Archives for posts with tag: Tony Blair

Lady Rizo in Kokon To Zai

Sunday 23rd 2012.

New Harris tweed trousers.  They are so thick and keep the cold wind from whipping around my legs.

I had two very different experiences on Friday.

1.

The first, an unfortunate spat on Facebook with a Canadian writer called Michael Rowe.

I think you know, those of you who read this regularly, that I struggle with marriage as the means by which gay and straight people find parity.

That marriage in of itself doesn’t seem to work for many of the people who sign up for it… so why do so many men and women in the LGBQ community want it so badly?

Is it just because they want the ‘benefits’?

I thought about it a great deal this week.

For those of us gay men and women who are now in our early fifties marriage was never an option.  I never hankered after it, nor cared to think about it.

I read this in a British newspaper.

British MPs are planning to create an “exception” in marriage law for same-sex couples and will not alter the definition of adultery.

Either they don’t take us seriously or we don’t take us seriously?

Perhaps gay marriage is indeed separate from straight marriage because we can’t be trusted with monogamy?

Those I respect seem to value marriage equality… so I have been posting thoughts and feelings on my Facebook page.

I am perturbed by how many angry responses I get whenever I write about my marriage equality concerns.

If marriage equality was all we needed or wanted are we selling ourself short? Are we like any cultural minority that lives side by side the majority needing to be tolerated rather than nurtured? Do we need to be understood? Do they need to learn our language? Or, like Hasidic Jews do we evolve separately once we are ‘equal’. Somehow this is not attractive to me.

This question incensed Michael Rowe.

Where are you getting “all we needed or wanted” from? It’s a basic right. That’s not “tolerance,” that’s equality and strength.

The conversation continued privately.

Talking to Michael was like talking to a Zionist.  Realizing that his problem with what I was saying was more about me than the conversation I decided to tread carefully.  He is the sort of man who believes that any gay who comes out of the closet is an unqualified hero.

I’m not an intellectual, nor am I particularly bright… but I am willing to listen… and I am desperate to understand why I am so conflicted about marriage equality.

Because, I think,  it doesn’t seem like equality at all.

So, why am I bothering to fight for something I simply don’t believe in?

It feels like another way to join another elite gang.  A gang that will, if given half the chance, bully you mercilessly.

I’ve seen straight women do this.  Brag about their married status to their unmarried friends.  Causing those unmarried women to burst into tears when they are far enough away from their persecutor.

I asked Michael what he thought marriage would do to our gay culture.  I said, I really want to understand your position.

Not sure what there is to “understand.” Until there is no foundation of complete legal equality for LGBT people, the rest of it, worrying about “our culture,” is frosting with no cake. That’s my position.

Our gay culture is very important to me.  Even if it is on a separate page, in it’s own section at the book shop or the video store or on Netflix.   I enjoy the separation.   You see, I’m not very interested in what straight people make of me or the culture that has sprung up around me.

What will marriage equality do to the gay community?

How will these huge changes affect us and our behavior toward other gay man and women.

If a gay man tells his straight friend that he is getting married will his straight friend feel a flush of envy?

I asked if Michael felt ‘more equal’ than his American friends? He said:

Of course I do. I have approximately 300 more rights than American gay couples whose relationships are not legally recognized, rights that have financial and legal implications.

And no, I don’t feel sorry for gay couples who aren’t married by their choice, but I do feel sorry for those who don’t have that choice.

I don’t think that screaming about how proud you are not to be married carries a lot of weight when that right isn’t even on the table.

Like employment protection. Or do you also feel that a law that protects LGBT Americans from being fired also hurts “our culture?”

Oh dear, Michael was watching the NRA press conference at the time so his irritation may be excused.

He is, as you know, a very important Huffington Post blogger.

A ‘gay voice’.  In the separate but equal ‘gay voice’ section of the Huff Post.

There is a great deal in this last quote that may make you wince… as I winced.

I come from England where Tony Blair gave Waheed Ali carte blanche to equalize the lives of hetero and homo sexual people.

I remember eating lunch in Malibu with Waheed who explained to me how the legislation was written.

He explained that the word Marriage may have been attractive to some but perhaps a little too divisive. They chose civil unions as the way forward.

Total equality (excluding the word marriage) was a great incremental step in the right direction and one that the majority of my gay friends in long-term relationships were happy to embrace.

Michael is not so sure.

“Civil unions” aren’t marriage, and they’re not equality.

He continued inaccurately:

They weren’t “chosen,” they were all they could get because no one would allow them to be married, with full marriage equality, including the rights of citizenship for spouses.

Just to be perfectly clear: the British do have rights for citizenship for spouses and UNMARRIED partners.

Now, that’s what I’m talking about.

After many years of legal parity, the British gays… from a position of strength are asking for the word marriage and asking a very conservative government to boot. They are certain to succeed.

Civil Union may be the best incremental baby step on offer?

What are the incremental baby steps that seem to get American gays no closer to federal recognition of same-sex marriage?

Married Michael Rowe is very proud of his life.

He has achieved what his parents probably wanted for him all through his childhood. The dream of a heteronormative existence.

The rest of the conversation disintegrated into name calling. He called me tiresome, I ended up calling him a cunt and he blocked me on FB and that was that.

