Archives for posts with tag: Patrick Kinmonth

Dinner on Friday night with Ian Drew at Essex and Beauty.  Large, noisy new restaurant..a bit too blingy for me but the food was excellent and paid for by the restaurant.

Try the steak tartare on the thick, tasty rice cake.

Thanks.

After dinner we went to a miserable East Village gay bar where men sat beside each other trying to snag other men elsewhere on Grindr.  Their faces lit up by LED screens causing them all unwittingly, with their ghostly green visage, to look like that Ingres portrait of Napoleon.

Napoleon by Ingres

Ian finished his drink.  We left.

It has been startlingly cold.  I love the cold.  I get to dress up!  Hats, hats, hats.  Coats, waistcoats, velvet scarves.   I love my burgundy velvet scarf.  Last night I wore my Dior cape.  It did not pass unnoticed.

Dressed accordingly, the Little Dog and I, walked to Soho House and began to write my film.  Then, oddly, I had another really great idea for a film (or novel) inspired by my new, young HIV friend.    It gushed onto the page like a waterfall.  First, second and third act.   Beginning, middle and the end.

Met and flirted with Brendan Fallis who is super cute.  Steam room buddy.

Even though I am having a great time, I still irrationally fear bumping into Jake.  Consequently there is something utterly ruined about these New York streets.  Like after a blitz or something.  Strewn with emotional rubble.

There seems to be a Jake clone on every corner and every time I see a man who looks like him I shudder.

I think of the special moments we shared here.  Making love in the Jane Hotel.  Reaching out and touching him in the street.   Kissing him for the first time this time last year in the back of that bar on Third Avenue.  Then the sadness comes.  The questions, the feeling that I have been punched in the stomach.

If I’m hurt…can you imagine how badly that girl feels that he deceived for 7 years?  Poor love.  I hope she got herself back on her feet.  Found somewhere nice to live…met a nice guy.  She’s lucky she escaped.  If he was beginning to do meth when I met him he’ll be HIV positive in no time at all.  What a fucking cliché.

Hurt people, hurt people.

Yet, I exist in two completely different spheres.  The reality of my life outweighs the fantasy.

As if to prove a point I had dinner with Federico, my artist friend from Palermo.   We ate at Westville.  The food came late but the conversation was very lively so it didn’t seem to matter.   Then, my NYU poet friend Anthony joined us and we headed west to meet Hamish Bowles.

Hamish greeted me warmly.  We’d met a couple of times many years ago.

Hamish is the real deal.  The man Patrick Kinmonth and Issie Blow wished they could have been.

My fantasy about Hamish: that he went to Eton, life served effortlessly to him….couldn’t be further from the truth.

We actually had rather a lot in common.  He too lived in Kent during his formative years.  Went to a grammar school in Canterbury.  We would have been knocking about Canterbury at exactly the same time…probably both very horny gay teenagers wondering where we could get cock.

Like Fenton Bailey he succeeded in spite of everything.  In spite of his difference.

Hamish is primarily an academic, but his glamorous day job is the European Editor at Large for Vogue.  He is a respected authority on both worlds of fashion and interior design.

In April 2001 he was appointed creative consultant at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with responsibility for organizing and mounting the internationally renowned and critically acclaimed Costume Institute Exhibition, “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years—Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library Museum”.

Hamish has a huge collection of haute couture that he lends to museums and galleries all over the world.  The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Fashion Institute of Technology, and The Museum of the City of New York in Manhattan; the Palais Galliera and The Musee de la Mode, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Museum of London in London among others.

Recently he curated the Cristóbal Balenciaga show at The Spanish Institute.  Opened by Queen Sofía of Spain entitled, “Balenciaga: Spanish Master,” the show examines the work of Cristóbal Balenciaga and his Spanish influences.   60 pieces of clothing and accessories including some from Hamish’s own collection and many unseen publicly before.

Balenciaga

I am going to see the show on Tuesday.

We discussed Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre, he had just seen at a private screening for Anna Wintour.  You’ll remember that Jake and I met Cary this summer in Whitstable with Mia.  Hamish said that, although a bit slow, he loved the film and cried all the way through.  He reported that the costumes were perfect and historically accurate.  He said that Mia’s performance was excellent.

Discussed Michael Bessman’s house that once belonged to the Baron de Meyer.

I cried all the way home.  I couldn’t help myself.

I should be really happy.  Deep down I am.  I just need to learn how to consistently mine the joy I know is there.

Prison Calendar 1983

This is the calendar that I kept in my cell.  I marked off the days one by one.

The month before I was released from my ten month stay in prison in 1983 was perhaps, like many prisoners,  the most difficult of any time I spent there.  I had what is commonly known in British prison parlance: Gate Fever.

The terror at the prospect of release.

Since my arrest the preceding February I had  spent time in both Brixton prison, at that time a holding pen for the unconvicted or remanded prisoner, then once convicted I was transferred to Wormwood Scrubbs Prison in West London.  I was offered the chance of going to an open prison which would have been very comfortable indeed but I had fallen in love with Tommy, the prisoner with whom I shared a cell.

Our relationship lasted the duration of my sentence.  I was released before him and upon his release he returned to his wife and children.

Foolish love, it seems, has always caused me unnecessary repercussions.

Why in hells name was I in prison?  Well, I hadn’t murdered/raped/robbed anyone.

I was convicted at Knightsbridge Crown for Criminal Deception a charge relating to my not paying a credit card bill..my own credit card.    Not, as commentators would have it, someone elses.

At the time it never really occurred to me that I was being unfairly treated.  I had not paid the credit card bill and had avoided doing so.  In retrospect the sentence of fifteen months in prison seems like a gross over reaction by the court to what was surely a nothing sort of crime.

Stephen Fry At 17, absconded with a credit card stolen from a family friend and as a result spent three months in Pucklechurch Prison.

Fry stole someone else’s credit card and got 3 months at exactly the same time I was handed a 15 month sentenced for over using my own.

I was 22 years old when I was sent to prison for this non-violent victimless crime.  A crime like mine in 2010 would not even be a crime in modern Britain.   It was nothing short of class warfare that sent me to prison in the first place.

Posh versus Common.

Let’s face facts, I was sent to prison for my unusual back-story.   A back-story that should never have been mentioned in court because I was pleading guilty.  A back story that included royalty, the ruling class and a working-class upstart like me.

The Lords and Ladies who had become my friends during the time I pretended to be a Lord were indignant but I don’t think any one of them would have wanted me to be sent down.  The class outrage that caused such a harsh sentence was, of course, motivated by the aspiring middle class.

Judge Babington was a bourgeoise, one-armed circuit judge who died in 2004.  His family was described embarrassingly  as ‘well-to-do’  and in so being was in awe of the aristocracy, in awe of a title and outraged that I had simply acquired mine by lying about it.

Stephen Fry took me to the Garrick Club years later and there he was, Anthony Babington sitting in an over stuffed chair reading a broad sheet.  I looked at his withered arm and chuckled.

Stephen once said to me, “They don’t want to forget that you have been in prison Duncan.  It’s very unfair.”

Prison has defined my life.  I am that guy who went to Prison.  Jay Jopling would tell people, “Duncan has an amazing story.”  In this way I became a very British performance art piece.   A social freak.

When I am scolded for treating 30 year olds who make mistakes like grown ups I often remember that I was forced in a very public way at a very young age to accept my wrongs and grow up.

Even though, when I was released,  I did not crawl away and die like Patrick Kinmonth suggested.  Prison left an indelible mark on my psyche as well as my public and private standing.

Sure, had I not been sent to prison I would never have made as much money as I consequently made from AKA or telling that story over and over for TV, Radio and the like.

I would never have developed a taste for working class heterosexual men and I might have kept on the straight and narrow.  Prisons in the UK are often described by those of us who have experienced both as reminiscent of British boarding schools.  Consequently I rather enjoyed the routine, the monotony, the sex.

Once you have been imprisoned unfairly..YES IT WAS UNFAIR!..one has a very low regard for society and the rules of society.  Part of my fearlessness comes from knowing that if sent back to prison I would know what to do immediately.  How to behave.  Whom to defer.  Who to fuck.

I would not miss the endless choices of the modern world.  I would not miss a full wardrobe, a well written menu, compulsive internet use?  No.  It would be a relief.

I would miss my dogs.

If I could only get back there without breaking the law.

I have no shame about going to prison because I should not have been there in the first place.  It was like visiting a foreign country.  That’s what it felt like when I was 22 years old..like visiting a foreign country and I, a mere anthropologist, sent to eat their food and study their culture.   My crime and the associated press amused my fellow inmates and warders (screws) alike.   Nobody took my Criminal Deception very seriously.

Some of the men that I shared cells with whilst on remand in Brixton (the red headed rapist) are still in prison.  They never left.

There was one slight man who murdered a little girl.  Tiny little thing he was.  Never wanted to leave prison.  Never applied for parole.  Wanted his own death so badly.  Already dead inside.  Sad.  Those who killed loved ones, family members were the saddest of all.  Wishing that they were dead.  These men were not abstract villains, their names writ large on the covers of tawdry newspapers, they stood beside me in line waiting for cabbage and sausages.   It amazes me now how forgiving and accepting I could be with them…however ghastly their crime.

Funny, isn’t it, that I could accept and forgive the most terrible people capable of the most terrible crimes but I could not forgive you my dear JB.

So, today I am free?

I am free?  I am free to choose?  I am free to say what I want when I want to?  I am free to love a man?  I am free?

These freedoms do not make me free.

The Big Dog

7am Friday morning Los Angeles.  It’s time to come clean.

This week last year was the last I would spend with my Darling Big Dog who is now buried in Malibu.

I miss her so much.

The occasions when I just breakdown and cry for her are fewer nowadays but it still happens.

If it weren’t for the little dog I don’t know how I would have survived the darker days this year, the dread comes upon me but I have to get up and go on because his needs come first.  He is a little dog, he comes from a damaged place and I made a promise to him..

The dread.

There is, I hear, something quite magical about drowning.  There is a euphoric moment just before death that could make a long swim quite an attractive prospect.

Up and down, up and down.   The trip home will, I know, keep me balanced and sane.  So much to do and see.   Spoke to my travelling companion last night.  He seems well and happy.

Yesterday I woke at dawn and filled my time until I could legitimately start the day.  The little dog sleeps as I potter around in my bathrobe and read the news.   I am going to climb Runyon this morning.

Over in Malibu I saw another huge snake in the garden but it was hot and angry so I didn’t fetch my shovel.  Anyway, I still feel guilty for killing the last one.  So may people asked why I didn’t keep the meat and eat it.

The problem with changing your life so completely is that you are left with a huge hole where your life once was.  Sex Addiction meetings are not enough to keep me happy or secure or in touch.  Gratitude lists look paltry when written down.  Even meeting up with my friend and mentor can’t seem to shift the immense longing I have in my heart that periodically casts such a deep shadow over me.

My happiness eclipsed I look to the usual suspects to shine light into the darkness.  Sadly their batteries are dead.

Listening to loud and uplifting music can go some way to making life better.   My choices may seem suspect, Elton et al.   I can’t listen to Joni, her obsession with lost love merely plays into the pessimistic thoughts I am already prone to when the sun stops shining.

Dentist yesterday.  The dentist gave me a lecture about flossing and I lectured her about the perils of white flour/sugar/rice etc.   I don’t think any kind of doctor here likes being told anything because they are so used to dispensing advice and usually remain unchallenged.  She tried to scare me with apocalyptic visions of the bone around my teeth falling away that can only be solved, she said, by spending thousands of dollars and endless hours in the dentist’s office.

I think I will ignore her advice and see my lovely dentist in Sydney when I am there this winter.   Oh yes, I am going to Sydney this winter.   I decided this morning.

After seeing Sebastian this week I thought a great deal about my father.  Dead, maligned,  reviled..much like I expect I will be.

