Things change between some people and some things never change.
Back at home in Chelsea after two glorious days in Whitstable. The train to London was filled with fat women with no teeth from Ramsgate. The Little Dog sat on his lap all the way here. They are my strange family of travelling souls.
The house in Chelsea is neat and cool. We are sleeping in a huge room painted a dirty rose color. Phil bought us new toothbrushes. The cupboards are filled with boxes marked BOOKS AND PLATES. Knowing that I love them Phil found two gilded (ormolu I think) stork shaped candlesticks for the dining room table. In our room she filled a vase of my favorite pink peonies. I moved them into the kitchen so I can look at them whilst I write. Phil has a lanky, 11 month old, wolf-like lurcher called William who irritates both of us by leaping all over our bed. Her 15-year-old daughter Moffy is going to be a model and this morning there are other very elegant girls sleeping on the drawing room sofas, their handbags overflowing with cigarettes, condoms and tampons.
The companion is in bed moaning at Phil’s dog that wants to be his friend. “Out, out!” William skulks away, unwanted.
We arrived in London yesterday, the hottest day here so far this year. It was still 88 degrees at midnight when we sat on the steps in front of the house, drinking tea, explaining to the travelling companion what coal holes were and how they worked.
The house is much bigger than I remembered it.
After a lovely lunch at La Famiglia (I ate ham and figs) we walked up the Kings Road to the Designer’s Guild summer sale and hankered after a beautiful chair and a bulbous teapot.
Last night we drove to Battersea Park and walked for two hours. The Little Dog is happier in London than anywhere else we visit. He is free to run and leap and now he has a new friend to play with-even though their new friendship started off with growls and snapping.
Nobody knows how to access the wifi so neither of us automatically reaches for our phones or laptops as soon as our eyes open. It is very therapeutic not having the Internet so freely available.
Less eager to check my emails, more of an event to do so. We have to walk to the Starbucks on the Kings Road and drink warm iced coffee.
I really shouldn’t be so eager to placate myself with the soothing, addictive page after page of regular web sites I open every morning.
Even though we are only half way through our adventure I am already dreading having to deal with LA and the eventual closing down of my life in the USA.
I didn’t mention that the travelling companion bumped into (of all people) Cary Fukunaga in Wheelers the Oyster Bar in Whitststable. He is here directing Jane Eyre. He was with the actress playing Jane Eyre – Mia Wasikowska who was Tim Burton‘s Alice. Even before I knew who he was he had an air about him that reeked of unbridled entitlement. It came as no surprise to hear that he directs-we are all the same. All directors have that air about them that may indicate that he is indeed the real deal. Time will tell. He wanted a table in the back room but Anita refused to give him one. If only he had been a little softer, more charming, he would have gotten what he wanted.
Travelling companion and I are having a lovely time. Not without consternation but actually and mostly we laugh and try to make sense of our odd friendship.
There was something inevitable about this I suppose. Though there is an emotional imbalance and sexual disparity that is more revealed as we spend time together. I understand – who wouldn’t? It’s just the way things are.
We may know each other a little too well.
I have never, ever thought of love as anything other than fleeting. Being here in London has filled the hole, the gaping, yearning hole that rots my life from the inside out. London! Look around you! The art, the architecture, the color and movement inspire and nourish.
Phil is off to a woman’s Buddhist retreat for the day.
Is this Sunday? I think so. We are thinking about extending our trip. Staying in London longer, maybe going to Berlin.
Anyway, another day has passed since I wrote the above and even though we are in the very heart of London there is something oddly bucolic about this house.
Saturday morning we walked up the Kings Road toward Sloane Square. Where the Duke of York’s Barracks used to be, there is now a food market that sells delicious looking food from all over the world, Caribbean, Mediterranean, British (of course), Indian etc. etc. We ate curried goat and rice. Delicious.
(We were going to have lunch at the Blue Bird restaurant but who ever now owns it is not taking much care. The staff were rude and unhelpful. The tables dirty, the food uninspiring. It used to be so elegant.)
Bought ourselves Oyster cards and after a long walk through Eton Square and the back of Belgravia we caught a bus to Piccadilly Circus and hung out in Soho House. He drank champagne and I coffee and fizzy water. The staff brought the little dog a plastic box of water and a chicken breast.
After ‘lunch’ we walked back toward Bond St stopping in at Richard James which used to be so glorious but now looks a bit sad, the staff all puffed up and arrogant.
Popped into the new Louis Vuitton store, which is, I am very sad to say, TOTALLY VILE! Packed with retail-obsessed tourists this monstrous, badly conceived, gaudily decorated ‘shop’ was also swarming with London’s boys in blue. Policemen and women who I assume had been called to deal with a shoplifting incident. It was almost Dickensian, the rich and the poor come to the emporium to either buy or steal.
We popped into APC and he bought a jacket that he is desperate to wear because he looks incredibly chic in it. We are teaching him how to buy beautiful things. Every gay man needs a style mentor. He is so lucky to be a small to medium. The summer sales here are stuffed with small to medium bargains. 50%/70% off everything with plenty of room for negotiation..one can easily get a further 10% off of everything.
I bought a teapot and six cups and a milk jug for my new life in London.
Anyway, we wended our way home. It was incredibly hot. We lay down and slept for a little while.
At 8ish Phil stuffed us in her car and drove to Hampstead where we saw Diana Krall then after..believe it or not..we went to Cary Fukunaga’s birthday party. My opinion of him did not alter much. We are both quite awkward but he gets to drink. We are both quite competitive but he is 32. We are both talented but John Lyons wants to suck his cock and not mine.
Is Cary Fukunaga gay? Probably.
We met a delightful lesbian and an odd gay boy who started craving shots and drugs and became so very dull. We sat in the most beautiful garden and smoked cigarettes. The gay boy told us about all the thrilling gay club/bar opportunities that we could have in East London.
On the way home he sleepily laid his head on my shoulder and drunkenly told me all manner of charming things but I am acutely aware that I am still on guard. I know that if just one person says just one cruel word about these two men together I would kill them. Too many men in big cities are killed by homophobes and I am not going to be one of them. Consequently, whenever it may be apparent that we are gay in public my fist is clenched just in case some fool wants to try killing us.
We were home by 3.30am.