Archives for posts with tag: Rambla Pacifico

Before I start my regular blog I want to write about Whitstable and The Red Spider Cafe.

The Red Spider Cafe was a charming shack on Whitstable beach that, throughout my childhood, served tea and cake.  It closed some time in the late 70’s and stood derelict for many years.  The Red Spider was finally demolished in the 1980’s during the massive beach renovation and sea-defence construction.

I have always dreamt of the Red Spider being rebuilt.

There’s something non-Whitstable people need to know about Whitstable Beach: it is an anomaly.   Unlike most beaches in the UK which are owned by the Crown Whitstable Beach is owned privately by my friend Barry Green’s company.

There’s something else non-Whitstable people need to understand.  If Barry had not bought the Whitstable Oyster Company and preserved it and the surrounding buildings the Oyster Stores would have been demolished.  They were slated for demolition.  Barry saved the building and by doing so saved the town.

Barry is not a philanthopist..he is a businessman.  The Red Spider cafe will make a profit.  It must be rebuilt because Whitstable needs to continue evolving and growing.  People need jobs.  Especially now.

Barry’s eldest son Richard and I instigated the restaurant at the Oyster Company (Royal Native Oyster Stores) that almost single-handedly regenerated Whitstable’s fortunes.

Nobody local took the restaurant very seriously when it first opened.   I cooked,  Richard served.  Within a month it was packed.  Every day.

During those early years I begged Barry to rebuild the Red Spider and now, twenty years after it was torn down, the Red Spider may indeed be rebuilt.  However, Whitstable and the people who now live there, has changed.  Middle class, ‘keep it as it is‘, ‘terrified of change‘ type people now vocally oppose the rebuilding of what was once a great, water-side resource.

 

Red Spider in the snow

They are frightened of alcohol being served at the Red Spider even though just a hundred feet away stands the Neptune Pub which is a very messy, unkempt affair.

They are scared of the suggested long opening hours even though the building is further away from homes than the nearest, noisy pub.

They say that the rebuilding of the Red Spider will have an ‘environmental impact’ which is just bull shit and proves how far these detractors will go to stop the Red Spider cafe from being rebuilt.

The Red Spider Cafe 1950's

Obviously I am totally in favour of the rebuilding of the Red Spider Cafe as I am also, unfashionably, in favour of Barry rebuilding the beach huts along the beach.  As one can see from the photograph above there were huts all over the beach when I was a child and they enhanced the charm of the town and more importantly the beach.

The sort of people who complain about The Red Spider are the sort of people who frankly don’t understand Whitstable and more importantly resent the difficult, unruly Greens and their stunning success.

Did you notice that the crude painting of the ‘red spider’ looks more like a tick?

REBUILD THE RED SPIDER

Oh yes, and before all you new Whitstable people wonder what business it is of mine…I am presently buying a property in Whitstable after only 4 years of absence.

Yesterday ended up being more fun than I anticipated.  Occasionally things happen that inadvertently make sense of uncomfortable feelings.    What started out as a day where I couldn’t even raise my head ended at an AA meeting where my perspective changed, my positivity regained.

What seemed important in the morning was less so in the evening.

This is the AA reality.  It is almost impossible to burn ones bridges.  The door is always open.  It is a club where anyone is welcome…forever.  The friendly faces may change but they remain friendly and welcoming.  It really is the best club in the world for a person like me.

So, as I said, yesterday began with a feeling of uselessness.  Even though I have more going on than I have all year (the film) I still felt like a husk, a useless, unevolved husk.   I had a beard trimming accident in the morning so lost my beard.

The little Dog and I went for a long walk to the new Rambla Pacifico road which has come once again grinding to a halt.

I sat at my desk and ticked more things off of my moving list.  Roger stopped by and ate pfeffernusse which are spiced german cookies.  The choreographer visited later.   He was a great deal of fun persuaded me to buy an album by Concha Buika (beautiful) and by so doing goaded me out of my bad mood and my house and into the aforementioned AA meeting.

Before AA I decided to go to the last few days of the RRL sale at the Malibu Lumber Yard.  I bought a shirt, waistcoat, vest and a pair of gray woolen trousers.  Ended up wearing this very fetching outfit sans beard at dinner with the choreographer.  We ate at Sauce in Venice.  We ate a huge plate of excellently prepared green vegetables.

