Sybawrite

Reading and fucking

Posted in brought, caught, thought by juliobesq on April 1, 2009

reading-and-fucking

Ian Dury sang ‘Sex and drugs and rock n roll’ but as one approaches a certain age, it’s best to admit when one’s ability to rock n roll is past it’s prime, and it’s time to pick a new adage. Plus, I’ve really been dying to typeset the phrase ‘Reading and Fucking’.

They are two noble pursuits but aren’t always seen hand in hand with the respect they deserve. Dirty stories I believe is the phrase, rather than erotica. Actually I think I prefer dirty stories, and will leave erotica to label photography, where there is a more of a divide between art and commerce.

Aside from bedtime, or is it bedside stories, what really started my thought juices flowing was actual writing about sex. Too rarely authors delve into this topic, which seems strange given it’s such a huge motivation in our culture. There are plenty of novels analysing greed or jealously as the driving force in a quest for power or glory, but very little on how the need, relief and act of sex can affect the consequences of human intercourse. Or maybe I’m reading the wrong books.

I write about sex and death. 

What else is there. 

It is very hard to write about the act of sex without lapsing into descriptive prose and there by ending up in different waters. All my life I wanted to write but never did anything about it, in particular putting pen to paper. Events conspired and finally culminated in my starting, and I should give kudos to the three books that gave me the kicks I needed. And fittingly two of them are largely about sex.

Nic Kelman’s ‘Girls’ is rare in that it explores sex from the middle aged male psyche, alongside the lies that are generated in it’s admiration of the female teen. He writes on this subject with a brutal ardour rarely shown in public. Dangerous ground to tread these days where Woolworths can not sell a child’s bed called ‘Lolita’. As if the very word itself could cause a visitor to misbehave even without being aware of the name of the bed. (Lolita being another exception that springs to mind, in that it’s not written from the perspective of a woman in the call girl trade, look at all the other books that Amazon recommends if you follow the previous link).

Kelman’s writing excited me in hopefully the way he intended, making me think there are still things to be written and said on this subject. These short parables speak volumes and he deserves to be much more widely read. Any male starting to lose their hair would be wise to look between it’s sheets. He writes without judgement about his characters, and the second book that inspired me brings sympathy to it’s dissection of life’s fuck ups and losers…

Ewan Morrison’s ‘The last book you read’ adds a twist of addiction here and there to it’s tales of sex and life. His writes with a quiet understanding of people unable to bring their lives under control, without moral overtones. When I read this I knew what I wanted to write about, it unlocked the voice inside me. I would like to call him a hardcore Nick Hornby but I’m worried that doesn’t convey how brilliantly insightful he is.

Both these books contain exceptional writing about fucking.

A little divergence here, for I feel it only fair to pay homage to the eureka book, the one where closing the final page you say to yourself “I’m going to write stories, no more excuses”. My gratitude for this goes to Simon Van Booy’s ‘The secret lives of people in love’, and in particular the story ‘Little birds’. Beautiful writing. It has prostitutes in it too, but no sex.

Luckily for me it seems that I am not the only one with a healthy interest in all of this. Bookkake publish classics of erotica, and I am delighted that they too take great pride in calling them dirty books. Not satisfied with bringing us great writing on fucking, they also ruminate on these two subjects via their blog. The Monday morning dirty poem has brought a hithero unknown joy to the start of my working week. I’m finding myself liking poetry more and more.

Another blog worthy of note is Violet Blue who apart from having an unfeasible name is a technology columnist, podcaster of naughty stories on iTunes and a writer on open source sex at tinynibbles. She’s a busy girl and turns up all over the place, but be warned, her blog can be visually ‘rich’.

I would have liked to give a honourary mention to ‘In bed with’, the compendium of short stories featuring Fay Weldon and Ali Smith amongst others, but the fact that none of them would own up to whose story was whose implies that they see them as smut not literature. Cowards. Mind you I had to stop reading ‘Swung’ by Ewan Morrison while I was sunbathing on the beach. Next on my reading list is ‘Wetlands’, I got a copy as a Valentine’s present from my wife. And who said romance is dead.

I’ve started thinking of taking photographs about sex. Not of sex. About. But I’ll come back to that.

The visual depiction of sex is another area thwart with uneasy public consumption. Fine art has long been bed partners with sex and in particular the nude. As a primer, before I dig myself a hole defining erotica or porn, literature or dirty stories, art or filth, I think most people would agree that National Art Galleries are places of refinement and culture. Have a look at this oil painting done in 1867 by Gustave Courbet, hung in the Musée d’ Orsay

Mathilde Madden and Kristina Lloyd both write erotica and therefore have a vested interest on what goes on the cover (as well in between). They publish another splendid blog worth reading called Erotica Cover Watch, recently they have started a debate on why, given a large market share are female readers, only women appear on erotic book covers. They also have Man Candy Monday, soon it’s going to be dangerous to start the working week…

Bearing in mind Mr Corbet’s portrait the divide between erotica and porn gets even trickier when art crosses over into photography. I was recently involved in an incident where it was proposed that someone I know sit for a topless portrait in oils, which was deemed alright, while being photographed for a study was not. (As it turned out they were horrified by having a portrait done in general, let alone bare breasted). Photographs being deemed reality I suppose, it raised an interesting question, which would you be more comfortable with; a topless photograph of you hanging on the wall or an intricate and detailed painting of your open crotch?

Males can play this game too, a photo of your arse and balls from behind or a realistic painting of your cock, it works slightly differently for men, and they are prone to cheat here. Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wouldn’t be filmed naked in ‘Women in love’ until they had “warmed up”, not wanting to be seen at their ‘realistic’ size. A friend of mine has a fantastic painting of an enlarged close-up of his anus hanging in the living room. Aesthetically very enjoyable as an abstract painting. Does the subject matter affect ones viewing? Does the oil paint neutralise it?

I have had to rewrite the next paragraphs a few times as I found myself slipping into arguments about erotica versus porn, and from there wether porno is bad or immoral. I want to side step here (but not avoid) and instead name check some photographers who have been an inspiration and caused some enjoyment on a wet Sunday afternoon.

The keyword here is I guess intent, and it is the argument often used in differentiating porn from erotica, especially in the photographic realm. Without the veneer of oil and strokes, sorry, the veneer of oil paint brush strokes, erotic photography is left far more naked to accusations of pornography than fine art. Intent is the defense. But why am I saying defense? I like erotic photography.

What is surprising to a number of people is the amount of women taking erotic photos. Often of themselves. One could talk about women photographers such as Ellen Von Unwerth who publish work in a male market place and therefore could be said to gain financial reward from it. But there are a great many female photographers on Flickr creating imagery solely for their own amusement, pleasure and interest.

To me the really surprising factor is why people, including friends of mine, find it so out of the ordinary that women are taking erotic photos too. Last time I checked half the people fucking were female.

I’ve started thinking of taking photographs about sex. Here are some of the people on Flickr whose work I greatly admire, they are funny, witty, clever pictures, and yes, sometimes sexy too. And if you are reading this at work on a Monday morning just tell everybody it’s art, literature and culture. Because it is.

RoseAndOlive

Dirtyfeet

Jaci Sue

Bububob

Victoria Tomaschko

Kristamasklousch

Demetriusgonzalez

Rainy mornings

Lina Scheynius

Everyoneknows

Laura Vancane

This one’s a chap but he’s fantastic and fits right in to the general mood 
Jan Durina

One Response

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  1. fantasiaspillowtalk said, on April 6, 2009 at 2:54 am

    Some of us prefer writing and fucking ….


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