Sex and books: London's most erotic writers


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    30

    Anthony Neilson

    Playwright Neilson was born in Scotland in (it’s thought) 1967. In his best-known play, ‘The Censor’, a porn actress confronts the censor who is sitting in judgement on her latest film.
    In his own words Fontaine ‘MILKY MAMAS – what’s that?’Censor ‘It’s pregnant women having sex with each other.’ Fontaine ‘[Genuinely] That’s nice…’ (‘The Censor’) Lisa Goldman (artistic director, Soho Theatre) ‘Anthony’s work is subversive because he tells the truth as he sees it. He is not an opportunistic shockster, unlike many of his imitators.’

    29

    Lady Caroline Lamb

    Lamb’s scandalous gothic novel ‘Glenarvon’, published anonymously in 1816, was based on her relationship with Byron, whom she met in 1812 when she was 27, married and the mother of an autistic son. She was thin and androgynous, qualities Byron liked: he encouraged her to dress as a page boy when in his company. When Byron tired of her, she attempted to woo him back by sending him clippings of her pubic hair. It didn’t work.

    In her own words
    ‘It was past three o’clock, when Calantha opened the cabinet where the page’s clothes were formerly kept, and drew from thence his mantle and plumed hat; and thus disguised, prepared for the interview [with Glenarvon].’ (‘Glenarvon’)

    28

    JG Ballard

    Our foremost chronicler of dystopian modernity, Ballard was born in Shanghai in 1930. He announced recently that he has advanced prostate cancer and that his latest book, the memoir ‘Miracles of Life’, will be his last. In his own words ‘The crushed body of the sportscar had turned her into a being of free and perverse sexuality, releasing within its dying chromium and leaking engine-parts, all the deviant possibilities of her sex.’ (‘Crash’)
    Toby Litt (author ‘Corpsing’, ‘I Play the Drums in a Band Called Okay’)
    ‘It’s no discovery, of course, that cars are objects of desire. But it took Ballard to go that logical extra step: if cars are going to get it on, then they need to crash. This isn’t just about Volvo-protected voyeurism, it’s about exchanging body fluids upon impact, it’s about suicidal interpenetrations. Ballard takes thing-sex to the point of polymorphous perversity. Anything can be sexier than sex – buildings, airplanes, deserted swimming pools. Even Shepperton. Or, as Ballard would insist, especially Shepperton.’

    27

    Patrick Marber

    Ex-comic and co-creator of Alan Partridge; Marber’s now a playwright and screenwriter. In his own wordsLarry ‘You like him coming in your face?’Anna ‘Yes.’ Larry ‘What does it taste like?’ Anna ‘It tastes like you, but sweeter.’ (‘Closer’)Richard Eyre (scheduled original production of ‘Closer’ at the Cottesloe) ‘It was said of “Closer” that it was about “sexual politics”, but it’s a strength of the play that it’s not. It’s about sex. In the play sex is tender, romantic, loving, casual, intense, brutal, selfish, squalid, savage; a blessing and a curse. It’s the underscoring of each life. “Why is the sex so important?” is the agonised cry of Anna to her partner when they’re confessing their mutual infidelities. “BECAUSE I’M A FUCKING CAVEMAN!” screams Larry, the mild dermatologist.’

    26

    Mary Robinson

    Actress Mary Robinson’s performance as Perdita in a 1779 production of ‘The Winter’s Tale’ so bewitched the 17-year-old Prince of Wales that she became his lover and one of London’s most notorious celebrities. Robinson went on to pen various poems, novels and feminist tracts, all of which were outstripped pornographically by her anonymously published pamphlet ‘Memoirs of Perdita’ (1784).
    In her own words ‘At last a whole convocation of [ants] crept up the pillars of the Cytherean temple, sporting in those sacred places where “Jews might kiss, and Infidels adore”; nay a party of them had even the impudence to pervade the Sanctum Sanctorum or innermost apartment, where the novelty of the friction was so extraordinary as to rouse the sleeping beauty.’ (‘Memoirs of Perdita’)

