Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I know very little about this artist apart from what appears on his website and most of that is in German which I don't read. But, what an amazing artist! Mainly nudes and semi-nude adolescents in incredibly candid, restful poses which give a real sense of the langour or adolescence, as if life is paused in that transitional state. The 'unfinished' or more sketchy work is as beautiful as the more fully realised paintings. Well worth spending some time at his site...

The Perfect Penis

Last night's Channel Four documentary on the 'Perfect Penis' turned out to be both disappointing and bizarre. How can a program entitled the 'Perfect Penis' turn into a parade of the most grotesque distortions of the the penis ever seen on television? Of course, the program was actually about the 'search for...' the perfect penis and therefore felt justified delving into the most extreme manifestations of penile enhancement. This included the rather sad story of "Mister Mark" - star of extremecock.org, whose passion was for every increasing silicone implants into his penis and testicles until the result was something like a vast and ugly looking vegetable incapable of penetrative sex - his testicles measuring 24" (that's 2 feet!) around. Whilst he tried vainly to couch this 'odyssey' in terms of performance art/body modification/societal challenge, it was clear that this was little more than the outworking of psychological malfunction. The end of the program informed us that he was seriously ill with doctors unsure if he had a serious pneumonia or a silicone embolism.

But it did make me think on what a 'perfect penis' actually is. I'd hate to speculate on perfection but there are some qualities - notably absent from discussion in the program which I think, IMHO, make a great dick stand out from the crowd.

Let's get the size thing out of the way first... Size does matter, but I suspect not quite in the way that it is always thought about. We are now told that girth is as important as length. I'm not sure this is strictly true. What I look for in penile size is more to do with a combination of the two - a quality we might call 'heft'. I think I would prefer to weigh penises than to measure them. Wouldn't that be cool on all the dating and sex sites if people had to give a figure in pounds not inches! Again, even more important than sheer quantity, in weight or length, is 'proportion' - a good penis is in nice proportion to the body it springs from and to the balls that hang beneath it. A good penis is not one that looks so outlandish that it seems 'stuck on' to its owner.

There are other qualities I like too. The angle of erection. There's something about a more than 45 degree stand that gives a cock an air of excitment and energy. The skin quality is important too: a good cock is one which fills its own skin - not to bursting - but to a taught, soft, velvety strechedness. Hair! I don't think there's any necessary requirement to shave hair but a good penis is never lost in a wild tangle, not is it mounted on a clean-shaved pubis unless that pubic bone is clearly hard and flat and not mounded by fat. There's something about darker pubic hair too which, if not carefully managed, can make a penis and balls seem dirty - and who wants to chow down on a cock which has hair growing three-quarters of the way up the shaft.

The perfect shape is more difficult to define but again it has to do with proportion and balance. The 'mushroom head' is interesting but not pretty. The 'greek vase point' is worrying... In shape I would like to see a penis which is straight or only finely curved, has a head in proportion to the width of the cock and where that soft underside tube is nicely defined in erection...

These are surely some of the things which go towards defining a 'good penis' and whilst there may be no such thing as a perfect penis, wouldn't it have made a more interesting TV program?

Monday, January 30, 2006


This is a short piece I found recently in one of my notebooks about a school friend (let's call him J) and a particularly frustrating teenage attempt at seduction.

It was summer. We walked to my house one afternoon although I not sure from where. J and I were not best friends but our orbit at school had some overlap, both of us in the performing arts clique although he was more technical than me. The lead up to that day was a brief period of experimental friendship, hanging out together a few times, I think both of us surprised by it. One night I stayed over as his house, sleeping on a matress on the floor beside his bed. We talked a lot about sex and I outed myself as bisexual (which, at fifteen, I think I believed at the time). He didn't quite shy away. Perhaps slightly intrigued. One image of him that night: climing out from under the covers, moving across his bed on all fours in his underwear to reach for something on a shelf. I remember his tan on what seemed a perfectly taught skin; I remember the briefs were grey and how they stretched over his arse and I remember being sntranced by the surprizing size of the bulge in the front.

I must have been trying by that time because I remember him saying 'No!, I know what you really want" - and although I don't remember what the question was, it was only years later that I realised he though I wanted to fuck him. At the time I hadn't thought about it.