If I were in my early thirties I might think that this is a golden age for gay men and lesbians.  That I could enjoy a fully ‘out’ existence,  meet the man of my dreams, marry him, buy some surrogate children and live happily ever after.

That is a perfectly lovely dream to have.

But I am still in two minds.  Shouldn’t we all be fighting for something more than marriage, that marriage should not allow those who are to have so much more than those who are not?

This is not equality.

Some married gay men (like Michael)  are already behaving like my mother and grandmother behaved toward their spinster/old maid/barren friends.  Looking down their married noses.

Do I feel cheated out of different sort of gay life?  If I had grown up around gay men getting married would I have thought differently about the men I dated and the future we could have had?

I have, undoubtedly, missed the man/man marriage boat.   Joe and I talked about it briefly.

When I was growing up the thought of marriage (one man to another) was simply not a consideration.  Like an orthodox jew would never think about eating bacon.  I didn’t really think anything of not being married.

Being brought up in a small town where the majority of my straight peers had children but no marriage… marriage seemed Victorian and absurd.  The people who were getting married were not… cool.  They were… boring.

My straight friends who remained unmarried with many children did very well for themselves.  They ran successful businesses. Their children went to great universities.  They struggled and excelled equally along side those children who came from married families and broken homes.

There really was no difference between them and any other child.

The emphasis on family values seems to have gripped the gays as firmly as the straights.

What ever family means we don’t want to be left out of the explanation.

We all have a family of sorts.  Some have blood relatives, others have an extended family of strangers.

Obviously, I have invested in the latter and have never been let down.

Which brings me to the final part of my blog today.

2.

Sitting with the dogs on Franklin outside my coffee shop of choice I met a young Rabbi.

Charming, Cambridge educated and very enthusiastic.

He invited me to Shabbat the following Friday night.

I had, of course, enjoyed many a Friday night with the Cohen’s in LA.   David, his wife and their 6 children.  40 people for pot luck dinner around a huge table on the lawn then talking about world events with a talking stick.  It was perfect.

This Shabbat was very different.

There were several rabbinical students.  I arrived mid prayer.  For an hour we prayed.

The most exquisite boy with the most beautiful voice (and a baby) sang something on his own before the others joined in.   When he started singing I began to cry.

They prayed and sang (they sang in Hebrew) and faced East, my rabbi friend was particularly enthusiastic.  I sat beside him and he kept apologizing for everything, as if it were a trial for me to be there… when in fact it was beautiful.

I sat there thinking about the gays.  After my run in with Michael.

I wondered if they would have confused my thoughts about how beautiful the singer was with wanting to fuck him.  That most of my gay friends wouldn’t have just enjoyed him, they would have wanted to fuck him.  “He’s hot…”

We ate a huge dinner.  We washed our hands ritually.  After the dinner and conversations with truly wonderful people (I avoided talking Palestine) we sat together for more prayers and a fascinating chat about the Torah.

The young rabbinical students and scholars discussed in a really modern and interesting way what I had been taught was the Old Testament.

Jacob, Joseph and the blessing of the Pharaoh:

My years have been few and difficult.

They talked about other things.

A young man with thick, raven black hair told us he had just visited Sandy Hook.  To offer ‘solace’.

At first I was irritated by the apparent intrusion, it seemed so arrogant.

I was wrong.

He explained that the town was packed with people from all over the world.  That he had witnessed a funeral of one of the murdered children and the parents of the dead child were holding up signs in the car that said, very simply:  “THANK YOU.”

I found him after dinner and thanked him for reminding me that it’s easy to let other people do the difficult tasks.

If Sandy Hook had been an isolated incident then I might have felt differently but Sandy Hook is part of a macabre American theme and we must all, collectively… own it.

It is our responsibility.

That young Jewish man and his five friends had taken responsibility and travelled to Sandy Hook.

By doing so, they had a spiritual awakening.  They were thanked by the parents of dead infants.

They understood (unlike those of us who did not go) something more about America, about bravery, about priority, about consequence.

The two parts of my day could not have been more different.  The childish spat with an entitled gay man and the spiritual warmth of new family offered me by a group of heterosexual strangers.

Inclusion versus exclusion.

Last night Lady Rizo and I had dinner with Winston Churchill’s granddaughter.  I was not the only gay at the dinner for 50.  I avoided the other gays.

I have nothing to say to any of them.

Yasmin Nair: Gay marriage, as framed in the United States, is the ultimate neoliberal fantasy, in that it allows for a politics of the personal to masquerade as a necessity for policy change. In the process, it serves to distract us from the very real issues facing millions of U.S. citizens and residents.

Yesterday the President of the United States, leader of the free and democratic world let a middle-aged black woman from network TV know his personal opinion of…what they call here in the USA (divisively call) same-sex or gay marriage.

Languorous platitudes.

