Thursday, 11 September 2014

Thursday 11/09/14

Sometimes I get so lonely that I sit in my living room having left the front door and all the windows unlocked, waiting there, hoping that somebody will break in and I’ll have company for a short while, before they proceed to stab me, rob me, or whatever else they are planning to do.

This week is prime opportunity for this sort of thing, because not only is my front door open, but also the main entrance downstairs is permanently unlocked, because they’re installing a new door and they haven’t connected the security system yet. Anyone can basically walk in. This is the second mistake they’ve made when it comes to this renovation, the first being that they’re replacing the old, wooden, sturdy doors that have been there for at least thirty years with a set of retro post-modern glass doors that I doubt will take the impact of my bike as I drag it in and out every time I leave home with the same resilience that the scuffed wooden doors did.

On this Tuesday night I sit and wait but no one comes, and then I go downstairs myself to check the mail, seeing that I’m starting to get cabin fever.

As nothing has arrived for me, I steal my neighbour’s New Yorker, only to go back into my apartment, google his name and realise that he’s a family therapist, which makes me want to go next-door and seek help.

I text A Girl to run my idea by a second, more reasonable person, and A Girl eventually replies.

A Girl: I would be very tempted to do that.

Me: I don’t even have a family. Should I make one up just for my family sessions?

A Girl: Say your family refuses to go, what else can you do to better yourself, wait for them to come around whilst you waste your life away? I think not, family therapy for you. If you like, I can be your estranged wife or sister on conference call.

Me: We are doing this.

A Girl: He will be so confused (as my own issues / family issues will inevitably seep into the talks).

Me: “Let me get this straight. How many husbands do you have?”

A Girl: “That’s beside the point.”

Me: “This is more confusing than the time my New Yorker subscription suddenly stopped arriving.”

A Girl: “Will you please stop interrupting, we are paying you by the hour. Now back to where I left off about London Preppy always making me feel my time is not worth as much as his time, that I’m somehow a failure for not having a job or career I love.”

Me: “Wait a minute, London Preppy doesn’t have a job or career at all and his time is literally worthless. Where are you getting all this? How many of us do you see here?”

A Girl: And this is where he starts to compile his case study on us, excellent.

Then I get tired of waiting for an intruder, so I go to the gym.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Tuesday 09/09/14

There’s a restaurant in Santa Monica that I provide as the answer to what my favourite restaurant in Santa Monica is, but in the last couple of times that I went there I was turned away because I was wearing a tank top and they said that they have a no tank tops rule, and I wasn’t so sure that this was actually the case or they just didn’t want me to be there because I have this delusion of persecution and generally like victimising myself, so on Friday afternoon I go online and check their website and find out that the dress code is real and they’re not actually singling me out and refusing me entry. Then William and I go there and have dinner.

After dinner we walk down to the beach and between the hours of, say, 2230 and 0030 we lay on two beach towels right next to lifeguard tower number 10, feet away from the ocean, in the dark, only illuminated by an iPhone screen going through a playlist that includes Lemonade by Sophie, Novacane by Frank Ocean, Burning Up by Madonna, Turn Down For What by Lil Jon and When Doves Cry by Prince and, occasionally, by the blinding light the beach patrol is directing at us every time they drive by. There is absolutely nothing better to do on this planet and this is coming from someone with as much of a broken spirit and devoid of joy as myself, so please take my word for it.

For the rest of the weekend I decide that I don’t want to see anyone or do anything, which is like the rest of the time really, but at least on this occasion I’m pretending that this is a conscious decision that I made instead of a situation imposed on me by the circumstances, so I’m taking the power back. Playing these mind games on yourself is something you can easily perfect when you spend as much time alone as I do. It’s like that cat meme on the internet where you supposedly can’t outsmart your cat because your cat has all the time in the world to sit there and just wait for you and plot against you, while you’re busy with other stuff like going to work, living life, and seeing other people. I am the cat. And also I’m the owner because there’s nobody else to plot against. The whole thing is not healthy.

On Saturday night I’m lying on my sofa watching Netflix and eating ice cream practicing for Saturday nights over the next few decades, and then somebody knocks on my door. It’s past 11pm.

I open the door in my underwear. It’s my next-door neighbour. She’s holding a cup containing two bunches of an unidentified herb that’s burning, producing a light, not unpleasant smelling smoke. She tells me that it’s sage and that it will help clear out evil spirits if I take it around my apartment. I ask whether I have to do this in every room and she says yes, I should do it now and I can bring the cup back to her when I’m done.

I take the cup with the burning herb and half close the door because I’m not sure whether she wants to stand there and wait while I do this, or whether I have to go to her apartment when I’m done. She then walks away and I understand that I have to go next-door. I walk around with the cup in my living room, kitchen, then the fire has mostly gone out and there's hardly any smoke anymore, but I still take the cup to the bathroom and also walk into my bedroom, so that enough time has passed to prove that I actually did this when I go back.

