Archives for posts with tag: Quentin Crisp

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

I knew 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.  A precocious teenager at boarding school I spent months writing and rewriting 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.’

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 the unworthiest.

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 I found particularly hard to get to grips with.  Acting, as you may know, requires the performer to be real and at 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.

The phone rang at some ungodly hour last night and a very methed out friend of mine called to say that he was having a relationship with a porn star.  A ‘chic with a dick’.  Worse, he said, he wanted to become a ‘chic with a dick’ himself.   He then spoke to me as his ‘other’ incarnation, which was very disturbing as I really thought I was speaking to another person.   When he became ‘her’ he sounded like he’d been snorting helium.

He sent me a link to a porn sight where I could see his ‘girl friend’ in action.  I declined to open the link even though I was very, very tempted.

Then, quite coincidentally, I received a very angry email from Pater Tatchell the British human rights activist denouncing Quentin Crisp as a homophobe and misogynist.    Pater writes:

“Quentin Crisp was a contradictory, infuriating figure. Although astonishingly brave and defiant as an out gay man in the 1930s and 40s, he was later defiantly self-obsessed, homophobic and reactionary. Quentin denounced the gay rights movement and slammed homosexuality as ‘a terrible disease’; adding that ‘the world would be better without homosexuals’.  Quentin disparaged homosexuality as an illness, affliction, burden, curse and abnormality. He regarded himself as ‘disfigured’ by his gayness. He never spoke out for gay rights or supported any gay equality cause.”

I was taken aback by the fury of the email simply because the description of Quentin by Peter was so incredibly off.   Quentin may have been a very muddled old man when it came to expressing his political views but he was very much a product of his age and time and should be viewed as such.   It seems churlish to denounce Crisp simply because he never overcame his shame and self-hatred or learned a contemporary gay polemic.

Shame blighted Quentin Crisp’s life and one can never underestimate the damage toxic shame can cause.

Toxic shame is an all-pervasive sense that one is flawed, worthless and defective as a human being.  It is more than just a fleeting feeling of unworthiness; it is an internal sense of falling short.  As John Bradshaw says, “A shame based person will guard against exposing his inner self to others, but more significantly, he will guard against exposing himself to himself.”

I have an enormous amount of respect for Peter Tatchell who has routinely risked his life and health for the sake of his beliefs-a little like Quentin Crisp.   Peter and Quentin have profoundly influenced my thinking during the past 30 years-even though they come from such politically diverse places.  Quentin may have said some very stupid things but what he did empowered boys like me to be true to themselves.

Finally, dear readers, let’s chat momentarily about the banks.  I think we can all agree that the banks have fucked us over?

Can we?

The loyalty most of you have toward the banks will never be reciprocated.  They don’t give a damn about you.  The last thing the banks need is another wave of toxic assets.  By cynically creating my very own I may do myself a favor.

Before the banks behaved so abominably I would never have thought so irresponsibly.  Now, frankly, I don’t care.  They have shown utter contempt for the trust that was placed in them by ordinary, working people.

If any of you are foolish enough to believe that the credit rating system will not be recalibrated then think twice.  As soon as the banks are ready to do business again they will manipulate the credit rating system, that you all seem to blindly respect, to suit themselves.

Lastly…

Apparently, according to NPR this morning,  scientists are working on a pill for people who feel socially excluded.

Bring it on.

I get asked all of the time what the other guys in Sex Rehab were like to live with.  You know, we shot the show so long ago I almost forgot but I’ll tell you my impression of all of them here.

Frankly if I hadn’t been on the show I would never, ever have met any of them.  All of them were out of my social or geographical orbit.  I was only one degree of separation from Amber as it turned out but still, I don’t think we would have ever made time to get to know each other.

Nobody smelt badly except maybe James when he arrived.  Nobody had appalling table manners.  Everybody was mostly courteous, kind and inclusive-even Kari Ann.  Remember the way the show is edited tends to exploit the best and the worst of who we are.

Whilst I was there I hung out mostly with Jennie and Kendra but I had long and involved conversations with almost everyone.    Why did I hang out so much with Jennie?  What was it about her that I loved so much?  Well, for a start, she is hungry for life, for education and for new ways of thinking.  She devoured ideas and suggestions, she listened when I mooted Film School and I still believe that if she plays her cards right there is nothing that she couldn’t do.

Jennie has the correct balance of ambition and talent and the show opened a door into her hidden soul.  Listen, do I love her painting?  No, but I respect her for getting up every day and picking up a paintbrush.  Do I think she errs toward overblown prose? Yes, but she is a 26 year old ex-porn star starting over with a huge amount to learn, look at and consider.  With consultation she will get exactly where she needs to be.

There are still dark forces determined to unsettle her, unseat her ambition, and refuse to let Penny Flame forget where she has come from.  These vile bodies write vicious posts on her blog, they rewrite her wikipedia page.  I am well aware of these embittered, desperate people-they try to do the same to me but they can’t touch me now because, in the words of Quentin Crisp, I am one of the stately Homo’s of England.

There was so much time where we did nothing in Rehab and by nothing I mean no group, no therapy, no planned activity.  We mostly filled our time playing dominoes or cards.  Nicole was a genius at dominoes so I’ll start with her.

1.

Jennie and Nicolle really did not get on very well.  They shared a room but there was a tension that bubbled up between them and actually came to a head as we were standing in line off camera moments before we filed into Rehab Graduation.  I didn’t and still don’t understand their gripe but I suggest it has something to do with class and pre-history.  Nicole is one classy broad, elegant, chic, fierce.  One of those gals who came to Hollywood in search of that ‘Hollywood Dream’ and ended up being one of it’s finest victims.  Her Colin Farrell sex tape caused her to feel tremendous shame and ultimately isolated her from her friends and family.  She faced Hollywood’s dark forces head on.  Sex tapes are so often a double-edged sword, nobody really knows who, if anyone, will benefit.  What I found out from most of the women I shared time in Sex Rehab with was just how many of them had sex tapes with celebrities squirreled away for a rainy day.

2.

Kendra and Lucas are the sweetest couple and live with hundreds of rescued dogs and cats in a sprawling house in Northridge.  Kendra has devoted her life beyond ‘Kendra the Stripper’ to helpless animals and causes that fight injustice head on.   Whatever may or may not happen to our friendship I know in my heart that she will always be there for me.  She is the sort of woman who stops at the side of the freeway to open an abandoned cardboard box in search of kittens and puppies.  She rescued my dog Luna twenty minutes before Luna was going to be destroyed.  She has a huge, huge heart but seldom makes room in it for herself.  I know that her philanthropic life is at odds with what she has to do to earn money.   I am sure she is only moments away from the kind of woman she would like to be.

3.

Kari Ann needs to get the fuck away from David Weintraub. Her tendency toward men like him will destroy her life.  Now she is Miss VH1 super bitch I fear that no one will ever get to see the girl she could have been.  With men like David Weintraub crafting her existence she may very well end up dead, drowned in her own vomit whilst David parties in a joining rooms.    This deadly scenario is all too common in Hollywood.    One could imagine an altogether nastier narrative for David documented with grainy TMZ videos of him being hustled, half dressed and sweating into police cars crying foul.   I end up writing about Weintraub when I wanted to write about Kari Ann, there is a terrible irony to that-that he and men like him will always eclipse her.  Her meth antics on Sex Rehab were not as constant as the show editors wish you to think.  Sometimes we would just lay outside quietly chatting, giggling and smoking.  I will remember her best like that.  A sweet little girl with a meth habit.

4.

Phil Varone, don’t you just love him?   We all loved him.  What isn’t there to love?  He concisely articulated every problem he and others had.  He was and is a superb diplomat and sensitive to boot.  Watching him with his Dad has just made me love him even more.  Phil and I played Mexican dominoes with Nicole and it was over those plastic tiles we got to know each other.  We never locked horns, as I am wont to do with other males.   Phil went to Sex Rehab to do the recovery work.  If we had not been there I wonder if that work you see and relate to would have ever happened?

5.

During the interview process I told the producers that I likes surfer boys and lo and behold there was James.  The big problem was that I never found him attractive.  He, like Kari Ann, had arrived after a protracted period of drug and alcohol abuse and three weeks really wasn’t enough time for him to figure stuff out.  He had been paid a great deal of money to wear certain clothing whilst on the show and that initially galled me.  Maybe I shouldn’t have judged him so harshly.   After the ‘rape the shit’ comment he made to Jennie we got on very well and I even taught him how to knit.  Even though I didn’t get to know James as well as the others I respected his dolphin like sea talents.   We spent a day at Huntington Beach.  Watching him surf was a joy.

6.

Amber had a profound effect on me.  She reminded me of a very beautiful version of my mother.  Her emotions close to the surface, her aquiline elegance and sweet demeanor and real desire for recovery.   Her story is harrowing and desperate.  The enmeshed relationship she has with her mother, the loyalty she has for her mother, the huge price she paid for her addictions.  Hearing her story would make me cry.  The anger workshop we did, the paint in her hair, the way she almost flew through the air like an angel when she was throwing the paint and the eggs.  I will never forget the impact she had on me.  Amber, Phil and I had lunch recently at The Ivy.  I am always slightly in awe of her.  I always will be.

7.

Jennie, what more can I say?  We were, are and will always be friends in whatever shape God intends.  I am sure that my protectiveness will get in the way like it did when I now famously approached David Weintraub at Cecconi’s and challenged him after he was rude and demeaning with her.  I want her to soar higher than I ever did-even though I get envious when she does.    I want her success to fit her like a loose garment.  I want everyone to be as amazed as I that a woman with so much talent could have buried herself so deeply in the sordid world of pornography.   It amazes me that she touched the lives of so many men as a porn actress even if these broken men wanted to fix her with cheap, meaningless promises.    I have not and will not see her in her porn incarnation, I met Penny Flame briefly but do not want to meet her ever again.   I am privileged to know Jenny Ketcham.   Our relationship is not without it’s hitches but we are addicts right?  We are blighted by the disease of perception.  Both of us.

8.

