Archives for category: Whitstable

IMG_1095.JPG

Another morning at the hospital.  Another biopsy on another lump. I’m quite sweaty today.  My arms hurt.  The arthritis in my neck makes my arms painful, numb and tingling.  The pain increases when I cough, sneeze or strain.

After the consultant I drove to Margate where I met Jonathan Viner who has famously bought the huge Margate Print Works, partially selling to Tracey Emin and others.  We ate a light lunch at David Liddicot‘s cafe on Union Row.  Jonathan rather sweetly paid for lunch, (£20).  Of course we discussed both projects.  He is unsurprisingly proprietorial about Margate.  Viner, I suppose, rediscovered it and put his money where his mouth is.

He very kindly walked me around the last remaining part of the huge building still unsold.  The cavernous concrete space ripe for something magnificent.  We discussed Brexit, we discussed moving to Kent, we chatted briefly about Jay.  He is obviously quite competitive but not in an overwhelming, American way.  I told Jonathan I’d met the ghastly Margate based architect Sam Causer who has all the charm of untreated sewage.

We discussed terrible Margate landlords who want too much for their properties and he was eager to remind me I didn’t own anything in Margate… yet.  I replied gently that if my idea fell through it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  I learned from buying at auction… there’s always something else, next time.  It’s not healthy to obsess about things.  It can get you into trouble.  God has a plan.  I just have to listen out for it.

I’ve been going to London meetings.  NA meetings.  It baffles me how people stay clean.  But of course… they don’t.  The real addicts die.  NA, divorced from Bill’s radical idea of a spiritual solution, is utterly worthless.  I am irritated by NA in the UK, the group therapy, feelings laid bare.  I was sharing step solution in a Chelsea meeting last week and a young woman in the meeting told me I shouldn’t talk about the steps because she found it ‘triggering’.

Meanwhile Chip, my friend in NYC, who worked a solid NA programme overdoses and dies.  He was a splendid, handsome father of one.  Divorced from God there was no other destiny for him.  Jail.  Institutions.  Death.

IMG_1849.JPG

The Whitstable Biennial opened this week.  Consequently there is ‘art’ everywhere: in beech huts, coffee shops, fishmongers, gardens, St Alphage church on the high street.  The art is pretty dull but the buzz around town is great.  I found two gorgeous bronze figures tucked away in a shed by sculptor Mark Fuller who is without doubt a bloody genius.  £80.

If my arms work I may go to Canterbury Pride this evening.

Ivan Cartwright visited me last weekend.  We had lunch at Dave Brown’s then drove to Margate.  He had never been.  He was very impressed.  Lunch with M&J at well reviewed Angela’s in Margate on Wednesday.  I ate Turbot and some odd tasting greens.

IMG_1087.JPG

Met in Soho last week with a gentleman who wants to buy my art collection, then a brief but good catch up with my producer.  I bumped into Johnny and Julian outside Maison Bertaux.  We drank a little coffee and I scoffed a large Mont Blanc, you know the one… with mashed up marrons glacés, meringue and cream.

I travelled from Whitstable to London on the train.  It was exactly the same time to get up there as it was 40 years ago.  It’s perfectly fine.  The bus from Victoria to Piccadilly Circus was wonderful. Swinging past the Wellington Arch, on the upper deck, very little traffic.  The trees around Green Park and Park Lane have matured beautifully.  Apsley house now looks like it’s sitting in the countryside rather than a concrete island.  I fell in love with London all over again.  Who wouldn’t?

After lunch I took the Piccadilly line to Gloucester Place and had tea with Christophe. He looks wonderfully relaxed after his hip operation.  Pain shows in the face, you know.  Without the pain he looks marvellous.  “Everybody says the same,” he smiled.

There was a coach from Faversham to Whitstable after 11pm but so what?  A drunk man on the bus was recounting his recent arrest for knocking someone out.  I had no problem with the railway.  I had no problem with the buses and the tube.  I’ve had no problems with the NHS.  I just wish the pins and needles would stop.

Undetectable: A Gay Poem 2012/2018

by Duncan Roy

Don’t let climate change ruin your gay wedding.

Nor fear of deportation or student loans.  Don’t let the government shut down beleaguer your special day.

Nor think of drones killing gay men on foreign shores. Not in my name.

Dream my dear, of the $160,000 surrogate baby you really can’t afford. White eggs and spermatozoa Amex paid for.

Grown in a poor brown woman whose name attorneys erased.  She’ll never be known to the unborn child.

Goldman bonus spent on more Botox. Calm your troubled brow with restylane.  Fill the lines they put there with relentless bullying and casual homophobia.

You weren’t looking for love.  A painted finger nail emoji on your Tinder profile, hoping for a merger and acquisition.  Perfect in the Pines.  Helping him fuck another guy. Guiding him into the gaping hole like a stallion. Prepped and raw. Bare back monkey.

Hung?

Fun?

Can Accom.

Marrying a fellow American now, you need not stress, ICE officers will not be your groomsman.  Not today.

Thank Jesus Christ Almighty,

Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act is no more.

They can not stop you, nor turn you from the hospital as your husband lays dying from a lethal Fentanyl overdose. Undetectable. No longer woke.

Found in the sauna, wearing his combat boots, multiply penetrated, cream pied, still bound and dripping, eyes open, calling out another man’s name, swaying gently in the black polyester sling.

Enjoying your honeymoon in the leather bars of Berlin.

1.

They are deporting thousands of undocumented workers in the USA. Friends and family disappear. The cranberry bogs remain un-harvested. The schools stricken by grieving children. Police officers didn’t think it would be this way.  They couldn’t put a face to the men and women Trump wanted to deport. Simple, honest people caught up in the merciless trawl. They didn’t realise their friends were breaking the law. They didn’t understand the depth of hatred their fellow citizens harboured for brown and black people.

2.

Hackney.  East London finally puts paid to the ridiculous notion I can leave my car unlocked without being burgled.  Yes.  I am that man.  Regardless of the stolen cash, life in East London is inspiring. Like the first time you visit deep Brooklyn, you understand who millennials are and what they prioritize. Bushwick, going there with Paris McGarry and her boyfriend Tom. The streets were buzzin, the restaurants overflowing, the music bursting out of every window over the cobbled streets. Huge lofts once filed with machinery now house tech aspirants and what, I think, is the difference? Intellectual rather than mechanical industry.

Hackney has exactly the same energy.  Fit, bearded men cycling through the park discussing crypto currency on their cell phones.  They look insane, talking to themselves, eyes fixed on the road, avoiding my dogs who are inexplicably drawn to cycle paths. I feel alive here, which is odd as I am facing death head on right now.  I am optimistic even though I feel the curtain closing about me, taking my final bow.  I sit in Shorditch House all day drinking water and coffee and eating sour jelly candy.  I buy boots in APC and wonder why.  I mean, I don’t need anything.  I am rootless, I am free.

3.

Going to NA meetings all over the East End.  I am drawn to the drama I suppose.  I meet cool people and when they read about me are less eager to judge my life, my exploits whilst American addicts damn you forever.  You lose your grip once and Americans watch with glee as you fall from the side of the building.  Falling like a crazy base jumper.  You took a risk… it didn’t pay off.  Your fingers slip from the polished marble. The English addict is less determined to make you pay.

However, NA is not very productive in London.  The people may be kind but the programme stinks. Swimming around in their own shit. NA isn’t group therapy.  Nobody cares about your feelings. Addicts repeat their using tragedies again and again day after day.  They have no solution, grasping hold of their pain, reliving the insanity, indulgently spewing over anyone who will listen. They attend endless meetings 90/90 but will not work the 12 steps.  Of course, after a few months, they relapse then after another spectacular ‘rock-bottom’ claw their way back into the rooms… continuing the cycle of despair.  I keep reminding myself not to slip back into bad habits.  No catastrophic thinking, no indulgence.  No. No. No.

4.

I’m in Climpson’s the local coffee shop trying to write a treatment.  Broadway Market. I know the fishmonger and the book seller. The baristas know my name. I’m writing a gay Fatal Attraction. Crazy older lady meets younger gay guy at AA meeting, she’s a hoarder, he takes pity on her, cleans her house, helps her with her life, she lends him money and falls in love with him… then tries to destroy him when he refuses her advances.  It’s waiting to be written. This story, this slice of life upstate.  Donna, you crazy witch! I took Donna to a gay party, she wasn’t impressed when I talked to the other guys.  I took her to Abby Rockefeller’s farm.  She wasn’t impressed when I talked to other women.  I felt her eyes boring into me. We left.

5.

The dull thud returns, at the base of my sternum.  The pain wraps around my body from my stomach to the base of my back.  The acid reflux, overwhelming tiredness and irritability.  I had more tests.  There are problems that need resolved but the doctors are too damn eager to slice into me.  I already had my gall bladder and an isolated tumor on my adrenal gland removed.

The doctor is thorough and uncompromising.  I revisit all the horrors of pancreatic cancer.  I look at potential remedies, of which there are few.  The very worst scenario is called the Whipple procedure which is also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy, a complex operation to remove the head of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine (duodenum), the gallbladder and the bile duct.

They say to me: these symptoms are found in women. They say, it may be malignant, it may be benign, it may be somewhere in between.  The diagnosis isn’t good enough.  It’s too damn vague.  I lay on my bed after our long walk and fall into a deep sleep.  I breathe deeply, clearing my mind of everything I think I know.  I remind myself of the solution, the literature.  I say, what will be will be.  Divorcing myself from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.

During the day I face indecision. I may not correctly determine which course of action to take. I ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or decision.  I relax, I don’t struggle. I’m surprised by how often the right answer comes after practicing these principles in all my affairs.

Mario Testino was a friend of ours.  He had a studio in an abandoned hospital on Soho Square.  Scott Crolla, Georgina Godley and others were frequent guests.  My boyfriend in 1981 was Mario’s long time friend and collaborator Patrick Kinmonth.

Patrick lived in a tiny apartment in Holland Park, deliberately disheveled, dusty yet filled with beautiful object.  The place was brutally cold in the winter and a furnace in the summer.  Patrick, according to the artist Craigie Aitchison dobbed me in to the police when they were looking for me to ask questions about my credit card and why I hadn’t paid the bill.  It was Patrick who lent me money to buy my Peter Doig and it was Patrick who encouraged me to make art.  He was a vicious snob, exquisitely beautiful and at that time worked for Vogue magazine.  He amused us all by mimicking Mario’s Peruvian lilt.   Patrick is a deft impersonator.  The problem with Patrick?  Nothing ever came of his own talent.  He lives with the painfully shy food photographer Tessa Traeger in the West Country.  He designs opera sets for out-of-the-way operas but never became the great anything everyone thought he might become.

The last time I saw Mario and Patrick we were in LA at The Chateau Marmont.  I was having dinner in the garden they were having a party in the lounge with a bunch of gorgeous boy/men models.  I sat beside Patrick for a moment but I didn’t stay long.  He enjoys scolding me.  I made amends for some indiscretion and left.  Mario looked at me disdainfully.  Patrick enjoys being on Mario’s winning team.  He wrote the forward to Mario’s book and he styles the most interesting shoots.  Neither of them wanted me hanging around.  You’ve seen pictures of young girls on a yacht wearing bikinis, oggled by old men?  This was Mario’s gay equivalent.  I’d already ruined things by talking to him and Patrick, bathed in Mario’s reflected glory, wanted me gone.  He looked down his aquiline nose and told me I could have made so much more of myself.  Yeah, I thought… if you hadn’t worked with the establishment to destroy me.   I probably could.

You know why old men put young girls on yachts?  You’d think… so the girls can’t escape.  No, it’s so their old men friends can’t join the party.  I returned to my dinner in the garden.  Soon I saw Mario, Peter Pan like… screaming and laughing down the stairs with his crew.  Patrick lagging behind like a heavy train on an old dress.

I’ve never written about Mario.  Now, within the context of the salacious revelations and accusations leading to his spectacular firing from the Conde Nast creative family I revisit my association with him.  Let me say immediately,  I didn’t know anything untoward was happening.  I had never heard anything.  The towel series he shot with models were obviously designed to get the model naked and to legitimize Mario’s pervy intentions but I never heard from models who worked with him they felt uncomfortable.

Many of those same models who worked with Mario were not so discreet about their working relationship with Bruce Weber.  For a decade or more I heard story after story from young men who had worked with Bruce and the discomfort they felt being ‘relaxed’ with his hands on their bodies, the ‘breathing exercise’ or asked to take off their shorts when they were alone with Bruce.  I heard again and again about the notorious ‘private archive’ for which Bruce said he wanted their naked picture.  I heard how he tantalized young men with lucrative campaigns and the promise of a life beyond their wildest dreams.  I heard how he set models against each other, how within minutes of the private naked shots… would change his mind about the campaign promise he’d made, playing with them, manipulating them.

Yet, it seems, many models were perfectly happy to have their bodies used by Bruce.  Yesterday I spoke to a male super model I know in NYC.  Last year, after a few drinks, he described in detail how Bruce molested him, removed his underwear and taken pictures of him naked.  I asked if he was willing to come forward, speak publicly.  He told me I should be ashamed of myself for suggesting he told tales on Bruce.  Thus we understand how Bruce, inspiring loyalty in others, groomed them for sexual molestation.

I’ve had my run ins with Bruce over the years.  I asked him to take the Dorian Gray portrait.  He curtly suggested that I wasn’t the sort of person he could do business with.  Oh… how the tables have turned.

Sunday.  I had a late lunch in Hackney with a young gay artist.  We talked about Mario and Bruce.  He asked the difference between flirtation and harassment.  Worried his flirtation might be misconstrued.  How would he know?  Of course, one asks ones self: why doesn’t he know?  He’s a bright lad but his white male privilege is so ingrained he cannot differentiate between the two.  He asked if the men now making complaints were somehow complicit.  Many gay men make excuses for Bruce and Mario habitually devaluing our lives by suggesting the men who agree to work or consort with us are suspect or complicit.  We remain baffled by the notion of consent.  They knew what they were getting themselves into.

“Consent, that’s for straight people?  Women?  Isn’t it?”  He looks confused.

We talk about the abuse of power between men (beyond top and bottom although that too) and how our anti social behaviour and lack of morality has been largely ignored by heterosexual society firstly before equality, because straight people found it distasteful and didn’t really care. Then, after equality straight people were too embarrassed or confused to question how we lived in case they were accused of homophobia or insensitivity.  Recent gay celebrity scandals have shocked many of our straight allies, realizing they don’t know anything much about their gay friends at all.  Like rats we live discreet and cautious lives just a few feet from theirs, scurrying from one assignation to another.

We’ve done a great job passing. For many years the only evidence we existed?  When the police arrested, tried and sent us to jail for being gay. Cottaging. Tricking. Dressing up. Without these occasional mentions in the newspapers our gay lives would remain completely invisible.  I broke the law simply by being born, alive and sexually active. Straight acting wasn’t a fetish, it was a survival strategy… saving a young man from a beating or death. Ironically, this parallel life served many of us very well.  As a young British gay man I enjoyed social mobility, sexual freedom and access to extraordinary financial opportunities my straight peers could only dream of.  Yet, I paid the price for all of those benefits by surrendering my moral imperative.

Paris Hilton is maligned in the press for saying gay men on gay hook up apps are ‘disgusting’.  Which, after being sent 50 or so asshole pics this week… one might be inclined to agree.

With equality comes responsibility.  Some fought hard to enjoy marriage equality.  We fought hard in the UK to have homophobic laws like section 28 overturned.  In the UK these laws were ratified in Parliament and are hard to revoke.  We are tentatively exploring a new moral landscape.  Morals defined by heterosexuals, most gay men are unprepared for these changes and how this shift toward ‘normalcy’ may affect our lives.  Simply, our lifestyle compared with that of the average heterosexual may not bear scrutiny post Weinstein and Mario, Bryan, Bruce and Kevin may just be the very tip of the iceberg.

Entitled, affluent gay white men are especially morally impoverished.  Many still live secret, compartmentalized and shameful lives blighted by addiction, alcoholism and mental illness.  To many straight people we may seem carefree, highly entertaining, a cause to celebrate ‘gay pride’ and drink rainbow cocktails… but, on our own with our second screens we indulge less salubrious, secret lives using hook up apps as the portal, through which many enter a dark and disgusting world of chem sex, lies, cheating and despair.

They say,  everyone lies on-line.  We live in lying times.  Acceptable lies are now morally ring fenced.  The lies most gay men tell before they come out are perfectly… acceptable.  A habit we are loathed to break.  Most gay men are addicted to lying.  Only yesterday I met a closeted 25-year-old gay man.  I asked him why he was in the closet?  He described the same feelings of shame and despair I felt nearly 40 years ago.  Some things never seem to change… however much I am told, ‘it doesn’t matter, nobody cares’.  I explained to him why he needs to come out of the closet.  He needs to stop lying.  The more he lies the less respect he will have for the truth.  As I mentioned in my previous blog gay men get into nasty habits around the truth and the sooner we embrace the truth the less damage is done to our morality and our integrity.

The last time I saw  Mario he was skipping like a teenager down the stairs at The Chateau Marmont surrounded by beautiful teens.  Like Peter Pan, a 60-year-old man unable to face the truth about his failing body and his failing ability to make good decisions.  He could not stop himself grabbing them by the pussy.  He is the same as Trump.  Made of the same stuff.  Gripped by power, fame and entitlement he understood himself to be unassailable.  Nothing would ever bring him down… his legacy would glitter in perpetuity.  The dream maker, the fantasist, the story-teller… the liar.  Conjuring a universe of beauty, Mario forsook a life of loving relationships for an abuse of power.

Anna Wintour, who I confronted publicly about her reticence to stand up to Weber, made this statement last week.

Today, allegations have been made against Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, stories that have been hard to hear and heartbreaking to confront. Both are personal friends of mine who have made extraordinary contributions to Vogue and many other titles at Condé Nast over the years, and both have issued objections or denials to what has emerged. I believe strongly in the value of remorse and forgiveness, but I take the allegations very seriously, and we at Condé Nast have decided to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future.

Of course Anna Wintour is torn, it is hard to align what she hears and what she knows of her friends Mario and Bruce.  She is rightfully appalled, but thankfully she doesn’t know the half of it… she merely glimpsed, very briefly into the dark heart of every gay man I know.

There is something lost and broken about a small town.  Not on its surface.  Beneath, where the new working class flex what little muscle it has.  Withered by austerity and the banking crisis, lifting their weary faces and skinny fists toward the last of the watery sunlight.

Whitstable has always attracted freaks and frauds.  Crooks and drifters.  Before the gang of yummy mummies arrived with their plantation shutters, gumming up local stores with giant strollers… gangsters sat in Wheelers back room making deals.  Far enough from London, close enough to get home for their tea.

Life is evenly divided between Whitstable my home town and the world I created elsewhere.  You know, in the newspapers and on TV.  To come home is a mixed blessing.  My estranged brothers and frail mother have become litigants rather than family as I sue for my part in David’s will.

Even though Whitstable is a very small town one can totally miss seeing someone for decades.  Yet, with very little effort, I saw my mother on the street.  She looked animated, mid conversation with other mothers, presumably after dropping my nephew Oscar Roy at school.  Frances Roy, Frances Spark, Fran.  I don’t know what she calls herself nowadays. I walked closer, I tapped her on the shoulder… she turned to face me.  I was shocked by how badly she has aged.  The face I once adored is now smeared over her large skull, her features drawn, jowls and ear lobes drooping like melting tallow.

I was momentarily pleased to see her.  I felt protective once again.  I wanted to reassure her things were going to work out.  I thought the violent abuse we received from David would somehow bond us forever. Sadly, she has never been anything other than utterly selfish. She may have once but now she no longer wants the best for me. I am a stranger to her.

Unplanned pregnancy, shame and derision have shaped who she is today.  She learned nothing from her own story.  She never made amends.  She was never proud or encouraging of any of her children.  The older we got the less interest she showed. She had no ambition, no desire, no love.

I used to make excuses for her.  I’d tell therapists, “The nuns at the mother and baby home made her life miserable.”  I explained to psychologists, “Her father was cruel, her mother insensitive.”  “It was a different time.”  “When she looks at me I reminded her of him.”  I said.  And all the while, unbeknownst to her, the world was changing.  She told the doctor at the hospital, when I later read the notes, she was ashamed of me being so obviously gay… a gay child.  The sight of me flouncing around upset David.

They tried to shut me down.  The harder they tried the harder I fought back.  They tried to cure me with anti psychotic drugs.  They gave an 11-year-old gay child, badly abused at home… anti psychotic drugs.

I protected her from what others might say.  I melted when she cried.  She used her tears to avoid the truth.  Any difficult subject… she would cry.  One day I told her the crying wasn’t working.  I wasn’t going to cry with her anymore.  She stopped crying.  She didn’t do it again.  My mother does not deserve my protection. Sooner or later we are all owed the truth.

I was 22, I had a show in the West End.  She didn’t take the train, she didn’t see the play.  She couldn’t be anything other than embarrassed, four gay men talking about our gay lives.  She didn’t see me at the Edinburgh Festival, she didn’t see me.  She had excuses.

The next show, The Host performed in the Oyster Company great hall, my mother came with her sister Margaret and giggled in the back row ruining it for other people.  She didn’t come to the ICA or Sadler’s Wells, she didn’t come to The Hen and Chickens.  I don’t think she said a word when I won my place at a prestigious film school.  To this day and to the best of my knowledge she has never seen any of my films.

I’ve never written about her in this blog, explored who she is or was. I never once described her casual homophobia.  I wanted to believe she was a better person than she actually is.  A better person than me.  But she wasn’t… she accused my boyfriends of being gold diggers, made gay slurs about AIDS and ‘disgusting gay diseases’.  She failed to ask about my relationships, my work and my life.  When Joe and I bought a Porsche I was excited to show her.

She looked at it and said, “You ponce.”

That is the sort of woman she is.  Yet, when she was homeless I let her have one of our homes… even though she was the one who walked out on David… taking nothing.  Like so many women, she left it behind.  She walked out on my inheritance.

I have loyally hidden her true nature.  In the film AKA I did not reveal she colluded with my abusive father.  I continually let her off the hook.

When she called to tell me my brothers had been sent to prison, she blamed the police, she blamed everyone but them. My brother Martin Roy sends an abusive note to my lawyer.  I do not read it.  He storms into the solicitor’s office and demands to see him.

Whitstable High Street.  She’s nicely dressed.  I tap her on the shoulder and say hello.  She looks shocked.  She looked beaten.  She holds onto her friend, she links arms… as if I am going to be rip her away from them.  I ask if we can have coffee.  She shakes her head and looks like she might cry.  “I don’t want to talk to him.” The other mothers try encouraging her to have coffee with me.  They advise her to talk it through but my Mother dare not do that because she has been lying so long… she knows if she accepts a coffee it is time to tell the truth.

Her friends say, “She speaks so highly of you.”

“Really?” I reply.  “She scarcely speaks to me at all.”

I ask them if my mother Frances Roy mentioned to them she did not tell me my father was dying of cancer, she did not tell me he had died and then concealed his funeral from us all.  She grips hold of the other woman frantic, terrified.  Her brain racing for a solution.  Fear.  I return to the car.  She runs up the street as fast as her 73-year-old legs can carry her.

2.

New Years Eve we sat in a small group in his sitting room.  Whitstable people.  An MBE, an artist, the celebrity gardener, the Michelin star chef, the academy award nominee and a couple of imported diplomats… friends of our host.  He is wearing a djellaba.  Black linen, a rust colored silk shawl and Saudi slippers.  At midnight we toast the new year and hug.  I check insta and snap chat.  They are toasting in an ice palace in Reykjavik and the Sydney opera house.  Sam Taylor Johnston posts random snaps of black men preparing her dinner and black men entertaining them with dancing.

The following day, New Years Day… we reconvene at Windy Corner Stores.  At another table I see a man whose name I no longer remember, he has piercing blue eyes, he’s in a local band.  I stare at him.  He knows who I am.  Like looking into the eyes of ones captor.  Throughout my childhood this blue-eyed man mercilessly bullied me using gay slurs.  I thought to myself, should I say something?  He knows me.  He knows what he did. I say nothing.  I just stare.

A few days later I post this on the Overheard in Whitstable… Anything Goes, Facebook page.

Returning to Whitstable has been a positive experience. However, I’ve seen a few people around town who were openly and violently homophobic to me as I was growing up. I have never been ashamed of being gay and those who resorted to homophobia were the kind who resented ‘openly gay’ men, us who refused to be cowed by their hate. These people may now explain away their homophobia as a cultural phenomena but as with historical child abuse, historical homophobia must be answered to. Attitudes may have changed but the effects of homophobia should be acknowledged. If I see anyone in the town who was homophobic in my past I will remind them of their past cruelty. Most gay men in their 50’s either forsook marriage or children or waited until late in life. We lived through an aids epidemic. Whilst that was happening graffiti was written on the side of my house in island wall, it said: aids available here. LGBT people do not have to hide who we are and who we love. The privileged white men I have confronted so far claim they are the victim because I had the audacity to remind them of their hate. The homophobe, the racist, the misogynist is not the victim. Those who peddle hate must own it and make amends.

Of course, this note punctured Whitstable’s fragile, dark heart. I am harangued and homophobicly abused.  Along side the homophobic abuse, energetic white people assure me nobody cares anymore if you are black, gay, fat… etc.   As long as you keep quiet about it.  If you complain… these illogicals demand you pipe down.  It is still typical for white heterosexual people to shut down gay people who have the audacity to share their negative experience and challenge homophobia.

Of course, being a public figure I am used to the abuse.  I have never been compliant.

I was most interested to hear from one commentator, Kris Howell. The rest: feckless female trolls, thin-lipped and spray tanned, their dyed hair in lank bangs.  When I returned fire with equally vile invective they became outraged, like prodding a termites nest.  The little termites ran around screaming.

For my amusement I suggested to one morbidly obese woman she may be in receipt of benefits.  An excellent way to upset an oik.  I found a picture of her wedding, her huge pink body wrapped up in acres of synthetic fabric. Her husband, pallid and inert.  She told me she owned three cars.  ‘You think I’d be on benefits with £70,000 worth of cars in front of my house.”  It brought into sharp contrast just how different their world is from mine.  I looked at my watch and smiled.

Kris Howell, better known as Les (ironically he also changed his name) caught my interest because once reeled in said exactly what I expected to hear.  He wanted me to know he had bullied me not because I am gay… but because I am me.

He refused to differentiate between the two.  As if the two could be separated.

Compliant homosexuals put up with being picked on, bullied, imprisoned and generally kicked around.  They learn how to be invisible.  Those of us who refuse to go quietly are branded difficult, hated for not keeping quiet.  Other gay men who play the game as prescribed by straight white people are just as offended when a fellow gay rocks the boat.  As the trolls railed and raged over my post the local gay hairdresser pinned his colors to their mast not realizing he had been co-opted into a seething pit of homophobes.

Les Howell refused, despite reasoned argument, to grasp that being gay had defined me, and I have good reason to be angry and better reason to fight back.  How did a ten-year old me deal with being repeatedly called pooftah and bleached nigger at school?  I was keenly aware of both racism and homophobia.  We were taught by the vicar of St Alphage that the black boy sitting naked before Christ was a savage and would not know how to use a toilet.  My uncle Norman confirmed this by pointing at black children, reminding me they were filthy savages.

Remember, even though homosexuality had been decriminalized by Woolfenden in 1965 gay men were still being arrested for consensual sex well into the 1980’s.  I was born a criminal and I had every reason to be angry but that anger, as the years passed, turned me into something I would have preferred not to have been.

Yet, as Les Howell spewed his vitriol, so full of hate… like most enraged fools, he lost his grasp on reason.  It was perfectly ok to remind the world of a man’s indiscretions he said, but not his triumphs.  He told me he was law-abiding but balked when I reminded him both his friends Stuart and Martin Roy had been in prison for worse crimes than spending money on a credit card.

Like most fascists his argument have nothing to do with logic and what he may or may not think of me… and everything to do with who he is and the resentments he carries.  Hate, like water, will find its level.  It will seep into everything and rot where ever it remains.

He wanted me to know I was a liar.  He said, “You were a liar before you went to prison and you’ve never learned your lesson.”  I wondered what the lesson should be? And I thought, you know, lying is a particularly gay thing.  I called Stephen Fry and we talked about gays and lying.  The genesis of our fantastical lives.  He had also gone to prison.  He had stolen credit cards from other people, I had merely run up a huge bill on my own credit card.  The difference?  He would still have gone to prison in 2018, I would not.

Why do gay men lie?  We lie to save ourselves.  We lie until we come out of the closet.  The longer we are in the closet the more we lie, the easier it becomes, there is no longer a taboo.  The truth is negotiable.

The following day the trolls were chattering on-line like agitated chimps.  Upset ’cause I had removed the thread.  “Has he tagged you?”  The wannabe silver back asks the girl with thin lips.  He is holding up his metaphorical pool cue reminding everyone he won the argument.  He won the fight.  They talked cryptically about rinsing and reeling people in and unicorns.  The woman in the synthetic wedding dress said she was sick of being maligned (my word not hers).  A couple of them private messaged me in the hope I would re-engage.

Anything Goes’ on this Facebook site simply means: trolls and their dumb friends get to spew hate at anyone they feel they can bully and misinterpret, using xenophobia, misogyny, racism and homophobia as their weapons of choice. Their lives do not bear scrutiny.  They are neither patriots nor evolved. They hide behind fake accounts because their truth is unbearable. They lie yet cannot bear anything but the truth in others, they insult but cannot stand being insulted.

They are kids in the school toilet.  Writing notes and passing them around, scrawling over pictures, insulting who they believe are more vulnerable.

Dealing with the mass market can be very revealing. The British general public, like the woman in the white synthetic dress, are presently emboldened by Brexit.

3.

The following day I had tea with Barry Green at his hotel, The Continental.  His son Richard was my best friend in the 80’s.  We talked about Brexit.  He told me he was a keen leaver and I asked him why.  I’ve always respected Barry.  I want somebody I respect to convince me Brexit is good for the country.  I want to be wrong about Brexit.  Barry Green was the second successful business owner, Susanna Atkins at The Goods Shed in Canterbury was the first, who came out to me as a stalwart brexiteer.

Actually George Wilson, our local Scottish millionaire, was the third but we didn’t get past talking planning permission.

I am fascinated by their Brexit.  How it works for them? Susanna’s family (sons and cousins) had to bring in the harvest last year because they couldn’t get anyone to work on their farm.  Susanna thought it was great, she suggested we all bring in the harvest.  As it was, long ago.  I could not imagine the sickly woman in the synthetic wedding dress on her knees in the fields.  She might have a word or two to say about that when the local aristo land owner requisitions her, dragging her screaming from her smart phone, from Celebrity Big Brother on her giant flat screen… to pick asparagus for the 1%.

Barry told me he voted Brexit… he assured me not because of immigration (he is married to an Eastern European) but because of the common agricultural and fisheries policy.  Ok, I said, so who is going to write the new agricultural and fisheries policy for the UK?  Barry didn’t know what sort of policy or quota we would have after Brexit because he thought we might not have one at all.

“Do you think a free-for-all out at sea will work fine for our fisherman and fish stocks?”  I inquired.

Both Susanna and Barry think the country will be best served by an army of artisans, baking bread, catching fish and selling our surplus to who ever wants to buy it.  They believe their small-scale business model can be translated into something the whole country will adopt, setting the country free from the rest of the world.  They crave autonomy, they crave sovereignty.  They resent the rules, they want to catch what ever they want when they want it and bugger the cod stocks.  They know what is best for the people if only we can return to simpler, less complicated ways.  Bringing in the harvest with a new peasant class and take what we want from the sea as we need it.

