November 7, 2006 – Tuesday
Woke at 6.30. Answered British e-mails. Sadly, when I started my hike, I had already missed the Latvian dwarves. For the first time since I started my daily walk up Runyon Canyon I noticed the terrible stench of dog piss at the Fuller gate. Starting an hour later than usual means that there are many more dogs (35) and people in the Canyon, it was also very, very warm. Earthquake weather. I took the steep path. I did not stop to rest. The view from the summit was spectacular over the city to the ocean. I always forget to mention just how many trees there are down there amongst the houses.
Sadly, there were three, very annoying dog owners shouting at their hapless mutts. Poor Roxie the Ridgeback belongs to a couple of old queens of the Liberace variety. Roxie had decided, rather unwisely, to take a faster path down the mountain causing her overly distraught owners to bellow her name in tandem again and again. Roxie, frankly, looked like she had enough. The other screamer was the type I described last time. A fat straight guy who wanted us all to know how powerful he was. Screaming after his dog at the top of his voice. I told him to shut up. He looked less powerful after that. Nobody wants to listen to screamers first thing in the morning. Nobody.
The weekend was potentially fraught with relationship tensions. I did not see Sharon.
On Friday morning I drove to Santa Monica to meet with Jason at the American Film Market and discuss our project Funny Valentine. We will get there one of these days but what a God damned struggle. It was fun to see Jason in his new capacity as MD of Velvet Octopus. He had new specs on which made him look like a Dutch diplomat-very elegant. Saw Houston King, saw Tiffany Whittome-it was obvious that I was going to bump into a bunch of familiar faces it was AFM.
Met with Eric S for lunch. He is such a beautiful man. I then sat in on his conversation with Jason as they discussed how hedge funds work in the film industry. Even though I did not understand half of what they were saying I felt like taking a shower after Matt explained what a shady business it all is.
I cooked dinner for a bunch of architects at my house on Friday night, roasted some garlic and bacon and chicken. Baked potatoes were delicious. Aleksa brought over some home-baked strawberry pie, which we ate with cherry ice cream. I was in bed by 11pm exhausted.
On Saturday morning I drove to my AA meeting in Brentwood then had breakfast at the City Café. Maury prepared some succulent French toast made of Brioche with caramelized apples. Met Eric S who ate more French Toast then drove to his orange, 5 bedroom Spanish Hacienda in the Palisades which he is clearing so that he can rent it. He was going to chuck everything out but his brother and I persuaded him to have an impromptu garage sale. We put up two hasty notices sprayed onto cardboard and the customers arrived in droves. Before long most of the junk had gone and we had pockets full of cash. An honest trade. I am obsessed with this notion. It is the Iranian in me.
On Saturday night I met Nathan for dinner, we had a great time.
On Sunday Nathan and I had breakfast at the 101. After breakfast I sat in the auction rooms at Bonham’s and bought an eight-foot jigsaw of a plane crashing. It is wonderful.
Lunch with Jane Garnett and Marc in Santa Monica then collected Johnny T from airport. Dropped Johnny’s stuff off at his hotel in Century City then ate dinner at Chateau M. Saw Steve Garbarino (editor of Blackbook) and his girl friend Maddy sitting with Val Kilmer. Steve congratulated me on the piece I’d written for him about Oscar Wilde. I loved writing it. I used to write for The Sunday Times Style Section when Tim was editor. When I arrived at Steve’s table I made that terrible cliché of an error of thinking that I already knew Val Kilmer and asked enthusiastically how he was doing and what he was doing next before realising that I did not know him at all. The last time I did that was to Diana Ross in First Class from Cannes to London. OH GOD. How foolish.
After dinner we drove back west to Jason’s party, which was hugely entertaining. Saw Peter Youngblood with the guys who own Revolver. Saw Tiffany Whittome. Did not stay long. Back on the Freeway home. Dropped Johnny off at Guy’s. That boy is going to be a huge star.
When I got home I paid my Canterbury City Council tax over the phone. I then realised that as a single man I was entitled to a 25% discount that I had asked for some time ago but had not been applied to my account. Consequently I have been overpaying my Council Tax for 6 years. They owe me 6x£300=£1,800. When I complained they told me that I was not considered a Whitstable resident. NOT A WHITSTABLE RESIDENT? I immediately contacted my lawyers.
November 3, 2006 – Friday
Thick sea mist cloaked the Canyon. The sun diffused through the cloud like sand blasted glass. The path became mysterious, dogs emerging from nowhere, crickets chirruping, a jogging man singing loudly to himself. Everyone else walked silently on the damp earth crunching under foot. I enjoy the silence.
At the foot of the mountain one man was shouting at his dog. I am developing a violent reaction against people who shout at their dogs. Screaming at the top their voices ‘Come here!’ There is a man I hear regularly who wears ripped jeans screaming at all three of his dogs. One of them is called Lily. He is not shouting at his dogs because he believes that the dog will not come. He shouts at his dogs because he wants to let me know that he is assertive, powerful, that he can bend the will of those around him.
On Tuesday night I had dinner with Erik, my lawyer, at his house in Bel Air. He has an expensive, modern home with a Zen garden. If one HAS to have a Zen garden then I suppose this one, with its Mount Fuji waterfall was fairly accomplished. Inside was a mish mash of mid-century furniture and huge black and white photographs by Herb Ritts. There was a particularly beautiful David Hockney. We watched my film, which obviously baffled my dear friend. We ate tofu burgers and sweet potato chips. The dog snored all the way through which I thought might have been Erik. You can’t win them all.
The following day I visited Katherine Ross who has just moved from NYC to her vast new home in Hancock Park. In each of the tennis court proportioned reception rooms were no more than a sofa and a dining room table. When I asked when the rest of the furniture was arriving she told me that this was it. They live very minimally. They have not, however, had time to install any of their huge art collection so I am sure that when the art is there it will all make perfect sense. We had a very pleasant time together discussing the vagaries of LA and housekeepers and what an exciting time it is for both her and her husband.
I then drove to my lawyer’s office to collect my hat and sign a letter of engagement. Tea and pound cake with Lisa Specter at her house in Beverly Hills and then The Shave where I had my hair cut, my beard trimmed and the gremlin hair on my ears removed. I also had a manicure but the blond woman with the huge breasts who cut my cuticle was a little too eager and this morning I can scarcely type as the ends of my index fingers are red raw.
Driving back up Wilshire I decided to drop in on Marc Selwyn who is showing Mel Bochner in his dear little gallery. We hung out for a little while discussing Dorian, which I intend to open in a gallery setting when the film opens in February. Marc told me that the art world in LA had tried for 50 years to make a relationship with Hollywood and failed. He had various theories: transient population, financial insecurity, cultural insecurity. None of which really made sense. Film people, who already consider themselves artists, simply don’t understand the more obscure art that people like Marc sell in his gallery. They cannot see how buying art will benefit or enrich them in any way more than the art that they are presently engaged with-film making. Ultimately, to buy art one must disengage with ones own cynicism and very expensively engage with half-baked concepts and conceits. Film people are loathed to do anything so dumb.
Whilst we were discussing art my car was being towed. Spent next hour and a half and $180 dealing with that little palaver. By the time I got home it was time to get ready for the Bobby premiere, which was showing at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood and doubled as the first night celebration of the AFM. Sharon brought a couple of very chic dresses and a very pretty fur coat. We looked like a very cool couple as we walked to the theatre from my house-Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is only two blocks away from where I live. When we arrived we went directly to the head of the huge will call line, we were both starving so ate vile hot dogs and diet coke. Spoke briefly with Lindsey L who looked very nervous. After 5 tedious speeches from various dignitaries including the very high voiced Emilio Estevez, the Mayor and Harvey Weinstein we watched one of the worst films I have ever seen. It was like a long episode of Hotel with famous people in it. It was vacuous, tedious, clumsy, laughable. What astounded me was that this terrible film was meant to be a tribute to a man who might have been great? Then, I realised what it really was. Using my Versailles/Hollywood analogy it all made sense: The King and Queen want to provide an entertainment for all of the courtiers and insist that the dauphin and duchesses all take part. The King will write the script and make a humble appearance and all of his friends and the friends of his friends will play the various roles. The King is a genius.
