After passing Waterloo Station (and the old discarded snake skin of the Eurostar Terminal as was), I pick up my 76 outside the Waldorf, and it then takes me past the front doors of the Royal Courts of Justice, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Bank of England—an amazing journey home every night. I document Brussels, Munich, Vienna, Berlin, as this is my world, and it is very easy to overlook and take for granted the glory of the capital city of the British Empire that I live in. Easy too to take for granted the glory of the woman who takes care of me and gives me her love and provides me this calmness and tranquility that I feel in my life these days, like an emotional no fly zone, making me safe from all outside attacks so I can go about my business undisturbed for the first time in my life. She is the miracle of my life, the second one, and I do feel a deep sense of wonder that she has given her love to me, and yet this does not stop me needing to assert my determination to be myself, and do what I have to do to irrigate my soul. My trips to Europe are absolutely essential, even if like Kenneth Williams’s trips to Tangiers none of them anymore are what one could call wholly successful, because they keep the pendulum swinging. Similarly essential, if marooned in London, the visits to the Fly.
I say I could live like a monk for ten years, but would then become a dry fossil, but a year of family life has had rather that effect as well. I have kept going out, leaking money every week, trying to grab small little pleasures for myself, but it seems to me that I have not done ENOUGH. Instead of meekly, timidly, dipping my toe into my old sinful pleasures, on a regular basis, I should have saved my money for spectacular debauches—great trips to Vienna, Munich, Berlin. Dipping my toes in constantly meant I was constantly losing money but not doing enough to get any pleasure or satisfaction or relief out of it. To keep the pendulum swinging one must do spectacular splurges, then one can feel good for weeks afterwards. These little sins I keep committing do not satisfy me for more than a few minutes. Whatever you do, do it with a vengeance or don’t do it at all. If you’re going to flash, flash hard, then you are more likely to get away with it. It is the meek, timid, scared little prods and pushes that will always get you caught out. I must be MORE daring, more provocative, and damn the consequences. “Boredom is the despairing refusal to be oneself” said Kierkegaard, and I have been so scared of ——‘s reaction I have allowed myself to refuse to be myself. The more I can be myself the more I will love her.
What have my visits to Vienna been like? There was the first 4-day visit in 1998 on the Grand Tour, I went to Freud’s house, The Third Man tour, stayed in the Rathaus, nothing naughty, under intense pressure, almost psychosis. My second visit would have been the Pooky trip in 2001 on the way to Oslo, three days of the most exquisite non-stop self-pleasure in the depths of the blackest despair, Ottakring beer, rings in the Am Hof market, nothing naughty again? The third visit must have been Lotta in 2002 mustn’t it, when it became all about Lotta, before Venice and Budapest, while I was working at the hotel. I went back again in January 2005, this time I explored the Gurtel extensively in the deep snow, this was the Mando Diao, Libertines Likely Lads, Saybia, Soulwax visit, the Harrieta and Maria in Pour Platin visit. I have not been back since then have I? More than six years. —— drifted away from you before, in boredom and hopelessness. She can easily do that again. Do not take her for granted. In bed last night I imagined she was some girl I met at Wigmore Hall, fucking her in our seats, then in toilets. I keep having this Wigmore fantasy these days.
I am constructing my own world in my books, so that it WOULD be possible to make a game out of it—with board and dice and counters. It is my Empire of the Petal Throne. Justice Palaces, Bourses, Cathedrals, Railway Stations, Hotels.
So I had all day to think about going to Vienna, and it quickly became apparent that is it is financially unfeasible. Yet when I woke up this morning thinking about going, about some busty 18-year-old Dorint barmaid in crisp white blouse, I immediately became excited. This is why I have to go, and any money I spend on it will be worth it. Longing for travel makes us beautiful, to paraphrase Henriette Hardenberg. Vienna looms on my horizon like the silhouette on the cover of Die Fackel. Vienna or bust. Yet my debts are huge. The Conservatives have launched a vicious campaign of cuts to deal with Britain’s debt mountain, while Labour say you must go slow otherwise you destroy growth. I could launch vicious cuts too. I could live like a castrated monk for the next 10 years, never going outside the door, but it would destroy my growth. I would become a dry, stagnant, dessicated fossil, with no experiences keeping my blood flowing around my body, irrigating my soul. So better to keep living like Arabella’s family, dancing on the volcano, like a rampant priapic Minotaur. Today is brilliant blue skies everywhere, it feels like the first day of Spring.
It is incredible but I have no bars I like in London. I love the Ibis bar in Brussels and Murphy’s Bar in the station and O’Reilly’s opposite the Bourse and the bar of the Metropol Hotel. I love the Berlin Plaza bar and the Café Am Zoo and the Irish pub and the Oscar Wilde. I love the Dorint Hotel bar in Vienna. I love the Intercity Hotel bar in Munich and Lamm’s. These are the places I want to drink. I have to keep going to these places. Perhaps me and —— should have a more semi-detached relationship so we are always apart and always missing each other and always crying to get back to each other again. That keeps the affair alive. Travelling, then, is essential for our relationship. The missing each other when we are far apart is what will keep us together.