Archives for posts with tag: justin bond

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I am downtown. Downtown LA. We are drinking coffee in a chic coffee shop.

It is reassuringly sophisticated.  It feels like NYC. It feels like a city.  Spring Street. Coffee bar.  The people who pass by are dressed well and don’t have that Hollywood vibe. The women are not showing off their chests and legs, the boys are wearing well cut pants and have covetable accessories.

Having the car makes life more interesting. I am scarcely at home.  I am writing this on my phone.

I had dinner with an old friend on Saturday night. We ate at Bossa Nova then we saw Clash of the Titans 2 at the Chinese Theatre.  There were less than 10 of us in the theatre.  The film was terrible, Olivia was terrible. Everything about that terrible film that could be said…was said.  He brought two young men. They didn’t say much. One was gay, the other ‘in training’.  Outside the theatre there was a costume exhibition. We poured over the ormolu costume jewelry Elizabeth Taylor wore in Cleopatra.

We explained to the boys the history of Century City.  You know that story don’t you?  How Cleopatra bankrupted 20th Century Fox? How the back lot was sold and Century City was built?  Everybody should know that story, if they live in LA.

It was pouring rain.  Under the theatre, in the parking lot, valley girls were vomiting out of SUVs onto their fake Louboutins.  We drove west, we sat together at my club and they drank cocktails. I drank coffee.  The boys remained mute.

Not feeling at all combative, I found myself passionately discussing racism and gay equality which quickly disintegrated into a nasty UK v USA argument.  At one point my friend told me that if he could press a button and eradicate all Muslims he would.  I pointed out that my father was a Persian Muslim and technically so were the majority of my 11 brothers and sisters. That he would have to kill my young sister Rebecca.

How did he feel about that?  His genocidal zeal was not diminished.

How come it’s become ok for reasonable men to become so islamaphobic?  The conversation further disintegrated into how retarded the Brits were for accepting equality without the word marriage in the equation.  It made my blood boil that he would rather have nothing if he couldn’t have the word marriage. Civil unions in the UK seem, to those who have them…just like being married and my friends who have civil unions think of themselves, describe themselves, as married.  Anyway, the m word is now being fought for in the UK but more as a nice after thought attached to the equality that we already enjoy.  You know how I felt, and people like me felt about that word. Archaic, patriarchal bull shit…antiquated in the secular UK.

Then, this morning, I found myself listening to Democracy Now on the radio as I drove the 101 Freeway.

Van Jones being interviewed.

He pointed out that in the civil rights game played out in the USA…if you are prepared to be arrested for what you believe…and there are enough of you, change happens quickly.

Be seen to fight for what you believe rather than playing the faceless gay equality/marriage ‘incremental’ tactic…employing expensive lawyers and fighting state by state…  He mentioned the names of 5 or 6 black civil rights leaders. I got to wondering where our civil rights leaders were? Who are they? Why can’t I name them?

I suppose Lance Black has become a recognizable leader/voice of the gay community but this seems accidental rather than deliberate.  It has always been my dream for the gay men and women of the USA that they get the human rights they deserve.  But…what are they prepared to risk when demanding those rights? How many windows do they need to break?

There is something weedy and unfocused about the movement.  Worse, by articulating this frustration I risk people like my friend telling me that I am letting down the cause.  We need leaders, we need direct action. It is the only way the unelected justices (who get the final say) at the Supreme Court will truly understand how important equality is to us.

The system has failed us.

Meanwhile, Justin Bond shared on Facebook a piece from the NY Times about the suicide of a gay man struggling with the notion of old age…amongst other things.

Read it here: gay suicide

Some of Justin’s friends dismissed the piece as worthless. Some of them understood how important it was.  Some of them, quite rightly, wondered why the piece was in the style section. Our community wrestles with all sorts of problems peculiar to our people. It is absurd, at moments like this, to pretend that we are just like everyone else.  Our generation of gay men, used to unlimited sex, sexual validation, Peter Panism at its worst…has to wake up and acknowledge the wrinkles.

So, it’s been quite a week. A date last night that went really well. Passionate discussions and…well the dogs.

What more could I want?

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Justin Bond at Joe’s pub last night with Jake and Joan.

A slight show but worth the effort because Martha Wainwright sang two enchanting songs.  Two few.  We were desperate for more.

You know that I love and have always loved the McGarrigle’s.

Of course there are extraordinary similarities between Martha and her mother Kate McGarrigle.  Joan, Joe, Jake and I sat there entranced by her great beauty and talent.

Dinner before show at Indochine, still a bit anxious about eating anything that may poison me.  I am on the don’t get poisoned diet.

Briefly…  Justin Bond.  Look, I don’t mean to be a bitch but when you are sharing a stage with a hugely talented person like Martha it can only serves to highlight ones own limitations.