Another Sebastian to think about, my friend Sebastian Horsley who has finally become the glittering star he always wanted to be.  I knew it.  In death he has become the man they wanted him to be.  Death becomes him.  In death we can acknowledge the fantasy of who he was rather than the stinking reality, the crazed drug addict.  I will remember him for twenty-seven years from Edinburgh to London.  I will remember him struggling to stay clean, vulnerable, and helpful to other heroin addicts.   How can I forget?

I stopped in on Andrew yesterday.  He had a square, roughly glazed vase of white hydrangea mixed with other tiny, yellow flowers.  The mere act of filling the house with flowers lifts the spirits.  They have hung huge photographs and his found chair collection grows weekly.  I fell asleep on the sofa and when I woke up he was gone.  When did I stop appreciating these tiny gestures of good will?  When did I stop buying flowers?  How did my house get so full of other stuff?  That’s why I like going to the Malibu because I have stripped out all of the mess.  I am left with an African seed pod on a porcelain plate.

My Darling Big Dog

When did I start forgetting that aesthetic?  The aesthetic that Patrick taught me when I was Andrew’s age?

Meanwhile I am dealing with the birth of a monster.  One I can scarcely contain.  One I have done my level best to avoid for many years.   The goblins hold a cracked mirror to your face and all you can see is the ugliness.  Not the age, (because I am sure of my age) but how very ugly one is.  My confidence stems from this:  that when I look into the mirror I appreciate what I see and hope that others may see me just as I see myself.

OK, off to Runyon with the Little Dog.   Time to go now.   Time to get on with the day.   Busy, busy, busy.

Whitstable, that’s where we grew up.  The High Street, a shingle beach, abandoned oyster beds, abandoned boat yards.

I always knew that I wanted to make something.  I never knew quite what.  Writing, knitting, print-making, drawing, theatre, acting, fashion.  Good… but never good enough.

Wanting to be included but unwilling to participate.  Confident to be part of what was going on but seldom sure.  Always there, never present.

Had I been allowed, as planned, to go to St Martin’s College of Art to study fashion I would have become a fashion designer. I still have note books crammed with crude fashion drawings and swatches of hideous fabric made when I was 8 years old.  Each ‘season’ I would design a new collection and between ‘collections’ I would write and illustrate articles about the history of fashion.

An avid fashion commentator who had unwelcome, prepubescent opinions about everything.  My damning critique of Princess Anne’s ‘boring’ ivory duchess satin wedding dress in 1973 irritated my short-tempered, royalist Grandmother.  “Look at those ghastly sleeves…”

I was an industrious child.  At boarding school I excelled.

When I wasn’t busily designing imaginary runway collections I worked hard remaking my life, a life I could control. A life reimagined included: a 30 page illustrated story about a happy family of mice.  As a precocious teenager at boarding school I spent months writing rambling plays about unrequited love with other boys.

I saw my first proper play on a high school outing to Stoke on Trent.  Bertolt Brecht‘s, The Caucasian Chalk Circle with Bob Hoskins.  1975.  I was hooked.

Theatre!  I must make theatre.  The lights, the tension, the smell of the theatre.  The warmth and silence of the audience, laughter erupting around me, muffled crying from the red velvet stalls.

Oddly, I had absolutely no great passion for film or television.  Of course, I had seen many films but it wasn’t a world that piqued my interest.  I had a fondness for black and white Hollywood films from the 1940’s (particularly musicals) that I would either watch on the television on my own or walk up Whitstable High Street to the cavernous Oxford Cinema.

I was inspired.  Stealing an idea for my ‘new collection’, a sleeve or muff.  I watched the credits roll:  costume designer Edith Head… Funny Face.  Adrian, who designed the costumes for The Wizard of Oz.

I’m 12 years old.  I discover Marilyn Monroe without ever knowing she is already an established gay icon.  The following year I insist that my parents buy me Norman Mailer’s illustrated biography for Christmas.

Theatre and fashion people referenced film but nobody I knew would ever have thought about making one.

The years after I left Shotton Hall School in 1976, before I went to prison in 1983 were culturally the richest of my life.  I scraped into Medway College of Art and Design with one ‘O’ level.  I befriended punk rocker Billy Childish.  I learned how to etch and screen print and draw.  Punk was determining music fashion and graphics but scarcely impacted the institutionalized, established, sewn up world of British contemporary art.  Britain would have to wait until 1989 until Michael Clark, Tilda Swinton and Leigh Bowery performed in the Anthony d’Offay Gallery.

Whilst at Medway,  I saw a very ordinary man wearing a badly cut suit his tie askew commuting from London to Thanet holding a copy of The Sex Pistol‘s single God Save The Queen and nearly fainted in fear.  I was wearing a pair of my mother’s bottle green woolen tights.  I wonder what he must have thought about me?  He alighted at Rainham.

Unable to study fashion at St Martin’s College as my garrulous stepfather refused to let me.  I had to get a job. The job I was offered, selling clothes at Yves Saint Laurent on Bond Street, London became the beginning of what would turn out to be a great, although misguided, adventure.  An adventure that would shape the rest of my life.

I met Lady Clare Rendlesham and within a few months I was in Paris pretending to be her son.

Clare Rendlesham and others

Along with changing my identity,  in Paris I threw myself head long into the very accommodating worlds of fashion, performance art and theatre.

The land of sublime artifice.

During the pret a porter I would run with my friends through the streets of Paris from show to show.  Although my time in Paris seems less, in retrospect, about theatre and more about fashion and art, I was introduced to Robert Wilson and members of his company, traveled to Holland to see Lucinda Childs in Dance with music by Phillip Glass and travelled more to see beautiful work by Pina Bausch.

Pina Bausch died this year.

I was one of the first people in Paris to wear a Walkman.  I think I may still own that original item.  Some rich friend of a rich friend left it at my place.  He had bought it from Tokyo where he’d been modeling and never asked for it back.  Suddenly I had my very own soundtrack.  My life scored by Super Tramp.  The optimistic opening bars of  Take The Long Way Home soaring over the controversial rebuilding of Les Halles that seems only recently to have settled into its surroundings.  Music altered my perception of where I was and how I experienced it.  Paris was never so beautiful.

 

Duncan 19

It was during this time in 1978, as a willowy teenager, I chanced upon Fred Hughes at John Jermyn’s Rue de Bellechasse home.  That beautifully, wonderfully decorated house… rococo monkeys fucking on the drawing room walls painted by Harry Gromelion and acres of Fortuny silk.

Fred had been, the year I met him, diagnosed with MS and had become nihilistic and surly.

When Fred got sick, he had to go to the American Hospital, and I decorated his room. I went to visit him, and brought pictures he liked, from his house and flowers…”  Julian Schnabel

Fred, so reviled, cut a sad and lonely path through his own life ending up incapacitated and angry.  At the end, surrounded in his Lexington Avenue home by the most beautiful things, nothing could placate him.  His terrible Texan mother moved in to help, firing his loyal assistant.  We never saw him again.

When I met Fred he had slicked back black hair and tailored suits, he lived in an apartment on the Rue du Cherche-Midi and was, to a provincial teenager, incredibly glamorous… a true dandy.

“It was I who found Fred Hughes his Paris apartment on the Rue du Cherche-Midi, where Warhol would stay.”  Pierre Berger

He liked me because he thought I was a British aristocrat.  He was a terrible snob.  Later, when he knew the truth, he would laugh and mock the moment we met and feign outrage.  He only ever called me Anthony.

Fred took me to New York, bought me Vetiver and appropriate underwear, gave me drugs at Studio 54, lent me shirts that belonged to Farouk, the last King of Egypt.  He wrapped me up in linen sheets and laughed at my jokes.  Fred introduced me to Yves St-Laurent and his muse LouLou de la Falaise, Baron Eric De Rothschild, flame haired owner of Egoiste magazine Nicole Wisniak.  I sat entranced by these people.  Wearing clothes Fred had bought for me, a brand new name.  Sloughing off the past… a past for which I had no need.

Perhaps we understood each other because we had both abandoned our past for a far more thrilling present.  After his death he was described as ‘a consummate liar, social climber, and a bespoke SOB who grew to total ghoulishness because of his connection to Andy Warhol.’

Who cares?  Isn’t everyone a social climber of some kind… and why the hell not?  It’s galling to have Fred’s memory so maligned.  From what I saw he managed or rather… baby sat Andy Warhol, pulling him out of relative poverty, protecting him from unworthies.

Was that a lie?  I really don’t have a clue.  As a teenager I thought he was just swell.

It is so sad to see him like this, stricken with MS:

 

This photograph is amusing.  Tim Hunt, Princess Anne of Bavaria, Me and Alexis de Toqueville at Anne’s apartment in Paris.  Like so many beautiful young men from that time, Alexis would die of AIDS.  Hid family refused to acknowledge his life as a gay man and his death as a gay man.

Samia Saouma’s Gallery (another social hub as great galleries tend to be) I was introduced to the work of  The Baron de Meyer, Man Ray and Joseph Kosuth.  I followed the crowd and applauded the sparse and mannered work of Robert Wilson.  We saw I Was Sitting on My Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating and Death Destruction and Detroit.

In Paris I learned about artists and their power and prestige.  Most of these men and women, invited to Europe during the late 70’s early 80’s, were American.  Flooding the world with new ideas; polemical and challenging.

What happened to the arts?   Even though British theatre seems to have maintained it’s edge, British art has become increasingly bland and decorative.  Says nothing of the war or the bloody peace.

Paris was just how Paris is meant to be: an education for a young man.

Before we leave Paris there was one sublime moment.  It was a moment.  We all need them.  Romantic.  I had been invited to the house of some elderly Duke.  On an orange velvet wall hung a huge sunset by Turner.  Surrounded by furniture, a light supper served in front of it.  This is how art should be enjoyed.  Domestically.

Turner

Returning to England I was given the telephone number of Erica Bolton by The Princess Anne of Bavaria.   I met Erica at The Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, West London, where she worked as a publicist.   My great love affair with the theatre began in earnest.

David Gothard Riverside Studios

Erica Bolton, in turn, introduced me to a community of successful writers and directors.  Men and women who inspired me to make my own theatre, my own films, my own art.

I listened and learned.

Erica sneaks me into the theatre to see Kantor’s sold out show Wielopole, Wielopole. I sit in the Gods looking down at syphilitic soldiers marching, wax figures strapped to the living, a monochrome set with Kantor in the middle of it all tweaking his memories and watching sadly as the dead come back to life.

It was triumphant, breathtaking theatre and in sharp contrast to the very British, academic work of Peter Gill (Cherry Orchard) who I met that year (1978) and his then assistant David Levaux the now hugely respected Broadway director.

There were so many exciting people to hang out with at The Riverside like the precocious Hanif Kureishi fresh from his triumphant stint at The Royal Court.

Pioneering David Gothard, the artistic director, the genius at the very heart of the Riverside Studios.   Responsible for bringing Tadeusz Kantor, Miro, Shuji Tereyama and many others not only to Hammersmith but to the UK.

Night after night we sat in the canteen drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.  I loved every moment.

In 1979 I made my way to Paris to see Peter Brook’s Bouffes du Nord.  To Paris by boat and train to see Brook’s Conference of the Birds.  The raw brick walls and magnificent arches quite unlike any other performance space.  I can’t remember where I stayed that night.  I was in heaven.  I remember the Persian rugs on the floor, the chirping of the cast as they imitated different birds..a chorus… the dawn chorus.

I wanted to make theatre so badly.    When I finally got around to it I made just one good work The Host.  The other works (as it turned out) a preamble for my later film making and really not that good.

In 1981 I moved into a small flat in Furlong Road, Islington.  The home of director Michael Darlow.  The flat came with a job:  nanny to their wayward 13-year-old adopted son.  Wandering the streets I discovered the derelict Almeida Theatre where I would end up having my 22nd Birthday thrown by designer Scott Crolla.  Furniture Designer Tom Dixon was our doorman.  William Burroughs came.

