James Hamilton: space and time

James Hamilton: 31 years old

I'm looking for a new home. I've done this before, I've been abroad a lot and lived in three other places.

I'm from England, and spent most of my life in London. I don't think of myself as English; more as a Londoner or European. I don't identify with England much, though everything I am comes from England. It's an amazing place to grow up, anything you want you can get. What I want most, though, is space and time, and that's not in London.

My choices have usually been weird places away from England: Shanghai, Paris and a small town on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, called Essaouira. In each place I thought 'maybe I could live here'. But they were each so culturally different I couldn't live there: through them I realised I am Anglosaxon, I can't get away from that.

So I'm looking for space and time in the Anglosaxon first world.

I know exactly what the place I'm looking for looks like: it's got trees, forest, daunting mountains, light, air, water in abundance, wilderness. It's also a community of gay men with access to a totally rocking first world city of at least 3 million people.

So far, in my Anglosaxon travels, I've lived in three places: New Zealand, and two different places in Australia.

In New Zealand, I lived on a gay farm in Takaka, near Nelson in the South Island, called Autumn Farm. I loved New Zealand. It's a paradise, England before the fall of Adam, the most benign place I've lived in. It has everything I want except the gay boys.

But everyone with ambition leaves New Zealand. If you're purely careerist you can happily live in Wellington or Auckland; if you want to get close to the levers of government easily New Zealand is also a good place. But the brightest and best leave New Zealand, and I want to hang around with them.

I knew I'd hate Australia. It's flat and dry. I went to lots of places and didn't like them, except two: a place called Fairyland in Nimbin, New South Wales, and Melbourne.

Fairyland was an incredibly welcoming space, beautiful and open-hearted. I initially went to a gathering there, then stayed for three weeks. It's on 100 acres of beautiful rainforest.

Melbourne is like Manhattan on valium. It's a rocking, kickass city with cultural sophistication, that's plugged in to the world. At the same time, it's chilled out and the people are so happy. So I'll stay here for a year and build a life.

Right now, I'm learning to be a gardener. Gardening is the only job I've done that's filled me with joy on a holistic basis. Previously, I've done lots of academic study and worked in TV, website and magazine production: some for big corporations like the BBC, some for small startup ventures. I became an adult in these jobs - perfect for my twenties.

I was good at it. I learnt a lot about myself, particularly that I'm emotionally porous: I'm easily affected by others around me. That makes being a manager detrimental to my sanity.

So life in London was entirely to do with my frontal lobes, eyes and fingers only. I started to get repetitive strain in my brain and felt like a Dalek - as if the only purpose of my body was to cart my brain around. I began to want to use my body and started doing yoga and having a lot of sex.

On a yoga retreat I spent a week in movement meditation and peace and had a strong revelation. It was a profoundly strange expansiveness that came up my spine and out of my head and down and around, like a big swoosh...I realised that there was more to life than what I was doing.

I'm not a neural network, I'm a whole person. Gardening appeals to me because it involves thinking, creativity, hard labour and a huge amount of time - it's all about space and time.

So I want to do garden stuff in the place I'm looking for, and have a city near by to take drugs, have sex, party - have my own place and still get shitfaced on weekends.

To me, relationships are all about radical honesty, by which I mean not lying to others and not lying to yourself. Particularly not lying about your own needs and emotional state. I think this means growing from a boy into a man, and expressing your emotion in a productive way.

I'm looking for a relationship with a man or men. Many expressions of love are closed; I'm looking for a relationship in which love is open.

I think that in many relationships one person suffers inwardly if the other has pleasure. If you really love someone you want the best for them - and that might not include you.

To me, monogamy is an easy and dishonest solution to emotional needs. I think we need to deal with the fact that we get attracted to others - if you embark on a monogamous relationship it makes it easy as there's a whole area you don't need to talk about; it makes things very simple. You build a huge wall: you've cheated on me, so fuck you, you're dismissed. Monogamy breeds dishonesty and denies fluidity in relationships.

As gay men, we're in a unique position to break out of that. If monogamy's for you, go for it. But I don't think it's ultimately what most men want.

Polyamory creates an emotional framework that allows people to create relationships that are truly emotionally authentic. it's not something for children: you can't do it if you haven't gone beyond a childish emotional state.

Polyamory requires a high level of emotional maturity, and depends on radical honesty with good awareness of your own emotional needs. Most people, myself included, aren't like that, but I think polyamory is the natural state of humanity.

One of the biggest problems with polyamory is the threat of HIV. There are some things you can do in bed which are bonding and ecstatic and don't allow HIV transmission, but there are some things that only three people can do, and it's a shame to miss out on them.

In a way, HIV is an advantage. The transmission of HIV is such a serious issue that it becomes a tool to create honesty physically and emotionally; it acts as a catalyst to negotiating love.

I'm not a sex party fiend, but as gay men we're privileged to take love between men to a higher level. Most men can find a camaraderie in sport, warfare, whatever; the privilege as gay men is to express male to male love in the everyday.

James keeps a blog at: http://www.aqueerexistence.com/


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