December 9, 2006 – Saturday
New York. It is a bright, cold day in this vibrant city. I am staying at Soho House in the Meat Packing District. They have set me up in a huge suite with a massive white bed, steam room and a butler. I am here to write the secret project with Maria. I arrived the evening before last. Very kindly Tim picked me up from the airport, which was so darned sweet of him. Unfortunately there had been a bit of a mix up over my room booking at Soho House, so the first night I stayed at the gruesome Gramercy Park Hotel. The problem with the GPH is that it cannot work out if it is a dance club or a hotel. As I arrived somebody had vomited on the tile floor in the lobby and a young Asian woman had slipped in the diced carrots and acrid smelling spew. As chic as some say this place (GPH) is no amount of Warhol, Clemente or Schnabel will compensate for how bad and unwelcoming it is at night. It was so dark at the reception that it was impossible to read the booking slip. It was so noisy in my room that I could not sleep. In the morning I quietly made a detailed complaint, understandably they did not charge me for my room. Later that morning it was wonderful to finally arrive at the Soho House. The General Manager Mark and the others immediately made me feel welcome and gave me Danish to eat and latte to drink and told me their various home stories and I no longer felt angry or displaced.
As some of you may have noticed I have not been writing my blog so much lately. It suddenly felt like I was giving too much away. Also, I started going to AA meetings in the Palisades at 7am. As a consequence I have not been walking the Canyon. Instead, I get up at 6am drive west, go to my meeting and am at home by 9. Because I am dressed properly for my meeting I don’t then want to take off my clothes and change for the Canyon.
As for this blog, annoying my friends at the Chateau deeply upset me and made me think hard about what writing an open diary does to the people around you. Anyway, decided that I will write this blog periodically or when I have time on my hands or need to let myself know what is going on.
Had lunch at the Chateau with Hilary C last week. We had a great time. I really enjoy her company. It was odd going back to the CM after my banning, as I no longer feel the same sense of freedom that I had before. It sort of curtailed my enjoyment. I wore a cap and sunglasses and tried to hide my face as best I could. I am so bored with LA and being here in NYC has merely heightened that feeling of discomfort I have about going back.
Sadly, last week, I caught Joe lying about me and trying to cause trouble in my life. Amazingly, he told Hilary that I had stolen Sebastian Scott‘s cheque book. Telling me that he was having a dinner, inviting people I knew and letting me know that I was not invited. Why? I would have thought nothing of it had I not been told several days later by another friend that Joe had warned him away from me. I think what Joe seems to forget is that a) more people tell me what they think of him than he realizes and b) that I find it terribly painful discovering that a ‘friend’ has spread such miserable lies about me. Such dull, unimaginative lies.
Bought gloves in Barney’s. Had polet roti in cute restaurant near Barney’s. Had sex last night with some one of unimaginable beauty. First time I have had SEX for months.
The boy who stole my laptop is in prison. His mother called me and told me that I was the Devil and that her son could never have committed such a crime. She hoped that I might find Jesus. The police called and I finally got hold of my laptop to transfer items from that to this. The horrid thief had forced his way into my files only to put most things into the trash. Thankfully I found all of what I wanted except the secret project.
Had business meeting with Victor. It was fruitless. I am no closer to getting Dorian finished.
December 1, 2006 – Friday
At 8am there was a chilled, stiff wind gusting exhilaratingly over the canyon path. I can’t really remember what I was griping about as I climbed to the summit but my head was going ten to the dozen. I met a boy called Anton Dolphin sitting, swinging his legs on the bench at the summit. He was gazing at the crystal clear view of Los Angeles toward Santa Monica. It was so clear I could see Catalina, the smog blown out to sea. The canyons to my left, toward the Hollywood sign, filled with soft misty meringue. The huge, grey mountains beyond Silverlake usually concealed by smoke and mirrors were clearly visible. It was spectacular.
Anton is a twenty-five year old accountant from Auckland. He was doing what most young people do from his country he was taking time to explore the world. Anton is an ordinary boy making an extraordinary adventure. We chatted for an hour then separated on Hillcrest. I love talking to young men. I love listening to their stories, their aspirations laid bare. It is the truth.
Yesterday I had meetings with my lawyer and my manager who has become an agent at a great agency. I have, totally by default, got myself an agent at a great agency. I wonder if he will be able to effect any changes there for me. Anything for me to do? I just want to do SOMETHING other than Dorian.
Went to the Magritte show with Michael and Hillary but Hillary flounced off when I started talking to a charming 19-year-old boy who wanted to know how to interpret Magritte’s work. I had forgotten just how much I actually knew. It all just spewed out of me. John Baldessari (curator) has made a great job of the show. It looked and felt great. The cloud carpet and decorated ceilings, the bowler hats on the guards and the extraordinary collection of work. I loved ‘A Clear Idea’ the best. I did not realize what a wonderful painter he was. The execution was exquisite. I enjoyed seeing contemporary works hung alongside the Magritte, some work an homage to Magritte others a conceptual progression/evolution. Of course these iconic images are all very well-known but as with Rothko or Matisse the experience of the work is key, I felt totally invigorated by the experience of this well-known work.
The 19 year-old boy asked me to look at ‘The Pebble’, which is an odd Lautrec type cartoon painting of a half-naked woman licking her shoulder. The sea is lapping around her. We sat looking at it for three-quarters of an hour. It is the most sensual painting; one can taste the salt on the woman’s skin. One pays attention to her tongue and the back of her neck, the way she holds her breast with one hand, her modesty with the other. Her nipples are like tiny exotic fruits. The more one looked at it the more one realized that it was also one of the most erotic paintings that I have ever seen. Perhaps standing next to a perfect youth made it more so. I have no idea.
Dinner at 101 fried chicken special.
November 30, 2006 – Thursday
I am climbing Runyon Canyon at 8am with Scientologist Joe K the man who sells dog ties who I met on the mountain with Hillary two weeks ago.