For many gays just listening to the President say gay and lesbian and marriage and agree in the same sentence was enough to have them wildly screaming with joy. Heading to their local bar and ordering martinis and Brazilian wax jobs…

You know, I’m an old fart, I’ve heard many politicians from all manner of countries embrace their gay electorate. The ones I remember best are Paul Keating in Australia who gave an impassioned speech about anti-vilification and inclusivity (made me cry) and of course Tony Blair who charged Waheed (Ali) with his far-reaching UK gay equality bill. (did not make me cry)

It seemed to us, during the grim Thatcher years, that gay rights would never materialize…that we were not welcome in our own country…but I put my faith in activists like Peter Tatchell who steadfastly turned up outside the homes of homophobes, the offices of homophobic organizations, held incendiary Outrage! placards, got arrested and generally caused trouble where ever he could so that our enemy never felt like they could get away with discriminatory behavior.

The gay elite sneered at Peter. They hated him for his trouble making, they called him insane, they denigrated his direct action. Recently, Elton John famously said that he was scared of Peter Tatchell but now (decades later) understands how important people like Peter are.

Peter is a national treasure, brain-damaged from repeated police beatings, poor from dedicating himself to our equality…thankfully he has been embraced by the same elite who once scoffed at his anarchic antics.

He taught me: never accept anything a politician says at face value.

So, when President Obama, flagging in popularity amongst his own, wants a boost? There we are…the convenient truth.

Today, I managed to incite the ire of my friends and foes alike by sneering at President Obama’s ill-judged and badly timed personal opinion about marriage equality.

The day after the 39th state in the union denounced same sex marriage and civil unions…North Carolina…he decides to ‘bravely’ come out for the gays.

Not everyone bought the president’s evolution.

“Waiting until AFTER the vote that divested NC’s gays of their constitutional /civil rights to speak for marriage equality is cowardly NOT heroic.” Roseanne Barr

Either POTUS had been forced into sharing his opinion by VP Joe Biden who declared his support for marriage equality a day or so earlier…or the entire fiasco had been manufactured by David Axelrod so President Obama could finally reclaim and re-energize his base.
“The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don’t see much of a distinction– beyond that.” Joe Biden

Frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me if the scenario had been planned.

The President merely said what any intelligent, liberal, modern man in his position must have thought for some time. I doubt whether his position had ‘evolved’. All that had ‘evolved’ was the moment his pro gay position could be revealed for maximum impact.

He was described as ‘brave’ his decision as ‘risky’ and his few words as ‘historical’. The interview applauded by gay groups and liberal straights alike.

Today, yesterday, I engaged in heated debates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, famously pissing off Jesse Tyler Fergusonwho appeared last night on Piers Morgan gushing over the president like a Thai hooker.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson@jessetyler

@duncaninla change takes time. It’s impossible to please everyone. Especially those who make it impossible to please.

Within minutes of the president’s pronouncement his liberal apotheosis began.

I was bombarded with fund raising requests from organizations like the HRC who shamelessly picked over the bones of the ‘unexpected’ Presidential LGBT patronage. The Obama ‘evolution’ will net millions for his campaign from traditionally very generous LGBT donors.

The gays reacted with unbridled and unquestioning enthusiasm, as a community we seem addicted to good news and paternalistic validation.

Upon hearing the Obamamessiah’s announcement Andrew Sullivan, the gay pundit had ‘tears in his eyes’. President Obama, according to Sullivan, has ‘let go of fear’. In Sullivan’s sentimental one issue world he succumbs, finally to the President’s change he could believe in.

Sullivan guesses that Obama has owned his blackness is the same way we must own our gayness. (I had tears in my eyes when I read that)

Andrew Sullivan gushes along side our friend Jesse Ferguson: The President’s endorsement will make young gays feel better about themselves, gay parents will know their kids have a place in the USA. In Sullivan’s exciting new world of Presidential fearlessness there’s a great deal of…expectation…I hope he isn’t disappointed.

Unless…of course, you’re the parents of children killed in drone attacks in northern Afghanistan…or find yourself out of a home or a job because the President is still fearful of the banks and his own military.

I found myself wondering what young straight people were thinking. Those who have supported the abstract notion of marriage equality but now peer at it cautiously…startled by the Presidential candor…like it’s a real issue and not something they have patiently listened to their gay friends bang on about.

Straight people might agree in principle with marriage equality but when ever we find this issue on the ballot…we lose.

Black voters, led by black churches, have played key roles in blocking same-sex marriage in states like California, where 2008 exit polls indicated about 70 percent black opposition, and Maryland, where black Democrats were part of a statehouse coalition that stalled a gay marriage bill in 2011.

Which brings me to this: The nub, the thorny question of style.

I have never liked the word marriage. It is steeped in heterosexual tradition.

I have never felt like I wanted to own this non secular word. It has nothing to do with me or the language and traditions of the gay life I evolved along side other men and women if the UK.

Yasmin Nair: “The fight for gay marriage, in granting that institution so much importance, is slowly eroding the possibility that the rest of the population might get rights and benefits without marrying each other. The fight over gay marriage has emerged as a progressive cause that all progressive straights should join when, in fact, it’s a deeply conservative movement that strips our movement of any imagination. Instead of asking for one way to grant rights and benefits, we ought to be advocating for a multiplicity of options.”

It is my understanding that when Waheed Ali was given the choice…he chose (after consultation) civil union as the way forward for British Gays and Lesbians. Now, 15 years later, those words are once again being re-evaluated. British gays are demanding the word marriage. Not my choice but, thankfully, they are fighting from a position of power.