Profit now, conservation later.  They believe in the Dunkirk spirit.  They believe the English will overcome adversity.  An adversity we created for ourselves…  we now delight in overcoming.  Meanwhile the EU are preparing a no deal Brexit while our government prepare for nothing.  Hurtling toward an arbitrary date when we fall gently off the cliff.

Barry Green sat on the brown leather Chesterfield whilst we chewed over the past.  I congratulated him his success.  He told me I was the kind of person who could have done anything.  I remind him, I’ve done more than most.

“Those houses you sold are worth £3 million pounds now.”

“But I wouldn’t have had any adventure, Barry.”

He remembered the play we performed in the Oyster Company, the summer of 1985.  “The red knickers.” He chuckled. “Tatiana’s red knickers.”

“Do you remember the vase of blue Corn Flowers?”

“Yes,” he marveled.

I’m not going to explain.  You had to be there.

4.

The dogs curled up on the sofa.  They ate cheese.  They are still sleeping.  It’s midday.  They don’t have to worry about the pig and the dog we shared our time with these past few weeks in Barnes.  We are going to walk in the rain.  We are going to meet him, feel his soft skin under his coat.  Just like the old days.  Kissing in the street.

Dear Stephen,

It’s been months since we last spoke.  My harried exit from the USA only made our separation more dramatic.  Those last fraught days before Abby drove me over the border.  I had no time to explain, no time to say goodbye.  Of course, I saw your brother in Seville but he provided scant consolation.  I think about you often… and why not?   We saw each other frequently.  In lieu of our conversations I imagined your first experience of burning man.  I wonder with a wry, affectionate grin your house filling with even more bits and pieces. 

Toward the end of my time in the USA I think you knew just how miserable, trapped and disappointed I had become.  Increasingly overwhelmed by my hatred for almost everyone except you.  I wanted you to know just how relaxed I am here.  It’s not Nirvana but I can travel, I can speak English to those who understand and most of all?  The problems I encounter here I can deal with more than adequately.  I would rather the English disappoint me than strangers from another shore. 

The gays here do not confuse me with some character they’ve seen on TV.  And even tho I might say I don’t want to fall in love… it’s maybe because I don’t dare love possible.

I’ve no idea if we will ever meet again.  If we have anything more to say to each other but I wanted you to know how grateful I was.  We had a blast. I wanted you to know that I love you very much.

DPR

 

1.

lyme regis

My journey across Europe has been deliciously eventful.  However, these past few weeks in Dorset were perhaps the most scintillating… and British.

My time on the West Dorset/East Devon border was tied up in British convention.  Rules of social engagement forged over hundreds of years by our ruling class… manners maketh man.  Rules, before my stint in the USA, I adhered to (mostly) and challenged unsuccessfully.  In the USA I learned a different social practice and without my daily dose of British self loathing I learned a very useful trick most Brits seem oblivious:  Self Esteem.  Consequently, revisiting the rules governing so much of our British social life has been a little disorienting because… I am Johnny Foreigner and the brits at play (and in the house of commons) sound more like inchoate chattering chimps than adroit conversationalists.

The British, upon meeting a stranger, like any un-evolved primate seek to assert themselves and on rare occasions and only when appropriate… defer.  A British person, full ape… will never give in to money, power or prestige.  They only give up their seat on the bus to those born to sit in it.

Socially, the Brits engage a very specific modus operandi.

Firstly, they establish the worth of the other.  They quickly seek to discover reasons for any shame he/she should feel for merely being alive:  At Monkton Wyld Court, Simon Fairlie’s obnoxious wife Gill Baron the imperious editor of The Land Magazine, rearing up on her hind legs, reminded me I had been expelled from Monkton Wyld School even though Gill conveniently forgets both she and her clochard husband were also expelled.  Bette Bright, whilst grooming another female in the pack, wanted me to remember I had once pretended to be a Lord.  Another creepy petit bourgeois reptile told me I didn’t deserve my accent.  All of which would have once caused me to shy, no flinch when I lived in the UK.  After so long in the USA this British social venom fails to work as I carry more than enough antidote.

As it turns out, the critical gaze of a posh, British person is surprisingly easy to ignore.  The shaming swipe effortlessly parried.  The knowing laugh means nothing at all and hangs in the air like a fart.  Their sly grin makes the posh Brit look like they have learning difficulties.  I was surprised by how often these rather crude techniques are used and how unsophisticated the most sophisticated Brit appears once you lift up his skirt and smell his unwashed cunt.

Bette Bright, married to singer and TV entertainer Suggs from the band Madness was the first Brit who wanted to remind me of my place.  The very notion of one’s place is so uniquely British.  As I was leaving a not so amusing Sunday  lunch party in Whitstable with my friend Simon Martin, director of The Pallant Gallery, Bette sat bloated and over dressed, her fat cheeks once sweetly girlish now pock-marked and scribbled with red, broken veins.  She wore green, over sized bakelite jewelry, a large bottom impedes her journey.

 

I had once been very friendly with her sister Alana who died of pancreatic cancer.  Attempting to make me uncomfortable she announced across the table, “Lord Anthony Rensdlesham, wasn’t it?”  I was momentarily stunned as I had no cause to be reminded of that particular adventure, not for twenty years or more.  Remember… I am not my story.  Perhaps the best and most enduring gift AA afforded me.  As Anthony Rendlesham had once been my name I was thrown into a different world.  A centuries old world of sophistication, Fortuny and… Falconetti.

I asked her why she wanted to remind me of something I had lived 40 years ago.  What was her aim?  If her aim was to shame me… she had failed.  I wondered out loud why a straight, white, affluent woman was trying to shame a gay person of color.

“How rude! ” She said.

“White fragility, white heterosexual fragility.”  I replied.

She looked perplexed by my comment.  “I have lots of gay friends.”

“And you learned nothing from them? Bette Bright, gay men know a great deal about reinvention… so odd you’ve not had that conversation.  Didn’t you reinvent yourself Bette?”

I continued with vigor.

“Yes.  Of course you did.  You were born plain Anne Martin.  Dull Anne.  Well, dear, what’s good for the gander… is good for this goose.  You may call me Lord Anthony Rendlesham.”

I swept out of the party.  Leaving her spluttering into her summer pudding.

A theme emerged forcibly throughout the rest of my journey.  I asked my friend the Weymouth born artist Graham Snow if he too experienced homophobia amongst the affluent, the ruling class, the petit bourgeois.  He blurted out a list of ghastly things he puts up with.  He is quite the most lonely person I have ever met, made more lonely by his so-called ‘friends’ who do not want the best for him.  Like Lucy Ferry making disparaging remarks about Lee McQueen’s rough east end boyfriends.  Those woman kept that boy lonely.  They used him, like Graham is used by unscrupulous heterosexuals.  Graham, born in the 40’s, was shielded from the true horror of the most virulent hatred of the gays by his friendship with extraordinary men… like David Hockney and John Schlesinger.  He has thick, thick skin after enduring years of glancing blows from the casual homophobe.

Homophobia is real and crippling and we dare not talk about it just in case it makes us vulnerable.  A British aristocrat loves to mine another’s vulnerability.  Reminding you he is whiter, more well-bred, more heterosexual and closer to the crown than YOU.

Perhaps I’m looking for trouble. Perhaps I’m too sensitive.  Perhaps the blonde, female fitness instructor who has coffee at Dave’s Deli in Whitstable is not a homophobe but just doesn’t like me.  There seems nothing worse to a recent Whitstable resident than these words:  I was born here.

I am not an easy gay, I am not the kind of gay man who ignores a casual homophobic aside.  If ‘Woodsy’ the window cleaner wonders why I am in Whitstable and doesn’t like it… maybe he’s scared I know a little too much about his past.

After a rather grueling tour via Swanage of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast with Graham Snow, he took me to the home of some very English sub aristocrats for dinner.  Writer Jason Goodwin, son of Jocasta Innes and his very Nigella Lawson type wife.  Their house was a typical English country affectation.  A  Christopher Gibbs pastiche thrown together with no money.  Piles of rotting books, sagging sofas and a smokey fireplace.  Their dogs were aggressive and needy, they want to sit on your lap then bite your hand.  The food was overcooked, the conversation tepid… I sat opposite our host and a charming Italian woman Anna Orsini from the British Fashion Council and an Oxford don who loathed Jeremy Corbyn and still believed in slavery.

A forlorn, bald man sat beside the don, Matthew Rice whose wife Emma Bridgewater had recently and very abruptly left him. She had not mentioned him, he wailed, on Desert Island Disks.  Apparently it is sexist to ask if she is menopausal. Now she has gone (she is not coming back) perhaps Mr Rice should bite the gay bullet.  I mean… he can’t possibly be straight.  Can he?  Years of stenciling fowl onto earthenware might betray something of the fey in a man.

During the second course (roast lamb) shop keeper and Poundbury apologist Ben Pentreath arrived. A very British gay handful.  His simpering, tongue tied husband in tow… brutally eclipsed by Ben’s scintillating, room filling persona.  Ben excused himself… they had been to another party.  The dull husband threw Katie a huge bunch of vulgar dahlias. Ben had stories to tell and took charge of the table as best he could.  He mocked his boss Prince Charles with an uninspired impersonation.  Our host and hostess gasped and giggled like naughty Victorian children enthralled by a Zoetrope, tittering at everything the clown queen regaled.

Ben and his pretty husband live in a parsonage not far from Jason and Katie.  The house has been ‘published’.  They show me pictures in a magazine of Ben’s equally annoying interior.  Stuck in a grim place where a potager is still essential and an escritoire ‘sublime’.  More stuff.  Acres of stuff.  Rooms full of stuff.  Stuff Poundbury bought.  Stuff set against emerald walls, set against raspberry blancmange, more and more, lustre ware, vulgar dahlias… bunches and bunches of them.

After dinner I sank uncomfortably into the sofa, consumed by horse hair and damp feathers.  Ben wanted to introduce me to the ‘most perfect’ man.

“I have the most perfect man for you!”

Announcing to the room I needed a boyfriend.  I told him to google me.  I couldn’t imagine he would want to introduce me to anyone after he had read everything there is to read about me…

“I don’t want a boyfriend,” I said.

Jason sat beside me. Looking intently.  He asked why I didn’t want a boyfriend.  I told him a little of my story.  Unpacking the bags.  I mentioned coming out at 13, he asked dismissively why it was so important to ‘come out’.

“Ask your best friend Ben,” I said.  Ben balked.

Ben ditched the resting bitch face and looked quite real, momentarily.  He told Jason he was 27 when he came out, when he told his brother he was gay his brother reacted very negatively.  Jason was shocked.  I realized these two men who claim to be best friends don’t know each other… at all.

Jason Goodwin, enjoying his casual homophobia, sneered at my sadness for all the men I knew who died of AIDS, questioning my PTSD.  Jason sneered harder when I told him how the lgbt community must still fight for equality and wondered why I let cruel Section 28 affect me.  Jason, like so many men of his class, thought us impudent for wanting more.  Now he sits in the front row of his gay best friend’s wedding.  As for Ben Pentreith, what fight did he put up?  He let the rest of us do the heavy lifting.  At his wedding he scarcely gave a thought to the men who sacrificed so much for his happy day.

As a deliciously uncomfortable postscript I made Ben describe how gay hook up apps like Grindr and Scruff  work to the assembled crew of stodgy heterosexuals.  It was gleefully entertaining. “Scruff?” They repeated disdainfully.  They wrinkled their noses, fanning away the imagined smell of the word.

2.

I met a man I had brief crush upon,  He was blond and sensitive and sturdy.  I didn’t make a move.  I think I would have fallen in love.  I bought him a bottle of gin.

Monkton Wyld.  I was staying in the house of a retired Dr and his Christian wife.  They were touring Australia and New Zealand.  The Monkton Wyld rectory was filled with opaque plastic boxes containing a life of habitual collecting.  Bits and pieces.  Scraps of fabric, knitting needles, tapestry.   Every room has a sofa, even the dining room.  The Christian wife does not want to live anywhere other than the huge house in the country where she keeps her charming husband hostage.  He wants to live in Australia near his adored kids.  They’ve brought a little slice of Surrey to the vail of Monkton Wyld.  Tennis courts, over planted herbaceous borders, a rockery and sweeping lawns.  Their staircase and landing is painted a delightful jade color but she doesn’t like it. She wants to paint it, he doesn’t want to spend £3000.  She is unhappy.  They are unhappy.

They left the house.  Went away for 6 weeks.  When they returned she had read all about me on the internet.  I could see from her pinched lips, her sallow… indirect look.  Too much of a coward to look me in the face and tell me what she really thought.  Her Christianity didn’t allow her to approve of gay men.  Even though she has a bisexual daughter.  So she dressed up her disapproval with a shocking number of complaints about my stay at their house.  The water pump had stopped working and would cost them £1,800 to put right.  Some of the plants in the greenhouse had died.  There was dog shit in the herbaceous borders.  I had bought the wrong cat food.

There is a field at the bottom of their garden the local disliked farmer wants to sell.  I hope someone buys the field and builds a big beautiful house in that field souring their perfect view.  Perhaps I will.

Whilst in Dorset I took a little road trip 50 miles North to see Rachel Campbell-Johnston who was once the lover and friend of Sebastian Horsley.  She is the art critic for the London Times.  The final weeks of my drug use was spent with her and Sebastian.  I specifically remember her vomiting out of a black cab on Kensington High St after doing reams of cocaine in 1997.  The taxi driver looked so disappointed.

“What’s a pretty girl like you behaving like this.” he said.

Well, Rachel made millions from property investments (selling an old shed in Kensal Rise to Bella Freud) and bought an austere house near South Molton on Exmoor.  She lives there with her daughter Katya, her mother, lurchers and two funny goats.  Her marriage to my friend Jayne’s husband Willy spectacularly failed.  Their friends forced to take sides.

“Don’t talk about it!”  She demanded.

I had totally forgotten she married Willy Nickerson, now she wants me to forget all over again. We reminisced about Whitstable.  The Peter Cushing House.  She attempted to shame me by wondering if I owned the house in Whitstable, or did it belong to someone else?

“No, it was mine.” I smiled, her icy stare not altering the temperature one jot.

“I didn’t own the house in Adam and Eve Mews.”  I added, “That was my boyfriend’s.”

“Your dogs are so fucking ugly.” She said.

As if on cue one of her lurchers grabbed a huge leg of pork from the kitchen table and ran off with it.  Rachel sprinted after the dog and returned with the mangled joint.  She put it in the oven.  “That’s what country folk do.”  She said.

She remembered visiting me in Whitstable with Sebastian, Tricia and Paul Simonon from The Clash.  She pointed at the bottle of wine on the kitchen table.

“We own these vineyards.”

I looked at her. Carefully.  Wondering if she would ever grow up and make sense of what it might mean to be a wife and mother. She had failed so spectacularly at both.

The following day we sat with Laura and Peter Carew who I found myself liking a great deal.  I reminded them I had been nominated for an academy award and gone to Sundance and opened many film festivals all over the world, which is far more than most of the wannabees we hung out with who told you they would… but never did.

“Look at his dogs,” Rachel spewed,”They are so fucking ugly.”

Although the Carew’s house is jammed with stuff like the houses of all these country people it is welcoming and warm.  Lunch, a couple of chops and some salad.  It suits Laura very much to have staff and land.  Sheep and cattle.  She’s only a decade from living on Exmoor full-time.  Giving in to the lure of headscarves, tweed skirts, lambing, and driving a Landrover full tilt over the sodden moor.

I didn’t drive home the night I left Exmoor.  I hanker for the sea.  For Lyme Regis.

I was happy to see it. Lyme will always remind me of my first great love: Gerard Falconetti, grand son of Renee Jeanne. He played Meryl Streep’s real-time lover in the film The French Lieutenant’s Woman.  He was my lover and friend, he was also the first man I knew during those heady times to die of AIDS.  When the doctors told him he would die of that cruel and terrible disease he threw himself from the roof of the Tour Montparnasse.

Bradford on Avon.  September.  I’m looking over her gently terraced garden, sitting at the desk of an old friend in her honey coloured Georgian house.  The sun peeking out from an angry, black cloud.  Gold finches at the bird table, brambles growing into the Kent Cobb Nut tree, blackberries ripe and ready to harvest.  Beyond this garden there are 18th century terraces built of crumbling bath stone.  There is a freshly planted parterre, the tiny box hedges won’t be ready for another two years.  Box grows so slowly.  All over the English countryside gardeners tend their neatly trimmed topiary, privet sculpted into elegant forms.  The muscles in my back and neck are still tender from the last few months of anxious reckoning.

From my home in the USA… things are grim.  That’s that.  AMERICA.  Every day the news gets worse.   Trump’s white supremacist vision for the USA.  Unpicking every half-hearted Obama achievement.  Making the point of his white presidency to undo a black man’s legacy.  Indisputable evidence…  I escaped at the right time.  I can’t understand people who stick around.  What more do they need to see or hear before they leave that god forsaken Trump hole?

The most powerful country in the world has handed over all its affairs—the prosperity of its entire economy; the security of its 300 million citizens; the purity of its water, the viability of its air, the safety of its food; the future of its vast system of education; the soundness of its national highways, airways, and railways; the apocalyptic potential of its nuclear arsenal—to a carnival barker who introduced the phrase grab ’em by the pussy into the national lexicon. It is as if the white tribe united in demonstration to say, “If a black man can be president, then any white man—no matter how fallen—can be president.”

Thankfully I’m home.  Home in England.  I left my friends in Chamonix after we enjoyed a few days vacation in Northern Italy and yet another adventure on the Tuscan coast.  I drove to Paris, left Dude with my friend Mary and the following day Little Dog and I caught the P&O ferry to Dover where I met my sister Roya.  A few miles later I was sitting on the sunny lawn of my friend’s lavish Queen Anne mansion reconfigured in 1911 by Edward Lutyens.

It was the first time I’d met my sister, we’d spent a few years skyping since she introduced herself online.  Now, here she was in all her lesbian glory with her delightful girlfriend drinking champagne on the velvet lawns of the English countryside.  I’m sure she felt anxious.  I’m sure she felt confused.  We have ten brothers and sisters.

I’ve avoided England.  Voting from afar, now I return.  I must admit…  I’m in love with you, the English, in love with you all.  I understand you, you are gentle, even the hardest amongst you.  You’ll never be as inflexible and humorless as the Americans.  On the ferry home I listened to two middle-aged couples describing their lives on the roads of Europe.  Motor homes.  I envied them.  On the road.  Free.  Unencumbered.

For the first time, however, the British have been divided.  Not along lines of class or political affiliation but whether one is a brexiteer or not.  Tentatively enquiring when one meets a friend if they voted for or against brexit.  They might be that kind of person.  Yet, as I waited at the traffic lights in Camden Town I saw a river of diversity.  So unique, colorful… so English.  Evidence just there on that grimy North London street: thousands of years of cultural amalgamation.

Our leaders seem so terribly out of step with the people they lead.

The English are very sweet.  A ready smile, a polite greeting, they have a charming disposition.  Drivers thank you for courteous driving, we stick to the correct lanes on the motorway.  The British are engaging and inquisitive.  After so many years walking streets in the USA, I gave up saying good morning or smiling at strangers.  Here is a nation of men and women who without hesitation are eager to trust, eager to forgive and desperately want to smile whenever they chance upon a stranger.

Perhaps it’s me?  Perhaps I am so happy to be back they recognise my unbridled happiness? I don’t think so. It’s them, the British, naturally optimistic, even though they are unaware of their optimism. They can’t see it.  They would disagree if I told them to their face.

I was excited to see my home town, but I was too tired to drive to Whitstable the night I arrived.  I planned to go after my sister and her girlfriend left but instead I crept into a huge bed with the Little Dog and slept soundly.  In the morning I found the wonderful Barham Community Store, read the newspaper then headed up the M2 to the north Kent coast.

I parked the car on Harbour Street and had coffee at Dave’s Deli, he was adorable.  His sister works there.  We talked about Richard Green.  He has been very sick.  Everyone I met seemed delighted to see me and hugged me or shook my hand vigorously.  People I’d known all my life.  Half a century or more.

Yet, for all the time passed since I first cycled up Harbour Street at 7 years old on my red tricycle… not much has changed.  There’s more money but there’s more money swamping the south-east, all the way to Margate.  I explored the town and lingered outside all three of my houses.  They were just as I left them.  The house on Island Wall has a very smart garden and the house next door has nice new Victorian sash windows.  Number 3 Seaway Cottages on Wavecrest (owned by Peter Cushing before me) is a little forlorn.  The owner hasn’t been there all summer and the garden has overgrown terribly.  Number 2 Seaway Cottages has been renovated several times since I left, they have built a 20 foot kitchen onto the back of the house.   Thankfully they kept the expensive door handles and light switches.

I didn’t miss the houses on Whitstable beach, not one little bit.  They were mine, I sold them for a huge profit and I moved on.  People ask if I miss the money they would be worth now and I remind them they are only worth money when you sell them. I miss them not at all, they gave me the oppertunity to move on in style.  I have never wished to be there again, no nostalgia… no regret.  Not like Malibu… I hanker after Malibu.

Of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.  Some uppity British people are very eager to remind you of your place in society, reminding me of my own ancient history… but I’m an American now so those archaic rules don’t apply to me.

More of that when I return to my desk tomorrow.

 

 

I’ll never recover from my love of LA.  However badly it treated me.  I will never forget our ill-fated house in Malibu.  The restaurant at the end of the pier.  The Jacaranda, the delicate pepper trees, those tall palms glistening like cellophane when the rains finally came.  Have you seen Pharrell’s video for his song Happy?  That’s how I’ll remember LA. The light, the streets, down town Los Angeles, the fat and the thin.  Looking heavenward, remembering why we moved there armed only with dreams. Pleading for security, good traffic, and a god who loves us even if the dream slips further from our grasp…

When I left LA I earned more money than I ever earned.  What foolishness made me give it up?  Fear.  The same fear I had in NY and no longer feel here in Europe.  Fear of the speeding bullet, the rogue cop, fear of mud slides, wild fires… and me.

Last week I purged almost all the white, American gay men from my Facebook friends list. When I announced I was doing so… Facebook banned me for a week.  Thank you Big Brother, no Facebook means no compulsive checking.  I didn’t recognize any of the gay white American men who claimed to know me, or I had friended because I am weak and colluded with the notion the gays gather as many other gays around them as we possibly can so we may perpetuate the myth of gay solidarity.

According to Facebook, this declaration to purge unknown faces from my FB page was hate speak.

I was an unwilling participant in an anonymous gay web.  I don’t know the 50 people we have in common.  I don’t want to know the 28 mutual friends.  The 42 people who don’t know each other more than passing their clone on Robertson, Old Compton St, Commercial Street or Ocean Walk.  Lives as the gays chose to document on FB, so utterly boring, so stultifyingly limited.  Haunting the same locations, using exactly the same language we used 50 years ago… and on… the perpetual hunt, the same miserable polemic.  One hundred thousand likes for a shirtless picture.  A million Instagram followers for the most perfectly honed of them.

Recently a young gay man, beset by righteous indignation, complained to his 5 thousand followers his profile pic had been stolen and used on a well-known dating app.  I wondered out loud (amongst the commiseration) why they had bothered stealing the image?  The picture they appropriated was so utterly boring, so drearily identical to any number of equally dull gay men.  There was nothing distinguished or vaguely fascinating about the stolen photograph.  My comment caused OUTRAGE.

Their outrage is misplaced.  The gays are so often angry but unwilling to take action. Emboldened by changing laws: each new generation of gays relive their very own glasnost, embracing ersatz activism.  Their muscle drag and occasional militancy leads nowhere.  Built like warriors, Spartans… fucking not fighting.  Marching in the gay parade, holding their radical (campy) signs high above their heads then… a few hours later it’s back to the soupy hot tub for more identically built/identically aged/undressed… perpetual strangers.  Cock first, talk later.

I seemed, during my time in the USA, to know two types of (repugnant) white gay men:

1. Semi aquatic gays who hang out in hot tubs and swimming pools.  Boasting on-line about their open relationships, their poly amorous lives, one assumes they are ok smelling the stench of other men’s cum over their husband’s perfectly sculpted bodies.

2. Then there are gays like John Derian, the fay New York based purveyor of knickknacks.  Publishing pictures of their grand houses, their grand friends, their holidays in equally magnificent surroundings.  They need me to know what they eat, how they dress their surrogate children, how they arrange flowers and prepare the canape.  These gays have open relationships built on mergers and acquisitions.  Choosing men as they choose tuba roses at the farmers market.  As far from love and monogamy as one can get.

The purge is complete.  The result of this time-consuming exercise?  My feed as dictated by Big Brother’s algorithms is now more representative of who I am. People I know in the world posting pictures of things I want to look at, asking questions I can answer, engaging meaningfully with me.

Good God!  I knew so many white, American gays, fledgling proto fascists.  Echoing fake news, convincing one after another what they want to us all to believe… amplifying easily digestible myths then greedily consuming them like protein bars.  Post by post confirming their collective denial of what the gay community has become and where the community is headed.

During the election the noise of the myth makers in the pink echo chamber became deafening.  Everyone, of course, claimed to know Robby Mook, Clinton’s gay campaign manager.  Armed with their exclusive Robby Mook whispers they convinced themselves and others Hillary Clinton was unassailable.  They believed everyone was thinking just like them.  The violence I suffered at their hands when I told them bluntly they were wrong… was worse than any abuse I had ever suffered from any heterosexual homophobe.  As it turned out, my take on the gay community was right… they were indeed wrong.  Trump won.

I heard, via my own sources, Clinton beat Mook on the chest, crying and wailing…

Now the gays are right behind the liberal ‘reds in the bed’ narrative. Unquestioningly wedded to the dream of impeachment.  Telling each other it’s only a matter of time before Trump is gone for good.  They shyly, foolishly ask their friends on Facebook if another election will take place? After all, they bleat, we won the popular vote… even if the Russians lost Clinton the election.  Their muddled polemic evolved amongst their good-looking selves on social media. Like in needle point class they stitch the narrative of their dreams as if it were true.  Trump will be impeached they chant, Trump… is not my President!

My most violent confrontations on social media seems to erupt when I challenge American gay white men to explain how, as they claim, if they were hypothetically living in Nazi Germany would they take on Nazis? Contrary to their stringency most of the white gays I know would have willingly signed up to become Nazis… like most Germans did, to save their scrawny asses and of course wear the fabulous black and gold Gestapo uniforms.

My friend Bettina’s father, he lived in Germany during the war, told me he only heard about the concentration camps from annoying conspiracy theorists.  The sort of people one didn’t want to believe.  He was genuinely shocked, at the end of the war, to see the truth.

Few people are brave enough to challenge the regime under which they live. Most American white gays are incredibly comfortable.  What would motivate any them to up sticks… unless forced to?  Until the knock on the door.  The stench of unwashed policemen in the kitchen demanding ‘papers’.  Looking for evidence of homosexuality. The gays would hang on ’til the last-minute… until the authorities came looking for them.

The dumbest gays think in 1930 they would still enjoy the connectivity they enjoy today… their mobile phones and the internet. They think they would have access to a large group of similarly minded people, their mutual friends on Facebook. They do not understand the isolation of the activist.  Activists in 1930 constantly wondered if they were the only human alive who thought the system… the regime was wrong.  They were scared to articulate thoughts and ideas with others for fear of being arrested.  Even gay or lesbian friends could not be trusted… lgbt friends regularly turned acquaintances over to the party for punishment.

Activists are often annoying, their message difficult to hear.

The pink triangle worn by gay men in the German concentration camps was the worst of all the badges… because it so often lead to violent and unexpected death from both guards and other inmates, the Jews in the camps would kill a gay wearing a pink triangle as easily as the Nazi. The Pink Triangle became something to aim at by bored soldiers looking for something to kill.  Alan Davies the well-known and well-loved British comedian, lived in Whitstable whilst at Kent and Canterbury University.  We knew each other but we were not particularly friendly.  He wore a pink triangle badge into The Neptune pub in solidarity with the gays… yet continually indulged in casual and not so casual homophobia.  He enjoyed his white heterosexual entitlement and when I challenged him to take off the badge he angrily determined it was his right to wear the triangle regardless of a gay man telling him he had not earned the privilege.

In the Neptune Pub I was told with sneering contempt marriage equality would never happen in my life time.  Sadly, I believed them.  However hard I fight, I thought, I’ll never live in a fair and equitable world.

When I made a fuss others insisted it didn’t matter.  Making a fuss = activism.

Physically and verbally attacked for articulating (complaining) the iniquity and injustice gays endured every day.  Made my friends feel uncomfortable.

Complaining = Activism

I wore pale blue overalls in LA County to determine I am gay.  For all the world to see. There can be no mistaking what you are.  They like to know exactly what they are dealing with… the authorities.  Making me wear a pale blue uniform taught me a huge lesson.  It flagged to the others:  I am what you see me to be.  I no longer enjoy invisibility.  You will never let me forget my vulnerability.  I am at your mercy.  I learned what it was to be black in the USA wearing those overalls. My human rights lawyers assigned by the ACLU… Barry Litt and Lindsay Battles, perhaps the most ghastly people I ever met, never really understood how egregious the uniform was.  They didn’t understand much other than their own egos.  I hated them.  I hated being around them.

I left the USA because I could no longer excuse how many innocent black men were murdered by the police paid by my tax dollars… and I asked myself: what would it take for me to think enough is enough and the first plane away?  How could I justify living in a country that exploits vulnerability in all?  All Americans I know, republican, democrat or progressive, buy into this version of capitalism:  VULNERABILITY equals OPPORTUNITY.  It is their DNA, add this to their inability to own up to uncomfortable historical facts about race and the people they displaced to live in the USA… and you have Donald Trump’s America, no different from how it always was but now the mask has gone.

Trump is going to be here for a long time.  Get used to it.  Nobody cares about the Russians, nobody cares if Trump is a fucking idiot. Everybody is now fully committed to the drama, the intensity of his high-octane reality TV style presidency.  And get this, after his second term you’ll be voting for Ivanka who I assure you will be the first female american president.

Of course, not all gay white men believe we live in an unfair society.  Since the wobbly supreme court equal marriage determination (so easily overturned) some white gay men think they are equal… the fight has been won.  Even with Trump as president they convince themselves they are no longer vulnerable to exploitation.  They are wrong.  I am the annoying activist you don’t want to hear… to remind white American gays the battle is never won, the freedom you think you have is being eroded at this very moment in some back room at the Whitehouse in a deal between rabid Christians and some crazy Trumpista. We must always stay vigilant.  Our battles fought honestly, not forged in the Supreme Court but in Congress and the Senate for all the world to see.

 

Jim Lande

1.

What used to be a trickle of exceptionalism that marred a tiny portion of the white gay male community has recently become a lethal torrent.   Perceived ‘equality’ has revealed the true nature of many, many gay white men.  No longer humbled by their treatment at the hands of an unfair, homophobic society they have sprung ahead of the pack, claiming that a ‘seat at the table’ is not good enough… instead we must build, decorate and chair the table… governing any meeting it may entertain.  Moreover, we don’t really want to share the table with anyone other than really, really good-looking gay white men who all agree and never get angry.

Being gay is like joining a cult.

At gay AA… the greeters don’t greet you unless you are ‘hot’ or ‘famous’.