Which brings me to..me, the eighth member of the Sex Rehab cast.  You know what addicts are like, they either hate themselves or love themselves too much and I am no exception.   I could make huge and grandiose statements about myself or I could tell you that I am a piece of shit.  I wrote that and I laughed out loud.  I really have no idea what the others would say about me if they could right here right now-but I could guess.  Kendra might say that I am a flakey friend who says he is going to show up but always gets way laid.  Amber might be suspicious of me and Kari Ann would say,  ‘I love you to bits but you talk shit about me’.   Phil would find something totally loving and appropriate and Jenny might too. James would howl and say something dudeish and give me a huge hug.  I would say, about me on sex rehab, like I have many times before, I am so glad that I got to go on the show and change my life because of it.

I get to write this blog and today, this very lunchtime, I get to thank strangers in the street who show their heartfelt appreciation of sharing all the work we did so honestly and publicly.  Thank you all so very much.

September 4, 2006 – Monday

Julia Woolf

78 dogs on Runyon Canyon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

10:20 AM

September 6, 2006 – Wednesday

Canyon Barbie

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

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

I mopped the kitchen floor with bleach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3:45 PM

September 2, 2006 – Saturday

Dog Piss Canyon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3:06 PM

September 1, 2006 – Friday

Dakota fanning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8:31 AM

August 31, 2006 – Thursday

back in the la

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My life as a film maker.

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

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

2:24 PM

August 29, 2006 – Tuesday

Goodbye Whitstable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6:30 AM

August 14, 2006 – Monday

Threat Level Reduced?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Radix malorum ex Cupiditas

3:31 AM

little soldier

August 9, 2006 – Wednesday

soldier

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

3:47 PM

August 6, 2006 – Sunday

Budd House Summer Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3:54 AM

August 3, 2006 – Thursday

Chris P and Sebastian Horsley in London

Sebastian Horsley’s Birthday Message to me this year:

Happy Birthday cocksucker. Hope it’s your last

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sebastian Horsley

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

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

1:32 AM

July 30, 2006 – Sunday

Lebanon

My Dear Friends, Colleagues and Acquaintances,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please.

Duncan

5:12 AM –

July 29, 2006 – Saturday

My Baby Drink Red Bull

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

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

I have no idea why we treat ourselves so badly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“My baby drinks red bull.”

3:57 AM

July 28, 2006 – Friday

DORIAN GRAY-THE PROCESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is a most exciting time.

11:02 PM

GAY BASHED
Category: Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10:45 AM

July 23, 2006 – Sunday

two 29-year-old men

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

September 18, 2006 – Monday

Danny Gallagher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aleksa Palladino

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

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

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

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

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

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

10:07 AM

September 17, 2006 – Sunday

http://www.saverunyon.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2:18 PM

September 16, 2006 – Saturday

Fat Kid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10:20 AM

September 15, 2006 – Friday

iTunes 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10:38 AM

September 14, 2006 – Thursday

OUTRAGE!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8:42 AM

September 13, 2006 – Wednesday

Jessica Simpson

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

It was a cool, tranquil morning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John dropped me home at midnight.

9:46 AM

September 12, 2006 – Tuesday

real estate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4:21 PM

September 11, 2006 – Monday

We Are All Americans Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

11:33 AM

What was I thinking?

Sunday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I napped in the afternoon.

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

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

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

Must go to bed.

1:59 AM

September 10, 2006 – Sunday

ART

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where are our polemical artists?

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

8:16 AM

September 9, 2006 – Saturday

Shabbat Dinner

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

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

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

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

Lunch $37 with tip.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go where the love is.

8:26 AM

September 8, 2006 – Friday

Peter

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

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

I hope today proves a little less frustrating than yesterday.

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

Chris P arrived for lunch and we talked about his recent past. We never talk about me. He never asks about me. He really knows nothing about me. All he knows is that I am mad. Ate at American Rag. $35. Bad shrimp salad-unsatisfactory French toast. Moody waitress expecting a huge tip. Tips get on my fucking nerves. Tips are for good service. Since when did they become mandatory? My worst tip experience happened in NYC when I paid by credit card and then left the tip (double the tax) in cash. I left the restaurant only to have the not very attentive waitress scream after me, “Where’s my God Damned tip?” I told her that I had left it on the table in cash-we went back to where I was sitting and there it was on the saucer where I had left it. I asked the waitress for an apology, she refused, I took back the tip. Chris and I discussed Joe Townley and why I don’t really want to see him. It isn’t him. It is who I become when I see him. I don’t like who I am when I spend time with Joe.

After lunch Chris asked me why I refused to get a car. No answer.

My friend Charlie P is a rich, successful media man. When I need advice or guidance I call him. He is incredibly generous with his time. Whenever we meet I insist that I pay for our lunch or dinner. I feel that it is right and proper that I do so. He is always pleased because nobody ever pays for him. It suddenly occurred to me yesterday why sexual favours are so prevalent in this city. I have sat on so many occasions with actors advising them about their careers. Who to go to, who is good, who can help etc. Do these people ever think for one moment what this is worth to them? Do they consider that it might me nice to take me to lunch for helping them? Then I realised. They have nothing to give. Young poor men and women have only their bodies to offer for good advice. That is the currency of the Hollywood meat market economy.

I was quoted in US weekly yesterday re John Travolta. Good quote.

After lunch I was meant to be seeing another actor who used to be in Angel but he failed to show up. This flaky arrogant behaviour is so LA. I called him and shouted at him for ten minutes. He is a deeply closeted actor. He accused me of being over emotional. This is the second time that he has let me down. I could have been with Gil and the kids or seen my sponsor or prepared some writing. Instead of which I sat around waiting for a tosser who could not be bothered to call.

I joined the gym. What a palaver. I had decided that I wanted to join LA Fitness at the end of the street. It is walkable, it is new and the facilities are good. I made up my mind, my credit card in my hand I told the girl at the desk that I wanted the introductory offer of $35 a month and could I get a membership? Nothing so fucking simple I’m afraid. I had to meet Carl who was going to show me the ‘facilities’. Carl told me all about his marriage break-up. Carl made no bones about the fact he thought I was gay. ” This is the kiddie room but a man like you won’t be needing that.” He asked what I thought I was doing climbing Runyon Canyon at my age-he suggested that I had to take care of my ‘brittle bones’. “I want you to come HERE every day Roy.” “My first name is Duncan.” I told him for the 5th time. “Is that your black Bentley parked outside Roy?”

Finally, after being shown the sauna, the cardio area and the racket ball courts I got my pass.

Peter Youngblood-Hills for dinner. Peter was in AKA he played Benjamin. We have had many adventures all over the world together and now we both live in LA. He arrived at my house on the scooter I want to buy. I cooked dinner. We had a great time together. We looked at his amazing photographs. He showed me the ones he took of me in Baja. We discussed JA who we stayed with there. We knew then that something was wrong with her. She was so thin and her jaw jutted out. Baja killed JA. All that misery she had to deal with. We talked about the whales we had seen and what a majestic experience it was. Peter has been in Africa with his friend Leonardo. Scoober diving with manta rays. He found cave dwelling shamans and photographed them. We discussed the Sufi myth The Conference of the Birds, which Peter Brook staged in Paris in 1980. I remember seeing that play as if I had just seen it yesterday. I had made my way to Paris just to see the play. I used to love theatre. I just hated making something that existed then there was no real evidence that we had existed at all. It is my arrogance that demands that I leave a mark.

Peter has a show of his work on the 17th September.

8:41 AM

September 7, 2006 – Thursday

Blue Eyes

Only 12 dogs this morning on Runyon Canyon.

I woke at sunrise and slogged up the hill. Very few people are out and about that early. Before the sun breaks over the horizon it is easier to see the path ahead of you. It is not going to be so hot today, 10 degrees cooler. Every day, before my walk, I pray for JA. Yesterday was another bangingly hot day. After yesterdays hike I wrote e-mails and noted that, annoyingly, my blog had moved out of sequence.

Yesterday was a simple day. Chatted more to Chris P about his career. Had lunch with Clifton at American Rag we sat next to two very over weight managers who said things like, “He’s the next Charlie Kaufman.” I ate the avocado stuffed with coronation chicken salad. $50 including tip.

After lunch my beautiful actor friend Josh came over to discuss his auditions. He is so fucking handsome yet lacks that essential oomph that gets him the job. He is probably a good enough actor but when you audition and are THAT fit you need to follow through with direct eye contact (he has piercing blue eyes) and crack that cheeky smile and every single door in LA will open before you. Josh is worried that people will perceive him as arrogant if he is too sure of himself. When you are that beautiful people expect you to be a little bit arrogant. Nobody wants a nerd in buffs clothing.

I have never been that good-looking but I exude confidence and I genuinely believe that things are going to work out. I rarely feel defeated, even when things are DIRE. Since I got sober nothing frightens me. So many people live in so much fear. Financial insecurity, snakes, Muslims, preparing raw meat. When I was younger I was ok looking, young-looking, but when I walked into a room people were aware that I was there: by reputation, by the way I dressed but mostly by my presence. It’s a fact.

Josh is a war hero fresh from Iraq-he should be super confident. I will take him to the next Hollywood do I go to. He needs to be out there, dressed up, making things happen. Letting people know who he is. We all do that in this city. It is like living in 17th Century Versailles. The etiquette, the pecking order, the instant recognition that leads to stellar patronage. Who sits where in restaurants or how they are sitting and with whom they sit. Madame de Pompadour by Nancy Mitford is a great book to read if you really want to know how Hollywood works. As a maverick film maker (Sharon calls me the gay film enfant terrible) I am intrigued by it all but do not invest in it.

One day I would like to make a film about the three most powerful gays in the city. The producer and the two agency bosses. Each of them have such a different style in business and their relationship with boys can be used as a metaphor for their general dealings. One of them is corrupt and corrupting. One creates protégés in the boys he dates and the other hires boys then dismisses them.

The less powerful gays jump up at the table like dogs of these three and a most undignified sight it is. My advice to any young actor arriving in Hollywood: There are certain hot tubs in LA you must avoid at any cost!

Had long chat with Effie Brown who is post producing Dorian Gray. She is a saint. Very business like though, very strong. I really like her, you know exactly where you stand with Effie. No bullshit!!

The Internet introduced me to a young man who came over as a prospective date. We fed the tame squirrel nuts. No sex. He left when Dom turned up to take me to dinner with his friend Andres who is moving to Zurich. Oddly he knows the sister of Antoinette Stern with whom we spent New Years Eve.

