The sunlight poured through the kitchen window as I sat cross legged amongst a sea of paper carefully and methodically cutting up the pages of magazines and then, once happy with their individual alignment, pasting them onto A1 sheets of card to be tacked to the walls or glued to the doors of the ancient kitchen cabinets in our little two up two down terrace house in London’s East End.
Needless to say, when my husband arrived home from a hard day at work with no visible sign or hope of dinner on the table, he was not impressed! I was not only at the height of one of my manic episodes as I now understand them to be, but also I was as high as a kite on a cocktail of GHB and ketamine. The sounds of Ibiza Global Radio pumped through the house and I rose to greet him proudly displaying my creativity.
I was in my late twenties and engrossed in a world of graphic design, photography, music, prostitution and experimentation with drugs and pleasure. In those days my ‘Up’ moods lasted longer than the ‘Downs’ and I was at my creative peak forever hunting out the latest fashion magazine or typeface or new form of pornographic material or sex toy I had not yet played with. Ah what a time of life to live in London, in the centre of the gay world. And of course I was determined to write my book. The memoires of a gay prostitute. To tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth of what is it to be a sex worker, a husband, an artist and a half Irish, half Jewish and very troubled young man with ambitions to be something else, someone different.. to be ….. something. Alas, years later, one realises that dreams and illusions are by their nature sweet.. But who knows, perhaps one day my humble blog will one day be bound into a collection of ideas and memories and sit gracefully on the shelves of bookshops.. if indeed these still exist in our futuristic world of downloads and kindles and cyber technology. But for me paper still feels more real than this glowing screen of my macbook.
Unfortunately now, years later, nothing remains of my creative efforts. But those walls were beautiful. A myriad of black and white and colour images ranging from images of amazon rainforests snipped from copies of National Geographic to hardcore gay pornography. Birds of paradise in all their radiant colours sat next to the oiled muscular torsos and over sized erections of American porn stars whom I had masturbated over many times in the early hours of the morning taking deep inhalations of poppers to bring myself to the most wondrous and mind blowing orgasms. Ah such happy memories.
These days, rather than such extreme drug taking, I write and indulge myself in this weird and wonderful world of tantric or as most people know it as erotic massage. And of course I live in Spain’s Costa Blanca and spend my days looking up such obscure words as ‘screwdriver – destornillador’, ‘rubbish tip – basurero’ and of course one of my personal favourites… ‘slippery – resbaladizo’. And then there is the sea. The Mediterranean in all it’s azure glory stretching out into the distance. At night the moon and the stars rise and dance silently in the deep black sky, a sight I never saw in all my years in London with it’s city lights and neon glow and never ending vibrancy.
As a child I was drawn towards the arts. As you will already know from my previous blogs I played the cello for many years along with a few other instruments (most recently I have become extremely proficient in the playing of the pink oboe…) and of course later I worked as a life model for four years which allowed me access to the wonderful and fascinating world of Universities of Art and of course ignited my burning desire to learn more about human anatomy. As a 15 year old I recall being memorized when I first looked upon the drawings of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Those exquisite lines which so perfectly described the male form, the elegance of the curves and such realism of figurative paintings that one could almost touch the flesh. Later I would spend hours gazing at those actual paintings in London’s marvellous National Gallery. What a contribution those men gave to the world, their deepest desires hidden in plain sight for the bourgeoisie and the church to marvel at and misunderstand… Such sexual potency and energy. But I digress.
I tend to do this you see. My mind wanders when in these manic states. A thousand ideas fill my head at any given moment rushing past like tube trains. If only I could slow time in order to write these ideas down, to capture them and give them the attention they deserve. It is like, it feels like, arriving on a strange and new planet. A world where colours are brighter, sounds are louder and tastes are stronger. Suddenly a switch is flicked in one’s mind and one’s senses become sharp like daggers. I want to experience it all. Every pleasure, every sensation. Those lonely months of darkness have ended and the sunlight once again pours in. I wonder sometimes if it is like living in those far northern places, those lands of the midnight sun. The relief that those endless hours of darkness have ended is so great.
To say I want to lose myself in this state, to savour every moment is an understatement. Sex, of course, becomes far more appealing and exciting. Before, in my old life, I would mount my trusty bicycle and make my way up to Chariots Sauna near Liverpool Street Station. Filled with wine and my heart racing with excitement I swam naked in the heated pool on the upper floor my cock already hard and aching for pleasure before wandering through those steamy corridors in search for the first encounter of the evening. In those days I was fearless, wandering around with my towel draped over my shoulders and my naked body glistening with a mixture of sweat and pool water. My cock leading the way as the eyes of strangers glowed in the darkness. I remember the sheer delight as the bubbles of the jacuzzi ticked my shaven balls. I would gaze deep into the eyes of the men who sat across, their hard-ons concealed under the raging current of that hot, steaming pool. I loved to hear the groans of pleasure and the thumping of flesh against naked flesh coming from the rooms at on the top floor. All around the intoxicating smells of poppers, sweat and cum.
But of course with the sweet comes the sour. The darkness, as I call it, comes upon me as quickly as the light. Those months when one simply cannot get out of bed. Days filled with paranoia, dread, misery, despair, thoughts of suicide, anger, frustration and worst of all isolation. Being in this ‘Up’ mood that I am at the present moment I do not care to dwell on those times. I merely wanted to write tonight and to try to explain, to analyse perhaps the curious nature of this condition. You see, much like the wonderfully verbose and highly talented Stephen Fry, I too am grateful in many ways for my mania as it brings the gift of creativity and a way of seeing the world through very different eyes. After the darkness there is this beautiful appreciation of the wonder and complexity of life in all it’s radiant shades of colour. Without my manic depression I may still be sitting at my desk in the middle of a vast and grey and depressing call centre wishing I was somewhere else and waiting for my next brief and blessed spree of annual leave. The phrase ‘Dead at 30 buried at 70’ comes to mind. A fate which many befall. Lives suspended in a thick beige soup of despair and regret.
My life is a life of poverty for much of the time. There is no villa. There is no fancy car outside my door. My clothes come from charity shops and my Lacoste jeans came with a price tag of 2 euros instead of 100. There is no pension. There is no swimming pool. There is no foie gras in my fridge or holidays to the Caribbean. But what there is I would probably not trade for all the tea in China. There is passion. There is a fascination with life and with people and a sense of adventure in these moments of happiness that has guided me along this crazy and very uneven path of my life.
So there you have it. More ramblings of a demented Irish man living in Spain.
Thanks for reading. Sending love and light from Spain. A x