It is 6.30; I have looked at the list of films picked for Sundance. Dorian is not one of them. I was really disappointed. When did I start hankering after Sundance? When did it become imperative for my film to exist anywhere other than where it is meant to exist? AKA went to Sundance. Should it have even been there? Some might say that my being there was a wasted opportunity. I had no idea how to make it work. I went with the absurd SM as my ‘manager’. I was frustrated. What a calamity. Bobby, my tiny little agent who wore a crash helmet in her kitchen because she kept bashing her head. My lawyer was the only one who seemed to care. The more I think about it the less tragic the memory becomes. It was absurd. It was a farce. It makes me laugh. Peter arriving with his friend/manager in the snow in a broken car to share the stage with me at the Egyptian. The ‘manager’ latterly ran off with Peter’s woman. What is with this ‘manager’ thing? Here, you be my brain. You make my decisions. I can’t think without you. When did I ever not think for myself?
What is for Dorian now? I imagine that we will do the lesbian and gay film circuit, which I have always loved. They have always looked after me. Made me welcome. That is all I ever wanted for any of my films. All I wanted was to reach out to that audience.
Every time I make a film I start again. Find the true path. Every time I do anything creative I am enriched. I am in pursuit of beauty. Money is only useful to acquire beauty; access to beautiful people, places and things. It is all I have ever been interested in. Even when I was in prison I found beauty in the soaring, dramatic halls of Wormwood Scrubs. These rooms were a quarter of a mile long. At night, working on the wing, the last one out on the landing, I walked the long gantry listening to the individual lives of each man behind his wood. I thought, this is the most beautiful moment I have ever experienced. Even though I was occasionally frightened I was usually delighted, inspired and full of hope. Was it just because I was so young or because I was not drinking or because I had been living a lie for such a long time?
Every time I make a film I start again from beginning to end. I start again. Tossing the coin into the air and see where it lands. Heads or tails?
Last night I had a very unsatisfactory massage. Michael went to see Casino Royale at the Chinese Theatre. I saw Casino Royale with Hillary and Dom last weekend in the mall at Century City.
I might have liked it had Danny’s suits been tailored correctly but sadly they aren’t. In Love is the Devil he was remarkably suave. In Casino Royale his suits don’t fit, his collars are unstarched, he looks like a squat bouncer from a provincial night club wearing a bad watch.
The iconic title sequence of James Bond turning to shoot the gun at the audience at the very beginning of the film was frankly absurd! The Bond silhouette is usually the finest example of old world elegance. The film makers traded elegant, refined and dangerous for Danny Craig dressed as a French onion seller in baggy trousers unable to perform a model turn or even convincingly point his gun.
Sadly, there were too many shots of Danny running. Daniel Craig is no Gazelle, he runs like an old-fashioned athlete pulling a strange, determined face. His blue eyes as wide as saucers, the veins on his forehead standing out like a tube map. James Bond should run effortlessly without breaking a sweat.
None of this, however, is Danny’s fault. There seems not to have been a discerning eye overlooking this film. No taste. No style. And as for the leading woman’s hair at the Casino-it looked like a hat from a jumble sale. In lieu of anything else to applaud about this film we applaud Danny’s indisputable acting ability but acting is not what Bond is all about, Bond is a high camp British cartoon character. Since when has it become imperative for filmmakers to humanize cartoon characters? How long will it be before Scoobydoo suffers from a bout of postmodern angst?
Another cartoon character in the cinemas this winter is Sacha Baron-Cohen’s Borat which, unlike Bond, is very stylish and on occasions simply genius. I now understand what early cinema audiences loved so much about Chaplin. Borat the tramp, the fool, the clumsy could so easily have been a series of dislocated skits but instead this cohesive, stylish, funny film made me feel something far beyond what I ever expected. Both Bond and Borat are peculiarly British cartoon inventions but where as Bond has become another victim of the New British Laddist Movement sinking in the quicksand of postmodern reality Borat turns out to be the most unlikely hero of them all.
November 29, 2006 – Wednesday
It was a very, very chilly morning. I wore my woolen hat with the hood from my red hoody pulled over my head. The wind whipped through the Canyon; thankfully the rain from yesterday had dampened the paths so there was no dust whipped into my face. I took long fierce strides. I was furious. Furious about Michael, furious about my film, furious!
At the summit I looked down over the wind-swept city and did not feel so bad. I kept on begging God to give me a sign that would make things better. A sign that would solve the various problems that now inhabited my beleaguered head. Some sort of sign that would show me the way toward repairing my tattered sense of well-being.
I repaired the damage I caused at The Chateau. I apologized to the general manager for causing him to have to take such drastic action. He was so sweet. For any of us who are lucky enough to have the sort of relationship that I do with perhaps the most civilized environment in LA we have to take our commitment very seriously. If it weren’t for delightful times had at that charming place I would have left LA many, many months ago.
The police called to tell me that they had arrested the boy who’d stolen my laptop so I had to attend an interview at Wilcox LAPD. The detectives that interviewed me were, yet again, courteous, attentive and professional. They recovered my laptop but it is damaged so I will have to have the information removed from it professionally. I felt sorry for the guy who stole it, sitting in his cell, unlikely to get bail.
I dashed home to:
Cook ox tail for my Steven Fry dinner. He was on sparkling form. Joe made a great sidekick for him to entertain us all with one masterfully told anecdote after another. I really had no idea that S Fry was such a great mimic. Michael (the emotional vampire) did not say one word throughout dinner. He sat there listening and eating tofu. Eric was just beautiful. Eric’s boy friend was very quiet and a bit overwhelmed. Dan Scheffy from New York: very sweet. Merle Ginsberg was a sad no-show.
November 27, 2006 – Monday
It is raining. Raining. Beautiful Elliot arrived from Sydney and tormented me with his perfection-he stayed twelve hours then left for Colorado to work as a ski lift operator.
It is very strange living with Michael in my flat. I have known him for so many years in so many different situations. Even though he is a delightful friend he has so many annoying habits. He repeats words one after another in curious voices. He compares situations we find ourselves in to films he has seen. Michael speaks with his mouth full of breakfast and showers me with scrambled egg. We spent the day exploring LA in the car. Silverlake, Los Felis, Down Town.
I thought that we should drive through the rain to Santa Barbara. We went to the Chateau for dinner but when I got there the charming security man took me to one side and told me that I had to leave. Shockingly, I have been banned from the Chateau Marmont for writing this blog so I have had to set my blog to private until further notice. Earlier in the day, at the Farmers Market, on Beverly I bumped into my AA sponsor but he was behaving very oddly. I am really looking forward to getting away. Going to Sydney. Finding my serenity. Of course it does not matter what I lose or what is taken away from me. I believe in my higher power and therefore everything will be OK. It always is.