    25

    Stewart Home

    Home is an underground writer, artist and political activist born in London in 1962.In his own words‘Since my fingers were greased, I worked them into Sarah’s arse and soon she was bucking above me like an unbroken horse.’ (‘Cunt’)
    James Bridle (blogger at booktwo.org)
    ‘Stewart Home’s early novels gained him the dubious title of a cult writer, his Richard Allen-inspired, philosophy-spouting skinheads fighting and fucking their way through a pre-Docklands East End of class war and bent coppers. This reputation belies his erudition as art critic and cultural theorist, exploring the literary possibilities of the sex doll in “69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess” and the alternative history of ’60s Notting Hill in “Tainted Love”.’
    24

    Molly Parkin

    Artist, journalist and author Molly Parkin, 76, lives in a fuchsia-walled flat at World’s End, Kings Road, with her pornographic paintings. Born and raised in Pontycymmer, South Wales, she started life as an artist before becoming fashion editor of Nova, Harper’s & Queen and The Sunday Times in the 1960s. Life’s been eventful for this former drinking pal of the late Francis Bacon: childhood sex abuse, a rollercoaster career, two husbands, hundreds of lovers, bankruptcy and alcoholism. The epitome of bohemian London, the famously libidinous Parkin wrote the first of her ten erotic novels in 1972.
    Read interview with Molly Parkin

    23

    Sebastian Horsley


    Sebastian Horsley describes himself as a writer, artist and failed rock star (or suicide, depending on how melodramatic he feels), but none of these terms quite conveys the theatrical spectacle he has created. Best known for drugs, dandyism and having himself crucified in the name of art in the Philippines in 2000, Horsley admits to ‘reaching the limited genius available to people who can’t do anything’. Except, of course, Horsley has done plenty: most recently, written a salacious autobiography, flamboyantly titled ‘Dandy in the Underworld’.
    Read interview with Sebastian Horsley

    22

    Oscar Moore

    Oscar Moore was born in Barnet, north London, in 1960. After reading English at Cambridge he worked as a theatre critic for Time Out and Plays and Players. In 1991 he became editor of Screen International. The same year saw the publication of ‘A Matter of Life and Sex’ by Paper Drum. Moore had been HIV-positive since the mid-1980s. From 1993 until his death in 1996, he wrote a column for The Guardian, ‘PWA (Person With Aids)’, later collected in book form, in which he confronted the appalling deterioration in his health with remarkable courage.In his own words‘All the time he gorged and slurped on Hugo’s dick, he wanked his own, which swelled into a fat organ dribbling colourless fluid. Hugo moved his hips up and down, fucking the boy’s mouth… The holes in the walls had opened again and revealed a line of penises all aimed at him, all swollen, some purple with too much beating, others trapped inside their foreskins. They beat and beat like furious pistons.’(‘A Matter of Life and Sex’)
    Nicholas Royle (author ‘The Director’s Cut’, ‘Antwerp’)
    ‘Originally published by Brixton-based independent Paper Drum under the not-indecipherable pseudonym Alec F Moran, ‘A Matter of Life and Sex’, early chapters of which had been serialised in the wonderful magazine The Fred, was finally published under the author’s own name by Penguin in 1992. This highly graphic and sexually explicit tale of cottaging, escorting and clubbing is one of the most powerfully affecting and highly charged novels of the Aids era. It was so rude and so exciting, I began to wonder if I might have ticked the wrong box and wandered into the wrong lifestyle.’

    21

    Maxim Jakubowski

    Maxim Jakubowski is well known to crime fans as a critic and as the owner of Murder One bookshop on Charing Cross Road. But his own fiction is largely in the erotica field. He’s proud to be known as ‘the king of the erotic thriller’, and hard-boiled sex noirs such as ‘The State of Montana’ and ‘Because She Thought She Loved Me’ have attracted Hollywood attention. In his own words‘To feel herself filled to the brim when he made love to her. To again experience a man’s cock growing inside her as it ploughed her, stretched her. To take a penis, savour its hardening inside her mouth, to hear a man moan above her as he came, shuddered, shouted out obscenities or religious adjectives, and experience the heat waves coursing from cunt to heart to brain… No fish face at the moment of climax with this new man.’ (‘Paris Noir’) Matt Thorne (author ‘Tourist’, ‘Cherry’) ‘Unlike many erotic writers, who tend to grow shy when reading to an audience, Jakubowski is just as good at performing his work live, and I once witnessed him prove to be the only writer on a packed bill able to reduce a loud, rowdy audience to silence with the shocking explicitness of his prose.’ 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

