There is a week of mayhem to report. A week of extraordinary conduct. A week of moving back east.
I can’t show you his face.
Only in NYC.
Then, I meet a woman who KNOWS all about my film. I mean, she knows the story like an urban myth. But it’s not a myth. It’s the sad truth.
“Oh, I know this story,” she said. Her eyes sparkling with anticipation. “I think he’s my friend on Facebook. Yes, look…” she pulls out her smart phone and there he is. I push the phone away. I shouldn’t be looking at that.
“What was he thinking?” she roars with laughter.
Women love my film. It confirms everything they think they know about men. The injustice of men.
Dead five-year olds. 20 of them.
The children are shot dead by a crazed, entitled white boy. The little bodies buried this week. Lined up against the wall and executed. You know they didn’t have a clue. You know they did as they were told.
I thought about the little dog facing the lethal injection.
A horrific pendant: ten Afghan children are splattered into the mud by a drone.
Somehow their little brown faces are missing from the media. Somehow the little white children in Connecticut are worth more.
We asked you to vote for him, now he’s letting us down all over again. Surprise, fucking surprise.
I saw a man being mugged on the 5 train. Into Manhattan, a stealthy, tall, nimble black man rips an iPhone 4s out of an asian man’s hands leaving him with his ear phones on his head. The rest of us sat amazed.
The white people urged him to call the police but he said, “I’m already late for work.”
I’m buying a parker. It’s lined with blood-red shearling. Like the monkey they found in Ikea.
Dinner in the neighborhood, dinner at the Mercer Kitchen with Courtney, dinner at the Standard Grill with Brock.
Dinner with Cristina who I have not seen for 30 years on the floor of her palatial Upper East Side home. It was as if all those 30 years just melted away. That we were friends again from last week. Funny, compelling, brilliant, beautiful Cristina.
Dinner with new gay AA friends in cheap diners.
Dinner at Mary’s Fish Camp with Benoit. We stop at Boxers (gay bar) on the way home. There’s nothing for us. Benoit peels off leaving me on the street and as I wait for the green light a handsome green eyed man says hello.
At first I wonder why. Why is this stunningly handsome 27-year-old man saying hello to me.
Then we’re in Barracuda kissing each other.
I’m wearing that huge fur hat.
I can’t kiss him any more. I can’t suck any more spit out of his mouth. I can’t look into his green eyes.
I am so overwhelmed by him I walk through the rain until I am soaked to the skin. Wondering how it happens? Wondering how it ends up like this?
All the way home I’m humming Nature Boy to myself.
In the morning my room smells of damp fur.
My calves ache. Why?
It was much easier than one imagined. I walked off the mountain, leaving the dog in the house. I walked the long way down the steep Las Flores Canyon in the blazing midday sun causing blisters and bruising on both feet.
At the bottom of the hill there’s a very convenient bus stop.
What could they be possibly checking?
I liked the ride along the PCH…looking out to sea, watching cormorants bombing the waves and dolphins making their way west. Everything looked very pretty and southofranceafied.
On both trips I met a few disgruntled European tourists who were shocked by the patchy public transportation: how long everything took and general lack of information, schedules etc.
Had I not used my iPhone travel app I’m sure I would have gotten very lost. Maybe that’s what the the mental patients were checking…their route.
Surprisingly I still have a huge amount of shame around taking the bus in LA. Nowhere else do I feel it. Anywhere else it’s just the way things are.
Getting back to Malibu later that evening was miserable so I aborted the mission and caught a cab from Sunset and PCH waiting in a smelly fish restaurant called Gladstone’s until a jolly Georgian cabby picked me up. $30.
On the way home two large dogs dashed across the PCH. They were not killed but I don’t know how they survived. They survived the mad dash. Thank God. The cabby started shouting incoherently at the owner in Russian and English.
“Fuck you!” He screamed. “Fucker!”
As he dropped me off he said, “You can never depend on a man but a dog will never let you down.”
