Archives for posts with tag: Malibu

The house by day is magical.

Jason and Hillary, quite separately, popped by and both brought lunch.  Hillary arrived with a friend’s dog called Willy who decided to pee on everything the moment he came indoors.

Hillary made a delicious gazpacho and Jason brough chevre and smoked salmon.  Three mad brits eating an Enid Blyton lunch in our tree house over looking the ocean.

I ate bread which I bitterly regret having eaten today.  I am bloated and my tummy aches.

The house after dark can be a little noisy.  I lay in the dark listening to the raccoons squabble, the coyote’s howl and the owls hoot.   The little dog had a restless night, so, of course did I.   He was up and down the stairs shouting at anything that disturbed him.  After an hour of this nonsense I closed the windows and he slept peacefully.

It was meant to be in the 100’s all week but by last night in Malibu it was colder than Whitstable.  I am sure the firemen are very happy as there have been so few wild-fire warnings.  Everything is very damp in the morning from the thick mist that rolls off the sea.

Jason left and Hillary and I decided to take the dogs for a long walk along the length of the new road (Rambla Pacifico) that leads to the PCH.  The house is now walkable from the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and since they started building the Rambla Pacifico extension empty lots are now for sale, lot owners who abandoned their lots 26 years ago are on the mountain with contractors discussing driveways and bedrooms with ocean views.  There is a certain excitement up here which cannot be ignored.

I applaud myself for paying so little for this house.  I just KNEW that one day the road would be built..who knew that it would be so soon?

Apparently I am not the only resident who regularly walks the muddy track which will one day be our new road/life line.  We saw a man armed with shopping bags marching over the hillocks.  Everyone is so impatient to feel less isolated.

It is only a few weeks until the rainy season starts so they must get a move on and finish this project.  The worst that could happen is that heavy rains come before it is finished and all their hard work is washed away.

If only Malibu would buy the road so it can be used by everyone rather than a select few.

Watched TV until midnight…yes there is a TV here and fell into bed.  I watch home improvement shows and laugh gently at how cheap and ill-conceived the ‘improvements’ are.

The Lil Dog was exhausted from running after Willy all day and his long walk but not, apparently,  exhausted enough.

P.S.  The despicable Glenn Beck is holding his reclaim America from anyone who isn’t white rally today in Washington.  For those of you who underestimate the ambition of people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin I urge you to take notice of their message.  They are determined to undermine the goodwill and inclusive character of this great country and, my friends, they will succeed just like their right-wing predecessors.  They will use all the usual tactics:  fear mongering, false patriotism and the invocation of their malevolent God.  These men and women are not clowns, we cannot afford to grandly sneer at their absurd antics.  For as the liberal elite laugh in their grotesque faces they are gathering speed.  If we are not very careful it will be soon too late for those of us who believe in freedom to stop them for we were too busy laughing.

Are you OK?

We say that to each other in the UK all the time.  It doesn’t really mean anything, it’s just the way we check in with each other.  I check in with you and you check in with me.  Even if I am not OK I thank you for asking.

When I taught him, the companion, what it meant he played at asking me if I was OK but the effect was still the same.  I felt good, checked in with, placated.

Americans, when you ask them if they are OK, worry that something looks wrong with them.  It worries them, disrupts their day.

So, don’t ask an American if he/she is OK unless you think that there is something wrong.  You’ll do more harm than good.

It’s Monday morning.  I have just been to therapy.

The weekend was a delicious blend of fun, laughter and me feeling better than I have for 8 months.  I am just so happy.  Happy doesn’t necessarily mean well-behaved. I have been delightfully rude.

Ivan Massow is in town, such an unpleasant man who was the ‘source’ in the Caroline Roux article about me for the Guardian.  The source who was too scared to be openly vicious about me.  Anyway, there he was yesterday having lunch, slimeing all over my straight friend Ben.  Who in their right mind gave that man the ICA to run?  WHO in their right mind thought he should stand as Mayor of London? Crazy!

Anyway, supposedly he is sober so I am trying not to hate him too much.

Thankfully he is losing his looks.

Saturday spent nearly all day in Malibu.  Lunch in the Lumber Yard with Jon Aubry.  I went to bed early Saturday night.

Breakfast on Sunday with Will and his dog Rocco.  Stephen popped by at about 11 and then lunch with Sharon Swart.  Delightful.  She attended a flower arranging class and brought to lunch a huge bouquet of roses and hydrangea.

Sunday night Michael and I went to a party in Silverlake.  There was a performance piece for us to watch.  Three 10 minute sections of a larger work about a man accused of burning down his house and killing his daughters.  The first part was indecipherable.  The second and third part, although messy, were much better and had good, strong ideas.  The director asked what I thought..so I told him.  Bad idea.  Nobody wants to hear the truth.

We were meant to meet Jamie Lee Curtis after that party but we did not.

Taka came by late on Sunday.   He is a funny one.   Editor, Japanese..chatty.

Oh, before I forget..the new Malibu renters arrived on Saturday and are very happy in the house.  They are the SWEETEST people from the UK who loved the house the moment they stepped through the door and from whom I have not heard since..no news is GREAT news as far as renters are concerned.

I made a ‘to do’ list for Monday that includes all the boring stuff I have been putting off for weeks but essential if I am going to stay on top of things.

I went to therapy on Saturday morning and shared my good news.  My only worry about therapy is that I am surrounded by so many miserable, desperate men.

