Chilling Evil

DEVIL DADDY by John Blackburn. Published by Jonathan Cape, £1.60.

To anyone interested in the Supernatural and the Occult, and who enjoys a good thriller, this new book “Devil Daddy” is a MUST. Written by one of today’s masters of the macabre, it tells of an Evil the world never dreamed existed outside of fiction.

Fighting this evil are Marcus Levin, Bacteriologist, and his pretty Russian-born wife, Tania, who have featured in previous occult thrillers. But none as frightening as this new one. Together they face great danger to discover a fanatical group of Satanists who have opened one of the Gates of Hell and released on the world a plague more frightening than the black death.

Who brutally raped pretty Elsie Kerr? What turned her into an eighty-year-old hag overnight? Who fed a naked body to a farmer’s starving pigs? Many more spine chilling questions arise before the most exciting and breathtaking climax is reached and the reader left shocked and shaking in his chair.

Thank God it can never happen … or could it?

John Blackburn’s previous novels have all been connected with the occult and one earlier work has now been filmed “Nothing But The Night” directed by that horror star we all love, Christopher Lee. Look out for it.

My Book Of The Year

Food comes slightly after sex and just ahead of the music of Purcell in my list of favourite things. I read cookery books like novels and occasionally cook like a novelist. But I suppose I have always regarded food from a sensuous point of view, certainly not from a social, political or economic standpoint. Until that is, I read this book called Technological Eating, by Magnus Pyke. It was published in February, is slim (107pp) and quite expensive (£2.50). But it is truly mind-bending in that it bends the thought into all sorts of directions, not all intimately connected with food.

Dr Pyke is President of the Institute of Food Science and Technology of the United Kingdom, but before pelting him with slings of rehydrated potatoes and spun-protein steaks consider his thesis. His book is really about the way in which technology affects social behaviour and he believes (and most surely demonstrates) that by discussing oven-ready chickens and fish fingers we can learn more about what technology is doing than by thinking about communication satellites or nuclear power-stations. This is one reason why his book is so good, so readable, his examples and subject-matter are everyday things that we all have intimate experience of.

He is saying, quite simply, that the application of technology to food is breaking down all hitherto accepted social structures; food becomes increasingly distanced from man. The only possible provenance for a fish finger is a factory, so where do dietary laws come in? Technology is a divisive influence

in society and he compares the fragmentation of Western industrial communities with the coherence of the extended family system “in which claim to quite distant cousinship is a valid title to food, shelter and support”.

I recommend this book for its facts – did you know that a large American engineering firm had devised a lettuce harvesting machine that picks up four rows at once. It is so efficient that only 600 machines would be needed to harvest all the lettuces in the world. The engineering firm is reluctant to manufacture it.

I recommend this book for its ability to move thought from big, unmanageable concepts towards simple, everyday experience that has a greater effect.

I recommend this book for its humanity, wit, sense and eventual optimism, for its sharp criticism of our consumer-conscious society fixed on acquisition and money value.

Tecs Really Pack A Rod

A QUEER KIND OF DEATH; A PARADE OF COCKEYED CREATURES; I, SAID THE DEMONall written by George Baxt, Jonathan Cape, at £1.05 each.

The above three books are not new publications but I like them so much I feel they are well worth bringing attention to. All are detective novels, the first A Queer Kind Of Death is, strictly speaking, the only gay one of the three. This concerns the departure by electrocution of one Ben Bentley, actor and model, from the world of the living. What a world it is as well, slick, bitchy, homosexual Americana, it positively glitters with decadent (in the best sense) wit.

The main suspect of Ben’s murder is his ‘room mate’ Seth Piro hotly pursued in more ways than one, by the best kind of gay detective, brown and beautiful Pharoh Love. This isn’t cheap humour, this is high glorious camp satire and fun with a surprise ending to beat them all, a gem.

A Parade of Cockeyed Creatures introduces another detective, recently deprived by death of wife and son, Max van Larsen. This one concerns the disappearance of Tippy Blaney a poetic but vigorous seventeen year old with parents of doubtful character. Max is helped in his search for Tippy by one Sylvia Plotkin, twelve stone of cuddly kosher sense and sensibility. As Tippy’s schoolmistress she is everything a teacher ought to be, but never is, and a good portion of the novel is devoted to relationship with Max, which reaches a satisfying conclusion.

Lots of camp characters, a necrophile classmate, ‘The Prince of Darkness’, a dirty old man with a taste for twelve year olds, plus an assortment of thugs, kinks and general exotica. Nice.

