Twelve Inches of Pleasure

All the Young Dudes — Mott the Hoople CBS 65184

Following the success of their recent single, Mott The Hoople have released a new album, their first for CBS. Having had four LP’s issued by Island, they now have changed not only their record label, but also their image. This is considerably helped by having David Bowie as their producer, who replaces Guy Stevens. And what they have come up with is their best recording to date.

Mott The Hoople, whilst suffering from poor record sales in the past, have always been a fine band to see live. Now some of this live appeal comes across on the record. Their hit single, which is also the title track of the album, All The Young Dudes, has moved them up a few rungs on the group status ladder to stardom, and this is apparently the sort of image they now want to project, that of budding little superstars. Young Dudes was written by Bowie, as is obvious by the way Ian Hunter delivers the vocal, and is up to the standard of the best material being produced by darling David.

Bowie’s influence is felt throughout the record, especially in the eclectic choice of minor rip-offs from the other groups – on Young Dudes for instance there is a Lennon/McCartney chorus melody line that Bowie is so fond of using. Also, knowing of Bowie’s present involvement with Lou Reed, the inclusion of his song, Sweet Jane, comes as no surprise.

The Mott’s playing has improved since their last release. Their sound is a lot less cluttered than before, and Mick Ralphs’ guitar playing is far more effective and precise. For instance, Ralph’s break on Jerkin’ Crocus is a superb.

The Mott’s lyrics are very sexually orientated, more than enough to upset Lord Porn, and liable to send Mrs Whitehouse screaming to the Director of Public Prosecutions. But luckily no reasonable person takes much notice of these bringers of ‘fire and brimstone’. Lines which sound suspiciously like: “My baby calls me when she wanna play” (or is it I “lay”), and another line: “You can smoke my cigar all night” from a song called Sucker, make their intentions and meaning crystal clear. On the beautifully titled Jerkin’ Crocus with Ian Hunter doing a full Mick Jagger, he delivers this memorable phrase: “I know what she wants. Just a lick of your ice cream cone”. Tasty, so is Ready For Love on side two.

Whether Mott The Hoople is going to make it big at long last remains to be seen. If they disappear to America, we will know that they have. But this time round they have brought out an album that is at times stunning and they have certainly rewarded their fans who have been waiting quite a while for a recording as good as this.

Particularly recommended for hearing on headphones if you’re lucky enough to own a pair, or two – so your boyfriend or girlfriend can share the same experience.

Letters — Jim Webb Reprise K44173

Jim Webb, creator of the classic MacArthur Park, has a new LP of his own released. And whereas his past outings have been very much an artist’s artist trip, this offering communicates a lot more to the average listener.

Webb’s songs have always been about love, and its pain, and moments of supreme happiness. He writes with a sincerity, obviously from personal experience, which is the main power of his songs. And this time round, Jim is as explicit as possible about his feelings and observations, and also shows a fine sense of comedy and self-parody.

The most humorous track is Once In The Morning, which also advises “and once at night”, and “once in the afternoon and once at twilight, once for the money and again ’bout midnight”. The song tells of a few adventures such as meeting with Jan the Fan Dancer’ who says: “You play with this son and I’ll play with that”. Also a man he meets in London tells him: “And I like some of yours if you’ll please take some of mine”.

In a slightly more serious vein Webb comments on air play censorship: “If you want me to I’ll sing about fuckin’ – Sing about it fast and sing about it slow – Wanna hear it on the radio tho’ …” And why not, it’s a pleasure and a unity we all share.

Most of the other songs tell the usual tales of love and its ups and downs. He includes his very beautiful Galveston, that was a big success when recorded by Glen Campbell.

This record is much more of a rock record than his past releases, as well as being without the sometimes confusing dynamic orchestrations.

In conclusion the album is a warm, tender and aware contribution to popular music. Its explicitness will shock a few, but most people who hear it will be moved by the ‘letters’ and thoughts Jim Webb shares with us.

Nervous on the Road — Brinsley Schwarz – United Artists UAS 29374

After being completely converted to the Brinsleys after their last album, Silver Pistol, I’m afraid that I find this latest effort a little disappointing.

I still love the relaxing images the group create and the, more than ever, togetherness of their playing which shows up a lot of other groups. But somehow this just misses being anything else except competent. The happiness and feeling of ‘good times’ that come across so strongly on their last release, a more country influenced collection of-songs, is not as obvious as before. This record has far more of a rock feel to it.