I walk out and go next-door. Her door is ajar. I knock lightly and return the cup to her. She talks to me a bit more about sage and asks me what I’m doing right now and tells me that I can always visit with her more, if I like. I tell her that right now I’m watching a movie and I have to go back soon and she asks me what the movie is. I tell her I’m watching Annie Hall and she tells me she thought of Diane Keaton earlier today and that her Father once wrote a movie that Diane Keaton was in. I am now standing in her living room, barefoot, still in my underwear. She asks me if I smoke weed and I say no, and she tells me a little bit about some projects that she’s currently involved in, something to do with local government, some proof reading stuff, some invites that she has to put together, etc. I ask if she knows who moved into the previously empty apartment opposite mine, and she says she thinks it’s an Asian girl, but she’s not sure, she doesn’t like to gossip about the neighbours, but she did see a small androgynous person come out of the apartment recently and this androgynous person was Asian and visiting the person who’s just moved in, and so yes, she thinks it’s an Asian girl that moved in. I remind her of my movie and she gives me one of the bunches of sage to keep burning in my apartment if I like, then I leave, go back, leave the burnt out sage on the kitchen counter and go lie on my sofa again and press play on Annie Hall, which I had previously paused.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Wednesday 27/08/14

On Thursday evening I go to the gym, which does tend to be my only opportunity to socialise during the week, and by socialise I mean go there, avoid making eye contact with all the straight people that I see every night and want to be friends with because I want to sleep with them and occasionally shake my head “no” when one of them asks if I’m using the weights I happen to be standing next to. Then I go home.

At quarter past midnight I get on my bike and ride down Ocean Avenue, which is livelier than I would have thought, thanks to the number of drunken young tourists falling out of bars I didn’t even know existed. I try to remember a time when I might have also done that, but it’s really very faint after having spent so many years exclusively interacting with other people via messaging on social media websites and seeking out likes on instagram. I really, really want a family.

Then I go home and eventually pass out.

On Friday it’s another one of those days where I don’t open my mouth to say a single word and then it’s Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon I go to a pool party up in the hills. Do you really want to hear about that?

Around 5pm, I leave the party in the hills and go downtown to this music festival called FYF. The bands that I want to see that are playing that day are Chet Faker, Blood Orange, Caribou, and Grimes. But the time I’ve parked and walked the three miles they require me to get inside the festival, I’ve missed Chet Faker, Blood Orange, and Caribou. I also can’t find my group of friends that I was planning to meet, because nobody’s phone is working, though I suppose it’s my fault and I should have skipped the pool party and gone to the festival early, but that would have required me not to be an insecure homosexual that needs the pool party, and it’s too late for that.

I have about an hour to kill before Grimes is on. So I go buy some food and sit on the ground and eat it on my own. Everyone at the festival is probably 17 to 27. The fact that I’m wearing white socks pulled up and a bandana does not make me blend in.

Having nothing to do, I go to the stage where Grimes plays very early and get a really good spot. The show is pretty fucking awesome and I think I might have even enjoyed it.

After the festival’s over, I text Austin and go meet him and his friends in some bar in West Hollywood. For reasons that I can’t explain right now, and only feel like apologising for, when the bars close in West Hollywood, I continue to a house after party with Austin, Henry, and a bunch of other people I know.

I try to sleep on a couch between 6.30am and 7.30am, but that’s not working out at all for me, so right before 8am, I get up, put my shoes on and leave the apartment trying not to wake up the people sleeping around me. I drive back to Santa Monica listening to Bon Iver on the car stereo. Halfway home, I stop at a petrol station to refill my car, but my credit card is no longer working.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Monday 18/08/14

My publisher asked me to put together a playlist to go with the new book, so I put together a playlist to go with the new book. 

The songs are below. Subtle.

1. Sebastien Tellier - La ritournelle
2. The Presets - This boy's in love (Lifelike remix)
3. Yelle - Que veux-tu
4. Vampire Weekend - Walcott
5. Bat For Lashes - Daniel
6. Blood Orange - You're not good enough
7. Crystal Castles ft Robert Smith - Not in love
8. The Magnetic Fields - All my little words
9. Saint Etienne - I threw it all away
10. Bloc Party - One more chance

11. 808 State ft James Dean Bradfield - Lopez

(The title of the book is taken from the lyrics of the last song; well, quite)

If you wanted to buy the special edition of the book before the regular edition comes out, here are details. Special edition.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Thursday 14/08/14

On Saturday I aim to get up really early and go get my haircut, because the later you go, the longer you have to wait. I manage to wake up and make it to the barbershop at 1030, which is not early, not early at all, and there about eight people ahead of me. Potentially you can call up in advance and make an appointment, but the time has not come yet when I’m prepared to make a phone call and talk to somebody that’s not immediate family or current boyfriend, so that’s just not going to happen.