Provincetown celebrity (aren’t they all) posted a picture of his smiling mug along side two other grinning, bearded gay men.  All three based in Provincetown, on perpetual vacation, they look for all the world as if they are happy.  As if they are care free… as if trouble seldom blights their gay paradise.  Great pic!  They may very well use the pic and pics like them to lure boys on a well-known gay hook up app.  In gay paradise everything is perfect.  That’s what they insist you believe.  Of course… scratch a little beneath the surface of any gay man and one releases the foul odor of resentment, addiction, crippling narcissism and judgement.

I mentioned to Jim Lande who posted the pic that everyone seems so happy all the time in Provincetown?  He replied, “Only for the deserving.”   Of course, we know what that means.  Jim means there is no room in a perfect gay society for an opposing view, an ugly mug, for poverty, for people of color, for mental illness…  the deserving are hand-picked from the glut of meat delivered weekly to Provincetown, Fire Island and resorts like them.

Jim describes himself as a Boulevardier, a bohemian… he compliments a video I posted of Sebastian Horsley my great friend… I remind him that Sebastian was a bohemian, Jim is just a gay man wearing a velvet jacket… there’s a difference.   He retracts the word bohemian from his description.  He attempts to shame me for going to a boarding school that helps kids who have been abused.   It’s the gay go to punishment:  SHAME.   Did you read that?  This exceptional, best little boy who worked in government all his life spying on the good people of the United States is doing what the rancid gay does best… he is trying to shame me for something I could not help.   I had no say.

Jim Lande is trapped in Provincetown, posting pics of his amazing life, his amazing friends… he posts endless reviews of the film he helped fund, Love is Strange by Ira Sachs.  He describes Ira as a ‘Hollywood Darling.’   Blighted by gay exceptionalism… he reminds me how much money he is going to make, the awards they will win… the plaudits they receive.

2.

Dan spends his summer hop-scotching across the world from gay resort to gay cruise to gay sightseeing.  He travels in a pack of identical men.  The same age, the same color, the same body weight, hair distribution, the same dietary obsessions… the same unresolved traumas.  He is the ‘deserving’.

I met a young man on-line the other day.  We had the briefest moment of intimacy.  He is ‘desperate’ to be in the film industry.  He is ‘discreet’ which is short hand for: I’m careful who I tell I’m gay and what I’m into because it might ruin my career chances.  He’s not scared that straight people will find out, little Austin is scared the gays will judge him, the gays will shame him.  He doesn’t want gay men to know anything.  He is secretive, sneaky and as a result… thoroughly unattractive.   He has built himself a hybrid closet (like a panic room) protecting himself from the gays.

(The actor I dated this summer was secretive, sneaky and lied about everything.  The gays live in a shadowy world of fantasy, make-believe and lies.)

3.

The society photographer boasts that the boy who loves him is ‘disposable’, he boasts that he fisted him… when I ask the boy what happened… he tells me that the hardest thing about the photographer were his fingers.    We seldom talk about erectile dysfunction.  Anything other than a hard cock renders a gay man utterly useless.   You know, the gays hate me writing my blog.   They write snarky notes insisting that I correct tiny details… (“I’m not a director I’m a producer”)  as if any one cared!  

4.

On Facebook I am pretending to be an old Whitstable codger, enjoying a thread on Julie Burchill‘s Facebook page.  Julie hates all Muslims, her page is rife with anti islamic rhetoric.  If you disagree with her POV you are immediately branded a ‘jew hater’.  She says, “I think I may have mentioned a FEW times that I am a Gentile Socialist Zionist? Why would people come here just to get cross? If you don’t like the tiny democratic state of Israel, surrounded by fascist fiefdoms, fuck off to one of the thousands of Jew-hating Facebook pages? Cheers!”

Her fans scream with joy!  Her fans ecstatically revile Islam.  Her fans start out by reminding us firmly that they are not racist (they don’t support the British National Party) then, without irony, they go on to say how much they hate all Muslims and want to kill them.  I suggested meeting one of these crazy women to discuss exacting revenge on the Muslim population of Chatham…. amazingly she private messaged me in the hope of exacting revenge on Muslims!!!

Then it got pretty scary… these people are fucking INSANE.  Julie has no idea what her crazed followers are capable of.   She really needs to take that seriously.   Whipping those guys up the way she does may lead her to some unsightly trouble… exactly the same trouble other radical preachers have, facing the same criminal charges.  You need only one crazy person to do something dumb and cite Julie B as their inspiration…. well, you know the rest.

BTW what exactly is a ‘gentile socialist zionist’?

5.

The only person to spout that kind of anti Muslim shit to me here in the USA was a white gay Producer who told me he believed (as a patriot) that all Muslims should convert or be eradicated from the earth because they didn’t like gays.  I said, my deceased father was a Muslim and several of my 12 brothers and sisters too.  He didn’t care.  He still thought they should be murdered.  Whilst I can sort of understand Julie’s naive zeal as a pre op convert to Judaism I found this Christian hatred and rabid insistence to kill millions of people based on their beliefs… utterly stunning.   Mind you, this guy has always been a person to be suspicious of, he tells everyone who will listen that he will help anyone he can… any way he can… but when the time comes… he is nowhere to be found.

20140615-134054-49254052.jpg

20140615-134054-49254331.jpg

Here is my father, the year he met my mother in Margate and Herne Bay.

I felt both overwhelmed and liberated in 2013.  Simultaneously.

I spent the past few hours un-subscribing from 100 mailing lists from whom I receive emails begging for money.  All perfectly decent causes, gun control, black theatre, saving the ocean, climate control, Unicef, the world wildlife fund, democratic causes, mercy for animals, slow money…

I un-subscribed from cook shops, travel companies, furniture stores and fashion lines.  I spent a few moments each day erasing my name from the lists I added myself in the hope of being better informed, no more Gawker or Huffington Post or the Daily Beast.

It was an odd year.  It was unusually diverse.  I continued writing my film tho I stopped talking about it.  I met thieving producers and film industry liars.  I spent time with weed smoking Susan Sarandon in the back of her ping-pong club.  

Away from the film I travelled to Martha’s Vineyard, to Des Moines and over the Rocky Mountains.   I travelled by car all over America.  Los Angeles to New York and back again… three times.  I was constantly surprised by American kindness whenever I found it.  

I fell in and out of love with AA.  In and out of love with the gays tho… mostly out of love.

We are presently finalizing our divorce.

During the past months I began a strange adventure with a young man who I tentatively call my boy friend.  I began to dream again… of better things… even though I am still cautious and burned.  Erring toward single at all times.

I wrote a great deal but never published a word of it.

I wrote indignant things like this…

I am queer.  They are gay.  They are white and affluent.  They want to get married and join the army.  They want to assimilate.  That’s what they say.

When you question them… when you ask them what assimilation looks like… they still want to keep gay pride, gay bars, gay apps, gay film festivals, gay morality.

They want the gay section in the bookshop, the ‘gay voice’ section in The Huffington Post.  They don’t really understand what assimilation looks like because most of them are too comfy not assimilating.

He said, “This is all about your internalized homophobia.” I smiled.  “It’s not internalized, it’s externalized.”

One can devote ones life to betrayal.  Betrayed by parents, family members, institutions, schools, by loved ones even the country of ones origin.  I have felt a smidgen from all of the above.  Yet, I forgave my family, my school, the class system, my beloved country.

Because I wanted to be free.

I huffed and puffed about the NSA, I applauded Glen Greenwald and Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowdon.  I stopped worrying about who could read whatever I was writing privately or which ever websites I was wacking to because there is nothing private.  Not any more.

I met literary heroes on Fire Island like Andy Tobias and had breakfast with John Walters, I spent sultry nights on Cape Cod.  I started Anger Management classes and enjoy them tremendously.

My counsellor asks things like, “Where in your body to you feel the anger first?”

I began to identify the genesis of my anger and feelings of uncomfortability.  It usually starts with a demand for money from a worthy cause.  A picture or video of a screaming rabbit as it is having it’s fur pulled off or a pile of euthanized dogs waiting to be incinerated.

It was the hopelessness that infuriated me, the cruelty, the stupidity, the hypocrisy.

I came to conclusions in 2013.  That I do not, have never had, am not interested in… A CAREER!   Careers, I realized, are… for other people.  For those who may be interested in a legacy.  I stopped calling myself a film maker and started telling people, if they asked, that I do… nothing.

I understood that wherever I found myself both good or bad I was meant to be.  It was all for a reason.  A reason that would one day be revealed to me.  That my life was a series of choreographed moments. The life of a narcissist.  That the cameras I learned to love whilst in the reality show had always been there and had never gone away.

In 2013 I never gave up.  I waited patiently.  I didn’t worry about the future nor was I enslaved to the past.  For this I was grateful.

Occasionally I hankered to go home but knew that after a few days in Whitstable I would find my life shrinking and darkening.  I did not go home.  Though, I spoke more to my Mother this year and was curious about my nieces and nephews.

Finally the JB entanglement came to an end one nondescript day in November.  I wanted to write to him and make amends for the mess I had caused.

But I wrote this instead… it was never sent.

An apology is owed.

I was wrong to lie to you.  I was wrong to lose my temper.  I was wrong to fight you.  I was wrong to have asked for money to be paid when you owed me nothing.  I was wrong to have blamed you for any part of our unhealthy association.  The blame must fall squarely at my feet for everything that went wrong.   The moment you came out I should have politely walked way… I did not.   I was advised by everyone I knew and cared about… to walk away from you but chose to ignore their good suggestion.   I should have thanked you and walked away.  I regret very much that I did not.  I am extremely remorseful.  Due to my weakness of character I initiated a drama that harmed you and caused distress to your family.  I should have walked away.  The moment you told me you were gay.   I know that you are happy now.   I know that your happiness will continue.

It took two years to own up.

2013.  Un-subscribing to websites, making amends, keeping my side of the street clean, owning up, anger management.

Let’s see what 2014 will bring.

As the years pass by, unrelenting, amazing, fulfilling, desperate, happy, sad.

Even though I have filled my homes with art and furniture and friends and the lingering smells of delicious feasts… even though I have made films and plays and paintings…. all I have ever wanted, really craved… was peace of mind.

I’m getting there.  Slowly.  A Happy and Prosperous New Year everyone.

Garden 3

Ha.  Don’t hold your breath.

Will you tell your grandchildren that you remember a time when people hated on black people because they were black and your grandchildren raise their eyebrows in disbelief?

Will you tell your grandchildren that you remember a time when nearly all top jobs in industry and government were taken by white men and your grandchildren raise their eyebrows in disbelief?

Will you tell your grandchildren that you remember a time when a gay man was shot in the face in the middle of the most liberal city in the western world for being a faggot and your grandchildren raise their eyebrows in disbelief?

A thousand years from now?  Maybe that’s the kind of incremental change brown people, women and queer people expect?

When will you fight for more?  Why do you put up with the status quo?

Fight for marriage and all things are equal?  No.  Fight for white men to stop taking everything, determining the agenda and we might get somewhere.

A French octogenarian shoots himself in the face because he hates gay marriage.  If he were American he would have massacred first then killed himself.  I think that this scenario seems plausible.

I wouldn’t like to hang around in gay bars right now.  Not with all these emboldened haters amongst us.

Thank God I don’t drink.

I am wearing my pink shoes.  People understand what I am when they look at my feet.

I’m trying to jettison ‘straight acting‘, I’m trying to abandon my invisibility but I know what that means.  It means hostility from gay men and straight men.

I like it when they describe drag queens as fierce.  That’s what I have spent life being:  FIERCE.  Of course, this has been perceived as angry or anti social or…  can I explain something?

Anger is an emotion related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged, or denied and a tendency to react through retaliation.

Anger management?  The management of justified anger.

Listen to this.  I have been reasonably angry for a long time.

I was a kid and I knew I wanted to fall in love with and have sex with men (and women) but the man part of my desire was outlawed, derided.

I fell in love at school.  I fell in love and explored men’s bodies.

I remember when I was 14 I was walking along the beach in Whitstable.  I met a man.  I lay on the sea wall with him.  Furtive.  Illegal.  I never saw him again.  I wonder about him.

They hated us for something we could not change.  I ignored them.  I parried the blows.

I lived in a dream world because living in that reality was simply too painful.

Margaret Thatcher didn’t want me and men and women like me… she didn’t want us to exist.

I’ll tell you what makes me angry:  Brown people not getting a fair trial.  A third of all black men in the USA are in jail.  Women in the military being raped and sexually abused.   Drag queens damning trans people.  I am angry that some people are denied bail.  I am angry that my lover left me when I found my tumor.   I am angry with myself for falling in love with men who could never love me back.  I am angry that the breast cancer gene is privately owned, that innocent brown people are still being held in captivity in Guantanamo Bay.  I am angry that gay men think that marriage is the answer.  I am angry that I grew up with an angry step father.  I am angry that Monsanto kill bees.  I am angry that my neighbors park in front of my gate so I can’t get in and out of my house.  I am angry that two young girls are criminalized for falling in love.  I am angry that most agents (realtors and talent) are sociopath.  I am angry with gay men and straight men for over simplifying sexuality.

How do you live with that?

I set it aside.  The anger.  I find peace wherever I can.  I pull weeds.  I walk the dogs.  I feed the fish.

I forgive them for their sexism, their murder, their bullying, their insistence that they WIN.  At all costs.  Like the bees.  Winning the market means… killing the bees.

When I buy something at auction the others applaud.  They congratulate me.  They tell me that I have won.  I didn’t win.  I just paid the highest price.  It’s not hard to do.

So.  Today I am wearing my pink shoes.  There you go.  ‘Nice shoes,’ they scoff.

Oh, I’m wearing them because I’m queer and I really want you to know.  Because I exist somewhere between Liberace and Jason Collins but I’m still trying to work it out.  Working out what kind of man I am.

I don’t think I’m alone.

Men make their own history but they do not make it as they choose.

Karl Marx

So, yesterday.

I’m sure you want to know.

Firstly, I want to thank the ACLU for co-counseling my suit against the Sheriff.

They have worked for months on this case and they have every reason to believe in a positive outcome.

My personal suit separated from the class action.

I am suing the Sheriff’s Department for a considerable amount of money.

I arrived early at the ACLU office down town.  I met with my lawyers.  I watched the 30 or so cameras being set up from TV stations all over the USA.

Jennie Pasquarella spoke first.  A more eloquent speaker one could not hope to listen to.  A more brilliant lawyer one could not hope to meet.

Like all of the lawyers who work for the ACLU she is motivated by fairness for all.

She said:

The principle of bail is something so fundamental, that you shouldn’t be held until you’re found guilty.

I waited my turn.

I listened again to this startling fact:  The Immigration Department is mandated  to deport 400, 000 people a year from the USA.

This fact alone never ceases to shock and amaze me.  The implications, I’m sure, are not lost on any of you.

The last time I faced a barrage of press like that I was at the Sundance Film Festival.  It was all about me.

Yesterday I was representing thousands of the disenfranchised, the oppressed and the wrongly imprisoned.

In light of Jerry Brown’s veto of the Trust Act and set against the back drop of a recent, damning report documenting violence and abuse in The Men’s County Jail, this case could not be more relevant.

Sheriff Lee Baca has been effectively told that he is incapable of running a jail by the board of supervisors.

Humiliatingly the Supervisors, not the Sheriff, will find someone more competent to run the jail.

Within minutes of the end of our press conference the Sheriff’s representative disputed the charge that the Sheriff’s Department has denied bail to anyone because of ICE holds.

“If you are able to post bail — say it’s $10,000 — and you’re an immigrant from wherever. With or without an ICE hold, we accept that,” said the spokeswoman, Nicole Nishida.

An outright LIE.

A report by prison expert James Austin cites data from Baca’s office indicating that at least 20,000 Los Angeles County inmates, nearly all of them Latino males, were subjected to ICE holds in 2011.

Latino males arrested, held in the MCJ, forced to accept spurious guilty pleas and deported equals: ethnic cleansing.

Nobody cares about them.  Nobody gives a damn about undocumented workers.  They are treated like animals.  Even by my most (so-called) progressive friends.

Latinos spending their lives doing jobs white people don’t want to do, refuse to do in SoCal.  They are the real victims of the economic catastrophe.

During the good times, we turn a blind eye to these men and women working at our behest for minimal wages.

When things get bad they are thrown out like yesterdays trash, rounded up like cattle to satisfy immigration deportation quotas.

It’s the same everywhere, when things get tough:  blame the immigrants.

I heard my own mother blame Eastern Europeans for ‘taking our jobs’ back at home in Britain.

The Spanish-speaking press asked me: “Do you think Lee Baca is anti-immigrant?”

“You mean, do I think Lee Baca is a racist?”  I replied.  “Well, he is just part of the racist problem in the USA but he gets to be the executioner.”

In a country where most people are enslaved by debt, lack of education, obesity, religious/corporate ideology and hubris it is very easy to forget about ones own enslavement and think nothing of enslaving and demonizing others.

The primary reason I would never vote (if I could) for a second Obama term, regardless of his so-called pro gay marriage smokescreen (designed largely to melt liberal hearts) is his appalling deportation record.

The Obama administration’s deportation policies, which rely on cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, have already been challenged in California.

Legislation that would have prohibited sheriffs and police departments from enforcing ICE holds in most cases was, as I have already written, vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown last month.

Barrack Obama has deported more people from the USA than any other President in this country’s history.

It goes without saying that the Gay media and my local Malibu newspaper will totally ignore this story.  I am neither pretty enough nor non-controversial for either to cover the story.

Even though it may be of interest to both communities.

Most gay men are unaware that if they fell in love with a non-American their state marriage certificate or their Foreign marriage certificate would mean absolutely nothing to the Federal Immigration Department.

Their husband/wife would risk deportation.

The gay men I know think that deportation happens to other people… you know… brown people.  Not people like us.

Those same gay men run the gay media.

Scott McPherson from The Advocate told me recently that he totally supported The President’s immigration policy and (after I explained to him what a drone was and who was being killed by them) he told me he had no interest in who drones were killing.

All Scott wants is marriage equality.  Apparently, only for Americans to marry other Americans.

You might think that Malibu is a liberal, open-minded place…. with all those rich über gays living down there on the beach… but I have endured more homophobia in Malibu than even my small home town village of Whitstable in Kent where one might expect the crushingly narrow-minded.

My Armenian neighbor was so vile about me and my young gay renter, her invective so shocking… it almost took my breath away.

So.  It has begun.

Where the runes fall… is none of my business.

Somehow the very act of laying ones self bare, open to all sorts of scrutiny, is a relief.

Regardless of the outcome, I am very happy to be of service to those who can least help themselves.

20120830-070322.jpg

Dawn. So much to be grateful for.

One day, when the storm has past, I will tell you everything. Not just the pretty pictures. Not just the elegant parties.

1.

Saw Premium Rush with John and Valoree Papsidera at a plush private screening room.

An exciting, gritty movie with a huge problem at its core: The bad cop played by Michael Shannon is not really a bad cop… he’s too funny.

So, come the last scene, the conclusion… I was left feeling cheated.

The last scene is terrible.

I did not feel as engaged with the story as one might have hoped.

There were too many chances for the main character Wilee (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to make different sorts of choices. He could have called the police. He could have returned the package. He could have stayed at home.

Great use of New York and great ethnic casting.

2.

Perhaps, like so many people, I am in denial?

It is not far off… the conclusion.

I have had a lingering cold/flu. Sweats.

Script notes arrive and I am loathed to open them, even though I know that they will be good. Brilliant.

How does one turn a life event into a work of fiction? Well, obviously, you have to jettison the truth.

I spent the larger part of yesterday in Venice. My favorite location. Stalking my favorite haunts. It’s like Whitstable. I know so many people. Casual acquaintances. Unlike my home town, where they have known me all my life, their understanding of me is based on what they read.

After the LA Weekly piece they are well aware of what is going on and mask their desire to pry with small talk.

Sometimes I wake up and think I should go to an AA meeting but I’ll wait until I am in another city.

It is the truth: art heals. Remember when I was sick five years ago with my leaky spine? Good God, that was painful.

Convalescing, I stayed with David Philp and his wonderful wife (art critic and broadcaster) Hunter Drohojowska-Philp in their gorgeous Beverly Hills home. She brought beautiful books for me to look at and set art work at the end of the bed.

The pale yellow room designed by Jenny Armit became a temporary sanctuary. Until I was well again.

3.

I had a long chat with an old buddy in London, someone I worked with repeatedly in the old days. A great benefactor.

It’s cold outside and hot inside the house. I open the door and let the mountain in.

The garden, this year, has matured into the garden of my dreams.

Bumped into Drew Pinsky at CNN, we were both sprayed orange for our various TV appearances. He was sweet, as he always is. We hugged and gossiped. He asked if I had read Jennie’s book. I told him that I hadn’t but I’d get around to it sooner or later.

The children make me laugh. I sit with them watching Barbie cartoons and they mock Charlie’s new girlfriend (Charlieissocoollike) children can be very cruel and very funny.

Weird clicking on my telephone. I think my phone is being tapped. Why?

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 may drive to NYC next week to fetch the art that remains in the East Village. Dan has been looking after it.

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.

Everyday I drive along the PCH to Venice where I drink coffee at Intelligentsia on Abbot Kinney. I take pictures of strangers for my portrait project updated daily.

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.

Whenever I return home I am relieved.

Leaving the distractions and the doubt behind.

Cruel thoughts, many miles away.

Whitstable, it takes me a day or so to crawl back into my own skin.  The scale of the town needs adjusting to.  I feel like a giant towering over the small, clapboard houses.  I cannot fit into the tiny shops.

The vitrine has not changed for many years.

The town has kept its original character.

Good and bad I know everyone on the street.  Now I see people who I knew formerly in London.  Gallery owners, actresses, commercial directors.  They strut around thinking they own the place, which of course, they do.

“What are you doing here?” They say.

Last week I was dwarfed by skyscrapers in New York, today I am shrinking rapidly into my Whitstable self.  No coyote to eat the dog, nobody to distract me from my task.

The children sit at their desks on tiny chairs in the same infant school where I learned about the autumn leaves, the saints and the sinners.

This morning we walked the grass paths on the freshly mown downs.  In the thin sunshine the skin on my arms and hands looks brown and weathered.  The fierce Californian sun, long forgotten.

Tomorrow we are driving to Dorset.  Past Stonehenge, to the sea.  Staying at The Bull Hotel in Bridport.  Traveling the well maintained motorways.

I may just keep driving.  I have everything I need.

Just head north through Bristol to Wales where I want to walk Offa’s Dyke.  Find me a B&B in Clun.  Eastward from the unspoiled Welsh counties to Shropshire.  The Stiperstones, this earth is my grave.

Fried eggs and thick bacon, marmalade.

Northward again through the black country.  Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire,  Cumberland to the borders.   I love you England.  I love you.

I bought a pair of secondhand, brown velvet trousers and an ebony cane with an engraved, silver knob.  I found a dark green cashmere and silk scarf, channeling Fanny and Stella in Burlington Arcade.  It is cold enough to wear a beautiful hat, an autumn gown.

I am willing the winter moonlight.

I don’t want anyone else with me. This is mine.

I could not be further from the madness.  England!  Where my heart lies.

There is no easy way to tell you this. No easy way to write these words.

Whitstable. September.

My brother Martin’s 35-year-old, long-term partner Juliet has died. A sweet-natured, complicated woman who wanted a baby very much, finally conceived two years ago.

She was a wonderful mother to my nephew Oscar. A really lovely child.

We heard the results today (13th Sept) of the autopsy. She died of acute kidney failure which lead to a heart attack.

Not one to complain she may have been in some discomfort for months but failed to tell anyone.

She lay dead on their kitchen floor for a very long time before my brother found her body. My infant nephew sat by her, maybe for 24 hours.

The neighbours heard him crying but did nothing.

My mother told me that the little boy had opened cupboards looking for something to eat. He found a pot of yogurt.

My brother broke down the door. He found her. Found them.

There are no suspicious circumstances.

Oscar has gone to live with my mother, his grandmother. My mother is a really great-grandmother.

The local newspaper report here.

Darling Georgina, my Whitstable buddy, is sick with pneumonia.   I am gravely worried about her.  She works every hour God sends in her charming bed and breakfast, Copeland House on Island Wall.

She is a generous, kind, strong woman.  A great friend to me and many, many others.

Please, Whitstable people make sure she is safe and well.  Look out for her.  Keep her in your prayers.

Like most people in Whitstable, I have known her for most of my life.  We have been on all sorts of adventures together.  Had our ups and downs.  Who doesn’t?

She needs peace and quiet to recuperate.

I wish I could be there with her now to help but I am here.  Perhaps I should get a flight this afternoon?

I am thinking of you darling.  Thinking hard.  Good, kind thoughts.

The smell of damp tweed.  My collarless shirt and felt braces.

A mantle with fabric that may or may not be Bloomsbury.  Mismatched luster wear cup and saucer.  Chipped.  These things used to delight me. Treasures found at the edge of the Thames.  When did I cease to be a mudlark?

Is it Duncan Grant or Vanessa Bell?

  • I bought the fabric from a junk shop in Stamford a month ago. Would dearly love to find out who it’s by… 

  •  

    Simon I’ll check in a book on Bloomsbury textiles at work. It could be one of those designs they did for the Queen Mary that were then mass-produced. That would be v exciting! 

    7 hours ago
  •  

    Christopher It’s Bloomsbury I sure of that 

    5 hours ago
  •  

    Christopher My only other thoughts is that it could be by Cressida Bell but I do feel it has something of Vanessa about it 

    5 hours ago
  •  

    Ed How exciting! I think it’s possibly more Vanessa in style too.

White linen bed sheets, feather pillows, pale pink, satin, quilted, stuffed with down.  Hot water bottle.

Laying the table for breakfast.  Poached eggs.  Marmite on my toast.

That tribe of gay men still delight me.  I used to know them.

My cottage in Whitstable was full of tiny, beautiful things.  With more money came larger, expensive things.  Now I sit under a decade long avalanche of avarice.

More stuff.

Remember when we didn’t have radiators in the cottage?  Frost in the sitting room before we lit a fire?  The smell of coal and crackling kindle.  Wrapping up warm before we left the bedroom?

I think this is how one might start again.  Renting a room at the back of a house by the sea.  I don’t have to live in Whitstable.

I am wondering hard again.  Torn between two worlds.

The conversation from Facebook (above) that I have taken the liberty of reproducing made me feel homesick for small mercies…for a butler’s sink, for the sound of a mop bucket.  For the back stairs in a country house.  For sea views that may include the ghosts of women once dressed in white tulle and parasols.

Phil and Duncan

Scroll down for the Patmos transcript.

Malibu!  Look at the view!  It’s a warm morning where I am.  The sky is pale pink, the sea is almost blue.  The rain this winter has caused every Ceanothus to bloom.  Almost blue.  Not like the one I planted in my Whitstable garden which bloomed purple, fleshy flowers.  The Malibu garden is Fire Safe.   They have cleared the brush and hoed the beds.   The trees are almost fully in leaf.  The tiny quail and their tinier babies search in the tilled soil for food.  I don’t know what they eat.

Stephen, Kristian’s one time boy friend, sent me a collection of his writings that I have not had time to read.  Kristian Digby.  Where are you?  I wish you were here.  I wish you were alive.

I think that it may be Jean’s memorial today.  I’m not going.  It would be hypocritical.  We were once friends.  I want to remember what it was like to be his friend.  Sit quietly with the memory.  Too many deaths recently.  Too many unnecessary deaths.  Each time they tell me that someone else is dead I have to look at my own fingers and imagine them bone and parchment.

I want to find you the page in my diary when we were on Patmos, Phil and I, and we looked into the charnel house and saw the desiccated remains of… people.  Tangled together, wearing their simple peasant garments.  I couldn’t sleep.  Phil splashed cologne around our bedroom.  It soothed me.

It’s a beautiful day today.  Best I concentrate on that?  I felt the shame.   Shame is like scraping meat off the bone.  I’m writing about one isolated man being saved by less isolated men.  Was this past year such a waste?  This was the year when obsession became my higher power.  Now I have a chance to know God once again.

Will I ever get home?

Here are the Patmos diary entries for August 1990.

I am with my darling Phillipa Heiman.  We are staying in her mother’s beautiful summer-house overlooking the Aegean.  We are lovers.

Wednesday August 15th 1990 PATMOS

The masseur said that I should wear something loose.  I opted for my frog boxers, Victoria Whitbread gave them to me, green frogs hopping all over my genitals.  She poked and prodded and soothed, she twisted my arms and legs, her breasts pushed into my face, “I hope I’m not suffocating you.”  She said.

Her fingers glanced over the end of my dick.

“Your lymphatic system is now working.”  she declared as my stomach rumbled for more cold chicken.  She told me that, like many people, I had been frightened as a child and had reacted with my right side.  This reaction has begun a slow deterioration of the tissue in the areas seized and now they were completely ‘blocked’.

After a fag break she told me that I shouldn’t drink, that I should do Tai Chi and should have six more sessions costing a further 3000 drachma per session.  Thank the lordy for new age medicine!  The alternative society has got it made.  I am rushing back to London to learn anything I can to lay a few letters after my name.  D.P. Roy Alternative money-maker.  A.M.M.

As a final booster she poked me with an electric prod.  Very nice.

Philippa returned from a walk around the village, she had been to a church service which, from her description, sounded delightful.  We ate what was to be my last unfettered meal.  We stepped, after lunch, into the hot afternoon.

Through the alleys, to the monastery.  My spirits were high.  We faced the wind together, holding her breasts through her thin silk dress, letting her feel my stiffy on her thigh, she said that the monks would be shocked.

We found a fig tree and picked fresh figs, they tasted of nothing.  We found a pear tree and the fruit tasted of nothing.  We saw an English couple removing their shorts under a very unshadeful tree on top of a windy promontory.  Like the middle of a motorway, next to the rubbish dump full of plastic – not rotting, away from Xora there were plastic bottles, scores of them, strewn over the brown grass.

The hot afternoon my spirits are still high.   I’m making a lot of jokes at everybody’s expense – mostly  Philippa’s.  She’s enjoying it, her period has started so she’s happy again, woe betide me if I’d mentioned this as a contributing factor to the tears.  The tears were so terrible to see.  I am a broken man when I see my lover cry.  I see my mother and grandmother and aunts Evelyn and Margaret in her tears and I am a broken man.

We walked on, she wanted to see the graveyard which you can see clearly from the window in the drawing-room.  I am sitting opposite that window, all I have to do is to stand up and I can see the graveyard walls, a couple of white crosses, the blue iron gate and some white box out-houses.

We went the long way round, over prickling grass and clumps of brown dry plants and plastic bottles rolling around on the parched earth by the Meltemi which is a wind, a wind called the Meltemi.

We found the gate.  Most of the graves were new, some had photographs of old people.  One old man sitting on his chair outside the front door.  He looked like a loved man.  A candle burnt in a tiny marble and glass casket.  An eternal flame.

The graves were made, in this concrete covered place, of tiny man holes.   A ring pull on top.  We looked inside an abandoned tomb.  These were obviously used over and over we concluded.  We thought that the bodies rested here for a bit, with the flame and the photographs and the plastic flowers and the crucifix.  We concluded that they would be cremated and scattered over the Aegean or the terraced island.

Our spirits high, we looked into one of the empty tombs.  Under the concrete.  A hollow waiting for its fill.  Maybe it would be Petula (our maid) with her twisted hair and apron.  Her bare, dead legs under the stone.  Petula, Petula compromised because we rearranged the cushions, the red, gold and orange ikat instead of pink delicate John Stefanidis print.  We’ve made the home ours now Petula.