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‘It was past three o’clock, when Calantha opened the cabinet where the page’s clothes were formerly kept, and drew from thence his mantle and plumed hat; and thus disguised, prepared for the interview [with Glenarvon].’ (‘Glenarvon’)‘The crushed body of the sportscar had turned her into a being of free and perverse sexuality, releasing within its dying chromium and leaking engine-parts, all the deviant possibilities of her sex.’ (‘Crash’) ‘It’s no discovery, of course, that cars are objects of desire. But it took Ballard to go that logical extra step: if cars are going to get it on, then they need to crash. This isn’t just about Volvo-protected voyeurism, it’s about exchanging body fluids upon impact, it’s about suicidal interpenetrations. Ballard takes thing-sex to the point of polymorphous perversity. Anything can be sexier than sex – buildings, airplanes, deserted swimming pools. Even Shepperton. Or, as Ballard would insist, especially Shepperton.’ ‘You like him coming in your face?’‘Yes.’ ‘What does it taste like?’ ‘It tastes like you, but sweeter.’ (‘Closer’)‘It was said of “Closer” that it was about “sexual politics”, but it’s a strength of the play that it’s not. It’s about sex. In the play sex is tender, romantic, loving, casual, intense, brutal, selfish, squalid, savage; a blessing and a curse. It’s the underscoring of each life. “Why is the sex so important?” is the agonised cry of Anna to her partner when they’re confessing their mutual infidelities. “BECAUSE I’M A FUCKING CAVEMAN!” screams Larry, the mild dermatologist.’ ‘At last a whole convocation of [ants] crept up the pillars of the Cytherean temple, sporting in those sacred places where “Jews might kiss, and Infidels adore”; nay a party of them had even the impudence to pervade the Sanctum Sanctorum or innermost apartment, where the novelty of the friction was so extraordinary as to rouse the sleeping beauty.’ (‘Memoirs of Perdita’) ‘Since my fingers were greased, I worked them into Sarah’s arse and soon she was bucking above me like an unbroken horse.’ (‘Cunt’)‘Stewart Home’s early novels gained him the dubious title of a cult writer, his Richard Allen-inspired, philosophy-spouting skinheads fighting and fucking their way through a pre-Docklands East End of class war and bent coppers. This reputation belies his erudition as art critic and cultural theorist, exploring the literary possibilities of the sex doll in “69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess” and the alternative history of ’60s Notting Hill in “Tainted Love”.’24 Read interview with Molly Parkin Read interview with Sebastian Horsley ‘All the time he gorged and slurped on Hugo’s dick, he wanked his own, which swelled into a fat organ dribbling colourless fluid. Hugo moved his hips up and down, fucking the boy’s mouth… The holes in the walls had opened again and revealed a line of penises all aimed at him, all swollen, some purple with too much beating, others trapped inside their foreskins. They beat and beat like furious pistons.’(‘A Matter of Life and Sex’)‘Originally published by Brixton-based independent Paper Drum under the not-indecipherable pseudonym Alec F Moran, ‘A Matter of Life and Sex’, early chapters of which had been serialised in the wonderful magazine The Fred, was finally published under the author’s own name by Penguin in 1992. This highly graphic and sexually explicit tale of cottaging, escorting and clubbing is one of the most powerfully affecting and highly charged novels of the Aids era. It was so rude and so exciting, I began to wonder if I might have ticked the wrong box and wandered into the wrong lifestyle.’‘To feel herself filled to the brim when he made love to her. To again experience a man’s cock growing inside her as it ploughed her, stretched her. To take a penis, savour its hardening inside her mouth, to hear a man moan above her as he came, shuddered, shouted out obscenities or religious adjectives, and experience the heat waves coursing from cunt to heart to brain… No fish face at the moment of climax with this new man.’ (‘Paris Noir’) ‘Unlike many erotic writers, who tend to grow shy when reading to an audience, Jakubowski is just as good at performing his work live, and I once witnessed him prove to be the only writer on a packed bill able to reduce a loud, rowdy audience to silence with the shocking explicitness of his prose.’ 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

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