This is Page 2 of Part 2 of Chapter 117 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to Page 1 of "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out -- Part 2".
Justin and I watched this British television show a few times when we were over here last summer and then I caught it a couple of times on the cable -- when I watch TV, that is. Then I was scheduled to be a guest on it at the time of the 'Hammersmith' premiere, but I didn't make it on! 'V Graham Norton' is kind of a talk show, kind of a sex show, and definitely a comedy show. Norton is this Irish comedian who will literally ask anyone anything. He has this innocent, pixie-ish quality, if you know what I mean, so he gets away with saying things that would get anyone else in big fucking trouble. Some of the questions he asks his guests and the stunts he pulls are completely over the top -- but the guy is so ingratiating that the victims don't seem to mind. And the answers he gets ARE funny as hell.
I have to admit that I'm hesitant to do this program. But Sir Ken says it will be the perfect place for me to make my only talk show appearance on this trip and Howie Sheldon agrees. Norton is gay, he's Irish, and he's sympathetic to me and Justin. He could also ask the kind of questions that I know people want to know about -- the photos, the hustling, Justin, whatever -- and put a positive and humorous spin on them. Of course, I don't fucking trust anyone in the media at this point, but I have to believe that Sir Ken at least would never steer me wrong.
Graham Norton was at the premiere and afterparty last night and we spoke briefly. He didn't want to talk too much because he's big for 'spontaneity'! Shit! Unless it's about fucking, I HATE spontaneity!
On Thursday Kenroy Smith takes us over to the London Studios in Waterloo for a 6:00 taping. I think I'm more nervous tonight than I was before the premiere because I don't know what to expect. Howie Sheldon and Ron are also along for the ride, of course, and they spend the drive discussing the premiere and the British reviews, which are glowing, they tell me. I don't read any of that shit -- I leave it to Justin to keep track of that portion of my life.
"Break a leg, Brian -- and don't let anything throw you," says Justin. We're standing backstage and I'm waiting to go on. Ron and Howie are lurking somewhere in the Green Room, staying out of sight while Justin gives me his little pep talk. I can hear Graham doing his introductions and I'm starting to get nervous. "I'll be waiting right here when you get off, okay?"
"Okay -- I guess," I say. He kisses me and disappears. Now I'm really on my own.
The next thing I know, two muscle men in loincloths grab me by the arms. My 'escorts'! I hear Graham Norton saying my name and then we're on the stage. The roar of the audience is deafening. Graham comes over and takes my hand. He wants me to take a bow, so I do. I feel like I'm in a fucking school play!
And then I see Justin, sitting in the audience, right in front. He's laughing He's supposed to be backstage! I smell a set-up.
"Ooo -- you ARE a big one!" coos Graham, as he eyes me before we sit down on the set. Like I said, he's a short, fey guy, with an evil twinkle in his eye. "And who is a very naughty boy, Brian?"
"I guess I am," I admit, as the audience laughs. "But I wasn't doing anything that millions of people don't do every day!"
"Yes, Brian, but millions of people don't have cameras trained on their posteriors!"
"If I'd known...." I say.
"Had I but known!" Graham repeats. "The story of my life!" He asks me a few innocuous questions about 'The Olympian' and London and the press conference, which I answer straightforwardly. But I know something else is coming. I've seen this show and there's always something that the guest doesn't expect. I brace myself. And I keep looking up at Justin sitting in the audience. He's grinning.
"Now, Brian, you have been at the center of all of this marvelous publicity and you gave that fabulous press conference and your film had a lovely premiere last night. But we STILL have so many questions about you! You are a real man of mystery because even when you do give interviews you don't say a lot about yourself."
"Gee," I reply. "I wonder why?"
"We are all sooo very curious about you. But we know you don't feel very comfortable talking about yourself because, like all Irishmen, you are the modest type." And Graham makes this face and the whole audience cracks up. "I'm Irish, so I know ALL about that! So, we have arranged for someone ELSE to answer all those, em, personal questions we all want to know about. Someone who is intimately acquainted with the answers. Is that all right with you, Brian?"
I wince. "I knew I should have just killed myself while I had the chance! I can't believe you're doing this!"
"Oh, it WILL be painless! I promise you, Brian! Would I EVER embarrass a guest?" And, again, the audience howls, because they know that is EXACTLY what Graham Norton does on this show. Graham stands up and moves out into the audience -- heading straight for Justin. "Do we have a Mr. Justin Taylor here somewhere? Do we?" And Justin stands up, giving a little wave. The audience applauds wildly for him, with a few appreciative wolf-whistles. And I look for a fucking dark hole to crawl into -- but I'm stuck. "Of course!" says Graham. "I should have recognized you immediately! Even with your pants ON!"
