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Sebastian Horsley: Never an Ordinary Man, an interview from 1995

The artist, writer and dandy Sebastian Horsley claimed he was an accident, the product of a split condom. His mother drank through her pregnancy, and tried to abort the unwanted child. She failed and Sebastian was born in 1962. This might explain Horsley’s difficult relationships with women in later life, preferring to use prostitutes rather than share any emotional intimacy with another.

Horsley was originally called Marcus, which he may have preferred as it was closer to his idol Marc Bolan. But after registering his name as a baby, Horsley’s mother knew she had made a mistake, and opted instead for Sebastian. It only took her 5 years to change it by deed poll.

The name Sebastian suited Horsely. It suggested the Christian martyr Saint Sebastian, who was tied to a tree and shot full of arrows for his faith. In the same way Horsely was nailed to a cross in the Philippines for his art. Or, Sebastian Flyte - Evelyn Waugh’s character from Bridehead Revisited, whose beauty and desire were numbed by addiction to alcohol. As Horsley in his way was addicted to heroin and cocaine - a mixture of which eventually killed him. Or, Sebastian Dangerfield, J. P. Donlevy’s dissolute bohemian artist of The Ginger Man.

Horsley briefly attended St. Martin’s Art College but was kicked out after only a few months.

“I don’t think by going to college you can really achieve anything whatsoever - except perhaps they teach you how to be ordinary.”

He taught himself how to be an artist, and saw painting as a way of creating a new, unspoken language. Yet, he often felt incapable of expressing this language, and destroyed many of his paintings. He died in 2010 from an accidental overdose, leaving a life that was, in many respects, his greatest work of art.

In this brief interview from 1995, Sebastian Horsley talks about his background, his view of art, and his sartorial style.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Emmanuelle’ star Sylvia Kristel has died at 60

Cult film actress Sylvia Kristel has died at the age of 60.

“She died during the night during her sleep,” her agent, Marieke Verharen, told the AFP news agency.

Kristel had cancer and had been admitted to hospital in July after suffering a stroke.

Best known for her iconic starring role in the 1974 soft-porn movie Emmanuelle, Kristel also worked with some of European cinema’s most acclaimed directors, starring in Claude Chabrol’s Alice ou la Derniere fugue, Robbe-Grillet’s Playing with Fire, and Roger Vadim’s Une Femme Fidele.

In the 1980s, Kristel moved to Hollywood, where she found producers were unable to see beyond her “soft porn” image. Kritsel was often cast as the love/sex interest in such ill considered films as The Concorde…Airport 79, co-starring Alain Delon, Robert Wagner, David Warner and George Kennedy; the disastrous Mel Brooks inspired The Nude Bomb with Don Adams, and the wearily predictable soft core Mata Hari.

Kristel made a return to form working again with Just Jaeckin, on his version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. But she never broke free of her association Emmanuelle, and continued to make spin-off films and TV series during the eighties and nineties.

Sylvia Kritsel was born in Utrecht in 1952. She lived with her sister Marianne in Room 21 of the Commerce Hotel, which her parents owned. Raised a strict Calvinist, Kristel was convent educated, but ran away as a teenager, finding work as a secretary and then as a model. Kristel went on to enter and win Miss TV Holland and Miss TV Europe. Encouraged by her partner, the novelist Hugo Claus, Kristel pursued an acting career.

After appearing in a couple of films, including Because of the Cats, Kristel attended an audition for a soap powder commercial. By chance auditions for the film Emmanuelle, where being held next door. Kristel accidentally arrived at the Emmanuelle auditions, where the director Just Jaeckin offered her the role.

“He asked me to take my dress off,” Kristel later said. “Luckily it was an easy dress to take off.”

Emmanuelle made Sylvia Kristel an international star, and brought adult themes and sexual relationships to a wider audience. The film was banned in Paris, though it eventually ran for 11 years at a cinema on the Champs-Elysees. In Britain the film caused considerable controversy and was heavily edited, though it became a major box office hit.

The success of the film was to have a damaging effect on Kristel. Her parents were alcoholics, and Kristel soon became addicted to drink and drugs.

In her 2006 autobiography, Kristel wrote an incredibly honest and moving account of the cost of her addictions, and said in interview:

“I sometimes needed a shot before doing certain scenes,” she said. “It definitely comforted me and gave me courage. But then it turned out that I almost couldn’t start a day without a drink.”