‘Come Dressed at Duncan Roy’ the invitation demanded.

Here are Kadir Guirey and Tom Dixon in their band Funkapolitan…

The Almeida Theatre, bought and renovated (Bouffe de Nord style) by Lebanese born Pierre Audi.   I managed, by chance, to witness the birth of an institution.   Even when derelict, Pierre used the space as a theatre.  Amongst many, early notable Almeida productions I saw A Dybbuk For Two People with Bruce Myers and in 1982, at Saint James’s Church, Chillingworth Road at the Almeida International Festival of Contemporary Music, John Cage at 70.  Stunning.

Early 1983 I was arrested and imprisoned for running up a huge bill on my credit card.   I spent the next ten months starved of  theatre and art but found another altogether unexpected beauty.

I was 23.  Prison, as I have said before, was beautiful.

People like Erica bid their adieu and I would never really see them again.

1983, months after I left Wormwood Scrubbs Prison I answered an advertisement in Time Out Magazine. Neil Bartlett was looking for performers to open his show PORNOGRAPHY, a Spectacle at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.  It was a gruelling process, one that I found hard to get to grips with.  Acting, as you may know, requires the performer to be real and by this time in my life I really had no idea how to do that at all.

As with my appearance in the ‘A’ list thirty years later, people mocked my decision to be in a gay play about sex and sexuality.   Life is for the experience… isn’t it?  One grand adventure after another.

Theatre

Pornography: A Spectacle. 1983/84 Actor

  • Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 6 city UK tour, Poor Alex Theatre, Toronto, Canada
  • Devised with Ivan Cartwright, Neil Bartlett and Robin Whitmore

Robin, Ivan and Duncan in ‘Pornography, a Spectacle’

“Pornography is quite wonderful, outrageous, intentionally shocking — but with real human beings stepping through the sensationalism at regular intervals to speak between the screams of cliché in normal conversational tones about who they are and how they really feel. The recurrent theme is one of intense pornographic description, which the actors suddenly stop, pause, and say, “of course that was merely a quotation,” or “but it really wasn’t like that.” Sky Gilbert

The Critic by Sheridan: 1984 Actor – Mr. Puff

  • Edinburgh Festival

The Host: 1987 Writer/Director

  • Institute of Contemporary Art London and National Review of Live Art Glasgow with Georgia Byng and Tatiana Strauss
  • October Gallery

Bad Baby: 1989 Writer/Director

  • The Penny Theatre, Canterbury, Kent, Hen and Chickens Theatre, Islington North London
  • Using a cast of local Kent performers this play examined issues of child abuse using Beatrix Campbell’s Unofficial Secrets as the basis of the text.

Marrianne Fearnside in Bad Baby

The Baron in the Trees: 1990 Writer/Director

  • Adapted from the Italo Calvino novel of the same name for The Penny Theatre, Canterbury, Kent

Copper’s Bottom: 1991 Writer/Director

  • Sadler’s Wells Theatre, starring Aiden Shaw

Call me Susan: 1993 Co-writer

  • Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh; Edinburgh Festival Fringe;
  • Call Me Susan explored issues surrounding prostitution across Europe. A dramatized discussion between two prostitutes interspersed with real-life recorded testimonies and pictures of prostitutes working in six European cities.

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.

Gore Vidal with Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich

The past few days have been lovely.

Breakups are never usually times to relish but this breakup has been very good to me.

This is exactly the time in my life to take action and find a new perspective.

I took action by finding my peers in gay AA who might, in turn, shed some light on my relationship with the other.

In the scheme of things I was just an inconsequential blip in his life and I would be kidding myself if I thought differently.

I certainly could not compare with his other enduring relationships.    Anyhow, we seem to be communicating like friends and I am largely over what he may or may not be doing-though sitting here alone writing causes me a certain doleful curiosity.

Let me tell you about the past few days.

On Saturday I went to the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills to see the Andreas Gursky show with my friend Dom.  We ate lunch at the Montage-he had the steak tartar and I, the charcouterie.

The Gursky show was good but uninspiring.  Huge photographs framed in monstrous oak frames.    Big forgettable pictures…that’s all.

Huge photographs of the insides of neutrino splitting machines buried miles under Japan and filled with super purified water.  Satellite images of the great oceans.  It was all spectacle and no substance.

After our gallery visit I bought a pair of very baggy white trousers in some outlet store.  Gucci $48.

We popped into the new Missoni on Rodeo designed by my once boyfriend Patrick Kinmonth.  The outside is PERFECT, like a huge basket, woven metal softening the corner of Rodeo and Little Santa Monica.

The inside, however, is a bit of a mess.

I suppose the concept is the shopper wanders down a grand boulevard with variously sized vitrine to grab ones attention.   It was too theatrical.

The men’s area, the woman’s area, the home store etc.  It doesn’t work, it’s a mess. The interior finishes are very beautiful but the layout left too much to be desired.

Again, the outside is exquisite.

I could tell you very wonderful stories about Patrick but I will save them for another day.

The last time I saw Patrick Kinmonth he was reclining on a velvet sofa at the Chateau Marmont with Mario Testino.

He drawled that I could have been so much more than I was.  He is, after all,  a very grand queen; something I long abandoned aspiring to be but glad that I had the chance to meet.

For a few glorious months at the age of 21 he totally indulged me.

Sadly, I didn’t really fall for him.  I fell in love with his impeccable style.

Actually, he may very well be the Diana Vreeland of our age.  That plaudit might have been reserved for Hamish Bowles but Hamish doesn’t dress well enough or take enough care with his appearance.

Saturday night we celebrated Josh’s continuing testicular cancer treatment.  Every one of his friend brought ball-shaped hors d’œuvre to commiserate his recent loss and the chemo that began today.

He is an incredibly brave 29-year-old and described his cancer as an ‘inconvenience’.   I have huge respect for that young man.

GLADD awards and party on Saturday night that I was not invited to.  Odd really as I was the only out gay man in recovery ever on a Dr Drew show.  I am definitely not pretty enough for GLADD.

I suppose that this was the Velvet Mafia’s way of expressing their disapproval.   The sex addict message is not one the gays are eager to hear.

Even though conversion parties, bug chasing and crystal meth are discussed at length amongst the young gay men I know.  Perhaps this is only a myth?  A meth myth?  It is much easier for the gay community to concentrate on attacks from the outside than focus on the damage we do to ourselves.

Dane

On Sunday I met Gore Vidal again (the last time was with Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich during Dennis’s run for President) he described the sad state of the USA, describing it as rotten and then said (rather surprisingly) that he would like his bones buried in France and not, as he has always said, beside his lover in Washington.

I wonder if he was just being dramatic.  It was lovely to see him…  even though he is beyond frail.

Others at the party included the divine Ben Barns who played the other Dorian Gray, he told me how disappointed by the film he was.

Quite right!  Not nearly as interesting as our deeply flawed Dorian.    Eric Mc Cormack, Rufus Sewell and Michael Sheen all friends from different places and all at Stephen’s party.  I had a wonderful time.

So nice to be included by someone who the British might describe as a National Treasure.

Stephen is, of course, the most gracious of all hosts.  The food was excellent, the Pellegrino..well there’s not much more I can’t tell you about Pellegrino.

I took my friend Dane who looked a bit like Tarzan.  He was wearing a tiny black vest… nipples like peanuts.

Met a British director called Toby and after Stephen’s we decided to hit WeHo where I met a whole host of adoring sex rehab fans but regardless of their drunken attempts to get into my boxer briefs-I slept alone.

It is simply too soon to start meeting folk again-especially after the feast of affection, love and intimacy I have gorged myself on this past few months.

If I miss anything about dear old HIM I miss that I will never kiss him again, that he will never nestle in my arms and sleep as lovers do.  Hey ho, that’s going to be a hard one to replicate any time soon.

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.

November 7, 2006 – Tuesday

Val Kilmer

Woke at 6.30. Answered British e-mails. Sadly, when I started my hike, I had already missed the Latvian dwarves. For the first time since I started my daily walk up Runyon Canyon I noticed the terrible stench of dog piss at the Fuller gate. Starting an hour later than usual means that there are many more dogs (35) and people in the Canyon, it was also very, very warm. Earthquake weather. I took the steep path. I did not stop to rest. The view from the summit was spectacular over the city to the ocean. I always forget to mention just how many trees there are down there amongst the houses.

Sadly, there were three, very annoying dog owners shouting at their hapless mutts. Poor Roxie the Ridgeback belongs to a couple of old queens of the Liberace variety. Roxie had decided, rather unwisely, to take a faster path down the mountain causing her overly distraught owners to bellow her name in tandem again and again. Roxie, frankly, looked like she had enough. The other screamer was the type I described last time. A fat straight guy who wanted us all to know how powerful he was. Screaming after his dog at the top of his voice. I told him to shut up. He looked less powerful after that. Nobody wants to listen to screamers first thing in the morning. Nobody.

The weekend was potentially fraught with relationship tensions. I did not see Sharon.

On Friday morning I drove to Santa Monica to meet with Jason at the American Film Market and discuss our project Funny Valentine. We will get there one of these days but what a God damned struggle. It was fun to see Jason in his new capacity as MD of Velvet Octopus. He had new specs on which made him look like a Dutch diplomat-very elegant. Saw Houston King, saw Tiffany Whittome-it was obvious that I was going to bump into a bunch of familiar faces it was AFM.

Met with Eric S for lunch. He is such a beautiful man. I then sat in on his conversation with Jason as they discussed how hedge funds work in the film industry. Even though I did not understand half of what they were saying I felt like taking a shower after Matt explained what a shady business it all is.

I cooked dinner for a bunch of architects at my house on Friday night, roasted some garlic and bacon and chicken. Baked potatoes were delicious. Aleksa brought over some home-baked strawberry pie, which we ate with cherry ice cream. I was in bed by 11pm exhausted.

On Saturday morning I drove to my AA meeting in Brentwood then had breakfast at the City Café. Maury prepared some succulent French toast made of Brioche with caramelized apples. Met Eric S who ate more French Toast then drove to his orange, 5 bedroom Spanish Hacienda in the Palisades which he is clearing so that he can rent it. He was going to chuck everything out but his brother and I persuaded him to have an impromptu garage sale. We put up two hasty notices sprayed onto cardboard and the customers arrived in droves. Before long most of the junk had gone and we had pockets full of cash. An honest trade. I am obsessed with this notion. It is the Iranian in me.

On Saturday night I met Nathan for dinner, we had a great time.

On Sunday Nathan and I had breakfast at the 101. After breakfast I sat in the auction rooms at Bonham’s and bought an eight-foot jigsaw of a plane crashing. It is wonderful.

Lunch with Jane Garnett and Marc in Santa Monica then collected Johnny T from airport. Dropped Johnny’s stuff off at his hotel in Century City then ate dinner at Chateau M. Saw Steve Garbarino (editor of Blackbook) and his girl friend Maddy sitting with Val Kilmer. Steve congratulated me on the piece I’d written for him about Oscar Wilde. I loved writing it. I used to write for The Sunday Times Style Section when Tim was editor. When I arrived at Steve’s table I made that terrible cliché of an error of thinking that I already knew Val Kilmer and asked enthusiastically how he was doing and what he was doing next before realising that I did not know him at all. The last time I did that was to Diana Ross in First Class from Cannes to London. OH GOD. How foolish.

After dinner we drove back west to Jason’s party, which was hugely entertaining. Saw Peter Youngblood with the guys who own Revolver. Saw Tiffany Whittome. Did not stay long. Back on the Freeway home. Dropped Johnny off at Guy’s. That boy is going to be a huge star.

When I got home I paid my Canterbury City Council tax over the phone. I then realised that as a single man I was entitled to a 25% discount that I had asked for some time ago but had not been applied to my account. Consequently I have been overpaying my Council Tax for 6 years. They owe me 6x£300=£1,800. When I complained they told me that I was not considered a Whitstable resident. NOT A WHITSTABLE RESIDENT? I immediately contacted my lawyers.

