I stopped at the bottom of the stairs and it was as if time itself had balled into a fist and screamed down the staircase and punched me. I have no idea what triggered it but suddenly time was laid out in front of me like an ugly carpet and I saw all the stains, the beautiful blemishes, and the realisation that I have nothing to be embarrassed of and nothing to regret. The bad I have done has been done back to me and in the context of Germany and Russia or in the context of some tabloid scoop my life has been mine.
I should never have gone on that last Members tour. I was not in any fit state emotionally, the whole world was collapsing in slow motion around me and I had no other outlet. No one person was to blame, no I correct that I was to blame. So I set forth and fell in love: constantly. I had those groupie moments but what has stayed with me these thirty years since that time is the pain. The pain of cheating and the pain of falling in love constantly over and over again, like some repetitive Groundhog Day scenario. I remember them all even after nearly 25 years of marriage to an amazing woman and a nagging sense of betrayal to another amazing woman. These women in the USA, in New York, in LA, in San Francisco, in Toronto and in Fort Lauderdale. And one in Corpus Christi. No shame, nothing approximating anything like it. More a sense of what was it all about what was it I was doing and how come my emotions were carved up and spread around? What the fuck was I doing?
I stand now in the place where I am, happy, with kids and a family, without parents nearly sixty; Christ how did I get so old? Some, maybe many, could say it I just some vague longing for the time that was most exciting in my life, like those old guys you used to meet in the Seventies who would talk endlessly about the war because it was the only exciting thing that had happened, or even worse those people who would drone on and on about University because that was the only time they had had fun as soon after they had got fucked up with me they met their future wife and they never knew the drunken stupidity of casual sex after nightclubbing in Berlin in 1976.
Chi-Chi, Paulette, Theresa and Dory. More than names, still faces, not notches on walls. Parts of my life. Erin in the Gulf. Moments that stayed with me, nothing left a mark quite the same way they did. In Fort Lauderdale I fell in love with someone who wept when I left. I cried in the van, quietly at the very back, hidden behind my shades. I felt like those early tribes people on first discovering the perfidious white man who stole parts of their soul with the camera. Every time I left a part of me remained, forever in aspic. Stuck in time like some frozen river or posed photograph.
This beautiful sadness doesn’t brush aside the reality I live in, it never did. Where I am now is where I have always wanted to be, but now, right now, in the Bourbon hours of the night their faces come back to me. They were funny, they were fabulous and they loved me for a moment and if I had lived in that moment I would still be there. These parallel universes that we all inhabit stay with us and make us human but they also give us super-powers. They make us immortal because some place else we will always be in that moment.
I miss Fort Lauderdale and I miss LA. But I love London.