The Beef ribs we gnawed on for dinner were disgusting. $25. I was a bit hyper after having spent all day with Josh. Conversation about Lindsay Ls vagina on the Internet. No knickers as she got out of the car. Poor LL.

Will join gym today. May alternate between Canyon and gym.

8:14 AM September 6, 2006 – Wednesday

Nicole Richie

thirty-four dogs on Runyon Canyon. Saw a group of elderly Russian men pushing a baby in a stroller. Had sudden panic that I could be arrested for smiling at lesbians. “I smile at everybody.” Would be my pathetic defence in the courtroom. Nobody smiles on Runyon Canyon.

Sprinting up the canyon I thought about my father dying of pancreatic cancer when he was only 53. The last pictures of him are on his hospital bed looking defeated but still very fat. He only had one eye. Lost it in a Porsche racing accident. I thought, as I was running up the very steep bit of the canyon, my heat pounding, if I should really be taking it easy at my age. I could just drop dead at any moment. I thought about this: When my father was a young man somebody threw him out of a second floor window because he owed them money.

Yesterday began with Erik L the writer arriving to rake over My Funny Valentine for comedy ideas. We began discussing each character, their motivation etc. We decided that the leading man’s sidekick needed to be a group rather than an individual. We nailed the ‘heavenly’ side of the story into shape and made sense of what happens on earth. Discussed casting. Needs to be cast by AFM. Erik left just after lunch.

Dan Glenn popped by to cheer me up even though I was perfectly cheery. A few minutes after he left Chris Parker arrived with chocolate muffins. We sat by the back door and ate them. The squirrel that lives in my yard likes me spraying him with cold water. Chris and I amused ourselves with that for a little while. Chris may go back to London and get on with his acting. I used to scoff at LA dream chasing but now I see that it is all part of the process. We discussed his career then he too drove off. I am a refugee in this city. I cannot go home and do what I do here. Very hot yesterday and the day before.

Tony my neighbour dropped by to say hello. He had been in Redondo Beech dressed as a Hot Dog for three days being paid $50 an hour. Children hugging his legs. He lost a lot of weight in that costume.

Dinner with Ian Drew at The Chateau Marmont. As we arrived Will Carter screams at me, “Have you been doing BED AND BRAKFAST?” I am stunned. Why would the maitre de of the Chateau Marmont know such a thing? I admit that I have. “It’s all over town.” Ian pipes up. I flounder for a moment. How can I explain just how important it is for me to honour both sides of who I am? When I do b and b I serve rather than be served, I listen rather than be heard. It is terribly important for arrogant bad Duncan to be of service. That’s why I do Reiki. I looked a little perplexed but thankfully Nicole Richie arrived and kissed us all and the B and B topic was, thankfully, set aside. Anyway, this perfectly describes the collision of my two lives.

Ian and I have a very jolly supper. Shrimp/Artichoke/Steak. We discuss my life pre Whitstable this summer when we sort of lost contact-I was traded in for a boyfriend. I told him how mad it became going up to see EL every night. Night after night with Lindsey Lohan and that gang watching them party. We discuss the Prada party that neither of us bothered going to but was apparently the best party of the season thrown by our friend Amanda Demme. The last memorable party she threw was a Prince private concert for 200 people at the Roosevelt. I went with Ian and we must have been the only non-celebrities there. Ian is best known for giving evidence at the Michael Jackson trial. Half way through dinner Ian made us move inside to a very bad table because he thought he saw Elizabeth Taylor. It wasn’t.

I see my friend Steve Garbarino (editor in chief of Black Book) with Stellan Skarsgaard and sit with them for a moment. Maddy, Steves divine girl friend is packing in her room before she heads back to New York. I see the adorable James Franco eating dinner with his charming friends. We will meet this Friday to watch my film. Joel Mikely was busy with Peter Bogdanovitch and Brittany Murphy. I love Joel.

Sadly, I also bumped into DP (Paramount number cruncher) and TB (bit player) who are ghastly people. Snobby DP telling more dreary stories about getting drunk-she had just returned from Deauville film festival and was disappointed that there were too few parties. She boasted, “Last time I was here at the Chateau I was up until 5 getting WASTED.” Ha ha ha. When is she going to realise just how un-cool that is? TB may be amused by the John Travolta US Weekly issue. TB is a (very cute) gay who is vile about gays in public. Ian complimented DP’s new longer, wavy hair extensions.

In the lobby Will introduced us to two very handsome marines who had some how got past security. They invited us to have a drink at the Bar Marmont. I had lemonade. Ian was impatient to get to Foo Bar and belt out something by The Rolling Stones. We love karaoke. Monday nights are better but we had a great time anyway. The marines were sweet and very gay/gay friendly. After Ian brilliantly sang to us all we said goodbye to the marines and drove to Beige on Sunset but it was dead after labor day. Ian introduced himself to anybody we met as Kate Moss. “You filled out a bit Kate.” one rather cute Latino boy cheekily spat back at him. Of course all I could hear on the way home was, “Do you think I’m fat?”

1:17 AM

September 5, 2006 – Tuesday

room-mate

Only 23 dogs on Runyon Canyon today. Why?

After the holiday weekend perhaps everybody had already hiked by 7am or perhaps they come later after a heavy night. I whipped up the Canyon in no time. I had a great deal on my mind. At first I thought about not going or taking an easier path but every time my head tells me to take a day off my workout-to take the softer, easier path-I remind myself that JA is savoring every day as it may be her last and so, out of respect, should I.

On the way down the Canyon I try to say good morning to everyone I meet. I have learned that to simply nod and smile is ignored. The sort of nod and smile that I would appreciate on Whitstable beach for instance. A mouthed ‘morning’ always solicits a reply from old people and people of colour but never from young white men or women. A hearty British old-fashioned ‘Good Morning’ shakes all of them out of their self-obsession. Of course, one can look totally insane doing that. The best way to make contact with any of them is to say hello to their dog. However, I refuse to talk to dogs. “Come on Philip.” Calling dogs’ human names is, quite frankly, batty. I like Dogs to have Dog names like Scamp, Napkin, Ruffian etc. If owners must insist on human names for dogs then choose names that express something about the nature of the specific dog e.g. Napoleon.

Manny’s on Fairfax for breakfast yesterday with the gang (food is just OK, the waitress forgets to post order so food arrives 40 mins after we did.) The couple on the table next to us arrive carrying a dog in a basket-a shaved Pomeranian. Just its face remained Pomeranian looking. They pulled the dog out of the bag and plop it under the table. “Is your dog friendly?” They ask the couple next to us. “No.” I say. We all laugh. We make small talk about the Pomeranian. I tell them that their dog looks like Dakota Fanning. “We never heard that before.” They say, laughing. I ask them if they are trying for a baby. I am forever asking straight couples if they are trying for a baby. “That’s our baby.” she said. On another table there is an Italian Grey Hound that is so thin it obviously has bulimia. “Does your dog have self-image problems?” I ask. They laugh. Imagine that thin dog thing hanging over the toilet-it’s little paw shoved down its throat. My friend arrived with his dog Nick which is a terrier/chihuahua mix and quite sweet I suppose. When we got home I realised that Nick was going to be like a third person in the apartment. When we went to lay on the bed my friend insisted Nick came too. Call me old-fashioned but I do not think that sleeping with dogs is entirely hygienic. So, rather than spend time with me on our own and put the dog outside the bedroom he left.

What preoccupied me as I climbed the mountain? My roommate, Daniel. Where do I begin? The towels have not been returned. Daniel and his very young boyfriend pick at my stuff in the kitchen, nuts etc., but not enough for me to make a decent complaint. I buy a huge carton of kitchen roll; he buys two (to make matters worse his towels are printed with gold-fish). He occasionally forgets to flush the toilet leaving the lid down so when I lift it…

Then, last night at 3.45, I wake, as if from a nightmare, hearing a huge crash in the kitchen, of course, think that somebody is breaking into the apartment I leap out of bed. I see that the rug in the hall is folded over and rather than be timid I shout. “Who the fuck is there?” and charge toward the kitchen. Standing in the dark is Daniel holding a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice. He is obviously very drunk and calmly begins questioning me about why I am screaming around the house. His tone is sinister. “Tell me exactly why you found it necessary to scream.” I heard him say as I retreated. I go to bed. I can hear that my neighbors have heard what is going on and will need to explain to them later.

Joe Townley called. He is having a great time in early sobriety. I remember my first sober New Years Eve. I was in the Sydney Opera House watching The Magic Flute. During the interval we watched the midnight fire works that set the entire Sydney Harbour Bridge ablaze and then we returned to the opera house for the second part of the opera. Perfect. My first six sober New Years Eve were even more perfect than the last. Three mediocre New Years Eve followed (including one with Georgina in Sydney) and then last year, of course, I was in St Moritz with the wonderful Antoinette Stern.

Today Erik the writer comes and Valentine begins in earnest.

10:33 AM

Schindler House Silver Lake

October 4, 2006 – Wednesday

CAUTION RATTLESNAKES

‘If people never did silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.’
Ludwig Wittgenstein

What does an artist do? What does an artist hope to achieve? I can only do what I did yesterday and write. I sat here all day and wrote. After my walk.

This morning, at 6.30am I saw a great big hawk. A beautiful bird of prey intelligently surveying the world around it. The bird watched me pass the Ukrainian peasant people on the corner of the street.

At the gate of Runyon Canyon I noticed a huge yellow sign. If it has always been there I don’t know but today I noticed many things I had not noticed before. It said: CAUTION RATTLE-SNAKES.

I had a miserable/wonderful day yesterday so I was determined to shift what ever it was that was holding me back from my serenity. I used the walk this morning to unwind some of the confusion. Contrary action I decided. Contrary action: that is what is needed. Literally. Instead of climbing the path anti-clock wise I walked in the opposite direction. As a result of this simple alteration I noticed so many different things. My perspective changed. For a start, I didn’t stop to rest: I forged ahead. I noticed that the Russians were wearing their slippers and pajamas. I saw the Canyon differently. I enjoyed it rather than conquering it. I said hello to nearly everyone I passed and had two or three decent conversations. I did not care how many dogs I passed.