Tne Brinsley’s have always produced albums that needed a little time to get into, and as I listen to this record more often, a few of the tracks start to stand I out more than they did to begin with. Surrender To The Rhythm for example, is a fine rocker, and the title track, Nervous on the Road (But Can’t Stay Home) displays a good degree of wit. as well as moving along at a pleasing pace.

Their version of Chris Kenner’s I Like It Like That on side two, showcases the group’s affection for old rock ‘n’ roll classics, which are now very much a part of their live performances. Their treatment of this classic rocker shows an understanding ot the essence of good rock. It’s a shame that they didn’t include one of the Sam & Dave numbers they are also so fond of.

The organ and piano playing of Bob Andrews is one of the consistent pleasures of Brinsley music and heightens the effect of most of the numbers they are working with at present.

A lot of my friends are raving about this album, so I suggest you give it a listen and draw your own conclusions. It’s superior rock but the total of the rewards on hearing it are in your head.

Soulful Tapestry — Honey Cone – Hot Wax SHW 5005

Honey Cone is an American soul vocal group, comprising three black girls. And this album contains two of their biggest hits to date, One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show and Want Ads. Although the group have not met with much success in this country so far, they are firm favourites in discotheques and with soul fanatics.

Their sound is very commercial but with a few dashes of originality that put them above a lot of other groups working in this musical area. The arrangements are slightly reminiscent of Tamla Motown ones, but without the over-production now often associated with that company. And their style is less earthy than that of companies such as Stax and Atlantic.

The songs move along at a good pace and are ideal dance music. My only complaint would be that after one listens to both sides of the album, they become a little mechanical and predictable. Basically they are a ‘singles’ group and to keep one’s interest throughout a whole album is quite a task. But with slightly more inventiveness in the arrangements and a choice of stronger material, they should put matters right on future LP releases.

Soulful Tapestry is a must for soul enthusiasts and for those of you who want to hear something a little different to what more established soul music companies are churning out.

Incidentally, Honey Cone’s Want Ads is one of Gay News’ theme songs. I surely don’t need to explain why do I? Just turn to the next to last page of the paper.

Portrait of Donny — Donny Osmond — MGM 2315108

Much to my surprise I found that Donny Osmond’s first solo album is an absolute delight. The choice of material is ideal for Donny’s voice, and the arrangements are nicely spectacular and especially suitable to the emotional elements in the songs.

Included on the album is Puppy Love, the ‘teen’ hit of the year. This song is largely responsible for bringing the praise and success that Donny now enjoys. In this country he even outsells that other idol of kid culture, David Cassidy. Written and originally recorded by Paul Anka (Donny’s equivalent of the late-fifties), Puppy Love contains a degree of protest about adult non-understanding and intolerance that young people can identify with. Also the sentiments expressed in all the songs not only touch this particular section of the record buying public, but also reach a wider audience with their simple sincerity. The Goffin/King number Hey Girl works on the same level, as does All I have to do is Dream and This Guy’s in Love With You.

Eddie Holman’s sadly underrated Hey There, Lonely Girl is another good choice by Donny, whilst the dynamics of Love Me make it hard to believe that the song is being sung by a twelve-year-old.

All in all, Donny has produced an immensely enjoyable album, that is far more than one might at first have thought possible.

Super Fly — Curtis Mayfield – Buddah 2318065

Curtis Mayfield’s new album is his first entry into Isaac Hayes territory, for it is the soundtrack of a new ‘black’ movie called Super Fly.

Although I don’t know much about the film I gather from the lyrics that it is about drug addiction and ‘pushing’ in a black ghetto. The film is directed by Gordon Parks Jr, who was responsible for the Shaft movies.

Those of you who are into Mayfield and what he has been doing since he left the Impressions will find this record as good as his recent releases. If you aren’t into his brand of funky/city soul yet you will probably turn on to it if you hear a track from the album at a discotheque. But otherwise I think it is a success and a must, only for those already converted to this type of sophisticated soul music.

Fables — England Dan & John Ford Coley — A & M AMLS 64350

Fables is the second album to be released by England Dan & John Ford Coley. This duo sing and play melodic, thoughtful, full-of-love songs and music. Their material ranges from graceful to medium-heavy rock, but without ever being excessive. Much of the time they are very beautiful. Dan and John’s approach is simple but direct. Something like the old Simon & Garfunkel sound.