Old Petula can rearrange the cushions under here.  Under the stone.

We made our way to another gate at the back of the graveyard.  We balked at an old coffin laid beneath a tree, we saw that it was laminated maple, birdseye maple effect.  A birdseye maple effect coffin to be transported from the village to the hole, there to be cremated and the little old man to be scattered into the Meltemi and over the sea.  Not a bad end.

“Wait a minute,” Philippa says, “Let’s look through here.”  I was on my way out, my spirits were high.  I looked past the evergreen where she stood ahead of me.  So beautiful!   Her large smile and eyes sparkling out to me – all radiant and all mine.  I don’t want her to go any further.  I want to leave there and then, our spirits high, home to a plate of cold chicken and potatoes.  Maybe our bed.

She turned into the other plot and I followed, ran ahead.  Past a small, stone, white building, to a shack stacked high with coffins.  Eww I said, how horrible, a shack full of coffins.  I wanted to get out.  I wanted to leave there and then.

“Look.”  She said gaily, “Bones.”

I ran ahead to where she was pointing, I ran right up to what was undeniably a thigh bone sticking out of the ground.

“They’re human.”  I said, my spirits no longer high, as high.  Not hit rock bottom.  Just a bone.  We looked into a pit.  An open hatch, like a cellar door straight into the ground.  It was not just a bone, it was a whole man or woman with clothes on, maybe two men or two women or three, with their nylons still sticking to bits of dead flesh.  With the sun on the white bone, the flesh torn away.

Fascinated, I looked into this death-bed, this corpse mine.  Looked at the big bones, no sculls and it was occurring to us what the godforsaken truth was.  There was no scattered ashes over the Aegean but this ossuary.  We stepped back from the pit stuffed with bones and slippers and old nylons pulled over what was once a plump thigh.  I retreated past the small white, stone building with steps that lead up to an open window.

“Look that room up there is full with these.”

I ran ahead, up the steps, my tee-shirt over my mouth.  I didn’t even think about it, it was natural that I shouldn’t breathe the same air as the dead.  I looked into my own hell.  Through the open window into a huge room crammed with rubber shoes, cheap by any standard, the paper liners eaten by maggots.  More arms and legs and ribs, all forked into this place.

Strewn into this terrible room.

I couldn’t leave it alone, I couldn’t leave it.  I couldn’t pull down the tee-shirt over my face and run away.  I couldn’t be sure that these weren’t donkeys or dogs somehow tangled up with jumble, that my eyes didn’t deceive me I needed to see a skull.

I stepped up higher so I could see past the mound of bones and clothes and shoes full of maggots.  I looked past all this and into the face that confirmed exactly what we already knew, what I had to see and wish I had never seen.  My spirits drained out of me, my anal sphincter winking in fear, my feet wanting to run as fast as they could from this Byzantine holocaust.

Phillipa, still smiling and flirting and dancing around.  Her belly just about to empty its bloody dead contents into her knickers.  The old man sitting by his front door, Petula the maid, her hair all snaked up around her head with her old, thin fingers.  Forked into that room.  This heaving room, where flies and rats can come and live off of the dead.

We walked out of the graveyard, past the blue, wrought iron gate and into the hot alleys and the afternoon sun.  We trailed back home, my spirits drained away.  My mind working on the image of death.  We could hear the bells calling the faithful to their pews, to the holy water, to the Festival of the Virgin whilst the tangled remains of granddad, children, motorbike accident victims all hugged one another unwittingly in that terrible room.

Back at the house I fell asleep on Phillipa’s stomach.  When I woke up I tried to make light of what we had seen.  We couldn’t.  My mind working on that image of death.  We had a rather bright dinner with the French.  I couldn’t eat much, the meat festered in my mouth.

I could see the grave candles burning from the night terrace, comets burning over our heads, my feet burning inside my silk slippers.  The twins arrived, showed us photographs, we drove into Skala.

Phillipa went to church, I went to the bar so I might forget.

I drank.  Sprayed with champagne.  It was our table that drank the most booze, our friends who danced the hardest, our friends who fell into the sea drunk and all the time my mind is working out that image of death.

Into the eyes of death, a death’s-head, not facing me.  Leading me into further horrors.

Olivier the sickly twin and I had a long talk about his girlfriend, what he felt for her.  How he became her.  I gave him a big hug because he seemed to need it.  He stroked my face, he told me that he didn’t need to be ‘superficial’ with me.  He told me that I was a friend.  Sometimes I didn’t understand him because he used a language that only a twin can understand.  A description of one life as two people.  They are an extra-ordinary couple.

I went home to Phillipa.  We drank tea and then they left.

I got into bed and great waves of fear passed through me, my mind working on that image so that the bones started moving.  The dead sat waiting beside the front door, sat in the fridge disguised as roast chicken, the maggots danced inside the rubber slippers, the nylons gnawed by fat rats.

Phillipa felt me cold sweating there in bed, listened to my fitful cries and sprinkled perfume on the mat and offered me kind conversation and squeezed into my back.  I fell, finally into an unfettered sleep.

PS We met the rich Greeks who are building their ‘luxury’ home next to the graveyard.

“Fantastic views.” said she. 

Can you imagine who empties those graves? The man we see in the street?  Maybe the tall, mad man we see in Vagelis – the restaurant with the garden.   Can you imagine seeing the graves being exhumed?  The contents pitchforked into that place?  The man couldn’t sell the plot. 

“Fantastic views.”

Phillipa returns yearly to Patmos but I never did.   The beautiful house was sold.   Phillipa and I split up on the way home from Greece and when we arrived in London Amoury Blow picked us up from the airport.  I was all over the press.  Again.  Front page of the Evening Standard.


Related Articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

You know how much I love Whitstable?  That would be one of my ‘weak tea‘ successes:  my relationship with Whitstable.

I love it there.  I know everyone.  We really know each other.  For good and for bad.

Well, today I received some very, very sad news.  My Mother‘s friend Carol who owns the Tudor Tea Rooms on Harbour Street…well..and this is terrible…her son Tony died.

Known affectionately as Wally to everyone who knew him, he was only 40 years old, tall, gentle, ran his mother’s business with aplomb.

When you order a pot of tea at The Tudor Tea Rooms you get a pot of tea made with loose tea and a strainer.  Quality.

We used to say that they served school dinners at the Tudor but we loved going in there.  Fire burning in the hearth all winter.  Closed on a Wednesday.  Real steak and kidney pudding with a thick suet crust.

Wally was killed during the day on the train tracks at the end of Glebe Way.  Struck by the coast-bound 11.22am Victoria to Ramsgate train just before 1pm.  I have no idea if he committed suicide or not.  That’s what people are saying but I really don’t want to believe it.

He was such a nice man.  Wally and his sister Sue had run that Tudor Tea Room since they were kids.  Since we were all kids.  Serving Steak and Kidney Pudding…opening the tea garden.  He was the sort of bloke you’d see in Prezzo Pizza Place with his young family.

As every Whitstable pub and every other shop front became yet another super chic gastro pub or seasonal/organic eaterie…the Tudor kept the same decor, the same menu, serving the same Whitstable us who didn’t want the bother of seared scallops or poached samphire.

My Mother and I saw Wally just a few weeks ago when I was home for Christmas.  He served us a good old-fashioned English roast.   My mother mocked me for drinking tea with my lunch…like ‘some one from a council house‘ she said.

He stood at the till and asked after my life in LA.  I felt embarrassed to tell him what my life was like in California.  What he didn’t know…what he could never have known…was what I was thinking that cold December day a week before Christmas:  that I would have quite easily traded my life in Malibu for a chance at running the Tudor Tea Rooms.

From where I was standing…his life looked perfect.

When I was a kid we would sit in the Tudor Tea Rooms and spy on Peter Cushing eating his poached eggs.

Poached eggs on toast.  Every day.

My mother accidentally pushed Peter Cushing off his bike one day when she was getting off the bus from Canterbury.

Anyway, Wally was killed on the railway lines.  The third person killed in the same spot in less than two months.  What’s happening?  What a waste of a good life, a sweet family man.  I feel for his wife and children, his sister Sue and his lovely mum Carol.

If you get the chance listen to this Jellybotty’s track, Peter Cushing Lives in Whitstable.

It mentions the Tudor Tea Rooms.

.

Goodbye Wally.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Before I start my regular blog I want to write about Whitstable and The Red Spider Cafe.

The Red Spider Cafe was a charming shack on Whitstable beach that, throughout my childhood, served tea and cake.  It closed some time in the late 70’s and stood derelict for many years.  The Red Spider was finally demolished in the 1980’s during the massive beach renovation and sea-defence construction.

I have always dreamt of the Red Spider being rebuilt.

There’s something non-Whitstable people need to know about Whitstable Beach: it is an anomaly.   Unlike most beaches in the UK which are owned by the Crown Whitstable Beach is owned privately by my friend Barry Green’s company.

There’s something else non-Whitstable people need to understand.  If Barry had not bought the Whitstable Oyster Company and preserved it and the surrounding buildings the Oyster Stores would have been demolished.  They were slated for demolition.  Barry saved the building and by doing so saved the town.

Barry is not a philanthopist..he is a businessman.  The Red Spider cafe will make a profit.  It must be rebuilt because Whitstable needs to continue evolving and growing.  People need jobs.  Especially now.

Barry’s eldest son Richard and I instigated the restaurant at the Oyster Company (Royal Native Oyster Stores) that almost single-handedly regenerated Whitstable’s fortunes.

Nobody local took the restaurant very seriously when it first opened.   I cooked,  Richard served.  Within a month it was packed.  Every day.

During those early years I begged Barry to rebuild the Red Spider and now, twenty years after it was torn down, the Red Spider may indeed be rebuilt.  However, Whitstable and the people who now live there, has changed.  Middle class, ‘keep it as it is‘, ‘terrified of change‘ type people now vocally oppose the rebuilding of what was once a great, water-side resource.

 

Red Spider in the snow

They are frightened of alcohol being served at the Red Spider even though just a hundred feet away stands the Neptune Pub which is a very messy, unkempt affair.

They are scared of the suggested long opening hours even though the building is further away from homes than the nearest, noisy pub.

They say that the rebuilding of the Red Spider will have an ‘environmental impact’ which is just bull shit and proves how far these detractors will go to stop the Red Spider cafe from being rebuilt.

The Red Spider Cafe 1950's

Obviously I am totally in favour of the rebuilding of the Red Spider Cafe as I am also, unfashionably, in favour of Barry rebuilding the beach huts along the beach.  As one can see from the photograph above there were huts all over the beach when I was a child and they enhanced the charm of the town and more importantly the beach.

The sort of people who complain about The Red Spider are the sort of people who frankly don’t understand Whitstable and more importantly resent the difficult, unruly Greens and their stunning success.

Did you notice that the crude painting of the ‘red spider’ looks more like a tick?

REBUILD THE RED SPIDER

Oh yes, and before all you new Whitstable people wonder what business it is of mine…I am presently buying a property in Whitstable after only 4 years of absence.

Yesterday ended up being more fun than I anticipated.  Occasionally things happen that inadvertently make sense of uncomfortable feelings.    What started out as a day where I couldn’t even raise my head ended at an AA meeting where my perspective changed, my positivity regained.

What seemed important in the morning was less so in the evening.

This is the AA reality.  It is almost impossible to burn ones bridges.  The door is always open.  It is a club where anyone is welcome…forever.  The friendly faces may change but they remain friendly and welcoming.  It really is the best club in the world for a person like me.

So, as I said, yesterday began with a feeling of uselessness.  Even though I have more going on than I have all year (the film) I still felt like a husk, a useless, unevolved husk.   I had a beard trimming accident in the morning so lost my beard.

The little Dog and I went for a long walk to the new Rambla Pacifico road which has come once again grinding to a halt.

I sat at my desk and ticked more things off of my moving list.  Roger stopped by and ate pfeffernusse which are spiced german cookies.  The choreographer visited later.   He was a great deal of fun persuaded me to buy an album by Concha Buika (beautiful) and by so doing goaded me out of my bad mood and my house and into the aforementioned AA meeting.

Before AA I decided to go to the last few days of the RRL sale at the Malibu Lumber Yard.  I bought a shirt, waistcoat, vest and a pair of gray woolen trousers.  Ended up wearing this very fetching outfit sans beard at dinner with the choreographer.  We ate at Sauce in Venice.  We ate a huge plate of excellently prepared green vegetables.

Looking in the mirror this morning I do indeed look very puffy and unattractive but hey, that’s the way things are and at my age things are only going to get a whole heap worse so I may as well get used to it.

I don’t feel ugly on the inside.  In fact, I feel very good indeed.

Spent the past couple of days in London. Stayed at Dean Street Town House which is just perfect.  Perfectly well-appointed.  Huge rooms, pale pink curtains, heavily interlined.  A wonderful shower and a great coffee-making facility.  Delicious, hand-made biscuits.  The little dog and I luxuriated in acres of white linen and huge, fluffy pillows.

This morning I walked to Oxford Street through Golden Square.  Lovely to be home in London.  Lovely.  I was stopped by a beautiful, blue-eyed youth who wanted to talk about the little dog.

The beautiful youth not withstanding the streets are unusually crammed with ugly British people Christmas shopping.  Big faces on bald heads.  Prematurely middle age.  Marching up and down Oxford Street clutching at grim paper bags and their final straw.  Pasty, miserable, bespectacled boats.

Boat race=face.

The damp streets.  The gray sky.  Oh this is my darling England.

Stopped in at a pop up gallery on Berwick Street and bought:

By Christian Brett.

I thought in the circumstances..very appropriate!

Anyway, if you are interested in this and other work go to:

www.picturesonwalls.com

As a free gift, comes with every purchase, they gave me an original art work by Banksy….a brown paper bag with a Marks and Spencer type logo that reads ‘Marks and Stencils’ and is already selling on eBay for ninety quid.

Had a long chat with the curator Sam (knows Wendy Asher) who felt that the whole STREET ART movement had been suspended in aspic for the past decade and I think that he may very well have hit the nail on the head.  He didn’t feel as if he had ‘grown up’ that things had remained static, unevolved, complacent.

My own contemporary art world gripe: how come so few artists have anything relevant to say about world altering current events like Iraq?  For instance?  Who is making work about that?

Most conceptual, contemporary art is so bloody insular and self obsessed.   The entitled, bloated Tracy Emin (for instance) has become unashamedly bourgoise and so, I am sad to say, are the rest of the YBA wankers.

Why make work about a corrupt war when I can tell you all about my vagina/blood/self?

The art of ME.  I am all I ever think about… etc.

It’s Jay’s fault.  He loves a good title and a decorative flourish.  Jay Jopling has never been interested in political art and that, my friends, is very sad.

I mentioned Joseph Kosuth to Sam the pop up shop curator as an example of an artist who might have an opinion about the war and the bloody peace.

What is conceptual art?  The ‘value’ of particular artists after Duchamp can be weighed according to how much they questioned the nature of art.

Conceptual art is based on the notion that the essence of art is an idea, or concept, and may exist distinct from and in the absence of an object as its representation. It is called Idea art, Post-Object art, and Dematerialized art because it often assumes the form of a proposition (i.e., a document of the artist’s thinking) or a photographic document of an event.

Conceptual art practices emerged at a time when the authority of the art institution and the preciousness of the unique aesthetic object were being widely challenged by artists and critics.

Conceptual artists interrogated the possibilities of art-as-idea or art-as-knowledge, and to those ends explored linguistic, mathematical, and process-oriented dimensions of thought and aesthetics, as well as invisible systems, structures, and processes.

Artists such as Joseph Kosuth and members of the Art & Language group wrote theoretical essays that questioned the ways in which art has conventionally acquired meaning. In some cases such texts served as the art works themselves.

Dinner with Nicola and Chris on Saturday night.  Lovely.  We ate oysters, game pie and vegetables.  Ended up flirting with a cute doorman with footballers thighs in some club on Dean Street.  He was ‘straight’ so I walked away.  Damn.

This evening I met Charlie at a huge ‘A’ gay Christmas event.  I met loads of people.  Lovely (sexy, charming, witty and down-to-earth) Dutch/Kiwi man and his friend but the BEST was a gallerist/singer songwriter called Robert Diament who I could totally FALL for.  I kissed him goodnight.

Out sexy gay man with a brain.  Huh?  How did that happen?

Well, it’s not going to happen  In the cold light of this sober day (Monday morning) he’s far too young and until my heart is mended…I really can’t imagine letting anyone near me.

Drove back to Whitstable with Alma who is very funny and we giggled for miles.

Anyway, as I have said before..after letting you know my initial impressions of someone ‘special’ I won’t be writing about them again.  Can you tell that I am having a nice time?  That I am happy?  Can you?  I am safe and warm (house is a bit chilly) and enveloped by love?

I forgot to mention yesterday…I bought a hat at Kokon to Zai.  It is rather splendid.

Then I went to bed…good night…sweet dreams.


Enhanced by Zemanta

It certainly is.

Balls not withstanding.   The heavy snow and cold conditions don’t stop me from getting in my little car and driving to Canterbury.

We are only seven miles from one of the most beautiful Cathedrals cities in the world.

Meandering through the snowy Kent countryside listening to BBC Radio 4 I arrived, parked inside the Roman city walls and walked down Palace Street looking for a man to unlock my iPhone.  The ancient and the modern.

I love Canterbury, I love the tiny medieval streets, the busy shops.  I ended up buying a cell phone…as it looks as if I maybe here for longer than I anticipated and I have to keep in contact with the hospital.  I bought the correct adaptors and leads etc for my lap top so I no longer need to pop into Georgina’s and use hers.

The economy seems really good.  Really good.  The shops are packed with paying customers.  We are well out of recession.  It’s like the British are embarrassed to let the American’s know that our economy is just fine.

The average British person really doesn’t have a clue just how bad things are in the USA.  No idea at all.  They don’t know about the unemployment, the foreclosures, the corruption or the burgeoning right-wing tea party movement.  They are oblivious to Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck.

One day very soon they will wake up to a very different America and a very different world run by ignorant, xenophobic thugs.

Even on a wet, cold, miserable Tuesday in Canterbury people look quite unlike those you see not shopping in sunny Santa Monica.

All of the little restaurants and gift shops are packed with customers in Whitstable too.  The Whitstable shopping equivalent: Venice CA the shops on the main drag Abbot Kinney are still boarded up.

If things are fine why is the government hell-bent of dealing so aggressively with what is evidently a self solving problem like the deficit?  THE DEFICIT!

This British government is forcing austerity upon the nation because?  Because the people have had things so good for so long?

This country is not falling apart, seems very stable and prosperous from what I can see..but under the guise of the DEFICIT reduction plan this new government stealthily returns to Thatcher type fiscal/social conservatism.  The class havoc deliberately caused with unnecessary job reduction ends up merely furthering their class war aims.

Governments like drama.

British Governments, like Hollywood studio execs, cause problems so that they can be seen to fix them.  The people, our British people, unlike the sleepy time/weed brained/prozaced citizens of my adopted home the USA…we will get off our angry asses and break some windows.  Make our voices heard.  No, you bloody can’t start charging our children for a university education…something you had for free.  NO.

Thanks to the bankers to whom we are already indebted in so many, many ways we can give extra thanks that we can now officially add the innocuous word deficit to the list of things we are encouraged to fear.  Along with Asylum Seeker, ASBO, global warming, that millennium bug thing (remember that?) and, of course…terrorist.

DEFICIT=TERRORIST.  Something abstract and confusing to be frightened of.

In the UK everybody complains about their gas bill and it’s true that utility bills here are out of control…a recent price hike of 40%.  Where the people have no option the corporation steps in and gouges whatever it can.  Same as the Insurance industry.  The law states that you must buy car insurance so the insurance industry just demands what ever it likes from whom ever it likes.

You want to know about the hospital?   The German oncologist was very nice.   Do you need to know more?  We wait for further test results.  Who could have foreseen that a jolly German oncologist would make his way center stage into my life.

I actually feel a great deal better already.  I just trust European doctors more than American doctors and they agreed that me coming here was the best possible thing to do.  Not having to worry about paying a huge amount of money to anyone anytime soon for what should be a human right sure takes the pressure off.

After it was all over at the surgery I came home and lay down under a pile of blankets and fell asleep.  What with the Jake stuff this has not been a great year.  Not one of my best.  Not a great vintage.

The little dog just hates the snow and who can blame him?  His little paws are soaked in cold water up to the ankles.  He tags along after me very bravely.

last night Carol cooked a delicious dinner here at the house and we greedily scoffed baked potatoes, ham and a delicious salad made of crunchy endive and baby tomatoes and watercress.

Seeing Charlie tomorrow and others in London.  Going to risk the roads in my little car.

Oh yes…I read yesterday that somebody somewhere in the US press demanded that Obama get some ‘backbone’.  How dare anyone ask President Obama to have ‘backbone’ when his constituents lack any kind of skeleton what so ever.

In Obama the liberals chose a limp shield made of skin (albeit black) and gristle behind which to gripe about their own inertia.

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?

I left LA last week (July 2nd) though it actually feels like months ago, so much has happened.   I flew into JFK with bags and dog and chaos.  He was waiting for me and whisked me off to a beautiful house set in perfect woodland and rolling lawns.

We ate and walked and talked.  I never tire of listening to him.   We have done our fair share of soul-searching these past few months and now it is time to have a few laughs.   I know that at the back of his mind he worries, that he is not truly free.

I loved the countryside and delightful clapboard houses on the border of New York and Connecticut.

In distant, very white upstate town Katonah there were two very black gay men from the Caribbean eating a light lunch.   They were the only black people for miles around.

 

Two days later we were in a taxi back to JFK and onto one of Air France’s spectacular Airbus A380.   The huge plane was almost empty!  Deciding to fly on July 4th was a great idea.  Taking off over a million 4th July firework parties.  Fireworks exploding all around us.

The first part of the journey was not without drama as we managed to get delayed for 3 hours by a bomb scare at JFK.  The entire airport emptied out just minutes before we were about to fly.    We were herded outside and sat around smoking cigarettes and drinking water.   After a couple of hours in the sun we stampeded back into the building directly onto our planes and landed in France 6 hours later.

It is delicious to be back in Europe.  Away from the tangled life I have left behind in the USA.   Once in Paris we checked into Mama Shelter in the 20th, seconds from the cemetery Pere Lachaise.  We loved it!

 

Although I smuggled the dog into the hotel-actually we had no need as dogs, we later found out, are allowed.   The food and service were excellent.  The only vaguely irritating thing was the Internet wi-fi connection which was linked to their rather modern but baffling Apple TV.  Apart from finding it impossible to get on-line their sophisticated interconnected system meant that the TV remote would also remotely control our lap tops..hmmm.

It is so easy to concentrate on what is wrong in life or in others without noticing how beautiful things are.  The staff at the hotel were gorgeous and we drooled over them everyday.

First day of Couture shows in Paris.  We had lunch with William Stoddart at Hotel d’Amour near Pigalle.  Gosh that area has changed so much!   When I lived there with Claire Sant it was ghastly.  Last week it was wonderful.   The weather has been gorgeous everywhere we have been.

The beautiful Edouard joined us afterwards for coffee.  We had dinner with him the night before and 6 others at Italian restaurant.   Very pretty German model who was obviously rooting for Germany in the World Cup..she was tall and womanly and intelligent.  We talked France’s ignominious exit from the competition and sneered at the British teams pathetic attempt to get into the last 8.

 

Three days in Paris followed by a train ride to Calais and a ferry to Dover after a short taxi ride home to Whitstable we were sitting on the beach eating venison burgers and the travelling companion couldn’t believe how beautiful it all was and complained that I had underplayed how Whitstable really is.

 

Today there are warnings that old people may overheat.  We are going to take a train to London.

I am sitting writing this from my room overlooking the sea in Georgina’s home in Whitstable.   It was my birthday yesterday.   The day started well enough with coffee at Dave’s deli catching up on gossip and drinking his perfect latte.   I left the companion in bed.  He is not really a morning person.  We met my mother for lunch at Wheelers where Mark Stubbs the chef there continues to surpass himself-this time with delicately spiced soft shell crab.

I really had no desire to see anyone other than who was at that table.  I am certainly not interested in tangoing in front of 500 people like an eastern European gypsy.    My mum and Georgina bonded over their hatred of Asylum Seekers.  My mother pointed out that some asylum seekers were pretending to be gay so that they could stay in the country.  If it’s not the Mexican’s it’s the Eastern Europeans..there always someone to blame for never having enough.

I thought that the fear of others getting something for nothing was an American phenomena but no!  It’s British too.

After lunch Adam took my picture as part of his photographic Whitstable project and his lovely mum cut my hair.  We sat in their lush garden drinking lemonade and lusting after his gorgeous, recently tattooed, diver brother.   After the pictures were taken we walked the couple of miles home up the beach.   I have never been so happy.

When we got home the companion had a drama unfold which he needed to deal with.  When he finally tore himself away from the Internet we sat in the garden and ate dinner with Georgina.  We ate huge organic pork chops that I managed to burn on the bbq.   After dinner we sat outside the Neptune pub with Barry and other drunksters.   The dog was tired and lay on the beach and fell asleep.  The night was balmy and the sea lapped lazily over the shingle.

This morning I woke at 6am and walked the dog up to the harbor.  He loves it here.   The Greens who own the Oyster Company scrawl unfortunate notes on black boards all over their property.  Don’t do this and don’t do that. Those black boards used to be charming now they just look vicious.

Some people like to get their own way..I am one of them.  When you finally meet your match, as I seem to, it can be less than comfortable.  I am trying to be sensitive to the needs of others but I am a stubborn old fool.

As for him..the traveling companion..he’s finding his feet and I am finding mine.

Enhanced by Zemanta

I thought about Whitstable today.   I miss you so much!  The shallow lazy sea, the honey coloured shingle, buying espresso from Dave’s deli, walking the little dog on Duncan Downs.  I wondered, like I do occasionally, if I could ever live there again.

Part of me wants to be there but most of me is perfectly as ease with where I am right now.

If I went back what would I be returning to?

It’s a great place to visit but maybe it’s never going to be my home.   Maybe it never was.

Taking that bloody, stinky train to London.  I never had the money for a ticket.  Hiding in the toilet.  One hour and fifteen minutes.  Faverham, Sittingbourne, Rainham, Graveney, Bromley SouthVictoria Station!

Walking to Mayfair.  Sweet-scented drawing rooms, thick carpet and polished silver.  Oh God. I know why I am thinking about this!  I am dreading being left on my own on Tuesday evening when the man/boy leaves for Italy.

I want to travel too!  Paris, Sydney, Whitstable or New York where do I go next?  If I go what am I running away from?  I’ll tell you what:  a great,  gaping God shaped hole.

18th Century boy/man was up until 2.30 last night pottering around, tidying, making a mother’s day card and finally fell into bed exhausted.   We had dinner at Axe on Abbott Kinney.  I ate the farmer’s plate with prosciutto.   This morning we toured the Santa Monica Farmers Market and bought fresh almonds and pale pink hydrangea and delicate budded peonies.

He reminds me of Patrick Kinmonth, the same sensibilities and creativity.  He is so tall and elegant, so curious about everything, which can all at once excite and tire.   It is good to live again with someone on my arm that has such an extraordinary zest for life.  He wants me to teach him how to sew.  I would love to do that, pass on a few of the many skills I have that were meant for some unborn child in an imaginary family.

I wish that I hadn’t killed the snake but I was scared that it would bite the little dog then where would I be?   John watched the video of me killing it and looked delighted at the very manliness of my snake murder.  I should have been more proud but I wasn’t.  I value life, even the life of a dangerous snake or the rat I killed the previous week.

Josh, my sober A gay friend and I toured Barney’s yesterday.  Trying on expensive clothing neither of us would ever buy.  Bumped into a friend of Charlies who was wearing cut off denim shorts, a sleeveless tee, a man bag and Jackie O sunglasses.  What a fucking STATE.  Also bumped into my friend Jody who has recently had two surrogate daughters-the $250,000 a pop kind.  I asked, like I would my straight friends, if he is signing them up for pre-school.  He spat back that he had no intention of sending them to pre-school as their nanny had them on the Einstein system for infant learning.  He said that he wanted to control who came into their lives as he had no intention of letting them socialize with other kids as they might pick up bad habits.  Now tell me if that doesn’t sound unhealthy?   Child as project.  Lot’s of my gay friends have chosen this route when they become parents.  However, this is not peculiar to gay men, I know straight parents who do this too.  In my opinion it can only lead to disappointment and resentment.

I thought about my mother and where she might be this overcast mother’s day.  I wondered if my brothers had brought her flowers or sent her a card.  I did not.  Then I thought about Kristian’s mother who seems to loathe the idea of his friends getting together to celebrate his life and I wondered how she could be so bitter about this simple act of remembrance?

I pay scant regard to my creative life.  My desire to create comes in huge waves that crash inconsequentially and leave me feeling tired and unfinished.  Why can’t I seem to finish anything?  My novel remains unfinished, my film too-as for everything else?  I don’t know.

As his departure looms so do the morbid thoughts.

I find myself thinking about the NYC man and grieve for what was and what is lost, broken or as dead as the headless rattlesnake.   I am all at once in celebration for what I have and desolation for what was and how that affected me.  Man/Boy asked if I was on the rebound last night which I strenuously denied.  But, of course, there is some truth to his accusation.  John cautioned me yesterday about euphoric recall, the yearning for an acting out partner rather than the fully fledged, present young man who I now have.

I have no reason or right to have wanted more from NYC man.   As I have said before I was an inconsequential blip in his life.   It’s hard to own that.  Yet, in a way, it has made me a stronger man for what I have now.    I look at this new man and love him and care about him with new eyes.  The eyes of a man who has loved and lost but is lucky to have loved at all.

As for my sobriety, I am sober!  I have that to be grateful for.   Gratitude is key!

Have to write for the Good Men Project.  I am going to write about how to be a man when other men don’t recognize the sort of man you were born to be:  A quest for validation.

September 4, 2006 – Monday

Julia Woolf

78 dogs on Runyon Canyon.

The transformers on Outpost exploded yesterday causing the fourth power cut of the summer. Thankfully I was not here for any of the others. John and I drove to Ralph’s and bought ice to keep the fridge from getting too hot. I bought three chickens for dinner-they were half price. I also bought melon and strawberries. In the line at the check out the young couple ahead of me had 20 boxes of microwavable hot dogs and a carton of diet beverage. He looked into my cart and said, “This guy eats healthier than us.” I enquired if they were having a party. The petite, pretty blond girl told me that this was their diet, franks and diet drink. “I don’t cook.” she said, “I’m frightened of raw meat.” Her gorgeous boy friend winked at me.

Alexa, Devon and Sabrina invited me to join them on a trip to Little India which is in Artesia some 40 mins from Hollywood along the freeway. The power out meant that the fans did not work so they lured me with a promise of air conditioning in the car. When we got to Little India it was just as you might imagine several strip malls selling sari’s, jewellery and indian food. We had a blast. I bought odd-looking raisins and nut meg and almonds. Being in Little India reminded me of the UK. Tea and digestive biscuits and Wheatabix. The smell of petuli oil pervading the hot streets. We ate lunch in a small restaurant and ordered Indian food that I had never seen in England. We took our chances and before long delicious things arrived in compartmentalized styrofoam trays. The Indians were watching me eat mine with some amusement-it turned out I was dipping my savoury main course into my desert. I suppose it was like watching someone put ice cream on their hamburger.