In the 1980s, Kristel moved to America, where she set up home with actor Ian McShane. It was a tempestuous relationship, which. Kristel later said failed because their personalities were too alike. Her marriage to American millionaire Alan Turner, lasted only 5 months, Kristel said she had made “a terrible mistake.” Her second marriage to would-be director Philippe Blot, proved equally disastrous, as she bankrolled his films, all of which flopped at the box-office. She left the marriage with $400 to her name. Kristel later said:

“If I’d known then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have gone ahead with any of the relationships I was involved in, with the exception of Hugo [Claus].”

In the 1990s, Kristel continued to act on her return to France, but gave up appearing nude after her son Arthur was teased at school. She then began a new career as a painter. In 2001 Kristel was diagnosed with lung and throat cancer.

R.I.P. Sylvia Kristel 1952-2012


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Savilegate: Will the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal finish off the BBC?

When asked by a reporter in 2001 whether he was concerned if he would be remembered as a “conning pervert and abuser when he died,” Jimmy Savile replied:

‘If I’m gone that’s that. Bollocks to my legacy. Whatever is said after I’m gone is irrelevant.’

The reporter then asked if Savile was ‘into little girls’, to which the BBC presenter replied:

‘I’d rather not even opinionate on this. I’ll leave it to the psychologists to sort out the psychology of child abuse.’

Every day a new allegation emerges about Jimmy Savile. These allegations now cover 6 decades, and include allegations of the rape of children, mentally ill patients and the sexual assault of a disabled girl. The police are currently investigating over 300 lines of inquiry.

Savile’s attacks occurred in hospitals, clubs and the BBC. And it is the latter organization that is coming under considerable scrutiny by the police.

The question is how did the BBC employ such an individual, when there were known allegations against him? And what was the everyday culture at BBC that could allow Savile’s behavior to go unnoticed? Uncommented upon? Even tolerated?

A glimpse of how things were at the BBC can be found in Stephen Fry’s second volume of autobiography, The Fry Chronicles (pages 296-297 of the paperback edition), where he described a meeting with the BBC executive Jim Moir in 1983.

Hugh [Laurie] and I were shown into his office. He sat us down on the sofa opposite his desk and asked if we had comedy plans. Only he wouldn’t have put it as simply as that, he probably said something like: ‘Strip naked and show me your cocks,’ which would have been his way of saying: ‘What would you like to talk about?’ Jim routinely used colourful and perplexing metaphors of a quite staggering explicit nature. ‘Let’s jizz on the table, mix up our spunk and smear it all over us,’ might be his way of asking, ‘Shall we work together?’ I had always assumed that he only spoke like that to men, but not so long ago Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders confirmed that he had been quite as eye-watering in his choice of language with them. Ben Elton went on to create, and Mel Smith to play, a fictional head of Light Entertainment based on Jim Moir called Jumbo Whiffly in the sitcom Filthy Rich & Catflap. I hope you will not get the wrong impression of Moir from my description of his language. People of his kind are easy to underestimate, but I have never heard anyone who worked with him say a bad word about him. In the past forty years the BBC has had no more shrewd, capable, loyal, honourable and successful executive and certainly none with a more dazzling verbal imagination.

Now retired, Moir recently told the Guardian that he had no knowledge of any allegations against Savile during his term at the Beeb, as either exec or as Head of Light Entertainment.

“There is so much talk about rumours, but I can tell you that neither from external sources or internally, neither by nods and winks or by innuendo, did I receive any scintilla of this story whatsoever, or discuss it or his behaviour with my superiors. There was not a scintilla of this either from Roger Ordish, his producer for 20 years.”

Should we be surprised? Not really. But it makes sense that Moir didn’t hear any allegations when it was seen as okay to use sexist, aggressive and offensive language such as ‘Strip naked and show me your cocks,’ or, ‘Let’s jizz on the table, mix up our spunk and smear it all over us,’ on a regular basis. This kind masturbatory boy’s club culture covers up for a lot of unacceptable behavior.
More on Savilegate, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Other Side of Jimmy Savile’: The rape allegations that will not go away

This week a documentary called Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile will be broadcast in Britain on ITV1. The documentary centers on allegations made by 5 women against the DJ, and former Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It presenter. It is claimed Sir Jimmy Savile committed acts of serious sexual assault, including rape, against girls as young as 12, whilst an employee of the BBC in the early 1970s.