November 26, 2006 – Sunday
The Canyon. Homeless people live there at night. Once the gates close at sunset they must emerge from secret paths. Occasionally one hears them screaming out. Screaming their truth. From where I live, at night, I see helicopters scouring the brush for them. Hovering noisily over the Canyon with powerful lights beaming, searching, and sweeping the contours of the canyon for the homeless.
This morning a tatty black man with a moth-eaten white beard was petting a tiny black pug owned by a very chic Asian woman. She called out its name. The dog ignored her and licked the homeless man’s fingers. Worlds converged, I watched her anxiously look at her dog and the homeless man. She knew that this old man wasn’t going to harm either her or her dog. We train ourselves to ignore the poor. I ignore their pleas for money, for food, for shelter. The dog/child knew nothing. No amount of training could make a dog differentiate between his kindness or hers. Asian woman had to acknowledged that she shared her world with homeless black man.
Further up the Canyon angry black woman from last week was screaming at her Husky called Runner. Screaming. The husky looked bewildered. I asked her if her dog was deaf. She said no. I asked if it might not be a good idea to put her dog on a lead then train it to accept commands. Angry black woman was outraged. I said, “You know that I am speaking the truth. I am telling you quietly and politely.” She tried to laugh at me as if I was an idiot but the truth was indisputable. “Nobody wants to listen to you screaming.”
I climbed the mountain with Michael Temple who arrived from London yesterday. We had dinner at Taste with Benjamin, Joe and Richard Squire. The food was OK. Richard was very funny but looks washed out. He reminds me of those medieval drawings of the Plantagenet’s. Thin features and flaxen bangs covering his ears. Richard fascinates Michael; he can’t understand how he survives. Nobody really understands. Michael asked a million questions about Richard. Like an alien he might have chanced upon.
Yesterday was spent mostly at home reading and writing.
I thought about Zoë in Whitstable, the mad woman with the red hair who lives on Harbor Street. Michael met me in her basement when I was 7 years old. What was it about her that made me feel like she was where I belonged? Her shop was opposite the Harbor gates and called Napoleon Bonaparte’s 101st Lucretia Borgia. It smelt of bees-wax polish, wood smoke and the harbor. It must have been winter when I first discovered her. It must have been a bright winters day. Perhaps it was snowing. There were kittens in the basement and I sat by the fire on brown leather, Victorian sofas rupturing their horsehair innards. In the shop there were two huge pieces of Victorian furniture and a chandelier. Everything was painted white except the soot licked onto the chimney breast.
Why was I drawn to her? Drawn to Richard Squire. Drawn away from my family? I have a framed picture of me on my desktop. I am seven years old. The harbor is a long way from where we lived.
Too much remembering.
I have been having very vivid dreams. Last night I found myself in bed with Brad Pitt and some woman. I have never ever thought of him like that. It was so..real. I blush just thinking about it. As we were having sex I thought to myself in the dream, “How will I ever write about this in my blog without pissing him off?”
November 24, 2006 – Friday
The Canyon was really chilly and bright this morning. I had to wear a hat, sweat shirt, tee-shirt and long sweats so that my knees didn’t get cold. I think that I may fire up the boiler and burn off all the dust.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving which means nothing at all to a Brit like me. Turkey, buckles and puritans. To celebrate this greatest of all American holidays Dom, Hillary, John and his girlfriend and I ate Thanksgiving lunch at some second-rate restaurant in a huge Shopping Mall called The Grove.
The food was inedible and I could have fed everyone there for half of what it cost me personally. It really annoys me to have to spend good money on bad food. What is the fucking point when one can cook great food effortlessly and cheaply? I should have stayed at John Wolf’s and eaten with the Palladino’s but I felt OBLIGED to eat with Dom. I hate feeling OBLIGED! In fact I hate holidays.
The morning started well enough: Hillary and I walked the Canyon straight up the hard way. I then drove around in search of an AA meeting as the one I wanted to go to was not available to me. Unable to find anywhere convenient I ended up at The Coffee Bean on Sunset where, amazingly, I had an impromptu AA meeting by the fire pit with other grateful recovering addicts who had also discovered that none of the usual venues were open for the holiday. I felt a bit weird holding hands and saying the serenity prayer in public. Apart from our little group holding hands there were ten other people drinking morning coffee at the Coffee Bean on Sunset including Paris Latsis and one of the Baldwin brothers who was playing backgammon in an outfit that could only be described as caramel.
Even though the eating part of our lunch was ghastly I am very fond of Dom so enjoyed talking about OJ Simpson, Netflix, dark meat versus white meat and the guy who plays Kramer on Seinfeld losing his temper on stage at the Laugh Factory and calling talkative black audience members ‘niggers’. Kramer then lamented the passing of lynching ‘niggers’. The Jews and the Blacks have always had difficulties with each other. Why?
After lunch I fled to the security of Beverly Hills and the huge house of Anastasia the Romanian eyebrow lady who was throwing a party with Merle Ginsberg’s sister. The house that eyebrows built nestled serenely in the most beautiful part of Beverly Hills. It was a delightful party with excellent food. I stuck my fingers down my throat, vomited up the lunch I had just eaten and started all over again. No I didn’t. I didn’t vomit but I did eat a second HUGE lunch, which I forced down my throat. It was SUPERB. Merle was on sparkling form. She introduced me to her gay friend who wrote Prêt e Porter for Altman who died yesterday. Look, we are all allowed to make at least one bad film and that was Altman’s. SORRY, but it’s true. I rather liked her sullen gay friend but he had one of those faces that looks as if he has just tasted something very, very sour. I call it ‘gay face’.
I cannot get enough of Merle. Her boyfriend was there who I met in the plane on the way to Sandy Pitman’s party. He looked completely different as he was not dressed as an Arab. I met Anastasia’s Romanian family who were adorable and thrilled that I had been to Constanza where they come from on the Black Sea. I met other friends of hers from Bucharest who knew all about the Elizabeth Hurley scandal. I met one beautiful girl who is a series regular on Nip Tuck who had seen The Method and knew my entire name. Ended the evening talking more to gay face and an Internet gossip woman who tried to pump me for information about who was gay in Hollywood, as if I would know anything more than her. To the amusement of the others I turned the tables and grilled her about her love life. As it turned out this dried up old harridan had no sex life at all and when she did confined it to missionary position with one person. Vicarious sex lives are the worst sex lives of all.
