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Sunday, July 15, 2012



And the latest is...


I’ve been so busy and doing so much running around for the past few months I forgot to note the June 21st birthday of avant-garde Russian revolutionary artist Olga Rozanova. (Yeah, I know, a real red letter day on everyone’s calendar.) Okay, so that’s a bit obscure and these days only art history types know about her but she’s been a great inspiration throughout my life.

Born in 1886, she was dead by 32 of diphtheria but her output was prolific. All kinds of drawings, paintings, collages, performances and reams of writing – most still unpublished. She was a leading member of that group of Russian artists who gave the Revolution its color and emotional depth, and her most famous quote was: “Artists must lead from the front.”

And she put her money where her mouth was, helping lead sometimes violent street battles with the Tsar’s goon squads, all while being a central figure in a movement that created an entirely new way of seeing –Constructivism. Ironically, this visual vocabulary would one day form a key reference point in modern advertising aesthetics.

As a young woman, Rozanova married the Futurist poet Aleksei Kruchenykh and the story is they got even closer when she openly took Constructivist firebrand Kazimir Malevich as her lover, along with having fairly flagrant affairs with the legendary poet Mayakovsky and fellow painter, the equally talented but much longer lived Xenia Boguslavskaya. The bunch of them scandalized the hypocrites of their era by casually flaunting that pure joy for living and working. It’s a powerful, moving piece of history and hugely romantic.

A long time ago when I was a young man I'd stood in a large hallway at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, transfixed by Rozanova’s seminal abstract painting, The Green Stripe. It was hung next to the equally revolutionary work, White on White, painted around the same time by Kazimir Malevich.

When these works were shown just after the turn of the 20th century, reactions were swift and extreme. The paintings caused chaos in Russia’s already stratified intelligentsia. At a time when visual art and its attendant ideologies had tremendous influence, raging debates broke out about the nature of visual representation and the fundamental ideas about what can be considered art. It was the formative period of a visual vocabulary we all now take for granted.

When I saw these two paintings, each about thirty by thirty inches, they were hung in a large entry hall, just outside a gallery featuring several famous non-representational works. I admired whatever curator had put Rozanova and Malevich together like that, just the two of them off to the side, as it were. I appreciated the sense of humor I imagined was behind such a gesture.

I stood there for a long time just daydreaming on the two paintings and performing a sort of experiment of my own, drawing inspiration from two of the most important experimental works in history.

I knew this old fag called Gordon. A lovely man with a brilliant, sizzling mind. He was tall and very handsome and incredibly rare - a real honest-to-jodhpurs New York WASP. He was the scion of a banking family, extremely old money – a Knickerbocker who’d been born, raised and continued to live in a massive two-story apartment in one of the prime Forty Good Buildings on the Upper East Side, overlooking Central Park. We’d met in the doorway of a seedy bathhouse near the Mud Club, down in the Bowery when it was still a fairly sinister locale. I’d been hesitating, reluctant to enter the place. Gordon appeared behind me and turning, I could see he was more or less thinking the same thing. Back then he was in his late 50’s and still in very good shape, sandy hair sprinkled with gray. His light blue eyes and Mephistophelian eyebrows always ready to cock and smirk.

I was just a young lout with various pretentions but for some reason Gordon took a shine to me and it wasn’t even sexual. He was circumspect about that, telling me he agreed with Burroughs that there wasn’t one good fuck in the whole generation, meaning my people. But he delivered these lines with a nice tongue-in-cheek twist, softening the blow by adding the odd self-deprecating remark.

Gordon decided there was a job I was suited for. Being the member of a set who were far, far ahead of their time, he told me about an army of brainy, beautiful highly accomplished women over forty who ran all manner of museums, galleries, institutes and organizations to do with the arts, philanthropy, culture and foreign aid. Even back then, these entities were run by women and fags, the only difference being in that era, a few respected middle aged straight males would be at the top, fatherly types acting as Directors, Chairmen and the like. But the ground troops were, like today, mostly women, with some fags thrown in to keep things stylish.

So Gordon took me shopping for some suits, shirts, ties, shoes, cufflinks and so on. Nothing fashionable, mind you, all of them classic Saville Row cuts. Throw in a good haircut and I looked like a younger version of him.

“Now,” he told me after our Candide/Dr. Doolittle trip. “These women work very hard but get very little from their husbands, who are too busy at work and then too tired after performing for their mistresses. The wives do find boyfriends occasionally but rarely someone younger so they end up with a slightly less tedious version of their husband. It’s an atrocious state of affairs. Therefore, my boy, you shall be a beam of light in their lives, a moment of levity and lighthearted pleasure.”

He went on to teach me much about manners and deportment but most of all Gordon taught me to watch and listen - to read people, how much each of us reveals without realizing. “Being cocky in public,” he instructed me, “is only useful in very limited, very subtle doses. However, in private, when combined with a fetching shyness, can be extremely beguiling. In other words, your job is to make it all about her. You will be compensated in ways you could never have imagined.”