The attacks are alleged to have taken place at various locations, including hotels, Savile’s Rolls Royce and at the Top of the Pops studio at BBC Television Center, which Savile is alleged to have described as a “happy hunting ground”..

A former detective, Mark Williams-Thomas carried out the TV investigation into the claims against Savile, in particular the presenter’s sexual activities at the BBC, which the program claims were an “open secret” at the BBC.

In response to the allegations which have appeared in various newspapers, the BBC issued a denial that it had investigated allegations of misconduct against Savile, but “no such evidence has been found.”

“Whilst the BBC condemns any of behavior of the type alleged in the strongest terms, in the absence of evidence of any kind found at the BBC that corroborates the allegations that have been made it is simply not possible for the corporation to take any further action.”

It’s the kind of bureaucratic doublespeak one expects form the BBC, which does not explain the fact some BBC employees were aware of Jimmy Savile’s sexual activities.

More on ‘Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
That’s disgusting: Sexual repulsion diminished by sexual arousal
11:07 am


Ron Jeremy
Doug Stanhope

They need a good name for this, like “The Ron Jeremy Effect” or “The Hedgehog Syndrome” or something:

A small Dutch study, released Wednesday, set out to identify the psychology that leads women to willingly, and even enthusiastically, engage in sexual activities despite the ick factor. The results, published online in the journal PLoS ONE, indicate that arousal overrides feelings of disgust and facilitates a woman’s desire to do something that a woman who is not aroused might find flat-out repulsive.

“Women [who] were sexually aroused were more willing to touch and do initially disgusting tasks,” study co-author Charmaine Borg, a researcher in the department of clinical psychology and experimental psychopathology at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, told The Huffington Post.

Borg and her colleagues separated 90 female university students into three equal groups: one watched “female friendly erotica;” one watched a video of extreme sports meant to get them excited, but in a non-sexual way; and one watched a video of a train, meant to elicit a neutral response.

The women were then given 16 tasks, most of them unappealing. They were asked to take a sip from a cup of juice that had a large (fake) insect in it, to wipe their hands with a used tissue and to take a bite from a cookie that was sitting next to a living worm. The women were also asked to perform several sex-related tasks, like lubricating a vibrator.

Women in the “aroused group” said they found both the unpleasant tasks and the sex-related tasks less disgusting than women in the other groups. They also completed the highest percentage of the activities, suggesting that sexual arousal not only decreases feelings of disgust, but directly affects what women are willing to do, the study shows.

This “repulsion reflex” as it might be called, is there to inhibit women from having sex with men with poor hygiene, getting sexual diseases or I guess from being on the receiving end of some inferior baby batter. Or not.

The thing I kept thinking about, though, as I read this item, was this utterly genius bit by the godlike comedian and national treasure, Doug Stanhope:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
We’re all Animals: A Peek into ‘Who Killed Teddy Bear?’

Who Killed Teddy Bear? Poster
So rarely have I ever been quite beautifully claw hammered by a movie than I was by the 1965 film, Who Killed Teddy Bear? It’s one of those films that can leave you slack jawed over what you have just seen and all the while it just seeps further and further into your consciousness. It’s been days since I last watched it and I still cannot stop thinking about it.

The basic plot revolves around a young, beautiful DJ and aspiring actress, Norah (Juliet Prowse), who soon becomes the focal point of a stalker. He starts off as a creaky voiced, hot and heavy breathing obscene phone caller, making comments like “I know what you look like right now” and “I can make you feel like a real woman.” She’s annoyed at first but gets progressively more rattled as the number of calls grow and violence starts to blossom around her.

Where things get really interesting is that instead of building up the identity of Norah’s mystery obsessive to the very end, we find out who he is midway through the film. The lithe but muscular figure, often shiny with sweat and clad in white briefs, turns out to be the boyishly handsome busboy, Lawrence (Sal Mineo), who works with her at the discotheque. The jolt of seeing former teen idol and Rebel Without a Cause star Mineo as the sexually damaged obscene phone caller with homicidal tendencies is as strong now as it must have been back when it was originally released.

But Mineo’s performance is much more than just a teen dream novelty. He brings some serious depth and layers to Lawrence, creating a character who is alternately sad and frightening, mostly due to his childhood rooted dysfunction. Whether he is taking his mentally challenged sister to the zoo or working out with an intensity that precedes either the hottest sex act or the worst murder, Mineo is a powerhouse here. His Lawrence is right up there with Anthony Perkins in Psycho and John Amplas’s titular role in George Romero’s Martin.

