Happy Crowleymass, everyone! Aleister Crowley, thee Great Beast 666 was hatched from a dragon’s egg on October 12, 1875. The eccentric English mage, poet, painter and gourmet rice chef would be 140 years old today if, um, he could like live forever or something…
As somewhat of a noted Crowley buff, I’m often asked “Where is a good place to start reading Aleister Crowley?” and this is a difficult question to answer because, in truth, you have to read, pretty much, all of it to make sense of any of it. Going down the Crowley rabbit hole is comparable, I think, to being a scholar of James Joyce because achieving a proper understanding of the subject takes years of study, decades even (and then what are you going to DO with all that arcane knowledge, anyway, smartass?). But one source that I will point curious folk to is the late Tim Maroney’s excellent “Introduction to Crowley (in Five Voices)” which I published in my Book of Lies anthology back in 2004.
Below, I discuss Uncle AL on the History Channel TV series, How Sex Changed The World. I had fun doing this show and I got to explain a general concept of sex magick to middle America! Good times! The Crowley segments starts around 19:30.
It was producer-cum-manager Guy Stevens who brought the disparate members of Mott the Hoople together and gave them their iconic name. The name was lifted from a pulp novel by Willard Manus which Stevens had read while in prison—it gave the band a certain outlaw image—a bit like Alex and his droogs in A Clockwork Orange. Stevens hoped Mott the Hoople would produce a new kind of rock ‘n’ roll—a hybrid of Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones—which he finalized by replacing original lead singer Stan Tippins with songwriter/session musician Ian Hunter and his leonine curls.
They may have looked like the heshers from your high school woodwork class (or “hod carriers in drag” as Queen’s Roger Taylor once famously quipped), but their seeming ordinariness belied the fact there was no one to equal Mott the Hoople as a live band or as pioneers in progressing the rock ‘n’ roll art form. They inspired an army of fans, many of whom (including Mick Jones of The Clash, who Guy Stevens would later produce) went on to form their own bands or write/work in the music industry. But their success onstage was never quite equaled by record sales. Added to which, they were eclectic as a band—guitarist Mick Ralphs was more aligned to blues and rock, while Hunter wrote in response to Steven’s often chaotic and contradictory demands, which meant their first three albums were very different to each other—rock, dark soul-searching songs and folk rock—and seemingly at odds with the exuberance of their stage shows. However a brilliant fourth album, Brain Capers (1971), focused the group into a new direction and won them a very important fan—David Bowie—who was to bring them a much needed hit.
After a dispiriting gig at converted gas station in Switzerland, where the audience just sat and gaped, Mott decided to call it a day. Returning to England, bassist Peter Overend Watts auditioned for Bowie’s band. Bowie hearing his favorite band had split offered Mott a song. Bowie first proferred “Suffragette City” which was knocked back, then “All the Young Dudes” which Hunter later claimed was the one that made the hairs rise on the back of his neck and everyone knew it was a hit. It was a song that perfectly captured what it was like to be young in the summer of 1972.
World tours, hit singles and three classic albums followed, but Mott’s success was all too short as keyboard player Verden Allen quit, then guitarist Ralphs left to form Bad Company, and eventually Hunter himself found the pressure way too much and left. Mott the Hoople became just “Mott” with Watts and drummer Dale “Buffin” Griffin being the only remaining original members—but they never had the same success. The creative magic Guy Stevens had seen in Mott’s original members was now sadly gone—a shame for they should have kept on together for another year or two or more. But tastes change, fans grow up, and the ride still goes on somewhere else.
With contributions from virtually all of the key players, The Ballad of Mott the Hoople tells the story of one the seventies best and most loved bands from their formation to their untimely demise.
Jalo Finland is a Finnish company that specializes in stylish fire prevention and safety products. The company’s slogan is “Safety Can Be Beautiful.” Most of its products are expertly designed, hipster-ready smoke alarms, some of which are shaped like moths for some reason.
A few months ago Jalo Finland introduced a line of Tom of Finland-themed fire blankets. In case you’re not aware, Tom of Finland, born Touko Laaksonen in Kaarina, Finland, was almost certainly the 20th century’s leading practitioner of homoerotic fetish art of the “leather daddy” variety, often involving muscled and hypermasculine sailors, bikers, lumberjacks, construction workers—and possibly firemen??
Each one costs 44.90 Euros, which is about $50.
The following product descriptions, which come straight from the Jalo Finland website, are pretty hilarious too.
“The Leader”: “Rugged, masculine and ripped. The Master has a ‘take charge’ attitude, always ready to be in control in case of fire. Not sure how to use a fire blanket? Craving further instructions? Just turn it around and look at the rear. Never keep your fire blanket in the closet. This couple demands to be out.”
“The Hero”: “If you’re holding out for a hero to pull you from the rough surf and give you mouth-to-mouth, then this is the duo for you! The Hero is strong and dependable. He’ll sweep you up in his muscled arms - and put out any small fires. Keep this lifeguard’s best assets on display at all times, and be ready to grab hold in case of emergencies.”
“The Aviator”: “Primed for action in their uniforms, these airmen wearing a leather aviator jacket and a flight suit unzipped to a perilously low altitude, are clearly qualified to put out small household fires. Just give the straps a good tug to release the fire blanket inside. Like a parachute, this product could save your life.”
“The Dog”: “Down boy! This K9 owner is classically geared up, dressed head to toe in leather, with his pup between his legs, he’s ready to put out any small kitchen fires, even if it means getting down on all-fours. You certainly won’t be in the dog house if you always keep this fire blanket ready.”
Even the ancient art of origami—the process of creating three-dimensional objects by folding paper which originated in Asia in the late 1600s—is not devoid of renegade artistic deviants that have mastered the craft. There are even a few books that have been published hoping to spread the good word about porn-y paper folding. Erotic origami, where have you been all my life?
Erotic origami by Nick Robinson
In 2004, London-based artist Nick Robinson put out a book called Very Naughty Origami. In it, Robinson provides step-by-step diagrams of how to create titillating folded paper figures such as his “Schwanstucker.” Robinson’s “schwanstucker” (named for Terri’s Garr’s use of the word in Young Frankenstein to describe the size of Frankenstein’s monster member), is an anatomically correct folded paper penis. That, according to the description in Robinson’s book, also happens to move when you squeeze it.
How to fold an origami penis by Master Sugoi
Later that year, an artist going by the name of Master Sugoi coined the excellent phrase “pornogami” for his book, Pornogami: Original Erotic Origami. In the book, Sugoi teaches aspiring pornogamists to fold paper into erotic shapes like a penis, vulva, and boobs, among other things.
Then, in 2008, artist Marc Kirschenbaum put out his take on sexy paper folding with his book, Erotic Origami. Kirschenbaum is fond of creating paper figures in various states of getting it on (pictured at the top of this post and below). Nice.
“Doggy style” origami by Marc Kirschenbaum
If this all sounds good to you (and I’m pretty sure it does), check out some more examples of “pornogami” after the jump. Since pornogami has the word “porn” in it, I think it’s safe to say that the images are NSFW.