We all fell asleep, open-mouthed on the way home.

When I got home I stuffed lemons into the chickens and poured curry paste onto the skin and put bay leaves and garlic under the birds and roasted them for two hours at a very high temp. I boiled potatoes and then roasted them with okra and tamarind sauce. Thankfully I also soaked and prepared some barlotti beans which was just as well as Julia’s husband is a vegetarian.

8 people for dinner. Delicious. Julia Woolf who I have known for thirty years. Who would have thought it? If somebody had told me that the coolest chic in Whitstable would be at my table in LA when I was teenager I would have scoffed. Julia’s husband is very funny and dry. Josh and Sara are always great company. I love the way Josh knows film.

After they all left the internet yielded somebody for me to cuddle. Made it perfectly clear that I did not want sex. We walked together up the Canyon counting dogs and then he left.

10:20 AM

September 6, 2006 – Wednesday

Canyon Barbie

38 dogs on Runyon Canyon today Sept 3rd 2006. For some odd reason these blogs are out of sequence.

The owners thankfully too tired to make small talk with their dogs. Yesterday, I shopped on Robertson but could not find what I was looking for. Lunch at The News Room with Dean West. The food was bland and expensive. I ordered a fancy fruit drink-wheat grass, pineapple and mint which had no taste what so ever. When I told the waiter it had no taste, that it tasted like water-he asked if he could remedy the situation by adding more ice. “Are you kidding?” I asked. He went onto explain that the ice would make the drink thicker therefore giving it more taste. I asked him to get me an orange juice.

I mopped the kitchen floor with bleach.

Met Sharon S at the Arclight. We saw Oliver Stone‘s new film about 9/11 which was, at times, very moving but I was over come with the feeling that it had been made too soon after the event. I mean, that’s why the US are still in Iraq isn’t it? Avenging the deaths of 9/11?

The film works best in the confined space underground developing the relationship between the two trapped men. I constantly had to remind myself that this was a ‘true’ story-it was so shocking. Sadly, above ground, Stone never really captured the horror and confusion of that day. As a film maker he needed to be less reverential and more grandiose/dramatic and only time passing could or would have allowed that to happen. It was apparent from this film that Stone finds directing women almost impossible, consequently the wives of the trapped men are woefully undignified. The only female performance of any note was Maggie Gyllenhall. Maria Bello‘s bright blue, over sized, contact lenses were very distracting. The flailing women erred, again and again, toward the dismally sentimental.

Nick Cage was physically suited to the role but he is so prone to under playing that I wondered if his inertia would finally get the better of him. Strangely, as I experienced it, the film felt like a ‘white’ film which was odd because one of the guys trapped under the concrete was latino-his family did not really get a sniff at the action-was the latino woman with Gyllenhall the maid or the guys mother? I found out subsequently that the hero who found those guys under the rubble was not a clean-cut white guy but a black man. A BLACK man found those men and WHITE film makers edited that out of the story. Stone is usually an oppinionated, egocentric film maker but ultimately this film, due to the enormous reverence to its subject, lacked a strong point of view and an unusual absence of ego became its downfall.

9/11 remains a ghastly pre amble to what Will Self calls the ’21st century commodity wars’. I would very much like to read the book that the film was based on. I cried when the film ended but I stayed angry long after we left the arclight, angry that today more innocent people would be buried under concrete by the US in Iraq. Nobody seems to have learned anything.

Saw JA in the line for another movie. She was wearing dark glasses. It is the first time that I have seen her since the cancer diagnosis. I suddenly felt consumed with anger that her stupid consultant had got the diagnosis so very wrong. It is such a terrible waste. Letter from DP yesterday expressing his concern for JA. We have all agreed to stand shoulder to shoulder should the time come.

After the film Sharon and I ate dinner at the Hungry Cat under that new apartment building on Sunset and Vine where I first lived when I arrived in LA. The bill came to $111. The food was decent enough-a bit complicated.

We talked about our sexual obsessions-after a life of sex how difficult it is to reorientate oneself toward a relationship. Sharon has huge tits and I kept on thinking about them during dinner. She told me that her next door neighbour is a very fit looking young girl who makes wrestling videos in her back yard. Sharon calls her Canyon Barbie. I tried to explain to her how PH makes me feel-like I am a MAN when I am with her. Filling out my own body.

Sharon has never met me without a beard so was delighted that I had dimples. I love intelligent, strong women. You know, it was Sharon who helped me cut the front of Dorian Gray providing solutions so that the beginning of the film sprints where it previously limped. We wandered to the parking lot arm in arm and then she dropped me at home in her black Porsche.

3:45 PM

September 2, 2006 – Saturday

Dog Piss Canyon

“I’m frightened by the devil but I’m drawn to those who ain’t afraid..”
(Joni Mitchell)

I passed 73 dogs on my walk on Runyon Canyon today. They call it dog piss canyon. I don’t think it smells at all. The dogs are all quite good-natured although I had a fear that if one of them did attack me it would be my fault because I was wearing black socks or had a beard. “He was wearing black socks-my dog hate men with black socks.” Most owners walk silently with their dogs but others keep a ghastly, high-pitched baby talk monologue going with their dogs, “Daddy wont be happy about THAT when we get home.” “Keep up with your brother.” Obviously the dogs are not related, one is a Yorkie and the other is a large black mutt. The illusion of family pervades the canyon, all these lonely people with dog brothers/sisters to feed and focus on. “Mummy said NO!”

Last night, after my 7.30-9.00pm AA meeting we ate dinner at Swingers on Beverly. The conversation was dominated by the rumour that Bush intends to use ‘little’ nuclear war-heads on Iran. I was dumbfounded by just how jocular the discussion was. Earlier, before the meeting started, a small Jewish guy was telling his friends loudly how ashamed he was of American foreign policy. Bush’s speech yesterday to a bunch of guys in fancy dress (ex-forces I think) was the usual war mongering pre-election bullshit. I keep on thinking about Michael Moore’s Oscar speech when he declared that we live in ‘lying times..’ How will we ever sweep away this bunch of liars, thieves and fools? We are the first generation of human beings who can not just pack our bags and find land to settle with like-minded people. We have no escape.

Apparently my towels are in Daniel’s room. He did not flush the toilet AGAIN yesterday. I feel too embarrassed to say anything. Shall I leave a note on the bathroom wall? I have not actually SEEN the towels yet but at least he has claimed responsibility and will buy new ones if they are vanished. I scrubbed the tea towel that was stained whilst I was gone. This is the third time that I have scrubbed it-it seems to be responding.

Joni Mitchell used to own the apartment block where I live in Hollywood. It is the most adorable pink building built-in the early 1930s. I have a huge sitting room, a smaller, well-proportioned dining room and the original kitchen and stove. There are two reasonably sized bedrooms and a bathroom off of a long dark corridor. Pamela (queen of the groupies) DesBarres lived here in this apartment. There is a photograph of Sid Vicious leaning against my fire-place.

I have decorated for comfort and relaxation. I have some of my photograph collection on the walls. Cindy Sherman, Thomas Struth, Larry Clark, Tracy Emin, Larry Sultan and Gillian Wearing. It is a lovely little group. I also have the dregs of the Holly Soloman estate sale, above my desk is a wonderful painting called ‘A Peaceable Kingdom’ by Jimmy Kellough, which is a piece of tat really but I love it. How lucky I am to live in two such perfect places? Whitstable and Hollywood.

At 12 I went to my lunch-time AA meeting but it was a bad mistake-such a bunch of self obsessed relapsers. I had mass murder thoughts during the meeting which I have not had since I was last there-so in the words of Hunter Philip I shall ‘go where the love is’.

I had lunch with my celebrity friend who I can’t mention-maybe next time-at the Chateau Marmont. We were offered the table behind the hedge where they put all of the celebrities but we declined favouring the full spotlight. Since I have been gone they have put air conditioning into the lobby of the Chateau. Not as bad as I thought that it was going to be. The staff was having a serious meeting in the dining room. I waved but they all looked like they were being fired. We then went to see a cut of his new film that was, in a word, dreadful. Two words-dreadful and appalling. I could only sit through 30 mins of it without squirming off of my seat. The worst thing is he has invested $180,000 in it WITHOUT having seen any of the footage. I could have slapped him but I am TRYING not being so judgemental and he is a really great friend.

The oddest thing has happened. I woke up at 7.30 which is when I normally get up-I seemed to have totally got away without having any jet lag.

3:06 PM

September 1, 2006 – Friday

Dakota fanning

Woke at 4.30am. Still dark outside. Answered e-mails. Still cannot find missing towels. Sharon only used the white ones. Apparently everyone knows that Sharon cried when she told me that the laundry had lost my large white towel.

Spoke to JA yesterday who confirmed that she has cancer. They misdiagnosed the lump she had in her leg-it was the spreading kind of cancer and not the other sort that stays put. She sounded brave but angry that the mistake had been made and that Blue Cross is not honouring their insurance agreement.

I went for a long walk on Runyon Canyon as soon as the sun came up and looked over the city. I felt like Warren Beatty in the film Shampoo when he looks over LA sadly realising that his life is in tatters. Yet, it was not my life that was in tatters-it was my friends-a friend who had been there for me for over 15 years.

Last night I had dinner at the 101 with Dom and John R. We ate the fried chicken-Thursday special. It was delicious. I wish I had it to eat for breakfast. I am STARVING. The fridge is looking pretty bare. I have not had time to restock it. There are usually stacks of celebrities at the 101 but there were none to be seen last night. They had better things to do than eat the Thursday special fried chicken.

Dom and I have a private joke about Dakota Fanning being snatched by coyote from the terrace at the Chateau Marmont. Nobody else finds it very funny. If ever we see a small child or dog at the Chateau we ask if we can have Dakotas autograph. I was in Barney’s once with Dom eating kippers-they stank so much that our part of the restaurant cleared out. Anyway, there was a child there who looked like Dakota Fanning and I asked for her autograph and her mother looked piteously at me and told me that this was not Dakota Fanning. That is how sad our private joke is.

I tidied my desk today and sorted out the draw and threw out old receipts. I think that I have a shoe addiction. I buy so many pairs of shoes. If JA died it would leave a vast hole in my life. I think that she is going to die. It is the spreading kind of cancer and not the kind that stays put.

I felt a slight tremor yesterday. Watched the fan tremble. Thought about my bed, which is a four-poster and could save me if the big shake down happens at night. I was sitting quietly looking around at my new cushion arrangement. The blue ones on the white armchairs. The pink and orange ones on the sofa. The new paisley cushions on the floor with the mauve shot silk floor cushion. Where are my fucking towels?

Ian Drew called to get a quote he was writing about straight actors coming out in Hollywood for US weekly in the wake of the kiss between Travolta and that boy on the internet. The smoking gun. Finally, The secret is out. So what? Who cares? Who did not know that Travolta was gay? Will we believe him less when he holds up his sub machine gun and takes down a nation? Who keeps the gay boys in the closet? Other gays. They are vicious. Other gays keep gay actors from telling the truth about who they are. The velvet mafia must be reeling this morning.

I feel strangely happy and content. The walk did me some good. I should really go and buy my bike, which I did not do yesterday. I am secretly waiting for Dom to take me to the bike shop on Saturday and help me choose it. Must not lose momentum. Tuesday I start work on Valentine. Found old draft of script that reads well. All problems are structural. Must call Lisa B the casting woman and start talking. Perhaps my towels are hidden in Daniels room?

8:31 AM

August 31, 2006 – Thursday

back in the la

Back in LA. The apartment was very clean and tidy. However, some of my towels have vanished and one of my beautiful French tea towels was used for heavy duty cleaning and I spent ages trying to revive it. It looks like with a few more hot washes it might regain consciousness.

I woke up far too early and set about plumping cushions. My beard has a huge hole in it from my nervously pulling at it at the airport. So, this morning I went to Vine and Sunset and my Puerto Rican hairdresser who shaved my entire head. I have had a beard for so long now I really did not recognise myself. I look like my grand mother when I am concentrating. Not very hot.

Courtney Love was on my plane from London. She looked pale but she always does. Sitting next to celebrities on a long haul flight is like going on a date. You get to see them so clearly. CL is on the wagon so she behaved impeccably but you could tell that the air stewardesses were waiting for trouble. A ‘difficult’ person is often made worse by the expectations of others. Everybody loves a good Naomi Campbell story and the mob loves to blame her for her antics but it is so often the goading behaviour of others and the nasty atmosphere created by the crowd that can make a celebrity attack-or anyone for that matter with a bad rep. Boxers are forever being offered to fight by complete strangers.

I know that I-to a lesser degree-can sense when people have a bad opinion of me or expect me to be the person they have heard I am. It is so hard, in those instances, to take contrary action. All too often I become EXACTLY who they want me to be and then all of their preconceptions are ratified. The contrary action is to ignore the baiting, the sly comment, the sneery look or the comment behind the hand. Of course, if one says anything about THEIR behaviour one is accused of paranoia. CL behaved impeccably. At the carousel where we waited for our luggage she dragged her own very heavy cream leather luggage onto a trolley and I felt for her, I really did. This much maligned woman whose celebrity relies, in part, on her earlier bad behaviour is finding it very easy to change her insides but the others will not let her change the outsides.

The last time I flew to LA I was sitting near John Major-though what he was doing coming to California beats me. Does he have celeb friends in the hills? Does he surf? Anyway, he was there reading the newspapers in the same row as me. I had previously seen Brokeback Mountain with friends at The Grove in LA and afterwards I had battled to keep from crying. I decided, rather stupidly, to watch it again. Heath is so mesmerizing. As the credits rolled I felt like crying so made my way to the tiny loo and cried. I was-making a terrible noise, big fat tears rolling down my cheeks and onto my chin. Anyway, when I had finished sobbing I opened the door only to find special branch-the UK equivalent of FBI-who were traveling with John Major outside the loo door. “Are you alright, sir” one asked and I said, bursting into tears again, “Brokeback Mountain.” and slammed the door. After a good half hour I went back to my seat and John Major looked very kindly at me and asked in a stage whisper if I was OK. “Brokeback Mountain.” I said and the ex-prime minster of Great Britain and all of it’s Dominions frowned and nodded understandingly.

I took all my shirts to the lovely Russian lady who presses them at the environmentally correct launderette. I could go to the local laundry but the walk does me good. I don’t think the one at the end of the street gives a fuck about the environment. This week I am going to buy a scooter. A Vespa. I am very, very excited.

I might hire a car this weekend and drive to San Francisco. I like it there a great deal and my friend Randy lives there. Or, I might go to Mexico city with Eugenio and the others but that might be a bit bonkers. JT asked me rather grandly (he is a few days under 90 days sober) what I was doing with those people doing drugs. He cannot fathom why I get a kick out of hanging occasionally with those guys. What he forgets is I found him at that house and now he is nearly 90 days. He forgets that I am doing out reach work-so to speak. People are genuinely amazed that I can stay up all night with them without doing drugs or drinking. Nobody else I know wants to do it-we lead by EXAMPLE.

I start Valentine on Tuesday with the new writer and it is not a day too late. The secret project is coming along very well. Dorian has ground to a halt.

My life as a film maker.

SS in Berlin thinks that I have a changed personality when I get here. I am going to make a concerted effort to be kinder this time. More accommodating. Now I don’t have a beard to hide behind-I need to be a great deal nicer. Maybe my beard made me aggressive in LA-or just the place. Hot, sweaty. Disparate.

Will add more later about this LA thing. Already have breakfast meetings scheduled for two weeks after labor day.

2:24 PM

August 29, 2006 – Tuesday

Goodbye Whitstable

It is a blustery, bright late August day by the sea. Today I woke at 6.30 and started the packing process. I am taking the cushions I bought at Ralph Lauren and my red shoes from Asprey. I have packed millions of books as I miss them terribly when I am in LA. I am a bit worried about the weight of my bags but perhaps they will not notice at the check in. I dread the airport. Frisked by rude, aggressive men. The police with the guns. The stewardesses who behave like Gestapo. Horrible. I am leaving tomorrow but am staying with Phil and Moffy in Worlds End tonight. Phil is going to paint my portrait. I think that we may rent a house together in LA next year. I know exactly which one I want-the one in Hermits Glen. I love that house off Wonderland Avenue. How do I feel about returning to LA? Well, I have to work with a writer and whip My Funny Valentine into shape for the casting process. I think that it will be very funny by the time I finish it. I have to finish Dorian. I have to start my secret adaptation. Lots of real stuff to do when I get back.

So. This morning I walked up Whitstable High Street eating a marzipan candy bar holding a glass dish I borrowed from Delia at Wheelers. When ever I leave Whitstable I look at everything in the town as if I may never see it again. I look at the houses and the shops and I bumped into so many people I knew. I looked in on Billy Childish (Tracy Emin’s ex b/f) to see if he was there in his studio-he wasn’t. I saw Veronica with her grandson who looks like a very young Richard Green. His eyes are wide over his nose just like Richard. They called Richard Green FROG at school because his eyes were so far from each other on his face. They called me Bleached Nigger at school. That was because I had very long, afro hair like my mother.

There are MILLIONS of lesbians in Whitstable. I think that there must be a Tipping the Velvet convention on at the lesbian beach huts on West Beach. I call it the lesbian shanty-town. During the summer hundreds of lesbians live in the beach huts and cook tofu on calor gas stoves and show off their hairy arm pits. They have wild children with unbrushed hair. So many lesbians live here. I sold my last house to a pair of very rich lesbians. They were not very nice and accused me of killing their cat. They were always drunk. They moved out and told everyone it was because I had made their life so uncomfortable-it fact it was the other way around. Joe and I had lesbian neighbours on Fire Island. They looked like men. The men looking lesbians have an attitude I find quite difficult. I always thought that a gay couple and a lesbian couple might get on but in fact the lesbians we lived next door to in The Pines had the same attitude toward us as a homophobic male. They can be quite sneery. I had a lesbian friend who used to visit me in prison but stopped because she became a lesbian separatist and could no longer have anything to do with men-she even stopped her milk being delivered because he was a milk MAN.

I stopped in at the Deli for a coffee and sat outside on Harbour Street and ate a lemon tart. How do I feel about not being here? How does it make me feel? How is it to be back in LA? I like my little flat. I like the smell of the Jasmin and the garden and the small collection of art I have there. But it is September here and that is my favourite month. I am only in LA for a month then I go to Sydney to write. There is no anchor. Phil could be an anchor. She is so wonderful. Important woman. She has no agenda and has always let me be the man I want to be rather than the man they think I am.

I finished my coffee and made my way home. I should have taken my bike then I might have I would have taken a longer route home and stopped in on Lottie who was like a mother to me when I was a boy. She has MS and I think that she might die very soon. I did not go to say good-bye because I don’t like goodbyes.

The goodbye party I threw yesterday was great fun. Phil and Clare and Carol and Jennifer and Anna and Mikyla and Easterly Jason and Tino and Rob and 5 children all came from London to say goodbye and I made a huge cassoulet and crab cakes and tiny prawn tarts with béchamel sauce. Then we ate strawberries, meringue and cream-Eton Mess. It was obvious to everyone just how important Phil is to me and we spent all day being very close. The women talked about Clare being outrageously dumped at the altar last month by her policeman boyfriend from his greek stag do. The girls who have columns on the Sun and Mirror were eager to pillory him for her but she declined their offer. We also talked about my ex friend Susanna A who we believed might have a penis. We were being very rude about her. I told everyone that when we were on holiday in France last year I hade chanced upon her in the bathroom washing it but it had retracted into her vagina like a tentacle. That is the penis she fucks her friends and relatives with.

It was so wonderful having everybody there to say goodbye to me. I loved holding the baby which I did all afternoon and I gave her-rather grandly-a Jeff Koons print I had bought ages ago in NY. Every baby should have a Jeff Koons. They are such a great bunch of friends. Good friends-kind friends. I have been through the mill with plastic friends of late-the sort of friends I have in LA on the whole are work friends and the friends I have here I have not valued. Recently I made up my mind to open my heart to them. Open up my warmer side rather than being so austere. It really works. That new openness may be all about 9 years of sobriety.

After lunch and a walk we watched Welcome to the Dollhouse and then everybody left when night fell, after the glorious sunset. I was in bed by 10.30. The children had woken me at 4.30 that morning. They had been camping in the garden and the rain had woken them up so they decided to cause havoc. Children can be unwittingly destructive-the loo had to be repaired and the back door handle. Everything needs to have the tiny, black finger prints washed. Thank God they were not criminals. Thank God my cleaner is coming tomorrow.

When I get back to LA I am looking forward to buying my Vespa and cruising the streets of west Hollywood. When I get back to LA I am looking forward to my Saturday mornings with Dom. When I get back to LA I am looking forward to the sun on my back and Runyon Canyon and the spectacular views over..LA.

6:30 AM

August 14, 2006 – Monday

Threat Level Reduced?

The anti Muslim frenzy that the governments of the US and UK have been working tirelessly toward seems to be complete. I am at lunch in Vauxhall London with columnists from the Sun and the Daily Mirror-two highly influential British newspapers. There is also a political editor from The Times. There is a storm raging outside the house (thunder and lightning) and one inside (fire and brimstone) over the chocolate tart and chicken legs. Suddenly in my secular country people are diving along religious lines. The truth is being rewritten, I am told that the Muslim guys who were shot and arrested in Forest Gate are child pornographers/drug dealers/ black marketers. Suddenly the blacks are ‘just like us’ and the Muslims need to be ‘taught a lesson’. Now it is the Muslims who are stealing our tax pounds by claiming social benefits-even though I thought that last year it was the Muslims who had higher achievement levels in schools and ran small businesses with aplomb. Last year it was black people and asylum seekers who lived off of our white generosity-now it is the Muslims. How the fuck did intelligent people like the guys I was with yesterday suddenly become so blinkered-so incredibly malleable?

OK so, the innocent Brazilian guy gets shot in the head by cops eleven times at close range in a crowded subway. The Forrest Gate guys get shot and arrested and later released even though the ‘intelligence’ that had been collected over several months proved without doubt that these guys were manufacturing chemical weapons. Now we get this-the arrests of the men who were supposedly going to blow up planes with liquid bombs. Did the intelligence guys get it right this time or were they manufacturing moon shine? Perhaps they got hold of the mobile Weapons of Mass Destruction units that Saddam supposedly had? In fact those people arrested last week are slowly being released. Did you know that? But, in the mean time, chaos reigns over us. Hand luggage banned. Scary men with sub machine guns in the airports. What are they going to do with all those guns? Who are they meant to be scaring? Certainly not terrorists or insurgents. They are scaring us.

I am more scared by the British police than a Muslim with a backpack. However, I refuse to be intimidated by the anti-Muslims. I suddenly understand what happened to people’s minds in pre war Germany-how people were manipulated to hate the Jews. It is happening before my very eyes! At some base level we are all tribal beings-thankfully we here in the UK do not know which tribe we truly belong, we kinda get along with each other. WE always have. Yet somehow we all realised at the same time that the muslims were our enemies. Suddenly we are outraged that we do not want the muslims to steal our way of life-to take our social benefits and if they do they should be fucking ‘grateful’. “Because the way I see it.” She spluttered over her paella, -“WE feed them and they have the audacity to hate us.” Correct me if I am wrong, I replied, I thought that most of them were very well paid. I thought that they were angry because people were hating them for no good reason. Killing their fellow muslims abroad. “Are you with us or against us?” That’s what George W said after 9/11. Some people in this country are taking this question very seriously.

Even if it were true that the Muslims were taking our generous social benefits can we really expect to buy the loyalty of these people? Does $30 a week buy the loyalty of an asylum seeker? The friends I ate lunch with yesterday were sure that these parasitic Muslims were out to get us even though we were so god damned generous. They refused to make a connection between our behaviour toward their fellow Muslims abroad and their anger against us here. My friends are under the impression that we were all living in harmony before this happened. They refused to believe that the strengthening of a BNP (right-wing) party in the hearts of the Muslim communities was frightening to those people. Anyway, I thought that we had a wonderful low unemployment rate. I thought that we were striving collectively to beat race hate? I thought that we believed in the politics of inclusion? This new political landscape seems very foreign to me. Yet, I live in the USA and it is not so foreign to me there. Perhaps we have a diet of American TV for a reason-perhaps Friends and Ally McBeal have made us think that all Americas are funny and tender and inclusive and thoughtful like the girls in Sex in the City-that at the end of a busy day they take stock and make amends. No. This is a big fucking lie.

All afternoon I heard not one solution from my friends. I just heard hate. When I asked about solutions there was a terrible silence. After all, we know about ‘solutions’ in Germany and Yugoslavia. We know about Rwanda-about Soweto. These ‘solutions’ become increasingly more popular to people when they are manipulated to hate those they share their community with. We have seen concentration camps in the last twenty years in colour on our very own continent.

It was clear to me that we are creating/have created an environment where the people of the white ‘generous’ world will agree to any action taken against Iran or the so-called axis of Evil or Muslim world. We are being prepared to hate so that a war becomes inevitable. The innocents are forgotten-we are forced to forget or to reconsider how innocent they really were. The Brazilian was wearing a heavy jacket and carrying a back pack (lie). The Forest gate men were child pornographers. Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Do not think about the children under the rubble or the point-blank horror of the Brazilian electrician. Do not consider the terrible loss of life everyday on the streets of Iraq. Think about this: we are running out of resources at an alarming rate. Who controls those resources? Who has a trillion dollar debt? Who is making a fortune from all of this? Who will profit from our fear? From the death of innocents? From the death of our own evolved culture?

I suggest that our threat level be increased to its very highest level. Why? Not because we are scared of liquid explosive allegedly planned to cause havoc in the skies but because the very people we think are our friends are quietly and determinedly with perfect white teeth are eroding our culture and the things we hold dear.

Radix malorum ex Cupiditas

3:31 AM

little soldier

August 9, 2006 – Wednesday

soldier

my little soldier friend Luke just left. it is quite late. he is so sweet and polite. he kills people in Iraq. that is his job-like thousands of others. he is not liberating-he is at war. he is not doing what we were told they would do by our government. he told me that he killed an eleven year old boy who tried to shoot him because his father had been killed by british troops. today I had to deal with shit film people in LA-my job. let’s make a film about war, about mass migration about 9/11. let’s make a comedy about-FUCKING HELL. The suits where I work are not used to people like me with an opinion. JD and HK sitting in their office jerking off over girls on their lap tops-name dropping because that’s what we do for a living. I do not have to shoot an eleven year old boy in the neck because I have to-to save my own life. My friend Luke is only 19. I may include what he said in a script some day-that’s fair game isn’t it? Today they wrote about me in the newspapers-I was mentioned in the Evening Standard. They were saying that I (Hollywood Director) just moved to Whitstable. That is so funny. They think I just moved here. They don’t know that I am already meeting the sons and daughters of my high school friends who never moved away. They don’t know the contempt I have for most of the people I meet in LA. Let me tell you one decadent moment from my Hollywood life. I was at the private house of a well-known actor. I was waiting in line for the bathroom sandwiched between two other well-known actors. A young girl started flirting with one of theses well-known guys. She was drunk, she said she would do anything for these guys. She was their biggest fan. Anything? You’d do anything? The girl nodded brightly. So one of these guys who had been waiting in line for the bathroom for some time took a piss in the girl’s mouth whilst the other recorded it on his telephone. Luke is already being briefed about Lebanon. The cards are already stacked. Tonight another girl will let a famous man piss in her mouth. when I get back to LA I will go to Hyde and try my luck with a gorgeous actor. Tonight I rearranged my dining room. tomorrow the gas man will come and read my meter. yet again I am torn between my two lives. my two selves. betwixt what is right and what is wrong.

3:47 PM

August 6, 2006 – Sunday

Budd House Summer Party

The Budd House Biennial garden party thrown by Charlie Parsons and his partner Lord Alli is always a delight. Set in the grounds of their 17th Century home in 25 acres of perfect Kent Sussex rolling down. I refused to eat all day as I knew the food would be excellent and wanted to eat as much of it as I could. I took my friend Melanie de Blank who wore an Indian soufflé of shot silk black currant pants and a heavily embroidered mid length coat. I wore a brand spanking new Dolce and Gabanna raspberry, silk velvet jacket and linen trousers and violently pink shirt remembering that it was Diana Vreeland who said that ‘Pink is the navy blue of india’. The party includes a huge fun fair (no waiting for anything) including a helter skelta, carousel, bumper cars and candy floss. There was a hot air balloon-taking people on short rides above the house. I have only ever been to that house during a party. Of course I had a good look around. Their home is so comfortable and gracious and reflects so well on the owners. You can tell so much from where a person lives and how they choose to decorate and the things they surround themselves with. I had a sponsor in LA who had a huge-I mean thirty foot-crystal octopus in his hall. It was rather cold and grandiose-a bit like my ex-sponsor.

Guests at the party included John Reed the Home Secretary with very, very good-looking special branch who whisked him away far too early after dinner. It was amazing just how many people he travelled with. Who could not consider themselves important with that sort of coterie? We met Peter Mandleson (no special branch) wearing cricket whites who still maintains a lofty hauteur. Mandleson does not walk-he glides. Sadly, it was not the time or the place to challenge either of them about Blair sucking Bush’s cock-although I was tempted. I think that special branch would have removed my plate of hot smoked salmon; man handled me into the balloon and cut it adrift.

There were other politicians there (Valerie Amos who looked stunning) as well as the Mitcham and Morden labour party members who arrived in a coach and were having a whale of a time. There were many entertainment industry people reflecting both Charlie and Waheed’s stella careers in TV. Michael Foster, who changed into a very nice Etro shirt in the lane behind his Mercedes in the car park, told me that he had sold his company recently-who can’t be impressed by Michael’s tenacity? I was so pleased to see him again as when we last met I had been rude to him-it was years ago at the premiere of Mortal Kombat in Edinburgh so I took this opportunity to apologise. It is terribly important to make amends. That moment has haunted me for ten years. I was drunk and fucked up and nasty and that night ended up face down in a puddle of my own (I hope) vomit. I had been very rude to Joelly Richardson too that night asking her where the lesbian bars in Edinburgh were because I told her she looked like a lesbian-I go red just thinking about it. It was such a relief to finally say a big heart-felt sorry to Michael.

The great thing about making amends is that after you have truly offered them, it is then up to the person to whom they have been made whether they accept them or not-but that bit is nothing to do with me, the accepting part. What one cannot do is make any amends expecting a good outcome, some people will never be able to accept an apology but that is the way the cookie crumbles. Keep your own side of the street clean. It is the truly meaning part of any amends which makes any apology important. Saying sorry when you do not mean it is very bad indeed for ones spiritual well-being.

I saw Guy M who told me that Jamie P my ex is now two years clean-that made me very happy. Jamie now lives in New York and works his CA programme. When I remember the chaos of our violent, drugged relationship it makes me feel very sad. I still have scars on my back from our fights. Yet, it was that relationship that shook me to the very core of my being and eventually got me clean and sober. I remember day after day praying to be relieved of the obsession of JP. It was because of that intensive praying that I learned one of the great secrets of recovery-to be brave enough to hand over any fear, anxiety or obsession that I may have to the God of my understanding. I leaned that if you have a guiding principled, higher power in your life-one has perspective. Eventually! It all takes time. I am still working it every day. As I sit here and write I know that I am kept safe by my benevolent higher power-what ever may happen to me in life or death.

It is apparent to me that most people live in a world of petty resentment and greed. These people do not have any God in their life and quite frankly, they scare me. I am not saying that one has to be a saint. All one has to do is try to follow a simple set of principles. God knows that I fail.

