January 29, 2009


Of life’s long, laborious and tedious themes, homosexuality perplexed me most. I certainly enjoyed a relationship as Emperor Hadrian‘s. I was not Hadrian. I have been disgusted gay men behaving so outside what was good or decent. Marlene and I, we take a trip to Templiner See to see a castle she is selling. It’s a pleasant orange day of low sun. It was her who had been leaving silent messages on my answering machine.
Brian and I take his Ford Ghia to Argeles-sur-Mer. Cycles on the roof rack. Brian was banned due to the hotel car park incident north of Inverness so I drove all the way. He put on white slacks in Orleans out for a strole. M6 traffic and the Periferique scared me. In hot sunshine I spotted a gap in front of the bus on the next loop. 26 seconds, just tucked in. I met a black schoolgirl in Coleur from Wolverhampton and took her up to fort on the Spanish border. Arne rings me from Upsalla like an angel.
In the week I used to be up to Dizzies then met Brian in the bar inside Grampian TV. He kept me in the dry room at the back with his books in the House near Duthie Park. I walked round Loch of Skene thinking about the girl from Lockerbie. I read “A White Bird Passes Over”. The damp cobbles of Aberdeen. Its cloth-capped urchins. I am at the cooling evening beach to the roars from Pitodrie across the dunes. Some prankster has driven his Ford Capri in to the sand and the tide is lapping over it. After another penniless morning in my Station Street studio I walked up Bridge Street to the Belle Alliance Hotel. I asked Brian for a look his “Stage” and this is how we met. His quiff hair a shifted wig look over manicured and greased like a dame. A House of Frazer cowboy. He looked very handsome in his hand made green suit, like James Mason. His cupboard back home was stuffed with hundreds of jackets.
I was standing at the cottages of Catterline, the fishing village where Joan Erdley had painted after Glasgow. The former whaling port formed a perfect circle, with an odd jetty in the shape of a larger stone halberd. I was embarrassingly fond of Scottish jetties. Brian’s unique skill was to reflect like a mirror, revealing little of his own thoughts, like the TV show host he was. And timing. I always relished seeing him again. In his dark suit Brian lands at the airstrip at Benbecula to officially open the transmitter. When my then girlfriend moved to Carlisle I hitched down to see her weekly despite having barely no money, miraculously getting lifts without pauses or deviations. I guessed 60,000 Glaswegians lived in the high risers. She stayed at a dark Edwardian room in a terraced house and Carlisle is so dull. Brian and I sit in the pub round the bay at Ullapool watching the Klondike’s. At the dam a submarine pipeline guarded by warnings and an exclusion zone drops through the mountain, joining the world we’d just left. The last great wilderness of Europe. The elegant bridge at Klystron locks as we cycle round Sullivan, the world’s oldest mountain.
By removing the central post rocket from the iconoclastic Spandau Werner von Braun photograph I had the white uniformed technicians looking in to nothing from a photograph I’d kept from Berlin. Thats how artists work. I put them all into the empty Bon Accord Baths currently empty and being renovated. I visited the baths when it was closed. Scaffolding and tarpaulins draped the diving board.
I though about the Tom of Finland exhibition in Mehringdam whist doing gardening in Banchory. Hard work. Everyone seemed to be homosexual except me. Even the gardener and the Morris Dancers from the University. I had moved into gay circles without noticing or anyone telling me. The price of oil slumped in March 1986. With no money, but with youth on my side, I returned to London.


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