7:07 AM

November 3, 2006 – Friday

Mister Blobby

Thick sea mist cloaked the Canyon. The sun diffused through the cloud like sand blasted glass. The path became mysterious, dogs emerging from nowhere, crickets chirruping, a jogging man singing loudly to himself. Everyone else walked silently on the damp earth crunching under foot. I enjoy the silence.

At the foot of the mountain one man was shouting at his dog. I am developing a violent reaction against people who shout at their dogs. Screaming at the top their voices ‘Come here!’ There is a man I hear regularly who wears ripped jeans screaming at all three of his dogs. One of them is called Lily. He is not shouting at his dogs because he believes that the dog will not come. He shouts at his dogs because he wants to let me know that he is assertive, powerful, that he can bend the will of those around him.

On Tuesday night I had dinner with Erik, my lawyer, at his house in Bel Air. He has an expensive, modern home with a Zen garden. If one HAS to have a Zen garden then I suppose this one, with its Mount Fuji waterfall was fairly accomplished. Inside was a mish mash of mid-century furniture and huge black and white photographs by Herb Ritts. There was a particularly beautiful David Hockney. We watched my film, which obviously baffled my dear friend. We ate tofu burgers and sweet potato chips. The dog snored all the way through which I thought might have been Erik. You can’t win them all.

The following day I visited Katherine Ross who has just moved from NYC to her vast new home in Hancock Park. In each of the tennis court proportioned reception rooms were no more than a sofa and a dining room table. When I asked when the rest of the furniture was arriving she told me that this was it. They live very minimally. They have not, however, had time to install any of their huge art collection so I am sure that when the art is there it will all make perfect sense. We had a very pleasant time together discussing the vagaries of LA and housekeepers and what an exciting time it is for both her and her husband.

I then drove to my lawyer’s office to collect my hat and sign a letter of engagement. Tea and pound cake with Lisa Specter at her house in Beverly Hills and then The Shave where I had my hair cut, my beard trimmed and the gremlin hair on my ears removed. I also had a manicure but the blond woman with the huge breasts who cut my cuticle was a little too eager and this morning I can scarcely type as the ends of my index fingers are red raw.

Driving back up Wilshire I decided to drop in on Marc Selwyn who is showing Mel Bochner in his dear little gallery. We hung out for a little while discussing Dorian, which I intend to open in a gallery setting when the film opens in February. Marc told me that the art world in LA had tried for 50 years to make a relationship with Hollywood and failed. He had various theories: transient population, financial insecurity, cultural insecurity. None of which really made sense. Film people, who already consider themselves artists, simply don’t understand the more obscure art that people like Marc sell in his gallery. They cannot see how buying art will benefit or enrich them in any way more than the art that they are presently engaged with-film making. Ultimately, to buy art one must disengage with ones own cynicism and very expensively engage with half-baked concepts and conceits. Film people are loathed to do anything so dumb.

Whilst we were discussing art my car was being towed. Spent next hour and a half and $180 dealing with that little palaver. By the time I got home it was time to get ready for the Bobby premiere, which was showing at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood and doubled as the first night celebration of the AFM. Sharon brought a couple of very chic dresses and a very pretty fur coat. We looked like a very cool couple as we walked to the theatre from my house-Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is only two blocks away from where I live. When we arrived we went directly to the head of the huge will call line, we were both starving so ate vile hot dogs and diet coke. Spoke briefly with Lindsey L who looked very nervous. After 5 tedious speeches from various dignitaries including the very high voiced Emilio Estevez, the Mayor and Harvey Weinstein we watched one of the worst films I have ever seen. It was like a long episode of Hotel with famous people in it. It was vacuous, tedious, clumsy, laughable. What astounded me was that this terrible film was meant to be a tribute to a man who might have been great? Then, I realised what it really was. Using my Versailles/Hollywood analogy it all made sense: The King and Queen want to provide an entertainment for all of the courtiers and insist that the dauphin and duchesses all take part. The King will write the script and make a humble appearance and all of his friends and the friends of his friends will play the various roles. The King is a genius.

I wish I had not worn my Dior smoking jacket.

Bobby Kennedy had 11 children.

The after party took place at the Roosevelt. Sharon and I dashed over to the buffet where we ate ravenously. We met charming people including the very dashing Paris Latsis who I first met at Eugenio Lopez’s house. Everyone was a little too embarrassed to say what they really thought about Bobby. People we did not know would tentatively ask if either of us had anything to do with making it before telling us how dreadful they thought it was. Holly Elwes, the producer, was standing in the Dakota restaurant at the Roosevelt. She looked shell-shocked. She was wearing a horrible dress. Of course we all told her how wonderful the film was. How amazing she was. How exquisitely the dauphin and the dukes and the little cardinals had performed.

We left at 1.30am. I did not wake up until 8am. Hillary came over and we messed around at mine then drove to hers. Sat in the knitting shop and knitted. Went to Marc Jacobs and bought six pairs of shoes in their one day only 80% off sale. Drove to sponsors house and spewed my guts out about starting a relationship-how vulnerable it makes me feel. The great thing about my wonderful sponsor is that he speaks a truth I understand. His wise words make so much sense to me. I love my sponsor.

Errands included laundry, DMV, cleaning Daniel’s disgustingly dirty room that he finally vacated on the 1st November. I have never in my life been so happy to see the back of someone. I can sleep without fear of being disturbed. I do not lay in my bed expecting to be woken in the middle of the night by party boy lodger and his foetus b/f.

Ate dinner with Ian at Chateau Marmont. Sat next to Geoffrey Rush who was discussing Are You Being Served. We then bowled over to the BAFTA/LA awards at Century Plaza. Sharon had a ticket for me for dinner and the celebrations. Stephen Fry hosting the event very amusingly. Dustin Hoffman, Tim Robbins and Forest Whitaker presenting awards to Sidney Poitier, Rachel Weisz, Anthony Minghella and Clint Eastwood. The awards were good but the party afterwards felt like a suburban dinner and dance just like I remember my parents going to when I was a kid. Blousy women wearing too much make up, too many sequins, the men in moth-eaten tuxedos. The invitation should have read: Join BAFTA/LA to honour Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood with a dinner and dance in the Hove Cricket Club situated behind the gas works. Carriages. It actually said ‘carriages’ at the end of the invite. It should have said, Self Parking.

We ended the evening at Hollywood Social at Aldomovar party where drunk, gay Sony Classic publicist made a fool of himself.

10:07 AM

October 31, 2006 – Tuesday

Homeless

This morning, the polite Latvian dwarves were not standing silently on the corner of El Cerrito Place waiting for their ride to the day care facility. They were at home screaming at each other in Latvian. Rather, I saw the old woman dressed in a floral, floor length house coat on her 5th Floor balcony screaming back at what could only have been the silent husband. She held, in her right hand, a long carving knife. She kicked thuggishly at her screen door on her way back into the apartment. I lingered on the street for a few minutes wondering what would happen next but I really did not want her to clock me out there on the street listening to them..to her. Aleksa told me that the old lady was well-known for screaming, everybody knew about her on the street. I was so sad. She had always been so polite to me. “Good morning”. She would say softly, reverentially.

Amazingly I got ‘looked’ at today on Runyon Canyon by somebody quite cute. Even though I knew I would never act on it just being looked at in that way gave my day a tiny kick-start. When ever I get my beard going I am looked at all the time. My woollen beany over my eyebrows and a big bushy beard and I get looked at. There were no more than 20 dogs on the path this morning. One of them belonged to a very striking fellow who showed me where below us the 101, the 405 and the 10 (freeways) all connected. Very useful information. You could see the 101 snaking over towards Silverlake.

Yesterday was a horrible day. Horrible. I don’t think that I can even bring myself to tell you what happened yesterday morning but needless to say it was all about relationships, expectations, disappointment. Damn! What can I do about this? By lunchtime I was in no mood for anything else to go wrong but it just so happened that this was another day when calls were not returned as eagerly as I wanted them and e-mails remained unanswered.

Spoke to Gary D, really pleased to hear his voice.

So that I might try to fix my feelings in a positive way I caught a bus to the coffee bean on Sunset and Fairfax and ordered a blended caramel frapaccino. I sat outside on the chilly patio and watched a homeless man trying to get food or money from who ever would listen. The people he begged from were polite but he didn’t manage to get anything from any of them. Finally, he sat down at one of the empty tables opposite me and picked shreds of thick black skin off of the souls of his feet that he then placed carefully on to the table. I will never, ever drink a caramel frapaccino ever again.

I went to two AA meetings yesterday after the homeless foot skin incident; I went to one at 5.15 and another at 7.45. The first made me feel OK the second compounded the feelings of utter misery. In between the two meetings I managed to cram in a screaming conversation with both my realtor and the realtor of the house that I am meant to be buying. Buying houses is a shit experience in LA. Shit.

I was in bed by 11.00.

8:41 AM

October 30, 2006 – Monday

Venus

The sky is grey but it is not cold. The clocks fell back on Sunday so I can climb the mountain at 6am and it’s not going to be pitch black. Today, there were mostly women on the path. 23 dogs. The craggy dwarves were on the corner of my street, she was wearing lipstick..again. He looked very carefully at me when I greeted his wife. Apparently they wait there to be collected for day care. There goes my maid/butler fantasy.

I came home to the smell of fresh coffee and pineapple. I am really loving where I live, at just the moment I am about to pack up and leave. Isn’t that always the way? I spend hours rearranging the furniture, the rugs, the bits and pieces that I have hauled in my luggage to this town to make myself feel better about being here. A big bowl of green apples and papaya on my mirrored table gives me more pleasure than anything I can describe. On a cloudy day like today in LA when there is a certain chill in the air I relax a little more than I usually do. Like taking a roast leg of lamb out of the oven. The juices seem to settle.

On Saturday morning I called JA who has cancer. I dreaded calling her, as she has been so understandably angry of late. But for the first time since she knew how ill she was she sounded really optimistic, joyful even. She spends two weeks in Germany being treated for cancer then flies back to Mexico to build her houses. She really is an amazing woman. When you have a life or death emergency in your life everything becomes very clear. The decisions that you have to make to survive are non negotiable. I heard it in her voice. She told me that she would be spending Christmas in London with her children and I wondered, of course I did, if it would be her last Christmas and if it was then London is the perfect place to be.

The weekend flew past. I spent almost all of it with Sharon zooming around in her little black sports car. We drove to Malibu on Saturday, walked barefoot in the surf, ate huge prawns in a Greek restaurant then headed home. There were several graceful young dear on the Pepperdine lawn looking over at us in our fast cars. That night we had dinner with Sharon’s friend Jeff. Jeff lives in a house close by to where I live but his Spanish looking home is built on a bluff, high up, overlooking Hollywood. There is no access whatsoever by car to his house or the twenty or so other houses he shares his bluff with so one has to take a rickety old elevator from the street to get to it. What happens if his house catches fire, how would the fire department get to him? Jeff made me carve a face in the side of a pumpkin. Ann L says that Halloween is her least favourite American tradition. I think that you probably need little children to truly enjoy it. Anyway, I carved the face in the pumpkin then we had a very jolly dinner of pork ribs, salad and great conversation. Jeff is a 35-year-old producer. He is writing a book called: How to get out of Hollywood. It sounds very funny indeed.

On Sunday morning after my solitary walk up Runyon Hillary came over and cooked our breakfast. She is so funny, nearly as bad as me at falling out with everyone. I found her honesty about it very endearing. When Sharon arrived to pick me up I smelt of bacon and eggs. We went to an 11am private screening of Venus starring Peter O’Toole. Just us in the cinema as the woman from the studio who was meant to be with us had a rat problem at her house so had to leave and call exterminators.