I wish I had not worn my Dior smoking jacket.
Bobby Kennedy had 11 children.
The after party took place at the Roosevelt. Sharon and I dashed over to the buffet where we ate ravenously. We met charming people including the very dashing Paris Latsis who I first met at Eugenio Lopez’s house. Everyone was a little too embarrassed to say what they really thought about Bobby. People we did not know would tentatively ask if either of us had anything to do with making it before telling us how dreadful they thought it was. Holly Elwes, the producer, was standing in the Dakota restaurant at the Roosevelt. She looked shell-shocked. She was wearing a horrible dress. Of course we all told her how wonderful the film was. How amazing she was. How exquisitely the dauphin and the dukes and the little cardinals had performed.
We left at 1.30am. I did not wake up until 8am. Hillary came over and we messed around at mine then drove to hers. Sat in the knitting shop and knitted. Went to Marc Jacobs and bought six pairs of shoes in their one day only 80% off sale. Drove to sponsors house and spewed my guts out about starting a relationship-how vulnerable it makes me feel. The great thing about my wonderful sponsor is that he speaks a truth I understand. His wise words make so much sense to me. I love my sponsor.
Errands included laundry, DMV, cleaning Daniel’s disgustingly dirty room that he finally vacated on the 1st November. I have never in my life been so happy to see the back of someone. I can sleep without fear of being disturbed. I do not lay in my bed expecting to be woken in the middle of the night by party boy lodger and his foetus b/f.
Ate dinner with Ian at Chateau Marmont. Sat next to Geoffrey Rush who was discussing Are You Being Served. We then bowled over to the BAFTA/LA awards at Century Plaza. Sharon had a ticket for me for dinner and the celebrations. Stephen Fry hosting the event very amusingly. Dustin Hoffman, Tim Robbins and Forest Whitaker presenting awards to Sidney Poitier, Rachel Weisz, Anthony Minghella and Clint Eastwood. The awards were good but the party afterwards felt like a suburban dinner and dance just like I remember my parents going to when I was a kid. Blousy women wearing too much make up, too many sequins, the men in moth-eaten tuxedos. The invitation should have read: Join BAFTA/LA to honour Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood with a dinner and dance in the Hove Cricket Club situated behind the gas works. Carriages. It actually said ‘carriages’ at the end of the invite. It should have said, Self Parking.
We ended the evening at Hollywood Social at Aldomovar party where drunk, gay Sony Classic publicist made a fool of himself.
October 31, 2006 – Tuesday
This morning, the polite Latvian dwarves were not standing silently on the corner of El Cerrito Place waiting for their ride to the day care facility. They were at home screaming at each other in Latvian. Rather, I saw the old woman dressed in a floral, floor length house coat on her 5th Floor balcony screaming back at what could only have been the silent husband. She held, in her right hand, a long carving knife. She kicked thuggishly at her screen door on her way back into the apartment. I lingered on the street for a few minutes wondering what would happen next but I really did not want her to clock me out there on the street listening to them..to her. Aleksa told me that the old lady was well-known for screaming, everybody knew about her on the street. I was so sad. She had always been so polite to me. “Good morning”. She would say softly, reverentially.
Amazingly I got ‘looked’ at today on Runyon Canyon by somebody quite cute. Even though I knew I would never act on it just being looked at in that way gave my day a tiny kick-start. When ever I get my beard going I am looked at all the time. My woollen beany over my eyebrows and a big bushy beard and I get looked at. There were no more than 20 dogs on the path this morning. One of them belonged to a very striking fellow who showed me where below us the 101, the 405 and the 10 (freeways) all connected. Very useful information. You could see the 101 snaking over towards Silverlake.
Yesterday was a horrible day. Horrible. I don’t think that I can even bring myself to tell you what happened yesterday morning but needless to say it was all about relationships, expectations, disappointment. Damn! What can I do about this? By lunchtime I was in no mood for anything else to go wrong but it just so happened that this was another day when calls were not returned as eagerly as I wanted them and e-mails remained unanswered.
Spoke to Gary D, really pleased to hear his voice.
So that I might try to fix my feelings in a positive way I caught a bus to the coffee bean on Sunset and Fairfax and ordered a blended caramel frapaccino. I sat outside on the chilly patio and watched a homeless man trying to get food or money from who ever would listen. The people he begged from were polite but he didn’t manage to get anything from any of them. Finally, he sat down at one of the empty tables opposite me and picked shreds of thick black skin off of the souls of his feet that he then placed carefully on to the table. I will never, ever drink a caramel frapaccino ever again.
I went to two AA meetings yesterday after the homeless foot skin incident; I went to one at 5.15 and another at 7.45. The first made me feel OK the second compounded the feelings of utter misery. In between the two meetings I managed to cram in a screaming conversation with both my realtor and the realtor of the house that I am meant to be buying. Buying houses is a shit experience in LA. Shit.
I was in bed by 11.00.
October 30, 2006 – Monday
The sky is grey but it is not cold. The clocks fell back on Sunday so I can climb the mountain at 6am and it’s not going to be pitch black. Today, there were mostly women on the path. 23 dogs. The craggy dwarves were on the corner of my street, she was wearing lipstick..again. He looked very carefully at me when I greeted his wife. Apparently they wait there to be collected for day care. There goes my maid/butler fantasy.
I came home to the smell of fresh coffee and pineapple. I am really loving where I live, at just the moment I am about to pack up and leave. Isn’t that always the way? I spend hours rearranging the furniture, the rugs, the bits and pieces that I have hauled in my luggage to this town to make myself feel better about being here. A big bowl of green apples and papaya on my mirrored table gives me more pleasure than anything I can describe. On a cloudy day like today in LA when there is a certain chill in the air I relax a little more than I usually do. Like taking a roast leg of lamb out of the oven. The juices seem to settle.
On Saturday morning I called JA who has cancer. I dreaded calling her, as she has been so understandably angry of late. But for the first time since she knew how ill she was she sounded really optimistic, joyful even. She spends two weeks in Germany being treated for cancer then flies back to Mexico to build her houses. She really is an amazing woman. When you have a life or death emergency in your life everything becomes very clear. The decisions that you have to make to survive are non negotiable. I heard it in her voice. She told me that she would be spending Christmas in London with her children and I wondered, of course I did, if it would be her last Christmas and if it was then London is the perfect place to be.
The weekend flew past. I spent almost all of it with Sharon zooming around in her little black sports car. We drove to Malibu on Saturday, walked barefoot in the surf, ate huge prawns in a Greek restaurant then headed home. There were several graceful young dear on the Pepperdine lawn looking over at us in our fast cars. That night we had dinner with Sharon’s friend Jeff. Jeff lives in a house close by to where I live but his Spanish looking home is built on a bluff, high up, overlooking Hollywood. There is no access whatsoever by car to his house or the twenty or so other houses he shares his bluff with so one has to take a rickety old elevator from the street to get to it. What happens if his house catches fire, how would the fire department get to him? Jeff made me carve a face in the side of a pumpkin. Ann L says that Halloween is her least favourite American tradition. I think that you probably need little children to truly enjoy it. Anyway, I carved the face in the pumpkin then we had a very jolly dinner of pork ribs, salad and great conversation. Jeff is a 35-year-old producer. He is writing a book called: How to get out of Hollywood. It sounds very funny indeed.
On Sunday morning after my solitary walk up Runyon Hillary came over and cooked our breakfast. She is so funny, nearly as bad as me at falling out with everyone. I found her honesty about it very endearing. When Sharon arrived to pick me up I smelt of bacon and eggs. We went to an 11am private screening of Venus starring Peter O’Toole. Just us in the cinema as the woman from the studio who was meant to be with us had a rat problem at her house so had to leave and call exterminators.