The film itself is a powder keg of beautifully moody B&W cinematography and the grimy underbelly of the human condition. The opening credit sequence alone sets the tone, featuring a blurry undulation of bodies as a little girl watches, clutching her cherished teddy bear. She turns away, only to fall down the stairs, with her face now suddenly blank, as if she is dead or brain damaged. Without a breath of relief, the actual film starts in a cramped, shadowy bedroom, complete with a nightstand littered with lurid publications, featuring titles like French Frills and When She Was Bad. A mirror reflects the image of a man caressing his bare chest while looking at photos of Norah, right before calling her up.

The elements of sleaze continue as Norah encounters police Lieutenant Dave Madden (Jan Murray), a single dad whose fascination with all manners of sexual deviancy infects his home life. (At one point, one of his coworkers mentions how Dave’s young daughter talks like a “vice squad officer.”) Even Norah’s boss, the glamorous ball buster Marian (Elaine Stritch), comes across like an uneasy mixture of maternal and less than pure motive. We even get some now-historic footage of a seamier New York City, with the highlight being Lawrence’s jaunt to an adult bookstore. Seeing shelves lined with girlie mags and books ranging from Fanny Hill, William S. Burroughs Naked Lunch, Hubert Selby Jr.‘s Last Exit to Brooklyn to more purple prose titles like Dance Hall Dyke and My Naughty, Naughty Life is a much beloved peek into the pre-gentrification and Disneyfication of Times Square. 

Who Killed Teddy Bear? is a brave film that gives you no easy answers. Sadly, it didn’t really do a thing for anyone that was involved, career-wise. Mineo did continue to do film, TV and theater work, including staging a controversial version of the prison drama Fortune and Men’s Eyes that featured a young Don Johnson. All of that was cut short in 1976, when he was murdered by a drifter. Elaine Stritch continues to be a monolithic character actress on Broadway, film and TV. Juliet Prowse, Jan Murray and Daniel J. Travanti, who has the small role of Carlo, Marian’s deaf bouncer, all went on to have healthy careers in television. The same could be said for director Joseph Cates, though perhaps that is the biggest shame given that he never was given the chance again to direct anything as nuanced and challenging as Who Killed Teddy Bear?. In an ideal world, this film should have forged a different career direction for Cates and certainly for Mineo, whose wounded eyes and brutal actions are hard to forget.

Who Killed Teddy Bear?
is ripe for proper rediscovery. It’s a mystery why this great film is still not available legally on DVD here in the US. (It did get a release in the UK, though that appears to already be out-of-print.) It is viewable on YouTube, for anyone who does not have access to the UK, PAL formatted disc. Hopefully, it will someday get the proper release that it so justly deserves.


Posted by Heather Drain | Leave a comment
Marxist Minstrels: The Beatles want to sexually hypnotize you into Communism!

Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles
If you’re like me, you can’t resist a good piece of moral panic red-baiting propaganda, especially when it’s directed at a social phenomenon that seems so chaste by today’s standards. As luck might have it, I recently came across the 1974 opus, The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music, by the good Reverend David A. Noebel.

Evangelical tracts denouncing rock ‘n’ roll, especially as related to either homosexuality or “race mixing,” aren’t hard to find if you scour antique shops in middle America, but as something of a connoisseur of the genre, I have yet to find a piece of literature that so succinctly combines the collective fears of old, white, crazy, Christian dudes. David Noebel, ordained in 1961, started his illustrious career with the above pamphlet, Communism, Hypnotism, and The Beatles. He saw the rise of Beatlemania as the result of Communist indoctrination via hypnosis (yup, just like the title), a thesis he developed more thoroughly in his 1964 book, Rhythm, Riots, and Revolution: An Analysis of the Communist Use of Music, the Communist Master Music Plan. The book transitioned from The Beatles to folk artists, focusing on Bob Dylan, his colleagues, and their earlier influences. This is at least slightly more understandable, when one considers the political leanings of the folk movement, frequently with explicit anti-racist, pro-labor lyrics.