Other notable guests included Julian Clary who looked portly in a grand sort of way-we have never had much to say to one another. I spent most of the evening talking to my friend Rob and the delightful Paul O’Grady aka Lily Savage who I will have lunch with this week. He loves oysters. He is such a tower of strength; he has had two heart attacks in four months. Paul talked honestly about how being seriously ill had scared him. You know that Paul/Lily has been so much a part of my life since I was a young gay man living in London and going to gay bars. He used to work in the Elephant and Castle pub which held amateur drag nights which I would never, ever miss. There was one drag artiste called Rose-Marie who only really sang two song (I Who Have Nothing and My Boy Lollypop) and as many dresses. Rose-Marie had exceptionally long arms and was not a very attractive woman and an even less attractive man. When she sang Lollipop she would throw lollipops into the audience. Sadly, Rose-Marie was murdered by some young boy she picked up. Lily used to work in that bar and thought to himself-I could do better drag than that. He sure did. The Vauxhall Tavern every Sunday Lily was there and I am sure he did the Two Brewers in Clapham. Adrella, The Trollettes and Regina Fong-why drag was such a huge part of my gay entertainment I do not know but it was theatre in our bars and I loved it. Regina/Reg was in AKA, just a little part-he died last year.

There were the usual Kent queens who I did not speak to and they me. They are so funny and ugly and STUCK. Of course I have been an ass but to keep hating me after so much water has flowed under the bridge-it is absurd and says more about them than me nowadays. Much to the amazement of people who do not know me very well I really find it hard to hold a resentment. Those Kent queens have made it their lives work.

Even though they were giving me the cold shoulder I met many, many people. As well as John Reed the Home Secretary there was John Reid, Elton Johns ex-manager off to the Hamptons for a month. Beverley Knight is charming and was thrilled that Joni Mitchell once owned my home in LA. There were at least five TV presenters and news readers-I saw one of them and his boyfriend in the sauna looking very sexy. We had a grand time finding the chocolate fountain, which was hidden on a lower lawn by the ha-ha. We dipped strawberries, pineapple and profiterioles into the liquid chocolate and watched the moon come up over the Kent countryside.

Melanie and I left at 1 and were in bed by two in Whitstable. Today Phil H and her daughter and the Piettes (all five) are coming for lunch so I had better get my apron on. Cooking lunch in Whitstable for 10 people on a barmy sea-side Sunday. I love it.

PS Melanie cooked the lunch-she can’t stand anyone else in the kitchen. It was an Italian feast of roast potato and rosemary and garlic and three huge chickens which we cut into quarters. A delicious salad of rocket and various green leaves. Strawberry’s drenched in clotted cream and vanilla sugar. We set the table in the garden then at 9 that night when the tide came in we all swam in the absurdly warm water.

3:54 AM

August 3, 2006 – Thursday

Chris P and Sebastian Horsley in London

Sebastian Horsley’s Birthday Message to me this year:

Happy Birthday cocksucker. Hope it’s your last

Are you amazed that you have arrived at middle age without having syphilis?

Is it a terrible shock that you are getting too old to die young?

From now on I don’t want you to do anything that you don’t want to do. Except grow old. After a lifetime of defeat we shall become senile delinquents.

So big boy. Stay Youthful: Watch the posture. Dress young. Keep your hair on. Hold it all in. Improve the bad bits. Avoid the daylight. And remember…There is only one real way to avoid getting old. hang yourself while young.

I met Sebastian Horsley in Edinburgh when I was 22. HE looked like a pop star. I was in a show ‘devised by actors’ and directed by Neil Bartlett called PORNOGRAPHY-a Spectacle. Ivan Cartwright, Robin Whitmore and me telling the audience through the medium of mime, physical theatre and contemporary dance what sort of sexual antics we got up to. We sang and danced and stripped and simulated sex and talked about the history of gay sex in London. It was Neil, at this time, who introduced me to Teleny-The Diaries of a Marianne, pornography attributed to Oscar Wilde. In my retelling of the story of Dorian Gray it is this book that Henry Wooten gives Dorian Gray rather than A Rebours (Huysmans). Teleny’s stories lingered with me for many years and so it seemed perfectly natural to use them in my version of Dorian Gray.

The show played at The ICA in London, “Now there are 4 queens performing on the Mall.” Neil used to say. We pulled in the punters, packed houses every night. The queens loved us although it took me a bit of time to get up to speed. I was petrified of the leering audience. Each night the others would try to assuage my fear by massaging me. That sort of stuff never works. I just get even more anxious. I over come my fear by having an almighty row. And, until I had a huge row with Neil, the director, I was dreadful. After the row with Neil, however, I found my performance and pretty much stole the show.

Ivan Cartwright is a wonderful, glamorous northern drag queen. He used to look like Bianca Jagger, a seasoned performer, he was well-known for his cult stage show in gay bars and arts centers performing alternative drag-not Judy, Lisa or Barbra for Ivan. Oh no, he came on as Imelda Marcos flinging shoes into the audience. More disturbingly, for some of the audience, Ivan did a cracking Myra Hindley.

Whilst we were on tour in Nottingham we went to the Nottingham Ice Rink (Home of Champions) where Ivan was going to teach me and Robin how to skate. Ivan was wearing a short black boucle skirt. After a while of us screaming and falling on to the ice we started attracting altogether the wrong sort of attention. It was obvious to everyone else on the rink that the very gay cast of PORNOGRAPHY-a spectacle was there; they didn’t appreciate our gayness-they began to circle us threateningly on the ice. Ivan whispered to us both to slowly start moving toward the exit. Tearing our skates off we were chased out of the building by a hysterical, Nottingham, homophobic mob. We fled through the front door. 6 yards behind us they were gaining ground-we could hear one particular girl’s voice screaming vile abuse at us. Hearing her shrill, youthful voice Ivan suddenly stopped in the doorway, rounding on them all with such a fierce model turn that they stopped abruptly, as one, in their tracks. In the face of this magnificent drag queen the ugly mob stood silently. Robin and I hid behind Ivan. The poorly dressed, screaming girl fearlessly took one step toward us. She spat on the floor and screamed at Ivan, “You are a fucking QUEER!!” Ivan, gathering himself up like he was performing his finale at The Black Cap, slowly raised his hand, pointed a bony finger at her and said,”My dear girl, I’ve heard what you’ve had to say about me-and what you say is correct. I am a fucking queer! Now you listen to ME! I shall tell you something about YOU. One day, young lady, you will have a child and I shall tell you now-that child will be GAY! Undoubtedly, my dear-you will learn to love that gay child-as my mother loves me.” It was like a spell had been cast. The mob looked at her appalled, the girl’s eyes widened in horror. She stood silently for a moment then she started crying. Ivan swept out of the building. I know in my heart that the girl had a gay child. I know it. Ivan’s powers were legendary.

We went to Venice together a few months after the show-him in full drag. I don’t mean bad drag I mean-really chic. We were in Harry’s bar and a Texan started proportioning him, which Ivan let happen for many, many drinks. I sat on the edge watching a far better spectacle than the one we had been performing. Toward the end of the night the Texan said to Ivan, “You’ve a very deep voice honey, have you got a cold?” Ivan let out a drunken screech, “It’s a lot worse than that daaarlin.”

Ivan did not come to Toronto with us on tour. Sadly, he stayed in London. Things got very bitter and twisted in Canada. I really thought I was a huge STAR by then. We were performing in the Poor Alex Theatre, which was tiny. I was only ever wearing black and kabuki white make up and pearls and drinking for England. There is one particularly bad picture of me taken at this time-it is almost worth scanning. Remember I had only just come out of prison. I was insane! Poor Neil really did a brilliant job of dealing with me. He was a saint.

Until we got to Toronto I had never met anybody with HIV or AIDS. I stayed with a couple of good-looking young men who were both positive. Then, to be positive was as good as dead. It was terrible. I never looked back to see if those men survived, a couple of years later every man I had met in NYC was dead.

Anyway, we are in Edinburgh on our UK tour of freezing theatres and I meet Sebastian. He was working for and being rodgered senseless by the famous, married ex con, murderer Jimmy Boyle. Jimmy ran a gallery there in Edinburgh and though him I met Richard DeMarco the gallery owner and Dione Henderson the art collector. They were so sweet to me. So, after the tour ended I moved to Edinburgh and the next chapter of my life unfolded as a gallery assistant. I moved into a huge apartment with Dione and her three children. I loved Edinburgh, walked everywhere, getting used to the smell of the brewery. I love a city with a mountain in the heart of it.

It was in Edinburgh that I met Jay Jopling for the first time. He stormed into the Demarco Gallery, he was wearing a poncho and demanded to know where Joseph Beuys was. When I told him that Joseph was at home in Germany Jay was FURIOUS. He didn’t believe me. I just stared at him. “I want to talk to Richard (DEMarco)?” he screamed, I just looked at him, looked at this great big charming crow of a boy flapping around in his poncho and smiled. That was the beginning. The usual gayness happened at some point but it might have been after the dance floor ecstasy moment we had in a gay club with DM and LJ and MN in Kent of all places. Dancing to Pink Cadillac. Riding in the back-cruising down the streets-spending all your money on a saturday night. Pink Cadillac. Until Jay got really famous we were really good friends. When I had my nervous breakdown it was he who collected me from the hospital. When he had his first Damian Hirst show it was me he dragged a head of the crowd and said “Look at the titles-they are genius.” I was so proud of him. It was at my house that he and Maia Norman came weekend after weekend. Maia left him for Damian Hirst. Jay was a real friend and my first real friend lost to celebrity.

I know that his other friends grumble about being left behind or abandoned but that is what he always wanted, the life he bargained for. I really don’t blame him. I am really happy for him. I am! Despite the art connections and the poncho-Jay never really made it as a a Dandy, he is brilliant businessman.

Sebastian Horsley, on the other hand, is a true dandy. He wears three-piece suits with Chartreuse lining. The knot in his tie is as big as a fist. I have seen him lose his wife and battle an addiction to crack cocaine. He and I were with each other the night they buried Diana of Wales. It was a dark night in London that night. He is a loyal friend who writes a sweet note every time we meet. I have pictures of him swimming with sharks, fucking a woman with no arms or legs, being crucified in the Philippines. I remember him wild-eyed on crack storming the streets of Soho hunting for prostitutes. I think he is perfectly normal.

Sebastian lives on Merde Street in Soho. On his front door are the words. THIS IS NOT A BROTHAL, THERE ARE NO PROSTITUTES HERE-which is total lie. There are always prostitutes there-in Sebastian’s bed. I think that it was in Merde Street that I hid from a gang of skin heads. Ivan had persuaded me, before a performance of PORNOGRAPHY, to dress in high heels, a mini dress and a long black wig and pose in Berwick Street market whilst he took photographs. I have no idea why-this behaviour is simply a result of hanging out with a man who likes dressing up in women’s clothing, eventually you get in on the act. “Exhibitionism is a drug and by that time I was taking lethal doses.” (Quentin Crisp) Anyway, as usual we had to run away from men who take an exception to that sort of thing. “The roughs are coming!”

Sebastian Horsley

Recently, I took a genuinely normal boy to meet Sebastian-my very sweet friend Chris P the TV actor. Chris is a an utterly charming boy. Previously I had taken him to The Colony in an attempt to delight him with a glimpse of an alternative London. My experiment failed. Chris thought that the Colony, the great beating bohemian heart of London was horrible. He didn’t like it. He looked scared. He was not interested in the art or the characters dressed in huge jewels or zoot suits. Those people in that tiny room shocked him, he was unaware of the history of that room. In that room the greatest art dramas had been played out, that Francis Bacon held court there, destroyed the confidence of his boyfriend publicly in that room. Go see the film: Love is the Devil if you want to know more about The Colony.

So, Chris and I are shopping in John Pearse on Merde Street. I bought a pink linen shirt. You know who John is? He made The Sargent Pepper uniforms for the Beatles. John owned a shop on the Kings Road called Granny Takes a Trip in the 1960’s. As we were on the same street, on the spur of the moment I wickedly decided to introduce cautious Chris to Sebastian. Chris is 5’10”. When Chris met Sebastian, 6’5″ tall wearing a lurid tie, his raven black hair swept into a huge bouffant in his rooms in Soho, he was struck dumb. He looked at the pictures of the crucifixion, the limbless woman and the sharks. He was visibly distressed when he saw the nails that been nailed into Sebastian’s hands during the crucifixion. He was appalled when I told him that Sebastian had fallen off the cross. Chris noticed the gun by Sebastian’s bed. “What is that for? Is it real? Why do you have it by your bed?” Sebastian, picking it up to show us the real bullets said, “I don’t believe in unprotected sex.”

1:32 AM

July 30, 2006 – Sunday

Lebanon

My Dear Friends, Colleagues and Acquaintances,

today 21 small children were shattered into tiny pieces as they hid from terrible bombs that rained down in Lebanon.

Your president in the USA and our Prime Minister here in the UK are yet again united against the world in not demanding a cease-fire in the Lebanon. We cannot and must not tolerate this situation for one more moment.

My friend Karim who was in Spielberg’s film Munich is trapped in his home town of Beirut. He is frightened and unable to leave the country. He is a good man, some of you know him. In both countries today there are good men who are not full of hate for strangers, but this will change. These wars will make benign men like Karim hate other men. This is the tragedy of our age.

I urge you to do everything you can to stop this terrible carnage in Israel and the Lebanon. It is wrong. It is dangerous. It is a vile preamble for US domination in the middle east and a manipulated attack on Iran and Syria.

I urge you all to do what ever you can to help these beleaguered people in both Israel and Lebanon find a hasty peace. I urge you to call your representative in government to register your protest. I urge you to see this conflict for what it is, that these people are dying to justify attacks on a third nation. That Jews and Arabs are killing themselves to provide a smoke screen for a US/UK agenda in the middle east.

Only a few months ago Beirut was beginning to emerge as a confident democracy, there was hope for the future after many years of despair.

Did we blame the Irish people when the IRA bombed London for 20 years? Did we level Dublin because of the actions of some maniacal Irish? No, we fought a war against terror even though Irish Americans supported the carnage on our streets in London by donating money to Noraid.

I urge you, my friends, to help stop this destruction, end these lies and save the lives of more young children who will undoubtedly die. I urge you to look into the faces of your own children this evening and imagine how the parents of the tiny, shattered bodies in Lebanon are grieving today.

No more crimes against humanity. No more lies from our leaders. No more blind faith. No more biased reportage.

Please.

Duncan

5:12 AM –

July 29, 2006 – Saturday

My Baby Drink Red Bull

My friend Randle Mann-yes the poet-he’s one of only three men who can make me howl with laughter. Gary D my casting guy makes me laugh like a lunatic. My LA friend Dom is the other person who can keep me laughing my head off all the time (constantly) I am with him. He’s a PR and I dont know how he puts up with half the people he works with.

I am still awkward and shy with most people-so consequently everybody thinks I am confident but its all a genius cover up. Ever since I went to my first gay bar when I was 17 I was crippled with shame. Gay bars are terrible places to grow up-especially 20 years ago, in London..shit..how did I survive? Not only the shame but AIDS how come I never got that? Everyone else did. Probably because I was a terrible prude and refused to have one night stands and refused to have sex just for the sake of it.

I have no idea why we treat ourselves so badly.

Gay bars do not have to be so horrible. I went to two opposite each other in Dallas with JBC a few years back, one was a typical techno bar and the other was full of line dancing cowboy types. In one it was dark and stainless steel and the music was pop/dance/hard the boys and men kept their eyes averted because if they looked it might be perceived as an invitation to have sex, which might precipitate a snub. In the other bar the lights were on, the men were dancing to be seen, there was no embarrassment. The music was understandable like the moves on the dance floor. Men stood proudly like men welcoming any attention that they might get rather than scurrying around like cockroaches in the semi dark, too air-conditioned, techno environment where any human contact or intimacy was reduced to cock and mouth and ass.

I remember Neil Bartlett saying once that if there were a gay ghetto he would move there. I love gay men at their excessive best. I love that they can, how ever macho they might appear, dress a room with individual style, deliver a brain splitting, catty remark and be that OTHER that I love.

When we lived on Fire Island in The Pines all the fancy muscle queens had twin poodles or miniature Italian grey hounds. The men carried them around on their bulging biceps or the little creatures would step out on bejewelled red lizard skin leads. I admit it I used to SNEER! I did, I am ashamed. Now, I hanker after those days because those very same men have traded in their little dogs for babies. Wombs all over the west coast are currently being rented to grow babies for gay men.

Why do I find this phenomenon so difficult to stomach? The two single men I know who have tried to have a baby seemed like such egomaniacal workaholics how would they ever make space for a baby? What is the point of getting a baby just to hand it over to a nanny on a daily basis? I asked my friend but he reacted badly, it seems that even a hint of gentle questioning is perceived as a full-blown attack. “Why shouldn’t I have a baby? Straight people can do it so why cant I?” “Straight people have been getting things wrong with kids for years-why cant I?” “I want a baby!” “Where’s my BABY!”

It feels to me like we are planting tiny little legal/emotional time bombs all over the gay ghetto-for what? I don’t have an answer for all of this. I just have questions that seem to upset people when they are asked. I don’t want to stop anybody having anything but the explanation for the ubiquitous gay baby is this: Of course I can buy a baby-its the American way. “It’s like buying a house.” I pointed out. “Exactly!” My friend threw his hands up in the air. The irony was lost on him. Another man was boasting that his baby was white and therefore more expensive. (When he left the table his friend said that the mother was a crack whore in san Antonio). Another man I know was furious that the surrogate mother of his twins had miscarried them, he said that she was a ‘bitch’ that she was ‘unreliable’.

I have always suspected that gay men in the USA, knowing that the Christian right want them gone, disappeared-think that if they make a relationship, buy a nice house, furnish it elegantly and have a baby, THEY (the Christian Right) might not realise that they (the gays) are there at all. Holding their baby toward the church gay men seem to be saying-“Look, were just like YOU!” “We can sit on the school board and be just like you.” “Look at our picket fence it’s just like yours.” “It is the American way!”

When did we decide that we wanted to be just like them? When did we opt for invisibility rather than the benign freak show that has formed my aesthetic and thinking during the past 20 years? I do not want to be like THEM. THEY are not my people but increasingly the baby owning gays are not my people either. Who are my people? European, free thinking gays? Perhaps. Peter Tatchell gays? More likely. Alternative queers? Absolutely.

I am not invisible. I do not subscribe to the notion that Brokeback Mountain was good for us and why do we have gay film festivals anyway? I do not believe that, especially in the USA, that we can integrate in any meaningful way without losing out on who we are.

In the 101 café a couple of gay men are holding their blond, blue-eyed baby above their head for all to see. My friend said, “That looks like an expensive baby.” Surely that child will ask one day, “Where’s Mommy?” Where the fuck is Mommy? Well, darling blue-eyed boy we bought the egg from an unknown woman in Texas and paid for an unknown womb in California-so there is no Mommy but don’t worry darling you are loved and that should be enough. “What? What do you mean there is no Mommy? Where is my MOMMMY!” The perplexed gay couple might say: “Straight people were doing a lot worse than this for years before we started doing it.” It is a lame answer and they know it. This morning over pancakes, as they toss the delighted child from father to father they are not thinking of the spotty, dispossessed teenager with a gun in his hand demanding answers.

Perhaps the child will not be like me and will not ask a million difficult questions about what sort of woman could do that. What sort of woman has a child and does not want to know it? What happened to that woman to make her give up her baby? Perhaps this blue-eyed, expensive, white kid will have had so many chemical solutions every time he asks a difficult question that his questioning nature will have been removed completely. Perhaps Ritalin or Prozac will do the trick? There will be no time bomb questioning-no desperate moments of desire to understand from the woman who bore him what sort of woman she was.

All I know is this: I remember the first time I saw into my father’s eyes, even though it was a photograph and he was long dead, I remember how I breathed a final sigh of relief that at last I understood who I was and the questions that had driven my emotional life were finally answered. I had recognised myself ion his eyes and where I had come from. The look on his face in one photograph relieved me of the burden of that nagging question.

The last time I was at The Abbey in West Hollywood with Randle Mann we saw two perfectly manicured, perfectly pumped and tanned men and their 6-month-old baby. They went to the bar and ordered drinks. I could see the bar man pinch the baby’s cheek. What does he drink? I imagine him say.

Randle and I looked at each other and howled with laughter.

“My baby drinks red bull.”

3:57 AM

July 28, 2006 – Friday

DORIAN GRAY-THE PROCESS

I showed Dorian Gray last Sunday. I like to show my most arrogant friends who have little regard for me because I am sure of a truthful opinion. Thankfully they loved it. My friend said that I had taken all the best bits of the novel and made it come alive.

I dont think that people in the US will get this film. Whenever Americans see it they ask a million questions without waiting for the answers that exist in the film. When I show it to Europeans they get it immediately. Theres nothing bad about this-its merely cultural. A question of a different sort of education. The history of ideas that informs a European viewer is quite different from an American. Roland Mouret the fashion designer and long time friend said-well you KNEW that was going to happen didn’t you? Frankly, I didn’t. The constant explanations required in US movies dampen and distort the narrative. The simplest explanation is all that is required, I am told this all the time. The problem with Dorian Gray is that it is novel about complex ideas and even more complex solutions.

When I decided to adapt Dorian Gray I was fascinated by two things, firstly the earlier, unpublished version of the book that was serialised in the Lippincott Monthly Review grabbed my attention. In this version it is perfectly clear that Basil is gay. He tells Dorian that he could never love a woman. He is explicit about his desire for Dorian. His obsession kills them both. The second, compelling reason for making this film was just how much of myself (and the description of my dead father) that I saw in Dorian. In fact people who have seen earlier cuts have told me just how Davids performance at the end of the film is just like ME. Obviously this was going to happen-David needed to morph into something quite unlike his role in 7th Heaven. He starts the movie like this but very quickly it becomes evident that he is changing-what he changes into is me.

Like AKA there are very highly stylised elements in Dorian Gray, the split screen the use of words on the screen-the constant references to art and artists. The film is deliberately arty and to that end I think is better suited to playing in galleries. How do we gage the value of an art film? I have no idea.

I am not frightened of this film being labelled as gay because I am and there are themes in both the movie and the book. However, it is more literary than gay. It was made for those of us who read and love the novel. I had to make a crucial decision at the beginning of my adaptation-do I make a film for people who think that they know the story or who definitely know the story. Even people who have read the novel are unaware of the age of Sybil for instance-she was 15! They are unaware that the story was written over an 18 year period-the time it takes a boy to become a man. Dorian, as played by David Gallagher, is a slim boy. We did not attempt to cast an obviously beautiful boy because beauty is subjective. For some I would never have chosen a beautiful enough boy. Beauty is subjective. Youth is indisputable.

Who is Gabriel? The most obvious and controversial departure from the original text is the character Gabriel. I was captivated by the line-‘poisonous influence of his own nature’. What did this mean? Instead of passing this by I decided to introduce us to the human form of the poisonous influence a character called Gabriel, a rent boy who may or may not have known Oscar, a traveller in time. Gabriel is Dorian’s poisonous influence-the voice of the ‘other’.

I was really worried that the final abstract chapters of the novel that chart his decent into hell would not work but we shot them anyway pretty much as they were written. In fact, these chapters work the best of all. The abstract decent into hell suits film perfectly. It is the earlier, dramatic part of the film that works more traditionally. Getting people to care, introducing them to the characters.

When we adapt a great novel we have to bring something of our own lives into the equation. It is not good enough to tell it as it was written but actually to reveal what it says about the way we live our lives now.

There has been so much discussion about what David will be like as Dorian Gray. Unanimously people who have seen his take on Dorian love his performance. They understand that they are looking at a remarkable young actor who holds the entire film together with understated, elegant performance. I love to look at David, it is apparent from the way we shot the movie that we needed to fetishise him. I needed to fall in love with David so that every frame of the film is devoted to revealing his beauty-just as Basil Hallward reveals Dorians.

Every element in this film adaptation of Dorian Gray originated from the words of Oscar Wilde. I wrote the adaptation in Sydney Australia-where I love to write. It took three months to sketch it out, to stay true to the original. Now we are making the sound track and Laura Karpman has found every musical reference in the book and is reinventing it.

It is a most exciting time.

11:02 PM

GAY BASHED
Category: Friends

I had not seen Jono for months. We met ten years ago in Covent Garden the day that HRH the Queen and I were having lunch at the Ivy. Of course, I was not at her table. Nor were Chris Eubank (charging his mobile phone) or Torville and Dean (too much make up) but we were, all of us, still in the Ivy that strange summer lunch time in the mid 90s. Jono was 20 years old and had-still does-the hugest most magnificent smile. He was selling throw pillows with Mao and Marx silk-screened on to them. He originally comes from the Pacific Rim and his long, aquiline nose on his face reminds me every time I see him of those huge heads on the Easter Islands. I think that I was still with JBC then and lived in Kensington.

Anyway, after the obvious cock showing and gayness we settled into a periodic friendship which usually meant that I saw him getting out of limousines with Elton or Patrick. Two things have tremendously endeared me to Jono; the first is purely selfish-he likes me. The second; a young boy over dosed and died in his bed beside him. Jono dealt with it so compassionately and well, dealing with the boy’s family and friends.

There was a Scottish boy who killed himself who used to hang around with that lot. He was from the northern most part of the isles up there in the Hebrides. He escaped the bleak north of Scotland by joining the army. I met him on a train and after the usual gayness we became friends. He was always so well dressed-so careful. However, he got in with the wrong gay crowd and one day he told all his friends that he was going to kill himself, said his goodbyes and then took enough drugs to kill three Scottish squaddies. I digress.

So Jono and I met up last Tuesday night in Soho, he was wearing a trim cut shirt and tight beige pants-Dior I think. We ate sashimi and I told him all my LA stories and he told me all of his world traveller tales. Like normal people are with rats-Jono is never more than six feet away from a celebrity at any time-they gravitate toward him so his stories are always fascinating. Art dealer and artist wife-he’s gay etc.

We wandered to café Nero to drink latte and as we were leaving a very cute, young boy passes us on Old Compton Street, the gayest street in the most liberal capital in the world. We both looked at the boy and agreed that he was cute. The boy reacted very badly and started asking us what we were looking at. I said-you, of course. You are very cute. He was FURIOUS! He started swearing and calling us queers. Well I tell you that in all the years that I have lived in London this has never happened to me.

Actually, it wasnt really happening to me. It was happening to Jono who was then grappling with this boy in a sort of pathetic argy bargy. The boy let Jono go and walked on and we were indignant but something began to overwhelm me. I was furious, absolutely furious. We kept a pace with the boy and suddenly he grabbed a bottle from a table and rushed at Jono. I grabbed the lads hand, made him drop the bottle which smashed on the road and then I took the back of the boys neck slammed his face into a parked car and beat his head with my fist.   Apparently I was screaming “How dare you.” Anyway, the boy and I had more posturing on the street, including me creaming at him, “Go sell your ass in another part of town.” Then I went to Soho House for a strong coffee.

I was elated. He eventually ran off. Of course, it was like we had sex with the boy-and he with us. He wanted the attention of gay men or he wouldn’t have been there. He simply did not know what sort of attention he was going to get.

I said good-bye to Jono and gave him numbers to call once he gets to LA. Jono is one of those for life kind of friends.

10:45 AM

July 23, 2006 – Sunday

two 29-year-old men

I know this guy, 29-year-old guy who was addicted to smack. He was in the Neptune tonight, he had a black eye and a grazed head. He was reeling around, out of control. He was pleased to see me because, he said, “you listen.” He hadn’t seen me since Christmas and then the summer before-so this was the third time we had met. He told me that he had told his brother about me. We sat down in the pub and talked about his drinking. He had got the black eye last night-he couldn’t remember how. He told me that his father had died drinking. “I was only eleven. Look at me I am a grown man and I want to cry.” I urged him to cry. Instead, he stood up and threw his beer on the ground outside the pub and kicked a car. I followed him and he sat down on the steps over looking the last of the sunset. He is a tall and handsome man, he has bright, intelligent, sensitive, brown eyes. He knows that I drank- that I was a drinker. He listens to me when I urge him to choose a life rather than a slow death. He listens for a moment, apologizes then asks me for three quid to buy another beer. Meanwhile my friend Karim is trapped in Lebanon. I spoke to him yesterday-he is another strong, intelligent man. He is a head strong actor. He sounded scared. I hate this-this terrible thing that is happening. I hate the lies and the double standards, I hate that my innocent, good friend is trapped in a war that nobody wants.

September 18, 2006 – Monday

Danny Gallagher

I woke at 7am. Pulled on an old, navy blue jogging outfit. I did not realise I had it with me here in LA, it’s one I bought on Oxford Street in Sydney 3 years ago. I don’t remember packing it.

Just missing one day of exercise stiffens my joints. I set off into the Canyon. I pass 51 dogs.

On the first ‘level’ before the steep bit there were 8 old Russian men sitting on the bench howling with laughter, talking over one another and thoroughly enjoying the delightful crisp, Californian Monday morning in mid September 2006.

Yesterday, by ten am, I had already met a handsome black realtor off of the internet. I made it crystal clear that I did not want to have sex. He swung by in his flash BMW and we headed to the farmers market on Vine where I bought 8 huge organic peaches which are ripening in a pale green bowl in the sitting room as I write. The farmers market was JAMMED with people. I have been going to that market ever since I first moved here and I have never, ever seen it this busy.

I saw purple okra and delicious cheeses and ten different kinds of dates. I saw many local people who I recognised, how lucky we all are in Hollywood to have this perfect destination for our Sunday mornings. The internet date was hungry so we headed to the 101 where we were served by Ryan who is a friend of Aleksa and Devon. We had both been invited to Aleksa’s birthday party so Ryan said he would give me a ride over there when he finished work. Saw beautiful boy in 101-looked like a dark Justin Timberlake. I did not get his number.

Internet Date and I then drove to Bonham’s auction house where I saw a pale wood 50’s desk with really elegant legs that I had somehow missed in the preview. It was an early lot so we were far too late to buy it. One of the auction regulars that I nod to occasionally saw me looking at it and told me that it had not sold so I ended up buying it for $50! I love it. Needs some slight repair but mostly it needs to be loved. It has really beautiful legs.

Paulo, my friend who works there, was annoyed because he had been sent out to buy sandwiches. He said, “I didn’t spend $150,000 going to college to be sent out to buy sandwiches.” He is a funny Italian boy who wears a wife beater under his shirt. Anyway, after the desk purchase-which as I had credit at the auction house I did not have to pay for anyway-Internet date drove me home. I don’t know if I will see him again. There was no immediate SPARK.

Jane Garnett called to tell me the great news that she is pregnant. We talked about her film The Illusionist that is a huge hit! I adore Jane, we chatted about the secret project that she knows and she loves. We agreed to meet some time this week. I am desperate to see her, she makes me feel SANE.

Coincidentally I received an e-mail from Georgie Byng yesterday who originally introduced Jane and I several years ago. Georgia was in my performance work, The Host that we performed in The Royal Oyster Company Hall in Whitstable. She is married to Marc Quinn the artist who made Blood Head, one of the great art stars of the Sensations era. One of Jays artists. Marc is a very kind man. If I am mad and difficult, like they say I am, people like Jane, Marc and Georgia are willing to overlook my defects and concentrate on the man they have known and liked for many, many years.

