They had the complexion of wealth, that white complexion that is heightened by the pallor of porcelain, the sheen of satin, the luster of fine furniture, and is kept in perfect condition by a moderate diet of exquisite foods. Those who were beginning to age seemed youthful, while those who were young had a certain look of maturity. Their faces wore that placid expression which comes from the daily gratification of the passions; and beneath their polished manners one could sense the special brutality that comes from half-easy triumphs which test one’s strength and flatter one’s vanity.
We drove from Provincetown yesterday, leaving the pretty streets, the clapboard houses and verdant gardens to Bear Week. Thousands of large, hairy shouldered men smiling and engaging not scowling or isolating like the circuit boys who infested the town two weeks previously during the 4th July celebration.
The past six weeks in Provincetown were, on the whole, a great deal of fun. I met a huge assortment of extraordinary and not so extraordinary people. I saw people I knew from LA and NYC. I met men and women from DC, Nashville and Florida. Mostly enjoying their week off, some of them… not so much. Americans get so few vacations.
The A gays who live in Provincetown were kind and considerate. They have beautiful homes and make them readily available to those they trust.
The extraordinary designer Ken Fulk has restored a perfect gem of a house in The East End where I was privileged to spend the 4th July and then see photographed by famed society doyenne Douglas Friedman for Elle Decor. Editor Robert Ruffino scampering around arranging flowers wearing his Florentine winkle pickers.
The walls are the color of raspberry mousse, the windows frames and architrave painted chocolate-brown.
My birthday dinner: an anonymous donor very kindly paid for.
I really didn’t know anyone very well at my party, except Michael Goff and Michael Cunningham. So when it came to making my speech, after the candle was snuffed, I said: “I don’t know any of you at all… but this delightful group of strangers came together to celebrate the birthday of another stranger… and with such magnanimity it brings tears to my eyes.”
The following day I told someone from the party that I had no intention of making friends with him beyond Provincetown because our friendship could only flourish on the Cape. He looked a little perplexed but one has to be realistic. When we return to the city a tsunami of gay gossip will drown the truth and ones expectations will be dashed.
The utterly adorable Michael Cunningham (who I had known previously through Amelia Rizo) made a necklace for my birthday. We sat in his exquisitely decorated water front home, surrounded by magnificent art, picking out trinkets for a silver chain. I had a moment of unrestrained excitement as I realized that a Pulitzer Prize winning author, writer of The Hours, was making me a birthday present with his bare hands. He continued, throughout my stay, to delight and engage. We discussed Emma Bovary. We… of a certain age, share the same literary starting blocks… but he won the race.
We talked about Neil Bartlett‘s beautiful book Who Was That Man. Required reading for any young gay.
There were many occasions these past weeks when I noticed how relaxed I was, at peace, living in my own body, inhabiting the life I have rather than the life I thought I wanted. There were, of course, other occasions when a face from the past popped into view and caused momentary consternation. The vile, blond publicist/image consultant, owner of Black Frame Brian Phillips who, wether he likes it or not, is in my social orbit but never bothers to be cordial. Or the ex boyfriend Chris Shipman who cycled around town with his thin calves and sad eyes. I ignored the ex and engaged with fey Brian Phillips who sat in his chair as I forcefully reminded him what an evil cunt he can be and how he seems unable to keep and love another man due to his crippling narcissism.
I met Jim Lande, producer of the hit burlesque/freak show Audition and talked about his flawed film: Love is Strange directed by Ira Sachs. Shown at The Provincetown Film Festival this beautifully shot and directed film promises so much but fails to deliver… relying on coincidence and melodrama. The film lacks any real emotion. Two old gay married men separated by circumstance and bad choices. Could have been brilliant but… wasn’t.
I kept away from the drag shows and the theatrical events but I saw Ryan Landry‘s inventive and surreal Pantomime: Snow White and The Seven Bottoms which reminded me of Charles Ludlam. Go see this if you can.
I spent a great deal of time chatting with the adorable Andrew Sullivan and his husband Aaron Tone. The gays, on the whole, are openly hostile to Andrew, they accuse him of being a ‘traitor to the gays’ because he aggressively posits an alternative view. Our politics couldn’t be more different yet we agreed about so much, mainly our loathing of powerful lobby groups like AIPAC, GLAAD and the HRC. I found him to be gracious and engaging.
Andrew told fascinating stories about his private dinners with President Obama, his short-lived stay in NYC, the history of his three-legged dog. We sat outside The Wired Puppy coffee shop on Commercial Street where I witnessed at first hand the disdain the gays show him and the delight straight people have… in equal measure.
The white gays may never understand his POV because by now they think they rule the world.
I spent time with Michael Goff and Andy Towle in town to promote their site towleroad.com, we greeted the first of the bears at the dock with 20 drag Goldilocks who boasted that they had eaten all the porridge. We sat in their charming house and ate whatever they had in their fridge. We took my friend Caroline Reid to a Bear-B-Q, Caroline is cult performer PamAnn. We took her to more bear events where she was the only woman. Her fans adore her.
And that was that. There were other amusing people to play with who I haven’t mentioned. There were less amusing people who I hope I never see again.
Thanks Provincetown and… adieu.
Go, then! Then go to the moon-you selfish dreamer!
I left Fire Island on Wednesday. Driving north with my Persian friend Iliad. The clouds were low, the air muggy and thick. We took the ferry from Orient Point to New London, there was a British aristocrat on the ferry stitching needle point. Beautiful raspberry and pistachio coloured yarn.
My intention is to return to Fire Island… maybe…. next month. The last couple of days there blighted by torrential rain and chilly winds. Friends came, David visited from NYC for the day and Lorne made an appearance but mainly to fetch his forgotten/lost bag.
May proved to be chillier than I remember. Memorial Day and the biscotti queens came and went. John, the owner of the house arrived and made everything broken… work. I cooked a huge dinner and he and his friends the Scots seemed to love it. Andrew from Dover Street Market swept in wearing incredibly chic pants. John baked Halibut en cocotte.
During the week those of us who stayed were thrown together at the Canteen (I think they call it The Cultured Elephant) and it’s true when they say that one makes gay acquaintances in the city and gay friends on Fire Island. I got to hang with the resort staff who are genuinely the sweetest, most handsome men… see above. They have a grueling season ahead of them, working the bars, the clubs, the hotel and the restaurants. Only the most robust will survive. It’s a tough, unforgiving business serving entitled, demanding gay men. The day before I headed North one of the newbies left the island in tears, torn apart by gay unreasonableness.
I met Joey the little person who is a particularly inspiring soul. I was in awe of his ability to be the hugest man in his little body. He has a captivating story.
Everyone has a Fire Island Pines story. There are love affairs and breakups, tears on the boardwalk and fights in the elegant cedar homes. There are couples and thruples and orgies, there are undignified old men last gasping for their youth. Wide eyed first timers arrive on the ferry, amazed that such a place as Fire Island Pines exists. I remember that day, the first day Joe-Baily brought me to Fire Island 25 years ago. I will never forget it.
Everyone has a story. I was told one hundred times by stick thin youths that they were too fat or not pretty enough to meet the man of their dreams. They told me that boys talk to them in real life like they do on Grindr. “Hung?” as an opening gambit. “Party?” “Looking?” The single word pick up. So lazy and charmless. I did not envy them, these young boys… so far from serenity. Of course, not all young gay boys are wracked with self-doubt. I met young gay men who were comfortable and confident and conquering all… whilst the vulnerable fell by the wayside or let old men blow them at the dick dock.
There’s a degree of gay anarchy on the island. Every one of the local laws are broken every day by almost everyone.
The AA meetings are vile. The recovering alcoholics looking down their nose at those who drink and take drugs. I met a dozen gay men who were once sober who now drink… taken out by a beautiful boy and a meth pipe.
One story particularly moved and disturbed me. A grey eyed, erudite black boy no more than 28 years old who works for a renowned artist. We met on the beach and he described his Fire Island experience. He was embarrassed to tell me that he had encountered a great deal of racism during his time at The Pines. There are few black people on Fire Island and now I know why.