Some of the best ‘stories’ told on this record are Simone (their latest single) and Casey, whilst What I’m Doing, which closes side one, is a minor anthem of love and the bewilderment it can cause.

Unfortunately a lot of records similar to Dan and John’s are being released. This will probably be unheard and unnoticed like so many others. It’s very much a disc you like immediately and play a lot, or dismiss completely. Personally Fables makes me feel good whenever I listen to it, could possibly do the same to some of you. Play it if you come across it.

Denis Lemon

Walter Carlos’ Clockwork Orange – CBS73059

Inevitably many copy versions of the music featured in ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ are now beginning to appear on the market, most of these only having the orchestral passages. CBS has released Walter Carlos’ entire synthesised score for and about this book/film.

Many of the pieces, of course, were composed before the film was made, but Carlos has inserted some original works. Thankfully, we now have the full “Timesteps” music, of which we were only given a tantalising portion on the soundtrack. What a pity Carlos wasn’t invited to write the score for Kubrick’s previous film ‘2001; A Space Odyssey’. This piece shows what Carlos is capable of doing. Along with ‘Timesteps’ the album contains two other Carlos compositions, ‘Theme from A Clockwork Orange (Beethoviana) and ‘Country Lane’ – two exciting pieces, the latter not heard in the film, but an evocative interpretation. A deeply moving piece.

The choreographed ‘Ultra-violence’ scenes were accompanied by the orchestral passage of Rossini’s ‘The Thieving Magpie’. Here Carlos has included the electronic version. Marvellous in stereo. Also this album has several other synthesised classical works as featured on the soundtrack.

In comparison I find this album far more satisfying than the actual soundtrack. For a reminder of the film buy the soundtrack – for an experience, buy this record. Real horror-show.

Anthony Godden.

S&M and the Gay World

19720901-08Homosexual sadomasochism is one subject which the gay liberation movement has never discussed. Although gay liberationists have strongly supported transvestites and pederasts by urging repeal of laws against cross-dressing and those governing the age of sexual consent, sadomasochism has been completely ignored.

Most gay men have such a difficult time coming to personal terms with S&M that they treat it as an embarrassment. Gay Liberationists have even actively persecuted sadomasochists. A new and very secret Los Angeles organisation, Gay Zap, has been sending crank letters to several of the Hollywood gay bars that sadomasochists patronise demanding changes in business policies and promising police action if the demands are not met.

19720901-09S&M has been the bad boy of the gay world, and only during the past few months has anything been written about it. Dennis Altman, author of Homosexual: Liberation and Oppression, devoted several pages to transvestism but dismissed sadomasochism in a single sentence by saying it was probably the result of a confused sexuality which would disappear under less repressive social norms. He added that coming to terms with S&M was one of the real challenges for the gay liberation movement.

The largest gay newspaper in the country, The Advocate, has never had anything about S&M although 20% of its personal ads are placed by sadomasochists. By way of contrast, only 1% of the personals concern transvestites and about 4% pederasts. This does not necessarily mean that 20% of all gay men are sadists or masochists. It does suggest that S&M may be much more common than generally believed. We will have to wait until the Kinsey Institute publishes its report on homosexuality this year for any statistics.

The New York City gay liberation newspaper Come Out! published “S&M and the Revolution’ in its January, 1972 issue. This article may be the first about sadomasochism in any gay newspaper. It is primarily an apologetic explanation of S&M and emphasises that sadomasochistic activities are entered into voluntarily between sadist and masochist, and nobody ought to have any right to oppress voluntary sexual conduct.

Gay civil rights activist Peter Fisher wrote a sympathetic chapter on S&M in his recent book, The Gay Mystique, but his coverage seems so superficial that he must have relied mostly on hearsay. It was not until the publication of Larry Townsend’s The Leatherman’s Handbook in March that we can get a real look at gay sadomasochism. Townsend, president of HELP, Inc., a Los Angeles gay legal defence group claims to be intimate with the S&M cult.

His wild accounts of what sadists do to masochists boggle the mind and will certainly stir up a controversy. The Handbook digs deep into every S&M scene from the “toys” the S-men use on the M-men to how to lure your prospective partner (victim?) to your “Playroom”. Most S&M men – even those who admit their homosexuality – are so ashamed of their practices that they keep their sadism or masochism a guarded secret. People just wouldn’t understand. Townsend at least has the guts to put his cat-o-nine tails on the table and let the rest of us know where he stands.