Their equal rights already assured the word marriage is merely the icing on the equality cake…nor thankfully are the LGBT community in the UK hankering for the Queen to validate their position.

Once upon a time Civil Unions were mooted then tentatively offered to the LGBT community here in the USA but…they turned them down flat.

Even George W Bush thought Civil Unions a good idea. The LGBT community said they were not prepared to be separate but equal yet in the same breath tried convincing the skeptical that incremental baby steps toward marriage equality was the only way.

Civil Union might have been a great baby step…no?

Now, even Civil Unions are being outlawed for gay people. Since Bush left office the right wing has become insanely entrenched, enraged, intractable….and unbelievably…more right wing.

Later, in the ‘historic’ interview President Obama made it clear what he considered important elements of a marriage: Commitment and monogamy. I nearly choked. So many of my gay friends do not rate monogamy highly on their list of per-requisites for a good gay marriage.

We are entering uncharted moral territory.

Yesterday, my educated American friends were baffled and confused when I said: Capitalism discovered that the LGBT community was generally well educated and affluent…and could be bought.

It is indeed a very interesting time to be gay in the USA. However, I’d like to see less simpering, fewer baby steps and more activism. Less cowardice and ass bleaching and more brave souls willing to be arrested and stand up for the rights they expect others to win for them.

What we do with this presidential approval is up to us.

The only time I have ever felt proud of American gays in my life time was when prop 8 was ratified. The people took to the streets, they ensnared the traffic of Los Angeles, stormed Mormon churches and caused mayhem in the city.

It was a night to be proud to be gay and I urge you all to remember the anger you felt that night because you must feel that anger every night until you are equal in every way.

Jeanne Cordova: “At the time, selling out our radical underpinnings made me very sad. We egg-throwers had to morph into omelet makers. Unhappily, I was left with the realization that all social movements start with radical ideology, but unless they progress to a blood and guts revolution, like a socialist overthrow, movements must inevitably adopt a civil rights and assimilationist stance or die out.”

The week before The Oscars can be a great deal of fun.

One really doesn’t expect to pay for anything to eat as one can survive on huge amount of free food given away (largely wasted) at various events all over town: breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Yesterday was no exception.

I have been preoccupied with my legal situation so I hadn’t really put much effort into RSVPing or bothering to find parties etc.

Do you know who Deepak Varma is?  He played Sanjay on Eastenders, a British soap.  He’s an old friend from London and we always have great fun whenever he arrives in LA.  He has found success at home producing and writing theatre, making movies and getting married.

Filling his life with exciting possibilities.

He’s also working with disgraced ex Prime Minister Tony Blair and Lord Putnam on a project Deepak initiated called Faith Shorts.

Faith Shorts is a global film competition launched by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation that provides young people with the opportunity to express their faith through film.  

Anyway, he drove to Malibu yesterday for breakfast, primarily to discuss the play I’m writing about The Men’s County Jail.

You know…I haven’t even bothered to think about theatre for years, so it was really thrilling to sit with him and brainstorm.  I ‘d forgotten what it was to sit with anyone and act out an entire play and for them to react so positively.  How this meeting with Deepak contrasted with my meeting a film producer the day before.  Lackluster, bored, unfocused.  All the time I sat with the film guy my mind was elsewhere.

I just don’t have the energy to think about film.

After our long, creative breakfast that ran into an equally productive lunch we pulled on our glad rags and headed over to Hancock Park for the first of that afternoons/evenings pre-Oscar events.

The British Consul-General 

Dame Barbara Hay 

requests the pleasure of your company 

at a cocktail reception 

celebrating the British Oscar® nominees 

of the 2012 Academy Awards® 

The residence of the British Consul-General on June Street was the temporary home of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their recent sojourn in Los Angeles.  It is a large, Spanish revival affair, moorish details, manicured lawns, heated pool and art from the national collection hung randomly around the sparsely decorated interior.

Two rather lovely Howard Hodgkins hung in the drawing-room.

The food was British: Yorkshire pudding and beef pieces with horseradish cream etc.

There were rickety tables set up with fancy British cheeses and chocolate.  The garden had been lit with red white and blue lamps.  Projected on the wall were the words GREAT and in a smaller font the word Britain.  Deepak and I wandered around chatting with old friends, Stephen Daldry and his wife Lucy Sexton arrived with their 8-year-old daughter who was ‘cold and bored’.

I told them that I had been in jail. In fact, I told many people I had been in jail.

What do you expect?

I told Jeremy Hunt, The Secretary of State that I had been in jail.  I told Dame Barbara Hay that I had been in jail.  I told her how impossible it had been to reach the consulate.  She handed me her card and told me to call and share my experience.

I didn’t tell Gary Oldman I had been in jail.  I didn’t tell Julia Ormond.  I didn’t tell Victoria Beckham (sans David).  I didn’t tell Christopher Plummer I had been in jail. I didn’t tell the man who runs Virgin Galactic.  I didn’t tell the Christian intern working for the British Consulate.

Victoria didn’t look very happy.  She posed for the cameras, this odd long pose, contorting her body, her hand on her hip, her face angled toward the floor, her eyes looking upward toward the camera.