I made it to Ptown. I had dinner with Benoit the night I arrived, we ate fish and chips. The ex-gay story he wrote for the New York Times Magazine is now a film produced by Gus Van Sant, starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto. I am very proud of him. Except… it’s another entirely white cast. Why? Why? Why?
Yesterday, a local fisherman brought two pounds of freshly caught lobster knuckles that we shucked for dinner.
The dogs loved Fire Island. They miss it! Dude and The Little Dog bounding up the boardwalk, chasing rabbits and deer. They are a little more restricted here even though we live directly on the beach and they are allowed to walk unleashed. Today we walked a mile or so to the West End and visited the pier shack where Tennessee Williams wrote The Glass Menagerie on a stolen type writer.
My favorite and the most obviously poignant Tennessee Williams line from The Glass Menagerie:
I didn’t go to the moon, I went much further-for time is the greatest distance between two places.
Which made me think momentarily about Jake B who I kinda owe my love of both Cape Cod and the Catskills. Both of whom he introduced me. If he hadn’t mentioned them with such fondness… I wouldn’t have explored them years later. There are times when I wonder about those crazy few months with Jake. They sure seem indelible. There are brief moments when I wish I could pick up the phone and ask him how he is and what his life is like now. Then I think better of it and let the memory, the moment… the past… slip back into the black, bombazine black water of what was but could never be.
I wonder if Michael Alig hated the movie Party Monster as much as I did?
I wonder if someone at Fenton Baily’s World of Wonder who filmed Alig’s ‘reactions’ whilst he watched the docudrama about himself… paid him? I can’t imagine that he won’t be on Fenton’s payroll before the year is out, just like his friend and the gay douche James St. James… who I was once bored to meet in LA with Ian Drew.
Meanwhile, the soggy Michael Musto pretends Alig is a very bad man yet seems secretly in awe, unable to stop writing about him. There are articles about Alig everywhere in the gay press. Of course, The Gay Voices section in The Huffington Post want his ‘opinion’ about EVERYTHING.
The gay frenzy around Alig’s release from prison is beyond macabre. What does Michael Alig think about the progression of gay rights? What does Alig think about the overturn of DOMA? Does he have an opinion about the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?
Am I crazy? This murderer gets out of jail. A murderer who dismembers another gay man and we ask his opinion about DOMA?
For those of you who don’t know Michael Alig… and there are many… Michael Alig (born South Bend, Indiana, April 29, 1966) is the co-founding member of the Club Kids, a group of young club goers led by Alig and his long-time best friend James St. James in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1996, Alig pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Andre “Angel” Melendez in a confrontation over a drug debt.
If Michael were a straight, white guy getting out of jail for killing and dismembering another man… would other straight people be fascinated by what he had to say about… the Affordable Care Act? Mind you, if he was a black man… we wouldn’t ever hear his opinion about anything… because he would still be in jail, convicted of first degree murder rather than the white man’s sop… manslaughter.
It’s so exciting to have him home in New York City! Let’s read more about Michael Alig in Vanity Fair! Imagine what it must be like to be free after 17 years! Everything’s so incredibly different! Here… play with this. It’s called a smart phone. These are ‘apps’.
Michael Alig tweet his fans. Michael looks at Manhattan as he crosses an unnamed bridge into the city and has a moment of trepidation . Did he remember dumping Angel’s body into the East River? Alig drinks Starbucks and eats Arctic Char. He scarcely seems like a man who would murder and dismember another gay man as he eloquently discusses fish seasoning.
Later, Michael forgets to take a shower because no one is telling him to wash. It’s ‘amusing’ to see Michael use Grindr for the first time and wonder if and when he hooks up… will he tell his on-line fancy… the truth? Will he conceal his true identity? The truth about his murdering and dismembering past… huh? Are you kidding? Nobody tells the truth on Grindr. A world of wonder… indeed.
“Michael you’re my hero.” The young gays squeal on social media. ‘We still love you!’ ‘You helped me become the man I am today.’ The elder ones tweet: ‘You made me true to myself.’
Michael Alig has become our best, brightest and newest gay celebrity. Hankering for a second chance in a country that loathes giving second chances to anyone. He will become a living legend, his gay apotheosis assured by Fenton Baily and Michael Musto who may make fortunes from Alig’s gruesome celebrity. Nor must we forget Ramon Fernandez, director of the upcoming documentary Glory Daze: The Life and Times of Michael Alig, he too expects to win big riding on Alig’s murder and mayhem.
No doubt Alig will be invited to GLAAD events, his crimes diminished by celebrity and pithy comments about hetero normative gay life… he will champion individuality, he will sit at The World of Wonder table with Ru Paul. He will work tirelessly for the HRC.
Michael Alig will be loathed and loved in equal measure when in fact… he should be totally ignored.
Meanwhile, a truly talented filmmaker kills himself. Malik Bendjelloul, director of Oscar winning film Searching for Sugar Man. When I heard it, your personal story moved me. It’s tough to be a star. I know what you went through. I was there for a moment too. Same age. It’s very disconcerting, all that attention after years of solitude. Making art in a vacuum… then Hollywood comes calling with their lies and false promises.
Two different tales, different intentions. Two very different filmmakers.
Fenton Baily and Ramon Fernandez add a miserable, self indulgent post script to a stark and soulless documentary making themselves more money from the death and dismemberment of a brown man… no doubt delighting other soulless white people… whist you dear Malik made an inspiring documentary that touched the hearts of many and was so deserving of the international acclaim it received.
Sometimes it seems like a shit, shit world. A world where people like a gay drug addict and murderer Michael Alig get all the attention on exactly the same day a brilliant man like Malik Bendjelloul ends his own life.
Rest in Peace.
I bought a huge green fur hat from Marc Jacobs. It’s very warm, very green and attracts many, many comments.
The people who comment fall into three distinct groups.
1. The people who comment most are African-American men and women who approach me with huge smiles and open hearts and say wonderful things about the hat.
They tell me how happy it makes them. They ask where they could get one. They love the color. They hold me at the checkout at Trader Joe’s and ask if they can touch it. Black school kids holler across the street.
2. White woman tentatively tell me how much they like it, how warm they imagine it is. They rarely look me in the eye and their diminished confidence allows them only the slightest… but genuine opinion.
3. Gay men. I sighed writing that. Gay men. I sighed again.
When gay white men (strangers) talk to me about my hat it is always with sneering disregard. They go out of their way to say something catty and unpleasant. They look at me witheringly, their comments infused with: who do you think you are wearing that absurd hat? They dress compliments up in such a way that confuses the listener.
If the African-Americans who complement my hat had not done so I would have nothing to compare the responses of the gays. I might think I was going crazy. But I’m not.
We all know what a heartfelt compliment sounds like and the gays seem incapable of giving one… unless (of course) they want to get laid.
Here are more pictures of our brief stay in Malibu and our trip home.
The Little Dog is, as usual, very chill. He becomes more trusting as he gets older.
I spent two days in the hospital having a stent removed from my gall bladder. Yes, I did.
I had dinner with Fern Mallis… who, as you know, invented fashion week.
After dinner we decided to attend the Giorgio Armani One Night Only event.
When we arrived we were whisked off to meet Armani who refuses to speak english but spoke english to Fern… because Fern is a legend.
On Sunday we went to the doggy Halloween parade in Tompkins Square Park but we couldn’t be bothered to wait in line.
In Woodstock we met a man wearing a lovely sweater.
I met a friend of Wendy Asher’s.
The hedge fund billionaire who owned the apartment also owned a perfect Nakashima coffee table.
The lounge is perfectly beautiful and looks like the Beverly Hills Hotel interior on Acid.
This is my Halloween costume:
It is a paper napkin with two slits torn into it.
The following day I went back to Woodstock to look at a lake house I want to buy.