The opening shot of Venus is the view over the Swale from my house in Whitstable. That was exciting. The film was so very nearly brilliant. So very, very nearly. It was a terrible shame. Leslie Phillips was wonderful. Peter was very good. Vanessa Redgrave was redundant and theatrical. That woman’s acting has suffered from doing too much TV. The editing was ghastly. Hanif Kureishi’s crude excesses should have been cut out. So SAD. So very nearly a masterpiece. I could go on. I won’t.

After the disappointment of Venus we ate lunch at M café sharing a plate of roasted vegetables and iced water. In the afternoon I had a nap then drove to Wholefoods with Aleksa and Devon who bought fish for our dinner with Steven Francisco who is the dear from Effie’s party the other night. In bed by 11.30.

9:59 AM

October 28, 2006 – Saturday

Lamb Shank

Saturday morning. Not going for my hike until later. Not going to my AA meeting.

The day before yesterday, after my walk, I had a busy Dillon St/Dorian Gray day. Mortgages, counter offers, meetings with publicists and finally dinner at Ago with Ruth Vitali.

For whatever reason, known only to my mad self, I am being dragged kicking and screaming into this house purchase. Buying a house should be a delight! Instead it is all so fucking complicated and moves at the wrong pace. I feel bullied into making important decisions quickly without due consideration. So, I started the day in the vilest mood making poor Corey the realtor sweat buckets. By 2pm I still hadn’t had anything to eat. I was insane with hunger. The Mexicans in the deli where Corey works looked terrified when I stormed into their quiet lives demanding a cheese sandwich. When I finally ate something I felt normal again. I signed the offer and Corey sent it over.

At 3pm I met Bettina at Fred Segal where we checked over the evolving Dorian press release. I am getting to really like BK even though she has a laconic countenance and a squeaky voice. She gets to know me slowly, deliberately and is obviously very suspicious but why shouldn’t she be? I think that she has prudently learned to keep her cards close to her chest. LA is a tough city.

After our meeting I followed a gorgeous Cuban around the men’s department of Fred Segal. Picked up a pair of Lanvin pants priced at $1,700, and that’s minus the tax. I was outraged! I threw them back at the assistant. Again. Boycott Lanvin! Saw Holly Elwes buying $5,000 dresses.

After no thought what so ever I bought a Dries van Noten cardigan with a long belt. Looks great with my baggy Comme cords. I felt a bit guilty however, so I walked from Fred Segal to The Log Cabin on Robertson in the hope that there might be an AA meeting I could go to but the door was bolted. Took taxi home. I went via Marc Jacobs where the rudest shop assistant in the world quelled my desire for more treats. Thank you God.

By the time I got home it was time to get a cab back to just where I had come from on Beverly and meet Ruth V for dinner at Ago. I was early so I chatted to the swarve Italian guys who run the place. When Ruthy arrived she looked perfect in Chanel, as always. “Of course I still go to London to get my hair cut”. Ate carpaccio and lamb shank. There were six of us gossiping over dinner about the industry. There seems to be a great deal going on at the moment behind the scenes. There was much discussion and conjecture about agents being laid off at CAA. I sat next to Ruth so we mostly chatted all evening but I particularly liked David S who is a smart, very well liked film journalist. After chocolate tart the assistant of the guy who made Perfume dropped me back home. In bed and asleep by 11.30.

On Friday morning I was up the canyon as soon as the sun broke over the horizon. 23 dogs, very chilly, did not pass anything notable. Went up the mountain fretting, came down the mountain with a more placid disposition.

Did not stay placid for long. My mortgage broker arrived and irritated the pants off of me. He simply does not understand how not to be arrogant. I then had a one-hour conversation with Cingular Wireless about my account and how I might get them to send me a letter confirming that I had paid my bill for a year. They refused. I called the man who refused me all sorts of names but he still refused. Tried to keep calm by eating muesli/granola. Drank coffee. That did the trick.

At 3 I had a conference call with the knob who runs the company who is meant to be selling Dorian. I left my rottweiler of a lawyer to deal with him. Our intentions are clear. We do not want this company to rep us as they have no feeling for the film. They hate me and they seem to hate the film. Took A and D to the house-they loved it. We then went food shopping in Koreatown. I invited 8 people for dinner so there was a great deal to prepare. My new dining room table fits eight to ten people perfectly, David F and his wife Aimee, Effie B, Sharon, Ann L, Peter L and Aleksa and Devon. The table looked great, the food was excellent and they all seemed really happy.

We all agreed that even though most of us were in the ‘business’ we were all definitely off duty. David F and his rather condescending wife left early to go to another party.

Sharon stayed over so we could get up early to go hiking. As I write there is no movement from Sharon who is sound asleep.

8:15 AM

October 26, 2006 – Thursday

6 Hour Relationship

The Canyon. It was pitch black until 7am this morning. Pitch black. The air was cold and damp. As usual the small Armenian couple were out there on the corner. As usual they were not speaking, as usual he was smoking, as usual it was she who said “good morning”. I could smell the aromatic tobacco from the gate. Everything about these two was as I had left them two weeks ago except she was wearing lipstick on her thick, old lips. I suddenly wondered why she had made that decision, this morning, looking in the mirror and I wondered if she had put lipstick on for him, the silent dwarf.

On the mountain I tore up the dusty path. There were fewer people, fewer dogs. I only counted 17. One black man in a bright yellow track suit running backwards past little birds taking dust baths at the edge of the path. A pink sunrise over the city. I wore a woollen hat pulled down over my eyebrows. Angry start to the day. I worked off my fury on the incline, one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. My legs turning to jelly at the summit. Why weren’t people more sensitive to me? What about me? By the time I had worked over the summit I was amused by my self-obsession rather than a slave to it. Yet, if I had been sitting at my desk with those feelings I may very well have picked up the phone and alienated myself from who ever was currently not doing things my way.

On Tuesday morning, after we dropped the Hudson News heirs off at their private High School, Tim drove me back to Manhattan. I realised that his job was best described as ‘life coach’ to those rich, teenage boys. Back at Soho House I lay on the huge white bed thinking about everything I needed to do. That afternoon I sat on the 6th floor in the Club Room and met Laura Day who is a famous (apparently) writer of inspirational thoughts. I rather liked her. She asked me to look after her bags when she used the rest room. I thought about Gary Davy my friend in London who is constantly worried that the thieves will come to steal his bags/watch/camera/anything he owns. When she returned she told me her life story.

That afternoon Michael Goduti came to see the film and we watched it in my room. He was thrilled. We ate a late lunch in the new Diner on the corner of 14th and 9th Avenue. My fried chicken was greasy and uncooked. Met very cute actor called Johnny (22) and his shady, older gay friend. I just didn’t trust the gay one and as it turned out I was right not to trust him. He works as a male escort. The escort had too many teeth, too many stories and not enough of the truth. When the gay boy left us Johnny and his mid-west girl friend told me that the he was trying to persuade them to take up escort work too. I baulked. I’ve got nothing against male prostitutes. I used to know Aiden Shaw. In fact, he was in my musical Copper’s Bottom which played for six weeks at Sadler’s Wells. Aiden would get his huge penis out at rehearsals and show the delighted, screaming queens we had dancing in the chorus. I think I had sex with him once. I did have sex with him once. He was lithe and young-as was I. I saw him on the King’s Road recently. We have changed. We are all now so thickly built. Aidan is a great big bull of a man. Many of my friends have been hookers they all had great big smiling faces and dead eyes like fish on a marble slab. I’m glad that I never sold my ass. God knows that I could have.

I left New York at dawn and resigned myself to the humiliation of the security search. Shoes off, belt off, lap top out, keys and phone in the tray, throw away expensive scent, throw away toothpaste. The guys on the x-ray machine are rude and unhelpful. The floor is cold. I don’t like getting dressed at the end of the conveyor belt with strangers watching me. I don’t like any of it. After I put myself back together I went to my gate and saw one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen feeding his baby apple sauce. I introduced myself to Adam (29) and Jayda his beautiful 23-month-old daughter on their way home to Hawaii. So, at Gate 23C began a wonderful 6 hour relationship with a man and his baby in a jet plane over the USA. Before long I was holding the baby, the three of us getting along just fine in row 25. All the hostesses on the plane thought that we were a gay couple traveling home with our baby. I wondered for the first time what it might be like to have a baby with another man. Adam is married but seemed really gay, effeminate almost. It worked, the effeminacy, with the baby in his arms. I saw how things might have turned out if I had been more interested in effeminate men. By the time we landed at Salt Lake City I was smitten. I may never see him again but he taught me something profound about what I might have had, what I could still have.

By the time I got to LA I was so tired but had to summon up all my energy to meet DF and a gallery owner about Dorian and what I intend to do with it. I thought that it was going to be a very hard sell but it was astoundingly easy. After a few minutes I got exactly what I wanted. So, perhaps we should aim higher if that is going to be the level of interest. I was irritated by how many jokes DF cracked all the time and it was this that I thought about up the mountain. I find it difficult to concentrate when there are that many jokes flying around. It did not make me feel very safe.

DF drove me home and I checked to see if any of the silver teaspoons had reappeared. None had. I knew then that it was the end for the lodger. The apartment looked and felt great but I knew that my time there too was limited. I know that I have to move to my own domain, my own home. North Dillon is certain. Whitstable is coming to an end.

Why would I want to move to a city that I patently hate? Why would I move here? I can’t tell you. I just know that I have to be here and that being here means that I have to find a place to live and commit to. I think that I am that sort of artist who needs to be in LA. So, I will learn to love it and make it my home.

John and Susan invited me to John’s birthday dinner. He made the most delicious curry served with that flat Indian bread. I left at 10.30 and went to bed. Slept well.

This morning, after my walk, as I was making coffee Daniel told me that he would be leaving on the first of November. I had sort of made it impossible for him to stay. After hearing his drunken boy friend vomiting in the bathroom the other night. It was over. It was all over.

1:08 PM

October 25, 2006 – Wednesday

Orlando Bloom

I am finally, after nearly two weeks of miserable sickness, my normal fit self. The flu’ has gone. No more shivering discomfort. No more sore throat. No more morbid thoughts. I will resume my walks on Runyon Canyon immediately upon my return to LA.

Waiting at Soho House in New York for Maria to turn up and discuss the secret project.

An Orlando Bloom look-a-like is sitting opposite me drinking a cappuccino. I am eating the éclairs they set out for tea. New York!! It is exhilarating to be back east. It was exciting to see the enigmatic city from the train at Newark. It is deliciously chilly yet the sky is huge and brightly blue.

Yesterday, on the plane from LA, we stopped off in Cincinnati because a woman collapsed in a dead faint along the aisle. At Cincinnati airport I have never, ever in my entire life seen so many people with such huge asses. On the plane I sat next to a massively gelatinous woman, her fat arms spilling over onto my side of the armrest.

I arrived at 9.30am in Newark, took the air train to the LIRR then the A train to 14th St and walked two blocks to Soho House. Took me about 30 mins from the Delta terminal to the great big brown velvet sofa I am sitting on right now. Nobody looks ashamed using public transport in NYC. This is where we gather, flirt, deal, and hustle on the subway and the street. On the streets of New York are strangers from every social class making all kinds of connections for the benefit of all. I much prefer this to my sterile street life in LA.

Had Dorian screening yesterday for more buyers. Dunno how well that went. I did not stay for the screening. Brian Jackson the DP saw it too. He loved it. We agreed that we would work together again in the future.

Before the screening I had time to kill so I had a long massage and a hot, hot steam in the Cowshed.

Stayed in Alpine New Jersey last night with Tim N from Whitstable who is working as a live in family counselor for the man who owns Hudson News. It is a made-of-chip-board mansion just like all of the homes here. I don’t know as if you can even raise a mortgage on a wooden house in England. The house has a cinema, basketball court and an Olympic sized swimming pool in the basement. He has a bunch of mates over from Whitstable to help celebrate his birthday. Burt (builder) and Josh (stone mason). They have this really funny game where they congratulate one another for using long, complicated words. We ate dinner at Florant in the meatpacking district. Great food. I had chicken but I should have ordered the skirt steak.