The opening shot of Venus is the view over the Swale from my house in Whitstable. That was exciting. The film was so very nearly brilliant. So very, very nearly. It was a terrible shame. Leslie Phillips was wonderful. Peter was very good. Vanessa Redgrave was redundant and theatrical. That woman’s acting has suffered from doing too much TV. The editing was ghastly. Hanif Kureishi’s crude excesses should have been cut out. So SAD. So very nearly a masterpiece. I could go on. I won’t.
After the disappointment of Venus we ate lunch at M café sharing a plate of roasted vegetables and iced water. In the afternoon I had a nap then drove to Wholefoods with Aleksa and Devon who bought fish for our dinner with Steven Francisco who is the dear from Effie’s party the other night. In bed by 11.30.
October 28, 2006 – Saturday
Saturday morning. Not going for my hike until later. Not going to my AA meeting.
The day before yesterday, after my walk, I had a busy Dillon St/Dorian Gray day. Mortgages, counter offers, meetings with publicists and finally dinner at Ago with Ruth Vitali.
For whatever reason, known only to my mad self, I am being dragged kicking and screaming into this house purchase. Buying a house should be a delight! Instead it is all so fucking complicated and moves at the wrong pace. I feel bullied into making important decisions quickly without due consideration. So, I started the day in the vilest mood making poor Corey the realtor sweat buckets. By 2pm I still hadn’t had anything to eat. I was insane with hunger. The Mexicans in the deli where Corey works looked terrified when I stormed into their quiet lives demanding a cheese sandwich. When I finally ate something I felt normal again. I signed the offer and Corey sent it over.
At 3pm I met Bettina at Fred Segal where we checked over the evolving Dorian press release. I am getting to really like BK even though she has a laconic countenance and a squeaky voice. She gets to know me slowly, deliberately and is obviously very suspicious but why shouldn’t she be? I think that she has prudently learned to keep her cards close to her chest. LA is a tough city.
After our meeting I followed a gorgeous Cuban around the men’s department of Fred Segal. Picked up a pair of Lanvin pants priced at $1,700, and that’s minus the tax. I was outraged! I threw them back at the assistant. Again. Boycott Lanvin! Saw Holly Elwes buying $5,000 dresses.
After no thought what so ever I bought a Dries van Noten cardigan with a long belt. Looks great with my baggy Comme cords. I felt a bit guilty however, so I walked from Fred Segal to The Log Cabin on Robertson in the hope that there might be an AA meeting I could go to but the door was bolted. Took taxi home. I went via Marc Jacobs where the rudest shop assistant in the world quelled my desire for more treats. Thank you God.
By the time I got home it was time to get a cab back to just where I had come from on Beverly and meet Ruth V for dinner at Ago. I was early so I chatted to the swarve Italian guys who run the place. When Ruthy arrived she looked perfect in Chanel, as always. “Of course I still go to London to get my hair cut”. Ate carpaccio and lamb shank. There were six of us gossiping over dinner about the industry. There seems to be a great deal going on at the moment behind the scenes. There was much discussion and conjecture about agents being laid off at CAA. I sat next to Ruth so we mostly chatted all evening but I particularly liked David S who is a smart, very well liked film journalist. After chocolate tart the assistant of the guy who made Perfume dropped me back home. In bed and asleep by 11.30.
On Friday morning I was up the canyon as soon as the sun broke over the horizon. 23 dogs, very chilly, did not pass anything notable. Went up the mountain fretting, came down the mountain with a more placid disposition.
Did not stay placid for long. My mortgage broker arrived and irritated the pants off of me. He simply does not understand how not to be arrogant. I then had a one-hour conversation with Cingular Wireless about my account and how I might get them to send me a letter confirming that I had paid my bill for a year. They refused. I called the man who refused me all sorts of names but he still refused. Tried to keep calm by eating muesli/granola. Drank coffee. That did the trick.
At 3 I had a conference call with the knob who runs the company who is meant to be selling Dorian. I left my rottweiler of a lawyer to deal with him. Our intentions are clear. We do not want this company to rep us as they have no feeling for the film. They hate me and they seem to hate the film. Took A and D to the house-they loved it. We then went food shopping in Koreatown. I invited 8 people for dinner so there was a great deal to prepare. My new dining room table fits eight to ten people perfectly, David F and his wife Aimee, Effie B, Sharon, Ann L, Peter L and Aleksa and Devon. The table looked great, the food was excellent and they all seemed really happy.
We all agreed that even though most of us were in the ‘business’ we were all definitely off duty. David F and his rather condescending wife left early to go to another party.
Sharon stayed over so we could get up early to go hiking. As I write there is no movement from Sharon who is sound asleep.
October 26, 2006 – Thursday
6 Hour Relationship
The Canyon. It was pitch black until 7am this morning. Pitch black. The air was cold and damp. As usual the small Armenian couple were out there on the corner. As usual they were not speaking, as usual he was smoking, as usual it was she who said “good morning”. I could smell the aromatic tobacco from the gate. Everything about these two was as I had left them two weeks ago except she was wearing lipstick on her thick, old lips. I suddenly wondered why she had made that decision, this morning, looking in the mirror and I wondered if she had put lipstick on for him, the silent dwarf.
On the mountain I tore up the dusty path. There were fewer people, fewer dogs. I only counted 17. One black man in a bright yellow track suit running backwards past little birds taking dust baths at the edge of the path. A pink sunrise over the city. I wore a woollen hat pulled down over my eyebrows. Angry start to the day. I worked off my fury on the incline, one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. My legs turning to jelly at the summit. Why weren’t people more sensitive to me? What about me? By the time I had worked over the summit I was amused by my self-obsession rather than a slave to it. Yet, if I had been sitting at my desk with those feelings I may very well have picked up the phone and alienated myself from who ever was currently not doing things my way.
On Tuesday morning, after we dropped the Hudson News heirs off at their private High School, Tim drove me back to Manhattan. I realised that his job was best described as ‘life coach’ to those rich, teenage boys. Back at Soho House I lay on the huge white bed thinking about everything I needed to do. That afternoon I sat on the 6th floor in the Club Room and met Laura Day who is a famous (apparently) writer of inspirational thoughts. I rather liked her. She asked me to look after her bags when she used the rest room. I thought about Gary Davy my friend in London who is constantly worried that the thieves will come to steal his bags/watch/camera/anything he owns. When she returned she told me her life story.
That afternoon Michael Goduti came to see the film and we watched it in my room. He was thrilled. We ate a late lunch in the new Diner on the corner of 14th and 9th Avenue. My fried chicken was greasy and uncooked. Met very cute actor called Johnny (22) and his shady, older gay friend. I just didn’t trust the gay one and as it turned out I was right not to trust him. He works as a male escort. The escort had too many teeth, too many stories and not enough of the truth. When the gay boy left us Johnny and his mid-west girl friend told me that the he was trying to persuade them to take up escort work too. I baulked. I’ve got nothing against male prostitutes. I used to know Aiden Shaw. In fact, he was in my musical Copper’s Bottom which played for six weeks at Sadler’s Wells. Aiden would get his huge penis out at rehearsals and show the delighted, screaming queens we had dancing in the chorus. I think I had sex with him once. I did have sex with him once. He was lithe and young-as was I. I saw him on the King’s Road recently. We have changed. We are all now so thickly built. Aidan is a great big bull of a man. Many of my friends have been hookers they all had great big smiling faces and dead eyes like fish on a marble slab. I’m glad that I never sold my ass. God knows that I could have.