Jeremy Hunt gave a weak speech about his role as minister for culture and how important it was and (randomly) how the film Philadelphia had altered perceptions about HIV and AIDS.  He obviously knew nothing about the film industry.  He was, however, ‘very excited’ to tell us all about The Queen’s Jubilee and how it was only the second time in British history that a British Monarch had sat on the throne for 60 years.

He was incidentally ‘very excited’ about The Olympic Games.

The Brits who lived here suddenly remembered why they live here when he started waxing about The Monarchy.

Deepak collared Hunt after the speech and demanded to know why the same people who administered the lottery funding at The Film Council now administered the funds at the BFI?   He had rehearsed replies for Deepak.  He told us that the Brits made too many ‘art films’.  So, we talked about arts funding in the UK.

I reminded him that the hit show Warhorse would never have seen the light of day if hadn’t been for the subsidized arts.  He said, “That’s a very good example.” Fearing we were being too confrontational his American PR attempted to drag him away.  My hand on his shoulder, I told her that we were the people who elected Jeremy Hunt and paid his wages.   He looked perplexed.

Stopped in at Starbucks to meet a beautiful Brazilian boy I had met online.  More of that later.

The Warner party was fun.  Stephen Daldry and Lucy, Max von Sydow, Leonardo DiCaprio, delicious food.

Jeff Robinov (President of Warner Brothers Pictures) said, “What were you doing in jail?”  So I told the story again.  He behaved like he already knew me, then I realized that I had met him with Sharon yonks ago.  When I told Stephen more about the last few months of incarceration he looked sort of dumbfounded.

The Brazilian joined us after we left Warner.  He kissed me outside Serra Towers.

I was too exhausted to schlep over to the Ari Emmanuel’s party.  So we drove home with the Little Dog on my lap…replete.

Forgive me for rambling….

Rather lovely day yesterday.

Had lunch with Daniel Darling and his adorable girlfriend (?) in Cross Creek.

We were joined by Toby Mott and his friend Elizabeth.  Daniel went surfing and we drove to Malibou Lake where we sailed and then had a wonderful dinner at The Old Place on Mulholland.

Excellent food and service.  Charming!

A bird just hopped into the house and is now flying around.  We have just been for a five-mile walk so the dogs are strangely disinterested.

Willie is here visiting and we are all getting on like a house on fire.

I am going back to NYC next week.  I have people to see.  I think my Navy Seal may visit soon.

It has been fun having Toby visiting.  I sort of fall in love with my house all over again when he is here.  I am proud of the mountains, the house and the garden.

I see that my nemesis Amanda Eliasch and her truly talented friend Lyall Watson (whoring himself out to artifice) have written and performed in a ‘play’ called As I Like It.

Apparently it is rather ‘whiney’.  Apparently Amanda’s son Charles serves the actress who plays his mother as a weird, incestuous acolyte.  He has a huge head.  Apparently there is an opera singer with real talent who barely gets to sing.  Apparently the writer refers to ‘hairy legged lesbians’.  As we know, at her core, she is a homophobe.

Apparently this ‘play’ is crap.

It really isn’t any wonder, Amanda can scarcely string a sentence together.   It’s worth quoting the theatre programme notes:

This is a play what I wrote for my Father several years ago which he asked me to do after he had died. I turned it into a play with the help of Lyall Watson who had taught me at RADA in 1989. There are only a few plays for women and I wanted to contribute and increase the material available. It is a modern restoration comedy.

Yes.  You are going to do wonders for women with this pile of  tripe.  Wonders.

I once played Mr Puff at The Edinburgh Festival in Sheridan’s The Critic.   Have you seen that play?  A comedy of manners.  A real one.

Like Mrs Eliasch Mr Puff, the author of a terrible play, invites critics Sneer and Dangle to a dress rehearsal.

Puff explains to Sneer that he is ‘‘a Professor of the Art of Puffing’’: an author who has taught newspaper men and advertisers how to inflate their diction so they may ‘‘enlay their phraseology with variegated chips of exotic metaphor’’ and ‘‘crowd their advertisements with panegyrical superlatives.’’

Break a leg Amanda.  Read the review here.

By the way.  I was a terrible actor.  Terrible.

OK.  Next!!

What’s going on?  What’s really going on in the UK?

This ousting of the Murdoch family is well over due, applauded by the regime, the chattering classes, the aristocracy.

The public are baying for blood, hollering at the beastly Murdochs, “Get back on the boat like your criminal Australian ancestors.  Good riddance to bad rubbish.  Take your newspaper with you”

Hold on.

The British relish tittle-tattle.  We love it!  We love gossip!  The steamier the better.  Surely we didn’t lose our appetite for rooting through other people’s dirty washing?

Now The New of The World has gone…and the other news media get more cautious…

What, in heaven’s name, will replace it?

Are we witnessing the changing of the guard?  Has the internet (Google, Facebook etc.) and on-line news outlets like the Huffington Post trumped traditional media?

Apparently people don’t read The Huffington Post for the news..they read it for the gossip.

Was Murdoch simply too old, too complacent, too rich to have a grasp on our changing world?

