Archives for posts with tag: Jake Bauman

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Lucy Ferry killed herself.  A shot-gun in an Irish village.  Her ‘beloved’ dogs present.  Her death opening the door to a whole world of grief.  In drawing rooms all over London, Palladian homes in the West Country, cottages in Norfolk… pearls were clutched, brows furrowed.

The moment I heard the terrible news I called Simon Finch. We gasped in horror.  Oh no.  No.  There was nothing more to say.  Lucy Ferry/Birley née Helmore was dead.

I met Lucy with Isabella Blow.  Mischievous Isabella, she’d say, “Lucy only married Bryan to save the Helmore family house.”  By the time I met Lucy she was already separated from Bryan.  We had tea often at that saved Kensington home.  A short walk from where I lived on Adam and Eve Mews. “Oh, hello.”  She looked a little confused.  As if my visit had slipped her mind, as if life were happening to her rather than being fully present.  That sweet smile.

Sometimes the younger of her four boys were in the house, rattling around upstairs, but we sat on our own.  She didn’t have to be Lucy Ferry with me.  She was just another addict talking it through.  Another bozo on the bus… as they used to say at AA/NA meetings in Hudson NY.  Just one addict helping another, working the steps.  Even so, she was never a great believer in God… but I bet she called out for him just before she pulled the trigger.

We had dinner at Floriana on Beauchamp Place, pretending to be a couple, mainly her idea to annoy Bryan.  Hosted by Tatler, 19 Mar 2003.  The Evening Standard wrote a vile and libellous take down of yours truly after the prank.  Gratifyingly, the writer of the piece (Deborah Orr told me) died painfully and suddenly a few months later.   I wasn’t moved by his death, nobody remembers his name… as people remember and are moved by Lucy.

Isabella read the piece in the Standard, refusing to understand the humour.  She summoned me to Prada on Bond St. I met her in the dressing room, pulling a jewelled frock over flesh-colored, boned underwear.  She screamed, “What were you thinking? Lucy would never have a relationship with someone like YOU!”

“Issy! You were there. You knew it was a prank!”

“It wasn’t very funny.” She gasped as the sales associate zipped her into the gown.

The dinner at Floriana was thrown for Lee McQueen.  Michael Portillo and Isabella Blow sat either side of me.  Prince Michael of Greece opposite.  Lucy was setting me up with Lee but we weren’t interested.  We were interested in Lucy.  If only gay boys had Lucy’s charm and spunk.  4 years later Isabella would drink poison and die, a year after that… Lee would hang himself.

This week Bella Freud, Jasper Conran, Patrick Kinmonth amongst so many others posted sad obituaries on Instagram.  Conran, a picture of Lucy from his wedding.  Kinmonth, a tiny dead bird by Craigie Aitchison.  All of them wailing plaintively about their friend Lucy.

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Why didn’t she call?  Why was she on her own?  Where were her friends?  Her husband and children?  Was she going to meetings?  Did she have people who could help her live, make the decision to live?  Obviously not.

Every addict wants to die sooner than God planned.  It is a decision none want taking from us.  The needle in the arm, the bottom of the glass, the cold gun.

Hamish Bowles’ piece in Vogue was mawkish and badly written. Painting pretty Lucy shaped pictures of a woman Hamish scarcely understood other than her frocks, hats and shoes.  Of course, he didn’t ask why?  Nobody is asking why.  Is that too impertinent when you expect someone you know well to grow old?  She would have made a very, very grand old lady.  Rasping, funny and chic.

It’s a bit late,  posting pretty black and white pictures of her on social media, Hamish.

Two weeks ago I managed to track her down.  She was a little frosty, we hadn’t spoken for years.  She asked if I was sober.  We giggled about her brother Ed living it large at The Chateau Marmont in LA where I last saw him.  We recalled the Floriana scam and the subsequent outrage.  She wanted to know if I was in love.  I told her about Jake and our disastrous relationship… I told her how overwhelming love can be.  Crippling.  I asked about her husband.  There was a long, painful silence.  She suddenly seemed wistful and bored.  We made tentative plans to meet when she returned from her doomed vacation.

She wondered if I had ever received the green fur hat.  Of course I had.  Apparently, she had never received my written thanks.

Did she stop believing?  Run out of dreams?  Her children, dogs and husband could not convince her life was worth living.  Did she stop loving dressing up, entertaining, preparing lavish dinners, being center of attention?  Perhaps she saw the folly of her ways?  Couldn’t align her feelings with the facts?  Maybe she was drinking and convinced herself suicide a glamorous conclusion?  God only knows.

I have lost more friends/acquaintances to suicide than any other disease these past 50 years.  Suicide.  Touching the lives of almost everyone I know.  He lay on the tracks, he loaded the syringe, he hung himself from the banister, she jumped from the bridge, she blew her brains out in Ireland.   They found him dead in the car park, Boxing Day.  He was badly decomposed.  He stole pills from the hospital.  I knew all these people.

