having coughed my way up from the desert to san francisco ,i then crawled into a hotel.
one kind tender receptionist sensed all wasn’t well ,and so with the least amount of fuss,
i was beamed up to my room where i stayed for two days before venturing out into the world for a change of menu.[cafe flore]
then thomas arrived over from england armed with gut busting antibiotics.
but those previous two days bed bound were a mindbender.
laid up alone in a hotel room far away from home ,watching a reinvented pierce morgan on american telly…
a 20th century king of english gutter press,now re-tuned for the u.s.a with new found credibility.
he’s all pro gay now…anti guns…and he rips the redneck teabaggers to shreds…
none of them stand a chance under his grill.
it doesn’t matter how noble and virtuous he plays his cards,i just can’t warm to him…
yet for all of that, at a glance he appeared to raise the bar of the news programmes there,but i dunno.
odd stuff to watch when you’re ill and lonely in a hotel room far from home.
now fortified by the miracle of medicine, and re-united with the love of my life,it was soon time for fun.
there’s a great jazz venue on fillmore called yoshi’s,
but on the night we go,it’s to see an old soul act called the dramatics.
here they are on soul train,back in the 1970’s when they were flying high..
it’s a strange want of mine, but i love to witness performers decades after their lucky moment,when they’ve been consigned to the cabaret circuit.
observing the uphill struggle of them going through the professional emotions for the millionth time is quite gripping to watch.
there’s a certain poignancy ..
they have to do it…these good men are literally singing for their supper.
it’s hard to switch that stuff on night after night,but when the chips are down,it’s a matter of survival.
however, the biggest thrill of all for me and my man was being almost the only white skin in a packed room.
dear reader…(and if you’re white)have you ever been in a sizable audience where for once,YOU are the visible racial minority?
the tables were gently turned,and it was a thought provoking experience i will cherish forever.
we stood in line along with all these old soul fans dressed to the nines…handsome black men in hats..black ladies in sexy gowns,all of us gussied up and ready to groove.
their warm acceptance of me and thomas into their orbit was a blast….music and romance was very very high on their agenda.
it felt deeply heterosexual,and all the more fun for it.
the spirit of barry white and aretha franklin telegraphed directly off their fine clothes.
this is all happening on a week where the political backdrop is obama being bullied by the ultra right wing in congress over the healthcare debate.
just before i left the desert for san francisco, i’d read a little richard autobiography,where i firmly concluded that the king of rock n roll is not the white elvis presley..
the true king of rock and roll was the pre-emptive little richard, who is not only of darker skin, but a raving homo..moreover,he has history as a drag artist.
in fact little richard is not only the king of rock and roll..he’s the architect of it’s very language.
all that good golly miss molly business…tutti frutti…be bop a lula… none of that language came from the mind of a white man…
it came from a dark skinned homosexual,knee deep in drag culture,
and his music was the biggest influence on the young beatles and all the other big game changers too.
even the unknown jimi hendrix was his guitar player…so there!…..hahahahaha…it’s all good.
it takes surgery to get me to leave home…
the idea of holidays do not appeal to me at all…
beaches…tourist traps…..it bores me silly…
when i do go away,it’s pretty much do what i do at home only on different terrain with different people.
there’s more fun to be had by just hanging out in a hotel lobby or bar armed with an aura of openness..
sit…smile..be warm…wait..look available and something usually happens.
on the castro there’s a bar called twin peaks..
it’s the first homo bar in america that had floor to ceiling windows where people outside could see in…
the removal of shame….
we sat talking with a lovely man there called E.J…….he tells us that E.J stands for everlasting joy.
E.J likes to sow a patch on all his jeans that reads ‘fuck war’
he’s 92 and was forced like many to fight someone else’s battle.
so now his will is to go on anti war protest marches,but he’s had to stop that ,cause he always gets arrested,
and the last time he ended up in jail for three days..
in the cells they keep the temperature down to 60% for hygiene reasons,
so of course this is life threatening to an old timer such as himself…
but i loved talking to him in this old school homo bar where the likes of harvey milk socialised.
here’s a picture of the 92 year old E.J in his ‘fuck war’ denims…isn’t he a doll?!
the symbol round his neck is ancient sanskrit,and i learn it means ‘breath of life’.
he drinks one martini which pretty much is pure gin,along with a glass of water.
earlier in the year i went for one of those medicals that they recommend you have when you hit a certain age.
they do blood tests for cancer…they test your heart and arteries and all those things,and the results showed up nothing too alarming.
however i haven’t been feeling great at all…and now on holiday i was feeling grim..especially in the mornings,and this was no hangover scenario.
so i bought my first ever hiv home testing kit while there in san francisco…
forty dollars out of walgreens supermarket.