Is this coup de grace being played out in the British press a pantomime we will see in the not too distant future in the USA?

One of the most telling quotes of the entire debacle:

The BBC’s business editor Robert Peston points out, the News of The World phone hacking scandal has hurt the entire UK newspaper industry, making News International less attractive to potential buyers if, as is now being posited, the British arm of News Corp is amputated and sold.

Does real, forward thinking money sees a future for print media?

Controlling the British has always been a huge problem for any invader and Murdoch will end up like all the rest.  Chucked out on his ear.  Romans, Saxons (initially invited), Norsemen, Murdoch.

The British public don’t a give a fuck about Jude Law having his phone hacked, that was just par for the course.  He deserved it.  They only started giving a damn when they realised that the police (who they loathe) were benefiting financially.

They only started caring when ordinary people just like them were proved to be abused, their ordinary stories sold, their phone messages ransacked.

Until Milly Dowler they didn’t give a flying fuck.  Then, rather amazingly, for an usually inert general public…they did.  And when the public speaks (remember Diana’s death) the establishment listens.

Remember the Queen of England reading/performing that excruciating statement televised by the palace at the behest of Tony Blair before Diana’s funeral?

The British let their leaders get away with much until they take too much.  A prudent leader will know when to stop.  Murdoch, his son and cohorts became too..how shall I say this without provoking your ire…they became too American.

It is obvious that American politicians are bought and sold by The Corporation.   They live huge lives with fantastic wealth and are applauded for doing so.

What baffles me is why a regular British MP with nothing much to gain should ideologically side with those who seek to do us, their constituents, harm?

During this entire scandal as heads began to roll I wondered again and again how British politicians benefitted financially from New Corp.  Unlike the paid for politician here in the USA it is unlikely that anyone in Parliament could benefit financially from anything…ever.

There are simply too many prying eyes.  Unless I am being absurdly naive.  Am I?

Is it simply the acquisition of power that our MP’s crave?

I’m in Malibu.  It ‘s 7.30am.

A veil of mist has enveloped the house.

The fierce sunlight refracting through the pure white cloud is exactly the same light as if it had been snowing.

Yesterday, after making peace with the memory of JB, I met Michael at Solar and discussed scripts.  He is a delightful man.  I told him that I’d read his script but was loathed to say anything.

People ask for criticism but they only want praise.

I dashed off to see Danielle and she worked through her slate, her list of projects.

We sat opposite Jane Fonda who looked a little frail but still radiant.  I was briefly introduced and told her how much I adored Klute.   She shared a few anecdotal memories about the making of the film.

Bumped into Degan who is moving in with his younger boyfriend.  I didn’t balk.  I thought to myself (as the ghost of what could have been passed through me) well, that was then this is now.  As I’ve said before it’s quite obvious that I’m never going to have that moving in thing happen to me so I may as well just accept things as they are and get on with it.

There is no room in my life for melancholy.  I have devoted too much time to drama, misery and bad choices.

It’s an illusion that the young are happy, an illusion for those who have lost it.  The young know they are wretched, for they are full of truthless ideal and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded.

My meeting with the accountant was fruitful.  Apparently life is not quite as fraught as I thought it was.

I met Hillary in Venice and walked the entire length of Abbot Kinney gossiping and laughing.

We ate a light supper at Wholefoods.  I’m sorry but eating food outside a grimy supermarket is just too much.  I bought a grilled chicken that I shared with the Lil Dog.

Fantabulosa is the bio pic of actor and British TV personality Kenneth Williams starring Michael Sheen.

BAFTA organized a screening for the members in a small Santa Monica cinema.

It’s a sad film.  I identified very much with Kenneth’s sexual anorexia, his inability to form loving relationships with other men and the mask he wore to get through a life he considered useless.

Met the boy who played Joe Orton in Fantabulosa.  Kenny Doughty and his wife seem very pleasant.

“It is difficult to know people and I don’t think one can ever really know any but one’s own countrymen.

For men and women are not only themselves; they are also the county in which they are born, the city or the farm in which they learnt to walk, the games they played as children, the old wives’ tales they overheard, the food they ate, the schools they attended, the sports they played, the poets they read, and the God they believed in.

It is all these things that have made them what they are, and these are the things that you can’t come to know by hearsay, you can only know them if you have lived them.”

It seems so easy, helping my friend in London put his film together without any thought of directing it myself.  It has given me a great deal of pleasure.  Of course I know how to negotiate the making of a film.  A big film or a small film.  Films naturally find their own scale.

I’ve no idea yet what sort of film we will make.  We are currently looking for a great script.

It was lovely listening to Michael Sheen talk about Kenneth Williams.  He obviously developed a profound affection for Kenneth by simply walking in his shoes.   I wondered what the similarities were between these two very different men.

Michael talked amusingly at dinner about meeting Tony Blair at Rupert Murdoch’s house.  He talked about Polari, the 17th Century gay slang, I introduced to Jake B.  He described his friendship with Barbra Windsor.

I hope I helped JB understand the culture and history that precedes him.  It’s so important for gay men to own their history, not as prescribed by straight people as they have written us in the pages of their newspapers…but the oral history that may get lost as another generation of gay men grow up.   We have such a rich history, such joy and tragedy…but we are loathed to own it.