I left New York at dawn and resigned myself to the humiliation of the security search. Shoes off, belt off, lap top out, keys and phone in the tray, throw away expensive scent, throw away toothpaste. The guys on the x-ray machine are rude and unhelpful. The floor is cold. I don’t like getting dressed at the end of the conveyor belt with strangers watching me. I don’t like any of it. After I put myself back together I went to my gate and saw one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen feeding his baby apple sauce. I introduced myself to Adam (29) and Jayda his beautiful 23-month-old daughter on their way home to Hawaii. So, at Gate 23C began a wonderful 6 hour relationship with a man and his baby in a jet plane over the USA. Before long I was holding the baby, the three of us getting along just fine in row 25. All the hostesses on the plane thought that we were a gay couple traveling home with our baby. I wondered for the first time what it might be like to have a baby with another man. Adam is married but seemed really gay, effeminate almost. It worked, the effeminacy, with the baby in his arms. I saw how things might have turned out if I had been more interested in effeminate men. By the time we landed at Salt Lake City I was smitten. I may never see him again but he taught me something profound about what I might have had, what I could still have.
By the time I got to LA I was so tired but had to summon up all my energy to meet DF and a gallery owner about Dorian and what I intend to do with it. I thought that it was going to be a very hard sell but it was astoundingly easy. After a few minutes I got exactly what I wanted. So, perhaps we should aim higher if that is going to be the level of interest. I was irritated by how many jokes DF cracked all the time and it was this that I thought about up the mountain. I find it difficult to concentrate when there are that many jokes flying around. It did not make me feel very safe.
DF drove me home and I checked to see if any of the silver teaspoons had reappeared. None had. I knew then that it was the end for the lodger. The apartment looked and felt great but I knew that my time there too was limited. I know that I have to move to my own domain, my own home. North Dillon is certain. Whitstable is coming to an end.
Why would I want to move to a city that I patently hate? Why would I move here? I can’t tell you. I just know that I have to be here and that being here means that I have to find a place to live and commit to. I think that I am that sort of artist who needs to be in LA. So, I will learn to love it and make it my home.
John and Susan invited me to John’s birthday dinner. He made the most delicious curry served with that flat Indian bread. I left at 10.30 and went to bed. Slept well.
This morning, after my walk, as I was making coffee Daniel told me that he would be leaving on the first of November. I had sort of made it impossible for him to stay. After hearing his drunken boy friend vomiting in the bathroom the other night. It was over. It was all over.
October 25, 2006 – Wednesday
I am finally, after nearly two weeks of miserable sickness, my normal fit self. The flu’ has gone. No more shivering discomfort. No more sore throat. No more morbid thoughts. I will resume my walks on Runyon Canyon immediately upon my return to LA.
Waiting at Soho House in New York for Maria to turn up and discuss the secret project.
An Orlando Bloom look-a-like is sitting opposite me drinking a cappuccino. I am eating the éclairs they set out for tea. New York!! It is exhilarating to be back east. It was exciting to see the enigmatic city from the train at Newark. It is deliciously chilly yet the sky is huge and brightly blue.
Yesterday, on the plane from LA, we stopped off in Cincinnati because a woman collapsed in a dead faint along the aisle. At Cincinnati airport I have never, ever in my entire life seen so many people with such huge asses. On the plane I sat next to a massively gelatinous woman, her fat arms spilling over onto my side of the armrest.
I arrived at 9.30am in Newark, took the air train to the LIRR then the A train to 14th St and walked two blocks to Soho House. Took me about 30 mins from the Delta terminal to the great big brown velvet sofa I am sitting on right now. Nobody looks ashamed using public transport in NYC. This is where we gather, flirt, deal, and hustle on the subway and the street. On the streets of New York are strangers from every social class making all kinds of connections for the benefit of all. I much prefer this to my sterile street life in LA.
Had Dorian screening yesterday for more buyers. Dunno how well that went. I did not stay for the screening. Brian Jackson the DP saw it too. He loved it. We agreed that we would work together again in the future.
Before the screening I had time to kill so I had a long massage and a hot, hot steam in the Cowshed.
Stayed in Alpine New Jersey last night with Tim N from Whitstable who is working as a live in family counselor for the man who owns Hudson News. It is a made-of-chip-board mansion just like all of the homes here. I don’t know as if you can even raise a mortgage on a wooden house in England. The house has a cinema, basketball court and an Olympic sized swimming pool in the basement. He has a bunch of mates over from Whitstable to help celebrate his birthday. Burt (builder) and Josh (stone mason). They have this really funny game where they congratulate one another for using long, complicated words. We ate dinner at Florant in the meatpacking district. Great food. I had chicken but I should have ordered the skirt steak.
Now, irritatingly, I have to play catch up. So many days have passed since I last wrote anything for my blog. I get overwhelmed just remembering everything that happens. I much prefer to see where the memory of the previous day takes me.
Saturday. 8am Westside AA meeting. Afterwards I sat on my own in the bakery opposite eating a fruit salad. I sat there wondering why such a huge building was being so badly underused. The space effectively benefiting from only 25% of the available sales floor. Ended up meeting the guy who owned the joint who also owns The City Bakery in New York. I told him all about The Good Shed in Canterbury. He was inspired by the notion of a daily farmers market. We exchanged numbers. He already checked out the Goods Shed and wanted to know how it was set up.
Later that same morning I ate another breakfast with Dom at the 101. Hillary popped by. Went up to North Dillon St. The door to the house was open. For some peculiar reason best known only to himself Dom pressed a panic button that, once upon a time, would have been in the master bedroom, the bells were insanely loud. We scarpered.
saturday afternoon Romaine came to visit. We drove back to Dillon and met the builder who told me how much it would cost to make the essential renovations. $300k.
After a long nap I headed over to a party at Effie Brown’s house, yet again I found myself in Silverlake. I met a young boy over there who was very funny, not very attractive, good (social) crime partner.
Young boy and I drove to The Chateau for a late bowl of hot chocolate. We said hello to Heath L who looks great. Better than great. He was drinking tea and his eyes were bright and hopeful. A different man from the crazed haunted man I met last year at the Oscars.
Young boy and I then drove home but he is straight so he slept on the sofa.
Sunday. The following morning we (young boy and I) went to 8am AA meeting in West Hollywood. Breakfast at La Pain Quotidian. We waited so long (45mins) for our food that when the bill came I refused to pay. The manager agreed and comped our food. Comped is a good word. In America we are as precise about our description of the use of money as Eskimos are about snow.
Sunday afternoon the young boy and I drove around the Hollywood Hills visiting random people before going over to Silverlake to see the North Dillon House once again and calming the nerves of the realtors who are waiting for me to get my act together. Ate more food in Silverlake. Pancakes and a side of bacon. Young boy drove me to the airport.
I have really missed collecting my thoughts on Runyon Canyon.
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October 20, 2006 – Friday
Back in LA. I still have had the flu’. Sitting in germ soup on the plane sandwiched between two of the most miserable women alive did not help. What, you may ask, was I doing in the back of the plane? Can’t be bothered to explain that drama.
I am spluttering phlegm all over my laptop as I write. Consequently, due to illness, I have not been up to much. Invitations to LA fashion week went unanswered. Meant to be going to New York today but can scarcely move from my bed. I hate being ill. Ill means weak, ill means powerless, ill means unable to climb the mountain. Stalling at the base.
Thankfully I am sleeping well. In bed by 9.30 last night. It is cold in the apartment at night though. I am sitting here wrapped in a pale blue shawl like a little old lady. I could just turn on the heat. Won’t do it, too British, old-fashioned, put on another jersey or climb into bed.
The day I returned there was an urgent message to call Corey my realtor. He told me the startling news that the house on North Dillon had fallen out of escrow again. Again! That poor house has been sitting there for seven months without anyone to love it. Three times in and out of escrow. Three times. One of those times was me of course. We agreed to meet the following morning to write another offer.
So, on Wednesday Corey collected me from my flu’ pit and we drove in his black Hummer to the Social Security office to get an SS number. The office on Vine was very clean and the staff very helpful. I now have so much to do. For a start I need to get a Californian driving licence.
After the social security office we had lunch at American Rag on LaBrea. Sat next to Ashton Kutcha who has that same creamy complexion David Gallagher has. It is a bit of a lunchtime scene in there. Jennifer Jason Leigh sat sulking with a very loud friend two tables away.
