"That's what we need!" James said. We were watching a gardening programme in which the gardener whizzed around different locations by helicopter. We didn't need a helicopter though. "Gardening shows don't need helicopters. The helicopter's a gimmick. That's what we need. A good gimmick."
We were back to the old question of how to sell ourselves. Derek Jarman comes up with a good one in his diaries. "Leigh Bowery - much loved, and it goes to show, if you wear silly clothes round Soho long enough you'll get to be famous."
We wandered Soho the other night - I can see it's narrow and intense enough for the comment to be true. James got to make a spash of his own by using the new public urinals, four-at-a-time pedestals in full view. It was fun watching couples walk by him, crane heads to make sure, and laugh in amazement. James has long been impressed by the pissoirs of Paris, and saddened as they disappear. Suddenly London becomes chicer than France.
Lots of upmarket gay bars in the area now - favourite was the Duke of Wellington. Sadly designer drinks don't include a decent hand-pulled pint. When last in New York together James had taken me off to the White Horse, where Dylan Thomas finally drank himself into oblivion. He wondered where the London equivalent was. We headed for the Coach and Horses. I think this was Francis Bacon's local. The walls are lined with cartoons and posters celebrating Jeffrey Barnard, who used the pub as his office while writing his Spectator pieces - his life rendered still more famous by Peter O'Toole's portrayal in a stage play. I see why he liked it - it's not a theme pub. Reside there, set up the pits, and I reckon stories would keep coming to your table