The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music however, synthesizes all of his previous work, citing children’s records, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll as being part and parcel to some elaborate integrationist, free-love, Communist conspiracy. As a rock ‘n’ roll propaganda collector, I’m used to trudging through a lot of this stuff, and the majority of it is incoherent ramblings—the sort of thing you’d read in a madman’s personal manifesto. Noebel is compelling because he’s intelligent, coherent, and well-researched, despite being absolutely paranoid and utterly mad. Aside from some inconsistent use of the Oxford Comma, he has a clear, if discursive thesis: rock ‘n’ roll is turning kids into gay, Communist, miscegenators.

Some of his “evidence” is fascinating. For example, Alan Freed’s “payola scandal”—who was paying him to play all those rock ‘n’ roll records to unsuspecting teenagers? Communist record companies invade the airwaves by bribery, infecting the youth with music that is ““un-Christian, mentally unsettling, revolutionary and a medium for promiscuity.” He cites psychological studies, sociological statistics, numerology, etc. to scientifically “prove” the moral degradation incited by popular music, causing everything from sky-rocketing “illegitimate” birth rates to sexual rioting. Lots of sexual rioting. The appendices are incredibly dense and well-cited.

What follows his strange assessment of rock ‘n’ roll is an (actually, semi-accurate) account of the American Left, including some background of the American Communist Party and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Then of course, Noebel posits that folk artists were inspiring the youth to instigate a race war. He believed acoustic musicians like Malvina Reynolds (her “Little Boxes” is the theme music to Weeds) and Pete Seeger were instructing white students to join with “radical groups of Negro racists” so that they might revolt and achieve racial dominance in America. The weirdest part of all this is that by 1974, integration was (at least, on paper) complete. The folk artists who were most explicitly leftist or Communist weren’t a particular focus of pop culture, The Beatles had already long been broken up, and he never quite explains how these two very distinct fanbases are somehow connected (except that they’re obviously both very Communist). One can only imagine the lovely psychosis that The MC5 would have brought him.

Noebel is still living today, and I recommend checking out his extensive collection of YouTube videos and blog, if you’re looking for a laugh. These days, he’s much more on the “Obama’s a Socialist” train and decrying “Warmism” (Noebel’s evocative name for climate change) than he is into denouncing rock ‘n’ roll. Hell, even Paul Ryan loves Rage Against the Machine. Still, his older words bring an odd comfort, when we read his treatise on rock ‘n’ roll, comparing it to a children’s record that supposedly contained subliminal messages only audible when the record is played in reverse; “the noise that many of our youth call music is analogous to the story tape played backwards. It is invigorating, vulgarizing, and orgiastic. It is destroying our youth’s ability to relax, reflect, study, pray, and meditate, and is in fact preparing them for riot, civil disobedience, and revolution.” Dear god, I hope so.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Naomi Wolf Vagina is now on Twitter

In the week Naomi Wolf’s Vagina: A New Biography goes on sale, some wit, or more likely some journalist or PR person, has started a Twitter account for NaomiWolfVagina (sensitive flower). Only 3 tweets so far, but I suspect this will increase towards the date of publication.

Follow NaomiWolfVagina on twitter.

Read the Guardian‘s exclusive extract from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina: A New Biography here, plus interview here and the book is available here.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Serious safe-sex advertising fail

“Love sex. Hate condoms. Love SKYN.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Maybe there should have been a few question marks in that statement, but there aren’t. It’s an advert for (ironically enough) a new type of condom by the company SKYN, which appears to promote unsafe sex, and definitely promotes a distaste for condoms.

Way to go, guys!

This advert is currently to be seen on a forty foot-high billboard on Manchester’s Canal St, right in the heart of the city’s gay village. Grahame Robertson, the photo’s uploader says:

The ‘Love Sex Hate Condoms’ message - in 6 foot high letters - is irresponsible and disrespectful to a community that has been at the forefront of promoting condom use for over 25 years.

SKYN condoms, who are made by the Mates brand, need to seriously rethink their advertising strategy. This advert will be looming large (literally) over Manchester’s Gay Pride festival, which kicks off in less than two weeks, and it is simply insulting.

If you wish to complain, you can find SKYN on Facebook here.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘Do ladies fart when they are going to have a baby?’: Sex Questions from 7th Graders
10:23 am


Sex Education

Do ladies fart when they are going to have a baby?
Sex questions from 7th Graders, who were too embarrassed to ask them in class, so they wrote them down and posted them to their middle school teacher, who answers their questions in class, and then posts them on Tumblr.
How does it smell when people have sex?
How does the dick grow? Why does the pussy have a whole?
More questions from 7th Graders, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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