from the diary, Sunday, 12/11/88: “I stopped at Gay’s the Word, bought a book, Crocodilia, to read on the plane.”
Wednesday, 12/14(ish), written while in flight from London to San Francisco, having changed planes in New York: “San Francisco isn’t too far off now. An hour and a half, I think. Maybe I’ll nap. I’ve been reading Crocodilia by Philip Ridley. It’s quite good. The main characters are living in Bethnal Green.” The man with whom I spent a night not long before the end of the London trip lived on Bethnal Green Road. Reflecting on that experience I said, “My real life sex scenes more resemble, well, a little of Lisa Alther’s humor, a little of Quentin Crisp’s indifference … whatever else. [ellipsis in orig] I’m more likely to describe sex as a giggle than a transcendant ecstasy. I’m too cerebral or something. Yet still, almost a week from Thursday night I feel more complete since I spent the night cuddled with him. I’m not a great lover I have the feeling. But given the opportunity & the encouragement I can love well. Sex not really being ‘love.’ I don’t know tho’, as I’ve carried an afterglow a long time. Sometimes we don’t know what we’re doing.”
I still have Crocodilia by Philip Ridley. The back cover calls it “Ridley’s sparkling debut as a novelist.” Indeed, Ridley seems to have gone on to a career as a novelist, with at least twelve to his name. He has also written stage plays and books for children. Seems he wrote the screenplay for the movie, The Krays. I saw that. The Krays were real life identical twin brothers who led a colorful criminal life in London. One was straight, one gay. Yes, the gay one’s gayness is a marker of his being the eviler of the two, but not by much. The bit that irked me most was the reveal, the scene where we see that the warm body one brother has just been shagging was male. Oh! We’re supposed to be shocked. Otherwise the brothers treat their male & female sextoys about the same – disposably. The straight brother isn’t really the good brother. There isn’t a good brother.