I left Beverly Hills at 7.30 and joined Ian Drew at a very odd little party in Larchmont. There was no traffic so getting around LA was very quick and easy. You could understand how convenient it must have been here once upon a time for drivers. Anyway, Ian was sitting with seven women, six miniature dogs and some silent designer who looked like that freak from the band Sparks in the 1970’s. I ate more pumpkin pie and offered to start a food fight but the woman who owned the house looked a little shocked. I did my favorite comedy party trick and put one of the tiny dogs into the microwave. I did not press the button although I was tempted.
Home and in bed by 11.
November 22, 2006 – Wednesday
The canyon was virtually empty this morning as most people were packing or heading off on their Thanksgiving holidays. There were two scrapping dogs brawling in the dust. Their lesbian owners did almost nothing to separate them. Like Clare Staples who has a Great Dane most of them think that these creatures are their children and rather than pulling them apart like animals the lesbians were ‘negotiating’ with them.
Meet Princess the four-legged dog/child that can be locked in the house for ten hours a day and eats its own shit. Taking a dog out for an hour each morning then locking them up in an apartment all day is frankly cruel. At least when CS brings her child/dog to LA she has bought it a huge dog run but most people who live here are just not that lucky. The same screwed thinking that makes ‘animal lovers’ imprison their dogs in tiny apartments with an hours exercise a day also makes them believe that eating a salad with a huge meal makes the meal healthier. As if eating lettuce cancels out all the damage a massive plate of pasta is doing to them before they haul their fat asses into their cars, up elevators or the path of least resistance.
I love Runyon Canyon, this morning it was quite chilly and grey. Silent. Green finches chasing each other. I always head up there feeling angry and resentful and return feeling peaceful and creative. If I don’t work out my resentments on the side of that mountain I work them out here in this blog.
Yesterday I ran errands, met Benjamin in the morning. We ate an early lunch and drank coffee in various locations all over town. I went to Silverlake to look at the house. I wish some one would buy it so that I could stop thinking about it.
Jesse Metcalf called in the afternoon, a young actor I have not seen for ages. For reasons known only to himself he wanted to swing by the apartment. He arrived with another short, good-looking 22-year-old ‘actor/producer’. I sat on my sofa wondering what the fuck they wanted. Apparently they wanted to meet me.
Flirtatious, dangerous straight boys in my house. They knew Bryan Singer, Joel S and Bill Condon and now they knew me. I had invited Aleksa’s family for dinner so I was sitting in my apron and tending the oven as they told me all about their huge projects. Jesses’s sister is called Mindy and I think may be the wrestler who lives next door to Sharon.
At 7.30 the boys were still there and invited themselves to dinner. I fed ten people easily as I had massively over bought thinking that I could make enough for lunch today. Aleksa’s grandmother and grandfather Tony Palladino are amazing and I can only hope that if I ever make it to their age I will be as vibrant. Tony is the artist who created the Psycho logo for Hitchcock.
By 11 they were all gone so I went to bed. Getting tired of sleeping on my own. I want to fall in love.
November 21, 2006 – Tuesday
Lap Top Stolen
The top of the Canyon was obscured by thick, low-lying cloud. Met Glen Williamson and his new puppy. I hauled my ass up the hard way. The later one climbs the more screamers there are.
I’ve not written anything for three days. Such drama! Whilst I was having lunch, on Friday, with Merle Ginsberg in Beverly Hills somebody came into my house, pushed my maid and stole my laptop from my desk. Later that day the thief called me on my mobile phone demanding $2,000 to be put into a bank account. I can’t write anything more until the police have dealt with it. Thankfully, I learned many years ago to back everything up. Nothing vitally important has been lost. Most of my really important day-to-day information is stored on my Blackberry. Photographs will have to be reloaded but what the hell. I was more annoyed that my maid was reduced to tears. Poor thing, when I got home she was standing in the kitchen twisting her handkerchief in her hand, her face wet with tears. “Mister, a man came”. She sobbed.
The police were wonderful, really prompt and polite and interested. The two detectives were so different from British police who really don’t seem to give a damn. It was very impressive.
I had to somehow forget about the missing laptop and concentrate on feeding 12 people who were invited for dinner. Merle Ginsberg, Sharon Swart, Hilary Carver, Julie Delphy and her German boy friend, Marilyn Heston, Loren Beck, Aleksa and Devon for lamb and roasted beets which were DELICIOUS. Joe, Ian Drew (plus three) and Dom arrived after dinner with pudding and eggnog.
It was a remarkable success.
The following day I went to AA meeting then took Joe Townley to Brentwood for breakfast. Maury looked very busy. Met Sharon after breakfast but I was in shock about my lap top and unable to communicate effectively. We drove to Burbank in the truck and bought rugs at Ikea. I felt introspective. SS didn’t like me being so quiet so I went home and napped. We have not spoken since.
On Sunday I got up early and instead of my hike I went to the Hollywood farmers market where I bought more flowers. I saw KD Lang buying groceries. I then drove that huge truck to AA meeting in West Hollywood. An hour later, feeling very good about life I headed to the Grove to buy a new laptop at Apple. It took two hours but it was worth it. Met Dom at Barney’s where I bumped into Brian Ferry and his young wife. He looked great, she looks like Lucy. Dom insisted that we eat lunch in a nasty Beverly Hills diner. Why? Dom tried to convince me that he is on some sort of frugality drive which means that we have to eat at a cheap, ghastly diner. In fact he is spending all of his money taking JT to the Barbra Streisand Concert. He is obsessed with JT.
Buying chocolate in the chocolate store on Canon Dom and I saw a young Ethiopian girl with a pair of false red pumped lips like you some times see on celebrities here. At first we thought that they were real and dashed out of the store for a closer look but the girl took them off and Dom and I screamed how wonderful the false lips were and how much she looked like the “Dreadful Jocelyn Wildenstein”. “Yes! Oh my God how much like the dreadful ‘Bride of Wildenstein’ you look”. Dom chimed in. “That Wildenstein monster!” And, as if by some ghastly say it three times magic we noticed, sitting, eating a light lunch out side, not ten paces away was Jocelyn Wildenstein no longer enjoying a quiet bite whilst she listened to a morbidly obese queen and his svelte friend screaming about how vile she was. When we realized our catastrophic faux pas Dom just ran up the street. There is nothing more heartening than watching a fat man running.