This is me and The Little Dog in the view taken by Angelo:
Before I start. Before I show you more pretty pictures.
(I am loyal to those I love.)
I have something to say.
Something that needs capitalized.
I want to remind you that ARTISTS WILL PREVAIL. Unfalteringly. However or how often they are plagued by false accusation or malicious slur. However their friends are forced to defend them. Everything gets added to the pot.
The older, the more immune one becomes. I hear it all. Before… it made me crazy. Now I am inured. Eventually those who dare say it are forced to face me. Try stopping me.
These plebeians. No, no, no.
I was house hunting this weekend upstate. Looking at pretty interiors. Imagining cottage gardens. The full, fleshy petals of pale pink peony around the house. Imagining blackberries and apple. Dahlia in the autumn.
I spent most of last week staying with friends on Fire Island.
The Island community has all but vanished for the season. I spent my time writing and rewriting the script… exploring abandoned holiday houses and taking pictures of them.
I walked most days to the Canteen, a little coffee shop, and sat with a dwindling cast of island stragglers.
When I returned to the city I moved into my glorious apartment on Gramercy Park.
I am having a very Manhattan experience. Doormen, broken elevators, great views, little old lady neighbours.
The best thing about this apartment? It’s so damned cheap.
Returned to see Rufus Wainwright and support a friend’s charity.
I hung at SPiN with Franck and ate sliders and spicy chicken.
I was invited to the RRL Motorcycle party and sank into a mire of Americana.
Occasionally I would take the L to Brooklyn and see old friends.
All in all it has been a very easy return to Manhattan. Heading East. Heading in the right direction.
At some point I walked the dogs and eventually I made it to my bed.
I’m trying to write everything down but somehow the past few weeks have blurred into one long delicious adventure.
NYC and back again in the car.
Let me remember.
I drove east through death valley and this was the temperature:
I drove through Utah during the day which was very wise. Utah is very beautiful. Devastatingly beautiful.
You see. I can’t find the words.
I stopped in Des Moines and enjoyed the state building and the wonderful contemporary sculpture park given to the community by John and Mary Pappajohn, a Des Moines venture capitalist and his wife.
I met a young hair dresser with blue hair.
I stopped in Chicago and met a huge football player.
I spent the 4th July in Chicago. The Fireworks terrified Dude, my little brown dog.
I arrived in NYC. Just in time for the horrible heat wave.
It was so hot I had to leave the dogs inside the apartment during the day or risk them dying of heat exhaustion.
I sat uncomfortably in AA meetings.
I stayed on the upper west side. A block from Central Park.
We walked every day off leash at dawn around the Great Lawn. We saw beautiful young men exercising. We, being me and the dogs.
I met a beautiful man in the street and kissed him.
Why was I there?
I had gone east to reclaim my gayness after months of feeling like an ex-gay. Hanging onto the word queer as the only way to describe my isolation from the gays.
I spent my birthday at the cloisters with Richy.
I read from my blog at a Lower East Side gallery and they paid me for doing so.
I met more interesting people on the street.
I helped a friend edit his movie.
I rented a small house on Cedar Walk but didn’t spend any time there at all.
From the moment I arrived I had one extraordinary experience after another.
I met cool people, and coveted their things.
I was invited into their homes and onto their yachts, I met their friends and ate their food. I returned their hospitality by paying for them as and when they would let me.
I walked to Cherry Grove where I had breakfast with John Walters.
I had dinner with Andy Tobias…
… in my favorite Fire Island Pines home.
I met a gang of charming gay men from NYC who were kind and considerate.
I spent time with all of them in the city once I returned.
This one is called Jon.
As I let myself fall into the gay Fire Island days I began to remember how much fun being gay is. Even if I was sober and a little bit older.
I walked the beach.
I had a huge old man crush on this beautiful boy:
Who worked here:
I saw Justin Bond.
I looked in at the house where we lived for so many years.
And I met more men.
I spent time on my own. I found an abandoned cock ring on the board walk.
I walked miles of boardwalks with the dogs who came home covered in tiny ticks.
I finally met a beautiful man who left for India but lives in Paris who stole my head/heart.
I was so god damned happy.
The morning after the Pines Party I prepared to leave.
After ten days I took the ferry, then another ferry to Provincetown.
I rented a small apartment on the beach and met more men.
I hung with my friend Benoit Denizet Lewis but the sparkle that used to exist between us has gone.
We explored the graveyard. We found Norman Mailer’s grave and a pretty headstone with a small dog carved into it.
I ate a great deal but didn’t put on any weight as I walked so many miles every day.
I found this beautiful ceramic mirror frame:
I met more men.
Eventually I drove back to New York and stayed with friends. This is their view:
I partied with Jeremy Kost…
…and his friend.
I had dinner with Dan at Mary’s Fish Camp.
I had dinner with Thom at my club on the roof by the pool:
I wore this chic watch:
We worked on my film.
Then, after another week in the city I took the car all the way home again.
I met a hitch hiker who travelled all the way to California. His name is Albert.
I stayed in The Lincoln Hotel in Chicago.
I stayed in Denver.
I stayed in Utah.
We drove from Cedar City to LA in half a day.
We drove up the mountain in Malibu, up the drive and finally slept in our own bed.
It has been misty and cool.
It is a black day for the international LGBTQ community.
He is presently kept alive by a tangle of opalescent tubes.
In Russia activists are targeted by government sponsored bullies.
In London intellectuals are beaten to the ground by members of the EDL.
Trans people are murdered every day all over the world, often without investigation.
Have you heard? There is, amongst the general population, a perceived inevitability about LGBTQ equality.
Some amongst us are becoming complacent. Bloated on the success we think we have.
Basking in the support we think we get from the President. In fact we are silenced by him.
His words over deeds have silenced us.
We must speak up. Continue to challenge. Continue to be seen.
We must not shirk our responsibility to queer martyrs like Clément Méric.
Speak up. Heckle.
I congratulate Ellen. Finally, a voice for the queer poor heard over the screaming voices of the queer rich.
Listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.
Remember. As we strive for parity there will be those with equal and opposite views.
There will be violence.
There will be those who will kill an 18-year-old queer boy because they can.
The women’s movement of the 1920s, side-tracked for a generation until the 1960s, with so many needlessly broken lives and life expectations as a result.
Queer people are being attacked all over the world: Paris, Moscow, New York, London by increasingly emboldened haters.
As we demand equality in the workplace, the home and in the establishment these attacks will become more frequent.
We must, whether we like it or not, form a true LGBTQ alliance not only in name but in practice.
It is too late for fear to drive us into the shadows. We are out. We are visible.
We need to be more fearless and more visible.
This means YOU.
This means ME.
Reading about Clément Méric this morning, looking at his sweet, boyish profile… I began to question my own behavior.
I have, of late, let resentment toward the gays shape my own kind of homophobia.
For those of you who have read my blog these past couple of years the provenance of this loathing may seem understandable.
Today, I need to jettison those resentments.
If I truly believe in this fight… I have to accept those I detest as my queer brothers and sisters.
The days are long, hot and sultry.
91 degrees today. A rare winter storm this weekend. That’s what they say.
My Russian friend makes thick black, sweet coffee. We sit on her verandah overlooking the sea. The dogs lay on their backs in the sun.
Anthony calls and talks my ear off. His brother is in NYC with Amelia enjoying his birthday.
A 5 year old boy shoots his 2 year old sister with a gun recently purchased for him by his father. I find a website devoted to pictures of white children/babies holding firearms. It reminds me of Somalian and Iranian militia children holding semi automatic weapons.
Here it is: Kids With Guns. I just checked and unsurprisingly ‘kids corner’ has been removed since yesterday.
These people, so it seems, are waiting for the government to come and change their lives irrevocably.
Part of me sympathises with those folk. The high minded elite looking down upon them scornfully.
At 8pm I take the car into Venice and meet Anthony at a gallery called Obsolete. Amanda Demme’s vernisage.
