarnation he was calling himself an artist. He had a laughably sophomoric show at The Light Box Gallery in LA before it closed down.
Kimberly Light (heiress) rues the day she ever let this cretin have his own show at her gallery.
He was the only artist who did not sell at the Angel Food project auction at CAA several years ago.
That’s how seriously the art elite take him. Look for his work in the collections of important collectors and you will not find his name.
His work is absurd.
Yet, within that sub-world of dodgy socialites and rich kids looking for a purpose he has carved himself a ‘career’. Some how he persuaded Swarovski to manufacture his designs.
Silly rings, “Inspired by Byzantine royal jewels.” He brays.
Did they sell? They were a total disaster and can now be found on the Swarovski website knocked down to a fraction of their original price.
Last night Konstantine was up to his old tricks.
Konstantine is now a film maker.
He has made a ‘film’ and to launch this seven minute animated masterpiece he assembled LA’s elite… including ‘designer’ Justin Kern and his pretty side kick Stephanie Danan for whom the ‘film’ was commissioned and QVC favorite… fried chicken go to guy and Coca Cola heiress Alex Hitz and a gaggle of loafer wearing euro trash.
“They’re very collaborative people and they’re really creative. They like playing with other creative people and that’s where it all crosses over,” Indeed, Danan and Kern enlisted the efforts of friends like Tatiana von Furstenberg (heiress), “They’re not in a singular mind-set and they can pull from other mediums.”
I walked in and immediately saw twenty people I knew well enough to kiss and twenty people I knew well enough to ignore.
I waved at Konstantine… he flew out of his chair…
“Who invited you…” he trembled. His voice deserting its usual treble… escalating into a Maria Callas soprano.
Alex Hitz who I kissed lavishly (after all he had paid for a wonderful dinner at the Sunset Tower) said, “This is Konstantin’s party.”
“I know,” I said, “And I am the wicked fairy.”
Alex shrank into the shadows. I turned to face the outraged Greek. Like his country… in debt and struggling to save face. He held out his fingers like 10 wands and told me to get out.
I left, greeting people on the way out with smiles and kisses. Clo Perrin (heiress) looking gorgeous in white silk jersy.
Justin Kern waved. Justin is proof that there is life after modeling… just.
“I’ll be writing about this!” I grinned cheerily!
Before I left one of the guests, a beautiful young Parisian flew up to me and laughed, “Darling, what a waste of time. You didn’t miss a thing. Poor Konstantine.”
Dinner at Laurel Hardware with a cute jew. Great kisser.
New York. May 2012
There you are. Finally. For all to see.
Like bumping into you in the street. That’s how it felt.
But you were where we met…virtually…on the internet.
Peony, the rain, the winsome songs.
If we had bumped into each other in the street, I think I would have felt the same. I left the page with a sweet smile on my face. I felt proud of you. I know how exciting life must be for you.
And if I had bumped into you in the street and you had told me that you were in love…inevitably you wanted me to know that you were in love and inevitably I crumbled.
I am indeed that cliché you despised so badly.
I called Robby and he listened. I called Joan and we looked into your life and we all agreed that it was swell.
The end of the film needs rewriting.
All the world can see your love. Ironic huh? Now you know how I felt when I wanted to publicly celebrate what we once had, when I wrote about us.
There you are, together…pressed together. In love.
You looked great. Your hair well cut, your pants the right length.
Your boy friend looks extraordinary and familiar. Celine is a great brand.
I know you didn’t put that Tumblr page up for me but you knew I would see it. You knew I’d have an opinion.
It was a perfect way to let me know.
If we hadn’t ended things so badly and we’d met in the street…I would have hugged you. I would have thanked you. I would have smiled gently. I may have shed a tear.
I loved you very much…you know that. But, we knew what we had was fleeting…needed to happen for you to set yourself free, free for this relationship that you celebrate so publicly today.
The metamorphosis is complete and you have emerged fully into the world…a beautiful young man capable of great love and glamor…and your underwear was chic as all hell.
I know that you will make something amazing one day…something I would have never guessed.
A film or a book or a room or a garden. You are capable of all those things.
Of course I still love you. But not like that.
This is all I ever wanted, to know you are happy and to share your happiness
By publishing your life so publicly I am relieved…even though I cried, I cried because you were there on the street telling me what I needed to know.
That you are happy and in love and…of course…beautifully dressed.
PS I bought the book.
Yesterday was unquestionably productive.
The morning spent in airless, 19th floor, mid-town offices. Obama in town, the city still snagged with traffic. The sidewalks choked with Ahmadinejad protestors and Palestinian hating zionists.
My foot feels much better. Walking normally until Midday then it swells a little and I have to rest.
Fleas on the dog, Petco remedy.
Read script by new, young writer. Charming boys. Flawed script.
You know that Burroughs came to my 21st birthday party? Did I ever mention that? He arrived with Princess Selima Guirey a descendant of Genghis Khan. I think both Scott Crolla and I were kind of amazed.
After a very spirited performance by a well endowed, naked man covered in glitter I stood on the street in the humid night chatting with an incredibly knowledgeable boy wearing an out sized base-ball cap who invited me to a Courtney Love party. I didn’t go.
We quite randomly discussed Herbert Huncke who I had seen read poetry on St Mark’s Place in that church there with Richard Gere who, for a short time, was an acquaintance of mine. I don’t think many people know this but Gere supported Huncke in his latter years. He died in 1996.
If you don’t know Huncke…google him. It’s worth your time to get acquainted with the man known as the ‘Mayor of 42nd Street’.
I first met the very young and very beautiful Richard Gere with Christina Monet-Palaci in Paris when I was Lord Rendlesham. Lady Jane Wellesley reintroduced me to him several years later in the late 80′s whilst making the ill-fated Baron in The Trees with Marc Warren.
Gere is a huge Italo Calvino fan so we had lots to talk about. Ah, those were the days.
I wonder if Tim remembers us having dinner at his house with Jane and Jean Paul Gautier?
Have you read City of Quartz by Mike Davis? We discussed that too, on the hot New York street, late last night.
I left the dog with Z and T and their huge black pit bulls. The Little Dog loves their bitch Lucy.
Home by midnight. Asleep by one, up at 6.30am.
Next week I am in LA for The Pacific Standard Time art event and Art Platform inaugural fair.
As for my novel? My novel has shape shifted from a dark, murderous, self-conscious meander into a funny, adroit tale of kidnap and mayhem. It’s not high art but it is very readable.
Finally, DADT was repealed. For the small number of people this affects directly…I congratulate you.
This morning the web is alive with video images of Republican Presidential candidates berating Commader in Chief Obama for liberating gay service men and women from keeping secrets.
The right-wing audience revealing their gay hate by booing a gay soldier, screaming with joy when the repugnant candidates promised reinstatement of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
I had no idea yesterday was Friday. I thought it was Wednesday. That’s how disorienting the mountain can be.
I have been trapping squirrels. Peanut butter and Weetabix. My secret weapon. The little dog at my side. Spent the rest of the day under the deck clearing dead leaves.
Paid water bill in Malibu, picked up some milk.
Dinner with friends. Crappy Cafe Habana. The rudest waitress on the planet.
Cold mist over the mountain. The weather is totally fucked up.
Apparently The ‘A’ List is very amusing. Ian had an advance screener. I probably don’t come off very well. Never mind. I am, according to Ian…referred to as ‘smelly’. Watch the show on Logo, Monday night. More will be revealed.
Because you love me (huh?) an anonymous ‘friend’ out there decided to send a recent picture of Jake.
Please don’t do it. As you are well aware, it just inflames the situation.
I don’t want to see him or hear anything about him. I am at peace with him. Want the best for him.
I forgave him for writing that horrible email, for lying to me. His lies, in retrospect, were perfectly understandable. He was in a terrible situation. I forgive you for being selfish and insensitive….for doing what perhaps all your non-sober friends would think perfectly reasonable.