Now, irritatingly, I have to play catch up. So many days have passed since I last wrote anything for my blog. I get overwhelmed just remembering everything that happens. I much prefer to see where the memory of the previous day takes me.

Saturday. 8am Westside AA meeting. Afterwards I sat on my own in the bakery opposite eating a fruit salad. I sat there wondering why such a huge building was being so badly underused. The space effectively benefiting from only 25% of the available sales floor. Ended up meeting the guy who owned the joint who also owns The City Bakery in New York. I told him all about The Good Shed in Canterbury. He was inspired by the notion of a daily farmers market. We exchanged numbers. He already checked out the Goods Shed and wanted to know how it was set up.

Later that same morning I ate another breakfast with Dom at the 101. Hillary popped by. Went up to North Dillon St. The door to the house was open. For some peculiar reason best known only to himself Dom pressed a panic button that, once upon a time, would have been in the master bedroom, the bells were insanely loud. We scarpered.

saturday afternoon Romaine came to visit. We drove back to Dillon and met the builder who told me how much it would cost to make the essential renovations. $300k.

After a long nap I headed over to a party at Effie Brown’s house, yet again I found myself in Silverlake. I met a young boy over there who was very funny, not very attractive, good (social) crime partner.

Young boy and I drove to The Chateau for a late bowl of hot chocolate. We said hello to Heath L who looks great. Better than great. He was drinking tea and his eyes were bright and hopeful. A different man from the crazed haunted man I met last year at the Oscars.

Young boy and I then drove home but he is straight so he slept on the sofa.

Sunday. The following morning we (young boy and I) went to 8am AA meeting in West Hollywood. Breakfast at La Pain Quotidian. We waited so long (45mins) for our food that when the bill came I refused to pay. The manager agreed and comped our food. Comped is a good word. In America we are as precise about our description of the use of money as Eskimos are about snow.

Sunday afternoon the young boy and I drove around the Hollywood Hills visiting random people before going over to Silverlake to see the North Dillon House once again and calming the nerves of the realtors who are waiting for me to get my act together. Ate more food in Silverlake. Pancakes and a side of bacon. Young boy drove me to the airport.

I have really missed collecting my thoughts on Runyon Canyon.

5:22 PM – 0 Comments – 0 Kudos – Add Comment – Edit – Remove

October 20, 2006 – Friday

Ashton Kutcha

5.45am

Back in LA. I still have had the flu’. Sitting in germ soup on the plane sandwiched between two of the most miserable women alive did not help. What, you may ask, was I doing in the back of the plane? Can’t be bothered to explain that drama.

I am spluttering phlegm all over my laptop as I write. Consequently, due to illness, I have not been up to much. Invitations to LA fashion week went unanswered. Meant to be going to New York today but can scarcely move from my bed. I hate being ill. Ill means weak, ill means powerless, ill means unable to climb the mountain. Stalling at the base.

Thankfully I am sleeping well. In bed by 9.30 last night. It is cold in the apartment at night though. I am sitting here wrapped in a pale blue shawl like a little old lady. I could just turn on the heat. Won’t do it, too British, old-fashioned, put on another jersey or climb into bed.

The day I returned there was an urgent message to call Corey my realtor. He told me the startling news that the house on North Dillon had fallen out of escrow again. Again! That poor house has been sitting there for seven months without anyone to love it. Three times in and out of escrow. Three times. One of those times was me of course. We agreed to meet the following morning to write another offer.

So, on Wednesday Corey collected me from my flu’ pit and we drove in his black Hummer to the Social Security office to get an SS number. The office on Vine was very clean and the staff very helpful. I now have so much to do. For a start I need to get a Californian driving licence.

After the social security office we had lunch at American Rag on LaBrea. Sat next to Ashton Kutcha who has that same creamy complexion David Gallagher has. It is a bit of a lunchtime scene in there. Jennifer Jason Leigh sat sulking with a very loud friend two tables away.

Spent Wednesday evening at home instead of going to parties. Sweating hot and cold.

On Thursday morning, after 18 months of messing around, I walked two blocks from my house and I hired a car. I was so weak and had so much to do I could not stomach buses, taxis or walking. Who writes my freaking rules? Why didn’t I do this sooner?

The moment I pulled away from the strip mall in my rented car I became a Californian.

Before I drove to an appointment with my lawyers in Beverly Hills my friend Hillary popped by for a cup of tea. It was great to see her and for the next hour and a half we luxuriated in a trough of delicious gossip. By the time she left I felt bloated on our feast of The Misfortune of Others. It was very, very naughty.

Met with Erik the lawyer. Discussed various up coming projects and what we were going to do with them all.

I forgot to eat.

Drove home to see Scott at my house where we hung out there for a couple of hours. Drove back to Beverly Hills, stopping on the way at Capellini sale and met with Bettina at Le Pain Quotidian on Little Santa Monica. Strategised and ate huge chopped salad.

As I was close by I stopped in at the Spectre’s house on Whittier but only little Isaac and their mad Mexican cleaner was there. He is such an entertaining little boy, so intelligent. I sat with him for an hour until Lisa came home then I set off for Silverlake but got stuck in horrible traffic listening to some mad man (Tom Likas) on the radio advising young men not to have relationships until they turn 30. He was fascinating. He believes that men can treat women as badly as they want, have all the sex they want and that marriage is for losers. He recently said on air that he would sleep with a fourteen year old girl if it was legal. When challenged he simply stood by the statement.

Even though I was stuck in traffic listening to a mad misogynist I was pleased not to be on the hot streets negotiating the cracked pavements and the cracked out pedestrians.

Dinner with Ann L and her very intense artist husband. Really had a lovely time. They live in a spectacular Schindler house with many, if not all, of the original details. It is one of those houses one instantly loves, it is packed with interesting things. Every piece of furniture they owned was worth looking at carefully. Ann dosed me up with vitamin C and then we had dinner at a Brazilian restaurant nearby but I could not really taste anything.

Dom insisted that we meet on Santa Monica for a frozen yogurt. I sat there on the street sweating, desperate for my bed.

7:16 AM

October 18, 2006 – Wednesday

resident alien

Feel sick, felt sick on the plane. Back in LA, resident alien. Sick as a dog. I spent all day chasing North Dillon St once again. Fuck. That house has fallen out of escrow three times. I really love it. What is God doing to me?

Too sick to climb the mountain this morning, I stayed in my bed until Angela the cleaner turned up with her huge smile. I asked her to iron the pillowcases and wash the windows.

When I got home last night I rearranged the house. I was meant to be eating with Devon and Aleksa but ended up frantically rearranging books and the mantle piece. I was naked. The curtains were not drawn. I did not care.

The day before I left for LA I had to haul my sorry ass down to Whitstable. I had a goodbye breakfast with Phil and Paul at the Mona Lisa. We had had a wonderful time during my stay at her house. Phil was affectionate, undemanding and generous. A good friend. Phil and Moffy left for Portugal and I caught the bus to Victoria Station and then the hour-long trip to Whitstable. I walked from the station directly to Wheelers where I had a coffee with Anita and the gang. The gang being Mark, the genius chef, Adam (Smalls) the teenage recently ex virgin looking all languid and manly and Angela who I affectionately call Sheppey’s Elizabeth Taylor because she has been married more than once. Oh, and Sid was lurking in the back preparing puddings but he had split up from his girl friend and was all quiet and odd.

Whitstable gossip included: the Barratt girl (toughest family in Whitstable) had smashed Shivonne Hewlett in the face at the pub because Shivonne had stolen the Barrett’s boy friend who is down to the final eight on X Factor. The Barrett girl had then sold her story to the Sun and filled the ex boy friend’s piano with tuna.

Bumped into the Barrett girl outside Dave’s deli sitting with two girl friends, suddenly she looked very glamorous as if a dose of minor celebrity really suited her. Oblivious to her recent brush with notoriety I told her how wonderful she was looking. Apparently, according to them, X factor is all a fix because Shivonne’s mother Therese is a friend of Sharon Osborne’s.

What a load of bollocks.

As fate would have it Monday was Danny Gallagher’s funeral so I took my life in my hands and decided to go to the wake, which was happening up at the Marine Hotel in Tankerton. When I got there I realised that there was not much building, plastering or plumbing going on in North East Kent that day as every builder, plasterer and plumber for miles around had found themselves a black suit and was now eating pork pies in the paved area at the back of the Marine. Saw Ronnie R (antiques dealer) who owes me £100. Poor Stuart A (plasterer) was given a very hard time when I arrived his friends raised a huge chorus of light-hearted jeers as I had once very loudly told all of his mates that I thought he was one of the best looking men in Whitstable. I think that crown now belongs to Andy R (electrician) who although a bit dull is very cute.

Saw the very personable Sibley’s (chef and builder), as I sat with them one of my Whitstable brother’s friends said, “There’s Martin Roy’s brother”. I think that it was meant to be a rather convoluted put down. The Sibley’s and I just looked at him askance and continued our conversation.

I stayed all of twenty minutes.

I went back to Wheelers to report on the wake then walked home along the beach with Delia who showed me her plot behind the sea wall where she is building a very grand beach-hut sandwiched between Georgina and Barbara equally manicured plots. When we arrived Michael Fitt, Anita’s man was doing something with his shirt off with string and fence posts.

Finally I made my way home but not before three other people had told me the Barrett/Hewlett story and how Sharon Osborne was fixing it at X Factor..

When I got home Babs took me to my house and good God I have never seen that place look better, cleaner or more organised. Babs had ironed every sheet, weeded the garden, dusted every shelf and vacuumed every carpet and scrubbed every floor. It was immaculate. I felt really odd raiding the bookcase, taking shoes and filling a great big bag with stuff for my new resident alien status in LA.

They made me a delicious pot of tea and biscuits and gave me a lift to the station. They are such good people.

On the train back to London I met Ben the mechanic. HE was delicious. I am always meeting cute boys on the train to and from London.

Dinner at La Famiglia on Langton St with Louise and Toby Mott. Louise is now heavily pregnant and looks a bit tired. Toby seems quite Zen. Their builders have ripped them off. Rabbit and carpaccio. Delicious.

Bed by 10.30, woken at 11.30 by Piers making midnight supper in the kitchen. Crashing around with pots and pans.

6:47 PM

October 17, 2006 – Tuesday

Frieze Art Fair Day 2

Sunday. Chelsea.

Listening to Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix.

Spent all day in bed with a horrid cold. Both Phil and I blighted with aching limbs and throbbing heads late last night. Isn’t that odd to get simultaneous colds? I am never, ever ill with this sort of thing. However, I couldn’t think of a better place to be ill than here with Phil. We are in beds at opposite ends of the house. I can hear people arriving upstairs, I can hear Moffy leaving the house with her chums then hours later her footsteps in the hall, chattering about her adventures, “We took the wrong bus, we ended up in Shepherds Bush-there were chavs EVERYWHERE..”

When I was in prison I began writing a novel. It was as if today had been a perfect slice of that novel only on that fictional afternoon there was snow on the ground. Snow on our boots. Fresh snow. I just lay here all day and felt incredibly safe. Nothing could hurt me here in this room. Here in this huge house, sleeping where the cook probably slept once upon a time. Here in this room I do not have to deal with liars or the disingenuous or the black dust that settles on everything in LA. I do not have to climb a mountain to find my serenity.

Melanie De B arrived with medicines and vitamin C and the Sunday newspapers. Her husband had a stroke last night yet she still made her way over. I don’t really have any friends like that in LA. Then Kat G came in the afternoon with chocolate biscuits and we drank hot tea with Phil and Paul. After the second visit I fell into a dreadfully sweaty half sleep. It is now 9pm.

I have not written this diary since Friday and there is now so much to report.