The rather beautiful photographs are printed on textured paper. Like canvas. It is distracting and tacky. It’s a problem.
We eat meatballs and salad and fresh almonds.
A tribe of scarified women in their 60’s huddle on a $100k sofa and gossip. Their surgeries performed to be seen. What’s the point of spending that much money on plastic surgery unless you can see it?
Amanda introduces me to Sara Gilbert and her other. Many people are wearing hats. Wide brims. Beaver rather than rabbit.
I am wearing a midnight blue velvet suit and red shoes.
A young actor greets me with a hug. He asks me in that way what I’ve been up to. He knows. I tell him anyway. “I read about that.” He exclaims. “You’re the real deal.” That’s the difference between the gays and the straights.
Straight people know I’m a fucking hero. The gays, huddled around teacher are fucking terrified of me.
And so they should be.
Outside we meet Joaquin Phoenix. Anthony made a film with him. I have not seen him since before Heath died. A flicker of recognition but no more. He looks like he is made of pale green wax. He is stick thin. He looks like a Shropshire farmer.
He said to Anthony, “I hear you’ve been making sober calls. Don’t call me.” We laugh.
After the show we have dinner at Gjelina with two art collectors. Pizza and pudding. Everybody at the table knows someone else in the restaurant. We receive. I forget to stand for one grand dame. She stares at me frostily.
I know what she’s thinking. She’s wondering if I left my manners in the jail.
With a last moment, radical change of plan the boy and I found ourselves in Woodstock, two hours north of NYC.
An effortless drive with Amelia and Stephanie.
He had arrived from Toronto the night before… looking even more beautiful than I remembered him. His flashing green eyes, his perfect pale skin.
The house is cozy and beautifully decorated. The land around it manicured.
The kitchen well designed for making huge dinners for many people.
We drove into the quaint town of Woodstock for Santa’s arrival. We arrived too late.
There are very many, odd-looking people in Woodstock. This seems to be the place where hippies come to die. During their twilight years communing with the ghosts of Jerry Garcia and Janice Jopling.
We gawped in awe at the Hippy Alternative Santa with his bearded female companion.
We wandered the tiny shops that sell scented candles and argyle mittens.
In one of the curious hippy shops an old man wearing a black robe… playing a long flute asked Stephanie riddles. She looked askance. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She said.
It was a bit too Lord of the Rings for me.
A few too many gardenias painted on the clap board.
Christmas Eve we ate gigot, a traditional French Christmas eve treat. We sang Christmas tunes in the kitchen as Mary (our hostess) cooked.
A late night. The boy curled around me. The dogs at my feet. The night before Christmas.
We woke on Christmas morning to a light dusting of snow. Thrilling!
We ate toasted panatone and coffee for breakfast.
The boy and Stephanie made cookies… they tasted divine.
After Christmas dinner we checked our tarot cards by a roaring fire. It caused Stephanie a certain amount of comfort and tears.
Amelia suggested that we celebrate the solstice with pagan rituals. We burned the past in the fire and toasted our good fortune.
Late last night we watched The Impossible which made us all sob.
Occasionally we (he and I) would sneak away from the party and… well you know the rest.
Here you go:
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.
This morning Robby picked me up from the house and drove me to Van Nuys.
The handsome deputy in the court room gives me a cheery wave, the clerk courteously holds open the door and even the wicked witch looks softer… more agreeable.
She’s only doing her job. I can’t be too hard on her.
After our short stint in the court we had coffee with my lawyer who is, it turns out, covered in tattoos.
Since 1984 I have been regularly tested for HIV. Since I was Robby’s age.
It has always been a fearful time for me. I’m sure it is for everyone.
I was given the wrong diagnosis in my mid thirties. A confused New York nurse told me I was HIV positive. For three weeks I thought I had it. Until I fled to London and the doctor told me I was perfectly ok.
In those days an HIV positive result meant certain death. The kind of death that included cancerous lesions inside and out. Opportunistic diseases caught from potted plants, cats and canaries. Dramatic weight loss and the most painful end.
Now, of course, HIV just means being wedded to big pharma for the rest of your life, a huge liver and for most people… a new closet to live in.
It occurred to me, as I sat waiting for my result, how I would tell you all if I had contracted HIV.
I live a public life. I am sure that the shame I have heard others talk and write about would envelop me too.
But, as I sat there I decided to tweet the fact that I was there and what I was waiting for. I gave myself no option but to come out and tell you… if I was HIV positive. I knew it wouldn’t be like telling you I had cancer.
I asked the counsellor what would happen if I was HIV Positive? He gave me the medical facts. It didn’t seem that bad. But we all know: it’s not the medical implications… it’s the social implication that packs the negative punch.
In the gay community there is huge prejudice around HIV and AIDS. The frank discussion we need to have about HIV is not being had.
After he read the result I looked obviously shocked. I really did not expect to be negative. In fact, I rather thought I might be seriously ill.
“Why?” He asked.
Because, and it grieves me to tell you this but after JB and I saw each other that last time… I had no way of drowning my fury so I trawled the internet and transformed from the ‘curious top’ to the ‘pig bottom’.
The pig bottom who wants to be fed. I think you know what I mean.
“Just cum in me.” I said. They were very eager to please.
“It was a suicide bid. The only one I knew would work. I hated him so much…”
“Did you hate him? Or you?” The counsellor asked kindly.
I smiled wryly. “I’m still HIV negative.”
“You dodged the bullet.”
You see, I have never been like most gay men… craving sex many times a day. I have never visited a bath house or a cruising park. I rarely meet the men I speak with on-line. I am not like you. I tried it once… not so long ago and it made me feel sick.
Pre bug chasing… I didn’t want to have sex with someone I didn’t know. It kept me negative. I wasn’t about to be shamed into having sex with anyone.
When I was a kid, men would invite me into their homes. The mere acceptance of a cup of tea somehow meant agreeing to full on butt sex.
They try to shame you. Get angry with you… but I fought back. Fuck off. I’m leaving. It saved my life.
Now the youngsters who get HIV are similarly shamed. My friend told me (he’s 24) that a guy he really wanted told him they had to fuck ‘raw’ (unprotected)… when my friend protested his amour said, “What? Don’t you believe me? I’m HIV negative.”
He wasn’t. Now… nor is my friend.
Are we kidding ourselves when we say that we are having protected sex?
There’s outrage because Paris Hilton is disgusted by Grindr. She’s right. We should all be disgusted. My women friends say, “There should be a Grindr for straight people.”
I tell them that a usual Grindr introduction consists of one word: Hung? Then: Clean? Then: Dick Pic?
Women are usually appalled when I tell them the way gay men cut to the chase.
I’m happy that I am HIV negative. I’m happier that my death wish has been thwarted. I’m happier still that all that hate and self hate came to nothing.
Writing my film has had a wonderfully cathartic effect on me. He is just a distant memory.
Even though I see him daily on the page he now exists as I want him to. Suffer and thrive the way I want him to… without ever having to suffer myself.
Today… today was a good day to be HIV negative.
New York City. September 2012.
How exquisite the weather is. How gorgeous the men are. How much the Little Dog loves the street.
I sit in Cafe Zelda on Franklin and drink coffee and eat the home-made pop tarts full of delicious raspberry jam.
I take the subway to Union Square or to 42nd Street.
Of course I’ve been taking masses of pictures… some of which I post on here.
The other part of the story?
Hanging most days at The Mercer Hotel.
I much prefer The Mercer. I am so over my private club… especially since the piss elegant renovations. The newly decorated corridors in the hotel part of my club look like the old corridors from The Shining… sans creepy twins.
The staff have all been replaced and the service was terrible. Waiting 40 mins for a cup of coffee.
The manager at The Mercer installs me at a sweet little table where I meet actors and actresses. I am currently casting my movie.
I had lunch with Lady Rizo and Alexander. Great fun catching up.
I bumped into the perfectly charming Josh Hartnett and his girlfriend Tamsin. Malibu friend. Josh is very excited about the film he’s directing and Tamsin was off to Spain to make a movie.