But Justin smiles and says. "You want me to take them off?"
"Ooo! Maybe later! When we are better acquainted!" You can tell that Graham is loving Justin. And with his long blond hair and angelic face Justin looks like a fucking choirboy. Which makes ME look even more like an old perv! "Now, Justin, you are the young gentleman who appears with Brian in those charming photos, is that correct?"
"That's correct, Graham," Justin says, like he's on an episode of 'Law & Order.'
"So, Justin, what did you think of those infamous photos that, em, feature you so prominently?"
But Justin seems unrattled. "Well, Graham, I thought they were pretty hot!" And everyone guffaws. "Of course, I thought they should have been released only as a special limited edition, instead of being available on every newsstand. But some of the picture in our PRIVATE collection are even hotter!" And he winks.
I just groan and hang my head.
Good old Graham is on a roll. "So, tell me, Justin -- what did your mother say when she saw those risque pictures?"
Justin takes a deep breath. "She wasn't too pleased, Graham. But she knows that when you are around Brian sometimes weird things tend to happen!"
"Weird things?" says Graham. "That's an understatement, surely! Like finding naked pictures of your son on the front page of the newspaper?"
"Oh, she's used to it by now," says Justin.
Graham raises his eyebrows. "Your mum must be VERY broad-minded!"
"Resigned is more like it. But she and Brian get along pretty well."
Graham nods. "I imagine that Holidays at home must be quite a thrill."
"Well," says Justin. "I brought Brian to our Country Club for the Fourth of July picnic. It was... interesting. The fireworks weren't the only thing that exploded that night!"
"Hello! Remember ME down here? You're killing me, Justin!" I shout, covering my face with my hands. But Justin just smirks and the audience is eating it up.
Graham makes a phony shocked face at Justin. "You cheeky devil! So, tell me, how long have you and this dangerous fellow been co-habitating?"
"Over two years now, on and off," says Justin. "You wouldn't think so, but in some ways Brian is very easy to live with. For instance, he's very neat."
"I imagine so. He doesn't seem to need a lot of clothing!" And Graham turns and gives me a big stage wink. I think I want to murder someone right now.
"No, not when he's at home. Or on our boat. But it's California and people are very casual out there."
"Yes, but so casual they tend to forget to put on their pants?"
"Sometimes," says Justin. He looks so angelically innocent that it makes what he's saying sound even more lewd. "It's a lot warmer out there than here in London. If we were living here then I think it would be easier to remember!"
"That is certainly true," says Graham. "So, tell me -- what IS the strangest place you and Brian have had sex?"
I stand up. "Don't answer that!"
Graham cocks his head at the camera. "This one should be good! Very good!"
Justin frowns. "I'm not sure what you mean by 'strange'? Strange public -- or strange private?"
"This IS getting good!" says Graham, confidingly, and the audience chortles. "You decide, Justin. We will trust your judgment."
"Well... there have been a LOT of interesting places, but the strangest was probably in a ride at an amusement park," says Justin. "You know -- one of those gondolas that takes you from one end of the park to the other? That's probably the strangest place. And the thing kept swinging back and forth. And underneath all those people were walking around, eating cotton candy, so that was kind of different." Justin pauses while the audiences howls. "We wanted to do it on one of those big stones at Avebury. You know -- those prehistoric stone circles?"
"Yes, I know where you mean," says Graham with mock seriousness. "But I don't think the British National Trust encourages people humping on their national treasures."
"Besides," continues Justin. "It was the middle of the afternoon and there were too many tourists around. With cameras!"
"That's never stopped you two before!" quips Graham.
"Justin! You are going to get us kicked out of England!" I shout. But it's useless.
"There's just something about historical sites that makes Brian and me excited... about history, I mean," says Justin, grinning. "For instance, up in the Lake District...."
"I think that's enough!" I say. Now I'm cracking up myself at the absurdity of the whole situation. And it IS enough, actually, because the Norton show is only a half hour and it's time to wrap up. Graham Norton thanks me and Justin, too. And Justin runs down onto the stage and I figure, what the fuck? So I grab him in my arms and give him a big kiss, while everyone oohs and aahs. Graham is happy. The audience is happy. Justin is happy. I see Howie Sheldon off at the side and even HE looks happy -- for Howie. And Ron. I don't know where he's gone. Probably brooding backstage. He'll get over it. But the strangest thing of all is how happy I feel. That's the fucking kicker!
"That was great, boys," says Graham. "They ADORED you, Brian! And Justin -- you are a natural! I think I'll make you my permanent co-host!" Graham is flirting with him heavily. "You're a lucky bastard, Brian. He's beautiful AND he has a sense of humor."