The day that we walked to my house together from somewhere unremembered it was warm and sunny. I was bolder and bolder. Contrast the upfront questions I asked of him, 'try it, try it, you'll never know until you try it,' with the naivite that took years to understand his basic responses. He said, he didn't want to but I kept going until I guess I was pestering him. He had large brown eyes which balanced nicely with large brown nipples. After some hours in my room - doing nothing in particular - he said, 'why don't you stop talking about it and just do it?' I had him lie on the bed, I knelt beside it and unbuttoned his jeans. I took out his cock and sucked it. More years had to pass before I realised he had been circumcised, and even then not because I remembered the fact but because somehow I finally became aware, long after we lost touch, that he was Jewish. As I think about his cock I get a sense of clean lines and vigorousness, a fresh smell and wiry pubic hair which stopped dead at its edges to leave hairless, light brown skin.

My cock never left my pants. I blew him for some time before he said he was nervous (my parents were downstairs), he said he wasn't even properly hard (which seemed less than the truth from where I was). He buttoned up after a few minutes of failed persuasion. He was kind about it, perhaps because of his role in making it finally happen. There is an utterly inexplicable fragment of memory attached to this event: a daisy with melting petals. We were civil afterwards but the experimental friendship ended there.

Three pieces of remembered dialogue:
"No! I know what you really want"
"Why don't you stop talking about it and just do it?"
"I can't even get it properly hard"

Later: I have a vague recollection of J going to America one summer to be a camp counsellor. There he met an older woman, the camp nurse, with whom he had he first proper affair and to whom he lost his virginity. As I write this I am doubting. It may have been a dream I had about him. It may be that it was true, that I heard the story and dreamed-in the details.

More Trent Ford

Well, I said I wasn't going to do this very often but just for Can't Sit Still, here are a few more Trent Ford pics and a few just to prove that he was indeed in The West Wing; these captures are from the episode, 'Guns not Butter' [2003].

Theodore Sturgeon

There are two reasons why I am becoming a fan of Theodore Sturgeon, the first is that he comes highly recommended by Samuel Delany (which has to be good news in my book) and the second is that, whilst most people claim that Science Fiction is a literature of ideas and not characters, Sturgeon (along with Delany and a few others) is an exception to this rule. In the two collections of short stories I have so far read it's quite clear that for Sturgeon, the very reason for writing science fiction is as an investigation into the human condition.

The short story, The World Well Lost is one of the best early pieces of gay-interest science fiction I've ever read. A sympathetic and gently ironic story, made all the more convincing by the fact it was first published at the height of McCarthyism in the US in 1953. It's well understood that of all the art forms science fiction was the only one which managed to continue real social commentary and to promulgate more liberal ideals under the McCarthy reign of terror - but even so...

I also particularly liked the story of how Sturgeon's book I, Libertine came to be written. It's a non-genre novel and started out as a myth. The radio presenter and satirist Jean Shepherd had a radio show called 'Night People' and to try and prove that there were 'night people' in the world and 'day people' and just how separate they were Shepherd and his viewers made up a book, they began to go to bookstores and request it and soon there was a huge and growing demand for this book, which didn't exist. It was only some time later when Shepherd met Sturgeon that a collaboration was suggested and the book was finally writen, published under Sturgeon's pseudonym, Frederick Ewing. A much better literary hoax than the current JT Leroy scam I would say...!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Science Fiction Book Club

Sometimes book collecting doesn't have to be about scouring the world for the last remaining first edition of a particular title in mint condition and paying half a major lottery win for it. Traditionally it's harder to sell hardback book club editions of books than it is to sell a good readable paperbacks. So book club books are normally - CHEAP! So when I found the books published by The Science Fiction Book Club in the UK from the 50s to the 70s and saw the fantastic retro looking covers I thought - there's a ready-made cheap and rather good looking collection to be had. The advantages of this are manifold - the books are cheap, they published, on the whole, only good books, some of which are now unreachably expensive in true first edition, and because of their uniformity they make a nice bookshelf display. The challenges are that they were made of poor quality materials and you have to be really careful to get a pretty good condition copy of any particular book and often the DJs have gone walkabout and the spines of the DJs have a tendency towards grubbiness. The SFBC used a number of different cover formats over the years (I don't go past the early 70s simply because I don't like the covers after that point). They began in the late fifties and early sixties with covers that were one bright colour and white in a distinctive 'bubble' design - most of the cover being the colour. Then they moved into a mainly white cover (these are the one's which most often have badly stained/dirty spines) and used a single colour for title, author and a rather nice 'dandylion head' design which appeared in some variation on all the covers. Then towards the end of that period they moved into DJs in what would have then been cutting edge b/w photographic designs, which still look great today.

