Face to face with the man who…

THE WRITER’S LIFE

Bowie heels

Gender bending icons who looked killer in heels: Dazed

Oh no, not me; I never lost control: The man who sold the world; And I looked around and the monster was me; Rebel, rebel… I have lived my life with the words of David Bowie. Ever since he taught me – aged 14 – that it was okay to have a crush on your best friend at an all-boys’ grammar school, the Star man has been there. After almost six months in my studio, the person inside me is finally coming out. It’s a relief from a burden I didn’t even know was there. Time takes a cigarette.

“Here I stand, foot in hand, talking to my wall. I’m not quite right at all, am I?” If this is madness, then please don’t set me free.

Here I sit, on the leather sofa in my small cube of a flat, with the typewriter conveying what’s going on inside while Bowie plays on the hi-fi. It’s a lovely place in space and time right now and one which took a long time to find.

I’m sitting in faux judgement of those who still judge me, for drinking and for the company I choose to keep. I will not deny my company to those who seek it. The only problem with some of those friends being teenagers is those who judge. I can deny those people any further existence in my life. To those who continue to judge and make assumptions: I died the last time you saw me drunk. Move on, like I am. Get a life, like I have.

I have battled for three years and those who know me now, know me now. I continue to suffer every day, dealing with the guilt. I’ve written extensively about the struggle which me and others endure. I won the battle with alcohol but the war is one which will be life-long. I’m clean now: no parasites.

Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis; perhaps it’s to make up for other inadequacies: Others will make their minds up and I won’t give a shit. I’m from London and you can’t take that out of the boy.

I’ve changed and I continue to metamorphose into someone different. It was in me all along but it was stifled. It’s only now I have the freedom that I’m able to truly express myself. No boss to answer to; Just me.

I’m metro, retro, ska punk, atheist, anarchist, feminist, pacifist: a bit of a mixture. I’ve found life and it’s unlikely I’ll ever share it with anyone: I’m too complicated. I work in the gig economy, so I’m skint. Like everyone and everything else, I am made from the big bang and I will continue to exist forever. These are things I’ve learned in life. Life was stifling me, through jobs, marriage and having to be “normal”.

I’m a human; I’m an Earthling; I’m a space invader. But only for now.

So what if I’ve got a load of metal in my face? One of my piercings is a safety pin through my ear: The symbol of protection. So what if wear a headband sometimes? Sometimes I’ll wear a bandanna: So fucking what?

Look me in the eyes and I will stare right back at you, reflecting the void behind your visual cortex. If you judge me, you will see nothing but contempt.

When I wear skinny-fit black jeans with 2″ pixie heels, a loose-hanging shirt with a waistcoat, and perhaps a cravat or a loose scarf around my neck, all topped off sometimes with a trilby, so what? So what, so what, you boring little cunt (The Anti-Nowhere League).

I feel comfortable. I feel confident. I feel expressive. I feel flamboyant and eccentric. I feel a little provocative. I feel like myself. I used to be the kind of person who would frown at anything out of the ordinary, make assumptions and judge. Now that I’m on the other side, I want to provoke those who might judge.

I’m very lucky to have a good friend as a next door neighbour: a 63-year-old, ex-con; Very metrosexual and comfortable in his sometimes eccentric outfits. He’ll go out in our little village, dressed in a three piece suit, with a pocket watch in his waistcoat and a hanky in his breast pocket. So what? He looks good. Frankly, he’s not the kind of person people are likely to question and neither am I.

People will always point and look, making assumptions. Now it’s different: Am I gay? Am I a transvestite? Actually, neither. So what if I was? So in fact, I don’t give a toss about the false assumptions: An existential end to the judgement.

Like another personal hero – Eddie Izzard – I’m just someone who’s comfortable being themselves. Sometimes I’ll express it. Talk to me and you might find me quite engaging. It was through talking to others that I broadened my horizons and now I’m free.

“Are you going to a fancy dress party?” / “What have you come as?”

“Myself.”

And when I feel like myself, it comes across in my writing, like the whimsical tales I sometimes write and which readers tell me they enjoy more than the dark stuff. It’s why Cyrus Song (the next novel) is going so well.

Of course, writing is a form of self-expression and other people enjoy my stories. But I don’t want to have to explain myself to everyone: no-one should have to. I’m inclusive and I respect people for who they are; more so if they’re a little eccentric and flamboyant. It might explain why I have so many gay friends. It’s also why so many of my friends are young: I hope they don’t have their individuality beaten out of them like I did.

“You’ve torn your dress. Your face is a mess. How could they know? Hot tramp: I love you so.”

The Studio has made me what I am and helped me to find myself within it.

I didn’t turn out gay but I don’t shy away from that side of my sexuality. It’s not a shell, a veneer or a disguise; It’s what was always shielded by holding down a job, being married with a family and running a business. “Life” took the life out of me. I had a lot of money then and now I have next to none, but I’ve found the life within me and I’m beginning to enjoy living it. Without excusing it, the drinking was a shield too. Having lost everything and with no means of expression, I got drunk. I’d have done better to join a drama group perhaps, but I eventually found writing.

I’m changing. I have been for a couple of years now but it’s only in the last six months that I’ve really had my own place, where I can work things out. Despite me being a bit introvert, there was someone struggling to get out; to express themselves. Always a closet flamboyant and eccentric, now I’m able to experiment.

This is me: The man who looked in the mirror and realised that the monster was me.

I’m a gender bender and I’m fucking proud.

The man who sold the world: I’m glad I did.

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