I spent yesterday morning in the garden, planning to hang this huge bronze lantern I found on the street. I need a sturdy chain and a butchers hook.
Capitalizing on my confidence surge I arranged to see my Important Producer Friend. It worked out really well. Before I leave LA/USA for good I have to achieve more than a couple of reality TV shows and a revenge novel…oh, and a beautiful garden.
Perhaps I’m being a little hard on myself.
Anyway, after a few moments of timidity I burst into the pitch with passion and verve. He wants to help. He is able to help. Real power in an illusory town. I felt safe.
Whilst I was with him it was easy to identify what has been missing these last two years.
Let’s look at the facts: I can write an interesting script, develop a great idea, direct a compelling movie. Sell it, promote it, open film festivals worldwide. I can really do that. I’ve done that with all but one of my films.
Because I’ve had the wind punched out of me I just couldn’t find the huge strength required to force the film off of the page and into the world. Perhaps I can? Now I have the energy and focus.
Walking down the mountain to the PCH rather than staying at home and weeding the garden…well, that’s the advice I would have given a good friend. Get off your ass and do the deal.
The miserable veil, today…for the past few days has lifted. Let’s see if it will last.
Watching that evocative twenty year old video enthused and invigorated me. I remembered just how much I have to be proud of. At the time I was making theatre, living an idyllic, simple life in Whitstable. Just returned from six months in Sydney, about to go to Film School, hanging with cool people, making love to beautiful men and mostly very happy.
My early thirties were great fun.
I think that’s obvious from those images.
I wondered what it would take to get back to that place. That happy place? Well, I have to think seriously about this blog. Because of you know who I kept this thing alive and by doing so I kept my connection with him alive. Like a daily letter to him.
It’s hard to imagine not writing this blog. It’s hard to let go.
The personal details that I pump daily into the world must stop. I have to get serious. This blog has become a destructive addiction, just like everything else I do compulsively.
Balls not withstanding. The heavy snow and cold conditions don’t stop me from getting in my little car and driving to Canterbury.
We are only seven miles from one of the most beautiful Cathedrals cities in the world.
Meandering through the snowy Kent countryside listening to BBC Radio 4 I arrived, parked inside the Roman city walls and walked down Palace Street looking for a man to unlock my iPhone. The ancient and the modern.
I love Canterbury, I love the tiny medieval streets, the busy shops. I ended up buying a cell phone…as it looks as if I maybe here for longer than I anticipated and I have to keep in contact with the hospital. I bought the correct adaptors and leads etc for my lap top so I no longer need to pop into Georgina’s and use hers.
The economy seems really good. Really good. The shops are packed with paying customers. We are well out of recession. It’s like the British are embarrassed to let the American’s know that our economy is just fine.
The average British person really doesn’t have a clue just how bad things are in the USA. No idea at all. They don’t know about the unemployment, the foreclosures, the corruption or the burgeoning right-wing tea party movement. They are oblivious to Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck.
One day very soon they will wake up to a very different America and a very different world run by ignorant, xenophobic thugs.
All of the little restaurants and gift shops are packed with customers in Whitstable too. The Whitstable shopping equivalent: Venice CA the shops on the main drag Abbot Kinney are still boarded up.
If things are fine why is the government hell-bent of dealing so aggressively with what is evidently a self solving problem like the deficit? THE DEFICIT!
This British government is forcing austerity upon the nation because? Because the people have had things so good for so long?
This country is not falling apart, seems very stable and prosperous from what I can see..but under the guise of the DEFICIT reduction plan this new government stealthily returns to Thatcher type fiscal/social conservatism. The class havoc deliberately caused with unnecessary job reduction ends up merely furthering their class war aims.
Governments like drama.
British Governments, like Hollywood studio execs, cause problems so that they can be seen to fix them. The people, our British people, unlike the sleepy time/weed brained/prozaced citizens of my adopted home the USA…we will get off our angry asses and break some windows. Make our voices heard. No, you bloody can’t start charging our children for a university education…something you had for free. NO.