On Sunday night I met my new neighbor and hung out at my place.
Yesterday had tea with S Fry at Chateau. Introduced him to Joe. Of course they got on like a house on fire. S Fry really loves Dorian. He looked a bit disheveled. Talked more about the Dam Busters.
Dinner, where else but the Chateau, with my friend Richard and others. Saw Michael Bellisario. Clare Staples joined our table briefly but after telling us that she had just spent 6 million dollars on her new house and that she only came down from her room because she thought that I was Duncan from the boy band Blue I lost interest in her. She wonders why she is single? Most probably because she has grown a cock and bathes in testosterone every night.
Don’t worry love, you’re buying a 6 million dollar house and you live in LA, you won’t be single for long.
November 17, 2006 – Friday
Carine Roitfeld, Robbie Williams, Claire Danes
It is 8.30am. I just got back from my walk. It was far too late to find any serenity up there on the mountain, there were far too many chattering people. I stopped three times to speak with people I know. On the way down I slipped on the steep path-it was the first time. I wouldn’t want to break my hip, not here in America where nobody gives a shit.
I am driving a huge pick up truck. Somebody mentioned yesterday that the truck must make me feel more powerful. How could a truck make a man feel more powerful? I hired it to haul stuff back from Bonham’s. This apartment needs fresh flowers. The cleaner is in today; as usual she will be here for hours and not really achieve anything. I am going to be here too. I want to see what she does.
Yesterday morning Hillary came over at 7am. We hiked the huge Runyon path that stretches over three peaks. At the summit we met a Texan called Joe who makes ties for dogs. He was quite odd but worth investigation. At the gate we bumped into Julia Verdin who, for the first time, seemed genuinely pleased to see me. Perhaps I was deluded from the exhausting walk but I felt unusual warmth from her. Hillary cooked breakfast (eggs and bacon) then we drove to the Barney’s one-day only sale, which was crap. I felt bereft leaving that place empty-handed. In search of more breakfast we drove west to Maury’s City Bakery in Brentwood and ate bagel croissants and fruit salad with ginger yogurt. However, I was feeling very peculiar. Not ill but not well. On the way home I fell into a deep sleep in Hillary’s car. When she dropped me off I felt even odder. Out of sorts. Miserable.
I spent most of yesterday in bed critically unable to do anything. Spoke to sponsor who told me that taking a day off is fine, but lets face it: I have been taking ‘days off’ for twenty years. I knew that the feeling would pass and when I tried to work out why I was feeling so odd I kept on thinking about my grandmother. All of that stuff I wrote about her yesterday. Perhaps she died? I lay in bed. I tried to eat but I couldn’t. All day I suffered sudden flash backs to obscure moments in my life. Most alarmingly I vividly remembered fetching the milk from the farm-yard when I was at Shotton Hall School. Lugging churns of milk from the farm, freezing before sun rise, into the Land Rover. It set off a chain reaction of odd memories. Shotton memories ending with that fateful kiss with Linda the member of staff who was subsequently fired for her ‘unprofessional’ involvement with me.
At about 8 last night Arrick called, persuaded me out of my bed and took me to the101 for Thursday night fried chicken special. He was playing Baby Face in the car and I realised that all Baby Face does is yodel. All any of those singers do is yodel. Beyonce yodels. Listened to him yodel through a Beatles song. He dropped me off at 10. I sat wrapped up on the sofa watching gratifying home decoration programmes until midnight then went to bed. I slept well.
The day before was great. I had lunch with Amanda R at the Chateau. I adore her. She is such a chic, intelligent, funny, charming woman. We ate chicken salad. Sat next to Jason Resnick from Focus who told me that I had lost weight. The beard is such a great way to fool people into thinking you have lost weight. He mentioned that he had seen Sharon making out with some guy at the New Yorker party the previous evening. That guy, of course, was me. “I thought that you were gay”. He said. “If only it were that fucking simple”. I smiled. Somebody sent a picture to Sharon of us making out at the AFI party. We have become a very public couple.
Amanda was wearing a pair of bottle green suede boots that Rogier Vivier gave her.
That night I had dinner at The Chateau M met the utterly charming, handsome Stavros Nicharos, Carine Roitfeld (editor of French Vogue). Dinner with Marilyn Heston, Ian Drew, saw Robbie Williams, Claire Danes, Hugh D’Ancy and others. We love Carine. Ian kept reminding me that, amazingly, Carine R is 51 years old. She looks, in candle light, like a 19 year old girl. I felt great wearing my burgundy silk velvet D&G jacket, Dior pants, and some slim navy Todd’s. Claire Danes found everything Hugh said very, very funny. I don’t remember him being THAT funny. Interestingly, Doug Christmas had not mentioned our fight to Marilyn Heston. I gleefully told her the nasty Doug Christmas story, as a consequence she may think twice about doing business with him in the future. Am I being vindictive?
November 15, 2006 – Wednesday
So hot today, already, at 8am. I feel delicate this morning, fragile even. My skin is uncomfortable on my fingers. Pins and needles. I remember my grand mother saying ‘pins and needles’. ‘Suck it and see’ was another one of hers. I don’t suppose that I will ever see her alive again. I don’t want to see her. She is in her assisted living room in Herne Bay, stuffing food into her mouth that she can’t swallow. My grand mother is 96. I would like to say something to her. I would like to apologise. I just can’t seem to forgive my grand mother or my mother. I try to, God help me, I try to forgive them but I can’t. So, the last time I saw my Mother and Grand Mother was on Island Wall in Whitstable near the first cottage I owned. Nana was in her wheelchair. I kissed her. She had some food on her chin from the lunch she just ate. I am sitting here trying to forgive her.
I remember visiting her at her neat, seaside, semi-detached house in Herne Bay when I was a child. She had orange curtains in the spare room where I slept decorated with black reeds. I liked when the sun would shine onto them as everything in that room would have a warm orange glow. Before she went to bed she would lay the table for breakfast so that if I woke before her I would sit in the dining room quietly, the room smelling of sweet apples. Little boy delighted by the expectation of breakfast. The curtains drawn. I loved that house. I liked that the back garden was ordered, the lawn closely cut. In the wooden water-butt I could pick at mosquito larvae that wriggled in the black water.
