We came here, then, in 2000: I was emaciated and could not eat properly. Today, I am in (somewhat) more stable health; and weigh 2 and a half stone more . Today, I am staying in a pent house (room)


It is St.Ives: visual heaven and commercial trashcan (blue and white “St Ives School” paintings flood the town; there is no respite).

Back again,via the 2000 excursus, to another, far more distant  THEN:Aberystwyth in 1980/81. So, as , NOW(2017) I draw the curtains on my first morning(and like the uncanny ABC drapeIMG_5672, I draw it onto my past) I have a view that equates, in many ways, with my sublime demesne of that sweet yesteryear: South Marine Terrace(Number 9, “The Mariner”; now, ironically,self-catering apartments).It is still the Irish Sea, there is  a not dissimilar promontory. Even a graveyard, in Cornwall as there was in Y Castell grounds in Aber.IMG_7713 IMG_7711Aber was present, yet distant; beyond; but also, queerly, ATHWART time, in the counterpoint of memories and the here and now. Two places; and ONE place.

Unlike the spectral revenant which was the return to the Isle of Man

this was not a slightly sinister, negative experience. I suppose the fact I had last visited St. Ives 17, rather than 42, years ago(I.O.M) was a factor; and Aber is NEVER an uncanny or eerie place to re-visit.:).

So, three times, two places… now… and then.. and then…


Of what nature are these across/beyond time sebaldian, liminal experiences and co-incidences IMG_7569

?:… Visiting the failing Great Eastern Hotel(in the un-refurbished Liverpool Street station)at , roughly, the same time as Sebald; being “Benson”/Benson, me and Michael Carson’s character(in “Stripping Penguins Bare”) BOTH gay male English Lit students with the same surname at (very approximately) the same epoch, both at Aberystwyth !!!! All I needed was to see Max-himself-stood there on the promontory, as he did, in a photo inserted in “The Rings of Saturn”, in Suffolk, looking out to sea….IMG_7734




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Archiving Time (4)

Wolflin’s considered, considerable and beautifully penned response to my chaos-with-order archive. Exqusite:) xx

Attic Fantasist

We entered the study proper. This is where the archon attends to the business of everyday life. It is also a space of precious artefacts. The messy stuff of life sorted on one side, a life curated on the other where the bookshelves are situated. A constantly shifting curation of books, booklets, pamphlets, recorded material is ‘faced off’ (in the bookseller’s lingo) in line with the archon’s current remembrance of time past. Like drawers being opened here, there and everywhere. Some of the titles already archived under the aegis of our existing project have found their way into the study proper, the inner sanctum of the inner sanctum, the beating heart of a rainbow-coloured ark. Archiving liberates the hidden into the faced-off. You look at the book looking at you, there’s a moment of instant recognition, its contents or some idea of its contents hove in sight on the horizon…

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“hermeneutics are a branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation{eg of texts}”

“hermeneutics are a method or theory of interpretation”


  1. A VERY vexed field, SOLELY because societal homophobia/heterosexism/heteronormativity has MADE it so.
  2. Reflects each lgbtq person’s (self) positionality on the spectrum from heavily internalised homo/cisphobia upto (relative; it is NEVER complete) RE-ENVISIONNING of the world in my/your/our queer/gay/trans terms (It takes a lot of therapy and a context in a queer/gay subculture of support networks/friends. That is just for starters!)
  3. {I am attempting to read Holly Furneaux “Queer Dickens:Erotics, Families, Masculinities” (2009), specifically in relation to my parallel reading of “David Copperfield” ; and, even more particularly, the gay hermeneutics of the relationship of Steerforth and the protagonist; as well as the queer hermeneutics of Mr. Dick and various other bachelors, surrogate parents and spinster ladies. (Compare my own and Helen Finch’s work on the queer hermeneutics of Sebald’s oevre, especially his narrators )}
  4. The whole panoply of heterosex is arrayed, in its ostentatious display(flaunting itself and thrusting it down our fey, gay throats). Literary interpretation is no exception to what is both an unconscious and CONSCIOUS/disingenuous barrage. Of course, this leads to:
  5. Us gays/queers INTERNALIZE this (keeping) control bid (“the aggressive heterosexual”:P); and we reverse the situation and feel WE are imposing a worldview on THEM (I really do not want this “us and them” but it is necessary, temporarily at least, to make the point, as was radical separatist feminism). So, when someone says, “there can’t possibly be a homoerotic sub{its always sub, like subaltern}text(blah, blah, blah….”, we (us gays and queers) feel we are up against the heterosexualized worldview and our own internalization of that as “the norm”; so we ARE, we think, IMPOSING a queer/gay hermeneutic; compounded by
  6. (legal and,thus,self) censorship pre Woolfenden (and that is only in the UK, and sans consideration of the complex invisibilization process of lesbians) so us gays/queers are MADE to feel we are arguing against the (textual) grain. It is tiring; AND, it is, self-evidently, an aporia:
  7. Its Catch-22. We struggle to prove a queer/gay {forget the sub} text because censorship edited it out, so we have to be ever so tentative (not Holly F. though!:)); then THEY say, there isn’t one (“you are reading too much into Steerforth’s affection for DC and vice versa”; you re “gay, gay , gay”{meant to be a “joke”}) TEDIOUS….HOMOPHOBIC)
  8. Heteronormativity has made interpretation, like life(sometimes!) hard for us(though there is something joyful in re-appropriation, and queer hermeneutics,a stand for selfhood!:))So,
  9. You have to ACT into queer/gay hermeneutics, bolstered with previous gay/lgbt/trans/queer theorists- the brave trailblazers-; use tangents (like Furneaux’s idea of the “body double”- man to man love emblemised(DISTANCED, in effect) by having female characters take the place, as love-object, of the same-sex(actual!) beloved/desired.
  10. Just as in life (and literature is one of the superstructures of that essential base, to be a bit Marxist) we have always had to DIG our gay/queer/trans selves out of the rubble of heterosexism/normativity, strewn in our way; (not to mention reproductive futurism). WOW! No wonder its a hard endeavour.
  11. {ENOUGH, for now, anyway, this unearthing has fatigued me greatly}