It’s now Monday morning and I am positioned at my ‘desk’ at SHLA.  Papers and briefcase open and ready for action.  My list of things ‘to do’ is already half eaten.  THICK lines scored through the things already done.

Listen, I have no idea why I am so happy but one thing is for sure..it has nothing to do with anyone else.  In fact, I was briefly annoyed by the actions of the other last night but after a few seconds ceased to be.  There was a time in the very recent past when the other could ruin my entire evening by being snippy.  Not anymore.

Whenever one has a meaningful relationship one tends to ignore when things don’t add up.  Denial gluing disparate parts of one story into something believable.

I am not annoyed with him..a little disappointed in me.

Disappointed that I have been so desperate to make our relationship work.  Just writing that down makes me feel sick.  That I would have done anything to make another man love, want and care for me.  For the past 8 months I have devoted my time, energy, love and money to a stranger who bust his way into my life after seeing me on TV.  It is a testament to my own low self-esteem just how much I was prepared to ignore in order to feel loved.

I am grateful that I fell in love and really got to know a man, be seen by another man. You may think that I have been foolish but in fact the last few months have been some of the best of my whole life.   I miss him.  I do.  But what I miss doesn’t really exist.  I miss being cared about, thought about, fantasized about, included and lastly, but most importantly, I miss being loved.

Every decision I made these past few months has been inspired by my love for him. Consequently I now have to make decisions based on my needs, my desires and my career.

I have vowed not to work out our stuff here in my blog so I won’t.

All you, my readers, need to know is that I am ok..are you ok?

Before I start today’s rant I must just share with you how beautiful it is in Malibu.  The house is calm, the colours are peaceful and dreamy.  The misty canyon is slowly clearing to reveal the ocean below.

Unusually there is a TV and it’s nice to hear it babbling in the background so I don’t feel so alone.  I woke up too late this morning to go to my therapy group.  Thirty minutes too late.  Perhaps all I need is a TV and a little dog to be happy?  I have been wondering since I returned from Europe what or how life will deliver next.  Obviously if I were in NYC I would be enjoying the tail end of my relationship with him.  Oh, I don’t know.

The insurance man came yesterday to discuss the burglary that happened here in Malibu before I left for Europe.  He was polite and thorough.   A friend popped by to take me to lunch, a young Japanese actor.  We ate at the new Cuban place nearby.

I spent the afternoon imagining how the house might look if I made the essential changes I want to make before I put it on the market this autumn.  I drove down to see how the new road is progressing.  They have already carved out the route and huge yellow earth movers are shifting tons of debris from the 26-year-old slide.   It excites me to see the changes.  Driving up Rambla Pacifico is really beautiful overlooking the northern Malibu shores, past vineyards and the vast Santa Monica mountain range.  As I have said before, the road makes sense of why these homes were built here.  I was sure when I bought the house that one day the road would be repaired so seeing it happen gives me a huge sense of relief.

Went out for dinner with friends last night, they had an elderly black labrador who the Little Dog fell in love with and tried humping.  He had such fun!  Running around their lawn with his new girl friend.

Something funny happened yesterday morning after therapy.  One of my co-conspirators (kinda famous) came up to me and told me that if I ever saw him in public that I shouldn’t speak to him.  That my fame as a sex addict might reveal him as the same.

The news on the TV is all about missing boys, bigamy and bombs.  For many people just like me yesterday’s great news was the over turning of the morally reprehensible proposition 8.  A federal judge declared California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Wednesday, saying that no legitimate state interest justified treating gay and lesbian couples differently from others and that “moral disapproval” was not enough to save the voter-passed Proposition 8.

Even though marriage has been small part of my long story I have never really considered marriage between me and another man a possibility.  If I stay in Malibu on the side of a mountain I am never going to meet anyone.

Meeting someone.  Why has that become so important to me?  Why have I abandoned my desire for glorious isolation?  I suppose the very fact that for the past few months I have felt connected to someone has woken in me the desire to share what I have and learn to be a pair rather than a single.  Of course this happened rather too late in the day.  I miss him because he is intelligent and funny and warm and forgiving and when I am with him I feel complete.  A rare combination.  NYC is not far away but I will stay away because he has to make sense of his new life.

I must spend the morning putting the house together for new renters.  The last renters left the house looking beautiful.  Some people just leave a really nice feeling in the house.  It is easy to remember only the bad renters and forget the good ones.  I have been jammed solid with renters this year and most of them were appreciative and delightful.  For that, this morning, I am very grateful.

Stone

All day the Little Dog has been sick.   He is listless and miserable, his little black nose hot and dry.   I checked his gums but they seem ok.  I get scared that he might die.   The past few months would have been utterly unbearable without him.

At about 7.30 he perked up and has been right as rain ever since.  Leaping all over Eric when he arrived for hastily put together dinner.

He is snuggling in my lap as I write.

I think about the darling big dog.  My darling big dog, I miss her more than I ever did.   I still have daily, violent memories of her broken, bloody body.  Searing into my mind.    Replaying the last few moments of her life before that evil truck scraped her across the road.

My fingers angrily bang the letters of those words onto the page.

I CAN’T HELP YOU.

I blame the man driving the truck.  He did it on purpose.  He didn’t stop.  Bastard.