I realise that many gay brothers are opposed to violence of any sort, and it is all too easy to condemn S&M on prima facie value alone. But I believe that many of those who condemn men grooving together in a ritualistic flaggellation aren’t going to say anything about the pusher who sells LSD to somebody and sends him on a trip over the Golden Gate Bridge.

For many, gay and straight alike, no other form of sexual expression seems more repulsive than sadomasochism. Liberation is for all gay people, and not just for counter-culture gays and political radicals because they say they have the proper political or social consciousness, nor is it only for transvestites and other fem-identified males because they have flung their homosexuality in the face of society so long. There can be no second-class gay people who must remain in the closet while the rest are liberated. By ignoring, and even persecuting the S&M people, organised homosexuality – the newspapers, churches, political groups, and liberation organisations – have done exactly what straight society has done to the rest of us.

Within each of us there are elements of sadism and masochism. Most of us have sublimated these feelings towards non-sexual and sometimes undesirable goals. Such socially approved activities as military discipline, football or queer-beating by police often carry homosexual sadomasochistic overtones.

Do you like to give orders to other men? Do you really dig marines, policemen and other authoritarian uniformed types? Like to buddy-ride on bikes or maybe wild wrestling? Perhaps your thing is a wild time in the old bunkhouse with all those butch cowboys and lumberjacks? If you have secret feelings for any of these things you might have strong but unresolved gay S&M urges, and until you act out those feelings you are going to feel frustrated and sexually unliberated.

The S&M man might be especially sexually liberated because he dares to act out fantasies other men only dream about, but more disturbing are the sadomasochistic fantasies in the first place. Perhaps the gay sadomasochist is the ultimate casualty of our anti-sexual Judaeo-Christian heritage – a man so conditioned by the anti-erotic morality of religion that sexual arousal and orgasm are possible only through the giving and receiving of pain.

Social psychiatrist Wainwright Churchill writes in Homosexual Behaviour Among Males that American society is so sexually repressive that furtiveness and anxiety are necessary for erotic arousal in many men, and they are deliberately forced to seek partners whom they cannot trust or might cause them trouble. Churchill reports that such men are even grateful for the laws prohibiting homosexuality because they foster the anxiety-ridden contacts they must have!

According to Ford and Beach in Patterns of Sexual Behaviour, sadomasochism is restricted to sexually repressive societies. Christianity has attached sinfulness and evil to erotic stimulation, and for centuries priests flagellated grovelling penitents to purge them of their sins.

Alex, anti-hero in the motion picture A Clockwork Orange, was programmed by behavioural psychiatrists through drug aversion therapy which reduced him into an asexual half-man who could not protect himself when his past victims sought to do him in. Similarly, the gay sadomasochist has been programmed by a brainwashing technique developed by the Church, and most Americans are so brainwashed by this religious conditioning that they have ceased to be free agents. Deprived of free will, Americans have reacted against homosexuality with a knee-jerk reflex without understanding why.

Gay sadomasochists are the end products of religious conditioning, for it has constructed within their minds an obsessive-compulsive fixation to give and receive pain. Erection and orgasm respond only to pain, and sexual pleasure is partially replaced by pain. Sadomasochists have no free will to choose the sexual activity, they are involved with. We have no moral right to pass judgement on those who cannot help themselves.

Sadomasochism is easily the least understood part of the gay world. People envision tough, leather-jacketed queers attacking youths and torturing and mutilating their bound and gagged victims in scenes of wild abandon and depravity. In actuality, most gay S&M people engage in acts of controlled fantasy, often in psychodramatic roles involving domination and submission such as Marine Corps boot camp, fraternity initiation, or cowboy bunkhouse. Much of it simply involves such symbolic acts of humiliation and servitude as bootlicking or calling the sadist “sir”. Heavier S&M usually includes a considerable amount of “discipline” and frequently includes bondage and flagellation with a whip or studded belt and that can cause real pain.

Really hard-core practitioners become so addicted to S&M that they may not become sexually aroused without pain. Occasionally some sadomasochistic activities go beyond moderation and include real torture such as castration. Larry Townsend gave a graphic description of such a castration where the severed testes were stuffed into the victim’s mouth. Things like this make S&M revolting to anyone.

Although S&M tends to be role-oriented, “rough sex”, which means a lot of brawling and heavy wrestling, could be considered S&M without the role playing. Most writers of sadomasochism ignore rough sex. A lot of S&M is also fetishistic and requires that one or both partners wear certain articles of masculine garb such as black leather jackets or cowboy boots. Before we condemn fetishism, how many straight men are turned on by women in spike heels and black garter belts?