Spent Wednesday evening at home instead of going to parties. Sweating hot and cold.
On Thursday morning, after 18 months of messing around, I walked two blocks from my house and I hired a car. I was so weak and had so much to do I could not stomach buses, taxis or walking. Who writes my freaking rules? Why didn’t I do this sooner?
The moment I pulled away from the strip mall in my rented car I became a Californian.
Before I drove to an appointment with my lawyers in Beverly Hills my friend Hillary popped by for a cup of tea. It was great to see her and for the next hour and a half we luxuriated in a trough of delicious gossip. By the time she left I felt bloated on our feast of The Misfortune of Others. It was very, very naughty.
Met with Erik the lawyer. Discussed various up coming projects and what we were going to do with them all.
I forgot to eat.
Drove home to see Scott at my house where we hung out there for a couple of hours. Drove back to Beverly Hills, stopping on the way at Capellini sale and met with Bettina at Le Pain Quotidian on Little Santa Monica. Strategised and ate huge chopped salad.
As I was close by I stopped in at the Spectre’s house on Whittier but only little Isaac and their mad Mexican cleaner was there. He is such an entertaining little boy, so intelligent. I sat with him for an hour until Lisa came home then I set off for Silverlake but got stuck in horrible traffic listening to some mad man (Tom Likas) on the radio advising young men not to have relationships until they turn 30. He was fascinating. He believes that men can treat women as badly as they want, have all the sex they want and that marriage is for losers. He recently said on air that he would sleep with a fourteen year old girl if it was legal. When challenged he simply stood by the statement.
Even though I was stuck in traffic listening to a mad misogynist I was pleased not to be on the hot streets negotiating the cracked pavements and the cracked out pedestrians.
Dinner with Ann L and her very intense artist husband. Really had a lovely time. They live in a spectacular Schindler house with many, if not all, of the original details. It is one of those houses one instantly loves, it is packed with interesting things. Every piece of furniture they owned was worth looking at carefully. Ann dosed me up with vitamin C and then we had dinner at a Brazilian restaurant nearby but I could not really taste anything.
Dom insisted that we meet on Santa Monica for a frozen yogurt. I sat there on the street sweating, desperate for my bed.
October 18, 2006 – Wednesday
Feel sick, felt sick on the plane. Back in LA, resident alien. Sick as a dog. I spent all day chasing North Dillon St once again. Fuck. That house has fallen out of escrow three times. I really love it. What is God doing to me?
Too sick to climb the mountain this morning, I stayed in my bed until Angela the cleaner turned up with her huge smile. I asked her to iron the pillowcases and wash the windows.
When I got home last night I rearranged the house. I was meant to be eating with Devon and Aleksa but ended up frantically rearranging books and the mantle piece. I was naked. The curtains were not drawn. I did not care.
The day before I left for LA I had to haul my sorry ass down to Whitstable. I had a goodbye breakfast with Phil and Paul at the Mona Lisa. We had had a wonderful time during my stay at her house. Phil was affectionate, undemanding and generous. A good friend. Phil and Moffy left for Portugal and I caught the bus to Victoria Station and then the hour-long trip to Whitstable. I walked from the station directly to Wheelers where I had a coffee with Anita and the gang. The gang being Mark, the genius chef, Adam (Smalls) the teenage recently ex virgin looking all languid and manly and Angela who I affectionately call Sheppey’s Elizabeth Taylor because she has been married more than once. Oh, and Sid was lurking in the back preparing puddings but he had split up from his girl friend and was all quiet and odd.
Whitstable gossip included: the Barratt girl (toughest family in Whitstable) had smashed Shivonne Hewlett in the face at the pub because Shivonne had stolen the Barrett’s boy friend who is down to the final eight on X Factor. The Barrett girl had then sold her story to the Sun and filled the ex boy friend’s piano with tuna.
Bumped into the Barrett girl outside Dave’s deli sitting with two girl friends, suddenly she looked very glamorous as if a dose of minor celebrity really suited her. Oblivious to her recent brush with notoriety I told her how wonderful she was looking. Apparently, according to them, X factor is all a fix because Shivonne’s mother Therese is a friend of Sharon Osborne’s.
What a load of bollocks.
As fate would have it Monday was Danny Gallagher’s funeral so I took my life in my hands and decided to go to the wake, which was happening up at the Marine Hotel in Tankerton. When I got there I realised that there was not much building, plastering or plumbing going on in North East Kent that day as every builder, plasterer and plumber for miles around had found themselves a black suit and was now eating pork pies in the paved area at the back of the Marine. Saw Ronnie R (antiques dealer) who owes me £100. Poor Stuart A (plasterer) was given a very hard time when I arrived his friends raised a huge chorus of light-hearted jeers as I had once very loudly told all of his mates that I thought he was one of the best looking men in Whitstable. I think that crown now belongs to Andy R (electrician) who although a bit dull is very cute.
Saw the very personable Sibley’s (chef and builder), as I sat with them one of my Whitstable brother’s friends said, “There’s Martin Roy’s brother”. I think that it was meant to be a rather convoluted put down. The Sibley’s and I just looked at him askance and continued our conversation.
I stayed all of twenty minutes.
I went back to Wheelers to report on the wake then walked home along the beach with Delia who showed me her plot behind the sea wall where she is building a very grand beach-hut sandwiched between Georgina and Barbara equally manicured plots. When we arrived Michael Fitt, Anita’s man was doing something with his shirt off with string and fence posts.
Finally I made my way home but not before three other people had told me the Barrett/Hewlett story and how Sharon Osborne was fixing it at X Factor..
When I got home Babs took me to my house and good God I have never seen that place look better, cleaner or more organised. Babs had ironed every sheet, weeded the garden, dusted every shelf and vacuumed every carpet and scrubbed every floor. It was immaculate. I felt really odd raiding the bookcase, taking shoes and filling a great big bag with stuff for my new resident alien status in LA.
They made me a delicious pot of tea and biscuits and gave me a lift to the station. They are such good people.
On the train back to London I met Ben the mechanic. HE was delicious. I am always meeting cute boys on the train to and from London.
Dinner at La Famiglia on Langton St with Louise and Toby Mott. Louise is now heavily pregnant and looks a bit tired. Toby seems quite Zen. Their builders have ripped them off. Rabbit and carpaccio. Delicious.
Bed by 10.30, woken at 11.30 by Piers making midnight supper in the kitchen. Crashing around with pots and pans.
October 17, 2006 – Tuesday
Frieze Art Fair Day 2
Listening to Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix.
Spent all day in bed with a horrid cold. Both Phil and I blighted with aching limbs and throbbing heads late last night. Isn’t that odd to get simultaneous colds? I am never, ever ill with this sort of thing. However, I couldn’t think of a better place to be ill than here with Phil. We are in beds at opposite ends of the house. I can hear people arriving upstairs, I can hear Moffy leaving the house with her chums then hours later her footsteps in the hall, chattering about her adventures, “We took the wrong bus, we ended up in Shepherds Bush-there were chavs EVERYWHERE..”
When I was in prison I began writing a novel. It was as if today had been a perfect slice of that novel only on that fictional afternoon there was snow on the ground. Snow on our boots. Fresh snow. I just lay here all day and felt incredibly safe. Nothing could hurt me here in this room. Here in this huge house, sleeping where the cook probably slept once upon a time. Here in this room I do not have to deal with liars or the disingenuous or the black dust that settles on everything in LA. I do not have to climb a mountain to find my serenity.
Melanie De B arrived with medicines and vitamin C and the Sunday newspapers. Her husband had a stroke last night yet she still made her way over. I don’t really have any friends like that in LA. Then Kat G came in the afternoon with chocolate biscuits and we drank hot tea with Phil and Paul. After the second visit I fell into a dreadfully sweaty half sleep. It is now 9pm.
I have not written this diary since Friday and there is now so much to report.