But before I can say anything, Justin pipes up. "Living with Brian you HAVE to!"
And he's fucking got THAT right!
Why do we always end up at this same club? Just because it's the biggest gay dance club in town? Or because it's now 'our' club -- like Babylon is our club in the Pitts -- after all the times we've been here and danced here and fucked here?
Or because it's loud and glitzy and everyone who is anyone is here? In other words, just the place for the world's most famous fags -- at least this week -- to come and do their thing in public.
I'm feeling good. And I mean really good. It's like this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm not pretending. I'm not hiding. I don't give a shit what people think about me or about my relationship with Justin. I just feel free, like I used to when I first started working at Ryder and going out to the clubs and bars in the Pitts. Except I'm not using this freedom to numb myself anymore. I'm not using it to prove a fucking point to my parents or to the straight world or to whoever the fuck. No, I'm just being. Living. Loving. Shit! And it feels right.
Graham comes along, too, and some people from his staff. After the taping we all went to dinner and then he suggested we come here. Ron and Howie Sheldon were both along for the ride to dinner, but dance clubs aren't exactly Howie's thing, so after we ate he headed back to the Dorchester. I'm a little surprised that Ron didn't go with him, but some fairly cute guy on Norton's staff has been showing an interest in Ron, so he came with us to the club.
I'm actually kind of glad he came along. And glad about this guy, Dane, who is hanging all over him. I think if Ron sees that he's an attractive man and that he CAN have some fun with a guy -- just some fun -- and he doesn't have to either pay him or fall totally in love with him and marry him and then lock him up in a tower and throw away the key.... I mean, if Ron can go out with me and Justin and just be civil, it would make my whole life so much easier.
Because Ron and I CAN be friends. I know we can! And if we're friends and if Ron can accept Justin and not always be freaking out over every little fucking thing, then when it comes time to make 'Red River' it will be a much more pleasant experience. Because I'm not planning to go on location for any extended period of time without Justin with me. Ron must know that by now. So maybe coming to dinner with us and going to the club with us and seeming to be okay with it is his way of dealing with the situation. Signaling to me that he's getting more comfortable seeing me with someone else. Letting me know that he is moving on with his life. And that's a fucking relief!
Ron has a drink and then buys one for Norton's assistant, Dane. Like I say, Dane isn't bad at all. Back in the day I would have fucked him, no problem. He suffers from the twin Brit afflictions, receding hairline and dicey teeth, but not fatally. And Dane doesn't seem like a starfucker. He must meet a lot of celebrities working on the talk show and Ron isn't exactly a household name, so he must really like Ron for himself. And that's nice. Really nice.
I get a lager for Justin and a soda for myself. I could probably have a beer and survive, but I had a glass of wine at dinner and that's my limit. Justin isn't pushing it at all -- it's MY fucking decision. I can have a good time without being high or smashed. I can. No problem.
"Let's dance!" says Justin. He's getting all squiggly-wiggly, brimming with energy and still pumped up from the show. He's also horny. But then Justin is like me -- he's almost always horny.
"Let me just hang out here for a while. Then we can dance," I say. Justin begins to pout. I reach over and unbutton his shirt, running my hands up and down his chest, rubbing his nipples with my thumbs. I flick his nipple ring gently. Then I slip the shirt off and lay it on the bar next to me. There are a lot of guys eyeing him. A lot! Which makes me proud and jealous at the same time. I give him a quick kiss. "Go out and get yourself all revved up." But Justin hesitates. "Go on, Sunshine. I won't run away!"
He heads for the dance floor and immediately some guy moves in to dance with him. Then another guy starts getting close. I have to stop myself from barging right over and pushing them away. I set my drink down and make my way over to the DJ booth.
The DJ looks down and sees me. He does a double take when he recognizes me. "Mr. Kinney! Can I play something for you?"
"That's what I'm here for." I see that he has a sheet of paper with some of his mixes listed on it. I grab a pen and write down a title and an artist. "Think you have this?"
The DJ looks at it. "I think I do. Do you want me to play it now?"
I glance over at the dance floor. "How about in 10 minutes? But no longer than that, okay?"
"Of course, Mr. Kinney! Certainly!"
I head back to the bar. Ron is standing there. Dane is on his other side, talking to Graham. I lean over to Ron. "That guy -- Dane -- he's nice." But Ron just shrugs. "He likes you, Ron. Go for it. Why the fuck not?"
"Maybe," he says, grudgingly. "That taping went well. The premise of the show is stupid and insulting, but you looked beautiful, Brian. As always. That's all that really matters."