There will, at some point be some illustrations with this post - but right now, the damn blogosphere is jammed and won't let me upload them...!

Trent Ford

Have had so much I've wanted to blog about recently but only a couple of hours each day at the computer and other things have pushed it out. So today I'm introducing you to another lust object - something I'm not going to do very often because there's a million and one places to find such smutty niceness on the internet - but this guy is a notch above in my humble opinion. Trent Ford, actor and model who I met for the first time during my insatiable watching of the West Wing.
More Here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


In the course of putting together the Tarcissus booklet (see below) I spent some time googling St Tarcisius (Rolfe's spelling is eccentric), looking on the whole for inspiration for an illustration or two. In doing so I came across this most fantastic statue ot Tarcisius in the Musee D'Orsay. I'm in love - I want to lick, kiss and lie down naked next to this staue. Looking at him there you begin to realise why marmoreal has been such a common adjective in poetry to descrbe skin, you begin to realise just what a sucessful medium for figurative poetry marble has been over the centuries. There is something so sensual about it and the cool smoothness just enough to remove it from the feel of real skin to make it exotic, a bit fetishistic and somehow doubly attractlve. In the end I used an early twentieth century Holy Card for the interior illustration in Tarcissus, but had I been able to do proper photographic reproduction, this is what would have been in booklet.

PS. First decent night's sleep in day last night (I think the strategy of ignoring the hour and just doing creative/useful things whilst not sleeping probably helped) still feeling a little light headed and confused about what day it is and so on but on the whole much better. Thank you 'Can't Sit Still' for empathic words...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Insomnia and the latest publication

So, I decided that if I'm gonna be awake between midnight and 5am I might as well do something constructive with the time. I have been promising myself an attempt at a hard back book for a long time now and I had all the materials so last night was the night. I'm insufferably proud of the result. A forty page hardback book which looks and feels like a high quality production. This is Three Tales of Venice by Frederick Rolfe which I'm hoping will appeal to the collectors of material on Venice as well as the Corvomaniacs. This is a proof copy - the text block I used was un-checked and it will be a little while before I have finished copies to put online for sale but frankly I'm almost in a place where I want to frame this one. The whole book has a real feel to it.

From my introduction:
"The stories presented here are not major pieces of literature: they are amusing and anecdotal. They do provide, however, an excellent showcase for Rolfe's passion and the sheer force of life that was in him. They also contain some of the most beautiful descriptions of the Venetian Lagoon to be found anywhere in English"

PS. Thank you 'Can't Sit Still' for checking in and having a look at the R photos. And to 'Porcelain Skull' for leaving comments to. :-) the anthology blog mentioned below is still on the cards too... watch this space...

Insomnia - The Weather Girls - It's Raining Men!

If you've only had two or three hours sleep in the previous 48, you need something to keep you going. So I decided to put together a hi-nrg mix on my mp3 player and set off through the city with 'It's Raining Men' flooding every level of sensory perception! It's only when you plug it straight into your brain like that you begin to appreciate just what a fantastic piece of songwriting it was. Raining men is, of course, a conceit, in the proper literary critical sense of the word - how many song lyrics these days have the guts to use conceits. Then the wit and play with it goes throughout the song. 'Rip off the roof and stay in bed' - 'I'm gonna go out and get myself absolutely soaking wet' - 'God bless mother nature, she's a single woman too'. What with the not so sutble subversion of gospel as well (the song is peppered with screams of Halleliuah and Amen) it's hardly surprising it's become the gay anthem it is today.

I make no apology for liking the crass and tacky things I like!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Insomnia and New Plans

People who just occasionally find it difficult to get to sleep can have no conception of what real insomnia is like. For as long as I can remember I have had sleep problems and this has only been exacerbated recently by some traumatic events a couple of years ago. These now cause real sleep problems in two periods of the year as their anniversary's come and go. January to April is one of those periods. Four hours sleep this morning, three the night before - sleep deprivation is serious business - ask the residents of Guantanamo Bay! It's not just the physical tiredness which causes problems but the mood swings that it engenders, and the sense of real frustration bordering on anger and rage at not being able to sleep. I look at R, sleeping like a log (what a great if overused simile!) while I'm still wide awake next to him and wonder what that must be like, to be able to just drop off like that.

