In the gospel according to RuPaul, ‘if them bitches ‘aint paying your bills, don’t you pay them no mind’. This is a lesson in life I have truly taken to heart. People who have absolutely nothing invested in your life aren’t worth the salt in your tears. Trust me. We’ve had this conversation about money before: I hate it! I need it! Cash is like tokens bought at the funfair. The more you have, the more goes you get on the rides. Simples.
The thing to remember – and La Farmer was so right about this – is that it is only money. Money can make as many bores, snobs and misers as it can facilitate a lot of fun for those of us with a lust for life. I was once told by someone very dear to me that I would never swallow dive off Waterloo Bridge because I had too much of a lust for life. True, as it happens.
Now we both know that the past few years have been ‘trooooly messy’ in parts. I’m not going to make light of it because I would not wish some of the days/weeks/months I went through on my worst enemy. Form an orderly queue…
Besides, you know me. When I’m feeling on top of the world I always imagine that Fate and Nemesis are poised to take pot shots at my hopes and dreams with a blunderbuss. But not this time. I’m dating a Patronus charm in human form and all the Dementors (fear, guilt, Bombay Sapphire) are kept at bay.
One of the dumbest things one can do is question happiness when you’ve found it. Protect it and take care, yes, but don’t doubt. I think of years recently past like the last act of The Magic Flute when Tamino must walk through blazing fire and raging water armed with the wisdom of constancy, patience and discretion. It helps when you don’t walk alone.
You truly never stop learning and I think that might be what keeps the faith with life. I’m with Mary Poppins on the power of laughter to lift you to the ceiling. H, Su, La Farmer and Mr Bowering convened around our boardroom table outside Ciao Bella last night to make plans for our Great Exhibition. I don’t think the laughter or the Chianti stopped flowing from 6.30pm until bedtime.
Do you remember my saying that I wanted a three dimensional project after finishing the manuscript for Jewellery for Gentlemen? Well, The Wedding Gallery at No 1 Marylebone is it. Imagine a Sir John Soane church next to Regents Park with a double-height vault beneath the deconsecrated events space. The gig is along the lines of creative director for tailoring, watches and jewellery and it has the makings of a new London family.
I can tell you now that without my London families – Henry Poole, Turnbull & Asser, Thames & Hudson, the Mayfair Jewellers and of course the Sherwood Massive – the last couple of years would have sunk me. They all kept the faith when I didn’t have any left. Mind you, reading the books I wrote during ‘the Troubles’, I am pleased to report that the quality was there even if the fun was missing.
Apropos fun, I am 40,000 words into my novel Tomster, KitPlay, Starboi & Me. Here’s a sneaky peak at the Prologue and the first paragraph.
If you’ve lived in this city as long as I have you will doubtless be all-too-familiar with Dr Johnson’s tedious aphorism ‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’. That’s all very well, Samuel dear, but have you ever wondered what happens when London grows tired of you?
I believe it was Tomster who first suggested that we open a brothel next door to the British Museum. KitPlay laughed, Starboi looked nervous and I wondered how soon we could start. Granted, the business of pleasure is not the most obvious joint venture for a choir master, an actor, a barrister and a writer who had only just met at the bottom of a bottle of Chablis in a Bloomsbury wine bar. With the age of forty backing away from us all like a lion tamer who had lost his whip, surely we were too old for the oldest profession. But as Starboi put it, ‘being morally bankrupt at our age is to be expected. But financially?’
Codenamed the Grindr Novel, I think we can safely rule out the young adult audience but the readers who perused the first draft tell me it is bawdy rather than smutty which I took as a compliment. Tomster is not 50 Shades of Gay. The ambition is to view a contemporary subject such as dating apps through the eyes of a Nancy Mitford or E. F. Benson. No pressure there then…
I adore writing fiction but have had to pay serious attention to it being a page turner. One of my heroes of gay fiction is Joe Keenan, an Emmy-award winning Frasier scriptwriter, who wrote three of my favourite novels of all time. The man is a genius with the one-liners but his plots absolutely fizz like 1930s screwball comedies.
When we sell the film rights I’m thinking Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Suited&Booted. Well, him or Ellen Degeneres. Until next time…