Looking in the mirror this morning I do indeed look very puffy and unattractive but hey, that’s the way things are and at my age things are only going to get a whole heap worse so I may as well get used to it.

I don’t feel ugly on the inside.  In fact, I feel very good indeed.

22 years old a bottle of whiskey by my side

EVERYTHING I JUDGE I WALK THOUGH.

With all this JB fury and indignation, these health issues swirling around my brain these past few months I seriously overlooked or ignored the way I have treated others in my very own distant past.

The way JB treated me perfectly mirrors the way I have treated others. This is life’s great symmetry!

My indignation has blinded me to my part in all of this.  You know, I am perfectly sure that there are men and women out there who are delighted that I have, at last, been taught a lesson in love.

To you all, to past loves, to those who tried..today I want to make my amends.

To AH who I cheated on.  To JBC who I used.  To CS the NYC photographer who I took advantage of.   TK in Amsterdam I have tried to find you to make my amends.  These people tried so hard to do good for me, reached out selflessly as I did for JB.   And,  just as I was fucked over by JB, I fucked them over each and every one.  Without care or consideration.

Four people who I can remember right now who could and should be outraged by my behaviour.

In each instance I paid the price that needed paying either with my heart or my wallet.  That they still haunt me is testament to my guilt…to something unresolved.

I will add more as and when I can remember them.  If there are any?

To be treated as I have treated others is of course all part of GOD’S BIG PLAN.

There is no excuse for bad behaviour.   Not when you are a grown up.

You may be wondering why JP is not on this list, well..we pretty equally destroyed each other and I long ago owned my part in that sordid affair.

There are many apologies that I need to make in many different ways.  Eventually I will get around to all of you..eventually.  Remembering, forcing myself to remember the way I have treated others has softened my heart even more toward JB.   We all make mistakes, we can all use and abuse.  We can all take advantage.

If I am going one day to die at peace, a smile on my face then I must make these amends.   It is essential.

This was the very last piece of the jigsaw puzzle that needed finding and with great relief it is now in place.  The picture is complete.  My part, my mistakes owned up to.

Of course I still want JB to pay me as I have paid others what was owed.   It is the right thing to do and he must learn the right thing as I have been taught by taking the wrong turn over and over.

Yesterday I went to therapy.  I talked about my anger.  After I did I felt so much better.  JA and I had lunch at SHLA.   After lunch I came home and messed about with the spa.   Sarah and Paul came for dinner and we watched Nina Hagen sing My Own Personal Jesus that Paul produced.  Remember this summer when she was here?  Her daughter is so beautiful..as is her mother.

The sun is shining and I am in a great mood.

Rambla Pacifico, the direct road to the sea has hit a snag and I have no idea if it will ever be finished.  The work continues but there is an easement problem that needs fixing.  Oh dear.

JB, can we just end this absurd fight?  Can you just send what is owed and leave me alone?  Please?  I have this picture of you.  Wearing my hat…now lost.  It is how I want to remember you.  My friend and lover.  Like a mouse set free in the garden.  You HAVE to do the right thing or this will never go away.  I am desperate to remember you fondly and though I can never, ever see you again I want for us to be at peace.  Is this possible?

Jake Bauman

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The house by day is magical.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I must lay my cards on the table.  I like Naomi Campbell.  Perhaps I am indeed the lone member of her fan club as someone suggested yesterday.

I am not in the business of mob justice, or Facebook kangaroo courts.  Wether she has been a silly cow in the past or not is none of my business.  I am sure that for her past misdemeanors and indiscretions she has paid the price.

Since she hasn’t thrown a cell phone or punched an air stewardess for some time I think it best that we give this woman a break.  Perhaps by walking in her stilettos for a mile I might understand where she’s coming from.

Frankly, if I were a model diva on vacation on a yacht in St Tropez forced to fly to a dismal courtroom in the Hague I too might find taking the stand at the war crimes trial of the President of Liberia, as she is now mocked for saying, ‘very inconvenient’.  She has been embroiled in a situation that was not of her own making.  I, for one, am not buying into this new wave of press generated ‘Naomi is a Bitch’ sentiment.