At moments like this I soothe myself with memories of home.  I think a great deal of England-green and pleasant land.  The Kent countryside, the buses to Canterbury, Georgina, The Goods Shed, etc. etc., I nightly drive through Clowes Wood in my semi conscious state..naked..shameless.

I remember a recurring nightmare:  I am a young boy naked in the schoolyard.  I have no idea where my clothes are or where I lost them.   I hide behind the half door in the toilets as the other children are called to class.  I stand naked in the schoolyard covering myself, the cold wind whipping grit into my eyes.  The other children sitting warm inside at their desks.

Last night as he was with me in my bed I lay thinking of how I might get home safely.  How can I get back home?  For all that raucous, interminable thinking we slept soundly.

I’ve not written a word these past few days.  Full moon blues I call it.   I lost interest in my blog as things calmed down with my (ex?) and my new friend holidayed in Italy.

I had to deal with a moving traffic violation issue that meant going to the Superior Court twice this week.  The judge was very fair and funny but going through a stop sign still cost me $550.  I have opted for community service.  The art auction last Sunday seemed to vindicate my ability to pick the winners.  Things sold mostly at the upper end of the estimate.  I bought a beautiful candle stick by a potter whose name I have forgotten.

Prevaricating.  Stifled.  Tongue-tied.

The point is:  I can’t really write down any of my true feelings.  I am in shut down mode.  I can’t do anything, move anywhere, release myself..rant or rave.  The malaise seems to affect every area of my life.

After the headiness of New York I’ve fallen into a sharp decline, my confidence at an all time low.    Dinner with friends last weekend I simply couldn’t hold my head up, my libido, my enthusiasm, my recall deserting me.  She was a very cool next generation producer.  CAA agents greeting her at our table.  Hugs and kisses.  Fast track.

I say to myself, “I am on my own with no one to focus on, no one to say that I love.”    It feels like a terrible waste.   I had some real hope!  Hope that I could travel the world with a man I was excited by.  How those dreams crumble into dust.  I am fractured by time and distance.  I am in the wrong city, in the wrong country, on the wrong fucking planet.  I am desperate for a change of circumstance.

The road that leads to the Malibu house is weeks from being repaired.  It maybe the very metaphor I am looking for.  The road to the house is being repaired so I can escape my verdant prison.   Yet every day I do my best to make it more like paradise.

I want to write about The Great BP Catastrophe but I can’t.  I want to write about anything other than me but each time I begin I am stopped by something inescapable.  I just don’t care. I don’t care about anything.  I am exhausted..spent.

Beaten by the sheer force of inequity:

BP, miserable pictures of delicate Pelican eggs smeared with crude oil.  The watered down banking regulations that caused Wall Street a collective sigh of relief. Congress about to pass an additional $32 billion to pay for war in Afghanistan yet it struggling to justify a $23 billion bill to forestall the layoff of nearly 300,000 teachers next year.

What kind of country are we?

The storm is well and truly passing.  The stack of unopened mail on my dining room table can be opened.  The Malibu house is now rented for the time that we were going to be there.  The bathroom floor can be mopped.  The thick LA dust over the marble side tables can be washed away.

I can now turn my attention to Kristian once again.  So many beautiful tributes to him on the internet.  I like that they have recast him as a film director who also made TV.  He would be liked to remembered like that.  I have not yet scanned the pictures of Kristian and I.   They are very sweet.

I will bake another walnut and banana cake in his honor.

I have a few really important decisions to make which may very well mean that I have to go home, my tail between my legs.  Home to London.   I don’t feel bad about that.  I have had a total blast in LA and as this blog is proof life seldom gets boring.

There was a time before I met Richard, Jamie, Joe, Him, Matt-a moment before we met and that moment has to be reclaimed.  Before the note arrives, the stare across the busy club, the man at the top of the ladder, (I can’t remember how I met Jamie) the men who I have been most moved by.  I showed Him pictures of Matty and could not remember what it was to love Matty.   I can just remember driving in the pea green sports car down the M2 motorway to Whitstable and wondering if I could let him go without damaging him.  Like letting a fish go after you have caught it, removing the hook from its delicate mouth and setting it free.

I still remember Richard of course.  Richard Green,  the great love of my life.   Twenty five years ago he was at the top of a ladder outside the Oyster Company in Whitstable.  He was wearing tight white shorts and for five exquisite years we explored the world.  Tempestuous, glorious years.  Of course I never slept with him.  Even my mother knew that I loved him and was disappointed for me when he would flirt with girls in front of me.

He would drag girls into the bushes at country dances and return with stains all over his dinner jacket!

Sometimes I would arrive back at my darling cottage and he would be asleep on the sofa.  A window broken.  I didn’t care.

You know I have 50 intimate pictures of Him and Matty and  Jamie but I don’t have one picture of Richard Green.  Not one.  He is middle-aged now-like me-older and fat and by all accounts a miserable bastard.  But if we walked in through that door right now I know that we would begin where we left off.  We would have a huge amount to say and do.  He was utterly fascinated by the world and I was his willing side kick.  He was a perfect love because I had no interest in sex or relationships with other men-I had him and he was enough.  He was enough.

Isn’t it funny that I would include Him in the list of those who meant most to me.  I think that might change as time passes.  I would never have been able to trust him.  The next man he meets will not know his story will trust him and love him.

