Fire in Bloom

 

 

I have met guys from London before that remind me of men here in America. They are loud, boisterous, and cheeky, as they would put it. I find myself put off by them even for a small interview. (We all remember the infamous Harold Gray, don’t we? Pardon us while we share a collective shudder.) Some of them don’t bother to defy convention while some make you want to go to the ends of the earth with them just for the sake of hearing them talk.

Aidan Bloom most definitely falls into this category.

He strolls into the room, wearing a simple white shirt and jeans, and is not quite clean-shaven. If he hadn’t of been so adamant about being on the operating side of the camera, his dark good looks would definitely go to good use. And my first impression of him is: whoa.

He appears serious. Finally I provoke a smile from him as he sits down across from me. Lenny Kravitz plays in the background, asking if you’re gonna go his way. I notice the dirt under his fingers and inquire how it got there.

“I was taking some snapshots outside,” he admits. “There is this one bird that hangs around my backyard all the time, so I figured I would immortalize it.”

Immortalize it. Hmm. Interesting choice of words. So does he believe he is doing something monumental by taking these photographs?

“I think pictures are integral to the recording of history,” Aidan replies. “Just think if we had to rely entirely on the spoken word. Where would our proof of truth be?” He pauses, then adds for my benefit, “Other than in print.”

On this same vein, I get him to open up about his own life. How has his own existence been ruled by the camera?

“It all began,” he recalls, “in the halls of boarding school.”

 

Life in Bloom

Aidan would not divulge which London boarding school to which he attended because he contends that “things have changed there, and I don’t want to contaminate the school’s name with my experiences.” But the things he told me sound typical for a high-class prep school, as far as the sneaking out of bed at night and playing pranks on each other. Aidan was not immune to the disease that strikes boys at adolescence because he was a normal boy.  He had pinups of Madonna on the walls (“I eventually replaced her with the Spice Girls,” he reveals with a sheepish grin. See, he does have a sense of humor, girls! “My favorites were Melanie C and Emma. I’m not going to get into why, on the grounds that it would embarrass me…”) and was into soccer on the telly as much as his fellow suitemates.

To an extent.

Aidan first picked up a camera at nine. It was of an economical caliber, but it gave him a start nonetheless. His first photograph is of a dubious nature, taken discreetly during a school-wide assembly. It was of the schoolmaster picking his nose.

“I liked the fact that I could catch the essence of people on film where all can see,” Aidan says, trying not to laugh at the memory. “And that first picture opened up my mind to the complexities of human expression, especially facial.”

Marjorie, his oldest stepsister who is now married to a lesser English monarch, bought him his first camera for his eleventh birthday. “It was,” he tells me, “like magic.”

And for her generosity, Marjorie Bloom was a frequent target for his zoom lens, dressed or undressed; made-up or as pasty as chalk. Needless to say, this was both a good and bad thing.

However, at twelve, things changed once his father told him that he had to become an architect like him or be disowned.

“Phillip Bloom is not the most compromising of people. To be frank, he was a bastard filled with avaricious ambitions. I can say that because I am his son and I saw the full extent of his greed all my life.

“I remember the exact day that I was home from school and he pulled me into his office to have a talk with me. Margot [my stepmother] was out shopping with Marjorie and Susanna [my stepsisters] so the house was fairly quiet, save for a servant or two cleaning. It was almost Christmas, and Marjorie and Susanna were planning parties while Mum ordered the servants about, and at the time, my father had decided that he wanted to expand his business to his son. He was smoking one of those Cuban cigars and shook the ice cubes in his scotch glass while he spoke to me. He told me, ‘Aidan son, it’s time for you to carry on my legacy. You have to stop messing around in paltry fixations and earn your name.’”

This is no surprise to me; whenever a male has accrued a certain amount of wealth, whether it be in land or money, he wants to make sure that his lot is properly taken care of by his male heir.

Aidan had no interest in architecture. He could draw a bit, but he loved film much more. It took a whole lot more imagination, it seemed. His father had come from a poor English family and had built himself up a la Donald Trump. It was Phillip Bloom’s expectation that Aidan would appreciate his father’s work and take after him.

Much to his disappointment, Aidan William Channing Bloom wanted to make a career out of his pictures.

Phillip Bloom had reduced Aidan’s passion to nothing but a childish whim that would go away with a little more discipline. And insult.

“It hurt when he called me a queer for taking pictures of my sisters and of birds and trees and random people on the street.” As Aidan says this, his voice cracks a little and he swallows back emotion—or tears if you like sensitive men. “He knew that would bother me because he taught me to be the alpha male, which is not all that nice to be.”

Many women would agree with that sentiment. Apparently, Father Bloom found many masculine things worthy of his time, including hunting, fishing, and archery. Aidan admits that he’s a fair archer, but he knows of a couple of women who could always hit the bull’s-eye.

“Marjorie?” I hedge.

He nods. “And a couple of the Thomas cousins. There’s always someone in that family that can do something odd.”

Of course, the Thomas cousins make an appearance in the second part of his life.

 

Livelihood in Bloom

Phillip Bloom didn’t see his only son after that fateful day in his office because Aidan Bloom ran away from home.

His destination: America.

“To be honest, I didn’t know where exactly I was going,” Aidan remembers. “I just knew that I had to run away. Marjorie and Suzy helped me make my escape, and I left home in the middle of the night, tracking through puddles.”

His first stop was Pratt Institute in New York City. With his sisters’ help, he was accepted almost instantly. After classes were over each day, he went to his job working for a New York-based magazine, Libre. His photograph skills were left to flourish, and no one on staff tried to surpass him in photographic dexterity.