Rant over...

New plans. In the next few days I'm setting up a companion blog. An attempt at a new kind of anthology, which I suppose, in a way is what all blogging is about. My intention is to put down all those snippets of poetry and prose that come my way in the course of dealing in and collecting books. Pretty much looking to put down things you're unlikely to find anywhere else on the internet without an industrial strength search engine - and of course, I expect the most of it will be queer in some way or another... Watch this space...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New Publications

Yesterday was a day of editing, printing, art-ing, folding, sewing and sticking and lo! two new publications were born. I recently got permission to reprint a short story by Forrest Reid called Pan's Pupil. Reid was perhaps the best twentieth century writer on the theme of 'the sensitive boy' and spent most of his writing career on just that subject, often placing the boy in vaguely supernatural situations and often in sub-homosexual relationships with men and other boys. Pan's Pupil, though short is a sweet little story which shows Reid 'setting out his store' as it were in the first piece of fiction he ever published (in 1905), this is it's first republication since then.

The second booklet I am even more proud of, in terms of the way it looks, Tarcissus: Boy Martyr of Rome by Frederick Rolfe aka Baron Corvo, is again the first published piece by the author. It's a longish poem written for boys about the martyrdom of a young boy in the Diocletian persecutions in the third century AD. You can already see in this poem how important it was to Rolfe to conflate the beautiful and the good. The booklet is in textured card covers with the cover design hand painted onto each one. Both are in limited editions of 50 and both are already selling pretty well although in the end I would expect the Rolfe to outsell the Reid.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Dominic Murphy

R recently came home with an ebay purchase I knew nothing about in advance... as ever... before he realised how broke we were this month. A piece of original artwork by Dominic Murphy. Dark, slightly twisted, nicely executed. The pictures here are from his 'Alice in Wonderland' series, plus one I just like called Mr Bumble. More on his website.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Characters on the Buses

There's something theraputic about travelling by bus - at least off peak! When I lived in Nice in the South of France for a year I met and got to know a tiny old woman known only as the comptesse, who had once been English (goodness only know now what she counts as) who had married into French nobility and lived an extraordinary life, then through a series of bizarre chances had been widowed and found herself living in a tiny, dark one room flat in the poorest part of Nice, surrounded by memories of a life all flown away. I have been fascinated by people with stories like that ever since.

So, buses... This morning I'm the only person on the bus with the driver and a little old woman sat in the front seat. She has a huge fur trimmed parka jacket on, a bulging shopping trolley (which looks more like a small tank) and a little fake fur hat pulled so close around her face that all you can see of her is a crosshatching of lines on skin. She's talking to the driver in a typical rough Portsmouth drawl but they get talking about India. She once lived there - he once served there in some military capacity. She talks for twenty minutes in rushed glottal stops about partition, the Ghandi dynasty, the political situation now and and twenty years ago and then, when India is exhausted, they move onto the Israel/Palestine situation and a sophisticated (far more sophisticated than I could manage) discussion of the implications of Premiere Sharon's illness. What a fascinating life she might have had...

Two stops into the journey and some ten year old kid with a snotty nose and cold face the colour of roses gets on and sits in front of me. He spends ten minutes watching a pornographic Simpsons cartoon on his mobile and squirming on his seat a lot. When he finally notices that he's displaying it over his shoulder to me as well he turns redder still, says nothing and turns it off and starts humming to himself.

It's a real pisser in so many ways not having the car on the road, but I love the things it shows me too.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Year comes in shades of grey

One of the things about living in a city by the sea, and I guess anywhere by the sea, is that, no matter how crappy a place it might be, you always feel as if that expanse, that horizon, those possibilities that stretch out from one edge of the city are a part of where you live. Walking to work this morning along the seafront, the sky has clamped down and is a uniform white-grey, the drizzle is soft but penetrating and suddenly Portsmouth is a place with only itself because the sea has been cut off in the damp haze. It's why weather like this is more affecting when you live by the sea, suddenly you are reminded that there is only the city...

PS. PorcelainSkull, glad you liked the R pictures and yes they are my photographs and my digital work on top. For those who might not have read further back in this blog, R is my partner and on New Year's Day we celebrated 10 years...
Who links to my website?