I forgive you for wanting me to be something I never was. I forgive you because you didn’t know.
What is my part in all of this? When everyone around me was warning not to get involved I ignored you all. I ignored John. I ignored Mr. P. I ignored Dr. D and my therapist Jill. Instead of going to meetings and connecting with dependable friends I sank into my addiction. Acting out with a straight identified man.
Regardless of what he morphed into…he was not mine to love. It is indeed very alluring to be told that you are loved but I am old enough, experienced enough to have seen it for what it was. I chose not to.
I’m sorry I wasn’t stronger. I’m sorry for bruising you inside and out. I’m sorry that I couldn’t stop myself from loving you. I’m sorry that I was insensitive and selfish. I’m sorry for shouting. I’m sorry I lied. Most of all, I was wrong to have waged this war against you, not least because I have done myself irreparable damage.
I was wrong.
I was weak.
I fell for him…as many will.
You are a beautiful, sexy, romantic, intelligent man. Above all…you are curious. If you are not already, you will make someone very happy, very proud. You will make some equally honorable man a great husband, you will be a good father.
I wanted you for myself. In a different narrative that wouldn’t be so bad. But you had just come out, bravely left one life to make something brand new. I should have been a support, a conduit.
Peace comes from acceptance and forgiveness.
I hope one day you will find it in your heart to forgive. I don’t need to know that you have.
I imagine that he is out there doing his best to be honest. Living in New York, working every day.
Connecting to his new gay life.
I hope he marvels at his good fortune: his new gay life. The opportunities it affords. With marriage and babies and freedom…it’s a great time in New York to be a gay man.
Both Zach and Dan told me that I should stop writing about Jake. Zach told me that it made me sound weak. Well, that maybe. Weak or not, it’s time to move on.
At some point soon I have to remove (yet again) any reference to him from this blog. Any photograph, his name etc. It just has to be. Not because I am being forced but because it is the right thing to do. As if it never happened. As if we never happened.
This blog and his name written here ties him to me as much as I have strapped myself to him like a suicide bomb.
So, Adieu my friend.
I am writing this at The Country Mart in Malibu waiting for Karim as he stands in line for our lunch.
Some of those places we visited. I will cherish those memories. I will overlook the problems. I will keep quiet now about what we loved most because only we know.
There is a great deal to do today. Mostly unpleasant. The Transformers 3 party tonight. The twins are winging their way to New York. Robby called me late last night. I was too tired to talk. I wonder if he changed his mind?
Let’s talk about yesterday.
I can’t remember what I did before 12. It is lost.
At around one o’clock I wandered down tenth street to see the parade. I thought I might meet Tom and pals but they had other plans. I had a great day on my own and not on my own.
I made a few out reach calls.
Let’s face it…that’s what I like best. I like being on my own or with strangers who don’t know me.
I carried the little dog in my arms through the drunken crowd. I saw Dan Savage on the first float. His very own apotheosis. I watched Andew Cuomo, recently beautified by the gays for the bone that he threw down at us…like a fake holy relic. The body guards around him formed a tight cordon. It was funny that he should be so frightened. Needing that many body guards. We need him to guard us. Protect us. His appearance in the parade was unashamedly about his re-election.
Those about me thought that what he had done for them was wonderful.
“It’s a start!” They explained to me as if I were retarded. I have given up trying to explain my position. I just look at these men and smile weakly.
I remembered being in the Sydney Mardi Gras. How many years ago? 1990. I was covering it for the BBC. I made a BBC Radio 4 documentary. I was entranced. I should fetch out my old diaries. I should try and find that material. I don’t have any record of anything I made for the BBC.
Mardi Gras. Being in the parade. From the street looking up at the millions of faces staring down at us from every window on Oxford Street. I remember taking ecstasy and wandering into the rancid, hot bathroom and watching men fuck each other. I stayed in Sullivans on Oxford Street just like I always do when I return to Sydney. Where I will be this winter.
The parade and the party afterwards. I accepted the decadence. It was as if in that sinking ship…we had no option.
I did not question our behaviour then because it was my behaviour.
If young documentarian Duncan chanced upon yesterdays parade. Given that ship is no longer sinking? What would he learn about being gay in 2011?
Well, if I was as fucked up as I was then I might have come to the same conclusions. I was just chasing a drink, a line and some tail. Loving the attention that a young gay man gets.
The attention has waned.
I thought about Paul Keeting the Prime Minister of Australia being so publicly inclusive. Letting us know that his government included/represented us too. It was the first time in my life I had ever heard a world leader positively acknowledge my existence.
Keeting reminded fellow Australians that the LGBT community paid taxes, were less likely to cause trouble or end up in prison…he then signed an anti vilification bill into law which really felt like it was real. It was. It made people think about what they said to us and how they treated us.
Yesterday, every elected politician in the state made an appearance in the parade. The police were cheered heartily as they are every year in every GLBT parade and I wondered why? Even as I was wondering why I felt the same wave of emotion that everyone else seems to feel.
I bumped into Jeremiah Newton.
He took me briefly to a tranny party in an apartment overlooking the parade. I thought of Diane Arbus. The apartment was very dark and decorated crudely with red plastic. The ceilings covered in rainbow flags made of cheap gauze. It was too depressing. There was some sort of tranny chaser sitting on his own in the kitchen under the flourescent light. He directed me to the chicken pasties. I ate some jelly beans.
I bumped into a beautiful couple I had met on-line in Los Angeles. We ate a very late lunch at Westville (not east) and fed the Little Dog a huge chicken breast. The food seemed better (cleaner and fresher) at their West Village location.
We separated at around seven. I will see them again.
That night I thought I might watch the fireworks or go to a club. If I had been drinking or taking drugs I might have. But not drinking and not taking drugs somehow lessens the experience of being gay.
Of course I thought about Jake in that melee. What a perfect gay man he most probably is now. Drugging, drinking, fucking. Selfish, self obsessed. And I wondered if I was jealous that he could do those things and I could not. I wondered if I was missing out on being gay? I wondered if I could still be dignified and take a drink.
I thought about taking a drink a great deal at Gay Pride 2011.
Dan came home and we rearranged art on the freshly painted walls. He showed me a picture he had hidden in his office that he thought might be Sol Lewitt. He doubted it. I knew the moment I saw it that it was real but we shucked the frame and there was the neat signature.
Consequently it is off to be reframed in something more befitting.
That’s how important art work gets lost. People forgetting, not knowing. Not believing.
Last night I slept in a bed.
The previous nights I slept whilst they drove the car. Thomas in detention. The Dane miserable and grumpy because his best friends New York life had crumbled to dust. Lucie just trying to make the best of a bad lot.
I left them in Austin and settled into the four-hour wait for my flight to NYC.
I had nothing better to do so decided to get my hair cut. I walked through the oppressive heat to Birds Barbershop under the freeway at the ghetto end of 6th Street. Walking less than half a mile from the city center Austin’s miserable underbelly reveals itself.
Firstly, and most oddly, dogs are not allowed in barber shops in Austin so the Little Dog sat in a shady spot outside. Lara was assigned to cut my hair.
I asked for a number two buzz all over my head and beard.
Lara, less than five foot tall began shaving my head. She told me to uncross my legs. She told me to sit straight in my chair. She told me to put my feet on the foot rest. Then, when things were obviously not finished she announced that she had finished and how did it look? It looked terrible. It was perhaps the WORST hair cut I had ever had.
I told her to re buzz it so it might at least look even. She said, “I’m not comfortable with that.” As if she had been taught in some barber class how to avoid unwanted advances.
She picked at the mess of her own creation with a pair of scissors. Then she started trimming my beard. The past few days had been so exhausting I just let her hack at my face.
I paid the $25 and walked away.