On Friday morning I was meant to be meeting Bella F but we were both late getting up and ended up not meeting. We had a long chat on the phone. She is designing for Biba, which sounds perfect for Bella. Kate B, my glossy mag friend, said that the Biba collection was very good. Kate mentioned that Maia Norman’s collection was excellent, better than anything else that she had seen at London Fashion Week. Maia is Damian Hirst’s rather wonderful wife. Phil and I drove over to the Electric on the Portobello Road and ate eggs with Tiffany Whittome who has recently gotten herself engaged. I saw George, my assistant from The Method; his head seems to have doubled in size. I was very polite to him.
Received very odd e-mail from my Berlin friend insinuating that Phil had left the art fair the previous day looking distressed and then tried to blame me. She warned me to ‘be nice to her’ this advice coming from a woman who, estranged from her husband, sleeps with her 12-year-old son. Both Phil and I found this very amusing.
After our rather late breakfast I made my way over to Maria A’s in Kennington. It was so easy to find her house on the bus. We ate pasta and talked about the secret project and her imminent visit to NYC that corresponds with mine at the end of the month. Maria has the most beautiful garden and the house has been very sensitively renovated. It is one of those huge houses at the east end of Kennington Road. Huge.
At 3pm made my way to Georgia Byng’s in Primrose Hill-another huge house stuffed with beautiful art mostly made by her husband Marc Quinn. I met her new little baby who is a dear and discussed teen violence on Primrose Hill with Georgia’s daughter from her marriage to Danny Chadwick. She is a very pretty, intelligent, 16-year-old. Drank delicious hot tea and ate chocolate. Georgie has had huge success with her Molly Moon books. Sold in 37 territories. It is wonderful to see her doing so well.
As I was leaving she mentioned a conversation she had with Will Self about my film, which intrigued me. I will write more about this at a later date. Will, as you may know, was once a very good friend of mine. We had, at one time, discussed the possibility of adapting his novel Dorian into a film as I had contributed to the research by way of contemporary descriptions of New York etc., which he used verbatim in his novel. Will loved AKA. However, when I realised that he had no idea how a film was made and delivered a 300-page script that he insisted was a ‘shooting script’, which I never even bothered to read, we went our separate ways. I ended up adapting my version of the film from the Oscar Wilde Lippincott original. I sat pouring over Oscar Wilde’s only novel every morning for two months at Sullivan’s hotel in Sydney until the script was finished.
G. Byng was on such good form. I loved seeing her. Have really made the effort, this trip, to reach out to all of my old friends.
From Primrose Hill I took a cab to The Whitehall Theatre off of Trafalgar Square where I met Phil in the foyer and we saw a rather dull production of Bent. Moving but dull. One can’t help but be moved but I am afraid that the lovely in-real-life Alan Cummings ruined the production. He was all over the place. This was particularly sad because Horst played by Chris New, who I met with Christian C the other night, was amazing! I wish that Alan had been a little more focused and less..well..Alan. Perhaps he was jealous that Chris’s performance was so good.
Generally the production was annoyingly over directed, the German soldiers skipping around like scene queens.
Phil and I took another cab to Soho House where we met Clare. She was sitting with some very pretty friends who we persuaded to move to a bigger table. Phil was on the phone to I don’t know who but when she came back she looked perplexed and left quite soon after. After some fun with Clare’s friends we left Soho House for Max Wigram’s party for Ryan McGinley at Laundromat but it was DREARY and terribly ‘arty’.
At Laundromat I saw a boy, who I met at the Miami/Basle art fair, who describes himself as a ‘curator’. He was dancing. I had met the same boy in NYC dancing at an artist’s studio. Now, here he is in London..dancing. Clare and I decided to make a 3 minute art film called ‘The Curator’ some random boy dancing at art fairs all over the world. He said, “Look, art! It’s the new Hollywood”. If only it were my friends, if only it were. A bunch of crazed shopkeepers describing their 15mins in the sun as the ‘New Hollywood’?
We were desperate for an antidote to the pretentious art/new Hollywood party so we decided to go to The Shadow Lounge where we had a blast dancing and flirting until 3am. I met a man who tried to persuade me that we had ‘great sex’ in a bath ten years ago in my flat off of Brick Lane. Even though I knew he was wrong (I never had a flat off of Brick Lane) he was so persuasive that it felt rude not to agree to the memory. I wanted to kiss him and then I wanted to kiss some other good-looking boy for a moment before I realised that I did not have to. The only lips I wanted were elsewhere.
We fought our way through the 3am Soho crowd, the aggressive mini cab men and the drug dealers then Clare drove me home. Slept intermittently. Red bull is a bad idea at 2am.
All day yesterday and the day before all I could really think about was my dinner with Harry on Saturday night. I thought about him as I was thinking about kissing those men in The Shadow Lounge and then I thought about him all through brunch at David Gill’s spectacular gallery in Kennington on Saturday morning. I thought about Harry as I wondered who would buy an 8′ pink Perspex flamingo from David Gill for $60k. I thought about him as I ate delicious food and drank apple juice and played with Melanie De B, Michael Wolfson and Dan Macmillan. I thought about beautiful Harry as I flirted with Desiree and ignored Jane Barclay.
I thought about him as I waited outside the Royal Academy for André for 40 minutes attracting attention in my pink stockings and red shoes and pantaloons. I thought about Harry as we nipped into Bryan Ferry’s house to collect something Melanie needed for dinner. I thought about him all afternoon as I tried to fight off the beginning of the cold I have now.
All I could think about was the tall, fine-faced Harry. All I could think about was looking into his blue eyes and listening to his beautiful voice.
Bye bye squirrel. I love Harry now.
But, when Harry arrived at Langton St at 8.30 I was half the man I needed to be-my cold was now in full swing. Phil thought he was beautiful, Moffy thought he was beautiful, Paul thought he was beautiful. I think that Harry is the most beautiful creature who ever walked the earth.
Dinner with Harry.
All I could think about was mucus in my eyes, nose and throat.
October 13, 2006 – Friday
Moffy stayed in bed yesterday ill with the ‘flu. Poor darling, all limp and pale like a rag doll. I sat on the lilac sofa and wrote my article for Blackbook and filed it by 12 o’clock.
I then headed into Soho on the bus through torrential, almost tropical, rain and ended up in Soho House sitting with Nick Love who I have not seen for a couple of years. He was sitting quietly reading the Sun and drinking a cup of tea. I sat down and it was as if the last two years had simply not happened. After the tiniest amount of hesitation the damnedest thing happened, I realised that we were both suddenly relieved of the burden of fatal competition. Neither of us had anything, any longer, to prove. We looked each other in the eye and it was all OK. What ever it was that had bugged both of us when we stopped talking all that time ago-had gone. Instead of strange looks and odd recriminations we laughed about Tuesday’s Sun newspaper witty headline after Kim il Sung exploded the nuclear device: How Do You Solve a Problem like Korea? Genius. It was delightful to see him.
Nick and I were at film school in Dorset ten years ago and at that time and for a few years after we had a pretty intense, inseparable friendship. The same sort of co-dependant friendship that I had with Richard Green during most of my twenties. These homoerotic, non-sexual, highly charged friendships I associate most with my alcoholism. I have had them with both women and men and they usually end very badly. They are creatively and emotionally explosive but regardless of the outcome, for me, have been the greatest relationships of my life.
When Nick left we gave each other the hugest hug. I kissed him on the neck.
I took the tube to the Frieze art fair where I met Bettina who is organising the press for Dorian. Bumped into and chatted warmly with Tracy Emin, Benedict Taschen, Max Wigram, Simon English, Sam Hodgkin, Paul Kasmin and many, many others. Apart from Benedict, I have known most of these people for most of my adult life. It felt very good to embrace all of them. We are getting older and less ambitious. That is a very good thing. Saw Jay from afar but can still not bring myself to say hello. His rottweiler hench men prowling the stand.
