Cheers. December 2017.

Dear Rowley,

Never liked New Year’s Eve very much, have you? All that forced jollity is rather a busman’s holiday when you’re a party boy in London who is old enough to know better but perseveres nevertheless. I take the Judy Garland defence when questioned about h0w many I lift of an evening. How many concerts have I given? How many movies have I made? Do you think that would be possible without major, major discipline? And with major discipline comes a need to kick-off your slingback and pour a gin. Sue me.

I am flabbergasted when people pass judgement on my fondness for fizzy pop. A day without Prosecco is quite frankly a day wasted. It’s medicinal. Creative people and manic depressives (one and the same) do tend to have the taste for hooch because it does exactly what it promises to: instant relaxation, instant mood swing in the right direction and instant laughter.

I was talking to a girlfriend the other day and commented that most of us in London have a relatively high level of anxiety.We all have our ways of coping with it as best we can. To quote Billy Holiday, ‘if I go to church on Sunday, then cabaret all day Monday aint nobody’s business if I do’. As long as you’re not hurting anybody else or yourself then what’s the problem?

Interesting to read in the newspapers that loneliness is as bad for the human psyche as fifteen cigarettes are to the lungs. I believe that. Besides, when you live in London you’re breathing so much polluted air you might as well smoke two packets of Capston Full Strength. I think the sooner links can be made between physical and mental health the better for all of us. The mind is part of the body so why not?

My doctor, dear Dr B, has often told me to write my manic depressive memoirs. I thought of the title - Confessions of a Drunken Slut with Anger Management Issues - but that no longer holds true. I don’t have anger management issues any more. Perhaps I will put pen to paper in the New Year and write a realistic book about a manic depressive life. The few I have read all seem to have rather redemptive happy endings whereas I just keep buggering on.

One of the many things people not touched by manic depression underestimate is the massive guilt for making all around one so unhappy. It is not a pleasant condition to live with let alone cope with. The trick is to refuse to believe you are helpless or in any way a victim. It is a medical reality that can be handled by responsible adults. It is not for cissies and there have been times I would have preferred ‘goodbye cruel world’ than keep living with it. But my lust for life has always won through in the end.

Guilt is a pernicious weed that grows in the human mind. I’ve had it for being gay, f0r being manic depressive, for not being a good enough boyfriend or son or God knows what else. It has to be fought, simple as that. Nobody wants to go through life apologising for their existence and I am 100% sure that a life lived in fear is a life half lived. To quote Everyone’s Talking About Jamie, ‘sometimes you have to grab life  by the balls, tuck em behind you and put your best fookin frock on’ … said in a Sheffield accent.

At this point in life I should look like Ursula Andress in She when Ayesha goes back into the blue flame one time too often. I believe it is the steam and the swim in the hotel next door that prevents me looking like a wheel of brie. My ex-husband used to say intelligent people drink and stupid people eat. I think that’s rather cruel but there may be some basis of fact in it. My relationship with food is odd. I love to be cooked for either in a home or a restaurant. I loathe my own cooking and left-overs are anathema for me.

As Paul O’Grady said of Cilla Black, towards the end she was held together with Champagne and gaffer tape. I know how she feels. I also believe that some of us are genetically programmed to have the taste for booze. Liza got it so right when she said most people have a drink and feel a little giddy. She feels grrrrrreat. So do I. It’s an odd phenomenon but not one I choose to rule my life. It soothes my life somewhat so there we are.

It is a little late to change horses at this stage in the race. I think Churchill’s KBO is the right attitude to have as is ‘when you’re going through hell, keep going’. Sometimes I feel like the Duracell bunny banging that damned drum despite a sky-full of crap falling into my lap on a regular basis. What helps – and I mean really helps – is having a home in Bloomsbury Square that is my place of greater safety and one that only my favourite people in the world are invited into. Y0u’re always welcome darling.