In Austin airport I sat next to a thirty something French man who I ended up in bathroom stall. He has a huge, uncut cock.
Finally, after resigning myself to a night at the Novotel in Charlotte, I found a flight to Newark. On the plane East I completed the end of my novel and started sketching out the associated film idea. Because I now know the story so well it was easy as all hell to write the treatment. In fact, it may be one of the best things I have ever written.
As I sat in Charlotte thinking about the curious French man with the beautiful penis Dan texted me to say that same-sex marriage was now legal in NY state. I had two opposing thoughts, it struck me that even though the gays would celebrate this change in the local law it is actually merely a sop to us.
So? So? I thought angrily. This isn’t going to help Zach and his Scottish boy friend. If they get married immigration will not recognise their union, no one official anywhere is obliged to recognise this marriage anomaly other than the states where segregation is outlawed.
Then I wondered if Jake celebrated the change in the law, whether he owned that this vote applied to him. I thought about him getting married to a man, taking that man to his parents house. If he could stay loyal and monogamous?
I thought about gay marriage and just because we can…should we?
Arrived in the East Village just after midnight. Walked dog. Slept really well.
Party tonight and Monday night.
I have boring admin stuff to do this week. Then…thank God…I have my party.
Yesterday started off badly and ended up even worse.
We woke up in the New Inn Willcox. The four of us. Grumpy and tired.
This tiny, charming place made famous by the forests of pecans and pistachios planted around the town. There was a small street market where we baked in the midday sun.
I found a dedicated AA meeting-house.
Bagel was worried by our travelling through these southern border towns because his Swedish passport was well out of date. We scoffed. We weren’t going anywhere near the border. Yet, the proximity still scared him.
After lunch everyone was in great spirits, the road was clear, we were making good time. Lively, intelligent conversation. That was until we were funneled into a homeland security border control and everything went to shit.
We were routinely stopped and asked if we were US citizens.
None of us are.
Then, to my horror they told me that my passport had problems and I too was detained.
Detained. For the next twenty hours I underwent a harrowing scrutiny.
I must say however that all of the border control agents, the ICE patrol guys and every single official I came into contact with was courteous, kind and helpful.
Quite unlike any British police officer..except the detective I met last summer with the sociopath.
These men and women have a tough, demanding job but, from what I saw, within that tiny little office at the edge of Interstate 10 there is a good family atmosphere. They seem to mainly deal with cannabis infractions. The sniffer dogs leaping on anyone with weed in their car.
Each dog is an official agent and has it’s own badge.
Just as I was leaving they brought in ten young goth men and women. Their tattoos and piercings at odds with the uniformed officers.
Again, I only saw the agents be utterly polite, once going out of their way to fetch an elder lady a wheel chair.
My situation was more complicated than Thomas’s as he had simply over stayed. So, after many, many phone calls I was released with my passport re-stamped correctly.
Thomas was not so lucky and is now languishing in an alien holding camp with a thousand other illegal aliens.
Of course all I worried about was the Little Dog who had to sit in a huge cage whilst they were processing me. He looks a little traumatized this morning. If I had been traveling on my own they would have called the pound.
It does not bear thinking about.
So, here we are. In El Paso at a cool coffee-house near the convention center hooked up to the internet waiting for 6 o’clock to roll around so we can visit Thomas. The Dane is obviously worried about his friend so we are obliged to curtail our trip.
I have a great deal to achieve this coming week. I have hospital appointments, friends arriving from London and LA for my birthday party.
I am just thankful that the border immigration folk expedited my passport problem.
Good God, such an incredible day. I didn’t make it to the island.
The beautiful Dane visited instead. We have a good thing going. He is incredibly sanguine. For a Dane that’s pretty damned unusual. He sweeps back his long hair, looks directly into my soul with his grey/blue eyes. When we hugged goodbye I could feel his heart pounding in his chest.
He saw that I had been hurt, that I was angry. He wanted to know what had been happening. I didn’t tell him about the recent past. I don’t want to sully this sweet arrangement with anything sour.
I went to AA meeting after he caught his train. It wasn’t a great meeting. A Brit with an attitude.
Spent the afternoon arranging my birthday party. After last years miserable fiasco in Whitstable with him and his anal leakage. This year I am going to push the fucking boat out. So, today I started planning. In a few short hours: Venue booked, performers booked. Dinner for thirty then a good old fashioned hootenanny for 50 more after dinner guests. Aleksa and Devon, Amelia…it’s going to be a blast. Publicist, photographers. Just like it should have been last year.
On the way home I stopped in at This little Piggy on 1st Ave which sells, of course, roast beef. I stood at the bar stuffing myself with beef, drinking orange soda and tapping my foot to Frank Sinatra. To top it off he didn’t charge me because he recognised me from Sex Rehab. Ah, the spoils of war.
I am home now, just jumped off the phone. Amelia and I…plotting and schemeing.
Annoyingly I’ve not been able to write about most or any of it and will not be able to in the foreseeable future.
As I have said before, as life gets really interesting the blog becomes less relevant. Real life interrupts blog life and for that I am very grateful.
Eventually, when I am allowed, I will explode all over the blog and tell all but for the time being I am keeping my BIG MOUTH SHUT.
I am having to be covert.
Presently staying with friends whose main morning preoccupation is to read really bad news out loud off of the internet. The corruption, the greed and the misery we create around the globe gleefully read out loud to their increasingly cynical children.
Frankly, there is no reason for a young child to have the worst possible news read out to them first thing in the morning as they prepare for school. Scares them. Scared me when I was a kid. All that bad news about nuclear weapons. I had a recurring nightmare about the atom bomb exploding. On my own walking home from junior school up Windmill Road, Whitstable just in sight of my family home…when the atom bomb detonates. A blinding light then a fierce, hot wind. All I could think about was that I had to get home. Of course, there was no home to get back to.
Right now my friend is telling her 8-year-old, “Brain damage is linked to cell phone use…”
Like a fairy story.
They had a lunch here on Sunday for two German friends. A well-known actress and her film industry husband. Within two minutes of arriving he announced the death of Perry Moore a man I knew in passing from New York. Perry produced the Narnia films. Years ago Toby Mott, Noreena Hertz and I had lunch with Perry and Tatum O’Neal at Freeman’s on Rivington when it was hot to have lunch there. Perry and Tatum were both very drunk and weirdly abrasive. Terry Richardson joined us for coffee.
I was not shocked to hear about Perry’s death as it was somehow gay inevitable. His father sadly telling the press that his son was on fine form the day before. Well, nobody ever expects the death of a healthy young man, no father ever expects to bury his son.
Unless, of course, their son leads a double life. We live, as gay men, lives away from our loved ones. Compartmentalized, fine one day..dead the next, slumped in the bathroom…oxycotin overdose. It is too familiar to me. So sad.
It would not surprise me if Jake ended up like Perry.
Anyway the German made some flip remark about Perry dying and gay people in general. He didn’t realize that I was gay. He didn’t realize that I was half Iranian so later made equally racist, inappropriate remarks about Iranian films winning the Berlin Film Festival.
Sometimes you just have to take the bullet so…I challenged him. Within minutes he was threatening to punch my fag lights out. His wife apologized for his behaviour.
Scratch most white Germans and a jackbooted Nazi goose steps out of the wound.
Samia Saouma my Lebanese ex-friend, gallery owner who lives in Berlin and is arguably one of the chicest women in the world was once applying her lipstick in the back of a cab when her white driver told her that she was a rag-head whore who should prepare for her next trick out of his cab.
Recently I took down a whole heap of posts from this blog. Blogs about him. Removed until they had no internet traction. Yesterday I reinstated them without his name attached. Self censorship is not a good thing. I also reinstated the Angry Reader blog that obviously came from ‘you know who’.