When I stayed with her I especially liked taking the bus on adventures to Reculver, Broadstairs and Ramsgate. I liked falling asleep in her lap. I liked the sharp smell of vinegar on fish and chips. I liked the junket she made with nutmeg.
Does she remember what joy she gave me when I was little? She is well looked after by my Mother who is a good daughter and Grand Mother herself.
I don’t really have much to do with my family nor they me. Without family that I can trust suits me fine. I no longer feel isolated. I do not expect anything different nowadays. I used to think about that man who shot those children in Scotland. I thought about how much pain he was in to do that, how fraught and bitter he must have been. Then I think about those school children that shoot guns at school killing teachers and other pupils. They are always described as being ‘alone’. He was a ‘loner’, but to be a loner you have to be ignored, shunned, misunderstood. It takes two. The people of the Scottish town did nothing to reach out to the man who shot their children before he shot them. They almost certainly mocked the lonely old man. The children who took guns into their school were mocked for their individuality. The Muslims feel powerless so gang together and vent their frustration. Do I feel alone? Thankfully I have God, a God of my understanding. I am never alone.
I have been so angry in the past. I am getting too old to be angry like a young man.
Yesterday I had lunch with Mickey Cottrell at Musso and Frank. I spent the afternoon at home. Bettina’s party on Melrose for The New Yorker was OK although I did not see the point of it. The goody bag had water in it. Goody. Sharon swung by to see me, kiss me. She had 12 pages to write so I met Joe and Dom for a late dinner. We ate at the ghastly Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Beverly Hills. This was my second experience at this terrible place. We had the worst table sat by the work station and the waiter had all the charm of a squid. The curried short ribs were disgusting. The chocolate soufflé was almost inedible. The only thing worth complimenting were the water glasses, which are very beautiful. Thankfully I did not pay. Dom and Joe quizzed me about my burgeoning relationship with Sharon. Of course I am just as baffled as they are but I really like her, being with her. Connected.
November 14, 2006 – Tuesday
7am. Yet again I missed the dwarves. I listened for her screaming but I could not hear her. The usually blue LA sky full of towering silver clouds. Down town the fragile skyscrapers are scraping the sky. I passed the elderly Russians with the baby and a photograph of Scruffy with LOST written under his name, pinned to a fence. Last week I was asked by his owners if I had seen him. Scruffy, I fear, has gone forever.
I took the steep path and sat at the top of the Canyon for a moment wondering about the world and how the west was ‘wooing’ Iran with stern words to help them get out of Iraq. “You’d better help us Iran or you’re going to be in very hot water!” Said Tony Blair wagging his finger (tail) at the bemused Iranian president. This entire situation would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. Before I set off on my walk I looked at pictures of all the British men and women who had lost their young lives in Iraq. I thought about the wounded with missing limbs or faces or minds. I thought about the vanity of my Prime Minister and his cabinet. I remembered my faithful to Queen and country military friends telling me with absolute conviction that going to Iraq and finding weapons of mass destruction was essential. Why are the British so involved with the US? What in God’s good name is in it for us? On the day that the Democrats were elected and the Republicans started planning their withdrawal from Iraq it was announced by the head of MI5 in London that they had uncovered many (300) deadly Muslim terrorist plots. Do the Brits believe this? I don’t think so. Most of them, us, don’t know where to turn in a country that has two effectively identical political parties. Where the police now roam the streets with sub machine guns and the truth is vanished. Like Scruffy, Tony Blair (another cherished lap dog) is lost in the wilderness. What can we do?
Had breakfast with Joe T. He looks great and is doing well. Joe Moller came over in the afternoon to talk about putting together our Dorian happening. Stephen Fry very kindly saw Dorian and said, “It has all the poisonous wickedness one simultaneously dreads and adores in the original and in the Huysmans originals.”
I stayed close to the house all day. Writing, making calls and tidying my desk. Bills needed to be paid and calls needed to be made.
Several people have written asking about my issue with Doug Christmas. Doug owns three galleries in LA called ACE; the publicist Bettina Kourec, with a view to using one of his venues to show Dorian as an installation, introduced him to me. She warned me ahead of time that he did not have a very good reputation or pay his bills but I took the meeting and he asked for a copy of the film, which I gave him. Two weeks later when we asked for the film to be returned he refused, for reasons known only to himself. He a vile crooked man who could have quite simply avoided all of this nonsense by returning our DVD. Instead, he chose to pick a fight. Sadly, he chose the wrong man to pick a fight with.
Aleksa cooked a delicious dinner last night of chicken and red peppers. After dinner Devon pointed up at the window of the apartment block opposite where the female Latvian Dwarf stands like a mad woman in a play. She is up there every night staring out of her apartment. When she is not at day care with her husband, she is screaming at him in her floral house-coat. Then, when the sun sets, she stands motionless, framed in her window staring, waiting for dawn.
November 13, 2006 – Monday
Monday morning. The weekend was long and eventful. I did not climb the Canyon on Saturday or Sunday. This morning I woke at 6am, pulled on my shorts and thick tee shirt and began my walk. No dwarves, no screamers. I was so deep in thought I did not notice the view nor did I count the dogs. I was thinking about what I had, what I needed, what I wanted. I was thinking about Whitstable and how much I love it there. I was thinking about my friends and the cottage where I used to live. I was thinking about the over 60’s centre.
The weekend began last Friday lunch time, Tiffany and I went to Orian’s spanish 1920’s apartment in West Hollywood and saw a good chunk of his new film Control, which is about that guy Ian Curtis from Joy Division who killed himself. Directed by Anton Corbin, it looks great. After looking at some of the film the three of us had a very long lunch at the Chateau M. When I arrived Steven Fry bellowed my name out over the garden. Discussed Venus with Geoffrey Rush who did a sparkling impression of Leslie Phillips playing Falstaff at the RSC. Hamish McAlpine and his partner Carol were eating lunch at the table beside us, they are great friends of Sharon’s. It was Veteran’s day so the poor dear at the desk had to spend the entire afternoon turning away ghastly looking civilians. However, one table of vulgar interlopers who would never usually be welcome in our little garden paradise had managed to get past him. They were pointing, staring at celebrities. The staff responded by ignoring them completely. Even though the civilians were bothering us like bears in a bee hive, we had a very jolly lunch that lasted well into the afternoon.