Bye bye Lucy.

Go, then! Then go to the moon-you selfish dreamer!

I left Fire Island on Wednesday.  Driving north with my Persian friend Iliad.  The clouds were low, the air muggy and thick.  We took the ferry from Orient Point to New London.  There was a British aristocrat on the ferry stitching needle point.  Beautiful raspberry and pistachio coloured yarn.

My intention is to return to Fire Island… maybe…. next month.  The last couple of days blighted by torrential rain and chilly winds.  Friends came, David visited from NYC for the day and Lorne made an appearance but mainly to fetch his forgotten/lost bag.

May proved to be chillier than I remember.  Memorial Day and the biscotti queens came and went.  John, the owner of the house arrived and made everything broken… work.  I cooked a huge dinner and he and his friends the Scots seemed to love it.  Andrew from Dover Street Market swept in wearing incredibly chic pants.   John baked Halibut en cocotte.

During the week those of us who stayed were thrown together at the Canteen (I think they call it The Cultured Elephant).  It’s true when they say one makes gay acquaintances in the city and gay friends on Fire Island.  I got to hang with the resort staff who are genuinely the sweetest, most handsome men… see the pictures above.   They have a grueling season ahead of them: working the bars, the clubs, the hotel and the restaurants.  Only the most robust will survive.  It’s a tough, unforgiving business serving entitled, demanding gay men.  The day before I headed North one of the newbies left the island in tears, torn apart by gay unreasonableness.

I met Joey the little person who is a particularly inspiring soul.  I was in awe of his ability to be the hugest man in his little body.  He has a captivating story.

Everyone has a Fire Island Pines story.   There are love affairs and breakups, tears on the boardwalk and fights in the elegant cedar homes.  There are couples and  thruples and orgies, there are undignified old men last gasping for their youth.  Wide eyed first timers arrive on the ferry, amazed such a place as Fire Island Pines exists.  I remember the day, the first day Joe-Baily brought me to Fire Island 25 years ago.  I will never forget it.

Everyone has a story.  I was told one hundred times by stick thin youths they were too fat or not pretty enough to meet the man of their dreams.  They told me boys talk to them in real life like they do on Grindr.  “Hung?” as an opening gambit.  “Party?”  “Looking?”  The single word pick up.  So lazy and charmless.  I did not envy them, these young boys… so far from serenity.   Of course, not all young gay boys are wracked with self-doubt.  I met young gay men who were comfortable and confident and conquering all… whilst the vulnerable fell by the wayside or let old men blow them at the dick dock.

There’s a degree of gay anarchy on the island.  Every one of the local laws are broken every day by almost everyone.

The AA meetings are vile.  The recovering alcoholics looking down their nose at those who drink and take drugs.   I met a dozen gay men, once sober who now drink… taken out by a beautiful boy and a meth pipe.

One story particularly moved and disturbed me.  A grey eyed, erudite black boy no more than 28 years old who works for a renowned artist.   We met on the beach.  He described his Fire Island experience, embarrassed to tell me he had encountered a great deal of racism during his time at The Pines.  There are few black people on Fire Island and now I know why.

We finally made it to P’town.  I had dinner with Benoit the night I arrived, we ate fish and chips.  The ex-gay story he wrote for the New York Times Magazine is now a film produced by Gus Van Sant, starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto.  I’m very proud of him.  Except… it’s another entirely white cast.   Why? Why? Why?

Yesterday, a local fisherman brought two pounds of freshly caught lobster knuckles.  We shucked for dinner.

The dogs loved Fire Island.  They miss it!  Dude and The Little Dog bounding up the boardwalk, chasing rabbits and deer.  They are a little more restricted here even though we live directly on the beach and they are allowed to walk unleashed.   Today we walked a mile or so to the West End and visited the pier shack where Tennessee Williams wrote The Glass Menagerie on a stolen type writer.

The Shack where Tennessee Williams wrote to Glass Menagerie

My favorite and the most obviously poignant Tennessee Williams line from The Glass Menagerie:

I didn’t go to the moon, I went much further… for time is the greatest distance between two places.

Which made me think momentarily about Jake Bauman who I kinda owe my love of both Cape Cod and the Catskills.  Both of whom he introduced me.  If he hadn’t mentioned them with such fondness… I wouldn’t have explored them years later.   There are times when I wonder about those crazy few months with Jake.  They sure seem indelible.   There are brief moments when I wish I could pick up the phone and ask him how he is and what his life is like now.  Then I think better of it and let the memory, the moment… the past… slip back into the black, bombazine black water of what was but could never be.