It amuses and disturbs me in equal measure that he would think that every achievement, everything of which I am proud he considers worthless. This coming from a man who has achieved NOTHING before he was thirty years old (17th May) when I, in comparison, achieved so much! Much more than anyone ever predicted.
By the time I was thirty years old I had written and directed plays, opened a restaurant, renovated houses, travelled the world. Christ! I did all that as well as being mentally ill, making enemies, etc. etc.
Achievement is not to be judged by others but rather owned by oneself.
I know that he gets drunk, stoned and lonely. I know that deep down he would prefer to resolve rather than reload. Time will tell. Time, as I have often quoted, is the greatest distance between two people.
I know that the we he suggests laugh at me has always laughed. They want me imprisoned or dead. They condemn me and they condemn my friends for being my friends.
He, on the other hand, may be surrounded by friends, family and lovers but at the end of the day he has to face himself, as we all do, in the mirror. I saw him wrestle with his conscience.
At that moment when I was most proud of him I should have just walked away.
As for the film? It takes shape before my very eyes. Working with CP in quite a different way than I have before. That’s all I can say. That’s all I want to say.
I still have no interest what so ever to meet, engage or have sex with any man.
Oscar party week. I am not involving myself until Saturday. Kick off festivities with Sharon…we will do the do…the merry dance. Still, if I am honest, I can’t really be bothered.
I want to make my own film now…not celebrate the achievements of others.
P.S. Tatum O’Neal wouldn’t remember me. She and Melanie Griffith once broke down together in an AA meeting. Crying about the relationships they had failed to have with their children. Meg Ryan looks like Melanie Griffith. They must have had work by the same surgeon. Meg Ryan wouldn’t remember me either.
Spent the past few days looking at the remaining films on the BAFTA shortlist so I can vote fairly. Without doubt my favorite film this year (so far) is Social Network.
I love the editing, the music, the photography, the script…THE TENSION…the performances…especially that they made Zuckerberg borderline Aspergers. It must have been the first American film I ever saw that addresses or hints at class war, that white protestants still abhor/distrust jews, etc. It was such a heterosexual film.
(funny aside..sitting in SHLA last year listening to a bunch of jewish talent agents discussing the dearth of jews in the British film industry)
I remind myself that because of Facebook I met Jake. So modern.
Now he has vanished from the internet…apart from what I write about him here of course…and his job…if he still has it.
As hurt as I am, the more I recover from him the more I want him to have all the riches life has to offer. Just like I used to..when I first met him. Whatever he gets…peace of mind may always be beyond his reach.
His troubled, beautiful head.
Now we live in the same city.
The reality is, it’s a small city so the chances are we will run into one another. Not like living in a huge city like London…mind you I’ve only ever seen Richard Green once in tiny Whitstable since we stopped talking and that was twenty years ago. So, it’s possible but unlikely.
Lots to think about. I am not going to drive my stuff to NYC. I am going to pay to have it moved. Just take everything that’s presently in storage and the beginning of this new art collection. So many exciting new opportunities!
I really don’t want to go back to LA but I suppose that I must.
The past few days in Paris have been so much fun!
Jessie, my very successful actress traveling companion is usually quite frugal but currently inspired to be profligate by her accountant who routinely tells her that she doesn’t spend enough. Remedy: she ends up in Paris and spends a fortune on the Lanvin spring collection and bits from Collette.
On the other hand, I was uncharacteristically reserved having bought a great deal of art and stuff in the UK…anyway; I have far too many clothes.
Lunch at Costes. Our waiter…James. What a dream. EVERYWHERE we turned there were dreamy French men. Yet, as much as you might think…it was good to just look, to appreciate. I didn’t need to own any of them.
Jessie and I met a very handsome, young, aristocratic, redheaded boy who organized a huge dinner for us with his equally handsome, aristocratic friends. One of them told me that I had been ‘stained’ by the United States. Of course…this is perfectly true.
After dinner we took our redhead to The Baron, which, as you are very well aware, is a very cool/exclusive club. Jess, wearing a new Lanvin dress, danced until dawn…literally until dawn. I think the redhead wanted us to seduce him but neither Jess nor I have the kind of relationship that can sustain a threesome.
I woke late on Sunday morning to the Gifford attempted assassination news and I was shocked back into the politics of my adopted home. It made me so angry.
Jess doesn’t really know anything about American politics…why should she?
On Sunday we decided to walk from the Hotel Amour in Pigalle to the Tour Eiffel..we let the dog off leash in the Tuilleries and he scampered after the pigeons whilst we enjoyed the view.
Crossed the Seine at the Assemblee National, walked past the brand new Musée du quai Branly, dedicated to indigenous art from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Commissioned by Jacques Chirac and designed by Jean Nouvel the building is unbelievably gorgeous even though the gardens looked a bit scrappy.
A hop skip and a jump later and there we were at the Eiffel Tower.
I hadn’t realized that there was a small lake almost directly under the tower.
We walked back over the river to the Trocadero and sat in Carette, drank hot chocolate ate delicious macaroons…my favorite being the raspberry. There was so much to see. Young people jumping up and down on the back tire of their bicycles, break dancers from Senegal, all sorts of kids, all very well dressed…kids dancing and singing and providing a lively, entertainment which was both unexpected and free.
We both remarked just how much freer the French are. Free to enjoy their lives. As much as I am loathed to admit it the English are becoming more like the Americans…plagued by petty resentments and very controlling.
I am sure that the French have their problems too but hey, I can’t understand enough to engage with their shit.
Sitting there I was reminded of an incident years ago…with John Jermyn, latterly The Marquis of Bristol. Frustrated by the traffic and eager to get to the other side of the Seine he drove in his Range Rover down that huge flight of steps through the Palais de Chaillot that lead from Trocadero to the Eiffel Tower.
I don’t remember being arrested. I wasn’t driving. I was also in the car when John tried shooting a man from his range Rover on the Place de la Concord. That was scary. John died of aids and heroin.
We walked back up the Champs Elyse and through Place Vendome until we were safely home.
We loved staying at the Hotel Amour. The staff are super cool and very friendly, the food was excellent, I LOVED my little room. They treated the little dog like their very own little dog and there were Kiel’s products in the bathroom.
Unlike my time in France with Jake, Jessie would open her purse and gladly pay her share. In fact, as a most lovely gift, she paid for our chocolate and macaroons at Carette.
The entire trip proved to be a most wonderful surprise.
Sunday night we had a quiet dinner with our smooth skinned red-headed boy. I was in bed at 11…my legs were killing me from having walked so far (nearly 7 miles) and the magical night before at The Baron.
Joe and I would go get dinner (usually steak) and very drunk in the Ear Bar on Spring Street.
I have wanted to get very drunk these past few nights. I have wanted to blot out everything in my fucking pea brain with a huge amount of wine and beer.
Marc bought a bottle of Montepulciano to drink with the pheasant. It smelt divine.
Woke up feeling so sad.
I am in Whitstable until Thursday then I have to get up and make a move. Must go stately home hopping. Must see the insides of huge and beautiful homes smelling of nutmeg and fir. Must sit by roaring fires. Must flay myself socially once again.
I am so disappointed. So sad. even though I know he isn’t sometimes I think I can hear him calling out to me in the night and I wake up and I think I can’t ignore him..he might need me.
Up and down on this fucking roller coaster. Up and down.
Balls not withstanding. The heavy snow and cold conditions don’t stop me from getting in my little car and driving to Canterbury.
We are only seven miles from one of the most beautiful Cathedrals cities in the world.
Meandering through the snowy Kent countryside listening to BBC Radio 4 I arrived, parked inside the Roman city walls and walked down Palace Street looking for a man to unlock my iPhone. The ancient and the modern.
I love Canterbury, I love the tiny medieval streets, the busy shops. I ended up buying a cell phone…as it looks as if I maybe here for longer than I anticipated and I have to keep in contact with the hospital. I bought the correct adaptors and leads etc for my lap top so I no longer need to pop into Georgina’s and use hers.