Yesterday, I met David at the Chateau Marmont for breakfast. Lindsey L arrived in a hat and dark glasses. Either she had just arrived home from a party or she was up early for a meeting. I wonder. Saw Jeffery Rush eating breakfast. Maria called from London. Very good. Good start to the day. Good walk, good meeting then a great screening at the DGA for buyers. They loved the film-loved it. What more could I want? They understood it, loved the style.

I walked home from the DGA, which is less than half a mile. MISERABLE.

Then I began to read the secret project and it made me so sad. Lost love. Unavailable people. The central character of this film has emotional defects similar to mine-the same as many people. I sat at my desk and let out a yelp like a dog. I sat at my desk crying, an odd mixture of pain and pleasure. Big fat tears dripping all over my desk. I sat and read the last few weeks of my diary. Recognizing the miserable truths. There is no grand declaration I can make that I can honestly stick to. Will I choose inappropriate people to pin my hopes on in the future? Certainly I will. Will I spontaneously fly across the world to see someone I think I can love? Yes. Will I always be the subject of my own mythology? Certainly. This is the way it is.

Yesterday, I was crying because I began to see the same thing happen that happened with AKA. The strange delight that ones work can cause. No longer alone with an idea or a series of dislocated moments but a fully formed work that spoke to the people who saw it.

I was crying, pathetically, because the very person I wanted to call was not there. I am an idiot! I had many people I could have called to share the good news. Friends who love me and who would have been over the moon but none of them were the person I wanted to tell (NO! NOT the man in the suit) not some strange man in a suit. I wanted to call my father. I wanted to call my father and make him proud of me.

It was like when I won all of those awards for AKA. Awards mean nothing if you cannot share them with some one you love or who can love you unconditionally.

So I walked clockwise around the mountain and I saw the Russians wearing their slippers and I looked out for serpents. I felt the autumn chill on my lips and by taking this simple, contrary action I managed to start the day with smile and a spring in my step.

Had dinner at Pace with Marc S after Bonham’s 20th Century sale. Saw Russell Brown AGAIN for the third time in a week. We exchanged numbers. Accidentally kissed Marc on the lips when I got out of the car. THAT was funny.

9:27 AM

October 3, 2006 – Tuesday

Go Where The Love Is

22 dogs. I wore a hat. Most everyone said good morning.

I saw the elderly Ukrainian couple who stand on the corner of my street. They greet me politely. They must be 70 years old, no taller than 5′. They have dark, tough, wrinkled skin. They look like the circus performers Diane Arbus used to photograph. They wait there patiently every morning. She wears a heavy coat and carries an old-fashioned handbag. He smokes unfiltered cigarettes, his pants and shirt are beautifully pressed. This morning they were still waiting when I got back from my walk. I asked what they were doing but she said, “Speaky no inglis”.

Yesterday. Went to lunchtime AA meeting. Had lunch with Gil. Shopped at Trader Joes. Wrote nearly all day.

To my profound irritation I could not get hold of any of my closest friends. Tried calling and e-mailing and texting but nobody replied. It felt like I was stalking my friends! Sascha seemed to have just vanished. Maria, who always returns my calls, vanished. Dom, Ian and Peter: vanished. Sent article to Eric-no reply. He’s new so doesn’t realise. By the evening I was exceedingly grumpy and paranoid.

By 7ish most people had replied but by that time the damage was well and truly done.

I was seething.

I decided the best way to deal with my irritation was to walk to Neal Spectre’s house near the Peninsular Hotel in Beverly Hills for his Yom Kippur celebration. I walked all the way down Sunset then turned left near Rodeo. Stepping off of the busy road and into those expensive streets. It is so quiet around there. I passed no one, not one other pedestrian. The hiss of the water sprinklers misting the lawns to keep me company. It took over an hour and a half to walk from where I live in Hollywood to Neal’s house.

The party was in full swing by the time I got there. The entire family were at the party, Lisa’s brothers, sister and Mother and various cousins, Neal’s Mother Lois and Stepfather Alan in all there must have been 40 members of their extended family. I sat with Lois and Alan. Alan is a Scottish, dyed in the wool Republican/Conservative. I was in no mood to have yet another heavy-handed discussion about the relative values of George Bush so I changed the subject and we talked about buying $92,000 Hermes Kelly bags in Cannes. It was easier. I like Alan a great deal. Regardless of his mad cap politics.

Bloody hell, two in one week.

My head is already in Chelsea. I am going back to London at my favourite time of year. The leaves are falling, a bite in the air. Whilst Moffy is at school I can take Phil for delicious lunches and visit galleries and generally pamper her. I am taking cashmere and velvet collared coats and twill trousers. Go where the love is.

8:53 AM

October 2, 2006 – Monday

10

Pink clouds drifting over LA this morning smeared onto the pale blue sky. 26 dogs. Triathlon boy with amazing calves. My troubled morning head crowded with stuff that I could not seem to shift.

Yesterday, after my walk, I had breakfast with Gil Bellows at La Pain Quotidian. I missed the chip giving at the 11.45 Log Cabin meeting so I did not collect a chip anywhere for my tenth year. Instead I ate a delicious ham and cheese omelette. Met architect and his wife from London. He said that he was scared shitless of when, “the tide turns” meaning, I think, when the Muslim world truly retaliates. Do you think that will happen?

On the mountain two ordinary women were discussing Iraq, “Attacks on US servicemen have gone up from 1 to 100 a day”. I put that situation to the back of my mind. The implications are far too much for me to contemplate. I am overwhelmed with waves of that terrible feeling of powerlessness. I should write more about the war. I don’t want to be one of those diarists who looks like he is burying his head in the sand but I have to get on with life. Life here in LA. Virginia Woolf kept a diary and you would never have guessed that a world war was raging around her. Perhaps that was the way she dealt with it. The way she coped with the unimaginable horrors.

After breakfast Gil and I drove to The Hollywood Farmers market to buy flowers for his 12th wedding anniversary.

Spent yesterday afternoon with David the talent manager. We killed time by visiting open houses and dropping in on Bonham’s 20th Century decorative art sale. There is an unusual Lautner kitchen island on sale.

Drove to Sasha’s for tea, biscuits and gossip. Sascha lives in a house that looks like Clough Williams-Ellis might have designed it. Clough Williams-Ellis designed Portmeirion in Wales, which is a madcap mish mash of odd Italianate houses and used as the set of The Prisoner, which was a cult British TV series in the 1960’s.

Had a long conversation with Eric. I was sitting overlooking the valley where Sascha lives off of Woodrow Wilson.

My 10th year AA anniversary was mostly quite dull-no fanfare. Many people called to congratulate me. I suppose that it is some sort of achievement. I suppose.

I was in bed by 12. This time next week I will be in London. Already I have delicious things planned. Must remember to take autumn coats and good shoes.

8:48 AM

October 1, 2006 – Sunday

Warren Beatty and Annette Benning

A sluggish start to this Sunday morning. I was up and down the mountain by 8am, which, for me, is really late. It must have been one of those days for a whole heap of the usual walkers as I only counted 27 dogs. Almost everyone said hello. I was wearing red. Everyone says hello when I wear my red hoody.

I took my time, this morning, looking back at the city where I live. The usual traffic roar from the valley was non-existent. I could hear unusual birdcalls. The sun obscured by a thick sea mist. When I got to the top of the hill I sat on the bench next to a mortgage broker called James from New Jersey who within ten seconds was telling me that he made 10k a month if he was lucky. His boss made 30k which he didn’t manage this month because it was so ‘slow’. “Now he knows what it feels like for the rest of us”. James sneered. I had to get away from him just in case some of his stinking thinking got into my head.

On the way down the hill I thought about the seven deadly sins. I thought about James. I thought about dealing with my own worst defects/capital vices: Arrogance, Anger, Lust. One simply has to stay pure of thought to have the best possible relationship with oneself and God. I don’t want to live a life of guilt or shame or unnecessary complication. I really don’t want to live in James’s head.

You know, it was on this day ten years ago that I got sober and stayed sober and did not have another alcoholic drink one day at a time. No wine with dinner nor glass of champagne at New Years. Nothing. On this day ten years ago I made my way from Adam and Eve Mews in Kensington to my first AA meeting. I weighed 50lbs lighter, I was wearing a black Dolce coat, a black polo neck sweater and I was driving a brand new pea green Porsche. Within two years all of those fancy trappings had gone. Before I got sober I could not leave the beautiful house for more than ten paces, black discharge drained out of my nose onto my white shirts, I was desperate, broken and alone.

It was on this day ten years ago that everything began to make sense. I knew that there was more to life than drinking and drugging. It was on this day 10 years ago that my priorities changed. Every day since that day, whatever happened, good or bad has been a good day for me as it is one more day alive. During the past ten years I learned and came to trust in this one important truth: As long as I stay sober, what ever happens, everything is going to be OK. It always is.

Today is also my stepfather’s birthday; a hideous coincidence.

I left San Francisco on Friday. Randy, very sweetly, walked me to the BART and I took the train to the airport $5. We had spent the morning drinking more chai. Yet again I saw that the more open and kind I was with Randy the more I allowed my long-suffering friends to love me. I have been of late so less irritable, impatient or angry. When the photographs arrived from my six weeks in Whitstable I scarcely recognised myself I looked so at ease. I am capable of being at peace with myself. I am capable of loving and being loved. The first flush of something like love began to take hold of me in San Francisco. I began to wonder again what it might feel like to be in love.

I took a cab from LAX directly to Neal and Lisa’s Shabbat dinner. It is always so great to spend time with their kids. I love Neal’s mother Lois who is very funny (and a terrible fag hag) dressed in Issey Miyaki. Neal had just installed a HUGE Gilbert and George in the Dining room. G&G painted gold and performing ‘Underneath The Arches’. It is a spectacular piece and very bold. Neal was a bit grumpy as he was fighting with one of his children. They live in the heart of Beverly Hills in a huge, sprawling mid-century bungalow with a tennis court and pool and toys everywhere, the house is groaning with art. They also own a really lovely Baldessari.

That night I could not wait to get into my bed.

No walk on Saturday. Will picks me up at 7am for 8am AA meeting. After meeting I drive with new sponsor (who is a fucking DREAM) on impromptu trip up PCH.