Ryan collected me at 4pm, we drove a little further west up Sunset to collect his friend Steve who had played Dorian Gray in a rather wonderful sounding theatre adaptation of Wilde’s novel. Steve, of course, loves the book and quoted huge chunks at me. If fact, we disagreed about the source of one particular quote and I had to concede, after looking at the book, that he was right and I was wrong. It is always good for ones constitution to admit defeat to a younger prettier man. I really took to Steve, a complex mess of desire, pessimism and loneliness-all spread out on the table for every one to see. An emotional yard sale. There is nothing better than a beautiful boy with a problem. Of course, ugly people never get the opportunity to let everyone know their STUFF. Nobody cares.

We headed over to Aleksa’s birthday party in Griffiths Park. I met her manager Eric Black. Really liked him. Eric told his best friend, also there at the party, a friend who he had worked in the CAA mail room with when they were fledgling agents/managers all about me. Good God, in the telling of my story, Eric’s description of me from a managers perspective made me sound like a TOTALLY insane maverick.

Aleksa Palladino

After Aleksa’s party (lasagne and cherry pie) we drove to a friend of Ryan who was having a party near the 101. Valet parking, caterers etc. Met a woman I know from NYC called Annette who is an Australian editor, she in turn introduced me to Trevor Groth from Sundance. Joel Miklely was there with a boy/man web designer. Met another Eric Siddall, a lawyer from San Fran-intriguing. Ate marzipan and drank coffee. We stayed for a while chatting with film people but I never feel comfortable in those places. Inevitably they think they know a great deal more about me than they really do. Most of what they know is sensational gossip. This is why I like hanging out with actors. Actors are less condemnatory. Actors like directors.

We left that party but had a couple of hours to kill so were driving back to my house when I got the oddest phone call from my friend Tim in NYC. Tim is a Whitstable lad (26) who has done very well for himself as a sort of live in life coach for a very rich Jewish American family. He told me that Danny Gallagher was dead.

Danny, another young Whitstable boy, was badly hurt in a car wreck just before I came back to LA. It seems that he got some sort of infection in the hospital and never recovered. “I don’t know how I feel about it, Dunc.” Tim said. I felt exactly the same. You see, I have an affection for those rough Whitstable boys, but it is not always comfortable bumping into them as they drunkenly make their way up Island Wall. Danny, when he was younger, was very homophobic. He would sit outside the Neptune and sneer at local gay man Duncan. But, last year, we sat down and talked and he asked about my life and I listened to his story. His brother had died of cancer. From that moment on he always went out of his way to come say hello and ask how I was doing. I love those rough Whitstable boys. I always have. I am, after all, a rough Whitstable boy who just, for the time being, lives in LA.

You know, when those judgemental people look at me at those swanky film parties they don’t realise just how hard I had to fight to survive. You would have thought that one would not have had to fight so hard in a place like this but you have to fight harder. This is all part of my great AA dilemma. All at once I have to let go and let God, yet I am compelled by my ‘ambition’. I tried explaining my ‘ambition’ to Eric’s friend yesterday, I tried to explain the desire in me, the compulsion to make art rather than money. This is what I think defines me as a maverick. That and the fact that I loathe most people!

So, Danny Gallagher is dead and I am sorry for that.

Steve, Ryan and I then went home and watched my Dorian Gray on the Lap Top. Steve and Ryan really liked it. That made me happy-after all, they are my core audience. We drank strong coffee then drove back up Sunset to Peter’s show of films and photographs. I really loved his work. It is enigmatic, clean, great colours. All of his sexy model friends were there including the devastatingly handsome Jamal Cohen. We hung with them for a while (can’t write about celebrity associations at this party-Peter would kill me) then headed off to find a quiet place to sit. It is very difficult in Hollywood on a Sunday night to find a quiet place. We ended up in Famina! A small Japanese store on Hollywood and Highland and ate crème brule and watched the insane pedestrians, the only ones that are left on Hollywood Blvd at midnight. Finally stumbled into bed at 12.30. I am going to collect my new desk today and write…and go to the gym…and think about rough Whitstable boys.

10:07 AM

September 17, 2006 – Sunday

http://www.saverunyon.org

Sunday, day of no walks on Runyon Canyon. No dogs to count, no fat to burn. No.

Runyon Canyon Emergency! Yellow notices posted all over the waste bins, the seats, the notice boards and on MySpace. Attention Everyone! The Parks and Recreation Department want to build a car park at the foot of the Canyon.

What do I think? Will it make any difference to the quality of my life if they build a car park at the base of the Canyon?

Yesterday I wondered if it wouldn’t be rather nice to have a rustic shack selling breakfast stuff at the base of Runyon Canyon with a wood burning stove warming on a cold morning. I found myself dreaming about that just as often as I tend to dream about running the Red Spider Cafe which used to be a rustic shack/beech hut on Whitstable Beach. This summer Barry Green, who owns Whitstable beach, asked me (as he must ask many others) if I wanted to run the Red Spider Cafe. He wants to re-build it. I found this idea very appealing. The simplicity of a very honorable trade: I make you tea and cake, you give me £2.75. I never ever dream about making films in the same fond way that I dream about serving tea and running a small hotel on the Kent coast.

Why can’t people just walk to the Canyon? I walk to the Canyon. I walk everywhere. I walk to the farmer’s Market on Vine. I walk to the Auction House on Gardener. I walk to the Chateau Marmont. I have walked, on many occasions, from Labrea to Doheny to my AA meeting. I even walked all the way from my house to Robertson and Beverly. I really love walking LA. I love peering closely at palm trees, I like nosing into gardens. I like taking alternative routes.

When I was a small boy I walked in my pyjamas from Whitstable to Herne Bay. When I had my drug problem I walked so hard from Kensington to Soho that all my toes turned purple from the bruising. When I was at Shotton Hall School we walked the length of Offa’s Dyke which is an ancient path that runs the border of Wales and England. We stayed in idyllic Youth Hostels and I remember packing coordinating outfits.

I prefer walking to taking the bus. There is so much shame heaped on people who take the bus in this town. I tend to linger away from the bus stop just in case anyone sees me waiting for a bus. Can you believe it? I shall be more robust about my bus taking in future, less shameful.

Unfashionably, I think that Barry Green should be allowed to build beach huts and Red Spider rustic shacks all the way along the stretch of beach that he owns. I do not, however, think that Barry Green owner of the Whitstable Beach, should be able to build a hideous mock light house and crowd generic ‘fantasy Whitstable’ type architecture on the new marina.

I went to see the plans for the new Whitstable Marina development before I left for California with my friend Charlie Parsons and we both agreed that the designs were HIDEOUS. The architect on duty told me that it was the council’s fault but this is patently untrue. The local council merely defines the architectural parameters for the architect: the height, housing density, materials etc. The architect is responsible for the imaginative response to those parameters. Whilst I think that the town will benefit from the new marina, the suggested designs were bland, depressing and what is worse one could already imagine abandoned polystyrene oyster trays being blown all over the ersatz cobbles on cold winter afternoons.

Continuing our Saturday morning tradition I had breakfast with Dom and John Roden at the 101 cafe on Franklin. This old-fashioned, mid-century diner is always stuffed with cute alternative people. Yesterday was no exception. Omelette, no toast, no potato. Yes, I’m starting THAT again Clare Swinburn. The smelly breath diet. We complimented some boy on his floral pants (trousers) and he said, “You have to be really straight to wear clothes this gay.” He showed us what was written on his ass and when we complimented his ass he said, rather seriously, “That’s harassment.” Who put the ass in harassment?

Spent most of the afternoon with my sponsor and then went home to meet Peter Youngblood Hills but lost my phone on the bus, then my afternoon went to shit-missed seeing/speaking with Peter, missed my opening at M+B gallery and when I finally resolved everything it was time to head over to Julia and Sim’s to see their gorgeous house in Silverlake, meet their divinely pretty daughter Elsie and meet their friends from Sheppey of all places and eat dinner in Silverlake. After dinner of Pork medallions and chocolate terrine I took them all up to the Soriano House and fell in love with it all over again. OH GOD!!! I love that house.

Stayed at Julia and Sim’s until 1am gossiping about Whitstable people. It was so much fun. No one was spared. Sim dropped me at mine and I slept like a log. The phone rang twice after midnight. I did not answer. I knew what they were. Two booty calls. Can you believe it? At my age!!

2:18 PM

September 16, 2006 – Saturday

Fat Kid

I slept until 8.30 this morning. Not even the morning sun pouring into my bedroom woke me. Disoriented by how late it was I started the day by checking e-mails, which, I never, ever do. The squirrel was in the Bird of Paradise tree outside my sitting room pulling seeds out of the huge pods. He was making a terrible racket. Chattering away to himself.

There were more that 80 dogs on the path today. SO MANY PEOPLE. I really don’t like to share the Canyon with that many people. I like the few odd die-hard who get up at six and watch the sun break over Los Angeles. I was wearing a red Buddhist punk hoody, red seems to attract a great deal of attention. I received many nods and unsolicited greetings. I passed the man who pushes his bike without his shirt on-he has a creamy naturally defined body. He looks but does not acknowledge.

I never take a phone or an iPod up the mountain. I need to experience it raw. It is still hard to get up the steep bit without a break but I am really noticing a difference. I feel lighter. I can’t feel so much fat on my back over my kidneys but perhaps I am just kidding myself. Next week I start working seriously at the gym. The fact of the matter is: I am happier when I get to walk my walk, meditate and write my blog. At the start of everyday I feel as if I have achieved something. You know, I kept a diary for over 20 years. A written diary. A Smythson’s leather-bound diary. I had Red calf, black calf, natural pig skin colour. I had a marbled one from Venice. I stopped writing my diary because, when I got sober, I wondered why I was doing it-and it was cumbersome to carry and then when I got here stupid people thought that it was a bible.

I passed the Russians with the blue-eyed dogs; they were rabbiting away in Russian then one of them said in English, “So Armageddon is finally coming.” Like he was expecting his aunt, aunt Armageddon. It certainly feels pretty doom-like at the moment. We get on with our daily lives but something else is determining our future. Maybe there really is a conspiracy of powerful Jews? Maybe Elvis is still alive? Maybe Freddy Star really did eat a hamster?

More OUTRAGE from Muslim clerics because the Pope quoted some odd Persian from an ancient text. Come on lads get some perspective. Who gives a fuck about the Pope? He wears Prada under his cassock.

At the start of my walk I saw an incredibly tall, svelte, young couple with their morbidly obese son. They were in their early thirties, athletic. He was 9 years old and a tub of lard. He was complaining about the smell on the canyon. They were reassuring him that everything was going to be ok. I thought to myself, Oh how sweet, these two are really helping their child. It must be tough, but as a family they are trying to get him in shape. I set off on my walk. On the way down the Canyon I pass the two athletic parents walking on all fours like dogs. The child is nowhere to be seen. They were walking on all fours like dogs. Stretching out their perfect, athletic limbs. Half a mile behind them, dawdling along is their huge son. Alone, fat, abandoned. What can I say?

Dammit, I always forget to mention the half-naked elderly man who I have only seen once crouching in the undergrowth wearing a dog collar and rubber shorts looking like an unloved, abandoned dog. If I was (when I am) a lonely old man, I might be tempted to think that someone might adopt me if I pretended to be a dog without a home.

Yesterday, I wrote, I read, took care of business and did more iTunes organisation. I chatted to Erik the writer about Valentine. I checked out the Bonham’s Sunset sale but there was nothing there worth buying. I saw Paulo, he needs to take me out for lunch sometime soon. Danny O dropped in for a cup of tea. I was meant to be seeing Gianni but Virgil swung by so I had to blow Gianni out at the last moment.

I really think that Virgil might be married. He is so secretive. Remember Quentin Crisps unattainable big, dark, man-kind of dumb but loveable. That is Virgil. He does not know his 10 times table. He eats KFC every day. I asked him what he talked to his best friend about and he tells me the conversation VERBATIM. It wasn’t very informative. He is a huge, gentle, light skin black guy in his mid 40s. He watched me make a salad dressing and when I poured it onto the salad he asked what I was doing. He had never, ever seen anyone make a dressing before. Do not be surprised my homies, this is the USA. Even my more sophisticated friends would not know how to make a salad dressing from scratch. The young ones think, ‘why should I?’ and the older ones think, ‘We never eat at home’. Virgil is a big sweet man. I asked him to take me to South Central LA but he scoffed. He told me that his nieces boy friend and the father of her baby had blown his head off with gun in front of them all.

Dont worry Virgil, I know people like that in Whitstable.

10:20 AM

September 15, 2006 – Friday

iTunes 7

22 dogs. One young man applauding his Jack Russell for taking a piss. “That’s amazing Billy!” he commended.

There were 15 gardeners trimming the mountain-something I never thought I would see but I suppose some one has to maintain the paths and trim back the vegetation. The undergrowth is so lush.

The walk was good. All the tight feelings in my chest vanished. It was really chilly up there on the path this morning. People at home don’t get the subtlety of the seasons in California, they don’t realise that we have winter nights or that it is very cold when the sun sets. ‘Why do people need winter coats in LA?’ I thought, when I first arrived. In fact, I get to wear all of my winter coats and even my fur hat.

It rained briefly as I was feeding the squirrel almonds from my hand. That animal is so funny. It chases the cats. American people say it is always raining in London. We deal in weather clichés. The truth is that we have had so little rain in the UK that we have to regularly ban the use of hose pipes and non-essential car cleaning, something that would never happen here. Read Joan Didion’s book The White Album if you want to know where LA water comes from-if you didn’t already see China Town.

I have been organising my iTunes library. 22 days of songs. The new iTunes 7 reveals previously unseen album covers on my lap top-suddenly I am excited again by my music collection, flicking through all the music I have. Seeing old friends-like Alice Coopers Billion Dollar Baby-the first ever album I bought. The first single I ever bought was Ben by Michael Jackson. You see! I have always been bi-polar! I was at boarding school in Dorset listening to Alice Cooper from my bedroom overlooking the verdant English countryside.

I liked being at that school. I learned how to make cheese, chutney, jam, milk cows and learnt all about Jason and the Argonauts. Saw a dead badger by the side of the road and when I pulled its tail the thing came off in my hands-I was 13. Country people are not scared of dirt or death. We would camp outside on the lawns and learn to listen to the earth. Check it out, it’s called Monkton Wyld Court. A beautiful gothic, Pugin inspired rectory. One winters day a kid wrote in the snow: Reunion 1999 on the terraces so we could all read it. 1999 came and went but I never went back to any reunion. I hitch hiked there from Whitstable once. Years ago. It took two days.

I remembered horseback riding in the snow, my fingers frozen onto the reigns. I remembered learning to play the piano. Where are those skills? Stored away just in case. Stored away with the detailed maps of Sydney and Paris and Glasgow or Cannes. Stored with my times tables. 7×8=56 Remember that one and you’ll be fine. 8×8=64. Stored with descriptions of Renaissance Art and Golden Rules. Gypsy tart. That’s there too.

Flicking through my collection of music like we used to-things coming full circle. Delighted by something you forgot you owned. An album cover that reminds you of a person or a place. The sound track of my life just here in the palm of my hand. I am listening to nobukazu takemura this morning. I like ambient music for my films and for my life. I listen to Aphex Twin and John Cage. Saw John Cage at The Almeida Music Festival in London when the US used to export its vibrant avant-garde.

At the next school I attended in Shropshire we listened to Roxy Music. Then, ten years later I am at a private audience with Bryan in Notting Hill. Ten years after that I am sitting in his kitchen with his wife. Then we are at the Saatchi Gallery with Tracy Emin signing posters. Makes me feel home sick thinking about Lucy and the kids.

Annie Lennox reminds me of living at Jane McAllisters house in Edinburgh whilst I was working for Richard Demarco during the Edinburgh Festival. Must be talking to an angel.

Yesterday I had a gentleman caller-no sex. Just being held is all I require lately. My new maid started. Angela was here when Virgil the gentleman caller arrived. Virgil and I sat on the roof and listened to our respective stories. He has three dogs and a daughter. Is that a deal breaker? Angela laughed when I followed after her putting all the ornaments, candles etc back in the correct places.

Virgil left at 3ish. Gentle afternoon in doors-some people called to see if I wanted to go out but I stayed at home and read. The Mormon beauty from the BAFTA party for instance-he called. When I first stopped drinking it was such a relief to simply stay at home and go to bed early rather than chase a party. I am not missing anything. Anyway, I have a very social weekend ahead of me.

In bed by 12. I think that I may go to Sydney next week for a month.

10:38 AM

September 14, 2006 – Thursday

OUTRAGE!!!

6.15. Runyon Canyon. Right hand path. 23 dogs. Two blind men with white sticks. Simon Doonan. Five people said hello.

On the way up the mountain I had a God almighty battle of wills between my acknowledged ‘dark side’ and the weaker ‘good’ me. My dark side always has such a compelling argument for any bad/naughty things I want to do. Dammit.

Yesterday I pissed a lot of people off writing my blog. I apologise. It was inappropriate.

Of course there are some things I choose not to write about in this blog but, unlike anywhere else in my life, this is a place where I can be totally honest. I am neither bound by fear of judgement nor at the mercy of a lie. However, I suppose that there are things that I should not write about. For instance, I do not write about sex, because when I did, it seemed to upset some people. I have agreed with myself new blog rules of engagement. I am no longer going to write about my EXPERIENCE of AA. From the moment I step into an AA meeting to the moment I leave the rooms of AA I will not report on what I have shared nor any opinions about who I have seen there-even if I am alluding to them and not making them obvious. I agreed tacitly to this when I joined and so it would be priggish of me to renege now, ten years down the line. I have agreed with my sponsor that I will share my AA type grievances with him. To this end I have removed the offending paragraph in yesterday’s blog and replaced it with a few apposite lines from the AA big book.

However, I will be writing in full about my experiences outside the rooms of AA.

Yesterday morning Chris picked me up from my apartment and drove six shirts and me to the ecological laundry. We had a very jolly time. We were both very happy. He is going back to England on Sunday. I suddenly realised that I would miss him. He is a spirited, sweet, honourable boy and even though I am double his age I learn a great deal from him. He wanted to take me to the Beverly Hills Hotel for breakfast. On the way there Joe called and asked Chris if he had read my blog. Joe was OUTRAGED! Chris, in a very difficult position, could not stop Joe from spewing his indignation. Chris cut him off, telling him that he would have to call him back later. We sat in the car and pretended to be posh for a good five minutes. Of course, if you are truly OUTRAGED by something you have read you do not call all your friends and tell them about it. “Have you read Duncan’s blog? I am outraged!” Even though Chris had the phone pressed hard to his ear I could hear Joe screaming. Chris and I, both having had a great deal of press attention in the past, know that when you are truly OUTRAGED you simply call your lawyer and deal with it. Recently poor Chris had to deal with adverse press and when he called me he was choked with emotion. He did not call all his friends to read the offending material and then be OUTRAGED. I noticed a huge swell in my readership numbers yesterday possibly because Joe was so OUTRAGED.

We ate a wonderful breakfast. We chatted and laughed. After my waffles we explored the Beverly Hills Hotel shop. We found the Beverly Hills Barbie and another Barbie holding the hand of a small child. “Look, Paedophile Barbie.” I said, holding up the box and shaking it. Chris went red and we scarpered.

Went home and read the secret script. It needs work but you can see how wonderful it is going to be. I had a day of DOING things in the house. I cleared out the junk closet in the hall and hung all of my winter coats in there. I closed most of the windows because at night it is now very chilly. I washed the glass. I fed the squirrel-it feeds from my hand. The maid called and told me in broken English that she would come on Thursday as she had a hospital appointment.

I took a cab to the Hyatt where I met Jon and we drove to the BAFTA garden party. OUTRAGED Joe was there not looking quite so outraged or if he was he was unwilling to confront me about it. In fact he did a great deal of cap doffing around Xan. The other aggrieved parties from yesterdays blog were also there and we mutually apologised and that was that. I had a very jolly time. Saw Charlie and Vicky from New York and hung around with them. I saw Marjorie and Xan, of course, and we ate pulled pork and black coffee and there was a very British raffle. Cute Mormon boy invited me to a party at Shag but I did not go. I went home and found places for my tools and threw out the last of Dee’s things that she left at the house.

I re-read the secret script which I love, as i was reading it the Valentine script arrived. That was less inspired.

I had a long chat with Xan before I went to bed. It was reassuring. I was reassured. I am going to pray that good things happen for Joe.

8:42 AM

September 13, 2006 – Wednesday

Jessica Simpson

I did not count the dogs on Runyon Canyon; I had a great deal on my mind. I saw the Russians with the baby and they all said hello. The cute boy with the hat totally ignored me. The lesbians said a cautious hello. I felt as if my body were changing today. It was easier to haul up the steep bits. Either I am getting stronger or leaner or tighter or maybe all three. When I lost weight before I lost weight gradually then I got horribly thin in a matter of a week. Must buy scales.

It was a cool, tranquil morning.

As I began my leisurely decent, deep in the wooded part of the Canyon a man started screaming. He was furious, angry against the world. I tried to see what he looked like but he was hidden under a canopy of trees. He was like a monkey in the rain forest letting everyone know that he was there. “Shut up you crazy fuck!” somebody called out to him but it was half hearted-they understood why he was screaming. He was screaming for all of us.

Yesterday was such a day of extremes. Corey took me to see another house. It was a house owned by an Italian writer in Beverley Hills. A beautiful modernist house designed by Georgescu in 1958, sadly it had a ropey view. I have made an offer on some of the furniture, which is all beautiful, mid-century modern. After the viewing Corey dropped me off at the Key Club AA meeting. I stayed for half of it then walked to my 1pm meeting with Jon Larson from the Directors Guild at the Chateau Marmont. I had the salmon that was far too complicated-too many flavours. We sat next to Selma Hayek. She looked great. I met Patty, the director of Monster and Brad Wyman’s partner. Brad was one of the producers on THAT film I directed in Romania. The problem with Monster is that, like The Devil Wears Prada, you have a great performance shining in a dull film. Let’s face it, if Elizabeth Hurley had been playing the lead in either of those films what would you be left with: The Method!!! Ha ha ha.

After lunch I walked home up Sunset via Bonham’s to see the dregs of the fine furniture sale. It all looked ghastly. This Friday is the preview of the Sunset Estate sale. I love this auction. I furnished my entire apartment with things from this auction. June Havers and Fred McMurray previously owned most of what I own. I have their bowling trophies, their bowling balls, furniture, silver, a chandelier and some delightful dining room chairs. Once a month there is an LA Modern auction and I bought pieces by Paul Lazlo. Auctions are my not so secret vice.

When I got home I planned to take a nap but, thrillingly, the secret project script arrived from London and I had to have a long chat with Seth my manager about Dorian and the secret project and Valentine which seems to be coming along well. Then I had a long chat with a financier about refinancing Dorian. Then I had to check my Dorian out-of-pocket figures. I guess that I am owed in the region of $150,000. By the time I had done all of that it was too late to take a nap.

John (works for Penguin) picked me up in his jag and we headed off to the C.U.N.T AA meeting on Robertson. This meeting, as you might have guessed from the title, is a British meeting. I think that my sponsor started it. For me, going to this meeting is like being dipped in acid. It is excruciating but I had promised my sponsor that I would go and embrace my enemies…

I put my hand up and I shared about my walks on the mountain. I told them that I was going where the love was. I hinted that I had found God in the mountains-that I was humbled by the mountains. I do my best in AA, which is all I can do.

After the meeting Corey and I went back to Silverlake to see the house at night. It was so COOL!! I love it. We also revisited the Soriano house on North Dillon. You know, it really is noisy up there. You can hear the valley traffic as if it were roaring through the garden. Too close for comfort.

John and I had a late dinner at The Chateau. I bumped into the adorable Dougray Scott who is working on Desperate Housewives. I met his girl friend Clare. Chris Rock was hanging about the lobby-apparently stood up by Courtney Love. I sat with Jessica Simpson briefly-she looked AMAZING. That girl has the most perfect skin.

John has a great story-he once woke up out of an alcoholic blackout on a plane. He had no idea where he was going. He was on his way to Buenos Aires.

John dropped me home at midnight.

9:46 AM

September 12, 2006 – Tuesday

real estate

Just returned from my morning walk. 53 Dogs. Today I walked with Corey Nelson my realtor from Sotheby’s. Corey is a stunningly good-looking ex-Bruce Weber model. He and his girlfriend walk Runyon Canyon everyday. We decided to take the other, steeper path. We hiked the three tall peeks and that makes for an altogether longer and tougher walk. We met at the Fuller entrance at 8.30. On the way up it was difficult to talk because I was huffing and puffing like an old man. We passed 4 people. The views are stunning, really stunning. We looked over toward the sea on our right and the Hollywood sign to our left. We made our way down the usual way yet, astonishingly, everybody at 8.30 seems very social, most people say a warm hello. We chatted to people all the way down. I suspect that this is because Corey (26) has perfect pecs and abs.

The strange woman I saw yesterday with the Yorkie strapped to her chest told Corey’s girlfriend that she carried her dog like that because it had been bitten once by another dog so now she is too paranoid about him walking anywhere. We met a dog called, ‘Freakshow’, we met really cool lesbians. We discussed bikes and if I should get one and Vespers and if I should get one. Most of all we talked about property because we have seen so much of it between us. When I was friends with Georgina I am sure that all the Kent estate agents had mug shots of us with BEWARE!! TIME WASTERS written below our names. We saw property wherever we went. New York, Sydney, Fire Island. It is so much fun looking at other peoples’ houses. However, I am genuinely looking for a house to buy here. I have seen so much property but none of it speaks to me or if it does then it’s too expensive. When developers get there hands on it the property is ruined. The additions of prissy ‘Zen’ gardens and horrible hedges of miniature bamboo, I call it ‘gay grass’. They add huge, ungainly kitchens with slate work tops. They lay badly installed hard wood floors. A terrible uniform aesthetic. All the ‘done’ houses are done out of their individuality.

I fell in love with a Soriano house on North Dillon St but it was too expensive for what it was and ultimately needed too much doing to it. Also, if you live at the top of any Hill in LA however gorgeous the view-the noise is terrible. The rumble of LA all day all night would drive me madder than the maddest man in mad land.

I love Silverlake. All of the best architects have examples of their work there.

Yesterday, Corey picked me up at 9.30. We drove to Edgecliff Road in Silverlake to see a house for me to buy. It was wonderful. Built in 1964, perched on a cliff overlooking the lake it has never been ‘done’, thankfully no ‘zen’ garden with water feature, no designer kitchen built for a family of snackers and no gay grass. It is perfect for me. I am going to try to quickly raise the money today. The house really has had little changed since it was built. It is owned by two adorable old queens. They had great furniture too. We were there for hours. The 73-year-old man who owned the house said, rather obscurely, about his neighbor, “He wouldn’t know how to make a pie.” I asked him if he could knit. He couldn’t. I persuaded him to consider knitting as a precaution against arthritis. We laughed a great deal.

After the viewing I went home and I washed the filthy Venetian blinds in the kitchen with oxi clean then hosed them down outside-very satisfactory. I love Oxi Clean. Lazy day at home reading and writing. Should have achieved more but sat and thought about THE WORLD. A good day to think about THE WORLD. It is so hard to articulate ones frustrations about the state of THE WORLD. As I scrubbed my blinds I thought again and again about the choices that I had made that lead me to this place.

We planned a conference call with my manager, lawyer and producer of Dorian. It was the same old story. Arclight stalling, Carl failing, Effie dealing. Carl is the guy who a year ago came on board to raise more money for the film. He seems to spend most of his time on vacation. His big, bovine head grinning inanely. His LA teeth catching the sun. He agrees with anything anyone says. If I did not have the rooms of AA I would be tearing my hair out but this is God’s plan and I have to put up with it. I really don’t worry about it. Art comes when it is ready. It is born out of confusion.

If I choose to make unconventional films in an unconventional way I must expect there to be no convention.

I watched some of the 9/11 anniversary coverage. Did you know that there was an aircraft hanger at Kennedy with the most morbid collection of World Trade Tower scrap in it? Smashed fire trucks, three incinerated floors of one tower crushed into a molten ball, bikes chained to bike racks. It reminded me of something that I had not thought about for 35 years.

When I was 6 I was involved in a terrible car wreck. We were taking my aunt and her children to the airport. My grandfather, grandmother, mother, stepfather, aunt and five children packed into a large car that my stepfather had borrowed. It was a terrible night, torrential rain. My stepfather was driving fast to so we did not miss the flight. I was sitting on my mother’s lap in the front seat when the car hit a huge puddle and aqua planed over the freeway, over the central reservation and into oncoming traffic. I was catapulted out of the side window and onto the road. Thankfully nobody was killed. I suffered major head injuries-hence the scars and missing skull in my head.

A few years later I was staying at my grandmother’s house and found in the wardrobe of the room I was sleeping, zipped suit bags and when I looked inside I saw dirty, torn, clothes splattered with dried blood. I recognized the clothes immediately. I opened the bags and pulled out the clothes that we had all been wearing the day of the accident. My grandmother, unable to throw anything out, had kept them. When I told my mother the bags vanished.

At night, before I fall asleep, I think about the street where we lived when I was a child. I remember the house at the end of the unmade road in Whitstable. Stanley Road. I remember hot summer afternoons on Duncan Down wading in the uncut hay looking for lizards and chasing dragonflies. At this time of year I would collect heaps of black berries and my mother would make blackberry and apple crumble.

I remember the big department store that used to be on Whitstable High Street. I remember the smell of cheap furniture and Santa’s glittery cardboard grotto stored in a room at the back of the store. On occasional moments through the day I find myself in that store, on my own, wandering as a small boy in that strange, sterile place.

4:21 PM

September 11, 2006 – Monday

We Are All Americans Now

I was on the mountain by 8am. 24 dogs. Only two hours later than I usually go yet the Canyon folk at 8am are radically different from the earlier crowd. Instead of my usual bunch of single-minded, introverted business people focused on their morning walk at 6am today I saw more people, fewer dogs but all of them seemed to be playing out their breakfast dramas there on the hill. I said a rousing ‘hello!’ to the cute boy in the hat-he was so taken aback that he nearly fell over. I stopped and talked to Jeff the dog walker with his seven dogs. Poo bags tied to their collars. I saw a trainer berating his trainee. I saw a woman with a dog strapped to her chest in a papoose. For the first time ever up there on the dusty Runyon Canyon path I saw a mad person running up the hill insulting people. He offered me his card, when I declined he said, “I’m writing a novel! Say good morning to Barbra Streisand when you get home.” I bowed my head in embarrassment. Did he think that I was Jewish? “If you see Michael Moore, put a bullet through his head.” He ran off.

The woman behind me was shocked by his behaviour. I stopped to talk to her. Gabriella, Italian brought up in Paris. Firm hand shake. Cute dog. We both agreed that the world was a more dangerous place since 9/11. I wonder how many people across the world will be celebrating this day rather than mourning this day? How many people across the world had sympathy for the innocent of the twin towers the day it happened who now celebrate that fateful day? It is a sad shame. As the years pass the complex politic that came to such an appalling conclusion that day is being revealed. It is as if the US wanted to show the world in the years since 9/11 exactly why it SHOULD have happened. What is this war on terror? What do we expect to win when we say that the war must be won? We cannot win a war against an ideology or a philosophy.