I know that some people think that Justin deserves some sort of divine glorification before his eventual gay sainthood… but I am not one of them.

He’s a decent performer but he is neither a great singer nor actor.  What does he have going for him?  He is simply an all round nice guy.

Maybe that’s enough?

A saint is always someone through whom we catch a glimpse of what God is like — and of what we are called to be. Only God ‘makes’ saints, of course.

It’s raining in New York so stayed in and wrote and pottered around happily in my room over looking the river and looked at the lesbian menopause infomercial Anna and I made at my house.

Fanny Cradock/Justin BondChristmas Eve in Beverly Hills last year was a mass of heaving bags, frantic women and dissolute men.   This year there was scarcely a soul on Rodeo Drive.  ‘Deck the Hills’ Beverly Hills tacky shopping slogan-hadn’t worked.  Tim, Amanda and I walked briskly from shop to shop nere another shopping bag to be seen.

In the spirit of Christmas Past I was wearing a pair of black cashmere pantaloons with pink socks and buckled shoes.  I had both the dogs with me.  All eyes on Duncan.  It is possible to be a chic farmer-as Martha Sitwell proves.  I am so sick of dressing DOWN.   Bland, dreary jeans, meaningless sweats: how can a man of any sexuality express himself sartorially?

Women, for that matter, don’t seem to have it any better.  Note the tribes of identically dressed club girls waiting in line on Ivar.  Shivering, tiny, rectangular micro-mini dresses and boucle crop tops, emaciated spikes of pink/brown flesh once born as arms and legs.

Since my rehab experience I am having a cris de coeur.  A real one.  A bone fide cris de coeur.  Well, not so much a crisis of the heart but of the cock.  A cris de pallique!

I am having an unplanned, unwanted, unloved revelation about my sexuality.  I really don’t know if I am gay anymore.  I think I might not be.  Genuinely.  I am having a MOMENT about my gayness.  Somebody wrote on some board somewhere, “If Duncan Roy doesn’t like gay sex-he isn’t gay.”  Well, as it happens, that might be true.

Lets face it; my sexual relations with man are based on recreating earlier abuses.  I seldom get excited-if ever.   I don’t get no-satisfaction. Perhaps if I trained myself to be present during sex with men but…even…even that seems like nonsense.   I just don’t enjoy men.  I lay there wondering, unengaged, what the hell am I doing here?  Out of body.  Thinking about Delia’s thick bean and bacon soup.

Wearing pantaloons does not make you a gay.  Nor do pink socks.

Justin Bond

There’s something about dressing up, wearing wonderfully exotic clothing that makes me feel complete.  Frankly, at my age, I can wear what ever I damn well please.  I could wear make up if I wanted-and have been considering it.

I don’t want to be a star cross dresser rather a star-crossed lover of beautiful things.  After all, there’s a tranny deep inside of me-who’d like to be deep inside of you.

Somewhere along the way I became confused, disillusioned or just plain bored of GAY.   It used to be fabulous; it kept me coming back, the mere spectacle of GAY..but now look..it’s crazily banal.  The bars, clubs, private parties are all the same.  The same ghastly narrative, the same Benny Hill type chases, the same miserable, vacuous queens.   I didn’t sign up for that.  I signed up for glamour and individuality.

Would any of you mind if I just stopped the gay bus and got off?

Yesterday, I found myself in conversation with a woman whose life I had been at the periphery for many, many years.   We met at lunch with Amanda and Tim and, as so often happens, we had both been caught in the same social cobweb.  But, whereas the spider had already sucked me dry-my friend is in the process of being eaten alive.

I am incredibly attracted to a certain kind of woman as I am attracted to a certain kind of man.  However, a man’s intellect does nothing for me.  I don’t wake up thinking about his brain-I wake up thinking about his cock.  His story is a means to an end.  A woman’s story can, and often does, lead to intimacy.

Okay, more of that later.  Some other day.  More will be revealed etc. etc.

I voted round one for the Academy Awards.  My personal shortlist (films I had seen) was three times longer than 2008.  The Academy will be thrilled to hear that I took my voting duties very seriously this year.

The best actor category was the hardest vote to cast.  Gordon Levitt from 500 Days of Summer left a lasting impression-but really, that was IT.  So much easier to vote for the women!   There seemed to be real choice.  The role as written for women hasn’t gotten any better but women seem to have fun with their performances.  Whilst the men seem imprisoned by introspection the women are having a fucking blast…think Up In The Air.Fanny Cradock/Elizabeth Bowes Lyons/Justin Bond

Finally for Christmas!  My Christmas cheer:

If you have the chance, time or inclination do please check out Fanny Cradock.  Fanny, a 1970’s TV chef of the British snob variety became a ‘camp ’ legend, rude, funny and disparaging she predates Simon Cowell by thirty years.  Fanny had all his savvy but in those genteel days was fired for being a bitch whereas nowadays she would be given a pay rise.