In the afternoon Corey and I meet to take the modernist house tour of Silverlake. We had a very jolly time made all the better by our meeting Anne L who instantly reminded me of Margaret Matheson or Ann Skinner or any number of the very strong, intelligent, independent women I have been attracted to all my life. Ann is a 50 something teacher at a progressive school in Pasadena she lives in a Shindler house. Of course we talked all about Monkton Wyld. We didn’t stop talking. We saw Shindler, Neutre etc but best of all was the Gregory Aine communal living apartments that were SPECTACULAR. Apparently communists lived there when they were built.

Communists like John Reed and Louise Bryant?

I met my friend Sharon at the DGA later that night to see a special screening of Reds, Warren Beatty’s epic tale of love set against the backdrop of the USA’s entry into the First World War and the tail end of the Russian Revolution. You know, I was living next to the producer of Reds when it was being made in London. I was living in Islington on Furlong Road next to Simon Relph. I met Warren with Simon Relph and his wife Amanda. Isn’t that odd. It was 25 years ago. Warren and I talked about that briefly last night. I think that it is fair to say that Simon pretty much directed that film with Warren. I remember, one day, popping around to see Simon and Amanda and found them in that huge house separating Diane Keaton and Warren (who were an item) at the top and the bottom of the house still unable to stop them screaming at each other.

Annette Benning was in the audience with their children. I wondered what it must have felt like for her to have watched this very graphic portrait of Warren’s relationship with Diane played out for all to see. For some totally obscure reason they asked the foetus Bennett Miller to interview Warren after the film. Bennett is really enjoying his fifteen minutes; he arrived with Courtney Love and spent a good ten minutes glowering at me. Courtney, since I last saw her a month ago, had had some kind of radical facial over haul. Her lips are huge; she has cheekbones and seems to have new teeth although I could not be certain. Her hair was now ballooned into Blonde Mountain of curls.

Bennett just gushed incoherently over Warren for an hour after the film ended. A more sycophantic interview I could not have imagined. This was a totally wasted opportunity.

Met Craig Emmanuelle. Met the guy who directed Fly Boys and his wife who produced North Country.

Had long, constructive chat with Sharon on the way home.

In bed by 1.30am.

2:02 PM

September 29, 2006 – Friday

San Francisco Day 3

Friday, San Francisco 2006.

I am on my way back to LA today. I used to say, on my way ‘home’ but of late I do not feel like LA is home. Whitstable is home. Whitstable is my home where I live and I will die. I keep dreaming about what I will take back to London with me when I go. The art, that’s all. I will take that wonderful collection I have amassed so quickly.

Yesterday, Randle was in the gym by 7am so I just lay in bed until it was time to meet him off of the Castro in a small café called the Spike which sold delicious chai latte, my new favorite, anytime hot drink. Randle and I looked at a house to buy on Sanchez which was a rickety old shack selling for $800k. The house next door had been covered with marble free form mosaic. There were banana trees in the back yard. The house is on a friendly street in a neighborhood with shops and cafes. You can walk and say hello to friendly faces that you may or may not know. Totally unlike LA, which is a scummy shit, hole with no friendly faces and stinks of rotting avocado, which smells like semen. I over reacted. I love LA. No I don’t. I am there to finish my film. If that’s the case I may be there a few more years.

To prove my point there was a very cute boy draped over his Harley Davidson watching us. Randle asked him what he was doing and he said, “I haven’t showered for two days, I sprained my foot and lost my job”. Within ten minutes he was drinking more Chai with us in Samovar, which is a cool little teashop opposite where I used to buy wool for knitting. Within ten minutes we were discouraging him from becoming a rent boy. I became bored with him after this and sat playing with my Blackberry. He was cute but obvious. How can any intelligent young man seriously consider being a rent boy?

After lunch with Eric the previous day whilst trying on flip flops I saw, to my disgust, that my toenails were less than attractive. So yesterday afternoon Randle and I had pedicures and manicures and I scarcely recognized my feet after the sweet Vietnamese woman had finished with them.

Bought sunglasses.

Foolishly, had a nap in the afternoon that ended with me waking up grumpily and making phone calls which is always a fucking disaster. Had to call my new sponsor who was very helpful and made everything calm again. Seriously, I have to make some hefty decisions about my film situation.

At 7.30pm Eric and I met at the sushi place on Sanchez and he was surprised, I think, by how delicious the food was. I was worried that my choice of restaurant might not be good enough, that this basic sushi place that I love would not send the right ‘message’.

Eric, what do I think of you?

I rarely meet anyone who inspires, challenges, and infuriates me quite so immediately. His naive republican politics aside he is a cultured, warm, elegant man. He dresses like an Italian aristocrat and drives a Vesper. If he did not have a boy friend I may very well have made a terrible fool of myself. As I sat there opposite him the conference of insecure voices chattering away told me that I wasn..t as witty, intelligent or worthy of him as I thought. Thank God he has a boyfriend. Than God he is 31. Thank God he is so far out of the picture that I do not have to give that romance thing a second thought. I did think about it when he said that he wanted to work a farm he owned. When he mentioned it he seemed to come alive. Long before Brokeback Mountain my fantasy was to do the same. How can a man be possibly fulfilled by writing contacts in a law firm? A man like that? Or am I just projecting my own prejudiced views of lawyers onto him?

It is always a bit of a test to mention that I have been in prison but he seemed to take it in his stride although what he might say to his friends later is another thing entirely.

We will see if this has legs, if we can be friends. He has the most beautiful eyes.

Randle joined us after dinner with the potential rent boy and made a few quips that had me laughing like a drain. Thank God. After discovering that Eric was a Republican, Randle quickly morphed into Martha Stuart and disingenuously complimented Eric’s Gucci shoes. Realising that this was not going my way I dragged Randle with rent boy in tow toward the Castro.

Eric drove off on his Vesper.

You know, I am so happy when I am with Randle Mann in San Francisco. We are always laughing yet our humor can be quite cruel. Nobody is spared our treachery, least of all ourselves. Every defect of each others character exploited for our own humorous ends. Over his beef burger Randle ribbed me mercilessly about Eric. Boy with rent boy aspirations sat there looking dumb. Randle does not like Republicans. Are we more than our politics?

Eric is more than his Barbour his finely made hands and his questionable past with Mitt Romney. I really like him.

Read Andrea Dworkin’s Right Wing Women.

In bed by 11.

10:49 AM

September 28, 2006 – Thursday

San Francisco

6.51am Hancock Street, San Francisco. I arrived here two days ago. The weather is perfect. Grey and cool. I am staying with my poet friend Randall Mann in his swinging 70s apartment up here in the Castro. A few days away from LA, I left Daniel to deal with Angela the Spanish-speaking maid.

The morning I left LA I had breakfast with Neal Specter. We discussed our Dorian ideas and he was more than helpful. It is true to say that the people who GET IT really get it and are inspired to help. He realizes that my excitement and enthusiasm need to be tamed, managed. He very gently talked me through the way this opening needs to be handled.

I need to calm down at these meetings. I could feel myself tripping as the ideas flew. I could feel myself sinking in my own thinking juice as my brain ruptured and the ideas spewed out of me, drowning me in notions. Neal just waited for me to stop rambling then he let me know how simple it all could be. We ate prime rib hash. It was delicious. The meeting was delicious. All any artist wants to feel is connected to others of like minds.

After breakfast I cleaned the inside of the freezer that had not been touched since the melt down they had had whilst I was away. It was disgusting. Cleaning, however, is a great antidote to any intellectual maelstrom that one may be experiencing. After I finished cleaning the freezer I scrubbed the kitchen floor. Marlene Dietrich would clean the entire theatre with her bare hands before she performed a show anywhere. It is a great opportunity to collect ones thoughts and have an instant feeling of gratification.

On Tuesday afternoon I went back to Bonhams to buy the rug I really wanted. It was cheap, really cheap. The auction room was crammed with dealers so I knew that I was getting a bargain. Thankfully the auction had a very slow beginning so I did really well. I am going back to London on the 8th October so I will lug it back with me then. I am going back to London. That will be fun. I am staying with Phil. I can’t wait.

The flight to San Fran was not at all bumpy-those flights along the coast can be very turbulent. I had Russian cab drivers at both ends. Randall and I immediately jumped into our double act that has me literally doubled up in laughter. Ate dinner at Diamaru, which is my favorite sushi place here. We discussed the Americas Next Top Model poster, which is a gruesome affair, all drag queens and emaciation. One of them looks like she only just had her Adams apple removed.

The following morning my whole body was desperate to spring out of bed and climb a mountain. I waited for Randall to get back from Yoga and we walked to a great lesbian run diner where we sat in a booth next to Tracey Chapman. We then walked to my favorite furniture store stopping on the way at a thrift shop which had a wonderful moss colored velvet, deep sofa that had just come in for only $175. I urged Randall to buy it. Took the sub way shamelessly down town to the Embarcadero for lunch with Eric. I ate sausage, quite a Freudian choice, as Eric is very handsome.

After lunch Randall and I saw The Science of Sleep that I really, really wanted to love but I could not. I met the director M Gondry some time ago. Gondry is not an enigmatic man, in fact he is a bit of a charmless nerd and one realized very quickly that he simply got Gael to be him, that the preoccupation with the troubled genius unable to get a girl was HIM. Oddly, I met Gael the day he met M Gondry for the first time in New York at the Mercer Hotel. So here was the film. Some directors need to be reigned in. There was a great deal of showing off. There were many, many great ideas but they some how got lost in all of the genius. For a start he obviously had too much money. I like not having any money at all because it makes me THINK. There were a glut of ideas expensively executed but who ultimately cared about the sulky, self obsessed central character?

I wanted to love this film so much. I occasionally loved the imagery, the bedroom in the cave reminded me if The Singing Ringing Tree. I liked the eastern European filmic references but ultimately I was never given what I needed which was the perfect union between the man and the woman. Gondry needs either another great Kaufman script to tame his worst excesses or he needs to embrace the more obscure thoughts in his artists head and make an art film and show it in a gallery. I would have been far more interested to see this film in that context.

AA meeting followed by chicken and salad.

In bed by 11.

7:56 AM

September 26, 2006 – Tuesday

Good Day/Bad Day

The phone rang twice last night as I slept. Twice. Then the bloody phone fell under my bed and the bed is so big I fell off it trying to fish it out from underneath. To make matters worse I had a call that I had to take early this morning so I ended up lugging the phone up the mountain with me on my walk. I am very grumpy about this. It was a total waste of time taking a BLACKBERRY up the mountain. No meditation, no serene thoughts. I may as well have just sat here at my desk.