Bryan Singer fell into the lobby a little hung over and after a big, sweaty hug sat with his LA friends.
Powerful LA people seldom manage to maintain their power once in NYC. Especially during fashion week. The cheap veneer falling away for all to see what lays within.
Met a very frosty Olivia Wilde with the perennially cheerful Paul Haggis. It was probably my fault she was so grumpy. I said, “Oh hi, I know Tao… your ex-husband.” Her face dropped. “My EX husband.” She stressed.
When are you not meant to mention the ex? I thought their divorce was amicable? Then I made the situation worse by telling her how wonderful she was in People Like Us… considering what a ghastly film it was.
Paul just looked at me fall deeper into the shit storm… of my own… making.
Dinner at Bond St. with CM.
A wonderfully romantic walk by the piers with an occasional love.
Housewives of NYC and second-rate rappers. Food was good tho.
Chatted with a new gay dad who told me emphatically that I should support ‘gay marriage’. He showed me a video of his kid crawling. The video was taken from across the room. He told me that he rarely sees his kid during the week.
I asked him what I ask my straight friends: “Did you take maternity leave?” No! He guffawed. Why would he do that?
The kid is being brought up by nannies. Of course.
It made a bad party worse. I tried not to react… I really tried.
Currently writing my AA expose piece. It’s proving harder than I imagined.
Waking up at Robby’s apartment. West Hollywood. Feeling like I have a hangover. I haven’t. I’m still not drinking. Waiting for the right moment…but it never comes. The sanctity of sobriety.
It’s hard after nearly 16 years to think about the right time to start drinking.
A woman I know from the programme called yesterday. I told her that I had renounced AA. “How’s that working out for you?” She pried condescendingly.
I faked a dropped call.
Saturday pre pride party. Good fun. The über gays. The fake NYC producer I mentioned in an earlier post sitting at his table wondering how I manage to surround myself with such beauty. He looked exasperated. Staring over at us.
Pride was a great deal of fun. On the streets. The floats have not changed for 30 years: muscle boys and drag queens. Not very inventive.
Nothing is obvious. Just when you thought you’d never kiss anyone meaningfully ever again.
I saw you in the bar and knew you were the one. A brief conversation. Kisses, glances, then you pissed on me. That was new to both of us but so damned exciting. A mouth full of piss. Then we spent the afternoon talking. Eating. Each other.
You left an impression. Creases in the bed sheets.
Without me even noticing it LA is full of gay men with beards.
Does this mean that they/we are growing up? That men are trumping boys? The aesthetic is not only very pleasing but means I get looked at all over again. I have some currency…if you know what I mean.
I don’t have time to write this very often. There’s a great deal to do.
I’m helping those boys in the jail, even though they don’t know it. Meeting lawyers down town who are investigating conditions in the jail. They seem shocked. Young lawyers. Fresh faced. Idealists.
I try balancing my complaints with a broader understanding of the jail dynamic. The deputies are not just cruel…they are frightened. They do not treat the trans population with contempt because they hate gays, they are confused by the feelings the girls bring up in them.
Ernest lawyers ask how I would change things in the jail. I am always prepared for those questions.
Last week I sat with Senator Ron S.Calderon who is co-sponsoring a bill in the State of California that would basically abolish the situation in which I found myself. Protocols would have to be adhered to. States right to decide trumping the draconian Immigration Department.
I drive for hours to get to the meeting and speak clearly and concisely. I know that I am speaking on behalf of thousands of wrongly incarcerated immigrants.
I go to cities I would never usually visit. I am introduced to people I would never usually meet. Immigrant rights advocates, Methodist ministers. I am familiar with Secure Communities. I hear terrible stories. They tell me that ICE operate like the Gestapo. They spread fear in the immigrant communities, wrecking homes, lives, marriages, separating families, sending children into foster care.
Then, there is the other work. Kevin, my incredible new assistant, and I…running all over town. Putting this show together. Holding things together.
Today I see the doctor. No good news all over again. I’m sure.
Wish me luck.
It feels like I haven’t written anything for weeks. Living this simple and unexpected life. I’ve no idea what comes next nor do I care. Occasionally I wonder what it would be like to be back at home…Whitstable. It is waiting for me.
Sunday, I drove 100 miles North East to the Inland Empire to meet my lover. We booked into a cheap hotel and spent the day in bed. It was languorous and passionate. We ate free ‘home made’ cookies given to us when we checked in. We left the hotel briefly to buy fried chicken. We looked at the pool but didn’t swim.
After he left I walked on my own through a huge discount mall, I saw vibrant, sequined dressed for unplanned Quinceanera.
On the way home I wondered what the ham hocks would taste like that had been slowly cooking in the stove all day. They were delicious.
I have, of late, developed sexual desires and needs formally ignored. Today my legs are weak from indulging myself.
I like driving across country. I should take a different route but the familiarity of Route 66 lures me south.
I spoke at an ACLU event last week in the lush Hancock Park gardens of a rich gay man. His large mock Tudor home filled with Arts and Crafts furniture and paintings by dead artists like Otto Dix. Even though there were many sofas and well upholstered club chairs there didn’t seem to be anywhere to sit.
The speech was well received.
One afternoon last week (May 1st) I spoke to David Cruz, the KTLK liberal chat show host. I felt primed and confident. It was easier to talk about the LA jail system than it was to talk about Dorian Gray. Ethnic Cleansing. Secure Communities. Institutional racism and homophobia.
I have not been to any 12 step meeting but was stopped in the street by the crazy Sean McFarland sex therapist who kissed me and hugged me. I told him that the deaths of his clients should be on his conscience. He wished me all the best and crawled, like the slimy reptile he is, back into the Porsche despair has paid for.
On Saturday I met another 12 step buddy at Gjelina but we didn’t talk much. I don’t want to hear about the cult. Even though he is an old friend I eyed him suspiciously. We talked about my 85-year-old friend Coach who died last week. I’m glad he never knew that I turned by back on AA.
Robby and I had lunch last Thursday. He is delightful.
I have been ignoring calls from people I’m usually happy to hear from.
We peered briefly at the Super Moon. It was large and bright. It wasn’t nearly as exciting as seeing the comet, Hale Bop.
For the past ten days I have logged onto gay hook up app Grindr to see what is going on…what I am missing. I’ve been sent many picture of cocks but had no desire to sit on any of them…many pictures of asses but have no need to fuck. Next week I am going to publish them all here on WordPress in a password protected blog.
Life is all at once full up and completely empty.
Sunday morning, children all over the bed. Asking questions. They want to know everything. Inquisitive little things. The sun is bright and warm. My hostess is making blueberry pancakes and coffee.
Lily, their youngest, had dreams about heaven and hell. Hell had something to do with a supermarket. She said, “There were people in hell who shouldn’t have been there.” Which was a very astute observation for a 9 year old girl.
She’s Jewish, Jews don’t believe in heaven or hell.
The Little Dog is confused. He’s a one man dog. He’s been with J and J these past few months so his loyalty, understandably, shifted. We are re-orientating him. He slept with me last night. Hung out at the house yesterday. He lay on his bed as we toiled in the garden.
Robby and I spent the day doing errands. I have my phone! The garden is tidy! The house is returned to normal! The art is back on the walls! Lost things have been found! There is food in the fridge! The dog is happy!
Saw Safe House at the Malibu cinema with Robby, bumped into AA folk. The film was ok but had one huge and unforgivable plot flaw.
Before the film we wandered down Cross Creek. Wondering at the night. The cold, damp breeze on my face.
Robby is the only person I tell everything. He has seen me vulnerable and survived. Not like Jennie and the others. No room! No room!
Last night we watched September Issue. Anna Wintour really is an extraordinary woman. She is also incredibly generous. You know, don’t you, that she lent us her NYC house when we made Dorian Gray. Hamish, I wish we had seen more of him. I remember meeting Grace with Patrick Kinmonth when they worked at Vogue in London and again, rather obscurely at a house in North Wales years later. She stole the show.