What did I see that I liked? The only ‘art’ I liked was ironically on Jay’s stand. Jake and Dinos Chapman were sitting in a wall papered booth painting people’s portraits, Leicester Square style, for £4.5k. Very witty. Right on the money. Genius.
Missed buying Ryan McGinley’s pissing boy by ten minutes.
I did not see Samia, which was very odd. She was there but we curiously missed one another.
After the show I hooked up with Robert Yates from the Observer and his fiancé. We went to a ghastly Deutche Bank party at 5 Cavendish Square-I stayed ten minutes then walked to Soho House (the epicentre of my London social life) where I met Christian C and his blonde friend from university. The friend wanted, very amusingly to get ‘fucked in the arse’. He was adamant but we remained at the bar and Christian and I just jawed for hours about LA and London and the relative values of each city. The friend, eager for a stuffing persuaded us to go to a tacky gay bar a few streets away where a toothless drug dealer tried to sell us cocaine and pills. I was wearing Dior so had no intention of staying in that ghastly place for long.
Christian, realising that I was in no mood for gams and the young took me to Trisha’s on Dean St, which is a basement room with pictures of the Pope on the wall. An old-fashioned speak easy. It was rather wonderful. Chatted about ‘The Queen’ and Diana of Wales and soap operas. When we ran out of cash we headed over to Soho House where we met Alan Cummings and the cast of Bent. We hung out with them until 3 in the morning and then I took the night bus home. Briefly thought about taking a cab as a bunch of Asian youths were brawling on the street and I was wearing red shoes but thought better of it and caught a number 38 which took me directly to Phil’s. Crept into bed. Slept like a log.
The following day I really did more of the same. Phil and I drove back to Frieze Art Fair where I bought a Ryan McGinley. We had a slight consternation about Moffy and mobile phones, which meant that Phil had to dash off almost as soon as we arrived but before she left we bumped into Samia and her friend Isabella. Samia truly is the chicest woman alive. Mauve chiffon blouse, patent pumps and raven black hair.
I had tea with my brand new obsession de jour-Harry C. We walked from Regent’s Park to the Dover Street Hotel and sat in the lobby, now remodelled, where Scott Crolla and I used to go when Crolla still existed. The high tea with scones etc. cost $150. Absurd. Harry is a blonde, willowy, 25-year-old Etonian with the sweetest disposition. Married. Lives in Paris. Beautiful.
After tea I headed over to Sotheby’s for the Whitechapel benefit auction preview. Beautiful Peter Doig painting on the cover of the catalogue. Saw Danny Moynihan and his very funny cousin who has a company called Joe Boxer and lives in San Francisco. Danny begins shooting his new film in seven weeks, Duncan Ward directing. Apparently everyone thinks that it is MY film. That can’t be good for either Danny or Duncan! Saw Max Wigram, also ex-Etonian ex-willowy, ex-sweet disposition. He called me a weirdo-which I suppose I must be. Danny and his cousin left Sotheby’s to find Maia Norman at the Armani party in Knightsbridge so I hung out with Dominic Burning for a good while. Very funny. Raving about Margate and art and how ART can save the day.
From Sotheby’s to the ICA on the Mall for the Cerith Wynn Evans show, it was very dreary. Max Wigram called me a weirdo there too. The best thing about the ICA was that it reminded me of performing there in our performance art piece PORNOGRAPHY: A SPECTACLE. I could smell it. The memory of being there. 3 weeks of performing in that space. I think we performed The Host there too. Georgia Byng, Marc Quinn’s wife, performed in that.
Ended up, of course, at Soho House with Nick Moran for late egg and chips. Night bus home.
October 11, 2006 – Wednesday
Pouring rain. Soho House.
I left LA on Sunday after the Bonham’s Sunset sale. I bought an African head-dress. I don’t know why. I love auction rooms; they have a very calming effect on me.
Dom came over for coffee. We discussed my roommate whose b/f is becoming rather annoying. He woke me and the neighbors the other night loudly vomiting in the bathroom. When I confronted my room-mate about it he told me that poor J was drinking the night before-bad excuse. Very bad excuse.
Andreas collected me from my house in his white Porsche and we drove to LAX in light Sunday traffic in took merely twenty minutes to get there. I had almost no luggage so everything was very light and easy.
I met a very sweet boy in the departure lounge who sat next to me on the plane and told he his life story-took about ten minutes. I fell asleep.
We flew into London over Kew, the pagoda there is so pretty and I realised that what I missed most about home when I am in the US are these great acts of public generosity made for the greater good of the people. We have so much to love about our towns and cities, so much that distinguishes them from each other. In LA we have the HOLLYWOOD sign. LA is a one-postcard town.
Arrived in Chelsea and met Phil at the Mona Lisa on the Kings Road where I ate a huge plate of greasy fried eggs and chips. It was wonderful to be back. Phil looked great-really happy. We jawed for hours. Told her about Peter D accusing me of showing off and she said that some people would always, deliberately misunderstand my enthusiasm.
Phil and I went to evensong at St Martins in the Fields then dinner in Soho. After dinner on the way home had to get passport pictures-had them made in Sloane Square photo booth. It took all of 3 minutes.
By the end of Monday I was exhausted. Desperate to go to bed. Slept very badly. Up at 4. Answered e-mails. Could not sleep. No mountain to climb.
Yesterday morning I headed over to Mayfair on the bus where I had business to attend to. Lunch with Bettina at Soho House to discuss film then hung out with Luca M all afternoon at his house until Phil arrived and ate deep-fried spring rolls. There is a new Carluccio on the Fulham Road where Luca and I bought espresso.
Tuesday night NA meeting. Really good.
Dinner at the Chelsea Arts Club with Phil, Piers de Lazlo and his mad, drunk ex-girlfriend. I know that this may cause some controversy but in my opinion drunken women make appalling company-much worse than men. They are so undignified. Bumped into Laura and Peter Carew who were looking very elegant. Peter asked for Xan’s number as they were in the Dangerous Sports Club together and Laura was moved to tears when I told her that I had met Patrick Kinmonth in LA after 10 years of not seeing him. She misses him terribly. Sardines and stuffed pork belly for dinner.
This morning wrote article for Steve G then took bus in pouring rain to Soho. Bumped into and was delighted to see Nick Love who I had not seen for ages. He looked like a man-which he is nowadays. We were at film school together and have been on off friends for 15 years. As he left he gave me a huge smile and a cheeky wink.
October 8, 2006 – Sunday
Friday was another day of boring lawyers and stuff that I simply had to get on and deal with. Signing with new agency, management, publicist and lawyers in one foul swoop. Exciting and EXHAUSTING. All of that palaver had to be handled by the time I leave for London tomorrow. It had to be done. A new broom.
Lunch at Barney’s with Bram.
Had dinner on Friday night with Michael C and two other producers in Beverly Hills. It might have been a jollier evening but I was tired.
I am in London for ten days then I go immediately to New York for Tim’s birthday party and meetings with buyers. Then it’s Sydney for all of November.
Today went to 8am AA meeting. No walk. Coffee in Urth café with Will.
Alexa came with me to Bonham’s to view the Sunset Estate Sale and guess who I bumped into! Peter D. He was Outraged!! He said, “I don’t appreciate that you wrote about me in your BLOG (see yesterday’s blog). I’ve never trusted you. I said to (?) ten years ago ‘I like him but I don’t trust him’. I didn’t have to be pleasant to you first thing in the morning. Showing off about your party.”
This indignant tirade about my blog, which one of my helpful readers had passed onto Peter D by e-mail. How speedily news travels! Then he changed tack and huffed and puffed about how ‘grateful’ he was to me for alerting him to the dangers of gossip. Alexsa, listening in, just laughed as discreetly as she could out of Peter’s view. It took will power not to laugh at his pathetic tantrum there in the middle of Bonham’s. Paulo, sitting behind the desk, asked us three times to leave the foyer.