Bought groceries at Wholefoods and started cooking for Tiffany, Sharon, Houston, the Palladino’s and BIG MISTAKE my shallow gay neighbour and his ghastly friend. The gays giggled and made snide comments and one of them scarcely knew how to pick up a knife and fork. How can you be gay and not even know how to eat properly? I made it quite difficult for them to stay so they left before the pudding. Cooked sweet potato and sprouts, which I par boiled then threw into hot olive oil until the edges were singed like bubble and squeak. Chicken baked in red wine and bay leaves.
The following morning I went to my men’s AA meeting in Westwood and afterwards had breakfast with Loren at the City Bakery. The caramelised French toast and bagel croissants are food dreams are made of. After breakfast we went to the Peterson Museum where Bonham’s were having a Steve McQueen auction. We were just in time to see a pair of Persol Sunglasses that SM might have worn sell for $70,000.
When we left the auction Loren and I headed to the bunch of small galleries situated there on Wilshire near the Peterson. I wanted to take one last look at the Hockney Photo Montage at Paul Kopeikins gallery before SG bought it. We were in the back of the gallery with Paul when who should walk in? None other than the beastly Doug Christmas! “Why, it’s my old friend Doug Christmas.” I said. You should have seen his face, even with all that ‘work’ it visibly sagged. His mouth fixed into a terrible leer. He flushed the colour of fresh liver spots. Doug hastily made his way out of Paul’s gallery and, rather foolishly, into the one next door. I said, “God’s punishing you for being so dishonest.” The gallerist sitting at the desk suddenly took notice. Now, it may come as no surprise to any of you but I love an audience and this one was rather more receptive than I could possibly have imagined. I suddenly and unwittingly became Doug Christmas’s very own nemesis. I followed this sprightly senior around the various galleries whilst asking him loudly when he was going to return my property. By the time I had hounded the old fart into the car park I noticed that all of the gallerists from the various galleries were watching and listening to us from a safe distance.
Doug, rather pathetically, tried to physically intimidate me but I am a little too tall and he was a little too old to do anything other than sneer at me from very close quarters. Knowing that I had extremely bad coffee breath all I had to do was breath hard into his wrinkles. He recoiled, called me an ass hole, told me how rich he was then climbed into his car and shot off. When I went back into the car park to collect Loren all of the gallery owners came out and congratulated me for confronting him. It felt like that moment at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz when the munchkins climb out of the bushes to congratulate Dorothy for killing the witch. All of the little munchkin gallerists had stories to tell about Doug Christmas ripping them off. It was a triumphant moment.
On Saturday night Sharon and I went to Paul Allen’s house for supper with Harry Bellefonte. Dianne Carole in attendance, she has big hair and a bigger diamond. Harry told interesting stories about being a communist here in Hollywood in the 1950’s and recently meeting Chavez. He speaks very slowly and quietly. Burned my tongue on something wrapped in filo pastry.
The Fountain prem party was ok but the film is not very well-respected and one gets the feeling that everyone was just going through the motions of having the ball and congratulating the Dauphine. Had a long chat with Rachel Weisz who is a great friend of Phil’s and Daisy Coburn’s. “Are you enjoying being a star?” I asked. She looked momentarily pained as if I had said something cruel. It cannot be easy for Rachel to do this Hollywood nonsense. She is an intelligent woman. She told me to send love to Phil and Daisy and I kissed her warmly and waved good-bye.
On Sunday I headed over to West Hollywood AA meeting. There was a mad person listening to his personal stereo. Went to Sunset sale where I saw and ignored Peter D who, I notice, now has a long scaley tail! Had breakfast with Dom and Hillary and Dom’s friend Keith at 101. When Hillary left we went to see Volver at The Arclight, which we all loved. Penelope Cruz looking like Gina Lollobrigida, playing brilliantly in her own language.
AA meeting at Cedars then dinner then coffee on Santa Monica Blvd then I crawled into bed tired but happy.
There are very strange reports in the newspapers that the USA are to begin talks with Syria and Iran about the future of Iraq. Can this be true?
November 10, 2006 – Friday
I stayed in bed well after my 6am alarm. By the time I started my walk it was 8.30. This morning I lay in bed paying bills on-line and looking at pornography. I answered e-mails then hauled myself out of bed, into my shorts and onto the street. The Canyon was quite eventful, bumped into David Thomas and his boyfriend. Then, hard on David’s heels, I bumped into the Peters (D&K), Peter D scuttled past me like a reptile but dear, sweet Peter K gave me a big hug. That man is a class act.
A dorky straight couple held up a picture of a nondescript dog, “Have you seen our dog Scruffy?” The plump male one whined. “We have lost our dog, Scruffy”. The female warbled out Scruffy’s name. If I were Scruffy I would be in some kind of witness protection programme, living in Florida.
Last night I went to the Angel Food Project hosted by CAA. Brian Lord and Kevin Huvane doing good works for the local community. Robert Downey Jr., Adrian Brody were there to add a certain Hollywood pizzazz to the mixture of worthy, suited agents clustered around Brian and eager art dealers there to get the best prices for their clients work. Jason Weinberg is a strange man, he seemed pleased to see me then started critiquing my outfit. I was wearing a Bridget Riley inspired tie. The games people play.
My favourite part of the evening was seeing the despicable Doug Christmas not two days after he had been so rude to me. He was standing with Marilyn Heston. I towered over him showering praise on Mrs Heston, chatting about our friends and imminent dinner. Doug tried to make some sort of amusing comment about me but neither Marilyn or I took any notice, Doug’s chicklet teeth framed in a desperate smile.
The auctioneer was a young female New Yorker who quipped all the way though the auction. Although she was very amusing after ten lots her shrill humour grated on me and she took a very long time to get through the 30 lots on sale. Many people left the auditorium before the end. All of the lots sold for well above the reserve except Peter D’s vile friend Konstantine whose ghastly ‘mural’ did not sell at all. They raised a great deal of money for a very worthy cause. I bid on the Philip Taaffee and a particularly beautiful Elliott Hundley.
Everyone from Christie’s very excited about last weeks extraordinary Klimpt prices.