So, there were 34 dogs. The entire mountain was cloaked in a huge cloud that has enveloped LA this morning. The entire character of Runyon Canyon changed. The cicadas chirruping through the grey soup, I past the tangled remains of the old OUTPOST sign that was once bigger that the HOLLYWOOD sign and lit with neon. There’s a notice explaining the history of the sign up there but some vile person has graffiti marked it with black aerosol. I stopped for a moment to look at what was left of it and wondered what it must have looked like. If the Outpost sign had outlived the Hollywood sign: “Mother, I’m going to the USA to make a film, I’m going to OUTPOST!”

Breakfast with Neal S, sat next to Billy Connolly.

Yesterday was good.

Had lunch in Benedict Canyon with Sacha.

His glamorous friend Clare who manages Paul McKenna drove me home.

Calls from people who want to buy Dorian,

Had drinks with Jon King from Focus. Discussed Rocco etc.

Went to bed at 10.30.

Yesterday was bad.

My house in Silverlake went into escrow with some body else. Shit happens.

9:36 AM

September 25, 2006 – Monday

“You Must be Very Excited”

6am. The sun rising over LA. I saw: 15 Dogs, The Chinese Man running backwards. Dressage Man. I met and walked with Denny the interior designer and Regina his 8-month-old puppy with topaz eyes. We both admitted to praying on our walk on the mountain. Today I prayed for serenity and a moderate disposition.

Many folk acknowledged us.

I am so excited about The Secret Film Project I can hardly remember a thing that happened yesterday. I spent the morning re-reading the Secret Script and then at 12 I called the writer of The Secret Project and we had a most energetic and satisfactory chat. We are meeting in NYC on the 24th October to discuss with interested parties. She said, “Everyone has tried to warn me off of you Duncan but I have rather taken to you.” We agreed to be utterly truthful and transparent with each other and be true to our vision of the film. I refuse to let the wreckage of my past destroy this wonderful opportunity.

I appreciated her honesty, her candour.

In one bold sentence she totally defined our relationship so that it might work and bear fruit. She did not, as so often happens, hold onto the fear of what rumours there are and cause me to behave thus. As I have said before and I will say again: Let me be the person I am rather than the person you have heard I am.

Even better than all of that: I can shoot the film in England if we so wish.

Keeping a secret is so bloody difficult; this week I have drawn blood biting my tongue.

Needless to say, yesterday the sun was shining. It was Sunday. I had a very jolly lunch with Ian in Larchmont. He told me that he thought DP (Paramount Number Cruncher) looks like ‘Seal in drag.’ We couldn’t stop laughing. Had the chicken parramigano. $15. Dan G collected me after lunch and we went for one final trip to the house in Silverlake before I make my offer today. Strangely, the door was wide open as if the woman who used to live there expected us.

I had an hour-long chat with Phil. I miss her so much. I think that in large part it is her confidence in me that makes me able to face the difficult days. It is she that makes firm and resolute decisions when I am disabled by self-doubt. Some times I can feel myself falling in love with her all over again. I had to physically stop myself the last time I saw her. Will see her next week when I pop back to London to fetch last of essential things.

I had a nap at 5.30, which, was a huge mistake because when Vic came to collect me for dinner I felt sluggish and bad-tempered. It took me a good two hours to regain my earlier positive mood. Vic stayed over but we just slept in the same bed.

People tell me that I must be excited about buying the house. “You must be so EXCITED.” Well, I am not excited about BUYING anything. Only art and the process of making art excites me. How lucky I was to be inducted into the world of The History of Ideas when I was so young. I remember with great affection the amazing woman who taught me everything I know, Vera Brumby my History of Art teacher at Medway College of Art. She said, “The history of art is the history of civilization.” She showed me how I could chart the route from those first Stone Age marks on a cave wall to Giotto to Gericault to Jeff Koons and everything in between. I had other inspired teachers, there was Judith, at school, who taught me the History of Music, she made me listen to Palestrina and John Cage. Goddamn it, how lucky was I?

They said, “Never be frightened to ask. If you don’t know-ask. Keep asking.”

As a result of these marvellous teachers I came to believe that if a human made it I could understand it. That is why I knit, cook a great Cassoulet, make films, and build houses. This also leads to terrible disappointment when I see that the person I have employed to do a better job than I, rarely does. God is in the detail! Thank God for Joel Plotch who edited Dorian and did a better job than I could ever do!

Before she died Vera called me and she said with unusual pessimism, “Duncan, I think that we are living in an increasingly evil world.” I hoped that she was wrong about that but look around you.

Look at what the corporation is doing to our lives.

8:50 AM

September 24, 2006 – Sunday

The Roughs Are Coming

7.45am Runyon Canyon, September 2006. 45 dogs, 1 screaming Chinese infant. Happy Russians. Many isolated, miserable looking ‘attractive’ 30 something white folk. Squirrels noisily harvesting what ever they can find in the palm trees. The sun is shining. LA looking marvellous.

From way up there in the mountain I can see how green LA really is. Who planted so many trees? The Jacaranda that, in springtime, blooms so as all of its branches are covered with mauve flowers. Now those thick trunked, spiky trees have huge, succulent, pink orchid-like blooms all over them.

Yesterday I met Dom at the Grove. The Grove is a themed Mall with dancing fountains tacked onto the Farmers Market which is no longer a farmers market in the sense that we understand it. We saw the film Hollywoodland. Ben Affleck was really very good. Diane Lane superb. I loved the way they all laughed at their own and the various quips of others, just like they did in the films of the 1940s. The film had such style. I got a bit lost at the beginning of the third act but it did not impair my enjoyment. Glenn Williamson, who also produced American Beauty, produced Hollywoodland. Glenn makes very elegant choices. He is a very calm, intelligent man. A real filmmaker. I was honoured that he said very complimentary things about AKA.

As I sat in the cinema I knew even more keenly that the path I had taken with Dorian was the right one. Cinematically the great reveal in Dorian Gray really works.

I feel unencumbered today, like I used to when I first got sober. I don’t think that it is truly possible to explain the feeling of being in ones own body after having such a profound sense of being emotionally AWOL. After years of what can only be described as an out-of-body experience re-entering ones own skin, inhabiting ones own head is such a RELIEF. Of course I still have the occasional, odd moments when I desire not to be me. To run away and hide, lost in the tsunami, surfacing twenty years from now in a white Panama hat in some obscure fishing village in South America. I think about what it felt like not be me when I had that other name. I thought about it there on the mountain this morning.

At the movie theatre Dom pointed out a man he thought looked just like me. The man was 45ish, very tall; he had a very fierce presence. He said, “You nearly ran into your doppelganger.” Do I look like that? Again, I got a surprising sense of how people perceived me. I do not and have never had any idea of what it feels like to be in my own company. “People are scared of you.” They say that. I am dismayed when they say that. How could that possibly be? Is that the sum of me?

In the evening I met Internet Date man and Ian Drew and we saw a rather odd performance by David Leddimont (?) in Santa Monica of a sort of homage to Quentin Crisp. Quentin was, in the 1970s, a rather grand old tranny who wrote a best-selling book called The Naked Civil Servant. London Weekend Television subsequently made it into a film. I watch it often with Gary Davy and we scream with laughter. We use many of the lines from the film to amuse ourselves, for instance if either of us ever got laid the other would say, “It must have been foggy down the ‘Dilly tonight, dear.” Or, just because it was so funny in the film, “The roughs are coming!” Which will mean nothing to anyone unless you watch the darn thing.

Anyway, I have to tell you that I thought the show we saw last night was very poorly conceived but happily it reminded me of Quentin who was brave and clever and suffered, it seemed to others, unnecessarily for his art but that was what he was compelled to do. His friends in public for fear of association shunned him and he learned to exist on the out side of society and make the best of it until he was invited into the establishment fold at the age of 70.

I first saw The Naked Civil Servant on TV when I was 14. Moved to tears I immediately wrote to Quentin from my boarding school in Shropshire. During the next few years I received many letters from him and I would meet him occasionally in coffee shops in Fitzrovia. I saw him last in New York a few months before he died. I am ashamed to tell you that earlier this year I threw out all of the letters that I had kept from my school years. A great big box of letters. I knew as I was doing it that I was making a big mistake by not sorting through them. I couldn’t bear looking at all of those letters from my Mother. It made my feel sick. For 6 years I received two letters a week from my mother, grandmother, and various other members of my family. There were also, sadly thrown into the recycle bin, letters from Quentin Crisp and many other media types who bothered to write back to me during those years when I had nothing better to do on a Saturday morning in the school library than hunt celebrity.

Melvyn Bragg always replied to my adolescent questions and encouraged me to write explaining that he often suffered from, ‘Multiple contractions of apprehension.’ whenever he wrote anything.

In bed by 1am. I don’t like going to bed so late-it upsets my routine.

10:13 AM

September 23, 2006 – Saturday

Goth

7.30am.

I went to an AA meeting instead of taking my walk. I will go walk the Canyon tomorrow. I feel great. I can’t tell you just how much better going to a good AA meeting makes me feel.

You know, believe it or not, I did not get sober to make films, buy more stuff, get a better job, make friends, have more sex, get a partner or a bigger house. I stopped drinking and taking drugs 9 years ago so that I could sleep easy at night. All I wanted was a life without fear. I got sober for one reason: I wanted Peace of Mind.

Yesterday, Peter YBH collected me for Breakfast. We went to Dough Boys on 3rd. We ate the blueberry pancakes that were covered in seeds. Dunno what kind of seeds. Shiny seeds like beetles. The poached eggs came on the side in a small white dish. This ‘side dish’ remains, to me, one of the great unexplained American mysteries. Why isn’t the poached egg just on the plate like everything else?

Whilst I was at Dough Boys I heard via e-mail that my house in Whitstable had been broken into. I knew immediately who had done it. I just knew. I am sure that it was the young man I met on the train from Sittingbourne to Faversham. Kass had seen him skulking around the house before I left for LA. Anyway, he must have made a hell of a noise breaking into the house because he didn’t get further than the kitchen. Perhaps he didn’t want to steal anything. Perhaps all he wanted was to see me? You never know. The house was fine. I just felt sorry for the poor people who were renting it-they were terrified.