It is a perfect spring day in LA.  I am seeing Michelle later and hanging with Frank.  I like Frank.  Not like that!  Not so soon after the last fiasco.   Now, it’s Runyon time with the little dog.

My apartment looks like an art gallery, paintings neatly stacked and waiting to be sold.  Everything here is for sale.  I am slowly getting ready to move back to Malibu and all that entails.   As I have written previously, my pack rat collection of more stuff is getting me down.  It all needs to be sold.

Last night I decided that I couldn’t see Mr. Darling NYC ever again, that it was doing me in.  Yet, for all the hopelessness there is still an unavoidable truth-we love each other.  What am I meant to do?  Just walk away from what may very well be the best thing to ever happen to me?

I am prepared to wake up alone every morning until he can wake up with me. I loathe waking up alone, alone is not good for a man who obviously has so much to offer.

I long to try something I’ve never had..lover man oh where can you be?

We both have so much.

Up until now I craved a companion on my terms.  After our conversation today I now crave a lover on our terms.  As he was quick to point out-this is not just about Duncan Roy.  My beautiful boy has feelings too, feelings that until today I was ill prepared for.

HE DOESN’T WANT TO MOVE TO LA.

So what of Malibu?  I would move anywhere if it meant we could be together.  I looked online at houses in Upstate New York, London and Paris.    After our long and emotional conversation I understood just how selfish I had become.  Yet, sometimes you just have to go with your heart.

This morning, after writing yesterday’s sensible blog, I woke up alone and angry.  Angry with him, angry that our fragile love affair could be so easily tossed aside, unless of course I fully appreciated his situation.  I shouted at him.  He burst into tears.

He is lost and terrified of loneliness.   And that description could so easily be mine.

His wracked, desperate sobs silenced and shamed me.

After he tearfully described his fears I knew that things were not as simple or solvable as I had kidded myself.  The thrill of romance will not solve this problem.  Resolve, strength and patience on my part may be all I can offer him.

I prayed for guidance this morning.  God can and will set me straight.  Even if it can’t keep him..straight.

I love a married man.  A married man loves me.  Send in the fucking clowns.

I read a really great blog called Love in The Time of Foreclosure.   The blog charts the ups and downs of a couple facing the loss of their house and staying in love.   Adversity, so it seems, keeps people fighting for what they believe in.

It’s odd how much one can learn about oneself when love is at stake.   I have not really been in love since Matt and I broke up 10 years ago.  The sort of love that makes one desirously wild with anticipation.  Delirious.  Desirous.

Listening to him cry made me love him more.  After all, when one is craving authenticity to hear another man cry is as about as authentic as it gets.

I usually write my blogs when I get up in the morning.  I breach the surface of the new day with a description of the previous day but this evening I am sitting at home with The Little Dog listening to old tunes and eating Swiss chocolate.   Somehow, my darling man crying has settled something deep within me.

All of me, why not take all of me, can’t you see I’m no good without you. Take my lips I want to lose them, take my arms; I’ll never use them.  Your goodbye left me with eyes that cry.  How can I go on my dear without you?

The Cloud Gobbled Us Up

The rain just keeps on coming.   Folk are being evacuated over in Flintridge for fear of mudslides.

I paid my water bill yesterday and I asked the gentleman there if the Los Angeles County Waterworks harvest rain water.  He didn’t know.  He didn’t ‘think’ so.  He said, after some thought, “No, we don’t harvest the rain water.”

During the worst of yesterday’s storm the trees were bent double, the rain was smacking into the house horizontally and a waterfall pounded under the drive.  Perfectly normal, I might add, for Whitstable but noteworthy for Malibu.

One storm after another smashes into Southern California and will continue to do so until Friday.  After the storms pass we will have a few days of glistening palm trees and clean air affording views for miles around then the black LA dust will start building up over everything all over again.

I am guessing that this winter will be very wet.  Very, very wet.

Anyhow, the Democrats lost Massatusetts.   It didn’t come as any great surprise.  I imagine that it suits the White House as they now have a really good excuse not to do anything other than maintain the Bush status quo.  Obama will have an even better excuse after the midterms when the Dems lose both houses to the Republicans and the arguments get easier.   I am surprised we don’t all just start talking about terrorists again.  It’s so much easier than discussing healthcare or equality for the gays.

Today Obama is ‘all up in my grill’ screaming at the banks-more hollow words from a president who sucks on the cock of the banking/insurance industries.

The problem with New Agers is that they don’t get back quickly enough.  I am still waiting for the goat shelter to be built-so I can buy the goats.  I am still waiting for the fencing man to get back to me and the gardeners with their plan.  The only people who get back in a timely fashion are the solar guys who all want to sell $40k solar systems.

Rain Washes The Windows

Sometimes I have a waking nightmare that by buying goats and chickens and creating a kitchen garden there is something oddly Michael Jackson about me.  It was just a fleeting thought..

The first wave of solar appointments came and went.   I have to remember that they are sales men and women and their primary interest is to make the best possible sale.

They do not necessarily have my best interests at heart.

My electricity bill for last month was only $45.  The highest bill this year was $120.  I don’t use very much electricity.  Apparently the price of electricity in Malibu compares very favorably with other providers in the greater Los Angeles area.  My electricity is from coal fired generation and produced in Utah.

I don’t like using a clothes dryer and line dry my washing, I don’t have AC or a TV.