Had dinner with Loren Beck at Wolfgang Puck’s overblown new restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel on Wilshire. Richard Meier, the guy who designed the interior, blatantly drawing on the work of Schindler. All those obvious details, skimpy false buttresses, pale wood elevations. The furniture was terrible; the tables too large, the office type chairs skidding around on casters. The place is simply too austere for my taste. Too much space. Space is not a luxury in LA. The restaurant would have been perfect in New York. We need intimacy and proximity here in this sprawling city. The staff, dressed like prison wardens added to the needlessly oppressive atmosphere. Our waiter was particularly charm less and more interested in flirting with two women on a nearby table. Before our order was taken the suited meat man arrived with a tray of Kobi beef which he introduced to us like his new-born baby. For only $200 a marbled slice it looked as if it could clog your arteries with just one bite. Rather put off by the beef demonstration we ordered a mixture of starters: tongue, beef sashimi, asparagus, and beef tartar. Oddly, Warren Beatty was in the hotel bar looking less leonine than usual, he was drinking with a pretty blond woman.
I spent the greater part of yesterday trying to hunt down curtain rings for the black curtain rods in my sitting room. Needless to say the most obvious places failed me. Ended up in a haberdashery on Labrea about five blocks from where I live.
The previous day I had lunch in Westwood with Paris L and Terry his business partner then hung out with Maury at City bakery. Got home just in time to pull on a suit and drive over to meet Sharon at the Environmental Media Awards where we celebrated outstanding achievement within the Entertainment and Environmental Communities. Bullshit. It was a Lexus event to promote the Prius electric car. Anyway, I met Graham Nash from Crosby Still Nash and Young who is my total hero. I asked about Joni Mitchell. He said, “Joni’s recording an album, she’s angry, really angry”.
Met the boys from Maroon 5 (?)
After the awards Sharon and I were given two huge bags, which we filled with organic produce. There was a man dressed as a cow promoting soy products. We had a lovely time but she went home on her own. As I stood in the line for my car the cow introduced himself to me and we had a coffee together.
I have been spending more time over in Silverlake. On my own, eating breakfast at the little bakery on Silverlake Blvd. Checking it all out. I sat in what would have been my garden on Dillon. Shall I sell Whitstable? Where am I?
November 8, 2006 – Wednesday
It is unseasonably warm. At dinner last night there was more chatter about it being ‘earthquake weather’. Anything unusual with the weather, anything unseasonable is described as ‘earthquake weather’ here in Los Angeles. I have never experienced an earthquake. I do not own an earthquake survival kit. Of course I am aware that keeping my very expensive, hand blown glasses that I bought at Gump ten years ago on an open shelf is frankly ludicrous. Sometimes I lay in my bed and wonder if John and Susan’s bed from the apartment above will come crashing down on top of me when the earthquake finally hits.
The Canyon. Wednesday. 34 dogs. No shouting, no odd behaviour. The view was wonderful. Somewhere in the east there was a smoking chimney. Unusually the smoke was held like a fat flat frying pan around the building, a slim tail drifting onto the horizon. Everything, this morning, looked very calm. Placid. The hills and valleys spread out below me like a magical kingdom. I could not make out anything ambitious, wilful, cruel or selfish from up there on the side of that canyon. I could not hear the jubilant conversations Democrats were having as they celebrated their election victory. I could not see the young homeless woman in the wheel chair that begs on the corner of Hollywood and Vine or the dancing black woman who stands there too. Dancing all day like a Masai warrior, stamping her big black feet on the ground, her mini skirt rising up almost in slow motion as her body twists and turns on the corner of that grimy intersection, listening to music that plays from something she is holding in her hand. All I could make out was the sprawl of humanity.
Monday, went to two AA meetings. Met Sharon on the roof of the Arclight Cinema parking structure, which the AFI had transformed into an amazing party/reception area. Ate curried chicken.
Yesterday I had breakfast at the Chateau M with Stephen Fry. This was the first time since we met two years ago that I did not sit opposite him feeling like I was no more than a well dressed baboon. When he took me to the Garrick I was completely overwhelmed, my long hairy arms negotiating the condiments, my orange fur matted with kedgeree, my huge monkey face full of huge monkey teeth, my black beady eyes gazing around the recently decorated room. When we met in New York and had dinner with Barry Humphries after The Dame Edna show on Broadway I was less embarrassed but kept quiet. I felt more evolved. Yesterday all of my digits felt like they were the right human size. I could understand every word he said and even made him laugh. I ate porridge he ate muesli. He is here in LA writing The Damn Busters for Peter Jackson. We discussed Blair and how Iraq will be cut into his dead heart as Calais was on Mary Queen of Scott’s. We both agreed that if it had not been for Iraq Blair would have left office one of the most important British leaders of all time. SF used to write speeches for TB.
We discussed bi-polarity, AIDS and a film that he wants to make about an obscure Indian mathematician. It was wonderful to see him. He is a very kind man who, I am sure, struggles with his genius.
After breakfast I drove to the DMV off of Willoughby and passed my driving test. I am now the very proud owner of a Californian driving licence. Hurrah.
I had lunch with Clifton in Beverly Hills and bought another pair of shoes. I have since made an agreement with my AA sponsor that I cannot spend any more money. I am out of control. It is so destructive. Bought tickets for Australia. Have to go to NYC for a week in December.
The afternoon was spent listlessly trying to tie up loose ends. Tried getting back my DVD from Doug Christmas who is a nightmare of a human being.
Dinner at the Chateau with MR turned into a bit of a fiasco when he overslept and I was left table-hopping, which can sometimes be fun, but all I really wanted to do was hang out with Sharon. Saw Diego Luna who I am having breakfast with this Thursday. Saw Steve Garbarino who showed me the mock-up for the edition of Blackbook that I am in. It looks fantastic. He was dining with Chloe Sevigny.
Finally called Sharon who was over on Formosa with delightful friends who had prepared delicious feast of tender beef and roast vegetables. They were all a bit drunk and high on the fact that AFM had ended, their AFM ’06 war stories were very funny though. One of the buyers was shown a live action dog film which the asian buyers narrated throughout as there was no sound. “Now look, the bad dogs are coming..” We discussed film sales and how to sell art films. We discussed James Bond. Fierce discussion. Loved it. Went home alone and slept like a log.