I, Said The Demon is the last word in ‘a laugh in every line’ humour. Baxt has in this book refined the style of the earlier two into the most superslick distortion of reality. Pure celluloid fantasy most of it, I literally cried with laughter at the most amazing plot and caricatures of characters that has ever crossed my well-read path.

Max van Larsen again, cross with Sylvia Plotkin, because she has written a book on their previous case together. So had Max, and not even a love as great as Abelard and Heloise, Mark Anthony and Julius Caesar, can remain unscathed when Sylvia becomes a literary celebrity. The case this time concerns the disappearance in 1932 of crooked Judge Kramer, his mistress and forty-thousand dollars.

The craziest characters yet, Lita the Judge’s wife, a prima donna who sings in a soundproof room, Chloe and Romona, two ex-Ziegfield girls approaching ripe old age in the Gothic monstrosity of a Church they live in. Also starring a seeress from Seventh Avenue, Gypsy Marie Rachmaninoff whose son is a hunchbacked peeping Tom called Quasimodo, the divine, divine Madame Vilna ex-star of the Yiddish Theatre who delivers lines that will send you rolling over the floor.

This is the best of the bunch, a really slick piece of work, lines like…

“When did you last see your husband?”
“Half way up the Empire State Building swatting aeroplanes.”…

setting the general tone.

A great book which would make a nice present for a friend with a movie camp sense of humour.

Paper Covered Thrills

ALL IS WELL by Dick Vanden, Olympia Press, 70p.

Another gay goodie from Olympia Press, All Is Well is a much more (dare I use the word) serious book than Frost. It’s the story of a man’s long and tortuous path to reasonable honesty and his inner being. His relationships with his wife and children are vividly portrayed especially with his son Chuck, a 16-year-old sharing his bed with another boy.

Father really begins to come out after he accidentally takes some Mescaline and is saved from the horrors of a bad trip by his son. This turns into the most beautifully described acid trip I have ever read. Vanden slowly and compulsively takes us through a man’s mind as a whole new way of thought hits him with the power of a space rocket.

This is an intricate, beautiful, fantastic, red raw honest novel which at the expense of sounding trite every gay ought to have. Get it, could be good for you.

FROST by Richard Amory. Olympia Press, 70p.

The American way of life in sunny California is the background to this fast (incredibly plotted) gay thriller about a father planning to kill his son told against a landscape of black-white relationships, sexcapades and drugs.

It’s a fast moving but a complicated story. The sexual encounters are unbelievably (wow) exciting and by this I mean the sensually* sexy and not silly unbelievable porn fantasy.

I must say though I enjoyed it much more as an erotic novel than a thriller, but those who like the author’s ‘Loon Trilogy’ will find it well worth reading.

Publications

19720914-10AGITPROP BOOKSHOP
I Give You Oscar Wilde 40p.
A Gay Manifesto 5p.
Gay Manifesto (GLF London) lOp The Sexual Struggle of Youth 37%p Oscar Wilde 60p.
Come Together 5p.
and many more books, pamphlets, papers and posters at the shop or by post from 24B (GN) Bethnal Green Road, London E2.

Gay Books & Novels.
The Other Love by H.Montgomery Hyde, 75p.
The Unrecorded Life of Oscar Wilde by Rupert Croft-Cooke, £3.50.
The Wild Boys by William S.Burroughs, £2.50.
Oscar Widle by Philippe Jullian, 60p.
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, 50p.
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann, 30p.
I Give You Oscar Wilde by Desmond Hall. 40p
All obtainable by post from: Books,
84 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds 2. Tel; 42483. Ad 10 % to cover post and packing.

BACK NUMBERS of GAY NEWS are
still available. Send 13p (which includes postage etc.) for each back issue.

If you have missed Spartacus you will want QUORUM
the new magazine for gay men
QUORUM is intelligent and lively, has good fiction, serious articles, informed comment and an erotic sparkle in the highlights
QUORUM is edited and produced entirely by professional writers
QUORUM will include excellent photographs not seen before
QUORUM is published by a firm with a 10-year track record for reliability and service, which means that all subscriptions will be honoured
Single issue: 75p Six months: £3.50
12 months: £6 (all post paid) from S & H Publications, 37 Lowlands Road, Harrow, Middlesex.
FREE OFFER: those who place a 12 month subscription before September 30 may claim a copy of The Lusty Male or The Dolly Male or Listen the Loon Sings and Song of Aaron with their order.
QUOROM is published on the 1st of every month, starting September, contains 48 pages.