God, Andre Leon Talley is such a twat. The least interesting character in the film…just because he tries so hard to be fabulous. Inauthentic. I knew him when I lived in Paris, we met at Karl Lagerfeld‘s house when Karl lived on the Rue de la Universite in the early 80’s. Gerard Falconetti and I stopped by unannounced.
Falconetti’s brilliant grandmother Maria played Jean d’Arc in The Passion when she was 19 years old.
For some reason I remember touching Andre’s face, his skin was cold and soft. Like an old handbag.
Gerard was a generous, extraordinary friend. He played Montserrat Caballe singing Tosca when I was sick with flu, he lifted my spirits with delicate macaroons from Carette. He showed me the Paris I would later show those who have never been. The secret places we all need to know when we discover a city for the first time.
I have, somewhere, a note Karl sent Gerard referencing his grandmother.
That was then this is now…
I have a million things to do. A great deal of catching up and making good.
I promised to write about being arrested. Well, I will…but after conversations yesterday with my journalist brethren I’ll let them do the reporting and I’ll take a rest. There’s still so much to tell you.
As you may know this entire being arrested thang was to do with this very blog. What can or cannot be said.
Meanwhile on another part of the internet…you simply have to check out what is being said about me by identifiable enemies: an ex-employee calling me a sadist, a gross individual from Province Town who attempted to malign me last summer, some cretin accusing me of killing my own dog…these people are wrought with life affecting, overwhelming resentment. It is so extreme it makes me laugh.
Baying for blood. Send him back to jail! Throw away the key! If only, in some way, they could find a way of getting me locked up for ever…the death sentence even?
I am chuckling to myself.
Chris Lewis of Sydney Australia thinks I want your sympathy. If I looked like Chris Lewis I would want your sympathy. Even when he was young he was ugly. You know very well that I report as I see…as truthfully as I am able. It is my unalienable right to do so. I don’t want sympathy. I need your support. Those of you who have stood by me, my God! I never expected such amazing gifts.
Marilyn Monroe, of all people, said that for every fan excited to see her there were 10 enemies waiting to bring her down. Being hated is an occupational hazard for those of us who do not live in the shadows. If you think what people write about me is outrageous…try being Rachal Maddow.
Somebody called from the jail yesterday, he is as well as can be expected. How quickly one forgets. Yet…you know me. The lure of the uniform…the smell of ruminating men…ransacked sexual fantasies.
Do you know what a Nonce is? It’s a slang word for a child molester. I taught the men in my dorm at Men’s County Jail this very English word. By the time I left they were calling each other Nonce, it was quite inappropriate…but very funny.
By the way, I didn’t get any Christmas cards whilst I was at the jail, I thought you didn’t care! I now know that many of you sent cards and letters of support. Apparently, they were all returned as having inappropriate content. What were you sending me?
One’s body is weakened by three months of inactivity. Working in the garden was exhausting yesterday.
Thank God for Robby.
As I lay here, at what ever time during that constant night…the ghosts of Wilde and Cocteau, Rimbaud and Verlaine come to me. The fragrant, aromatic smoke he blows to me through the tiny hove carved between cells. The great poet cries, “Hard labour!” And all…for love.
A famous passage from the Ballad of Reading Gaol:
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard.
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word.
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!
The line is a nod to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, when Bassanio asks, “Do all men kill the things they do not love?”
A passage from the poem was chosen as the epitaph on Wilde’s tomb.
And alien tears will fill for him,
Pity’s long-broken urn,
For his mourners will be outcast men,
And outcasts always mourn.
Art Platform events all weekend. Abbott Kinney on Saturday afternoon. Sunday lunch with Fielder and Danny. Grom ice cream at the Lumber Yard.
On our way downtown we saw the remnants of the LA Wall Street demonstration.
I bought a small work at the new LA Art Fair by a new artist called Ariel Evestingcol called Labor Plot. A police officer is beating a man with a baton. I bought it mostly to celebrate the Wall Street Demonstrations. Which, I failed to mention in an earlier blog I had seen whilst I was in NYC.
Apparently my more elegant gay friends are not interested in supporting our brave comrades down town. Perhaps if Taylor Lautner was manning the barricades with his shirt off they would join in?
My friend Zelko tells me that there are lesbians on the front line but no gay men. One young gay man approached Zelko and asked him what he was doing there. When Zelko told him that he was supporting the cause the 24-year-old countered that he finds the protesters ‘annoying’ for being loud, naked and stinky. Zelko told him that those were the exact words that came to mind whenever he thought of a gay pride parade. He asked him if he’d feel differently if the cause was gay rights. No answer.
As I have been suggesting for some time, the laissez faire…let them eat cake attitude of both the government and the banks will breed dissatisfaction and insurrection.
Let the breaking of windows begin.
What is just (at the moment) an inarticulate expression of the frustrated, hopeless and disenfranchised will surely shape up into something more potent. The more the police arrest, the unprovoked pepper spraying of innocent young women, the more like Syria it becomes.
I suspect that the government will tread very carefully around further arresting potential martyrs.
I salute the 700! Being arrested in the USA has severe consequences.
The problem with this demonstration is the lack of articulated protest. Nobody really knows how to change the system. Nobody really knows what changes need to be made. Nobody seems to use language familiar to European socialists.
Socialism may very well be terrifying to the very people who need to use this language the most.
A fair and equitable world. The people no longer enslaved with crippling debt. The rich paying a fair tax. Human rights such as health care and a good education. Illegal wars must stop.
These are not outrageous demands.
Those protesting in New York have been circulating a list of grievances, most of which are aimed at corporations that they say are too powerful and often unethical. Among the complaints: bank executives received “exorbitant” bonuses not long after receiving taxpayer bailouts and companies have “poisoned the food supply through negligence” and “continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate better pay and safer working conditions.”
The demonstrators seem frightened at the prospect of issuing demands, formulating their own utopian dream and, as I have already said, using the language and heroes of socialist Europe.
Until these young people begin to make emphatic demands these sort of sophomoric sit-ins will not gain any traction.
The ‘haves and the have more’ will look down their noses at these youngsters. They will exact their revenge unless these fledgling heroes whip up support all over the country, from Albuquerque to Alaska…harness the raw power of the unemployed and demand that their concerns are as relevant as those of the corporations and the banks.
We will see in good time just how effective these youngsters can be at making change, the very same change the wimp Obama promised us all when he spoke to the people…before he won the election.
How cynical his false promises were.
Last night I dreamt of you know who. As vivid a dream I could not have imagined.
On a windswept street in Europe we talked about reconciliation. He was wearing the protective armor of an american football player.
He said, “People can’t imagine what I saw in you.” And I reply, “Well, you knew what you were getting yourself into. Everything was out there. Every defect revealed, written about…mocked.”
I have no idea what he saw in me. I can only imagine that Anthony Patch from Fitzgerald’s Beautiful and the Damned, his great hero…may provide some answers.
In the dream he kissed a man in front of me and I remember thinking that I wanted him to be happy and free. I remember thinking to myself…why am I fighting this stranger? What if he triumphs? Does it really matter?
He really is a better man than I could ever be. A better liar, better at sex, better intellect, better looking.
I said to him in the dream, “I am sorry that I wasn’t what you thought I could be. I wasn’t the rich, handsome, debonaire, literary hero you wanted so badly to rescue you from your dull wife.”
“I am so sorry I was too old and poor and fractured. I am sorry that there was no huge house, no silk slippers, no deliverance from a mundane ‘virtual’ office job. That is his role…not mine. He will come and find you, he will take you home to his mansion, he will let you swim in his pool…he will love you like I could not love you.”
The reconciliation I dream about is as hopeless as the dream some of us have of a better USA.
Yesterday a pair of young film makers turned up at the apartment to work with me on their well written but unfocused script.
The man was leaving as they arrived.