i’d been tested several times before, and have no interest in unsafe sex,but i am an insatiable tramp,so often my imagination goes into overdrive..
you can only use these testing kits once …it seems pretty similar to what a pregnancy test must be like .
many of my healthiest and most focused friends are hiv positive….though it’s still a thing that looms over everyone,
it’s no picnic if complications arise..
so i sat with thomas in the hotel room and wiped the little baton across my gums,
put it in the tube of liquid and waited 20 minutes for the result..
one line is negative..two lines is positive…
i had one line,and there for the grace of goldie hawn go any of us.
here’a photo of the home testing kit
on the morning of a return to the desert, we decided to extend our time in san francisco..
dear reader…if you ever book added smaller inland flights during a holiday abroad,and decide to reschedule a flight,be careful…
cause if you go online and successfully cancel one of the smaller flights,you may by default cancel your main ride home too.
on the webpage,they’ll give you no warning or anything as you enter the process…
i won’t bore you with any of the hum drum details..all i will say is thomas had to buy a fresh standard ticket for his flight back to england which was not cheap.
luckily all my flights booking were fragmented,but thomas did one block booking for all his inland and main flights,and six hundred quid went down the shitter…
do be careful.
instead of flying back down to the desert,we hired a ford mustang,rolled the roof down,to cruise along the pacific coast highway towards hollywood, and then out to the desert.
hungry on arrival in hollywood, we went for bagels in a favourite deli called canters..
and as we were strolling towards it, a great barbershop caught my eye…nearly every hairdresser was black,and i just had to get buzzed there.
the mellow hip hop was pumping on that balmy evening…and it was just about the best haircut i’d ever had by a barber..
i loved watching the costumers ……intense and particular about their style..
so the atmosphere was concentrated ..yet joyous too.
here’s a photo of my haircut.
i sat there thinking of how i’d come along way in my head with my relationship towards barbers.
as a young kid in northern ireland,my air force father would suddenly arrive home on leave from somewhere in the far east, and literally march me to a shop called ‘danny the barbers’.
i would be held down in the seat snarling and biting the barbers fingers,while he hacked away at my super little beatles fringe.
he’d then march me back home crying my face off…”left right left right…swing yer arms”…
and yet here i am grooving the whole barber scene,willingly having the shortest sharpest buzzcut,but happily on my own terms.
here’s the very barbershop…on fairfax,…just off melrose ave…a few steps up from canters deli.
after hollywood…we drove out to the desert where thomas charged his battery before heading back to england,
leaving me there for one more week to enjoy the gay leather pride shindig.
it’s a great event and i recommend it to any hornball who likes to dress up and act out for the gas.
this year a big guy over six foot started giving me the eye..he had one of those flogger things attached to his belt,
he could see i was interested and had me spread eagled against a brick wall in the sun, infront of everyone there,
he began to fry me with the darn thing..i was cool with this…and then he stopped and whispered in my ear…
he said.”on a scale of one to ten,how sore is this for you?”…i said”eight”,but i was fibbing…
on a scale of one to ten,he was lashing me around three or four,but i wanted him to stop and he did…
i wasn’t in the mood to be fried like that…i would want all day to get my head ready for something like that…
i just wanted to hang out and enjoy the atmosphere…so he stopped..
all those bad ass fierce guys…for the best part,they’re kind good people,although appearances can be misleading.
i have no shame or guilt when it comes to this type of thing..
allen ginsberg..one of americas finest writers was into it,
i have a 1950’s recording of him in greenwich village performing a then new poem of his for the first time called ‘please master’,
it’s my one and only attempt at ever doing any kind of remix jiggery pokery,
it’s surely more gripping without my interference,
but i only did it cause i was learning to use some new software….it was twelve years ago.
here it is…a fearless poet.
also while there, we headed up to the high desert to a cracking rock venue called ‘pappy and harriets’.
a bizarre assortment of folk turn up to that tiny venue to play…
everyone from har mar superstar to robert plant…
and so i recommend that also. http://pappyandharriets.com
on my way home to england,i bumbled through the airport and caught the cover of rolling stone on the newstands…
it hit me like a tombstone..i just stood there…still heady from my final weekend at the homo leather pride celebrations…
folk were rushing for their departures,but i just froze still…thinking of all the hours i’d spent listening to his records..
lou just stared out from that magazine cover, and i stared back at his image,feeling everything and nothing all at once.
dear reader…i’m cobbling this together from my bed back home in the wee small hours…
please forgive if it’s too long and all the rest of it,
i should be more consistent in posting…maybe i’ll get there one day..
i’ll leave you with the promise of a more fun post in a few days,
and this picture of me channeling the cover of a paperback i had of jack kerouac’s ‘on the road’
loads of love ,fellow music lovers…
mary on his/her return to the wilderness.