Saturday, 29 March 2008

I am Not Myself These Days

by Josh Kilmer-Purcell                                                              
Kilmer-Purcell has led an interesting life. At the start of this memoir, the young Josh has moved to New York City and is working as an advertising executive by day and Aqua the drag queen (short for 'AquaDisiac', a reference to her goldfish inhabited transparent plastic  breasts) by night. Between the clubs, the office and the 3 hour make-up in his seedy apartment, Josh just has time to drink his weight in vodka and meet unavailable men he likes or available ones he doesn't. Then he finds Jack and everything changes. He still works at the agency in a suit and on the club circuit in sequins, but now he comes home to the man he loves, a million dollar apartment and a masochistic British businessman in chains. 
If Aqua's life, drunk, impoverished and available, seemed risky, Jack raises the stakes. It is a testament to Kilmer-Purcell's ability to charm, in prose as much as he must in person, that the reader is engaged by his self-destructive antics from the first page. He writes with an ease and directness that invites a comradeship with his audience. Think size 13 stilettos and male crack whores are not your thing? Faster than he can say 'Heel', Kilmer-Purcell will have you eating out the palm of his manicured hand. There isn't a New York City alleyway you wouldn't follow him down.
Having won the reader's affection in the first fifty pages, our hero taunts you for the rest of the book with terror for his well-being. Jack turns out to be a drug addict with a successful business as a prostitute specialising in domination. As Josh tries to get his life together, Jack's falls ever further apart and the hope of a domestic sanctuary recedes into the horizon. 
"We're the Kennedy's of Kinkiness. The Rockefellers of Wrongness. Maybe not the American Dream, but certainly a few people's American Fantasy." Josh writes. But even this Misfit's Thanksgiving ends in a drunken stupour and crack haze. We fear not just for their relationship and their health but for their lives.
There are currently plans for a film based on this book. The producers will be hard-pressed to find a celluloid Josh as charming and as dangerous as the printed one.    

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