The economy seems really good. Really good. The shops are packed with paying customers. We are well out of recession. It’s like the British are embarrassed to let the American’s know that our economy is just fine.
The average British person really doesn’t have a clue just how bad things are in the USA. No idea at all. They don’t know about the unemployment, the foreclosures, the corruption or the burgeoning right-wing tea party movement. They are oblivious to Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck.
One day very soon they will wake up to a very different America and a very different world run by ignorant, xenophobic thugs.
All of the little restaurants and gift shops are packed with customers in Whitstable too. The Whitstable shopping equivalent: Venice CA the shops on the main drag Abbot Kinney are still boarded up.
If things are fine why is the government hell-bent of dealing so aggressively with what is evidently a self solving problem like the deficit? THE DEFICIT!
This British government is forcing austerity upon the nation because? Because the people have had things so good for so long?
This country is not falling apart, seems very stable and prosperous from what I can see..but under the guise of the DEFICIT reduction plan this new government stealthily returns to Thatcher type fiscal/social conservatism. The class havoc deliberately caused with unnecessary job reduction ends up merely furthering their class war aims.
Governments like drama.
British Governments, like Hollywood studio execs, cause problems so that they can be seen to fix them. The people, our British people, unlike the sleepy time/weed brained/prozaced citizens of my adopted home the USA…we will get off our angry asses and break some windows. Make our voices heard. No, you bloody can’t start charging our children for a university education…something you had for free. NO.
Thanks to the bankers to whom we are already indebted in so many, many ways we can give extra thanks that we can now officially add the innocuous word deficit to the list of things we are encouraged to fear. Along with Asylum Seeker, ASBO, global warming, that millennium bug thing (remember that?) and, of course…terrorist.
DEFICIT=TERRORIST. Something abstract and confusing to be frightened of.
In the UK everybody complains about their gas bill and it’s true that utility bills here are out of control…a recent price hike of 40%. Where the people have no option the corporation steps in and gouges whatever it can. Same as the Insurance industry. The law states that you must buy car insurance so the insurance industry just demands what ever it likes from whom ever it likes.
You want to know about the hospital? The German oncologist was very nice. Do you need to know more? We wait for further test results. Who could have foreseen that a jolly German oncologist would make his way center stage into my life.
I actually feel a great deal better already. I just trust European doctors more than American doctors and they agreed that me coming here was the best possible thing to do. Not having to worry about paying a huge amount of money to anyone anytime soon for what should be a human right sure takes the pressure off.
After it was all over at the surgery I came home and lay down under a pile of blankets and fell asleep. What with the Jake stuff this has not been a great year. Not one of my best. Not a great vintage.
The little dog just hates the snow and who can blame him? His little paws are soaked in cold water up to the ankles. He tags along after me very bravely.
last night Carol cooked a delicious dinner here at the house and we greedily scoffed baked potatoes, ham and a delicious salad made of crunchy endive and baby tomatoes and watercress.
Seeing Charlie tomorrow and others in London. Going to risk the roads in my little car.
Oh yes…I read yesterday that somebody somewhere in the US press demanded that Obama get some ‘backbone’. How dare anyone ask President Obama to have ‘backbone’ when his constituents lack any kind of skeleton what so ever.
In Obama the liberals chose a limp shield made of skin (albeit black) and gristle behind which to gripe about their own inertia.
I am in Whitstable. It is really cold. The water-butt is frozen. I slept under two comforters.
Carol woke me this morning with a fresh lemon and ginger infusion and a big plate of steaming porridge. Ate another breakfast at Copeland House with Georgina.
It’s later on Saturday morning and I am laying under a blanket at George’s house. Feel very beaten up. I managed to wear myself down so badly that I now have bronchitis.
Terrible cough, phlegm, headache. Best thing is: I am at home so everything seems very dealable with. I am so glad that I don’t own anywhere here. It’s so much nicer crashing at Carol’s or laying here on George’s sofa.
My head is too painful with real pain to concentrate on anything else.
Whitstable. Last night. Sitting with Georgina and her grand-daughter Poppy eating shepherd’s pie. Do you remember Poppy? Poppy!
Carol and Marc dragged me out to a small town on the other side of Canterbury to watch a ska band. Even though I felt pretty bad it was nice to be included.
Feels safe here. I arrived from Paris on Friday morning. I rented a car, drove to Calais on the A1 toll road (20 euro). Ferry to Dover (120 euros) then drove to Whitstable. Dropped in at Wheeler’s, Dave’s and Carol’s place.
There is a cute gay boy running the new coffee shop.
Dumb man that I am…I decided to watch Brokeback Mountain again on the flight to Paris. I could scarcely get through the first few moments without having to change channels and watch Friends reruns.
Went back to it and still cried buckets.
Remember when we left for Paris on July 4th? That seems like it happened decades ago.
Why did it take me so long to leave NYC and why didn’t I write about it? Well, we didn’t go because the Little Dog wasn’t well and vomited all over the place so it wasn’t prudent to go anywhere. Anyway, the vet advised me not to.
I was offered a very kind room in a very beautiful hotel to rest my weary body…for free. They really looked after me.
I stayed on 10th St for a few nights. During the day I would practice what it would be like to live in NYC again.
I sat with friends outside Mud, I hung out at the Derby and Joe’s Pub with Amelia. I made many, many new ‘friends’ on line and met with them at obscure locations.
After a few days of being in the city I totally forgot about Jake unless, of course, I found myself on 1st Street or outside the Judd Foundation or on the roof at Soho House which is cleared away…just like the memories I have to clear away.
I no longer thought that any man who resembled him was him and instead marveled at how many men there were who might be him. Cute, short, hairy men with winning smiles. On occasions, as the days passed, I realized that I told too many people about him…that it was obvious to them that I was having difficulty letting him go.
When they asked if I was still in love with him it was difficult to say no without crossing my fingers.
The emotions are far more complex and seem to exist on a far deeper level than I ever planned which is why I took time away from my blog because it just riles me and I find myself posting things that I regret.
I had a number of dates with really extraordinary men but one in particular made my heart sing. I ate dinner at Mary’s Fish Camp in the West Village and met some good gays. A producer, a stockbroker, a TV anchor and a journalist..I found myself thinking: Jake would like these men.
He would get a kick out of these intelligent, ambitious men.
The anchor (Don Lemon) was a cool black dude who said that in his opinion Obama was frightened of white people. Which explains, he said, why Obama is such a loser. The anchor’s bf of 3 years was 20 years younger.
I don’t know how I felt about that.
Aleksa P and I had supper in Chelsea. She talked candidly about how much fun it is for her making Boardwalk Empire. I told her that I get hundreds of people a week looking for references in my blog to her hairy armpits. She showed me how shaved they were with a wry smile but lamented how she must start growing them again soon.
We talked about our absent dads and how this shapes our view of ourselves. We talked about her gorgeously happy marriage. We laughed a great deal. She showed me the pictures of her in Vanity Fair and I felt as proud as any dad could ever be.
We talked about Jake. She was sad for me.
Brokeback: I had forgotten that Ennis and Jack had that fight. That their fight had more to do with their love and their frustration and how much they would miss each other.
Dressed as cowboys their fight seemed more romantic than ours on the King’s Road.
The last night in NYC I met a man who I could imagine being with. Just like that. I have no idea if it will turn out like I want it…but we connected. I am excited to see him again. One thing is for sure: I ain’t writing about him. Not any time soon.
TSA pat-downs are really thorough. At JFK the rather good-looking man who inadvertently (or maybe not) held my balls whilst looking for what ever they are looking for looked up at me and I said seductively, “My balls have been held by a lot worse.”
With Venus in retrograde (huh?) I have a lightened spirit today.