The way she is described in some quarters one might think that she is the one accused of war crimes, that she is somehow a war criminal by association.  Naomi Campell may have briefly accepted a bag of blood diamonds but this does not make her in any way culpable for the crimes of the murderous Liberian President..she is naive at best, greedy at worst.  Whatever she is she is totally undeserving of the vitriol presently coming her way.

Whenever I have chanced upon her she has been sweet and kind and desperate to deal with the well documented problems she has with both her temper and substance abuse.  When Lee McQueen died she called everyone she knew he knew even if they didn’t know her particularly well.  Friends of Lee’s found her unexpected comfort calls at that very difficult time very reassuring.

I had dinner last night with a wonderful producer friend of mine who knew everyone in the restaurant.  I ate a large and delicious salad nicoise.   We popped into an art event/installation that included a ten foot pile of pancakes and a naked man in a glass box with a pancake covering his face and genitals.   Later we ended up at a young Hollywood party on La Cienega.  The next generation of real managers, producers and actors all crammed into a tiny bar.

The best part of my day was spent in Malibu with the little dog.  We walked down the hill to see how the Rambla Pacifico road construction is progressing.  They are making a massive amount of headway, grading the land over where the land slide happened all those years ago and preparing to back fill with huge polystyrene blocks which apparently will lighten the weight of the construction.

On my way back I met two Armenian brothers who have moved into a house at that end of Rambla.  One of them is dreamily good-looking.  Instead of fixating on him however with his brown eyes and hairy chest I felt sad and missed my NYC friend.

My favorite restaurant Axe in Venice has burned down.  Fuck.  I loved that place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mary in the vegetable garden

The transformation begins.  The property is suddenly alive with Sean and his partner Mary pruning, tilling, weeding and the like.   The terraces that run down to the property line in front of the house are beginning to look like vegetable beds and as I have said before the earth is rich and soft after the heavy rain.

The torrential rain caused damage to many roads across the region and this time our neighborhood was not spared.  In the mountains above me the upper part of Rambla Pacifico has fallen away.  100 feet of road crumbling off of the mountainside like royal icing off a wedding cake.

The fencing for the goats has been mapped out and at the beginning of March I hope to complete this part of the project.    After a long discussion yesterday with Mary and Sean I think I may very well become a vegetarian.   This will please those of you who think my plan to eat the goats was cruel.

The only problem for me being in Malibu is what happens to me when everybody leaves at the end of the day.  I feel incredibly lonely.   So, last night I headed over to Jennifer and Jason’s house near Trancas and fell into a deep sleep on their sofa.

My friends Jennifer and Jason are conspiracy theorists and believe in Chem Trails and government corruption and after an evening discussing their worldview I am exhausted by unrelenting pessimism.

It was fun waking up to their three children and their sleepover friends screaming around the house.  We ate thick creamy porridge and black coffee and I drove home.

However, the truth is, before the children woke up I woke up feeling desperately sad.  Apart from the usual sense of doom that overcomes me each morning when I remember that half of America is gripped by a terrible financial firestorm-as well as the snowstorms that have snarled the capital and all other major East Coast cities.  I was sad because I woke up too many thousands of miles away from the man I want to be waking up besides.

I am falling in love.

Falling in love is not an easy thing to do for a sex addict.

The moment things don’t go my way my default is to retire to a safe and quiet place and lick my wounds.  Why should romantic love be so damned painful?

It has been hard these past few days to make sense of what happens to me when the love thang kicks in.    Of course I want to see him but he is in NYC and he is otherwise engaged.    Why can’t I meet someone who lives close by and is good at farming?  Anyone know a good gay farmer who wants to spend his days in total paradise with me..I suppose THAT is the fly in the ointment-me.

Who would want to do that?

PS Obviously anyone in London who knew Lee McQueen is upset by his untimely demise but I am especially sad as he was so maligned after Issie Blow’s death.   Artists are fragile creatures, he was especially so.  Somehow, at the end of the day, art is simply not enough to sustain anyone.

First Year Harvest

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isolated

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

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

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

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

Last Years Bananas

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Summer

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

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

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

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

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