He was right of course. I’d been hustling older women since I was a young punk. I mean, I did have girlfriends my own age but older, very accomplished, very smart, very savvy women have always been in a league all their own. Well, let’s face it – all those brains and all that experience have got to be worth something. And it was never a money thing. There was that but it was more about the fact they were really, really good at something they cared about. It can be a powerful aphrodisiac all on its own.

So I was standing there, contemplating these two incredible works of art when I heard the measured clickety-clack of high heels on the polished granite floor. Remembering Gordon’s training, I didn’t look and continued to consider the paintings. I picked up her scent as she went by, just a few feet behind me. It was hardly noticeable, just a hint of old school Number 5.

About ten minutes later I heard her heels approach again, sounding very business-like. I still didn’t look. Several more minutes passed before I heard her come by once more. The steps were a bit slower this time then stopped. I heard her speak before I saw her.

“Pardon me, I couldn’t help but notice you’ve been standing here for some time. Do you need any help?”

It wasn’t the most original line I'd ever heard but better than trying to be cute. I turned and she was in her little black Chanel number, nice black pumps, not too much heel. This was work, after all and dressing like Stevie Nicks may have worked down in the village but not up here. Her brown hair was up in a loose bun and she was holding some files. Not cradling them the way an underling would but down at her side. She was most likely close to fifty but looked younger – and not worked on. She had the kind of clear skin and sharp eye that shaves off years at an age when it matters most. Her tongue went up and licked her front teeth, doing it mouth closed.

“I was wondering about The Green Stripe,” I said.

She brightened at that. “Yes?”

“I’ve heard there are two copies of this painting – both done by Rozonova but one larger than the other. Do you know if it’s true?”

Gordon had given me this little tidbit when I’d expressed an interest in Russian Revolutionary art. I’d learned everything I knew about the subject from a very switched-on art critic friend in Toronto, JB Mays, one of the first people to grasp how big the Costakis Collection of Constructivist art would become after it exploded onto the scene.

I held up a palm as if in apology, then reached out. “I’m sorry, my name is Basil.”

She demurely shook my hand. “Elizabeth.”

We were having a grand ol’ time with our little minuet. The ever so slightly cynical purse at her lips and the almost imperceptible arch of her eyebrow were already sizing up my game and she was happy to play along. I could have sworn she shook her head about one degree and let out a short breath, already far down the road where she’ll be screaming with laughter after I pull her panties to her knees and drag her ass across that big living room floor, lock the insides of my elbows against the backs of her knees and pull her soaking pussy toward my cock, getting so off on her pout, mouth parted and just sucking up all my mad drive, all my need to feel her cunt on me, have her scent rise to my lips, her claws dig into my ass when she reaches round her parted thighs to hang on for the ride - all that very good shit.

Elizabeth’s head dipped a bit then slowly swung toward her office at the end of the long hall. A couple of her staff loitered by the reception area, trying to look busy while stealing glances at us. She turned back to me with a dazzling scarlet lipstick smile.

“As far as anyone is concerned” she told me, “we’re acquaintances. And we’re going for lunch. I’ll get my bag.”

I turned back to the paintings as her heels clicked away.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Three way on Soi 11

I met this middle aged Aussie couple last night at an Irish pub on Sukhumvit Soi 11 – Bruce and Sue for fucksakes. She’s got the short sensible wash & wear hair, he looks like a car wreck victim.

Sitting between them was a dark northern girl who was so pleased with herself, as if she’d single-handedly raised the village pig to mighty fruition and was damn proud of the fact.

Bruce confided in a drunken sort of way. He and Sue took early retirement in Thailand a couple years ago, bought a nice condo down by Pattaya. Right on the beach, he said. He hates Bangkok but came up to take his wife and the girl shopping.

Their little pal, Aom, is giggling into her hands, all tee hees and rolling eyes. Sue pats her on the arm and leans in to whisper something with a gossipy smirk, her eyes going to a pair of hunky young louts who are fixated on the tennis match on TV, both with pints of beer poised at their lips as a crucial point is decided.

Bruce is fairly well lubricated and gestures with his head.

“My girls here, they’re good mates. We’re doing the bloody Oxfam with Aom, support the whole tribe for next to nothing. Got her as a maid and well, Sue’s operation wouldn’t allow for anything down below so I got to shagging this little creature. Simple peasant girl, she does her best. Sue doesn’t mind, appreciates it in fact. Takes the pressure off her, doesn’t it? When Sue gets back from her massage therapy mid-afternoons, we play bridge. Aom’s learning fast.

Sharp little beggar, she is. Still have no idea what she’s saying most of the time but it doesn’t matter. We get on all right. I go for a drink with my mates down at the pub and don’t need to worry about Sue. Aom’s a good companion and calls me on the mobile if they need anything. Usually in the afternoon, before our tea, I’ll have with Aom while Sue’s at her massage therapy. Did I mention that? Got to give the girl credit. Knows we should keep things nice and civil, only when Sue’s out of the house and that - a bit of modesty.