On the table beside us a young woman was wearing a tee-shirt that said in bold black letters: ‘I’M NOT INTERESTED’ over her huge nip tuck tits. I went up to her and said, “Oh, I’ve got a tee-shirt like that, it says, ‘I HATE EVERYONE'”. She laughed, “I like that, where can I get one of those?”

I should have said that I had a tee-shirt that said ‘I suck black cock’.

I don’t have either of those tee shirts.

After breakfast, Peter and I went looking at galleries; we went to M+B and Regan Projects LA. There was nothing in either of them to write home about. Then we went to the rug sale at Bonham’s where there was plenty to write home about. I ticked off a few rugs then Peter and I hung out at mine looking at the David LaChapelle mega book.

Finally, after WEEKS of waiting, the rest of the black leather dining room chairs arrived. They look great.

Dan G popped by at 5ish and we walked to the Italian Saint’s Day street festival that the Grandsons of Italy in America were having behind the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. We ate all sorts of delicious Italian food, meatballs, sausage, doughnut and thick black coffee. On the way there we saw that yet another transformer had blown the man-hole cover off and into the middle of Hollywood Blvd. Plumes of smoke pouring out of the road. The police standing by. Traffic snarled up as far as Highland Ave.

Michael invited me to party at The Cabana Club but I did not go. Stayed at home writing and reading and watching makeover reality TV.

My regular favourite makeover TV moment used to be when Ricky Lake took a cool teenage goth/punk/emo and ‘transformed’ him/her into a ‘regular’ kid which, at the moment of revelation would always cause the parents of the poor goth/punk/emo to burst into tears. Fat Goth girls stripped of their black make up/cob web clothing and face jewellery and forced into cheap, badly designed skirts and blouses forsaking their individuality. It was proof, if I ever needed it, that most Americans distrust ‘individuality’.

I was in bed by midnight. Daniel the room-mate, by the way, has disappeared.

11:21 AM

September 22, 2006 – Friday

Are You Still Working on That?

The mountain was so fresh and breezy this morning. I saw, at least, six blue jays. 54 dogs. All of the Russians said good morning. Unusually a couple kept pace with me through out my walk. They discussed James Blunt, he told her about his job as a writer on some TV show and she told him with a rather embarrassed laugh that all of the guys she dated in college were now gay. She couldn’t understand her ‘super power’. It was nearly at that point on the walk where we would peel off from one another so I turned and I said, “Perhaps gay men know how to listen. Perhaps they want to hear what you have to say.” She looked at me askance for a moment. A stranger was talking to her. Then she replied, “Yes, perhaps that is true.”

Years ago I wanted to make a documentary about Fag Hags, when the Queen Mother was still alive, she was a notorious fag-hag. After a great deal of research I saw that all being a fag hag really boiled down to was this: Some women need a man to listen. They don’t care what kind of man. Just any man will do. Finding a straight man with no agenda is obviously, judging by the women I have spoken to, very hard. Lonely, rich older woman are want to find a similarly aged gay man to dote on, shop with, ask for opinions and get brutally honest replies. “Darling, you look GHASTLY.” Truman Capote had his ‘Swans’ but he let them all down by writing about them. It is a mistake I often make-getting too attached to some women that I can only be gay with. Phil was different. She had ‘super power’. I wanted to be her lover. Is that so unusual?

Today, I am listening to Jimmy Scott and today I am very happy. Today I am really happy. Pray for a dream to come true and it usually will. I can’t tell you the best bits of what happened yesterday because if I do they will go away. Needless to say part of my good feeling is about Dorian Gray, the screening the other day yielded very good results. The plan for Dorian’s birth are beginning to make sense. The Big Idea began to happen before my very eyes. I desperately want to say but I JUST CAN’T!

Something wonderful happened whilst I was writing about being Persian. As I wrote it down something shifted deep inside of me: it was a revelation. It made me feel strong. Being understood or understanding ones self, what more could you really want from life?

Everyone here is talking about The Queen, Steven Frear’s new film about how the Royal Family dealt with the death of Princess Diana.

Of course I remember when Princess Diana died. I still think about it. I was in bed with Jamie P at Adam and Eve Mews in Kensington. JBC called in the middle of the night. I think that I was one of the first people down at the gates of Kensington Palace. During the next few days after they pulled the wreckage out of that tunnel I remember with disgust the vitriol poured over her memory by the establishment. Old cavalier politicians like Lord Norman St John Stevas telling us all that we should not grieve. It was very sad and strangely chaotic. When you get to see the great and the good with their knickers down by their Royal ankles your opinion of them changes. I remember two things about that time very clearly. After she was killed I drove down to Whitstable and you know, no one on the roads was driving faster than the speed limit. Not one person. We became our polite and considerate best. We had a great deal on our minds.

The other thing I remember very clearly thinking was: The Royal Family don’t understand this, they underestimate just how ‘powerful’ they really are. They’ve worked tirelessly to create one of the best-loved soap operas in the world yet they didn’t understand that any well-loved character in a popular soap has to have a conclusion that is made with the tacit agreement of us, the viewer, the subjects.

Of course ‘the people’ thought that she was murdered what else could they think? She was a rebel, a soap opera rebel. That’s what happens to a rebel in any good drama they die in a hail of bullets or they are taken out by the secret service. Regardless of whether she was pushed or not we knew that she could not survive. She had a big mouth, she told it as it was and they hated her for it. I was shocked when she talked on Panorama about her marriage. I was delighted and terrified and despaired for her. She was signing her own death warrant. I wrote to her to say as much. I stood in the crowd as the hearse passed by. I cried when her brother spoke. Later that night I went to a party with my friends Rachel and Sebastian. They did crack. I watched Rachel vomit out of a black cab.

Yesterday I had lunch with Bram, fried chicken special at the 101. Tony popped by in the afternoon we drank coffee. John collected me for dinner and we went to the 101 and ate fried chicken again. I’ve told you once but I’ll tell you again: Thursday is Fried Chicken Special at the 101 café on Franklin. I love it.

I’ll tell you why I go to the 101 and the Chateau so often: these people know me. Not in a grand way but in such a way that the staff know how to respect your dining experience. For instance, a familiar server will know that I do not drink alcohol, they know that I don’t like being interrupted mid flow with inane questions and most of all they understand when one has finished eating. In England we are used to setting our knives and forks at half past six on the plate so as a server can SEE that we have finished and take our plates without having to ask, as they do constantly here, “Are you still working on that?” Am I? Do you mean, have I finished? Can’t you see that the plate is still covered in food? Leave me alone until I indicate that I have finished by placing my knife and fork just so.

Am I still working on this?

Went to bed at 10 so I could be up at 5 for my walk.

10:21 AM

September 21, 2006 – Thursday

On What it is to be Persian

There is nothing simple about me or Iran; the country of half my origin. I have been struggling with this problem since my Mother told me that my Father was Iranian when I was 13 years old. It was this fact alone that upset me most about my mother’s confession. I did not care that the man I had been calling my father was an impostor: I was relieved. I knew instinctively at that moment of revelation that the reason I thought and acted the way I do is because I am Iranian.

Even though I was brought up in England with everything that is quintessentially English (I am sitting here in LA listening to The Archers) my ways were different, my thinking was different and no matter how hard I tried to fit in with those around me I could not.

My mother did not want me to have anything to do with my real father, she lied about his name, she refused further information that would have helped me find him. For years I honoured her decision then one day I demanded to know who he was. Once I had his correct name I posted a ‘I am looking for..’ notice on the internet and within a week a lawyer contacted me from Canada. He said, “There are three thing that you need to know about you father, 1. I’m sorry to have to tell you that he’s been dead for seven years. (He died of pancreatic cancer). 2. You have seven brothers and sisters who really want to meet you and 3. If you’re looking for the inheritance there is none.”

I met my dead Father’s 7 children in my mid thirties. My sister Jess is the most sensible. My brother Dominic arrived in a Ferrari. Rebecca brought a huge box of photographs for me to look at. My brother James did not want anything to do with me when he heard that I was a homosexualist. MK is addicted to crack. MK told me that our father was an opium addict but this may very well be the myth of my father rather than the reality. I began to hear all sorts about him; what kind of man he was. I realised that it was imperative to understand not just the character of my Father but also the character of Iran for me to make sense of my own complexity.

Who was he? My Father. Who was that man? My Father was married 3 times, yet did he ever get a divorce? My Father was rich yet where is the money? Is it true that on his deathbed he impregnated his best friend’s wife? Is it true that he threw a gold lighter at his young son’s head scarring him for life?

I am appalled by these stories but I am also secretly in awe.

I am certainly British and I am delighted to be so, but my nature is unswervingly Persian. I am proud, arrogant, and I have one hell of a superiority complex. Of course, unsurprisingly, this makes me very awkward to handle. Like Iran I want to be taken seriously but I love challenging the status quo. I am declared anti-establishment.

As a descendant of the great Persian Empire I apologise for being so when I am calm and British but I can never say sorry, never make amends for what I am when I am in the grip of my Persian, explosive self. Persians have a rich cultural heritage, nearly 3000 years of written history. My Father, who only married British women, told his best friend that when his wife’s ancient ancestors were collecting berries on an English moor his forbears had hospitals for their pets.

You may find me difficult to understand but you find Iran difficult to understand. I am a Persian, not an Arab. Arabs invaded Iran. I am an equal mix of Persian and British; the Iranians have always respected the wily British.

Because of my terrible yet wholly Iranian arrogance, I suffer on occasions from a glut of confidence. Sadly, that does me more harm than good. I often over reach myself and when I fail, as I do on occasions, I feel victimized yet I never feel beaten, I never give in. I get up, brush myself down and I start again.

Of course you find me intolerable, flashy, charming, obnoxious. That’s what we are.

4:32 PM

Drama

It is too dark to go for my walk. Ten minutes to six. Silence. The fridge groaning and shuddering in the kitchen. Waking before sun rise with a clear head. Lucky Jesus on my desk peering at me with his one good eye. He is made of mercury glass, he has a painted white face and red lips. Lucky Jesus is holding a chalice in the folds of his robes. I bought him in Romania in a tiny antiques store, I think I paid a dollar for him.