I used to cut my own hair between the years 2005 and 2014, but then I was suddenly 34 and I lost my youth and could use all the help I could get, so I decided to have it done by someone who knows what they’re doing (well…$25-worth knows that they’re doing).

My barbershop is run by a group of no-nonsense straight Latino bros, and I’m afraid I don’t know enough about this demographic to write about it in a derogatory manner, like I do with white bros, scene gays, and Greeks. I do know that they talk endlessly about baseball, boobs and other blue-collar topics that I don’t understand. The person who cuts my hair is my favourite, because he never attempts to start a conversation with me. I suspect that’s because he knows I’m foreign and don’t follow the Dodgers, and what the hell would he have to talk to me about? I also like going there because I’m an ethnic minority and it always feels like the beginning of those porn scenes where a clueless white guy walks into a garage full of tattooed, ethnically-diverse meatheads after his car has broken down in the middle of the desert and they proceed to gang rape him, not that I want this to actually play through, as in real life I refuse to engage sexually with anyone unless they have blue eyes or lighter and an Anglo-Saxon surname that goes back at least five generations.

This Saturday morning the barbershop TV is playing the 1977 bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. They have finally moved the naked pin-up calendar hanging on the wall from the month of April (where it was all through April, May, June and July) to November. And the most important conversation that takes place is the following:

Young Latino customer: I need to have my hair cut because I’m going to a wedding

Head barber: Oh yeah? Who you going with?

Customer: On my own probably

Head barber: But who are you leaving with?

Customer: The baddest one there

Head barber: So you want the “going to a wedding on my own, but leaving with the baddest one there” haircut?

Customer: Yessir

Head barber: Dis what I do

On Saturday afternoon Austin and another friend come over and we go to the beach. There, we play around at the outdoor gym and I decide to copy someone and do a trick while I’m crossing the rings, which leads to a horrible injury meaning that I can’t move my right arm for the next few days, but at least this is all caught on video and I can upload it on instagram and pretend that I’m really athletic and badass.

Then we go and watch a baseball game, the Los Angels Angels against the Red Sox or whatever, which primarily serves as a social media opportunity to show that we’re masc musc non-scene, and then on Sunday I go to a gay pool party, so I guess that we’re not. 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Tuesday 13/08/14

On Friday I wake up just before 0800 and I decide that this is a good time to get up, because this is a time that somebody who might actually have somewhere to be might also get up and start their day.

I remember watching a Greek sitcom when I was very young, maybe twelve or thirteen, and this sitcom was about some very rich heiress who owned a bunch of factories or whatever and she never had to go to work, and there was this financial advisor guy she employed and he would sometimes come to see her at ten or eleven in the morning and he would wake her up, which always angered her, because her big thing, her life philosophy was that she just wants to have one luxury in life and nothing else: she wants to wake up whenever she feels like waking up, naturally, without anyone, alarm clock or other human being, interrupting her sleep. Because she thought that when you’re asleep your soul leaves your body or something, and when you get abruptly awaken, your soul gets rushed into your body forcefully instead of returning peacefully, quietly, in its own time, and that’s really destructive for you as a person. That was the sitcom’s big joke, anyway. That she was so spoilt that she didn’t have anywhere to be, nothing to interrupt her sleep for. And when I watched that it really bugged me. I mean it must have really bugged me a lot, I still remember it now twenty years later, because I thought, Oh my god, who is she? How can she possibly think like that? That’s not just one luxury, that’s just an impossible luxury, because it means you never have to go to work, you never have to go to school (I was twelve) you don’t have an responsibilities or commitments to anyone. So in my head, this freedom of time, this endless, uninterrupted sleep was the impossible luxury, the ultimate sign of achievement and happiness, something so completely unattainable and unrealistic that it was used a comedic device in this low-budget Greek sitcom in 1992.

Now I wake up every day whenever I want without an alarm clock and I’m still really not quite sure where my soul is left wandering, surely I would be able to feel it if it were part of me somehow, so I guess whoever wrote that Greek sitcom in 1992 was wrong: waking up at your leisure and having nowhere to go, no responsibilities or commitments to anyone will not, by default, make you happy.

I have breakfast and think about leaving the house. Then I don’t see a reason to leave the house, because the only place to go seems to be the beach and I was out on the beach most of the day yesterday and my tan doesn’t even need any more work right now, so I stay in.