It would be unfair to brand all gay leather-men, cowboys, or other masculine-oriented types as S&M. Many gay men wear leather, denim, cowboy outfits, hard-hats and similar attire because they feel more masculine in it or it helps attract sex partners. After all, male homosexuals are attracted to men, not to a man who looks and acts like a woman. Some critics – mostly effeminate types from the “fluffy sweater” or transvestite crowds – charge that the denim-leathermen are “male impersonators” and “straight-identified”.

They claim that female drag is the only proper clothing for the really liberated male homosexual, and one must act effeminate and become fem-identified. These critics are also often straight-identified … as heterosexual women, and they are simply continuing straight society’s definition of the male homosexual as some sort of pseudo-woman. No, the denim-leathermen are not male impersonators, just male.

Organised S&M and leather-oriented gay social clubs exist in several cities, notably Los Angeles, San Fransisco and New York. Los Angeles has 17 bike and leather-denim social clubs with a combined membership of perhaps 225. Most of the nine leather-western Los Angeles gay bars are members of HELP, and several of the HELP officers and many members are involved in the leather-S&M subculture.

This subculture is a very stable element in the gay community (many bike clubs have been going for years) and constitutes an organisational reservoir, but because most leather-men have tended to be “closet queens”, they have been apathetic as far as political action goes, and it has only been recently that they have shown an interest in gay civil rights. We will find them becoming increasingly prominent in the gay rights scene.

S&M supporters have given two main reasons for sadomasochism. First they argue that S&M is entered into voluntarily by both sadist and masochist, and people must not be concerned about the habits and lifestyles of others as long as they remain voluntary. But how voluntary is S&M? Are we really dealing with an obsessive compulsive behaviour which people cannot control? Even Townsend admits that a sadist freaked out on drugs can be deadly. There seems something suicidal and homicidal in S&M, and I have heard and read of hair-raising stories about high voltage electricity, castration, branding irons, needles through the teats and scrotum, rack stretching, and burning chemicals applied to the body. Even if electric prods or red-hot pokers are not your thing there is little one can do to stop the application of these goodies to the body if bound and gagged.

A traditional argument against homosexuality is that it destroys society. One could also argue that S&M destroys the individual. Besides the ultimate danger – death – there are lesser dangers leading to permanent injury to the body – genitals ruptured and mutilated, the insertion and breaking of sharp objects in the rectum, hepatitis from sticking dirty needles into people, and permanent blindness from gonorrhea in the eyes resulting from infected urine if splashed over the body.

The second argument for S&M is that it supposedly directs violence by channeling it to certain specific sexual encounters. Men are drawn from those sublimated homosexual desires which have boiled over into war, and violence would be eroticized into sex. Ever read about the origins of the Nazi Party? Many of the early Nazis were homosexual sado-masochists, and they didn’t sublimate anything

On the contrary, S&M is common to all anti-sexual militaristic societies, and sadomasochistic sex is basically part of a general tendency of the violence within such a society. In fact, the propagation of S&M might have a detrimental effect on society by increasing the general level of violence in the same way psychologists say that television violence affects children. Fundamentally S&M is authoritarian, demanding superio-inferior relationships, and, I have a disturbing suspicion, a penchant for an authoritarian society.

Sexual equality is probably the strongest argument for homosexuality because heterosexual relations always involve role-playing simply because of the differences between men and women. Gay sex offers the possibility of equality between partners as well as relationships. The husband-wife roles taken by the transvestite and his “husband” is an imitation of the heterosexual relationship. S&M sex is another kind of role-playing involving dominance and submission. If one argues that a masculine homosexual is straight-identified, such a gay man is only enacting a role expected of men. With the elimination of extreme social roles, gay relationships will tend to change to what will be expected of men, but it is necessary to liberate all men, not just gay men.

Gay sadomasochism is a confused and muddled issue. It is liberating insofaras the practitioners act out otherwise suppressed fantasies and oppressing because of the dominant-submission role-playing and the giving and receiving of pain. I profoundly hope it will wither away as sexual norms liberalise and men are not straight-jacketed into social roles they cannot fulfill. Rather than persecuting sadomasochism we should turn our attention to its causes.

Reprinted with love from Gay Sunshine, 1972