I have two main considerations when deciding upon which sort of solar solution to invest.  The first is aesthetic; I don’t want an ugly system on the roof of my house.  The roof needs replacing anyway so I have decided that I want black shingles rather than the tan already there.  This will camouflage the solar panels and give the house a ‘Tudor Japanese’ appearance.

The second consideration is far more complicated.  Do I really need solar when my electricity bills are so low?  If I had solar would I use more electricity?  Would I get air conditioning?  Would I use the dryer? What sort of mega wattage should I get?

As I said, it’s hard to get independent advice from sales people.

The first company I met with was called ‘Phat Energy’ and, as the name suggests, they are aiming to have cool solutions for all your Solar needs.   The two guys that turned up seemed impressively prepared with figures and plans.  Yet, if I am honest, because they were first company I met with they were at a little bit of a disadvantage.

Phat Energy provided a plan for an ‘off the grid’ scenario and a ‘pay back’ solution.  The former is as it sounds, I generate electricity to cover all my needs.  The latter essentially means that you make electricity during the day that pumps into the grid then at night I buy electricity if and when I need it.

The ‘pay back’ solution seems most sensible.   I might very well turn a profit using this scenario.

After all federal and local grants, tax credits and rebates one can expect a 50% reduction on the initial cost.  This makes solar a very affordable solution.

Still, at approximately $20k this capital investment will take 10 years or more to pay for itself.

I asked them to consider letting me pay them over three months.  They balked but I urged them to consider it.

The younger of the two sales men from Phat was very persuasive.  However, it made me smile when he tried to factor the increase of house value when making my decision.  I laughed.  Nobody is selling anything in my neighborhood and house prices have diminished by 30%.  In my reckoning this financial situation/crisis may last for the next 7 years.

Ultimately the decision is largely a moral one.  I believe that every house in Southern California should be generating electricity so I should put my money where my mouth is.

The second sales man, Alex, from Suntrek a company based out of Irvine.   An ex-professional baseball player Alex explored the property thoroughly and creatively offered alternative solutions from water pumping to cooking.   His visit was largely to assess the site and discuss my needs.  Equipped with knowledge from the earlier conversation with ‘Phat’ this blue-eyed sales man quickly understood my needs and, he concluded, I will be hearing from him shortly.

The rest of the day was taken up with a visit from David the architect who will reconfigure the interior of the house-so I get to have another bedroom and use the space more efficiently.   Hard on his heels the contractor pitched up, he will be building the goat and chicken shelter.  Finally the guys from ‘An Edible Garden’, Julianna and Kevin.

Julianna was reassuringly posh and Kevin reassuringly gay.  I liked their attitude and responses to the site.  They spoke my garden language and I am going to very much enjoy working with them during the coming year.  During their three hours at the house we discussed, amongst many other things, a timetable of events.  These events included when and what crops would be planted, critters, irrigation and site preparation.

My friend Jennifer and her children arrived and we sat around imagining all sorts of jams, chutney’s and preserves that I might want to cook with excess produce.

Julianna and Kevin were particularly impressed with the natural spring at the bottom of the property, which will provide free water for the crops and will be pumped using a solar pump directly into the vegetable garden.

So, the Malibu house adventure has begun.

Amanda in Malibu

Miserable day in LA.  Misty British rain rather than the fat tropical raindrops we usually have.

After breakfast with John and the lads I drove to Malibu and built a HUGE fire.  It was raining so hard I had no view what so ever.   A huge cloud had gobbled the entire house.  Luna went on a garden adventure in the rain and came home covered in mud.  I had to turn a hose on her, which caused her some consternation, then, being the Luna dog, she began to LOVE.

Now, when it rains, rather than looking downcast, worrying about how many weeds I’ll have to clear in the spring so my house doesn’t instantaneously combust when the fires come-my eyes sparkle.  The property is now one big goat buffet.   I cannot wait for them to arrive!

One of my readers suggested that I contact a goat rescue if one indeed exists.  And, blow me down; one really does exist in California.   I’ll call them tomorrow.

The general contractor arrived to discuss the changes I need to make to the roof to accommodate the solar cells required for me to get off the grid.   I also discussed how we would pump the spring water that bubbles up at the bottom of the property into where the vegetable garden will be.

Anna as Garbo

Last night Anna invited me to a party at her and Mel’s house in East LA.  I was the only man.  It was such a groovy party.  We wrote down on pages of Anna’s old script what we wanted to forget about last year and what we wanted for 2010.  I wanted to forget rather a lot.  My aims for this year are simple and sure.   I stayed a couple of hours, chatted with Jamie Babbitt and some girl who is going to be in the reality version of the L word.

Since writing yesterday how much I had forsaken during the past three decades in pusuit of hedonism I began today to formally grieve.  In pursuit of selfish ends I have destroyed a potentially wonderful career, the chance of a lasting intimate relationship and an enduring happiness.

This is no time for self-pity, however.

Misty View December 2009

My father died when he was only 53 and I like to remember that on his deathbed he would turn, at last, to God.

I’m so glad that I have a God in my life who I trust will show me the way, regardless of whether the route is treacherous or not.  To put ones life in God’s hands is not for the fainthearted.

Tim and Amanda drove from Beverly Hills to sit by the fire with me then we hacked back down the mountain and ate lunch at a raggedy hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant on the Pacific Coast Highway.  It was perfectly delicious.

As we were leaving we complimented the chef who was also lunching but on a plate of boiled hen heads.