"Come on, Ron!" I laugh. "I looked the way I felt -- like shit! But it was necessary. Just like Jimmy says -- play along and make them laugh. If people like you they won't say bad things about you."
"I know," says Ron. "I just wish you would be more careful. So things like this don't keep happening! And like what happened to you the last time you were in London. I... I still worry about you, Brian. I do."
"I know you do, Ron, but I'm a big boy now. You have to let me make my own mistakes because I'm the one who has to live with them." I keep watching Justin. Another guy is trying to cut in on him. Justin keeps glancing over to me. Just wait a few more minutes, Sunshine....
"When you get back to L.A. I need to speak to you about a few things," Ron says. "Let's have dinner at the house. I want to go over the shooting schedule for 'Red River.' And did Fielding talk to you about his 'Sunset Boulevard' project?"
I nod. "He mentioned it. If Sir Ken can get the rights it will be a real coup. The casting would be perfect for him. I can already picture him as Norma Desmond! I guess I could do the other part. Playing a gigolo shouldn't be that much of a stretch!" I pause and look at Ron. "And he's right about another thing, Ron. You are the only director that can do justice to that material. No one else would have the balls to do it in this day and age!"
Ron stares at me. Then he leans over and kisses me. Not one of those obsessive kisses that make you think he's trying to devour you. Just a friendly little kiss -- the kind Mikey might give me. "I know what you're really saying to me, Brian. I want you to know that I understand. I know what you mean."
And I smile. "I'm glad we're coming to an understanding, Ron. Because I'm sick of fighting with you. I know you're sick of it, too. So...." I whisper to him. "Grab that guy and take him back to the hotel and fuck the shit out of him. Do it for me, okay?"
"I will, Brian," says Ron, smiling strangely. He stares at me with those penetrating blue eyes, so different from Justin's innocent, open ones. "I'll do it for you, Brian. I understand what you're telling me."
"Good," I say, looking back at the dance floor. I see two guys dancing with Justin. Moving up against him, grinding away.... Then I hear the intro to the song I requested. "If you'll excuse me now, Ron, I have an appointment out there in the mob." And I head into the swirling surge of dancers.
Justin and I have a lot of moments in our 'relationship' that are key, but this particular one that I'm thinking of -- so fucking early on -- always stands out clearly in my mind. The moment when I broke my own first Rule -- NO repeats! When Justin MADE me break it! He played me so beautifully -- and I didn't even know I was being played. Not until much later and I could see just how devious an innocent twink could be! Jesus!
But when I saw him on the dance floor at Babylon, sandwiched between those two tricks he stole away from me, their hands all over his bare chest and back, his body damp and covered with glitter, I thought -- Shit! That's MINE! So I claimed him. I mean, he was mine BEFORE that, but that particular moment was when everyone else started to realize it. Even Mikey began to understand what was up, although he didn't want to believe it for a long, long time. But there it was -- unstated, unacknowledged, but true. Brian Kinney had a boyfriend! Fuck!
When Justin hears Katty B. singing 'Let's Hear It for the Boy' he starts grinning. But he should have known. He MUST have known I was planning something, because Justin knows I'd never let a bunch of guys grope him unless I had an ulterior motive.
I make my way through the crowd, honing in on the 'Boy' -- and he pretends to ignore me. He rubs up against some tall guy in front of him, while a shorter guy feels him up from behind. But then I move in. I stick my arms in there and nudge the other two guys away. The tall guy looks a little confused, but then he seems to recognize me. And they both step back.
I put my arms around Justin and put my face down against his neck, tasting his sweat. "Greatest hits, huh?" he says. It's one of his favorite games, too. Along with creating new 'greatest hits' -- like we did at the afterparty last night!
And now here we are -- the most famous fucking boyfriends in the world! Who would have believed THAT? No apologies, no excuses, and no fucking regrets! Yeah, I'd fuck him right here on the dance floor if I thought I could get away with it. Why not? We've already had our bare asses on every tabloid cover in the known universe! But I hold back and we just dance. Dance our asses off. Dancing is a kind of fucking, after all. And I've already fucked him three times today and I'm planning a few more when we get back to the hotel, so I can afford to back off a little bit at the club.
Some lights flash and confetti showers the dance floor. The song is coming to its climax, but we're just getting started. I lift him up, like a prize, and he throws his head back and laughs and laughs and laughs with sheer delight. I've never felt happier in my entire fucking life! From now on everything is going to be perfect! So perfect. And nothing can go wrong ever again. I can just feel it.
Continue on to "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out -- Part 3".
©Gaedhal, August 2003.
Updated August 24, 2003.