“Was anything I said made up?” I asked. “No”. he flamed. “Then how have I been untrustworthy?” “You’re right, I shouldn’t gossip”. He said. “So it was you that was untrustworthy?” I asked calmly.
Peter had waited ten years for evidence of untrustworthiness and finally he had PROOF that I was indeed the person he always thought I was, or heard I was, because I simply and honestly reported what he had told me yesterday. As he blustered I just kept thinking, this is nothing to do with me, this man has been waiting ten years for me to let him down. A long-term self-fulfilling prophecy. As I tuned back into his diatribe he said, “How many people did she kill on Everest? Was it two or three?” As he was unable to let the story go I thought that I should, at least, defend my hostess as she had been so generous to me. Armed with a little information from the Internet I said, “What proof do you have that she killed any people on Everest? From what I can gather the worst thing she did was have a copy of Vogue sent up the mountain. If any one of your society friends whom you DO approve of had done that you might very well of thought it humorous. The worst thing Sandy did, as far as you and the bunch of piranhas you hang out with are concerned-is survive”. At that point he totally capitulated and resorted to petty insults.
Aleksa and Devon
The great thing about this blog is that I find out very quickly whom I can depend on. Those who loathe being mentioned are usually snotty ex pat Brits who are embarrassed to know me. People who dip into my life to see what is going on but too embarrassed to say that they have been there. Like visiting mad people at Bedlam.
The fact is, I have never felt very comfortable around Peter. He insists on making totally unprovoked bitchy jibes. “Darling, you need to get my boyfriend to give you botox.” I have tried very hard to be as friendly as I can but ultimately this argument has revealed him to be an old-fashioned, self-serving, godless snob. His best friend is a camp, Greek illustrator with an active drink problem who battles Peter in some vile post-modern contest to see who can be more offensive. Peter lives a metaphysical farce.
He is consequently a very angry and resentful man. Of course I know exactly why, but THAT is something I would never, ever write here.
To his credit he did say that the only blog worth reading was Arriana Huffington’s. I agree. It’s very funny and informative and deliciously personal. But, one thing is sure, if Arriana Huffington had had to fight for survival on the side of a mountain like Sandy H did that fateful day in 1998 Peter might have given some thought to what it must have felt like to make life or death decisions. Decisions that in the decorated drawing rooms of West Hollywood would not have seemed terribly chic at all-darling.
Had lunch with Alexa and Sharon at Cheebo.
Dom for malted milk shakes this afternoon.
Michael C picked me up at 9.30 and we drove to the Hollywood sign where a rather odd 40th birthday party was taking place. A drum circle, fire pit, belly dancers and women on stilts. Met a couple of actors, a rocket scientist and a comedienne. After a couple of hours of not really engaging and some spicy chicken wings I walked home.
October 6, 2006 – Friday
I have just returned from my later than usual walk. Finding it hard to focus this morning. Do I need to get my eyes tested?
Yesterday Romaine, my friend from Nice, came to the house whilst I did the laundry and we drank coffee and killed time before I prepared to meet Amanda R in Bel Air.
I had been invited via Amanda R by Sandy H to: A pre-Halloween celebration: “Dinner of the Dead Poets”.
‘It will be held at my ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley on the night of the full moon.
This will be a formal, black tie and ball gown, dinner for just 12 people. I know that you possess both the imagination and the wardrobe to be an important guest at this artistic evening. Please come dressed as a dead poet and bring a poem to recite which was written by the character you have chosen.
In order to facilitate your transportation needs, I would like to send my plane to bring you to Santa Ynez (a 30 minute flight from Santa Monica airport, leaving at about 4:30 PM) and to return you back to Los Angeles before midnight on the 5th’.
So, that is what we did. I decided to dress as and read from Oscar Wilde. As a dead Oscar I interpreted the event accordingly. I wore Miu Miu knickerbockers; my new Dior jacket and long pink stockings with red shoes. Thank God I took my huge aubergine silk velvet scarf that Tania Sarn gave me and threw it over my head. It was freezing!
On the way there I sat next to the pilot, which was wonderful watching the journey unfold in front of me. I was not at all frightened. It was like having goggles on underwater. I can’t swim without goggles because my biggest fear is the unknown. On the way back I sat in the back and I felt every bump-it was scary just because I couldn’t see.
When we got to the tiny airport we were chauffeured twenty minutes to a contemporary house that looked like a vert de gris Mayan Temple. The house was filled with amazing furniture by George Nakashima-one of the best collections of his work that I have ever seen. A beautiful, 24 seat dining table was particularly stunning. The only other person to have such beautiful Nakashima pieces is, of course, Eugenio Lopez.
The really great find of the evening was Bo, our hostess’s 25-year-old son, who is a friend of Oscar H’s. He drove me, at great speed, in his turbo Porsche to the party, which was set in a vineyard ten minutes from the house. Charming, sweet boy.
We ate in the winery, which had been beautifully decorated for the occasion. The twelve of us sat under a diaphanous golden awning. We all had our photographs taken. We then ate amazing organic food that had been fedexed from Ohio. There was a small band that played suitably dead music and a young woman sang gently in the background. Spookily the accordion player looked EXACTLY like Vivian Westwood.
Each course had a poetic theme. Mince and Quince for instance (Lear). Our hostess was charming and funny and dressed as a 9th century Chinese poet. She was wearing a wonderful plum coloured fortuny dress and earrings that were once owned by Diana Vreeland.
In between each course the guests, in order of when they died, stood up and introduced themselves. I stood up as Oscar Wilde and told them about my life and work. I then read the first part of The Ballad of Reading Jail. When I finished Ovid said, “That was intense”. I sat between Emily Dickinson (who looked more like Janice Dickinson) and Bo’s very pretty girlfriend. Amanda R went as Rilke, which was a great choice as she got to wear a wonderful Vera Wang dress. However, the dress was so sheer the poor thing, who is all skin and bones, just began to fade away in the freezing room. By the end of dinner Amanda/Rilke had totally lost her voice and she may very well have consumption by sunrise.
After dinner the car came and we were flown home. In bed by 1.30am.
This morning there were 41 dogs on the Canyon path four of them belonging to Peter D who I bumped into as they were leaving the park. I heard him before I saw him, as did the other concerned walkers who exchanged worried looks at the sound of this man screaming at his dogs. He was shouting at one of his small Yorkies to get back on the path. Peter K in tow.
I cheerily said hello and kissed them both. We were all a bit too sweaty for that kind of greeting. He asked about the film and apologised for not returning my calls. It was at this moment that I began to have a sort of out-of-body experience. My outer me saying, “LEAVE, walk away from the area, don’t tell him anything, just get out of there as quickly as you can”. My actual body is now fully engaged in conversation. I asked about the Sunset Sale at Bonham’s. “I’ve already been”.
I began to tell him about the party I went to last night, he snapped “She’s a NIGHTMARE, she killed two people on Everest”. I did not react. I just looked carefully as him and began to gently erase him out of the picture. I felt rather sorry that he was so angry. “I rather liked her,” I said. “We had a wonderful time”. He just looked at me as if to say of COURSE you would like some one like that. “I’ve got a meeting at the Palisades”. He barked at Peter K who was pulling twigs off of the dog. Peter D, angry before I got there-I bet he’ll be angry all day. He was wearing lurid pink underwear.
October 5, 2006 – Thursday
12 dogs. Russians. Ukrainians. A dog called Mike. Clockwise. Beautiful, sunny, fresh.
Yesterday, as a result of my commitment to contrary action, I had a very business like day.
Met bank about mortgage.
Chatted more with Ruth about film.
Sent various e-mails terminating various business relationships so I can concentrate on the next phase.
I bought a jacket at Dior. I bought socks at Turnbull and Asser for the party I am going to this evening in the desert.
Spoke to Eric. It is raining in San Francisco.
AA meeting at 7.45.
Alexsa and Devon for dinner. Cooked chicken, boiled potatoes and peas. Strangely delicious.
In bed by 11.30. Heard Daniel get in at 3am. How does he do it?