Yeah, Aom does all right by us. I give her eight thousand baht a month and she supports her whole bloody clan. Went up to the village with her last Christmas. Her kin know what’s what and they did the old kowtow, glad we’re taking good care of her, send back some dosh. Yeah, it’s working out all right. Can’t bin the old girl, can we now? No, Sue and me, we’re mates from back when. The three of us do just fine.”

Friday, July 6, 2012


People tell me the real Thai name for Bangkok is Krung Thep. Well, that’s the short form. The actual name is about forty words long and translates into one of those nauseating academic romantic monikers white pinheads like to apply to ‘exotic’ locales – ie: While tromping through some ‘developing country’ or other, Whitey Pinhead stumbles across a geek in a loin cloth who spends his nights hunting the meaty rats found in whatever region cuz he can’t stand the day time sun and heat. So Whitey Pinhead will codify the geek’s deal as: “He who has sacrificed the light to eternally hunt the dreams of the Sahlamara (or other appropriately non-Western sounding moniker) night creatures.” It’s the kind of deft turn of phrase that makes the stodgy members of thesis boards in the petrified halls of academe wet their pants. Okay, maybe not wet their pants – but slightly damp for sure.

And that’s all fine and well but let’s face it – you ain’t gonna beat a name like BANGKOK. Even Thais, who consider it a foreign appellation, seem to really get off on emphasizing the last syllable, giving it a nice menace; bang-KOK.

Us palefaced types use a bunch of alts; Bangs, Bangtown, Bangville, Bangers (no, not pronounced Banjers), Bang’o’rama and many other variations. My fave at the moment: Bangtown.

All my riding buddies back in Norte Americana will laugh their asses off when they see the pic down below, me astride a Yamaha 125 Mio scooter. No, of course I’d never have believed that I’d ride a scooter in anger but there’s no other way in Bangs. Either that or sit in traffic and spend half the day going three blocks in air conditioned comfort.

One useful trick is to pull in the mirrors before you go zipping through gridlocked cars and trucks. It took a little while but by following the local scooter-taxi operators/stunt riders, I learned a few techniques that are serving me well.

There’s no way you could ride a big screamin’ sportbike in Bangers and get anywhere fast. Well, maybe on the toll highway at 3am but that’s it. In the clogged streets of downtown Bang’o’rama, a sportbike is way too wide and far too powerful. The thing would just overheat. On the scooter, I sometimes get closer to drivers than their own husbands or wives have been in weeks or months. I’m told Bangkok’s gridlock rush hour traffic is also quite the meet market. Girl riders get numbers shoved at them by bored car drivers all the time, while one guy told me a woman reached out her window and wrote her number on the back of his hand with a felt-tip pen. She apparently turned out to be a real gem and they’re now in the midst of a very hot, very fulfilling relationship. Yeah, I think we’ll keep the name, Bangkok.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Stop me if you've heard this one.
An angry young early retiree enters a Bangkok night club called Deader Than Dead.
A 140 decibel bass line electro-loop damages bowel linings for blocks.
A few scattered customers pray over their drinks at the bar
or sit with backs to the wall,
marble-eyed and heads tilted back as if at the dentist.
It never gets any more crowded.
Establishments on either side pump,
the floors slick with lube.
Member of the writhing dance crowds in these joints
will suddenly disappear as if dropped down a manhole,
and never stand back up.
No hands reach down for them.
It's too dangerous -
the same way it's too dangerous to reach for a drowning man
while in the water next to him.
He'll try to stand on your head in a last desperate thrash for air,
so you stay away and throw life jackets.

Meanwhile, back at the Deader Than Dead
the angry young early retiree has burst in like a boxer coming out of his corner
to commit the inevitable coup de grace.
Maybe not an utterly exhausting 30 second flail of adrenalin,
fists, blood, grunts and broken teeth -
but a loud confrontation that provokes him into a torrent of
bitterly hiliarous bon mots that disarm his wary opponents would not go amiss.

But no one notices him walk in.

He yells an oath at the unmoving back of an old alcoholic,
repeating the uninspired taunt until the creature shifts
and he realizes it may have once been a viable female.

The bartender is leaned back against the mirrored bottle shelf,
arms crossed and a face like a Kurosawa witch.
She's never even worn gray.

The angry young early retiree drinks only beer but under the gaze of the bartender
instead orders a drink named after a car.
It is a long time before he receives an impossibly difficult thing
garnished with many sculptured pieces of exotic fruit,
artfully arranged to appear to be floating over a wide glass with a tiny opening.
The imbiber is forced to use the long pink articulated straw provided.

One sip and the angry young early retiree is overcome with the knowledge he will soon
fall in love with the bartender, a beautifully made up katoey who
will unfurl like a flower at the scent of sincere romance
and morph into the spitting image of Shakira but far far sexier.