They said, “Wow, he’s gorgeous. Where do you meet men like that?”
Not in clubs or bars, not grindr or Manhunt. I meet men like that as we pass in the street. He said, “You looked mean.” I am…I suppose. I do. Keep the fuck away from me.
This is the third time I have heard this story, or one like it this past month. His sex partner had not told him the truth about his HIV status before he agreed to have unsafe sex.
He had been lied to.
I was shaking with rage.
Like J risked J’s life when he was fucking HIV+ artist Pal S behind her back, like X had been lied to…these innocent folk had made bad decisions based on the lies they were told.
On each occasion the liar had tried to make it the victim’s fault.
” You shouldn’t have believed me.”
“You must have realized.”
“I can’t talk about this right now, you are complicating my life.”
“What kind of straight man doesn’t play sports?”
He is 25 years old. A young man dealing with a huge problem. He told me that he feels like he has ‘gone back into the closet’, that ‘no one could possibly love him’, that he is ‘damaged goods’.
“How do you feel about the guy who infected you?” I asked.
“He’s evil.” he replied.
“Misguided?” I suggested.
No, I told myself, not misguided. I knew he was right. Deliberately infecting or risking the lives of others…is simply evil.
My phone rang, I made a plan to see a friend the following morning.
The boys looked at me askance. What? I said. “I’ve never seen anyone make an arrangement like that on the phone. We text each other.” I felt suddenly dislocated from life. How come I didn’t know?
The kid with HIV is now at the mercy of the pharmaceutical companies who stand to take millions of dollars from him as he tries to stay healthy.
The same companies who promote their products in our gay publications… paying top dollar to do so.
Look at the pictures. Strapping, healthy boys living with HIV.
Big Pharma shaping this generations attitude toward HIV as a manageable/livable with disease… just like diabetes!
Turn your back on health education, embrace ignorance and a life shackled to Big Pharma. Enslaved at 25. My heart bled.
“I never knew anyone who died of AIDS.” he said.
It is another gay lie.
We don’t treat each other very well. We don’t talk about not treating each other very well.
They stop bullying us…we start where they left off.
If they don’t damage you…we will…with my lies and infected sperm.
It’s not getting better for the young man I met yesterday. It’s getting a whole heap worse. Straight bullies didn’t lie and infect him with HIV. Gay men did.
Gay men lied to three of my friends…confirming that it is not just an HIV epidemic, it is an epidemic of lies, betrayal and life threatening denial.
Uneducated, shamed, arrogant, drug fucked gay men with no principles.
Just like Jake.
The only reason I have to come back to NYC so frequently is to meet Jake in court. Prolonging the inevitable.
Forced, yet again, to indulge his tantrums, his ego, his selfishness.
Without me in his life to define him as the victim…what is he left with? Without me and his appearances in court…he returns to the mundane fixtures and fittings of the life that was…if one can call it a life?
Yet, when I am here in NYC, I make the most of it. Happily wiling away the days, finishing my novel, seeing movies, hanging with my buddies, walking the dog, enjoying the humid nights tangled in your arms.
When he left this morning we both said, almost in unison, ‘I don’t do goodbyes’. I don’t. He had his bicycle over one shoulder, he didn’t look back. I can still smell him on my fingers.
I will have a shower when I get back to LA.
Yesterday was unquestionably productive.
The morning spent in airless, 19th floor, mid-town offices. Obama in town, the city still snagged with traffic. The sidewalks choked with Ahmadinejad protestors and Palestinian hating zionists.
My foot feels much better. Walking normally until Midday then it swells a little and I have to rest.
Fleas on the dog, Petco remedy.
Read script by new, young writer. Charming boys. Flawed script.
You know that Burroughs came to my 21st birthday party? Did I ever mention that? He arrived with Princess Selima Guirey a descendant of Genghis Khan. I think both Scott Crolla and I were kind of amazed.
After a very spirited performance by a well endowed, naked man covered in glitter I stood on the street in the humid night chatting with an incredibly knowledgeable boy wearing an out sized base-ball cap who invited me to a Courtney Love party. I didn’t go.
We quite randomly discussed Herbert Huncke who I had seen read poetry on St Mark’s Place in that church there with Richard Gere who, for a short time, was an acquaintance of mine. I don’t think many people know this but Gere supported Huncke in his latter years. He died in 1996.
If you don’t know Huncke…google him. It’s worth your time to get acquainted with the man known as the ‘Mayor of 42nd Street’.
I first met the very young and very beautiful Richard Gere with Christina Monet-Palaci in Paris when I was Lord Rendlesham. Lady Jane Wellesley reintroduced me to him several years later in the late 80’s whilst making the ill-fated Baron in The Trees with Marc Warren.
Gere is a huge Italo Calvino fan so we had lots to talk about. Ah, those were the days.
I wonder if Tim remembers us having dinner at his house with Jane and Jean Paul Gautier?
Have you read City of Quartz by Mike Davis? We discussed that too, on the hot New York street, late last night.
I left the dog with Z and T and their huge black pit bulls. The Little Dog loves their bitch Lucy.
Home by midnight. Asleep by one, up at 6.30am.
Next week I am in LA for The Pacific Standard Time art event and Art Platform inaugural fair.
As for my novel? My novel has shape shifted from a dark, murderous, self-conscious meander into a funny, adroit tale of kidnap and mayhem. It’s not high art but it is very readable.
Finally, DADT was repealed. For the small number of people this affects directly…I congratulate you.
This morning the web is alive with video images of Republican Presidential candidates berating Commader in Chief Obama for liberating gay service men and women from keeping secrets.
The right-wing audience revealing their gay hate by booing a gay soldier, screaming with joy when the repugnant candidates promised reinstatement of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
…of what ever dramas he may be initiating. I am really happy.
I was on such good form. Really buoyant and witty.
The whole city was alive with people and late night shopping and drama for Fashion’s Night Out. It’s like a very chic Halloween. Fashion week brings out the very best and the very worst of the gays.
We ended up at 3am on the SH roof. My sanctuary.
I am glad that we got the Order of Protection drama over and done with at the beginning of my month here on the East Coast. In a strange way I really couldn’t justify coming here so often if it hadn’t been demanded of me.
I forgot to write about my health. I think because I was scared and made me look weak.
I had my cancer follow up visit to the doctor before I left LA. All good in the scrotum department. The colonoscopy revealed a forest of ‘pre cancerous polyps’. They are doing further tests. The best bit about it was the sedative. I’ve never like things in my ass.
I’m just not that kind of gay.
Strangely resilient at the moment. Happy to be alive.
Yesterday’s drama made me stronger, more determined. Channeling my father. Harnessing the strength he had to fight anything and everything that came his way. I could feel him. I really could. Urging me to fight. For him.
It was the first time in my life that I felt him beside me. I can feel him beside me now. Sneering at other fathers. Their weakness. Their lack of respect. I am proud to be a fiery Persian…as was he.
I am no longer interested in being compassionate or forgiving.
A price must be paid when fools rush in.
When your back is against the wall…well, we must do what we must do.
So, I went to court today.
If you want to know what happened email me and I will let you know.
I am not going to stop telling you how it feels to be me.
Arrived in NYC two nights ago.
Fashion week! Fashion’s Night Out tonight.
I had a great time even though my foot aches like hell! Met Alex on the street. He said, “Are you crying?” I wasn’t crying…but I was distressed and there were huge rain drops on my cheeks that looked like tears. I was thinking about the following day. I just kept thinking how I had no desire to look at that man ever again and I knew that I had to.
I love the rain. I love the streets. If my foot wasn’t so painful I would have walked home in the rain.
Breakfast today with Jenny A and Robby at the Mercer. That woman is a dream…such a dream.
You know that I got sober because of Jenny. 15 years at the end of this month. After breakfast we went to an AA meeting and I felt the love. Thank God for AA!
Spent afternoon with the most beautiful Russian at the totally revamped, gorgeous private club.
I love being here.