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There is a moment when you know it’s over.  That his proximity disgusts you.   That no amount of love can disguise what was or what could be.   These photographs were taken at the moment, the moment I knew for sure.  The fast train to Paris from Cannes.  A beautiful boy sat opposite me and I wanted to ravish him.  I couldn’t wait to say goodbye to the loved one.  Yet, I knew, the moment we parted I would not stop thinking of him. From the moment I woke up to the moment I fell into a fitful sleep.  Gone, the door slammed.   He was dead to me long before I made it impossible for him to do anything but take drastic measures.  It was the worst kind of grief because nobody died…

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New York. May 2012

There you are. Finally. For all to see.  Like bumping into you in the street. That’s how it felt.  But you were where we met…virtually…on the internet.

Peony, the rain, the winsome songs.

If we had bumped into each other in the street, I think I would have felt the same. I left the page with a sweet smile on my face. I felt proud of you. I know how exciting life must be for you.  And if I had bumped into you in the street and you had told me that you were in love…inevitably you wanted me to know that you were in love and inevitably I crumbled.

I am indeed that cliché you despised so badly. 😉

I called Robby and he listened. I called Joan and we looked into your life and we all agreed that it was swell.

So…

The end of the film needs rewriting.  All the world can see your love. Ironic huh? Now you know how I felt when I wanted to publicly celebrate what we once had, when I wrote about us.

There you are, together…pressed together. In love.  You looked great. Your hair well cut, your pants the right length.  Your boy friend looks extraordinary and familiar. Celine is a great brand.  I know you didn’t put that Tumblr page up for me but you knew I would see it. You knew I’d have an opinion.

It was a perfect way to let me know.

If we hadn’t ended things so badly and we’d met in the street…I would have hugged you. I would have thanked you. I would have smiled gently. I may have shed a tear.  I loved you very much…you know that. But, we knew what we had was fleeting…needed to happen for you to set yourself free, free for this relationship that you celebrate so publicly today.

The metamorphosis is complete and you have emerged fully into the world…a beautiful young man capable of great love and glamor…and your underwear was chic as all hell.

I know that you will make something amazing one day…something I would have never guessed.  A film or a book or a room or a garden. You are capable of all those things.

Of course I still love you. But not like that.  This is all I ever wanted, to know you are happy and to share your happiness

By publishing your life so publicly I am relieved…even though I cried, I cried because you were there on the street telling me what I needed to know.

That you are happy and in love and…of course…beautifully dressed.

PS I bought the book.

 

I needed to stay in home alone tonight.  I feel sad.  Sad about Kristian, sad about my friends who died this year and sad that once again I am on my own:  the vacuum left behind after a wonderful weekend with a great friend.

I have always had and certainly will continue to have a serious problem with goodbye.  Saying goodbye permanently or even temporarily brings up huge feelings of loss, vulnerability and then the anger-the anger overwhelms me.

The genesis of these feelings: I was ripped from my mother’s breast and put up for adoption.  These are primal fears of life and death.   The most profoundly affecting goodbye after my mother’s abandonment was the death of my Darling Big Dog.

When my dog was violently killed the resulting anguish unleashed a torrent of sadness, a great wave of misery that may have resulted from not ever having said goodbye-ever to anyone I loved.  I did not go to my grandfather’s funeral nor my grandmother’s.   I have rigorously avoided any ritual goodbye and for that I am a lesser man.

Whenever I leave a party I just slip away as if saying goodbye will somehow humiliate me.

The same feelings overcome me now after the deaths of three friends in as many months.  Yet the very act of writing about them lends me immediate solace.

The end of relationships causes me unrelenting heartache.

Stoically accepting the end of a relationship?  No, not for me.  Nearly all of the relationships I have had have ended badly.  I never, it seems, get to write that scene in the movie of my life where two people say a dignified goodbye.

The end of my relationship with Joe ended thus:  I knew that I was going to leave but it took me 2 years to end it and when I finally did I tried to do it with tenderness and compassion but he was so angry that he made my life miserable for a full year after I left him-ending up in court fighting over property.

In my mad head I forget that I have choices, the choice to remember that the past no longer runs the show, choices to say goodbye without the reenactment of traumatic and ruinous scenarios.

Today I waved goodbye to a new friend who has come to mean a great deal to me.  Whether there is any romantic future between us is really not up to me-unless I behave in such a way that he would never want to see me again.   This morning I began to get angry, angry that he was leaving but knew that it was for the best.

Even though I was only momentarily angry-until I could identify what was going on in my mad head and break the cycle of abandonment and despair by telling him that I would miss him, that I was feeling sad, that I had no mechanism for making those feelings go away…and by telling him the truth I was freed from behaviors that would alienate him from me forever.

I will say goodbye to Kristian this week, say my heartfelt adieu.   His death has brought up all sorts of STUFF.   I sorted out pictures of us today and will post them as soon as I can.

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