Then a couple of hours pass and my friends DA and DJ, who are visiting from San Francisco, ask me to meet them for lunch at this restaurant down on Ocean, so I wear a t-shirt and shorts instead of a tanktop and shorts (even though it’s really hot and sunny) because DJ is a bit precious and he likes people to wear sleeves when they’re eating at restaurants even if those are ocean front oyster restaurants in Santa Monica in July on a Friday lunchtime, and I don’t like to disappoint.

After lunch DA and DJ go to the gym and I go back home, because I’m trying this new thing where I’m trying to find some self-worth outside what my body looks like, so I’ve reduced my gym going to five days a week, and I stay there until 8pm talking to people on the phone or online and watching all seasons of 30 Rock from the beginning and I don’t give up even when it becomes stale.

My friend KG says that he may come chill the eff out and watch a movie with me, so we text back and forth for about an hour trying to arrange this, then KG decides that it’s too far for him to drive to Santa Monica and I leave my place to go get some food at Whole Foods.

At Whole Foods I see a gentleman that I find very attractive, who’s not just age appropriate (30+) but also doing a full-on grocery shop on a Friday night at 2100, which means that he’s perfect and ready to settle down. He is muscular and has tattoos, so I’m making the initial assumption that he’s gay. Then I look at him for a few seconds and he catches my eye, then I walk away and pick up some food and walk towards the check-out and bump into him again on the way and we look at each other again, but perhaps only because I’m forcing it, and then I get to the check-out and pay for my teriyaki chicken bowl. I decide to take the long way out of the store so that I can see him a third time, and I see him a third time and we look at each other again, then he raises his arm and mouths something in my direction, which sends some very brief shockwaves through my stomach and heart, until I realise that he’s actually trying to talk to somebody behind me – the person that he’s here with – but I don’t turn around to see if the person is male or female, gay or straight, age appropriate or not and I just exit the store quickly looking intensely on the ground.

When I get home, I eat my dinner and head to the gym.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Thursday 07/08/14

There will be a key moment in your life when you’re 34 and have started to lose your looks and some of your wit and you haven’t been as successful or rich as you once though you might be and you haven’t even been around your family that much since you were 17 and you’ve made several wrong decisions which have left you living alone in a new continent surrounded by people who either don’t know you that well and don’t care about you or know you pretty well but care even less and you’ll be fully aware that the nearest people who truly love you live back in London where you came of age 5,400 miles away…when you will consider that this is it, things couldn’t possibly get worse, you’ve seriously reached the bottom and the only possible way is up. Then you’ll get on an 8.30am Air Canada flight to Montreal and your personal screen on the back of the seat in front of you will not be working. And this is something that you’re going to have to deal with.

I deal with this by reading some of the book that I’ve brought with me, Never Mind by Edward St. Aubyn, but then about seventy pages in there’s a gruesome rape scene that makes my stomach convulse and also pisses me off, so I stop reading and go leave the book in the plane bathroom, because I don’t want to own it anymore.

Then we get to Montreal.

The immigration person at the airport gives me a hard time, which is surprising as she’s a girl my age or younger and I expect her to just flirt with me and wave me through, but I suppose that’s just because I’m conceited and sexist, and sometimes these attributes might bite you in the ass. She doesn’t like the fact that I’m traveling on my own, she doesn’t like the fact that I’m meeting friends here (how can I possibly know these people if they live THERE and I live in LA – she asks, like she’s never been to a circuit party before) she doesn’t like the fact that my job is writing. Then she slowly comes to terms with all those things and she lets me in.

Then a truck with three men and two dogs comes to the airport and picks me up. Then we have dinner and then we go out to “the gay bars”, but I’m too tired for all this, so I stay for an hour, have a Subway and take a taxi home.

On Friday my friend Potato, his fiancé, some other friends of theirs and I go to Osheaga, which is a music festival and also “the Canadian Coachella”. In reality, Osheaga is the Canadian Coachella as much as I am the Greco-English J.D. Salinger. Yes, we both formed some thoughts in our heads and wrote some words and somebody printed them, and yes somebody booked all those bands to play and sold tickets to masc musc brauxs and entry-level cute girls with festival looks, but you’d have to be very, very drunk or high to take these comparisons further and I’m straight edge now.

Then over the rest of the weekend a lot of embarrassing things happen that I wouldn’t even dream about writing here (and there you were, thinking this guy over-shares) but I suppose I can save them and use them in my next book, changing names, genders, situations slightly, and making myself come across as the victim and call it a novel.

On Monday evening I’m back home in LA and my main bro, TN, has made me a rap playlist to listen to at the gym, and during this playlist I somehow discover an unnatural connection between myself and the Notorious B.I.G. where I can relate to everything that he's ever rapped about and start planning a long-term obsession, weeks and weeks of listening to nothing else but his first two albums, and possibly a tattoo, as well, because somehow I want to be the guy whose three favourite artists of all time are: The Smiths, Björk, and the Notorious B.I.G.