My Grandmother couldn’t stand Fanny because she’d wear long sleeves whilst say, stuffing a goose.

I always wanted to create a mid-century modern TV bitch type character based on Fanny Cradock but Justin Bond got there first with his Kiki in the award winning show Kiki and Herb.

Johnny Cradock after eating a freshly made doughnut once said, “Mmmm, delicious.  I hope all your doughnuts taste like Fanny’s”

Justin Bond Soho House 2009

Yesterday opponents of gay marriage celebrated a decisive vote in the New York State Senate, where a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage was defeated 38 to 24.

DOMA, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Prop 8, etc., etc. are all still alive and kicking.   Gays in the USA face a bleak, uphill struggle for basic civil rights and as unpalatable as it is for me to admit this to my largely straight, female audience we only have ourselves to blame.

My friend Peter Tatchell the UK gay rights activist wrote to me recently when I asked him what gays in the USA should be doing – or what they were doing wrong said,

“It sounds most depressing in the US. But they have to sort it out.  The only really serious LGBT direct action group in the US is the radical gay Christian movement, Soulforce (part of the LGBT Metropolitan Community Church). They focus on challenging homophobic churches. If they could apply their direct action tactics to the wider LGBT civil rights struggle, they could be very effective.”

After Maine, many gay rights activists speculated that lawmakers around the country would be wary of supporting same-sex marriage legislation. While a CBS/New York Times poll show that support for gay marriage is growing, Maine served as a reminder that most Americans still oppose the idea. According to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 53 percent say they don’t think it should be legal.

We are left these options: education through the marketing of GAY (I would rather spend millions on marketing than lawyers), coalition (as in Harvey Milk’s preferred method) or (my personal favorite): DIRECT ACTION.  This means that where ever we face inequality, homophobia, hate crimes or murder we act decisively in huge numbers and demonstrate at the location of any of the above-much like we did at the Mormon temple in Los Angeles after the Prop 8 ratification.

People are getting angry, look at Justin Bond’s (popular award winning radical performance artist) recent twitter response to the New York state No vote.  I think he perfectly articulates what a growing number of us feel.

“From now on “friends” can’t let “friends” hang on to the delusion that they are compassionate if they idly watch their henchmen run the show.”

“As if by saying they care it makes it true. FUCK THAT! Stand up to the bullies in your churches, on your streets, in your government.”

As usual it’s the men who face descrimination everyday simply by putting on high heels and make up who are VISIBLE enough to take a stand.   The trannys who fought at Stonewall were the bravest because they had nothing to lose.  It’s funny because the preferred ‘drag’ of contemporary gay men is the greek muscle warrior-however most of them are too apathetic to fight.  Ironic?

There are a huge number of silent gay men who simply sit around and passively wait for change.  They do NOTHING to make change happen apart from making endless excuses and apologies for their apathy.  I had a long email chat with the erudite, gay Mickey Rapkin senior editor at GQ magazine who expects change though quiet lobbying.

I wrote:  Things ain’t changing whilst people are being dignified.  Does direct action scare you? Does risking your life for what you believe in appeal to you?  Are you ready to smash windows?  Ask any European and they sneer at the US gays for being meek, for not fighting.  What happened at Stonewall changed things.  What needs to happen is not going to be comfortable.

He was dead against any kind of direct action.  Upon further enquiry his ideas about marriage differed wildly from mine.  He said,  “No one is forcing you to get married.  Marriage is about economics, not religion. It’s about tax breaks. That’s something Republicans should certainly understand.”

Let me make it very clear what I think about marriage.  If marriage is our aim then marriage is a commitment between two people vowed before God.  Vows that include monogamy, honesty and love.

Many gay men that I speak to think that marriage is merely a contract and not a bargain made with each other before God.  I believe in the sanctity of marriage.  If marriage is simply, as Mickey says, a contract then a civil union will do just as well.

Are we gay men ready to look at our sexual conduct?  Our morals?  Are we prepared to commit?

I don’t blame Mickey Rapkin for being frightened.   In my opinion he is simply deluded.  The government and the church rely on his muddled ideas and complacency.

There are others in the community who get momentarily excited about change but they too fall by the way side.  When I interviewed Perez Hilton earlier this year he was excited about the march on Washington but what happened to his enthusiasm?  Again, I read what he writes on twitter and there is little or no follow up.  He has millions of Twitter followers that he can marshal to influence politics like he does record sales but he does nothing consistently.

All I know is that I watched in awe at Peter Tatchell marched all over the UK wherever there was injustice and took direct action. He made things very uncomfortable, not just for the government but all the complacent stay at home gays who would rather watch TV than engage with real choices.

Direct Action is the next logical step.