Both the US and the UK had no plan to win a war when they marched triumphantly into Baghdad. We were told that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction. They planned to topple Saddam, find the weapons, win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis and take the oil. TAKE THE OIL. If we had left the day after Saddam was deposed the jubilant Iraqis would have given us the oil for free! Where once the people of Iraq were pleased to see us now they hate us. They hate that an innocent 14-year-old girl is raped and murdered by American soldiers along with her innocent family then their bodies burned. If a white 14-year-old girl had been gang raped by foreigners, her white five-year old brother and parents shot in the head in Bethnal Green or Brooklyn what reaction would we have? I tell you now that the streets would be raging with the rightful fury and indignation of those frightened residents. Yet, if the people of Dahuc complain or protest or demonstrate they are accused of being Insurgents or Terrorists and risk their lives to say it how it is. What new FREEDOMS have the US and the UK brought to the people of Iraq? The same freedom the people of the US enjoy? The freedom to be poor, fat, uneducated and lazy? Is this how we express our divine right to freedom?

When the trial of Saddam is done will the people of Iraq reflect on what they gave up? When the US chop off his head will they see just another Iraqi bending to our white will or are they going to cheer? Who will cheer more than Saddam as he goes martyred to the gallows?

George W Bush, like a priggish child, complains that his fellow citizens have to buy oil from folks who ‘don’t like us’. They don’t like us. Why don’t they like us? We have DEMOCRACY for goodness sake and FREEDOM and our girlies don’t have to wear that silly scarf and can get pregnant when they are 13 years old and take drugs and join gangs and live a godless life without spiritual guidance. If we do well we can afford premium cocaine and drink ourselves silly. We can imprison our grandparents in stinking old peoples homes. We can can give our children prescription drugs so that their inquisitive natures are dulled. People of Iraq vote for freedom, for democracy, for decadence.

The day after the Twin Towers fell La Monde declared that we were all Americans now. After the cruel and divisive invasion of Lebanon I saw a placard outside the Israeli embassy that read, ‘We are all Hezbolla now’.

11:33 AM

What was I thinking?

Sunday.

My body craved the daily walk up Runyon Canyon that I denied it this morning. My thighs hurt from the leg work out at the gym. Took the bus from Labrea to Doheny along Sunset. Walked down hill from Sunset to Santa Monica. The bus is the university bus so it has fewer mad people on it. Less amputees and hunchbacks, fewer old men singing religious songs. The bus along Santa Monica Blvd is the worst for that kind of freak show. Once I saw a man with his head bandaged in loo roll, a wad of loo roll stuffed in his mouth. He could have been Matthew Barney making some sort of site-specific artwork I suppose but I doubt it.

When I lived in Santa Monica I took the Blue Bus all the way up Wilshire to the agencies. I had meetings with teams of agents from CAA and Endeavour and ICM and all the usual suspects. When AKA happened I never expected the positive reaction and was totally unprepared. Unprepared for the BAFTA nomination. Unprepared for the applause. It is what people come here to LA wishing, praying for and I did not know what to do with it when it was offered to me. You should have seen their agent faces when I told them that I had taken the bus. This was EVIDENCE of insanity.

It should have been a wonderful time after AKA but it was a terrible stress. It was the only time in my life that my enemies had to work over time to keep me down. They were so desperate they ended up revealing themselves. It was good to know that I wasn’t a mad paranoid fool. I had evidence that people did not want me to get on in Hollywood. Threatening e-mails, anonymous phone calls to agents and double-dealing. It was funny that these people were going to all this effort-you know I cannot blame them. They have their reasons but it is true that what goes around comes around. We all pay for our cruelties in the end.

I went from being totally ignored in London, being told that nobody would be interested in my film by Paul T at The Film Council to having all the major talent agencies chasing me. They were tenacious. Even after I had signed with Endeavour one agent drove all the way to Santa Monica to beg me to change my mind about the agency I had signed with. She said to me, in an attempt to persuade me to sign with her, “We have so much in common-we both like being fucked in the ass.” Another, hearing my ambitions to make low-budget films warned that I would “..end up like Ken Loach.” I heard all of their best agent lines and was unprepared for them. I laughed at their rehearsed speeches. If I had that time again would I do it differently? Of course I would! I lasted all of one week with Endeavour.

One smug agent thought that my big black leather Smythson’s Diary that I sat beside me during our meeting was a Bible and calling in the assistant to bear witness to her wit asked me what chapter I was reading. I looked at my diary and said carefully, “September?” The assistant watched her boss squirm for a moment then offered me a coke.

Much of what being successful is, is knowing what to do when opportunity is offered to you. I didn’t. I accept my own part in that disaster. Thank God I have never truly desired more than I could have. The concept of ‘enough’ is alien to most people. I am a single man. How much do I need? Do I need a huge house to kick about in on my own? That would just make me lonely. I think that my house in Whitstable is too big for me. It only really comes alive when it has a family in it. That is what it was built for-a family. Children running and screaming up and down the stairs.

I sat in on my 11.45 log cabin AA meeting but I was twitchy and felt odd once again to be there. It did not feel the same as the ones I go to in London. I did not feel safe there. Spoke briefly to a Brit who wants to use in his hotel room. He may call. I did my duty. I reached out to another alcoholic. I am working my steps with my sponsor. I am doing what I can at this moment.

Claudia collected me from Starbucks and we ate a nasty lunch in a cafe on Cahuenga. We talked about Eugenio as usual. What a life he leads! I am glad not to be pimping for him anymore. Dragging boys up from Hyde or The Abbey to the ten million dollar mansion with Richard for EL to impress with his art and drugs. What was I doing there? What did I think could possibly be the outcome of such a friendship?

I napped in the afternoon.

Made dinner for Victor and Ken and Ken’s wife. We ate two courses then played backgammon. Lovely evening.

When they all left I settled down to write this. I thought about something that has been haunting me for months maybe years. I never understood why Jay Jopling and I fell out. It has always been a mystery to me. He was once my close friend-then I was ignored. One day, last year, I was with a woman who admitted to me that she had lied to him about me. She admitted to me that she told him lies that I knew would have upset him greatly. Jay is a loyal man and will not tolerate disloyalty. SHE destroyed our relationship. I suddenly missed him. I missed him being my friend as he had been and now never would be-even if that woman called him tonight and told him the truth Jay and I would have missed out on so much together.

I remember JBC telling me that our relationship would only work if we ignored what people said about us. My relationship with JBC lasted seven years.

Must go to bed.

1:59 AM

September 10, 2006 – Sunday

ART

Sunday. Day of rest. AA meeting to go to. I may walk this evening. The same young man just left the house that left last week. No sex. I was not interested. That’s cool.

Saturday is Dom Day. We had lunch at M Cafe on Labrea. Dom had his oil changed at Jiffy Lube whilst we ate the contents of a bento box. Nothing to say about our conversation. After lunch we drove to Fred Siegel and bumped into Richard Squire and his friend Saweeda. They looked happy. More comments about my beard. In store Velvet bomber jacket by Lanvin costs $4000. I was shocked. I wanted to try it on but they did not have my size. I laughingly told the shop assistant (really sweet boy) that I had no intention of buying a $4000 velvet jacket-what ever the label. I could buy a scooter for that or invest in a new artist. “They don’t care what you look like,” Dom said, “All they want is their commission.” They don’t care about you-it’s true.

After Fred Siegel I napped for an hour and then Devon, very kindly, dropped me off at Marc Selwyn’s gallery on Wilshire to see the work of Paul P. Beautifully executed miniature paintings of boys from historical gay porn. I was the first one there. I enjoyed looking at his work on my own in the gallery. Reminded me of Whistler and Carriere. The dry point was particularly fine. Xan Rufus-Issacs arrived who loved the work and I think he may buy one of the paintings if one comes available; it was, needless to say, a sell out. In that part of town there were very, many exhibitions last night. Mostly new artists showing in established galleries. At Paul Kopeikin’s gallery, however, amongst the new tat I found a perfectly lovely David Hockney photo collage of the artists mother and a young blond man. I loved it. I remember in the late 80’s being bored by those huge ungainly photomontage pieces. Now I see that they are great works. $40,000 seemed cheap.

Xan and I are really connecting. He is very funny and warm. I find that I am slightly in awe of him for all the wrong reasons but am aware of this. I told him what happened with my brother and mother when I was at home. He asked if I had ever made amends to either of them and of course I have never ever made amends to my Mother for past behaviors. I wrote to my brother S offering amends but they were rejected, described as ‘nauseating’. We drove to Gagosian to see some austere black and white Japanese show. It was dull, serious and lacked energy. The crowd was sexier. The men wore expensive hats.

After Gagosian Xan and I sat on Sunset in the Coffee Bean and Xan showed some comedy porn he had on his phone. We drank very sweet frothy coffee.

Marc Selwyn had very kindly invited us to the dinner he was throwing at his house off of Doheny. The most perfectly charming post and beam set in a tree filled lot. The garden had been set for dinner. A hedge of majestic Cyprus keeping the event secret from the larger houses on the hill. We ate chicken with prunes and cous cous. I sat next to some very sweet collectors from Chicago. There was a great deal of discussion about Iraq, Bush, Iran and Israel. There was one very loud, rich collector who had uninformed opinions which I tried to contextualize. He asked for my number. His wife was dressed in clothes that had names printed all over them and two huge solitaire diamonds on her fleshy lobes.

I met Paul P’s boyfriend Scott Treleaven who is a video artist. They live in Toronto but they are moving to Paris. I want them to meet my friend SS. I think that they will get on with her very well. Scott had met Jarman in London and was inspired by him to make video work. I was really impressed by these two young, gay artists. We agreed that American artists seem to shy away from making work that says anything political at all. Why? Are they scared of being un-patriotic? Where is the fire that ignites political art? Can Damien Hirst only make work about love? The only show I saw in NYC that attempted to say anything about current world politics was Joseph Kosuth at Andrea Rosen.

Where are our polemical artists?

I had a great night and was in bed by 12. The evenings are drawing in. Next week it will be impossible to eat outside at night without those fierce out-door gas heaters. Now, I am going to walk to Santa Monica Blvd. and get the bus to my AA meeting.

8:16 AM

September 9, 2006 – Saturday

Shabbat Dinner

42 dogs on the canyon path today. The path that scars the mountain as you look up at it from Labrea. Blue-eyed man is slowly learning how to say good morning. He glances at me now and cracks the merest smile. “Good morning!” I say. I hiked much later than usual, seven-thirty rather than six thirty, as I had slept fitfully. Daniel came in late with Jesse his b/f. I could hear them crashing around in his bedroom. Another grey morning. I like it grey and chilly.

It started off grey yesterday too but the mist burned off by 11.30 when I set out to meet Xan Rufus-Issacs for lunch. My legs were sore from my first stint with a trainer at the gym. Will, the trainer, is a small 25-year-old actor from the east coast. If he were an animal he would be chip monk. He asked me what exercise I did and I told him that I walked up RC every day. He scoffed. He then proceeded to take me through a punishing and wholly worthless leg programme. My legs, after all, are my best bits. My calves are worked out every day and my thighs and butt get hammered on the Canyon. Will said, “How does that compare with your walk on Runyon Canyon?” I saw that what he wanted was to PROVE something rather than help me. I shall insist on upper body when I go back on Monday.

After my walk I eat dates and nuts and coffee made in the pot Will Self bought for the house in Whitstable.

Lunch was wonderful. Xan and I ate at Italian restaurant on Brighton Way. Our waiter was a bit smelly. I ate antipasto and chocolate cake. We talked about Gus Van Sant, The Dangerous Sports Club-of which Xan was a founder member and his weekend into the wilds of Wyoming. We talked for two hours and afterwards I felt totally invigorated and optimistic. It seems that we have a friend in common-Tim Hunt. I met Tim when I was Lord Rendlesham. I have a very old picture of Tim Hunt, The Princess Anne of Bavaria, Alexis deToquville and me at dinner in Paris in 1982. Tim runs the Andy Warhol Foundation now. I like talking about that time; I so rarely get an opportunity to do so with people who understand it. I must be the same age as Xan. 1978, whilst I was in Whitstable being bullied by my stupid stepfather Xan was leaving a huge stately home and going to Oxford.

Lunch $37 with tip.

Barney’s after lunch. I saw apricot silk velvet pillows that I have been hankering after for AGES reduced from $350 to $100. I had to buy them. Shop assistant gave me his number.

Instead of going home I decided to stop by early at Lisa and Neal’s house that is not far from Barney’s and wait there until Shabbat dinner. I had a wonderful late afternoon playing with Lola, Mikhail and the Bush Baby. They must be all under the age of 4. Isaac, 8, arrived and I pretended to be his father’s retarded friend that amused him greatly. 41 on the outside 8 on the inside. Amanda who is 16 came home from school. We looked at the pictures of her summer camp and then we wandered down to Saks to return a vile Lacost shirt. Saks closes at 6 so we missed it and wandered back. She still owns the shirt. I sat in the den with the Bush Baby’s dad Aaron watching bad celebrity TV. The house slowly filled up with relatives of Lisa’s and one particularly annoying Australian actor friend of theirs who is not only unsophisticated but also ugly. Chip.

Chip is one of those people who insist on trying to get the better of you. He behaves like an old-fashioned school bully. I first met him when he turned up at Amanda’s sweet 16 at Wacky Waffles on Sunset. He was with Nick Sawyer who was Orlando Bloom’s PA and now produces movies-notably he is producing Macbeth with John Maybury. There was some misunderstanding between Nick and myself about illicit drug taking and we needed to sort it out. Anyway, it was unpleasant and was totally inappropriate for this discussion to take place at Amanda’s sweet sixteen. The moment Chip arrived last night he starts goading me about this incident and was delighted that I did not find it very funny. Chip then asked me to open the wine knowing that I go to AA and really don’t like to do it. When I refused he took Lisa’s brother into the scullery and giggled. What a fucking IDIOT. I had my meeting with James Franco to get to at the Chateau Marmont so I took my cushions and scarpered. All the children came to the door to kiss me goodbye.

Arrived at the Chateau. Heard my name being screamed across the lobby. Chris Parker. I could not talk. He was with two girls who looked like they had their phones glued to their ears.

All I want to say about James is this: he is a gentleman. We watched the film. We drank Badoit. He drove me home in his Bentley.

Missed out on dinner with Selina and Aleksa. Will send apology immediately I finish this.

When I returned from London two weeks ago I felt energised. I felt strong. Two weeks into being back here and I feel put upon. That is the only way to describe it. I feel pressured by unknown forces. Low-level dissatisfaction pervades my day. I engage with fools and play their games. I am already sick of listening to the trials of others in one-sided conversations. I do not trust that people will do their best, I like to think that professionals in the UK give their all rather than here where people do the barest minimum. God works hard for me in LA. I hand over a great deal to him. Perhaps today will be better.

Go where the love is.

8:26 AM

September 8, 2006 – Friday

Peter

How could I forget to mention that the towels have FINALLY been returned to the cupboard in the bathroom where they live. Hurrah! Thank you for your concerned e-mails and notes. Again, I can confirm that Daniel washed and returned the misssing towels.

It is a totally over-cast, grey day on Runyon Canyon. 35 dogs. The elderly Russian men had the stroller with baby as well as a miniature clipped poodle-the ginger variety. Getting to know all of the regulars, what they wear, the route they take, the smell of their antiperspirants. One-man prances down the hill, taking tiny, pointed toe steps like a Lipizzaner horse performing dressage. Bird life evident on a dull morning, I saw plovers, humming birds and crested grouse.

I hope today proves a little less frustrating than yesterday.

It started after I posted my blog. One of my oldest friends called from Europe-I was really pleased to hear from her. She is a very chic art collector who I met and had a brief but passionate affair with when I was in my late teens. As with all of my friends we have had our ups and downs. We have had periods of silence and moments of high drama. I was thrilled to hear from her-I always am but I could hear in her voice that something was wrong, the very same something that I have been aware of for some considerable time. She confronts me-challenges me. We end up having a furious row but instead of slamming the phone down I finally demand to know what was the matter? What was this all about? She tearfully told me that she was going to be 52 next week and the penny dropped. Menopause. It was that that had kept her up all night sweating, reliving the past, feeling inadequate-confronting her own mortality, wanting to relive past sexual conquests. On the edge of madness. It was this terrible hormonal upheaval that she could not speak about previously that now explained everything about our recent history. This is real! This isnt madness and nor was it anything to do with me. Now we have something to work with and work through. She seemed delighted as her friends refused to say that, “Horrible word.”

Chris P arrived for lunch and we talked about his recent past. We never talk about me. He never asks about me. He really knows nothing about me. All he knows is that I am mad. Ate at American Rag. $35. Bad shrimp salad-unsatisfactory French toast. Moody waitress expecting a huge tip. Tips get on my fucking nerves. Tips are for good service. Since when did they become mandatory? My worst tip experience happened in NYC when I paid by credit card and then left the tip (double the tax) in cash. I left the restaurant only to have the not very attentive waitress scream after me, “Where’s my God Damned tip?” I told her that I had left it on the table in cash-we went back to where I was sitting and there it was on the saucer where I had left it. I asked the waitress for an apology, she refused, I took back the tip. Chris and I discussed Joe Townley and why I don’t really want to see him. It isn’t him. It is who I become when I see him. I don’t like who I am when I spend time with Joe.

After lunch Chris asked me why I refused to get a car. No answer.

My friend Charlie P is a rich, successful media man. When I need advice or guidance I call him. He is incredibly generous with his time. Whenever we meet I insist that I pay for our lunch or dinner. I feel that it is right and proper that I do so. He is always pleased because nobody ever pays for him. It suddenly occurred to me yesterday why sexual favours are so prevalent in this city. I have sat on so many occasions with actors advising them about their careers. Who to go to, who is good, who can help etc. Do these people ever think for one moment what this is worth to them? Do they consider that it might me nice to take me to lunch for helping them? Then I realised. They have nothing to give. Young poor men and women have only their bodies to offer for good advice. That is the currency of the Hollywood meat market economy.

I was quoted in US weekly yesterday re John Travolta. Good quote.

After lunch I was meant to be seeing another actor who used to be in Angel but he failed to show up. This flaky arrogant behaviour is so LA. I called him and shouted at him for ten minutes. He is a deeply closeted actor. He accused me of being over emotional. This is the second time that he has let me down. I could have been with Gil and the kids or seen my sponsor or prepared some writing. Instead of which I sat around waiting for a tosser who could not be bothered to call.

I joined the gym. What a palaver. I had decided that I wanted to join LA Fitness at the end of the street. It is walkable, it is new and the facilities are good. I made up my mind, my credit card in my hand I told the girl at the desk that I wanted the introductory offer of $35 a month and could I get a membership? Nothing so fucking simple I’m afraid. I had to meet Carl who was going to show me the ‘facilities’. Carl told me all about his marriage break-up. Carl made no bones about the fact he thought I was gay. ” This is the kiddie room but a man like you won’t be needing that.” He asked what I thought I was doing climbing Runyon Canyon at my age-he suggested that I had to take care of my ‘brittle bones’. “I want you to come HERE every day Roy.” “My first name is Duncan.” I told him for the 5th time. “Is that your black Bentley parked outside Roy?”

Finally, after being shown the sauna, the cardio area and the racket ball courts I got my pass.

Peter Youngblood-Hills for dinner. Peter was in AKA he played Benjamin. We have had many adventures all over the world together and now we both live in LA. He arrived at my house on the scooter I want to buy. I cooked dinner. We had a great time together. We looked at his amazing photographs. He showed me the ones he took of me in Baja. We discussed JA who we stayed with there. We knew then that something was wrong with her. She was so thin and her jaw jutted out. Baja killed JA. All that misery she had to deal with. We talked about the whales we had seen and what a majestic experience it was. Peter has been in Africa with his friend Leonardo. Scoober diving with manta rays. He found cave dwelling shamans and photographed them. We discussed the Sufi myth The Conference of the Birds, which Peter Brook staged in Paris in 1980. I remember seeing that play as if I had just seen it yesterday. I had made my way to Paris just to see the play. I used to love theatre. I just hated making something that existed then there was no real evidence that we had existed at all. It is my arrogance that demands that I leave a mark.

Peter has a show of his work on the 17th September.

8:41 AM

September 7, 2006 – Thursday

Blue Eyes

Only 12 dogs this morning on Runyon Canyon.

I woke at sunrise and slogged up the hill. Very few people are out and about that early. Before the sun breaks over the horizon it is easier to see the path ahead of you. It is not going to be so hot today, 10 degrees cooler. Every day, before my walk, I pray for JA. Yesterday was another bangingly hot day. After yesterdays hike I wrote e-mails and noted that, annoyingly, my blog had moved out of sequence.

Yesterday was a simple day. Chatted more to Chris P about his career. Had lunch with Clifton at American Rag we sat next to two very over weight managers who said things like, “He’s the next Charlie Kaufman.” I ate the avocado stuffed with coronation chicken salad. $50 including tip.

After lunch my beautiful actor friend Josh came over to discuss his auditions. He is so fucking handsome yet lacks that essential oomph that gets him the job. He is probably a good enough actor but when you audition and are THAT fit you need to follow through with direct eye contact (he has piercing blue eyes) and crack that cheeky smile and every single door in LA will open before you. Josh is worried that people will perceive him as arrogant if he is too sure of himself. When you are that beautiful people expect you to be a little bit arrogant. Nobody wants a nerd in buffs clothing.

I have never been that good-looking but I exude confidence and I genuinely believe that things are going to work out. I rarely feel defeated, even when things are DIRE. Since I got sober nothing frightens me. So many people live in so much fear. Financial insecurity, snakes, Muslims, preparing raw meat. When I was younger I was ok looking, young-looking, but when I walked into a room people were aware that I was there: by reputation, by the way I dressed but mostly by my presence. It’s a fact.

Josh is a war hero fresh from Iraq-he should be super confident. I will take him to the next Hollywood do I go to. He needs to be out there, dressed up, making things happen. Letting people know who he is. We all do that in this city. It is like living in 17th Century Versailles. The etiquette, the pecking order, the instant recognition that leads to stellar patronage. Who sits where in restaurants or how they are sitting and with whom they sit. Madame de Pompadour by Nancy Mitford is a great book to read if you really want to know how Hollywood works. As a maverick film maker (Sharon calls me the gay film enfant terrible) I am intrigued by it all but do not invest in it.

One day I would like to make a film about the three most powerful gays in the city. The producer and the two agency bosses. Each of them have such a different style in business and their relationship with boys can be used as a metaphor for their general dealings. One of them is corrupt and corrupting. One creates protégés in the boys he dates and the other hires boys then dismisses them.

The less powerful gays jump up at the table like dogs of these three and a most undignified sight it is. My advice to any young actor arriving in Hollywood: There are certain hot tubs in LA you must avoid at any cost!

Had long chat with Effie Brown who is post producing Dorian Gray. She is a saint. Very business like though, very strong. I really like her, you know exactly where you stand with Effie. No bullshit!!

The Internet introduced me to a young man who came over as a prospective date. We fed the tame squirrel nuts. No sex. He left when Dom turned up to take me to dinner with his friend Andres who is moving to Zurich. Oddly he knows the sister of Antoinette Stern with whom we spent New Years Eve.

The Beef ribs we gnawed on for dinner were disgusting. $25. I was a bit hyper after having spent all day with Josh. Conversation about Lindsay Ls vagina on the Internet. No knickers as she got out of the car. Poor LL.

Will join gym today. May alternate between Canyon and gym.

8:14 AM September 6, 2006 – Wednesday

Nicole Richie

thirty-four dogs on Runyon Canyon. Saw a group of elderly Russian men pushing a baby in a stroller. Had sudden panic that I could be arrested for smiling at lesbians. “I smile at everybody.” Would be my pathetic defence in the courtroom. Nobody smiles on Runyon Canyon.

Sprinting up the canyon I thought about my father dying of pancreatic cancer when he was only 53. The last pictures of him are on his hospital bed looking defeated but still very fat. He only had one eye. Lost it in a Porsche racing accident. I thought, as I was running up the very steep bit of the canyon, my heat pounding, if I should really be taking it easy at my age. I could just drop dead at any moment. I thought about this: When my father was a young man somebody threw him out of a second floor window because he owed them money.

Yesterday began with Erik L the writer arriving to rake over My Funny Valentine for comedy ideas. We began discussing each character, their motivation etc. We decided that the leading man’s sidekick needed to be a group rather than an individual. We nailed the ‘heavenly’ side of the story into shape and made sense of what happens on earth. Discussed casting. Needs to be cast by AFM. Erik left just after lunch.

Dan Glenn popped by to cheer me up even though I was perfectly cheery. A few minutes after he left Chris Parker arrived with chocolate muffins. We sat by the back door and ate them. The squirrel that lives in my yard likes me spraying him with cold water. Chris and I amused ourselves with that for a little while. Chris may go back to London and get on with his acting. I used to scoff at LA dream chasing but now I see that it is all part of the process. We discussed his career then he too drove off. I am a refugee in this city. I cannot go home and do what I do here. Very hot yesterday and the day before.

Tony my neighbour dropped by to say hello. He had been in Redondo Beech dressed as a Hot Dog for three days being paid $50 an hour. Children hugging his legs. He lost a lot of weight in that costume.

Dinner with Ian Drew at The Chateau Marmont. As we arrived Will Carter screams at me, “Have you been doing BED AND BRAKFAST?” I am stunned. Why would the maitre de of the Chateau Marmont know such a thing? I admit that I have. “It’s all over town.” Ian pipes up. I flounder for a moment. How can I explain just how important it is for me to honour both sides of who I am? When I do b and b I serve rather than be served, I listen rather than be heard. It is terribly important for arrogant bad Duncan to be of service. That’s why I do Reiki. I looked a little perplexed but thankfully Nicole Richie arrived and kissed us all and the B and B topic was, thankfully, set aside. Anyway, this perfectly describes the collision of my two lives.

Ian and I have a very jolly supper. Shrimp/Artichoke/Steak. We discuss my life pre Whitstable this summer when we sort of lost contact-I was traded in for a boyfriend. I told him how mad it became going up to see EL every night. Night after night with Lindsey Lohan and that gang watching them party. We discuss the Prada party that neither of us bothered going to but was apparently the best party of the season thrown by our friend Amanda Demme. The last memorable party she threw was a Prince private concert for 200 people at the Roosevelt. I went with Ian and we must have been the only non-celebrities there. Ian is best known for giving evidence at the Michael Jackson trial. Half way through dinner Ian made us move inside to a very bad table because he thought he saw Elizabeth Taylor. It wasn’t.

I see my friend Steve Garbarino (editor in chief of Black Book) with Stellan Skarsgaard and sit with them for a moment. Maddy, Steves divine girl friend is packing in her room before she heads back to New York. I see the adorable James Franco eating dinner with his charming friends. We will meet this Friday to watch my film. Joel Mikely was busy with Peter Bogdanovitch and Brittany Murphy. I love Joel.

Sadly, I also bumped into DP (Paramount number cruncher) and TB (bit player) who are ghastly people. Snobby DP telling more dreary stories about getting drunk-she had just returned from Deauville film festival and was disappointed that there were too few parties. She boasted, “Last time I was here at the Chateau I was up until 5 getting WASTED.” Ha ha ha. When is she going to realise just how un-cool that is? TB may be amused by the John Travolta US Weekly issue. TB is a (very cute) gay who is vile about gays in public. Ian complimented DP’s new longer, wavy hair extensions.

In the lobby Will introduced us to two very handsome marines who had some how got past security. They invited us to have a drink at the Bar Marmont. I had lemonade. Ian was impatient to get to Foo Bar and belt out something by The Rolling Stones. We love karaoke. Monday nights are better but we had a great time anyway. The marines were sweet and very gay/gay friendly. After Ian brilliantly sang to us all we said goodbye to the marines and drove to Beige on Sunset but it was dead after labor day. Ian introduced himself to anybody we met as Kate Moss. “You filled out a bit Kate.” one rather cute Latino boy cheekily spat back at him. Of course all I could hear on the way home was, “Do you think I’m fat?”

1:17 AM

September 5, 2006 – Tuesday

room-mate

Only 23 dogs on Runyon Canyon today. Why?

After the holiday weekend perhaps everybody had already hiked by 7am or perhaps they come later after a heavy night. I whipped up the Canyon in no time. I had a great deal on my mind. At first I thought about not going or taking an easier path but every time my head tells me to take a day off my workout-to take the softer, easier path-I remind myself that JA is savoring every day as it may be her last and so, out of respect, should I.

On the way down the Canyon I try to say good morning to everyone I meet. I have learned that to simply nod and smile is ignored. The sort of nod and smile that I would appreciate on Whitstable beach for instance. A mouthed ‘morning’ always solicits a reply from old people and people of colour but never from young white men or women. A hearty British old-fashioned ‘Good Morning’ shakes all of them out of their self-obsession. Of course, one can look totally insane doing that. The best way to make contact with any of them is to say hello to their dog. However, I refuse to talk to dogs. “Come on Philip.” Calling dogs’ human names is, quite frankly, batty. I like Dogs to have Dog names like Scamp, Napkin, Ruffian etc. If owners must insist on human names for dogs then choose names that express something about the nature of the specific dog e.g. Napoleon.

Manny’s on Fairfax for breakfast yesterday with the gang (food is just OK, the waitress forgets to post order so food arrives 40 mins after we did.) The couple on the table next to us arrive carrying a dog in a basket-a shaved Pomeranian. Just its face remained Pomeranian looking. They pulled the dog out of the bag and plop it under the table. “Is your dog friendly?” They ask the couple next to us. “No.” I say. We all laugh. We make small talk about the Pomeranian. I tell them that their dog looks like Dakota Fanning. “We never heard that before.” They say, laughing. I ask them if they are trying for a baby. I am forever asking straight couples if they are trying for a baby. “That’s our baby.” she said. On another table there is an Italian Grey Hound that is so thin it obviously has bulimia. “Does your dog have self-image problems?” I ask. They laugh. Imagine that thin dog thing hanging over the toilet-it’s little paw shoved down its throat. My friend arrived with his dog Nick which is a terrier/chihuahua mix and quite sweet I suppose. When we got home I realised that Nick was going to be like a third person in the apartment. When we went to lay on the bed my friend insisted Nick came too. Call me old-fashioned but I do not think that sleeping with dogs is entirely hygienic. So, rather than spend time with me on our own and put the dog outside the bedroom he left.

What preoccupied me as I climbed the mountain? My roommate, Daniel. Where do I begin? The towels have not been returned. Daniel and his very young boyfriend pick at my stuff in the kitchen, nuts etc., but not enough for me to make a decent complaint. I buy a huge carton of kitchen roll; he buys two (to make matters worse his towels are printed with gold-fish). He occasionally forgets to flush the toilet leaving the lid down so when I lift it…

Then, last night at 3.45, I wake, as if from a nightmare, hearing a huge crash in the kitchen, of course, think that somebody is breaking into the apartment I leap out of bed. I see that the rug in the hall is folded over and rather than be timid I shout. “Who the fuck is there?” and charge toward the kitchen. Standing in the dark is Daniel holding a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice. He is obviously very drunk and calmly begins questioning me about why I am screaming around the house. His tone is sinister. “Tell me exactly why you found it necessary to scream.” I heard him say as I retreated. I go to bed. I can hear that my neighbors have heard what is going on and will need to explain to them later.

Joe Townley called. He is having a great time in early sobriety. I remember my first sober New Years Eve. I was in the Sydney Opera House watching The Magic Flute. During the interval we watched the midnight fire works that set the entire Sydney Harbour Bridge ablaze and then we returned to the opera house for the second part of the opera. Perfect. My first six sober New Years Eve were even more perfect than the last. Three mediocre New Years Eve followed (including one with Georgina in Sydney) and then last year, of course, I was in St Moritz with the wonderful Antoinette Stern.

Today Erik the writer comes and Valentine begins in earnest.

10:33 AM