Thanks to the bankers to whom we are already indebted in so many, many ways we can give extra thanks that we can now officially add the innocuous word deficit to the list of things we are encouraged to fear. Along with Asylum Seeker, ASBO, global warming, that millennium bug thing (remember that?) and, of course…terrorist.
DEFICIT=TERRORIST. Something abstract and confusing to be frightened of.
In the UK everybody complains about their gas bill and it’s true that utility bills here are out of control…a recent price hike of 40%. Where the people have no option the corporation steps in and gouges whatever it can. Same as the Insurance industry. The law states that you must buy car insurance so the insurance industry just demands what ever it likes from whom ever it likes.
You want to know about the hospital? The German oncologist was very nice. Do you need to know more? We wait for further test results. Who could have foreseen that a jolly German oncologist would make his way center stage into my life.
I actually feel a great deal better already. I just trust European doctors more than American doctors and they agreed that me coming here was the best possible thing to do. Not having to worry about paying a huge amount of money to anyone anytime soon for what should be a human right sure takes the pressure off.
After it was all over at the surgery I came home and lay down under a pile of blankets and fell asleep. What with the Jake stuff this has not been a great year. Not one of my best. Not a great vintage.
The little dog just hates the snow and who can blame him? His little paws are soaked in cold water up to the ankles. He tags along after me very bravely.
last night Carol cooked a delicious dinner here at the house and we greedily scoffed baked potatoes, ham and a delicious salad made of crunchy endive and baby tomatoes and watercress.
Seeing Charlie tomorrow and others in London. Going to risk the roads in my little car.
Oh yes…I read yesterday that somebody somewhere in the US press demanded that Obama get some ‘backbone’. How dare anyone ask President Obama to have ‘backbone’ when his constituents lack any kind of skeleton what so ever.
In Obama the liberals chose a limp shield made of skin (albeit black) and gristle behind which to gripe about their own inertia.
I found a book of photography called Chaos by Josef Koudelka at my house in Malibu that Kristian gave me for my birthday some years ago. In it he wrote:
“I thought this book was very apt. Life is never black and white yet always flowing with chaos. I feel this book goes some small way to prove that even in chaos there is beauty.”
It was lovely to find his note. A message from Kristian, from the past. The past, where we must leave him.
I had to make some huge and grown up decisions today. Decisions and about romance and finance. The two are unconnected yet have been hideously intertwined as I grappled with one or the other for the past few months.
As my fear of financial ruin overwhelmed me I turned to him to deliver me from the truth. Today, I just had to face my unfortunate situation head on.
My financial insecurity is undoubtedly connected to uncomfortable feelings of self-worth, prestige and power. The romance I want but cannot have. Some things are just not meant to be. It is challenging to come to terms with these sorts of truths but as I have written here in this blog on many occasions when I do make decisions they are swift and sure. Something, actually, Drew Pinsky taught me whilst I was on the sex rehab show.
I have deliberately avoided talking about either the romance or the finance on this blog but more importantly I have kept it secret to those who love me best. Fuck, it is exhausting keeping secrets. I really hate it. I have no intention of going into any specific detail about the romance or the finance right now. All you need to know is that I sat with John after the cake was cut and the presents were opened and told him everything I had been hiding for the past few months. Phew.
As we all know: the truth will set you free.
I let go of a secret I was determined to keep. Everything I have ever let go of has been relinquished unwillingly. With claw marks all over what ever was finally gone.
Deep down I am as sure as I ever was that everything will turn out just the way it was meant to be. I believe in my fate.
My relationships burn like super novae in the cosmos then shrink and die. I have an opportunity right now to make a different set of choices: taking contrary action, living in acceptance and handing over what ever gives me pain to my higher power.