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When Chris and I archived for the second time, I had the (random) idea to  pick out, randomly- and hopefully serendipitously and pertinently- groups of 5 “naughty” (please read for that: thinking outside the hegemonic/heteronormative box) books, especially books that the straight academy like to dispute as “that cannot possibly be homoerotic” et al.. blah, blah, blah…they HAVE to dispute (from psycho-social deep insecurities in their selves:”Oh my God{subconsciously, in a fear reaction}”I might be gay”: you hear their strangulated inner voices crying this plea). This is boring and stressful. I am working, here, from the PRO-LGBT/gay/queer place/space/time where EVERY TEXT IS (at least possibly) gay/queer UNLESS THERE IS REASONABLE evidence that there is opposite-sex affect. This is only temporary; it is NOT heterophobic because it, briefly, corrects an institutionalised (and,thus,internailesd homo/transphobic) imbalance. In short, it turns the tables:)! {deal with it !}. …. Imagine saying, in a literary class, with (putative?) heterosexual people in attendance,that this “cannot possibly be heterosexual” when there is clear(OR mooted!) textual evidence to the contrary. It is clearly offensive( do you see where I am going?). { I recommend this book  if you can find it! It REALLY DOES turn everything on its head .}

Some of the “examples”, of where there can definitively (allegedly) be no homo-erotic (sub) text, are risible: the sperm scene and marriage bed scene (between two men) in Melville:”Moby Dick”; or plainly homo-affective parts of Forster’s (non “Maurice”) oevre. Others are-for the gay/queer, alternative academy, harder to argue- and require close textual exegesis, bearing in mind (self) censorship was rife of overtly homosexual material (an example would be Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s “Lady Audley’s Secret”, which, after minimal digging, turns up a homosexual man, Robert). Well, any doubt… and they are gay, in my book(!). I am being bad, and playful; yet I MEAN it:P!. From a logistical point of view the physical display/shelving of my books reflects this psychological mindset: the (primarily) straight content books-novels and critical theory- are at the BACK of double-layered shelves!The same-sex/queer affect content ones are ALL at the front/on display/FLAUNTING IT {they love that put-down} And my queer/gay study SOLELY contains same sex/queer love-affect content material

So the putative randomness is not so random and was a tad disingenuous: I picked/grabbed, for Chris to catalogue,”contentious” (as perceived by the heteronormative conglomerate and aggregate) texts: I stole from the precious, insecure heterosexual canon (I robbed from them: books they claimed as theirs:Dickens, James, even Shakespeare!:P). I also chose samizdat, pre-Woolfenden texts, by obscure publishers, with garish colours, which- somehow- got away with “flaunting it” in full daylight (Panther, New English Library imprints). I WRESTED and WRESTLED back OUR gay/queer territory, which had, for centuries, been subject to a massive land-grab.

(More archival ramblings soon:))……

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I sat outside the Bookshop,as I had sat in “The Cabin” café (and, frequently, visited Ystwyth Books, Aberystwyth, looking for book nougats,THEN,as I do NOW). Now is 2017; then is 1978. Liverpool now; “Aber” (as affectionately known by present and former denizens) then. Time boundaries(place boundaries?) collapsing, melding and melting…

NOW: the Bookshop(and associated café) is quite full: the students are back, of course; it is the 20th September.