On Friday morning I was meant to be meeting Bella F but we were both late getting up and ended up not meeting. We had a long chat on the phone. She is designing for Biba, which sounds perfect for Bella. Kate B, my glossy mag friend, said that the Biba collection was very good. Kate mentioned that Maia Norman’s collection was excellent, better than anything else that she had seen at London Fashion Week. Maia is Damian Hirst’s rather wonderful wife. Phil and I drove over to the Electric on the Portobello Road and ate eggs with Tiffany Whittome who has recently gotten herself engaged. I saw George, my assistant from The Method; his head seems to have doubled in size. I was very polite to him.

Received very odd e-mail from my Berlin friend insinuating that Phil had left the art fair the previous day looking distressed and then tried to blame me. She warned me to ‘be nice to her’ this advice coming from a woman who, estranged from her husband, sleeps with her 12-year-old son. Both Phil and I found this very amusing.

After our rather late breakfast I made my way over to Maria A’s in Kennington. It was so easy to find her house on the bus. We ate pasta and talked about the secret project and her imminent visit to NYC that corresponds with mine at the end of the month. Maria has the most beautiful garden and the house has been very sensitively renovated. It is one of those huge houses at the east end of Kennington Road. Huge.

At 3pm made my way to Georgia Byng’s in Primrose Hill-another huge house stuffed with beautiful art mostly made by her husband Marc Quinn. I met her new little baby who is a dear and discussed teen violence on Primrose Hill with Georgia’s daughter from her marriage to Danny Chadwick. She is a very pretty, intelligent, 16-year-old. Drank delicious hot tea and ate chocolate. Georgie has had huge success with her Molly Moon books. Sold in 37 territories. It is wonderful to see her doing so well.

As I was leaving she mentioned a conversation she had with Will Self about my film, which intrigued me. I will write more about this at a later date. Will, as you may know, was once a very good friend of mine. We had, at one time, discussed the possibility of adapting his novel Dorian into a film as I had contributed to the research by way of contemporary descriptions of New York etc., which he used verbatim in his novel. Will loved AKA. However, when I realised that he had no idea how a film was made and delivered a 300-page script that he insisted was a ‘shooting script’, which I never even bothered to read, we went our separate ways. I ended up adapting my version of the film from the Oscar Wilde Lippincott original. I sat pouring over Oscar Wilde’s only novel every morning for two months at Sullivan’s hotel in Sydney until the script was finished.

G. Byng was on such good form. I loved seeing her. Have really made the effort, this trip, to reach out to all of my old friends.

From Primrose Hill I took a cab to The Whitehall Theatre off of Trafalgar Square where I met Phil in the foyer and we saw a rather dull production of Bent. Moving but dull. One can’t help but be moved but I am afraid that the lovely in-real-life Alan Cummings ruined the production. He was all over the place. This was particularly sad because Horst played by Chris New, who I met with Christian C the other night, was amazing! I wish that Alan had been a little more focused and less..well..Alan. Perhaps he was jealous that Chris’s performance was so good.

Generally the production was annoyingly over directed, the German soldiers skipping around like scene queens.

Phil and I took another cab to Soho House where we met Clare. She was sitting with some very pretty friends who we persuaded to move to a bigger table. Phil was on the phone to I don’t know who but when she came back she looked perplexed and left quite soon after. After some fun with Clare’s friends we left Soho House for Max Wigram’s party for Ryan McGinley at Laundromat but it was DREARY and terribly ‘arty’.

At Laundromat I saw a boy, who I met at the Miami/Basle art fair, who describes himself as a ‘curator’. He was dancing. I had met the same boy in NYC dancing at an artist’s studio. Now, here he is in London..dancing. Clare and I decided to make a 3 minute art film called ‘The Curator’ some random boy dancing at art fairs all over the world. He said, “Look, art! It’s the new Hollywood”. If only it were my friends, if only it were. A bunch of crazed shopkeepers describing their 15mins in the sun as the ‘New Hollywood’?

We were desperate for an antidote to the pretentious art/new Hollywood party so we decided to go to The Shadow Lounge where we had a blast dancing and flirting until 3am. I met a man who tried to persuade me that we had ‘great sex’ in a bath ten years ago in my flat off of Brick Lane. Even though I knew he was wrong (I never had a flat off of Brick Lane) he was so persuasive that it felt rude not to agree to the memory. I wanted to kiss him and then I wanted to kiss some other good-looking boy for a moment before I realised that I did not have to. The only lips I wanted were elsewhere.

We fought our way through the 3am Soho crowd, the aggressive mini cab men and the drug dealers then Clare drove me home. Slept intermittently. Red bull is a bad idea at 2am.

Saturday

All day yesterday and the day before all I could really think about was my dinner with Harry on Saturday night. I thought about him as I was thinking about kissing those men in The Shadow Lounge and then I thought about him all through brunch at David Gill’s spectacular gallery in Kennington on Saturday morning. I thought about Harry as I wondered who would buy an 8′ pink Perspex flamingo from David Gill for $60k. I thought about him as I ate delicious food and drank apple juice and played with Melanie De B, Michael Wolfson and Dan Macmillan. I thought about beautiful Harry as I flirted with Desiree and ignored Jane Barclay.

I thought about him as I waited outside the Royal Academy for André for 40 minutes attracting attention in my pink stockings and red shoes and pantaloons. I thought about Harry as we nipped into Bryan Ferry’s house to collect something Melanie needed for dinner. I thought about him all afternoon as I tried to fight off the beginning of the cold I have now.

All I could think about was the tall, fine-faced Harry. All I could think about was looking into his blue eyes and listening to his beautiful voice.

Bye bye squirrel. I love Harry now.

But, when Harry arrived at Langton St at 8.30 I was half the man I needed to be-my cold was now in full swing. Phil thought he was beautiful, Moffy thought he was beautiful, Paul thought he was beautiful. I think that Harry is the most beautiful creature who ever walked the earth.

Dinner with Harry.

All I could think about was mucus in my eyes, nose and throat.

5:24 PM

October 13, 2006 – Friday

Frieze

Moffy stayed in bed yesterday ill with the ‘flu. Poor darling, all limp and pale like a rag doll. I sat on the lilac sofa and wrote my article for Blackbook and filed it by 12 o’clock.

I then headed into Soho on the bus through torrential, almost tropical, rain and ended up in Soho House sitting with Nick Love who I have not seen for a couple of years. He was sitting quietly reading the Sun and drinking a cup of tea. I sat down and it was as if the last two years had simply not happened. After the tiniest amount of hesitation the damnedest thing happened, I realised that we were both suddenly relieved of the burden of fatal competition. Neither of us had anything, any longer, to prove. We looked each other in the eye and it was all OK. What ever it was that had bugged both of us when we stopped talking all that time ago-had gone. Instead of strange looks and odd recriminations we laughed about Tuesday’s Sun newspaper witty headline after Kim il Sung exploded the nuclear device: How Do You Solve a Problem like Korea? Genius. It was delightful to see him.

Nick and I were at film school in Dorset ten years ago and at that time and for a few years after we had a pretty intense, inseparable friendship. The same sort of co-dependant friendship that I had with Richard Green during most of my twenties. These homoerotic, non-sexual, highly charged friendships I associate most with my alcoholism. I have had them with both women and men and they usually end very badly. They are creatively and emotionally explosive but regardless of the outcome, for me, have been the greatest relationships of my life.

When Nick left we gave each other the hugest hug. I kissed him on the neck.

I took the tube to the Frieze art fair where I met Bettina who is organising the press for Dorian. Bumped into and chatted warmly with Tracy Emin, Benedict Taschen, Max Wigram, Simon English, Sam Hodgkin, Paul Kasmin and many, many others. Apart from Benedict, I have known most of these people for most of my adult life. It felt very good to embrace all of them. We are getting older and less ambitious. That is a very good thing. Saw Jay from afar but can still not bring myself to say hello. His rottweiler hench men prowling the stand.

What did I see that I liked? The only ‘art’ I liked was ironically on Jay’s stand. Jake and Dinos Chapman were sitting in a wall papered booth painting people’s portraits, Leicester Square style, for £4.5k. Very witty. Right on the money. Genius.

Missed buying Ryan McGinley’s pissing boy by ten minutes.

I did not see Samia, which was very odd. She was there but we curiously missed one another.

After the show I hooked up with Robert Yates from the Observer and his fiancé. We went to a ghastly Deutche Bank party at 5 Cavendish Square-I stayed ten minutes then walked to Soho House (the epicentre of my London social life) where I met Christian C and his blonde friend from university. The friend wanted, very amusingly to get ‘fucked in the arse’. He was adamant but we remained at the bar and Christian and I just jawed for hours about LA and London and the relative values of each city. The friend, eager for a stuffing persuaded us to go to a tacky gay bar a few streets away where a toothless drug dealer tried to sell us cocaine and pills. I was wearing Dior so had no intention of staying in that ghastly place for long.

Christian, realising that I was in no mood for gams and the young took me to Trisha’s on Dean St, which is a basement room with pictures of the Pope on the wall. An old-fashioned speak easy. It was rather wonderful. Chatted about ‘The Queen’ and Diana of Wales and soap operas. When we ran out of cash we headed over to Soho House where we met Alan Cummings and the cast of Bent. We hung out with them until 3 in the morning and then I took the night bus home. Briefly thought about taking a cab as a bunch of Asian youths were brawling on the street and I was wearing red shoes but thought better of it and caught a number 38 which took me directly to Phil’s. Crept into bed. Slept like a log.

The following day I really did more of the same. Phil and I drove back to Frieze Art Fair where I bought a Ryan McGinley. We had a slight consternation about Moffy and mobile phones, which meant that Phil had to dash off almost as soon as we arrived but before she left we bumped into Samia and her friend Isabella. Samia truly is the chicest woman alive. Mauve chiffon blouse, patent pumps and raven black hair.

I had tea with my brand new obsession de jour-Harry C. We walked from Regent’s Park to the Dover Street Hotel and sat in the lobby, now remodelled, where Scott Crolla and I used to go when Crolla still existed. The high tea with scones etc. cost $150. Absurd. Harry is a blonde, willowy, 25-year-old Etonian with the sweetest disposition. Married. Lives in Paris. Beautiful.

After tea I headed over to Sotheby’s for the Whitechapel benefit auction preview. Beautiful Peter Doig painting on the cover of the catalogue. Saw Danny Moynihan and his very funny cousin who has a company called Joe Boxer and lives in San Francisco. Danny begins shooting his new film in seven weeks, Duncan Ward directing. Apparently everyone thinks that it is MY film. That can’t be good for either Danny or Duncan! Saw Max Wigram, also ex-Etonian ex-willowy, ex-sweet disposition. He called me a weirdo-which I suppose I must be. Danny and his cousin left Sotheby’s to find Maia Norman at the Armani party in Knightsbridge so I hung out with Dominic Burning for a good while. Very funny. Raving about Margate and art and how ART can save the day.

From Sotheby’s to the ICA on the Mall for the Cerith Wynn Evans show, it was very dreary. Max Wigram called me a weirdo there too. The best thing about the ICA was that it reminded me of performing there in our performance art piece PORNOGRAPHY: A SPECTACLE. I could smell it. The memory of being there. 3 weeks of performing in that space. I think we performed The Host there too. Georgia Byng, Marc Quinn’s wife, performed in that.

Ended up, of course, at Soho House with Nick Moran for late egg and chips. Night bus home.

3:17 AM

October 11, 2006 – Wednesday

LONDON

Pouring rain. Soho House.

I left LA on Sunday after the Bonham’s Sunset sale. I bought an African head-dress. I don’t know why. I love auction rooms; they have a very calming effect on me.

Dom came over for coffee. We discussed my roommate whose b/f is becoming rather annoying. He woke me and the neighbors the other night loudly vomiting in the bathroom. When I confronted my room-mate about it he told me that poor J was drinking the night before-bad excuse. Very bad excuse.