Fresh linen sheets.   I love when the cleaning lady comes.  The fresh smells she leaves behind her.   As soon as she arrives I am forced into action.  Clearing, folding and stripping.  The first week she came she broke an 18th century plate.  I was sad but I didn’t really care-my attitude toward other people breaking my stuff is that at least it was used and enjoyed.

There are some exceptions.

I lent a 12-inch Venini handkerchief vase to Korda Marshall when his then wife Felicity had her baby.  They returned it in pieces.  The vase would be worth $11, 000 now.  I wrote to him recently asking him to replace it.  He ignored my email.  Korda is head of Warner Records UK.

I loved that vase, it was a gift from Matilda, Duchess of Argyll and I had carried it from Ardfern in the Scottish Highland all the way home to Whitstable on a bus.  When Richard Green and I first opened the Whitstable Oyster Company we filled it every day with fresh cornflowers.   Of course it could never be properly replaced but occasionally one chances upon one at an auction and would love to buy it.

Still winding down from Sex Rehab.  It feels odd not to have somewhere to go on a Sunday night.   I suppose I have the same feeling of loss that people have described to me here on these pages.   I liked revisiting the Rehab even though it frustrated me.  I liked to remember the process.

So many unexpected doors have opened since I started writing this blog.  Another literary agent contacted me yesterday and I am going to take meetings with them all when I go to New York next week.   I like literary agents.  They are very different from Hollywood agents.  Hollywood agents are like Wall Street traders: crude, indifferent.

I found a short story about the Twin Towers that I had written last year.  I found the first chapter of my novel.  I diligently sent them off to the nice agent Jake B at Rob Weisbach Creative Management.   Now all I have to do is stay out of the result.

After I do the work; it’s none of my business what happens next.   I used to be one of those guys who worried about when he would hear back, when they would read it, see it, make a decision.  Thankfully I am delivered from that particular hell.

I discovered some 13 years ago that my tearing my hair out would not alter the result.

There is absolutely no point in fretting about the outcome.  What will be will be.  I’m not saying that I wasn’t relieved/upset to find out that I had got the grant, was HIV negative, he wasn’t interested etc. etc.  But I saved the feeling for after the fact rather than before it.

The house in Malibu is vacation rented to people from Hawaii who arrived at midnight the day before yesterday.  In the morning I received a flurry of text messages and calls from them claiming that I had scammed them, that the house was nothing like I had described it.  It quickly transpired that they were calling from somebody else’s house.  The following morning, after some testy phone calls,  the Vacation Renter called me to apologize for their foolish mistake.

I am just happy that who’s ever house they were describing never came home.

Goats from Santa Barbra.  Must buy goat.  Why goats?  Well, brush clearance for a start.  The house is situated in the highly flammable Santa Monica Mountains and every year I have to pay $3000 to have the brush cleared around the house.  The last fire stopped 150 feet from my front door.  Goats eat brush.

Also, Birria is a delicious Mexican goat dish.  I love eating goat.   I get to drink goat milk.  Do you remember eating that delicious braised goat on that private, secluded beach with Philippa and Louise on Patmos?  A truly memorable meal.   A man in a shack with a pot of boiling goat.   Delicious.

I have even thought about becoming a vegetarian but I think the deal I will have with myself is this:  If I have grown it or bought or bartered for it from the abundant land then I can eat it.  By the way, I am including vacation rental income in this equation.  I don’t expect to survive on half a pound of plums and a mango.

I wonder how much goats cost?  I have to make these calls on January 1st.   There are over 50 goat-grazing services in California so I don’t think that the acquiring of a goat will be much of a problem.

I have already located a woman who helps plan and plant vegetable gardens.  I have a meeting with her in January so will report then.  Many people have written to me offering advice and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

My lease here in Hollywood expires in April so I have until then to get things into order so I can move back and fully take the reigns of my new Malibu Hill Billy life.

First Year Harvest

My ambition this year is to make the house in Malibu fully self-supporting.

I bought the Malibu house two years ago after selling the property I had owned in Whitstable for nearly thirty years.

The Whitstable house was a slim, 1880’s, three floored, terrace.   Clad in white ship-lap it looked over the Swale and I would sit on my wide, all weather balcony watching the sea crawl over the long, shallow beach.  Sea Gulls wheeling over the ocean, huge cargo boats on the horizon.

The Malibu house could not be any different.   Built in 1972 the house was originally one large family home but had been divided into two apartments in the mid 80’s.

Frankly, it was the ugliest house I had ever seen: Big Sur interior meets Scandinavian sauna.  Acres of dark wood, bad carpet, virulent yellow paint and stained glass windows.   When I moved in I threw away thirty clinking clanking wind chimes.  The downstairs apartment, where I originally moved, was beautifully proportioned and very cozy but upstairs, where I now live, had towering ceilings and mahogany Shindleresq detailing.

By far the most beautiful aspect to the house was the view over the Pacific.  I traded cargo ships for schooners and sea gulls for pelicans.  In February, every year, the great hump back whale migrates across my view.

Isolated

The house is either ‘wonderfully isolated’ or ‘terribly isolated’ depending on who you have visiting.   It was made more isolated in 1984 when a portion of Rambla Pacifico, the road that leads directly to my house, was destroyed in a landslide cutting off hundreds of people from their homes-mine included.  Thankfully, this April, the road will be rebuilt after 26 years.  So, instead of a 7 minute drive through the Santa Monica Mountains from the Pacific Coast Highway it will take two minutes.