Actually, regardless of the orbiting planets, nothing has really changed other than the volume of the conspiring demons in my head.
Let’s do a little inventory.
Firstly, having Ashley living at the house makes everything more fun. The truth is if she can get to me with coffee and fags before I write my blog the whole tenor of this blog changes significantly. I tend not to dwell on Jake for instance….who ever that (Jake) is…so much time has passed since we communicated I am just left with a few shards of unresolved resentments and a few hundred pictures of him in various states of undress.
What the hell were we doing together? Two desperate renegades or two men who had a genuine connection that I should learn to honor? If I compare him to the men I meet now, have met..then the attraction is obvious! I loved his pickled brain, his logic, I was even attracted to the shadow in which he lived as it heightened the emotional chiaroscuro.
I hope I get to the point when I can think about him fondly, not skip over the many, many pictures of him in my photo library, not endlessly relive the betrayal, get some perspective….some forgiveness. What am I writing? Have I forgiven him?
Today I absolve you Mr. B. Just for today.
So, what forced me out of the hideous funk?
Getting out of the house sure does help.
Yesterday, JA arrived after the therapy group that we were meant to go to together but I haven’t been to for some time. We drove to PC Greens and bought a delicious lunch. I saw Sarah. We hugged. I cooked two steaks on the grill and tossed organic vine tomatoes and spinach together with a salty vinaigrette. We sat on the terrace overlooking the sea and ate it.
I have this idea for a film. The sort of idea that I know will end up on the screen. I may not write it myself or even direct it but I sure am going to be its midwife.
I tentatively discussed the idea with JA. He loved it!
So, after we talked it through I offered to write the treatment and finish it by the end of the week. A little research..but mostly it’s there in my fingers waiting to be written.
I spent a little time on a gay hook up site and arranged to meet a particularly attractive young man in West H’wood. We shall call him Manhunt date No. 8. JA also invited friends. One of his friends turned out to be a small, timid, New York Jew. 29-years-old. Talent agent. Very intelligent. SOUND FAMILIAR? I laughed at how God plays games with the heart. I was very nice to the NYC Jewish guy and knew that had I not gone through what I had just so recently been through I might have gotten further involved.
After all..a good brain is worth a thousand abs.
My hook-up arrived, tall, willowy, perfect face and body..lovely demeanor. The attraction was mutual and before very long we were headed toward Malibu. I invited him home on the understanding that I did not want to have sex but after a few hours asleep I woke up feeling like breaking that particular promise. The problem is: the passion that Jake and I shared in the bedroom/forest/shower does not transfer easily to another. Our passion was based on knowing each other. A magnetic attraction. A profound level of connection.
Sexually, I am very aggressive. I am not interested in being taken. Never have been. I know what I wanted at dawn but I also knew what I was doing: bringing the passion I shared with Jake into another bedroom…it simply does not work.
By the time Ashley brewed the coffee this morning the beautiful stranger was gone. Will I see him again? No idea. Up to him really.
Birthday party today. I WILL go. Eli Roth etc. Maybe fun.
Of course I am thinking about the treacherously intelligent agent. Funny little man.
I did not hear back from my old love yesterday. He is in Vegas so probably very busy. I would adore to see him but strangely just having a brief chat on the phone gave me confidence that there is always closure however long it takes.
Then, when the resentments have been laid to rest, only love remains.
I have a treatment to write. Let’s see if I can write the diary of a film getting made with the same verve as I have Jake these past nine months?
A film getting made rather than a doomed love affair? I don’t doubt that some of you will be interested in this process but not nearly so much as you were in my imploding relationship.
Everybody loves a train wreck..
Veselka, 9th St. East Village. NYC
Leon drove me and the art to LAX. The little dog loves his traveling bag and climbed into it willingly.
The flight arrived 55 minutes early at JFK. 5am. I was knackered. We dragged the art onto a trolley and into a cab then dropped it off at Phillips. I stayed there for an hour drinking coffee and ate a pain au chocolat. I sat on my own reading The Times waiting for Dan to wake up so I could drag my sorry ass over to the East Village. Finally we just walked from 9th Ave. It was so GOOD to be back in NYC…after the operation I will be here full-time.
The Little Dog was determined to explore Tompkins Square Park so I acquiesced and he got his wish and stared at squirrels for an hour until I just had to go home and rest.
By 10 I dropped off art at the auctioneer. Very cute lighting man to gawp at prepping a fashion week party. The whole area around Meat Packing ALIVE with fashion week events. Bumped into my friend Liz who invited me to Mulberry party.
Took cab back home and slept until 3 when I met the first of my Manhunt dates. Date 1. Nice guy, did not misrepresented himself in any way. Charming. If I had been JB I would have had sex with him but I am not JB so we had coffee and went for a long walk around the East Village. Not much eye contact but I think that might have been my fault.
At 6ish I went home and took more of a nap. Dan arrived at 7.30 and we had dinner at Westville where I saw you know who’s ex. That was rather fascinating. We were obviously aware of each other but were not going to swap war stories any time soon.
Walked to Mulberry party where I had a blast being told how good I looked by old friends. I have lost a lot of weight..mainly because I have been so unhappy-but this seems to have paid off!
Saw Preston and snuggled with him. He’s an ex of mine from LA.
Walked home, ate frozen yogurt. Cute man stopped me in the street and made me feel even better about myself.
This morning I had manhunt date number 2 with very sweet Brazilian man who said that I come off as the sort of bloke who has a very active sex life. HAHAHAHA. That’s FUNNY! I told him my miserable fuck count (12 people) and he was shocked.
JB has probably had 12 fucks in one week. More.
Anyway, everyone I am meeting could be a friend…maybe more but to tell you the truth I am just not feeling it. After feeling so connected with JB and so loving and SO intellectually compatible…I don’t know if I will ever feel that again for anyone.
Onward and Upward!
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?
Stopping over in Phoenix. The very best thing about this airport..free wi-fi. Genuinely free. Flight to Arizona on route to Burbank. Excruciatingly early flight from Newark, but Newark seems so much closer to Manhattan than JFK. It only took 15 mins. to get from the East Village to bag drop off in the rather elegantly designed 70’s terminal.
The flight promised to be bumpy but is anything but. Smooth, calm, good coffee and cute neighbors.
Woke up early yesterday. Too early. Walked around Tompkin Square Park with the dog who just freezes when ever he sees a squirrel, transfixed by so many squirrels in the trees. Once in the park he sits rather regally with me and refuses to run around with other dogs unless there is some sort of barking palava going on and then he’ll join in.
I met a very sweet man in the dog park yesterday, Greg. He has a wire-haired puppy, incredibly good-looking with big brown eyes. Greg or the dog? New York is chock full of very sexy looking people and dogs.
On the walk home from the West Village to the East Village last night I was stopped by a very nice man who chatted with me and Dan and gave me his email address. It is so very good for the soul to be noticed, looked at, validated – although I must keep that sort of behavior in check. I imagine that the hunt for a bf is on again.
So, what of the mysterious travelling companion? The one who loathes me writing about him? Well, we are friends I suppose! He is very supportive and helpful and encouraging. He is off with his parents enjoying his family vacation. That’s all there is to say. We will see. No plans to see each other any time soon.
I think that the little dog may just have farted..though I think it may be the humans in the row in front. I spoke too soon about how comfortable this flight is.
Yesterday, after Greg and the dog park and coffee with Anna at Mud I had a busy day in the city. I had morning meeting with auction house about selling the rest of my art, stopped in at Alexander McQueen and tried on a pair of terribly expensive trousers that I could not justify buying. Dogs still interdit at Soho House so had lunch with Michael at the dog friendly Mercer, we bumped into Nadine Johnstone and her PR crew then randomly Meg Ryan who I had met at TED event last year. That woman needs a job! She looks great.