THEN: I was 18 and 19; it is the gap between seminars/lectures, a Monday morning, in the café in Pier Street, lecturer co-mingling with his students. I didn’t (fully) know who I was, then, but there was an UNknowing, blythe happiness….and some angst… One of the most beautiful(yet painful in re-ignition: in the gap/passing years betwixt now and then, the erstwhile, foregone time of yore, {so painful I am reduced to archaic tautologies, to put the pain at a distance})memories is walking down Penglais Hill{ 1 in 7 }, in October 1978, from the new university to the old, replete with briefcase, swinging it as I walked. It was just before my birthday, my first birthday in Aber and I was both looking forward to being back in Liverpool and celebrating my new home in West Wales (I had hardly even been homesick: I had surprised myself!). It was a Wednesday: I remember that because we had no lectures on that day; so I would go to the arts library on the hill, rather than the shorter(hill-less) walk to Hen Coleg/Old College, where English Lit students(still, then) had lectures. Image result for old college aberystwyth

It was a month after I had moved into Bridge Street, a B and B where the landlady housed students for 8 months per year(on account of the seaside town’s very short tourist, summer season).  Image result for sunnymead aberystwyth

{It looks just the same: I had , in fact, re-visited it, in the early 2000s, and the landlady Mark 2 had allowed me to go up to my former room; a bit modernised but mainly as it had been; a real time-slip}.

Everything-in a vague, blythe way- seemed to play for….THEN; NOW(thirty-eight years later!) this is difficult (again beautiful yet painful) to recall….You can’t {platitude} re-gain/re-possess the past: we HAVE ONLY remembrances and memories….



is it REALLY 38 years ago that:-

….I went with mum-IMG_6276IMG_6280{the one on the left is me) to the remote outpost of Aberystwyth on the (British Rail!) train, calling at all stations to Aberystwyth, Image result for aberystwyth railway station three weeks before term-start(because I had-luckily-got into that university through the administrations of the HeadMaster at the last minute): to look for “digs”. We had 6 hours,till the last train to Shrewsbury: we, eventually, located the canary yellow “Sunnymead Guest House”. Mrs Morgan; and her husband…he played the Organ(honestly:”Organ Morgan”; seriously!). We liked the house, resplendent in gay (!!!!!) colours and we liked Mrs Morgan{Mark One because, this being Wales/Cymru, there was a second Mrs Morgan; I kid you not}. I was sorted… I arrived to stay at the end of September, with luggage( in a massive ship’s trunk) to follow by the single-track railway; I made friends, with fellow demesne-dwellers, and chatted, in the makeshift kitchen, with the marijuana man.

….I went to lectures in Hen Coleg/Old College and came home to Sunnymead in between; I boiled my primitive kettle (it did not turn itself off!!); well, actually, it was, at first, merely a flask; I dutifully, yet(weirdly) avidly, read my Latin and Greek works (in translation). …

{They say your most ETCHED memories are from the teen years; fixed forever).

{I just want to recall static captures-as memory does, FIXING images-like photographs,stood still in time’s unceasing flow}:

“The Cabin” Image result for aberystwyth the cabin per street{as modernised}

The other (tacky) Pier St cafe

Galloways Uni bookshop

Herberts Little record(vinyl) emporium {no picture of that on the internet(:}

South Marine Terrace,; and “The Mariner”(No 9) where I later lived in sea-view, bay-window splendour Image result for aberystwyth south marine terrace

The labyrinthine passages and turrets of Hen Coleg Image result for old college aberystwyth university leading to one knew not where, lectures on the fifth floor(sans lift!).





NOW: the students gather in the Book and coffee shop and environs: me (then); them(now). You see the pain?! Not that I ever REGRET going to Aber(instead of Oxford, where they wanted me to go; but I never got the grades): it is, surely, the most exquisitely beautiful small city(it SHOULD be a city, but failed its bid), nestled, with steep-toppling streets {an ersatz Dylan Thomasian phrase from an early poem!} betwixt sea and mountains… But, you see, Aber was-and IS- a trace, blasted from my past into my present and future, HERE/NOW , sitting outside The Bookshop, as the summer evaporates into autumn. I see, NOW, the students going through a similar, archetypal rite of passage, leaving their birthplaces; freedom from parental control and intervention; freedom to make friends; freedom to be gay, straight, bi or trans; freedom to study…. I had that too…



I am walking down Great Darkgate Street(eerie name) to my bank

I am walking along the seafront to “kick the bar” ( a local superstition, for what purpose, I am uncertain: it was just a rail at the end of the sea-front, by Constitution Hill).

I walk round(in memory) my bridge Street little room: convector heater, aforesaid kettle, orange alarm clock(on my one bookshelf), the double bed 3/4 filling the room, old gramophone, rickety table(doubling as a desk).