Jenny sat at the back of the court and was dumbfounded at the ego in the room…mine included.
She said, “Did you see that man’s suit? Even his wedding ring is cheap.”
I am here all month.
I want to tell you that it is hard work hating someone, anyone. It was hard hating my step-father. He was a bad man. He deserved what he got.
After a day of resting my poor foot Andrew and I decided to go to Hollywood. Not particularly searching for a party but interested by the prospect. We met my friend Samantha and her super cute actor friend for dinner.
Hollywood seemed unreasonably quiet after the VMA’s last night. The Chateau looked busy, Sunset Tower was rockin’. The SHLA just right. I have no idea where everyone was…but where ever they were I wasn’t with them.
We did, however, bump into Adele with whom I was uncharacteristically star struck.
She was surrounded by burly security men and has a booming, luxurious speaking voice, a huge presence. Like a tiny field mouse I told her how wonderful she was and she in turn asked if I had any Marlborough Lights.
My briefest brush with Adele.
Now, I am kinda sick of being told that I am name-dropping every time I tell you who I meet or bump into. It’s Hollywood! The town is packed with names. I am a small town British boy who, at those moments, wonders how he ever gets to have so much fun.
Whenever I tell you about who I meet it’s not to self aggrandize. I thought you might be interested? No?
I saw this: a very drunk woman wearing Christian Louboutin shoes being hauled into a limousine by her uniformed driver.
Vomiting over the very same shoes that would have paid most of my utilities for a whole month.
The driver looked understandably perplexed.
There seems to be some confusion about my state of mind at present. Just to clear things up: Despite my imminent trip to NYC to see Jake in court I am actually very content, happy even. Part of that happiness comes from being at peace with the idea that…I am unlikely to ever have another relationship. Ever.
Why? Because I am impossible…that’s why.
That doesn’t mean I want to have a million hook ups…I don’t. Let’s face it..I have always loved the fantasy more than the reality. A real person by my side? I can’t do it.
I know lots of straight batchelors my age.
As I said the last time I wrote my blog, having a boy friend would be like working in an office. Do you know what I mean? I am not that guy. Unemployable maybe? Probably. Unloveable? Well, probably not…but incapable of having a relationship. Incapable of accepting love.
I am listening to Adele. Remembering what it felt to be in love. Thank God that’s over. Like sticking your hand in the fire.
When I was a kid my Grandmother and I found a diamond brooch. She handed it to the police. All my life I couldn’t understand why she did that. Now I do.
Meeting Jake was like finding that diamond brooch in the street. It wasn’t mine to have yet I did not want to give it up. It was beautiful and sparkled in the night. But what’s a man to do with such a thing? I couldn’t wear it. I had to give it back. Unwillingly.
So, I am happy. Can you understand that? I don’t think you can.
Let me reiterate…I would rather work in an office. I would rather work in an office than have a boyfriend. In fact, it’s almost the same thing. Giving up one’s freedom…just to be like everyone else.
Accepting second best. I can’t do that again.
I have no intention of EVER having a boyfriend/partner/husband.
They say, “You’ll fall in love.” “You’ll meet someone.” “There’s someone out there for you.” Ha! It simply isn’t true. Why? Because I am not looking, not interested…scared.
My ankle is not getting any better. My ‘wait and see’ policy worked on the left leg but not on the right. I am shuffling like a decrepit. Doctor on Monday. We shall see.
Zachary came by yesterday and we hurled ourselves up the 101 and into Hollywood. Hanging with some New York friends on Doheny. A gay event…cute, pleasant people. One of them had seen the ‘A’ List and asked…about the watch.
We ended the evening slumping into sofas at a private roof top club receiving all comers. We had a pack of American Spirits so were very popular out there on the terrace.
Zachary is a dancer/performance artist. He is off to Rome to show his work in a prestigious gallery. I like his zeal. It reminded me just how much fun touring a live show can be.
Samantha joined us, she was wearing knee-high leather boots, her hair tied back…she looked like Theda Bara.
We chatted with super chic Kelly Osborne. We met a gay couple in an open relationship.
We drove home at midnight past a very fresh accident on the deserted PCH. An inebriated man sitting at the edge of the road wearing a white button down…clutching his bloody chest. His girlfriend standing by…weeping.
Gawkers looking into the black sea. The deputies, I read this morning, were not drowned. Look here.
I am in NYC next week, post Irene. Robby is there to see but he has a life in NYC (at our instigation) and I may very well not be a part of that. That’s OK, he’s appropriately grateful.
I have spent the past day or so in bed. The dog is less sick, eating again. We have to get his drain removed. He is wearing the Elizabethan collar but hates it.
My left leg is getting better…my right ankle isn’t. Robby stayed over last night. Today he watered the garden, filled the hot tub, went to the supermarket and ran around the house as I finally caught up on all the various tasks that could be accomplished from my bed.
Jen and Jason were incredibly helpful. Anna brought supper.
Surrounded, as usual, with love. Occasionally it is hard to recognize just how lucky I am.
Robby and I have a wonderful relationship. We talk and play and the more I know him…the more I trust him. In fact, I might trust him more than any person I know right now. He has been a perfect antidote to JB. I feel hopeful again because he brings me love.
Crippled and confined to the couch he was pottering about the house making everything look good.
We were talking about how private one needs to be in life.
He is a tentative soul.
He wondered why I write every personal detail here in this blog. Make public what most people keep private. Something that delighted Jake until (of course) he was part of it, part of the narrative…then it wasn’t quite so alluring.
Learn this lesson: If you don’t like your private life being scrutinised…avoid public figures…you will lose your anonymity.
The reality guy who killed himself this week? He had no idea just how pernicious reality TV really is.
We mused about what remains private and what should be public. I am quite clear why I write everything here.
If, like me, you have lived an audacious, notorious life then for every eager friend there is a fool desperate to pull you down.
It is best to live without secrets. Many years ago I was taught that we are as sick as our secrets. What does that mean? If you are cheating on your wife you will be defined by your deception. If you are lying to your friends you will be hindered by self-doubt.
If I have made mistakes, told a lie, cheated a friend or been generally disreputable then I write it here. My part in what ever unfolding drama is worth noting. We tend to focus on who to blame and rarely acknowledge our responsibility.
Keeping my side of the street clean.
That is why I have struggled so badly with you-know-who. It has been incredibly difficult to own my part. I don’t want to admit my short comings.
I make him responsible. I blame him. I say: He lied to me. He cheated. He duped me. He did drugs in front of me. All of this is true…of course, but has to be balanced with: I am responsible. I lied to him. I chose somebody inappropriate. I allowed myself to be duped. I had no boundaries.
When I point at him three fingers point back at me.
What is the answer?
I aim to be ashamed of nothing. This leads, inevitably, to peace of mind.
You, dear reader, know everything! There’s nothing I’ve not written about. You know every insane thought, every defect, every leak and misery.
You know everything…so I fear nothing. Not one of you has anything on me.
When you live a lie you are vulnerable. I don’t want to be vulnerable.
Back to NYC next month to see JB in court but it’s fashion week and I’ve been invited to a slew of fashion week events. Robby will be in town so we can do some fun shit. I love that boy. Jenny will be there too and wants to come to court with me. Before we vanish to The Hamptons.
There is a great deal to do these coming autumn/winter months.
Through archival acquisitions, oral history interviews, public programming, exhibitions, and publications, the Research Institute is responding to the need to document the historical record of this vibrant period.
Between October 2011 and February 2012, a major exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum will present a survey of postwar painting and sculpture in Los Angeles.
It will be a great deal of fun.
In tandem with PST, Art Platform—Los Angeles, the west coast cousin of The Armoury, is collaborating with Pacific Standard Time to organize an extraordinary series of events and services to highlight this historic period and unprecedented weekend of art in Los Angeles. Rather wonderfully I am part of their VIP Programme.
Tonight Eric is bringing supper. The little dog will get better. I am willing him to. Help me think him right.