After lunch I had a quick nap, took dog for walk, had first of two dinners at the Hummus Place then met Dan over on West 4th for second dinner.
When I opened my email I found an offer to perform in another film! Two in as many months. I dare not think about acting as a late start career as it can be so painfully, miserably tough. Actually, talked about just this issue with John Lyons last night. He is off to London today to see Cary F’s director’s cut of Jane Eyre. I would love to be a fly on the wall for that screening.
Anyway, let’s talk about me being an actor. If I pull it off and make a career from it I would have come full circle as that, my dear readers, is how I started. I am certainly unable to write at the moment. I need to get out of my head and be a human doing rather than a human being. Thinking too much causes me too much sadness and perhaps this writer’s block is just a sign! Gods way of getting me out of the house and away from my laptop.
I really did speak too soon! The flight is bumpy. Yuk.
Just spilled water all over my lap top which after a few shakes is now working again. So clumsy today. All over the place.
Firstly, I have to tell you THIS: The NYC heat is frying my brain.
Now, I must tell you this:
I have been sitting on/keeping from you an insane and shocking moment the past couple of months. I just didn’t know how or if I should even mention it.
One of my freaky Hollywood neighbors text me after we had dinner before I left California asking if I had ever ‘been intimate with the little dog?’ it was NOT a joke.
He intimated that he had ‘feelings’ for his kitten.
I really didn’t know what to do.
I urged him to get help.
This is just one of the many reasons I don’t want to go back to LA. I missed my flight – overslept. Had to buy another ticket. It’s all the same. There must be more insane/lonely/desperate people per square mile in LA than any other city in the USA.
I know that this might sound a bit racist but every time a Korean looks at the little dog I wonder if they are thinking what sauce they would eat him with. Once, outside the Mud Cafe on 9th a Korean told me with a smug smile that she could not understand our absurd preoccupation with an animal that they grill.
Saw the Kids are Alright yesterday evening with Amelia. We had a lovely lunch in Williamsburg. We made plans after her genius performance at Joe’s Pub the previous night. I had to walk over the boiling hot Williamsburg Bridge as it was unexpectedly closed to traffic. Walking over the bridge made it all the more exciting adventure.
After our lovely lunch in Williamsburg– omelets and watermelon/mint juice we, Amelia and I hunted the shops for exciting sale items. I bought socks and underwear at the 70% off Paul Smith Shop.
This is the performance from the night before:
Saw Amelia perform Lady Rizo with Jake. He loved the show.
Afterwards we hung with Amelia and her husband at a small bar on Lafayette.
The following afternoon me and Jake bid our adieu. I have absolutely no idea if or when we will see each other ever again. We have not made plans. We will see each other if it feels right I suppose.
Last night, the streets were boiling hot and humid. At night the thunder, lightning and torrential rain cool everything down for a few glorious moments.
Anyway, The Kids are Alright: Annette Benning is marvelous in Lisa’s movie. A totally convincing alcoholic dyke. The other performances were wonderful too but Benning’s was by far my favorite..and there again was Mia Wasikowska! Our Whitstable lunch condiment. I assume she is well on her way to getting an Oscar, possibly next year?
Julianne Moore lacked control in A Single Man, her talent all over the place like a prolapsed labia. Compare that asinine performance with the very genuine, tight..measured performance in the Kids Are Alright. I would have preferred Olivia Williams of course but who the hell wouldn’t?
My ONLY gripe with the movie was the wholly unresolved issue of Ruffalo’s character who just vanished in a puff of metrosexual angst, ferociously seen off by Benning’s well observed impression of an alpha male. Unfairly berating Ruffalo on her doorstep, telling him that he was an ‘interloper’.
He was the sperm donor. After all they had been through, he should have been included in the family at the end of the movie. The kids wanted a relationship with him. It seemed unfair and churlish to jettison his character..although probably quite realistic. After all, it was they that contacted him. Moore who seduced him, Benning who suggested the ill-fated dinner at his house etc. etc.
I wish, when I had found my real dad he had been like Mark Ruffalo rather than the lying villain on offer.
Somebody suggested that if it had been a straight couple who had cheated with a surrogate mother..would the mother be part of the family? Well, if the kids wanted her..I suppose so. It posed many interesting and complex questions about what family means. What it could mean.
I loved everything about this exquisitely crafted movie but one thing above everything else totally blew me away: all of the characters took turns being the persecutor/rescuer/victim. Genius. There was so much at stake for all of them.
Saturday after the movie met Ian at Soho House NYC, which was jammed with gays. One particularly drunk, gay in swim short was making a total fool of himself. He should have been chucked out but everyone was a bit scared of the repercussions I think. Ate pork chops. Took cab to The Phoenix, a gay bar in East Village. Drank sickly diet coke. Met 20-year-old Persian boy. Nice for the ego.
This morning I saw Mike Z, a friend from LA, at the park whilst walking our dogs. Now I am waiting on him to come pick me up for lunch. He may forget. I am really hungry. Ravenous.
Ended up eating polish sausage on my own. Never trust a drinker to do what they agree to do.
Busy week ahead. No idea what’s in store. All I know is that once I get home I am going directly to the new road to see it being built. I can’t wait.
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.
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.
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.
50 years ago this month my Mother, eight months pregnant, was scrubbing floors for nuns at a catholic ‘Mother and Baby’ home in the depths of rural Kent. For 6 months, this teenage girl, had undergone an emotionally disfiguring baptism of shame.
The young girls in this Catholic facility were persuaded that for their acts of fornication and subsequent pregnancies they should be punished before God and their unborn, bastard children maligned.
This penance would not edify my Mother. She would not repent. She had already glimpsed the burgeoning freedoms of post-war Britain. She had met a rich, well-dressed, exotic, Persian boy who drove a sports car and had given herself to him. She was aspirational, a teenage girl with an appetite for the modern world. She wanted what he had, the freedom he had but he wanted less from her than she from him and after moments of unbridled passion she was pregnant and abandoned. One can only imagine how dreadful she felt telling her Edwardian parents that she was carrying me, knowing that her life would never be the same again.
My grandmother, disgusted by her willful daughter’s precocious ambition, spoke to a priest who organized seven long months of incarceration at the Mother and Baby home where she would be forced to abandon her dreams in exchange for shame, resentment and fear.
My grandparents abandoned her to her fate. During the 7 months she was sent away they did not visit her once. After I was born they accepted her home begrudgingly.
Most of the girls would give up their babies. Some of them willingly some, like my mother, unwillingly.
She could not breastfeed me. I refused to suckle. Perhaps I already knew that life was not worth living? The nuns insisted and forced me onto her nipple. My mother left me behind at the Mother and Baby home to be adopted but fate or circumstance or racism intervened. I could not be adopted. My skin was olive toned, my hair curly, my eyes jet black. It was obvious to all the prospective parents who viewed me during the time I was offered up for adoption that I would not fit invisibly into any nice, white family.
By July the 8th 1960 the day of my birth the door had well and truly shut on the promises of the age.
Remember, during the first few months of the 1960’s my mother was unaware that this decade in the United Kingdom would be described variously as ‘swinging’, ‘progressive’ and ‘free’.
What of these nuns now? These Brides of Christ? Where was Jesus when all of this was going on? Where was the love of God?
My Mother was neither free to keep me even though she begged to do so and the home I would eventually end up in, although loving, was certainly not progressive nor swinging.
My Grandmother, in a rare moment of charity, decided to go fetch me and I ended up, once again, with my teenage mother and her mother and her mother in a small, semi-detached house in a genteel seaside town. Besides these three women I lived with my two aunts and my sickly grandfather. Victorian Herne Bay was, was at that time, still enjoying the benefit of the second longest pier in England, a bandstand and the cavernous Kings Hall where polite tea dances were held.
There are photographs of me ensconced in the bosom of this dysfunctional family. I was the son my grandfather never let my grandmother have. She doted on me, walked me through the streets come rain or shine. Then, she let me go.