Andreas collected me from my house in his white Porsche and we drove to LAX in light Sunday traffic in took merely twenty minutes to get there. I had almost no luggage so everything was very light and easy.

I met a very sweet boy in the departure lounge who sat next to me on the plane and told he his life story-took about ten minutes. I fell asleep.

We flew into London over Kew, the pagoda there is so pretty and I realised that what I missed most about home when I am in the US are these great acts of public generosity made for the greater good of the people. We have so much to love about our towns and cities, so much that distinguishes them from each other. In LA we have the HOLLYWOOD sign. LA is a one-postcard town.

Arrived in Chelsea and met Phil at the Mona Lisa on the Kings Road where I ate a huge plate of greasy fried eggs and chips. It was wonderful to be back. Phil looked great-really happy. We jawed for hours. Told her about Peter D accusing me of showing off and she said that some people would always, deliberately misunderstand my enthusiasm.

Phil and I went to evensong at St Martins in the Fields then dinner in Soho. After dinner on the way home had to get passport pictures-had them made in Sloane Square photo booth. It took all of 3 minutes.

By the end of Monday I was exhausted. Desperate to go to bed. Slept very badly. Up at 4. Answered e-mails. Could not sleep. No mountain to climb.

Yesterday morning I headed over to Mayfair on the bus where I had business to attend to. Lunch with Bettina at Soho House to discuss film then hung out with Luca M all afternoon at his house until Phil arrived and ate deep-fried spring rolls. There is a new Carluccio on the Fulham Road where Luca and I bought espresso.

Tuesday night NA meeting. Really good.

Dinner at the Chelsea Arts Club with Phil, Piers de Lazlo and his mad, drunk ex-girlfriend. I know that this may cause some controversy but in my opinion drunken women make appalling company-much worse than men. They are so undignified. Bumped into Laura and Peter Carew who were looking very elegant. Peter asked for Xan’s number as they were in the Dangerous Sports Club together and Laura was moved to tears when I told her that I had met Patrick Kinmonth in LA after 10 years of not seeing him. She misses him terribly. Sardines and stuffed pork belly for dinner.

This morning wrote article for Steve G then took bus in pouring rain to Soho. Bumped into and was delighted to see Nick Love who I had not seen for ages. He looked like a man-which he is nowadays. We were at film school together and have been on off friends for 15 years. As he left he gave me a huge smile and a cheeky wink.

6:38 AM

October 8, 2006 – Sunday

Peter D

Friday was another day of boring lawyers and stuff that I simply had to get on and deal with. Signing with new agency, management, publicist and lawyers in one foul swoop. Exciting and EXHAUSTING. All of that palaver had to be handled by the time I leave for London tomorrow. It had to be done. A new broom.

Lunch at Barney’s with Bram.

Had dinner on Friday night with Michael C and two other producers in Beverly Hills. It might have been a jollier evening but I was tired.

I am in London for ten days then I go immediately to New York for Tim’s birthday party and meetings with buyers. Then it’s Sydney for all of November.

Today went to 8am AA meeting. No walk. Coffee in Urth café with Will.

Alexa came with me to Bonham’s to view the Sunset Estate Sale and guess who I bumped into! Peter D. He was Outraged!! He said, “I don’t appreciate that you wrote about me in your BLOG (see yesterday’s blog). I’ve never trusted you. I said to (?) ten years ago ‘I like him but I don’t trust him’. I didn’t have to be pleasant to you first thing in the morning. Showing off about your party.”

This indignant tirade about my blog, which one of my helpful readers had passed onto Peter D by e-mail. How speedily news travels! Then he changed tack and huffed and puffed about how ‘grateful’ he was to me for alerting him to the dangers of gossip. Alexsa, listening in, just laughed as discreetly as she could out of Peter’s view. It took will power not to laugh at his pathetic tantrum there in the middle of Bonham’s. Paulo, sitting behind the desk, asked us three times to leave the foyer.

“Was anything I said made up?” I asked. “No”. he flamed. “Then how have I been untrustworthy?” “You’re right, I shouldn’t gossip”. He said. “So it was you that was untrustworthy?” I asked calmly.

Peter had waited ten years for evidence of untrustworthiness and finally he had PROOF that I was indeed the person he always thought I was, or heard I was, because I simply and honestly reported what he had told me yesterday. As he blustered I just kept thinking, this is nothing to do with me, this man has been waiting ten years for me to let him down. A long-term self-fulfilling prophecy. As I tuned back into his diatribe he said, “How many people did she kill on Everest? Was it two or three?” As he was unable to let the story go I thought that I should, at least, defend my hostess as she had been so generous to me. Armed with a little information from the Internet I said, “What proof do you have that she killed any people on Everest? From what I can gather the worst thing she did was have a copy of Vogue sent up the mountain. If any one of your society friends whom you DO approve of had done that you might very well of thought it humorous. The worst thing Sandy did, as far as you and the bunch of piranhas you hang out with are concerned-is survive”. At that point he totally capitulated and resorted to petty insults.

Aleksa and Devon

The great thing about this blog is that I find out very quickly whom I can depend on. Those who loathe being mentioned are usually snotty ex pat Brits who are embarrassed to know me. People who dip into my life to see what is going on but too embarrassed to say that they have been there. Like visiting mad people at Bedlam.

The fact is, I have never felt very comfortable around Peter. He insists on making totally unprovoked bitchy jibes. “Darling, you need to get my boyfriend to give you botox.” I have tried very hard to be as friendly as I can but ultimately this argument has revealed him to be an old-fashioned, self-serving, godless snob. His best friend is a camp, Greek illustrator with an active drink problem who battles Peter in some vile post-modern contest to see who can be more offensive. Peter lives a metaphysical farce.

He is consequently a very angry and resentful man. Of course I know exactly why, but THAT is something I would never, ever write here.

To his credit he did say that the only blog worth reading was Arriana Huffington’s. I agree. It’s very funny and informative and deliciously personal. But, one thing is sure, if Arriana Huffington had had to fight for survival on the side of a mountain like Sandy H did that fateful day in 1998 Peter might have given some thought to what it must have felt like to make life or death decisions. Decisions that in the decorated drawing rooms of West Hollywood would not have seemed terribly chic at all-darling.

Had lunch with Alexa and Sharon at Cheebo.

Dom for malted milk shakes this afternoon.

Michael C picked me up at 9.30 and we drove to the Hollywood sign where a rather odd 40th birthday party was taking place. A drum circle, fire pit, belly dancers and women on stilts. Met a couple of actors, a rocket scientist and a comedienne. After a couple of hours of not really engaging and some spicy chicken wings I walked home.

8:37 AM

October 6, 2006 – Friday

Dead Poet

I have just returned from my later than usual walk. Finding it hard to focus this morning. Do I need to get my eyes tested?

Yesterday Romaine, my friend from Nice, came to the house whilst I did the laundry and we drank coffee and killed time before I prepared to meet Amanda R in Bel Air.

I had been invited via Amanda R by Sandy H to: A pre-Halloween celebration: “Dinner of the Dead Poets”.

THE INVITATION:

‘It will be held at my ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley on the night of the full moon.

This will be a formal, black tie and ball gown, dinner for just 12 people. I know that you possess both the imagination and the wardrobe to be an important guest at this artistic evening. Please come dressed as a dead poet and bring a poem to recite which was written by the character you have chosen.

In order to facilitate your transportation needs, I would like to send my plane to bring you to Santa Ynez (a 30 minute flight from Santa Monica airport, leaving at about 4:30 PM) and to return you back to Los Angeles before midnight on the 5th’.

So, that is what we did. I decided to dress as and read from Oscar Wilde. As a dead Oscar I interpreted the event accordingly. I wore Miu Miu knickerbockers; my new Dior jacket and long pink stockings with red shoes. Thank God I took my huge aubergine silk velvet scarf that Tania Sarn gave me and threw it over my head. It was freezing!

On the way there I sat next to the pilot, which was wonderful watching the journey unfold in front of me. I was not at all frightened. It was like having goggles on underwater. I can’t swim without goggles because my biggest fear is the unknown. On the way back I sat in the back and I felt every bump-it was scary just because I couldn’t see.

When we got to the tiny airport we were chauffeured twenty minutes to a contemporary house that looked like a vert de gris Mayan Temple. The house was filled with amazing furniture by George Nakashima-one of the best collections of his work that I have ever seen. A beautiful, 24 seat dining table was particularly stunning. The only other person to have such beautiful Nakashima pieces is, of course, Eugenio Lopez.

The really great find of the evening was Bo, our hostess’s 25-year-old son, who is a friend of Oscar H’s. He drove me, at great speed, in his turbo Porsche to the party, which was set in a vineyard ten minutes from the house. Charming, sweet boy.

We ate in the winery, which had been beautifully decorated for the occasion. The twelve of us sat under a diaphanous golden awning. We all had our photographs taken. We then ate amazing organic food that had been fedexed from Ohio. There was a small band that played suitably dead music and a young woman sang gently in the background. Spookily the accordion player looked EXACTLY like Vivian Westwood.
Each course had a poetic theme. Mince and Quince for instance (Lear). Our hostess was charming and funny and dressed as a 9th century Chinese poet. She was wearing a wonderful plum coloured fortuny dress and earrings that were once owned by Diana Vreeland.

In between each course the guests, in order of when they died, stood up and introduced themselves. I stood up as Oscar Wilde and told them about my life and work. I then read the first part of The Ballad of Reading Jail. When I finished Ovid said, “That was intense”. I sat between Emily Dickinson (who looked more like Janice Dickinson) and Bo’s very pretty girlfriend. Amanda R went as Rilke, which was a great choice as she got to wear a wonderful Vera Wang dress. However, the dress was so sheer the poor thing, who is all skin and bones, just began to fade away in the freezing room. By the end of dinner Amanda/Rilke had totally lost her voice and she may very well have consumption by sunrise.

After dinner the car came and we were flown home. In bed by 1.30am.

This morning there were 41 dogs on the Canyon path four of them belonging to Peter D who I bumped into as they were leaving the park. I heard him before I saw him, as did the other concerned walkers who exchanged worried looks at the sound of this man screaming at his dogs. He was shouting at one of his small Yorkies to get back on the path. Peter K in tow.

I cheerily said hello and kissed them both. We were all a bit too sweaty for that kind of greeting. He asked about the film and apologised for not returning my calls. It was at this moment that I began to have a sort of out-of-body experience. My outer me saying, “LEAVE, walk away from the area, don’t tell him anything, just get out of there as quickly as you can”. My actual body is now fully engaged in conversation. I asked about the Sunset Sale at Bonham’s. “I’ve already been”.

I began to tell him about the party I went to last night, he snapped “She’s a NIGHTMARE, she killed two people on Everest”. I did not react. I just looked carefully as him and began to gently erase him out of the picture. I felt rather sorry that he was so angry. “I rather liked her,” I said. “We had a wonderful time”. He just looked at me as if to say of COURSE you would like some one like that. “I’ve got a meeting at the Palisades”. He barked at Peter K who was pulling twigs off of the dog. Peter D, angry before I got there-I bet he’ll be angry all day. He was wearing lurid pink underwear.

4:14 PM

October 5, 2006 – Thursday

Dior

12 dogs. Russians. Ukrainians. A dog called Mike. Clockwise. Beautiful, sunny, fresh.

Yesterday, as a result of my commitment to contrary action, I had a very business like day.

Met bank about mortgage.

Chatted more with Ruth about film.

Sent various e-mails terminating various business relationships so I can concentrate on the next phase.

Aleksa Palladino

I wrote.

I bought a jacket at Dior. I bought socks at Turnbull and Asser for the party I am going to this evening in the desert.

Spoke to Eric. It is raining in San Francisco.

AA meeting at 7.45.

Alexsa and Devon for dinner. Cooked chicken, boiled potatoes and peas. Strangely delicious.

In bed by 11.30. Heard Daniel get in at 3am. How does he do it?

9:14 AM