Why, you may ask, did you buy the house in the first place?  Well, the house may have been ugly and isolated with no direct road from the PCH but the three acres of garden was an oasis beyond description.    The moment I stepped into that garden I realized that I would have to buy the house.

A long drive, planted with palms and lavender and fruit trees, leads past a deep fish pond to a wide granite path weaving through grandly planned terraces stepping from the top to the bottom of the property.  Under a canopy of Brazilian orchid trees the paths are dappled with sunlight.

In the spring, after the heavy rains, waterfalls gush down rough-hewn gullies and then a miracle happens the arid mountain is transformed, becomes lush with wild flowers and green grass.

Last Years Bananas

There are fruit trees planted all over the property and my first year in the house I harvested bananas, plums, grapefruit, figs, lemons, mangoes, guava, oranges, nectarines, peaches, walnuts and tangerines.

There are foxes, coyote, deer and bob-cats.  There are hummingbirds, hawks, and quail.  At night huge white owls feast on gophers and field mice.

I pride myself on knowing the names of trees and shrubs where ever I live.  I could tell you the name of every species that makes up an English hedgerow.  I knew nothing of native Californian flora and fauna so I threw myself into learning what was what in my new garden. I found Rye, Coast Live Oak, Black Live Oak, Baby Blue Eyes, Morning Glory Wild Lupins and California Poppy to name but a few.

With my possessions arriving from Whitstable I had to make upstairs livable.

The first great simplification!  I painted everything in the huge, upper apartment a pale cream, covered up the stained glass windows, painted the kitchen cupboards a pale blue-gray and one accent wall a Sottsass pink.   I hired migrant workers and planted empty parts of the garden with native grasses and drought resistant cactus and the like.

My furniture arrived from London and seemed to suit it’s new home.

This Summer

My friend Maury Rubin who owns the legendary City Bakery in New York moved into the apartment below and I got hooked to the Internet and the parameters of my Malibu estate.

Today, instead of abandoning Malibu I have decided to move back into my home to enact the second part of this Californian story of how the west was won and hopefully I can take you all along with me.

My intention is this:  to get off the grid, to be fully self-supporting, to grow vegetables and graze goats on the property.  I want chickens and a pig.  I want more than fancy fruit.  I want tomatoes and onions for chutney and green vegetables to keep me moving.  This year will be the year of the great growing and cooking experiment and we’ll throw some personal drama into the pot no doubt-but this year is about growth of the natural and the personal kind and it will all begin on January 1st 2010.

I am quite sure there is a community of market gardeners and goat owners only moments from my house and to whom I am going to reach out and make this dream come true.

I have no idea if I am even allowed to do any of this-or what laws I may break or if any or all of this is possible but that’s what this new blog is for: to bring you along as my trials and tribulations unfold.  I know that you’ll help me,  you’ve helped thus far.   Let’s have another adventure shall we?

Phew. I am in Malibu. It is hot and windy.  Luna has vanished but she always returns, there are three acres for her to explore. The little dog likes to stay within a few feet of me; he has found his favorite patch of sunny carpet overlooking the property. The sea is sparkling in the distance and the palm trees glisten like cellophane in the mid-day sun. I think that these are the Santa Ana winds, my eyes are burning and I am thirsty-desert thirsty.

Luna just returned from her garden adventure, skipping up the path.

I wish I could accurately record the beauty of this place for you. Looking down at the valley below, it feels up here like a Tuscan hill fort or a Chateau overlooking the Cote d’Azure. Listen to the humming birds, smell the sweet Datura trees and the giant honeysuckle. Nasturtiums drift from the top to the bottom of the property. Huge succulents; agaves, aloe and euphorbia bloom at this time of year. Great orange spikes of alien flowers. I wish you were here.

Sadly, this may be my last winter in Malibu. The house is FOR SALE and I want to leave by the end of June. You know where I’m off to.

I started today in Noah’s bagels on San Vicente drinking a vast cup of coffee when a man approached me and asked if Cari Ann was OK. I told him that she was. It is still surprising to me when total strangers know who I am.

Yesterday I spent time chatting with my friends in New Jersey and Charlotte NC. I had dinner with Emily and helped her assemble her bed and watched Sex Rehab with her and the dogs.

Yesterday’s Sex Rehab was nothing like I expected. Judging by what was tweeted and commented earlier in the day I thought you all had seen what had really happened. To tell you the truth I was much ruder to that trainer than they showed. When I said I had a melt down I really did MELT. What you didn’t see was exactly who would catch the full force of my Anthony wrath. It certainly wasn’t smelly trainer lady.

A really beautiful camera assistant came to work one day with his jeans worn low revealing his perfect butt. He was a terrible trigger for me. I had a ghastly crush on him. They told him to pull his pants up but he was always letting them slip back down..

So, the meltdown referred to last night on the show was not with camel toe trainer lady but aimed at the camera assistant. I yelled for production to get rid of him. “And you can get rid of that!” I screamed at the poor boy- he was only doing his job. His ass was driving me insane in the same way Phil was being driven bonkers by Cari-Ann’s ass hanging out of her..out of her? Out of her. We were all so sexually charged by the second week of Sex Rehab; feelings were violently erupting all over the place.