At his feet, propped up on my new desk, are the only two photographs of my Father that I own. In one of these black and white photographs my Father is leaning against the railings overlooking Margate beach. This photograph was taken in the summer of 1959. My Father is looking directly at the camera; he has a wry smile on his tanned face. On what is obviously a baking hot, high summer holiday the beach is packed with British sunbathers.

I recognise the buildings in the distance quite well, they looked very fine in 1959. Margate is not like this now. It is a sad, empty place. Even though they say that Margate is regenerating it seems that there has been too much damage to the integrity of the town. Too many beautiful houses carved up into tiny bedsits. Too many abandoned shops. The large hotels accommodate a fragrant immigrant population made unwelcome by fearful locals.

The other photograph of my father is very odd. He is holding a gun, perhaps it is only a toy, but he is pointing it at a boy’s back. The boy has his hands up in surrender. This, I think, was taken on the Downs by the King’s Hall in Herne Bay. In both pictures my father is exquisitely groomed and perfectly dressed. He is wearing well cut trousers, a crisp white shirt and in the first he is wearing a plain, straight tie. In both he looks very Persian, he must have been quite exotic for the North Kent coast in 1959. I bet he knew how to look after himself. I wish that I had met him just once. Even though he was, by all accounts, a difficult man.

Yesterday was not a great day. After my walk in the Canyon Dan G came over and took me to the Coffee Bean. I was not really present for that. I was far away. In the afternoon I had a few annoying e-mails, a couple of disruptive phone calls. One of THOSE days but I was largely on top of it.

The best part of the day came when I went to the DGA and watched, for the first time, The Picture of Dorian Gray on the big screen. I saw, for the first time, that it really worked. Oh thank GOD. It really looks and feels exactly as it should. I invited a couple of friends of mine to come see it with me. Joel Mikely and his friend Cameron, Neal Spector and Alex Spendore. I was aware, as usual, of every fidget they made. Excruciating. Thankfully they are a tough, honest crowd. It’s a very sexy film on the big screen. David looks great! Better than great! Joel said that he was scared, he was worried that it was going to be bad. Thankfully he really liked it. What will happen to Dorian Gray now? Now we can put it back into a box until all of the financial problems are resolved. From now on I am going to concentrate on the property I want to buy.

After the fantastic screening I had some very nasty phone calls from a deranged english man I know who has substance abuse problems. He said that he wanted to kill me. So, I had to spend time talking to the police and lawyers and I will, unfortunately, have to deal with this today. Thankfully, after the first mad call, I had the foresight to record the second abusive, threatening rant. This second homo-phobic, racist, violent, death-threatening call lasted for over 17 minutes. My father would carry a small recording device everywhere he went for just such an occurrence.

My third date with Sunday Internet Man was spent at Cobras and Matadors which is by far my favourite tapas restaurant in town (avoid the lentils) then we explored The Grove and finally we just sat in his Mercedes and cruised the hills, exploring the tiny, winding roads around Beachwood Canyon. It was very romantic. We stopped in at mine for an hour and he rubbed my back and shoulders with his strong hands until I slept.

8.30 am I just got back from the most wonderful walk. Beautiful morning. I saw 56 dogs, 1 chameleon, 1 Blue Jay, 2 men covered in tattoos and a 50-year-old Russian woman taking her tee-shirt off revealing a huge flesh coloured bra. I saw one cute man. No top models. Took the left had route. On the bench at the crest of the hill there was a lady with a branch tucked into her belt at the FRONT. She sat quietly peering through twigs at the view of LA.

8:58 AM

September 20, 2006 – Wednesday

Gay Gene

76 dogs. A great deal of unchecked poo. Dogs’ pooing behind unsuspecting owners. I took the less steep route. There is indeed a strong, unusual smell in the Canyon but it isn’t dog piss-it’s the smell of vegetation, damp straw, exotic bark and animals other than dogs. It is the smell of nature at its pungent best.

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog that from the tallest mountain Corey and I climbed we could see below us, for the first time, the 101 freeway carving through the other canyons. It was almost beautiful. We were surprised that we had never before noticed the shimmering 101. There was very little haze and for a brief moment the sun lit the tarmac and the tiny, glinting cars. I thought to myself that in 20 years time silent, electric cars would choke these huge LA roads. I thought about the public transport system that used to exist here and how it will undoubtedly return. As hostile nations hold onto their oil reserves our transport will, thankfully, adapt into something less noisy or smelly.

The house on Langton Street in Chelsea where Phil lives in London has three coal-holes. Every house along that street burnt so much coal. Where the bricks have not been scoured at the back of Phil’s house you can see how sooty black London must have been. I have a distant memory of a steam train roaring into Whitstable. I remember the smell, the acrid smell of burning coal. The diesel trains that ran between Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury stank so badly even on the coldest day we kept the windows open. I thought we were lucky not to live in the age of coal smoke but we live in the age of exhaust fumes and the sound of the 101 the 405 the M2. How could they live like that? My children’s children will scoff at the memory of us. “How could they live with those smells?” When would it have been good to live on earth without fear or fumes or disease? Never I suppose.

Yesterday Steve the beautiful actor came with his huge car and we drove to Bonham’s to collect my new desk. When I got it home I was so excited because I had to rearrange my sitting room to accommodate it. I LOVE rearranging; it is and has always been my greatest pleasure. I filled the draws and set out my lucky desk creatures: my lucky bird, my lucky cow, my lucky Jesus, my lucky saint. It is, I am certain, the gay gene that determines that I know how to scatter cushions and place ornaments in such a way that when Greg Yeardye popped over last night he said: “You have such great taste.” Thanks GY. Darling Phil used to berate me for talking about home décor rather than deal with any problem we might have. Even when I was in prison my cell was perfectly clean and rearranged and the other prisoners would stop by and hang out.

Had long chat with Lawyer, with mortgage broker and then Sunday Internet Date came over and we drove to Silverlake to look at the house and then we ate lunch at American Rag. I had the smoked chicken Quiche that was so delicious it must have been very, very bad for me. Need a project-not a film. Need to rearrange massively. Internet Date is very distinguished and kind. He is realistic. Getting to know him slowly is delightful.

Oscar Humphries

Had dinner with Greg Yeardye. I am very fond of Greg but after 6 months of him just disappearing do I want to be his friend again? Greg is a big, straight man. He is very competitive which I find unnecessary, he calls me on my shit-I like that, he is a terrible old gossip which is endearing and he is grandiose in the most vulgar, gold Rolex kind of way. He loves to let everyone know how rich he is-but is he? He is the brother of Tamara Mellon who my friend Oscar Humphries had a well-publicised affair with. Tamara owns Jimmy Choo. Tamara is rich. Greg’s mother wears Chanel and lives in a huge house in Beverly Hills. HUGE!!! I love how utterly indiscreet Greg is. Within minutes of getting together he was booming information that would be worth MONEY to unscrupulous gossip hounds. What I love most about Giant Greg is how he wears the most ghastly shoes and does not give a toss. We will see how this pans out.

Before I went to bed I thought about a friend of mine who had started drinking again after a good few years of abstinence. I had the weirdest reaction: I was jealous. Even though he only drank a couple of glasses of cheap red wine I was jealous that he could start the whole sobriety thing again from the very beginning that he could wipe his slate clean. I was jealous that the path for him now seems to me so simple once again. Staying sober by the grace of God one day at a time, a daily emergency (no doubt) but all the same, think of the ATTENTION, the support, think of the unconditional love.

7:21 AM

September 19, 2006 – Tuesday

Jake Gyllenhaal

I only have thirty mins to write my blog. I wanted to write about kissing. I wanted to write about the best kissers I ever had. I was expecting some kissing last night.

Today is jammed packed. I started my walk at 8.30 up Runyon Canyon. Took the vicious left hand route and consequently I am sitting here my thighs on fire. We beat that fuckin mountain in 18 minutes. I went with Tom Cruise look-a-like Corey the Realtor. He is the sweetest man. We saw 17 dogs and a top model on our walk. Nobody really said hello to us. It was a different crowd today: housewives with tiny dogs.

Yesterday was mostly spent at home doing home things and e-mails and writing. I washed dark clothing and drank black coffee. I spent time on the phone with Clare Swinburn and we discussed Christmas plans. I really want her to come out here for pilot season-whatever that is. Can some one please explain what Pilot Season is?

Had God-awful row with team about money that did not get resolved until I spoke to my lawyer today. Losing interest in everything connected with Dorian.

Dinner at Chateau with Chris my Mormon friend. The Chateau is such a performance! Will Carter starring as the maitre de with attendant non-speaking assistants. Nicole Richie hugging everyone. We are the family that is the Chateau Marmont. We sat on best table for two at the back. I had the Caesar Salad with shrimp. Mormon Chris had the steak. Then, to my left, the Dupont twins arrived whom I said a fleeting hello. In front of me Stellan Skarsgaad who I am frightened of sat speaking Scandinavian. On my right Jeffery Rush and family were eating a late dinner, the children went to bed then they had to put up with a woman just joining their table and introducing herself.

Rush might make a great lead for our secret project. Saweeda and her friend pitched up with no news of Richard Squire. On the table behind the hedge were Nick Jones and my friends from Soho House New York. I said to Mark, “I’ll see you at the Oscars when I crash the Soho House party this year.” We laughed. He gave me a huge hug.

Mormon boy found that we were unable to have a conversation because we were sitting next to the screeching Duponts and their motley crew so I had us moved into the lobby for coffee and cheese and there, sitting on the couch, was the scrumptious Jake Gyllenhaal. We waved, I kind of know him as we had long conversation waiting for broken elevator in Mercer Hotel in New York years ago and now we bump into each other periodically. I loved that he won the BAFTA. Like so many STARS he is becoming a kind of caricature of himself. The arched eyebrow, the strong jaw. Does he look in the mirror and think about how he photographs? I wonder. Like that freak Conan the red-haired chat show host.

When he left the girl at his table stroked the seat where he was sitting and said, “He’s adorable.”

Mormon dropped me off at home then Steve popped over to run lines-that’s what we do in Hollywood, we go home at 11.30pm and run lines with actors.

Slept fitfully thinking about THE WORLD.

11:33 AM