There was a superb Somerset Maugham quote used in the movie:

“What do we any of us have but our illusions and what do we ask of others that we be allowed to keep them?”

When I was a young boy Maugham’s childhood home still stood on Canterbury Road in Whitstable.  It was a beautiful Victorian rectory that savage developers later pulled down and replaced with five vile, mock Georgian horrors.  Anyway, before it was demolished, I made friends with the owners and every Sunday after church I would sit in the huge conservatory, feed their chickens and look at the goldfish in their pond.  They gave me a small piece of amethyst that I still own.

When I went to bed last night I found a poisonous spider folded into the linen.  I didn’t kill it.  It’s nice to share your bed with something living even if it’s only a spider or a little dog.

As I look back over the past months I understand that one can’t do what one thinks is right without making someone else unhappy.

In the time that it has taken me to write this blog the mist has magically retreated revealing the ocean.  I am going for a long walk.

Taking a Shit

British class shame is nothing a regular gun-toting American would or should know anything about.   Whether or not one has an understanding of manners, social hierarchy or top hats is neither here nor there.

I have spent blog time bashing America but really, the Brits are just as bad-if not worse.  My friend Pierre in New York, upon moving here at the behest of his company, missed London terribly but after a short while, much less time than I, understood why we come here and why we want to stay.   Pierre began to notice a change in himself and those around him.  He felt valued, pumped up, fearless.  In America he could feel like a man.

Like me, when he meets Brits who stay at home he marvels at their naivety.

It takes a huge amount of self-loathing to ‘know your place’.

In the USA there is no shame about bettering and reinventing ones self.  There are rules, of course, but every one of the rules (guiding principles) is designed to be broken.

You may have to pay a disgruntled employee a ton of money for a spurious sexual harassment claim but that’s how the dispossessed get their share of the pie.

Everyone is on the make, everyone!  It’s an on the make, nickle and dime affair that I am having with the USA.  It’s better than pecan pie and nuclear waste!  It’s more thrilling than Guantanamo Bay.

As a Brit I still hanker after public art and healthcare but the rampant small mindedness of my countrymen, their embittered jokes masquerading as irony, their post imperialist arrogance and their total inability to allow anyone to grow beyond the class they were born into keeps me from going back home.

I suppose for all my anti-American sentiment I love the hurly-burly, the hegemony, the extremes, the greed, the excess, the stupidity.  I love their terror of art and history.  I applaud their dogma and their denial.  I love that they think that they are the very best at everything they do when they are patently not.  I love that they behave like willful children.  I love that they think knowing about nature or food is elitist.  I love that an engaging presidential candidate can emerge from nowhere and take the world stage-where as the British produce a bunch of familiar, threadbare politicians like so many provincial repertory actors delivering lackluster performances in what passes for political theatre.   Imagine British MP’s sitting in their shared dressing-room waiting for lurid makeup to be applied before performing their ‘great scene’ during Prime Ministers Question Time.  Smoking, sinking rummers of whiskey, discussing their expense claims, squabbling over cabinet positions and who’ll wear what at the state opening of parliament.

We don’t cast our parliament terribly well.  Here they cast the Whitehouse like a huge movie.  No wonder Rahm and Ari Emmanuelle are behind Barrack.  They recognized his star potential and like a baby starlet hanging out in the Chateau Marmont plucked him from obscurity and handed him the best role ever in their box office blockbuster political thriller-so whilst the Emmanuells steal the money they got themselves the bestest alibi ever..a black president.  They got themselves a well-dressed first lady descended from slaves.  They got tears of joy at the inauguration and a divided, blind sided America whilst the spoils of the middle class were being divided up by unscrupulous hedge fund managers and Ponzi schemers betting on the downfall of their own and other nations.

So, there’s Barrack blustering over the war and the economy in his professorial tweeds, his sweet and sexy demeanor softening the hearts of the liberal elite and providing drama and focus for the next lot-the emboldened white Christian right.  There he is dithering over healthcare and everything continues just the way it was.

Am I the only one who can’t imagine Tim Geitner having sex with anyone other than himself?   He is such a WEED.

If China wasn’t running the world-this could look dangerous!

When British politicians get caught with their hand in the till-what paltry amounts of money they steal!  Awarding their friends dodgy $150,000 construction contracts and creaming a few quid and a meat pie for themselves…subsequently getting caught and fired.   An American politician wouldn’t waste his time or his position stealing so little.  Tony Blair is the only politician to get away with stealing real money.  He got away with the money and murder.  He understood what few in the UK do-that American politicians are not elected to represent their constituents but to steal as much money as they can within their 4 years in office.

And, you might ask, why shouldn’t he?  The Blair’s are just doing what the Royal family and the landed gentry have done for hundreds of years. He just took what he thought he was owed for getting to the top of the pile.  It must piss our lowly politicians off to go through all the pain of getting elected to public office and then once there, look around…bleak…lonely…underpaid.  Servants of the democracy that we hold dear and never really getting what they deserve-compared with the politicians in the USA who are on the fucking gravy train!

Drill baby drill, bailouts, healthcare, there’s money in them there policies..money for every politician in Washington, TONS OF IT!  Politicians accepting donations from whomever and where ever.