BTW I apologized to the camera assistant and the Rehab tech.

I really loved episode 5.

Like many people, watching Jill’s ‘smile’ work with Cari Ann moved me to tears. Carri-Ann was a tough nut to crack. I was also quite teary when I saw my therapy revelation with Dr John Seeley. That was the first time I had been introduced to the idea of retraumatization and it made perfect, astounding sense. It was the smoking gun. It was the moment for which I had waited too many years.

That perfect realization for all to see and the anger revelation were two moments that I will take to my grave; they would irrevocably change my life. These insights had immediate effect on me. From that moment on I would no longer let Anthony defend me and I would always be aware of exactly what I was doing every time I entered that dangerous sexual bubble that leads to retraumatization.

OK. A little controversy:

There has been some debate/consternation on these pages about my views on the ‘politics of obesity’.

As with sex we need always to have a healthy relationship with food. As sex addicts we hold onto our old sexual behaviors as over eaters hold onto theirs. There is a huge amount of entitlement connected to sexually addictive behaviors. I assume, from what is posted here, that this entitlement may apply to over eaters.

Firstly let me tell you that I have a huge compassion for those of you who wrestle with your weight and the consumption of food. However, let me make my point once again:

The purchase of healthy food in the USA is restricted to the wealthy, urban elite. In countries where rich and poor shop at the same markets, where all produce is democratized there is little or no obesity.

Where processed food is sold cheaply to the poor or the poor are not educated to buy what may be considered healthy food or the poor cannot afford healthy food and forced to eat processed food-then there are higher incidences of obesity.

Freedom of choice can only exist where there is real choice and where freedom is respected. If I live twenty miles outside Albuquerque and all I have to choose between at the local strip mall is a Super Market full of processed food and a Subway..I have no choice. I cannot make healthy decisions. My freedoms are restricted. This also applies to religion, sexuality and education.

Both ‘sexual politics’ and the ‘politics of sustenance’ are in many ways very similar.

So, let me repeat this unpalatable truth: people are kept enslaved by debt, obesity, ignorance, fear and shame-all of which are endemic in the USA right here, right now. Educated people, hungry people, fearless people, shameless people are difficult to control.

In my opinion the ruling elite of the USA did not ditch slavery in 1865 they simply enslaved everyone else. To break the shackles of your slave master: lose weight, get educated, get out of debt and stop believing in a damning God.

BTW I am 54 days sexually sober..

Winter Whitstable Bedroom View

Luna just ate my favorite scarf; my beautiful Etro scarf that everyone compliments is in tatters.

Oh well, just another thing. I have so many things. Addicted to things-buying addictively will spring into action the moment I put down the booze, the drugs, the sex the food etc. I can’t seem to do anything healthily! I think, ‘I must have.’ and nothing gets in the way of that thought. Greed, selfishness, immaturity. Am I alone with this? Judging by the way people are now in debt and losing their homes-I am not.

I want to share an embarrassing truth about shopping: I love sofas and I love 70% off. I just can’t help myself! A bargain sofa. I can’t resist it. A BARGAIN. I used to live in a two-bedroom house in Whitstable and there were sofas in all 7 rooms-even the kitchen!  Essential place to snuggle as a goose roasts in the Aga.

My goal, when searching for a place to hang my hat, has always been this: ONE ROOM WITH A PERFECT VIEW. The last house had 7 rooms with a view over the ocean. This present house has 5 rooms with a perfect view. I’m getting there. I’m heading in the right direction, just four more rooms to ditch.  Everybody else seems to be swimming in the opposite direction!  Everybody wants more and I want less.  Enough already!

view from my Malibu bedroom

Malibu garden

My ‘I must live in one room’ theory is based on my fear of knocking around a huge family house and not having a family. Everywhere I have ever lived is set up for an imaginary family of 8. A family of 8 who dine together, who play backgammon by an open fire in the bleak mid-winter or swim in the ocean on an August afternoon returning to piles of soft, sweet smelling towels. In every house I ever owned there are stacks of plates, silver wear, pots and pans and rooms for unborn children. If I had only been able to make a relationship happen then perhaps all these things would have been relevant. Instead they sit in unused piles in well-equipped kitchens.

Extended families of friends used to suit me fine but of late I have preferred solitude.

I used to cook exotic feasts from Morocco or Iran but recently I have not bothered. The mandolin bought to slice potatoes for gratin dauphinoise is buried at the bottom of the draw, the blender bought to liquidize thick butter bean and bacon soup sits unused, the heavy casserole which should be out every day boiling stock or poaching chickens sits dusty on the fridge. I tell myself that one-day, one-day when that prince comes, he who may appreciate the joys of home cooking I will bake again!

At this moment that seems very unlikely.

Malibu spring garden

Yet, I am still buying things for an imaginary family of eight who beg me to reprise my pineapple upside down cake.

Now, of course, it is just the sweet darling dogs and me and I suppose that is how it will remain. When I finally return to Paris, where I want to live out my last years, I will sell everything and start again. In that scenario there will indeed be just one room, one plate, one fork, one knife.

During the day I will have a silver topped cane and a tailored coat with a velvet collar. I will sit on the grand boulevard and drink thick black coffee and smoke untipped Gauloise.

This outcome, when written down seems deliciously glamorous. For now, in Hollywood, this is the way I want it to be. Just me and the dogs, one less scarf and a dream of Paris in the spring.