As I was stacking boxes for my move I found a whole heap of diaries from the 1980’s. The first day to day diary I kept was in 1982 and that was primarily because life had become so exciting.
We open the first book on this day September 5th, 1982. I am 22 years old.
I am in Greece, on the island of Spetses staying with Sir John and Lady Russell. I am still, at this time, Lord Rendlesham and have flown from Paris to Athens with an older nobleman called Guy de la Bedoyere of whom I had tired.
It was Guy’s Turner that I had marveled in Paris a few days earlier and whose butler, much to my horror, had washed in a washing machine my new Crolla ties.
The magazine Harper’s Bazzar had published the pictures of my infamous birthday party thrown for me by Scott Crolla at the Almeida Theatre. Word was just reaching me in Greece that people were not at all happy. Not at all.
If you click on the diary pages you can read the original entries.
I am in love with a beautiful Swiss boy called Robert and it is he that I wave goodbye to at the beginning of the entry.
The following year September 1983 there is no diary entry until I am released from prison on the 18th November.
September 1984 I am in rehearsal for Pornography: a Spectacle at the ICA in London. There are huge articles about us all in Time Out, The Face and a now defunct London mag called City Limits. I am living in Balham with a girl called Victoria. By day I am in a play about gay pornography and by night I sleep with what was effectively my girlfriend. So was the complexity of my life. “Every gesture must be full and complete.” says Neil. Neil Bartlett, director of the show. During these days he and I began to fall out. Irrevocably as it turned out. When we left each other in Toronto months later after our North American tour we would never speak again.
September 1985 I am writing whilst stuck in a tunnel under the alps on a train from Paris to Venice. My and Ivan Cratwright’s great adventure to Venice. Staying, en route with Fred Hughes in Paris.
The diary for 1986 was missing but now found. I will transcribe the entry. I am yet again in another heterosexual relationship with a woman called Louise. Why?
“Oh dear, I am in The General Trading Company off Sloan Square – Louise by my side. Firstly I did not expect the Bahamian bombshell to come back to Whitstable to see me. I rather thought that she might have given me a miss.
Yesterday before Louise arrived my pinks from Kingstone (?) Cottage arrived, they came to me in a brown cardboard box wrapped in local newspaper. I planted them carefully, laying a foundation of stones for good drainage and surrounded the root system with peat. Maria helped out the best she could but spent the best part of yesterday drawing on the beach. The day before that too she had worked hard on minimalist drawings incorporating the seascape – noticeably the foreshore and the horizon, terribly witty references to dead fish – (?) a family with prawn.
Ivan (Cartwright), we collected him from Whitstable station – Korda (Marshall) and I, he was in such a good frame of mind . He prattled on about being arrested for car thieving and told a remarkable story about having been picked up on Park Lane (London) dressed only in a full length pink, synthetic fur coat, cowboy boots and a micro polka dot bikini! He was picked up by a vast black men in a Buick.
Korda was completely freaked out by Ivan and as soon as he had the opportunity – left. However, Ivan enchanted both Rachel (Whiteread) and (?) with his wit and intelligence. We left for the pub far too late. Ivan was wearing a pair of black cotton stockings, a black tee-shirt and short black sweat pants all topped off with this platinum blond hair and that face which as you know contorts like nobodies business.
We all slept late and woke early, that’s why when big bertha arrived (Louise) I was knackered. We took off for a long adventurous but utterly fruitless journey to a closed park. We did go to Beech House (Hospital School in Chartham) I remembered yet again the horror of being taken there when I was a child – I remember that it was in that place that my life changed direction and I began to fight, so it was rather apt that I went there – my life again on the edge of a potential nightmare. India, 8th October 10.15 – 9 months. It rings in my ears.
As we drove to London yesterday Louise and (?) wrote that evening’s narrative. For she as an eye for the ironic. Firstly we locked ourselves out of Louise’s car and house then we saw the corpse of a man freshly killed, his legs crossed at the ankles, in the road. His clothing partially hidden under a green waterproof police modesty blanket. All of us knew that ambulances take only the living to be mended as best they can. Death has no care. I wondered about his family. The pulse stopped and the narrative ending for him. We drove slowly. Later the image of the corpse quietened me and made me listen.
Louise is my strength whom I do not deserve. Late last night I felt truly happy and secure. That’s enough isn’t it? Enough for a man who rarely lives safely, who is destined to become a lonely old man with personality problems.”
September 1987 I am a patient in the Henderson Hospital in Sutton Surrey where I spent the majority of that year. I had a breakdown after a particularly bad bout of Hep B. The Jay who would be fetching me from hospital is, of course, Jay Jopling.
For some odd reason I did not keep a complete diary in 1988. I am not fully well from my breakdown but have decided to go to New York to see Ana Corbero and Colin Cawdor. Paul Benny the artist was also staying in the huge apartment. An entire floor of a converted girls school just over the Williamsburg Bridge.
There is no entry for these dates in 1989.
1990, my thirtieth year. Living in Chelsea with Phillipa having what looks like a rather glamorous time.
1991 Coppers Bottom has opened at Sadler’s Wells. Karen, the lead actress is threatening to walk. I am now living with Anthony H. in South London.
1992 Tim and I are laughing about Damien Hirst not winning the Turner Prize that he seemed so certain to win. I rather cruelly called Jay and told him how sorry I was whilst sniggering with Tim.
Not long before I get sober. Just another 5 years.
After 1992 I kept a journal less and less. I began every year enthusiastically writing everyday like I do now in the blog but by July had lost interest or life was simply too overwhelming.
Anyway, that was fun?
One reply on “Manifest Destiny”
very interesting! Every time I find an old diary of mine from my teens 90% of it i don’t like. You, on the other hand, have had a life worth documenting.