Just a few days away from my trip to Europe where I will celebrate a hefty milestone. I have chosen to travel with a close friend. Someone I love but not a lover. We (and The Little Dog) will explore London and Paris. For the sake of The Little Dog we will once again visit the wallabies in the Jardin des Plantes that my darling, loyal pet found utterly spell binding when we visited Paris last Autumn. I am sure he must have thought that they were the biggest squirrels he had ever seen.
Am I prepared to walk away with dignity? From people, places and things?
What I own is not who I am. Who I love cannot define me. Of course I would love to be in love with a man who loved me as much as I loved him.
I have come a very long way this past year. The road to serenity, self-love, sexual sobriety is littered with the corpses of those who could not.
I must have buried 30 people during the last 12 years, killed by addiction. Overdose, suicide, etc. Every one my hero for keeping me sober. Each and every one.
This evening I celebrated my friend’s daughter’s 5th birthday. I sat with his family and watched his happy little girl blow out the candles on her cake. After supper I wandered into Soho House on my own and found people I knew to take my mind off of the grueling aloneness. I am not lonely, I just can’t be bothered to make the effort to accept the invitation nor get in the car and drive to people who genuinely love me.
On my way home, as if by magic, friends called me. Emails arrived, text messages appeared on the screen of the iPhone and I was wrenched away from the promise of a night of self-pity. I can be such a pig at that particular trough.
I said to him the other night that what I found so hard to let go of was the promise of enduring love. The door had been opened then slammed shut. I am the wise uncle, asexual, decrepit yet ultimately willing to be of service to those who need me.
Without the crutches of objectification, intrigue and seduction I can some times flounder. I can sometimes fall. Late at night, when all hope is gone I wonder who will catch me? Who will catch me when I fall?
For a moment back then, I thought it might be you. I thought, foolishly, that it might be YOU. I thought it was you when I was 20, 30, 40 and now. Being in love with Richard in my twenties. I was heartbroken when he would flirt with girls. At my birthday party on Island Wall, Whitstable my Mother saw the pain I was in and tried to reach out to me but shame got in the way.
The legacy of shame.
Love has always been my goal. To be loved. I crave love the way most men crave sex.
I told him: I’m really scared that I will never love again. That I will never be loved. How could I have got this so wrong? To believe that love was possible, enduring and could be one day mine?
From out of the chaos comes beauty. It will give me succour when all else fails. I am going to Europe to fill my heart and soul with art and architecture. To walk the streets and parks of two great cities. To explore what it might have been like to be loved. I know that when I get back he will be gone. It is our swan song, our last hurrah. But before I write the end I must enjoy the journey. I must not fear the future nor have unrealistic expectations, I must set aside my shame and feel the sun on my face, in my heart.
Just seen all the furor about Stephen Gately. Even though Jan Moir is a bona fide cunt we must not lose sight of the fact that there is a crystal meth/sex epidemic sweeping the gay community, that new HIV infections in gay men are increasing insanely and syphilis is back with a vengeance.
There is no debate what so ever about the way we treat ourselves. Any criticism by straights is considered homophobic and any attempt at healthy debate by those of us who care passionately about our collective mental health is described as self loathing.
It’s easy to slash at Moir’s ugly mug it’s not so easy to look at her crude message and learn from it. Some of what that ghastly woman hinted at may be true. It’s a pity that we weren’t having that conversation first.
I recently put grindr on my iPhone and had to take it off within a week as with gaydar/manhunt/adam4adam etc. I became immediately addicted to the endless stream of available men within meters of wherever I was. We are NOT like straight people. We behave quite differently and it does us no good to pretend otherwise.
I have learned a great deal about shame based behavior in therapy and as a community of men we are particularly vulnerable.
Certainly from my experience as a drug toting slag I ended up feeling soulless and plagued by shame.
Gately may not have died because of excessive drug use, sex addiction etc. but many gay men are. Perhaps we need to start getting honest about what is really going on in our community rather than let the Daily Mail read between the lines.