During the darkest days of my childhood I would try to get back to that house. A house I knew and loved but when I got there it was never the house I remembered. She sent me back again and again.
I lived there for two years until my mother married a local lad and we moved to Whitstable. My Grandmother was thrilled to have her sullied daughter married. It was, in fact, against all the odds. She was ‘taken off my hands’ my Grandmother later told me.
50 years ago. 50 years. I have lied about my age for so long that I am in shock when I type those words. The number has come too soon. I am not prepared to be this old nor was I ever expecting it. Shocking! Why did I never expect to live? On many occasions during my childhood I expected to die at the hands of my angry step-father.
When I finally escaped that man I sought out equally destructive situations.
I have been hankering after the long sleep since I was born.
As I sit at my desk in Los Angeles my greatest triumph, if at all my only triumph, has been to survive. To avoid the catastrophic blow that I expected every day. I may not have fulfilled my potential but I have certainly achieved more than I ever expected, more than I was told to expect. In spite of my temper, my addictions, my desire to take up where my murderous step-father left off I am alive!
It is only recently that I tentatively acknowledged that life must be lived.
For as long as I can remember I have imagined and reimagined my death. For long as I have flown in aeroplanes I have reveled in turbulence. As often as I have picked up strange, beautiful and dangerous men I have wished death come to me.
Shame has cast such a deep shadow over me that all I ever managed to do is struggle blindly down life’s treacherous path. Stumbling into people along the way who could see. Many of those people realizing that I was blind did not help without benefit to themselves. Many of those people, when I understood what monsters they were, were shocked when I ferociously bit their hand off up to the elbow.
Perhaps this is why I stayed close to my family home, a family that did not want me. Even to this day I hanker after Whitstable. There are still elderly parents of friends my age who remember the small boy who escaped his home whenever he could and seek refuge in theirs.
During the next month I am going to write an abridged memoir. We know the beginning and most of you know where I am right now. So, as I make my way East through New York and Paris back to my old hometown of Whitstable I will let you know what I remember, what I care to remember from the last 50 years.
Today, the little dog is on my bed waiting to walk through the Californian sun to our local coffee shop. There are people there who know me from the television. People who might wave a tentative hello. Tonight I may hear from the man I love and tell him so without shame or expectation. It’s not much to ask is it? To be loved, to love. To be loved..to love?
I rearranged the downstairs apartment so it now looks rather chic. Loved it. Love it. I wish I lived downstairs and out of this huge loft. The greatest thing and the worst thing about living here is the view. It is magnificent, consuming and exhausting. There is no escape from the view.
The days pass uneventfully. A humming-bird flew into the sitting room yesterday so I gently caught it and let it free. Lunch with Andrew and the Little Dog in Santa Monica on the beach. Long conversation with Jake which began as I pulled onto the 10 going west and ended a few meters from Las Flores. 30 miles of conversation. We are going to have friendly fun in Europe. Dinner with heavily pregnant Jen and Trevor at café Habana. I ate a pork chop. Am cutting out all white flour from my diet this month as a ways and means to look good for my arrival in Paris. Trevor told me that he lost his temper at some lesbians and their three off leash dogs.
Spoke with Georgina in Whitstable whose daughter Sophie was having a good old laugh in the background. This time next month I will see them all. Get to join in on the joke.
I felt vulnerable after speaking with Georgina.
It is hard for me to show how vulnerable I can be to anyone.
I remember eves’ dropping on a conversation my stepfather was having with my mother when I was a small boy. He was explaining to her that he was finding the written component of some work related conference he was attending very challenging. It was the first and only time I acknowledged that he was capable of vulnerability. His slight, whiney voice proof that this monster of a man was anything other than granite tough.
This day next month I will be in NYC. The following day we will be in Paris. July in Paris. Perfect.
What a fucking disaster LA has been for me. A total waste of time and money. Against nature in every way possible. Intellectually bereft. Creatively barren. No hope of happiness in this monstrous place. The only thing going for it: the weather. The fucking weather. Another beautiful fucking day in paradise.
I suppose it would help if I went out more. Like I used to? Hang out at the Chateau, Soho House etc. or simply called people I know would want to hear from me but I am winding down, getting ready to leave. Everything is in order. Bills paid. Off I go. Time to leave. Time to pack my bag and dog.
All day the Little Dog has been sick. He is listless and miserable, his little black nose hot and dry. I checked his gums but they seem ok. I get scared that he might die. The past few months would have been utterly unbearable without him.
At about 7.30 he perked up and has been right as rain ever since. Leaping all over Eric when he arrived for hastily put together dinner.
He is snuggling in my lap as I write.
I think about the darling big dog. My darling big dog, I miss her more than I ever did. I still have daily, violent memories of her broken, bloody body. Searing into my mind. Replaying the last few moments of her life before that evil truck scraped her across the road.
My fingers angrily bang the letters of those words onto the page.
I CAN’T HELP YOU.
I blame the man driving the truck. He did it on purpose. He didn’t stop. Bastard.
At moments like this I soothe myself with memories of home. I think a great deal of England-green and pleasant land. The Kent countryside, the buses to Canterbury, Georgina, The Goods Shed, etc. etc., I nightly drive through Clowes Wood in my semi conscious state..naked..shameless.
I remember a recurring nightmare: I am a young boy naked in the schoolyard. I have no idea where my clothes are or where I lost them. I hide behind the half door in the toilets as the other children are called to class. I stand naked in the schoolyard covering myself, the cold wind whipping grit into my eyes. The other children sitting warm inside at their desks.
Last night as he was with me in my bed I lay thinking of how I might get home safely. How can I get back home? For all that raucous, interminable thinking we slept soundly.
I’ve not written a word these past few days. Full moon blues I call it. I lost interest in my blog as things calmed down with my (ex?) and my new friend holidayed in Italy.
I had to deal with a moving traffic violation issue that meant going to the Superior Court twice this week. The judge was very fair and funny but going through a stop sign still cost me $550. I have opted for community service. The art auction last Sunday seemed to vindicate my ability to pick the winners. Things sold mostly at the upper end of the estimate. I bought a beautiful candle stick by a potter whose name I have forgotten.
Prevaricating. Stifled. Tongue-tied.
The point is: I can’t really write down any of my true feelings. I am in shut down mode. I can’t do anything, move anywhere, release myself..rant or rave. The malaise seems to affect every area of my life.
After the headiness of New York I’ve fallen into a sharp decline, my confidence at an all time low. Dinner with friends last weekend I simply couldn’t hold my head up, my libido, my enthusiasm, my recall deserting me. She was a very cool next generation producer. CAA agents greeting her at our table. Hugs and kisses. Fast track.
I say to myself, “I am on my own with no one to focus on, no one to say that I love.” It feels like a terrible waste. I had some real hope! Hope that I could travel the world with a man I was excited by. How those dreams crumble into dust. I am fractured by time and distance. I am in the wrong city, in the wrong country, on the wrong fucking planet. I am desperate for a change of circumstance.
The road that leads to the Malibu house is weeks from being repaired. It maybe the very metaphor I am looking for. The road to the house is being repaired so I can escape my verdant prison. Yet every day I do my best to make it more like paradise.
I want to write about The Great BP Catastrophe but I can’t. I want to write about anything other than me but each time I begin I am stopped by something inescapable. I just don’t care. I don’t care about anything. I am exhausted..spent.
Beaten by the sheer force of inequity:
BP, miserable pictures of delicate Pelican eggs smeared with crude oil. The watered down banking regulations that caused Wall Street a collective sigh of relief. Congress about to pass an additional $32 billion to pay for war in Afghanistan yet it struggling to justify a $23 billion bill to forestall the layoff of nearly 300,000 teachers next year.
What kind of country are we?
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.