Poor old Dennis Kucinich-he’s the congressman President Obama lassoed into helping change the mind of the bold progressives who were holding out for a radical public option during the last few moments before the Healthcare Bill was forced into law.

Well, dear Dennis lives in a one room apartment in Washington…never accepts a dime from anyone..but he lives in a one-bedroom apartment with his wife Elizabeth.   If he had played his cards right, abandoned his principles and cut himself free from the people he was sent to represent then he could be living in a huge house in Georgetown-which is what the people expect by the way.  To the average American there is something vaguely retarded about a man who is able to steal the money but doesn’t.

That’s why we elected you into office!  To steal the money but, mind you, not so much that you piss the other thieves off who have seniority or think you are stealing too much.  Of course, once in a while an odd politician needs to be thrown to the lions so that the public think that the other politicians have some sort of morality.

This is America and once you get a handle on it it’s not that bad.  As long as you understand that to survive here you have to learn how to steal.  You have to learn how to lose.  Learn how to pick yourself up.  Not get trampled in the stampede.

You must definitely learn to rub belly..pat head..

Before I signed my contract to appear on Sex Rehab I told my friends that what ever happened to me during the editing of the show I would stay out of the result.  That I would let God deal with the details and I would not let any of it be my business.  That was until..

OMG!  Today, moments ago, I discovered..and I just had to write a blog about my extraordinary discovery..a reader alerted me to a website devoted to people who give a shit about TV!  So much of a shit, in fact, that the same sad people spend hours not just watching reality TV but getting so involved that they form ‘opinions’ then spend hours sharing LMAO with complete strangers their ‘opinions’.  The fact that these opinions are misguided, uninformed and mostly sophomoric is neither here nor there.

This reality TV viewer web site is like..REALITY TV PORNOGRAPHY!  It got me hard.  Really.

Amongst some occasional intelligent analysis I read about ‘haters’ (apparently I am one) and a huge amount of second rate Kari Ann/Jill/Selma/Kendra ‘diagnosis’ from a bunch of avid reality TV addicts.  I really had no idea that people took this stuff so damned seriously.  I am DESPERATE to throw my hat into the ring and take on these virtual dumpster divers!  IMO I think I could have quite a scrap.

I learned so much!   Punctuated with LMAO, LOL, OMG and IMO I learned that I was snarky, immature, ugly, a misanthrope-but probably because I was sexually abused.  I learned that I hated James and did not teach him to knit.  That I bullied James and ‘hated’ on him.  I had my words maligned, insulted, ‘hated’ on.  I am, apparently, a disgrace to gay people.  I learned that there were people trawling my facebook page-so all the people I don’t know have now been removed.  I learned that homophobia is alive and KICKING!

For people who seem to hate the haters there sure is a great deal of hate!

LMAO!  Oh you people!  How you have amused me during the past few weeks.

“I’m 24 and I’ve heard that my generation and people that are teens right now are some of the most narcissistic people ever. But I think it’s just because with more technology and things, the people who might have been overprotective or felt stifled as children who want to raise their kids the opposite way might be able to spoil their kids more. There have always been people like that, it’s just more noticeable now..”

LOL.  And with scintillating insights like that who needs 19th century literature?

One particularly astute commentator opined that the British were apt to be socially insensitive.  Rude.  Well, we’re not rude..we are direct.  We say what we mean and we are not, as a nation, or as individuals so sensitive to the naked truth as you the Americans.  I spent hours in my dorm at school being viciously rude to my class mates and they to me.  It made us howl with laughter.    We LOVE a good insult/irony.

Consequently, we will punish Tony Blair for war crimes and tax our bankers for profiteering.  What, you may be thinking, does that have to do with price of cheese?  Work it out amongst yourselves. I am sure ONE of you will have an ‘opinion’.

OMG after reading the posts-and I could not stop they were so addictive-I thought to myself, well producers-you did a great job!  An amazing job of creating the goodies and the baddies and I am one of the baddies!  To many, many viewers I am just a vicious queen!  And so be it. What you think of me is none of my business.  It’s true!

“Between his blog, his twitter page, his facebook page, and God only knows what other type of self promotion he’s doing he has got to be the most vain S.O.B. out there! UGH! His whiny, childish behavior is disgusting.  Honestly, grow up honey. And yea I will admit when the show first began I found Duncan very charming, funny, etc. and so I did read his blogs, twitter page, etc. but its like the more he talks the more I dislike him.”

LMAO every time I read a vile comment like that my cock got harder.  LITERALLY.  I look at my own reaction to the hate and I realize that I still have a very long way to go.

And lastly..for you clever, clever people-a little context:  When making Sex Rehab there were 350 hours of real time footage shot on 20 cameras.  That’s approx 7,000 hours of footage squeezed into a chilling 344 minutes of TV.

LOL.

And finally my most favorite line:

“Duncan has a meanstreak that he gets away with because his sex appeal is soooo appealing. The reason men face-fuck him and leave him is because a meanstreak is only tolerable for as long as it takes to orgasm.”

A woman could only have written IMO the idea that I would want a relationship with anyone I had blown is frankly absurd.

LMAO

IMO

LOL

OMG

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