One day, he had an assignment that led him to Central Park to interview a young actress filming a movie on location in New York.

“I had heard about the movie through gossip,” Aidan admits, after being asked.

Gossip? So you don’t say!

According to Aidan, the word around campus was that the movie’s star, Daniella Thomas, was a “flaming bitch.”

In retrospect, Aidan contends, the observation was quite right. However, Danie was going through a lot in her life at the time. She was dating a famous pop star, and their relationship was cooling drastically. Some postulated that this was the reason why Danie was irate during filming; she knew that her golden boy was looking elsewhere while she was hundreds of miles away at work.

“That bloke should have known better,” Aidan says of that whole situation. “Daniella Thomas is not one to sit back and not react to something like that, let alone notice it. She’s a smart girl. Well…at least most of the time.”

I ask him how they met. His eyes get cloudy and then he smiles again. He must have good memories of that moment.

“She was sitting in makeup,” he recounts, “and I know she wants to give me a hard time. She’s giving me the diva treatment and she’s huffing and puffing about bottled water. I come over and I say to her, ‘You know, it’s a shame when such a pretty girl has such a –expletive– bad attitude.’ And you know she looked at me like she wanted to kill me.”

So how did they get past that?

“I just kept pestering her until she gave in.” He chuckles again as if he’s harboring a secret joke. “And then we had some very interesting talks.”

As it turned out, he and Danie had a lot in common. Well, except for the fact that Danie was hiding something. And that something Aidan found out on a seemingly normal summer-like day.

But how?

“A swimsuit,” he says. “A swimsuit is very revealing in ways that people don’t understand.”

A mere six weeks later, Aidan sat in a waiting room at Audbone Heights Memorial while Danie was in labor. And he bonds with the Golden Archeress—Jessica Thomas, who has a distaste for tyrannical fathers.

“Jess is a very amazing person. You hear that about her a lot. But she really is. She accepted me into the group without question. She made me feel like I was one of them and that helped when my sisters were overseas and couldn’t visit me.”

He and Danie also bonded, but that was quite obvious. So why not pursue the romantic aspect of the relationship?

Blushing, Aidan says, “I couldn’t work up the courage to ask her out. Could you?”

Like a normal guy, probably not.

In the wake of Danie’s pregnancy, her modeling agency dropped her, citing that she breached contract. Danie was furious. Aidan was furious for her, and became even more furious watching her sinking rapidly through depression. Funneling his energy on getting Danie well, and not on his impending graduation, Aidan nearly found himself kicked out of Pratt.

Danie, though, turned out to be a good influence. She, as Aidan puts it, “hauled me up on my ass and told me to graduate.” So he did.

The first thing that Aidan did after receiving his diploma was shoot a ten-page spread of Danie—who had then been nineteen, slimmer, and more somber.

The second thing? Danie tricked him into writing a song.

“I don’t think I’m all that musically inclined, but Danie asked for my help anyway. We wrote a song called ‘Illusion.’ It’s about a girl accepting herself in the wake of…well, ridicule.”

The implications of the song are clear. The song, which had been previously unreleased, contains these lyrics:

 

Their eyes are watching you
And all the stupid things you do
And just when you fall to normalcy
You’re out of sight, out of mind
And don’t you think they’re gonna be kind
It’s the way they have to be
When all they want is green

 

Writing that song helped Danie to cope and move on with her life. And it didn’t hurt when Danie was picked up by none other than Mark Timberlake to further her career. This move also moved Aidan, who was working at a family portrait studio to keep the lights on, along also.

“Mark was floored by the pictures I took of Danie. He felt like I had done Danie justice. So wherever Danie went, she took me along.”

And Danie went everywhere—Paris, Milan, Florence. She even went to London before she did her first runway gig and made it big, and Danie had the pleasure of meeting Phillip Bloom.

“It was quite the scene,” Aidan says. “He called her a whore and she ruined his Armani. She also told his wrinkled ass to go on Viagra and go find some intern to demoralize since he seemed the type to do so. Her words, not mine.”

He adds, “But I love her for it.”

The world soon followed in his footsteps and a certain modeling agency—who shall remain nameless–soon ate their words.

That ensued and a spread that summer in Vogue—with Danie in a yellow bikini riding a sleek motorcycle. Pictures taken, of course, by Aidan Bloom.

“It was orgasmic,” he says. “I got calls from everybody asking me to take pictures. Danie told me to go off and be more freelance, but I found myself reluctant. I’ve only photographed a few people other than Danie. But I really like it that way.”

It’s like Love, almost.

 

Love in Bloom

So Aidan Bloom has finally gotten to a nice place in his life.  He has overcome the tyranny of his late father, who bequeathed him nothing when he died. He is an uncle twice over, and his big sister Marjorie plans to make him an uncle again, which has him very happy at the moment. He has traveled the world with one of the most beautiful women in the world. He says he loves her more than life itself, but don’t expect the two to be rushing to the altar or have a torrid affair. The love is not like that.

“I did fancy her when I first met her, but now I feel like her brother. Really,” he adds, when I look dubious. “I’m really more like her gay friend…except I’m not gay.”

When I ask if he plans on falling in love, he laughs and says, “Does anyone ever plan on that kind of thing?”

Never have I heard words spoken with such truth. But he promises me that when he does, I’ll be the first to hear about it.

So you girls out there who have been fantasizing about being Aidan Bloom’s main squeeze, there may be hope for you yet. The only hurdle in the way is Danie, to whom Aidan goes for approval.

But don’t fear, ladies. He’s not tied down yet and Danie’s not as…well, witchy as you think.

 

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