CAN you regain the past? No. But you can preserve and treasure it in your memory(and with the help of photos and internet captures),You can RECORD it in writing  (however haphazardly,as in these askew memories). It is better than obliteration… but it hurts… Now.. and… then…


I WREST myself, back to NOW, outside The Bookshop, in autumn 2017, amidst the self-contained campus of, not Aber, but LIVERPOOL. Now.. and then: the freedom I lived in the past aids freedom in the present and future.

The Bookshop,University of Liverpool campus, 20.11.17; AND

“SunnyMead”, 34 Bridge Street, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion.




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Archiving Time (3)

Wolflin, my archivist’s, further creative ruminations, definitions and anti-defintions of an archive. p. s you can call me a puff, Chris(if u want); I LIKE the word, baggage and what not :P:) x

Attic Fantasist

Archiving Time is an occasion and a process, the ‘sessions’ to which I have been referring and the sense in which history is (being) mined. There are dates, many of them, and they construct time as much as we are constructed by them. The irregular dates of the archon’s life in relation to their books drizzle the official dates indicated in the bibliography like rain. Have a look at the archon’s annotations of ‘the list’ (‘list’ remains a problematic term): inscriptions hailing from the books are enlarged after the fact, but some annotations are offered as post-facto inscriptions. Here and there, Archiving Time bears the irregular marks of the archon’s signature – not the one required to make a payment, of course, but the one in which the self signing can be discerned.

Archiving Time happens in a place. In the previous post in this series, I referred to the…

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Thanks to Chris Madden, my archivist-in-chief, for catalysing these random musings:)

{this is a list}

  1. An archive(?),a catalogue(?) a list(?), a marginalia-ised/personalised list(?).
  2. A gay man’s (personal) gay/queer book archive or alternative nomenclatures above.
  3. Other approximate synonyms: assemblage, constellations (books circling round each other-and heteronormativity- in rhizomatically connected patterns)
  4. I do not want to be (overly) concerned with defining “archive”(though that is a noble task:)). Chris is more than able to do that glorious task; rather, I, personally, FEEL my archive: an alternative to the sign: which is made up of the signifier (“archive”) not quite/accurately matching up to the signified(a gaggle of queer/gay books, riotous, with attempts at organisation but overflowing categorization, like queerness itself!).
  5. Ergo, LIFE, which books reflect (and vice versa), is not always sequential/linear/categorisable; nor is thought itself. Life and thought are-more often and truthfully-tangential, contrapuntal, contingent (sometimes); layers running concomitantly and in parallel. The LIFE archive- of gay books mirroring a gay life{ever so gay/what a gay day}-reflects that polyphonic approach.
  6. Hence-possibly-Chris’s (here ) musings and (understandable) uncertainties,as to whether to order or not to order or in WHICH order; and his similar concern(a creative, freeing one)- inspiring these very thoughts now- re nomenclature(s).
  7. Chris raised the point-sensitively aware of the grave {sic!} implications of an archive- that this is not some morbid reckoning of something finished/in the past; nay, it points towards the future: of MORE gay/queer texts acquired (and hopefully catalogued!), of links between past, present and FUTURE, as gaps are filled in the collection but also in LIFE, MY/Steve’s Life; and, Chris’s life too.Traces (to use derridean, Munozian, Benjamin-esque) analogies, “blasted forth ” from the past into the future; not so much detritus as  building blocks of the future: for example, the typical “coming out against adversity{homophobia/heterosexism}” narrative of many gay books (especially the GMP imprint, which, significantly, started this archive, as if under its own volition)is a modus vivendi for gay men now/today as they/we navigate our tortuous (and sometimes tortured, because of heteronormative forces)passage through life, particularly at the start of that restless voyage as we have to decide WHO we are; and define ourselves AGAINST prevailing norms. That takes an adventurer; this archive, and the cataloguing thereof, is a (JOINT) adventure between myself and another gay man, Chris; though the seas are not stormy lol. And, my book emporia(Blackwell’s small but quirky treasure-trove and mammoth ordering ability, but spending limit: £25 per week!), Henry Bohn, Amazon (sorry, Chris!), the lesbian feminist Utopia of News from Nowhere, et al, are rich veins for FURTHER/FUTURE nougats of treasure:). Bibliophilia and bibliomania are self-renewing. So onwards… and athwart….
  8. POLITICAL POLEMIC. WARNING PRO GAY CONTENT : now… listen up… queer/gay books are harder to happen upon (as opposed to googling/Amazoning wildly and determinedly); serendipitous gay/queer text browsing/acquiring (unless you are lucky enough to live near the gay Mecca that is “Gays the Word” in London!) must,like gay/queer identity ITSELF, be a delving, a digging, a forging. The explication is obvious: the hs: hegemony, heteronormativity, heterosexism and homophobia (there are few gay books in Henry Bohn Books). Then, Waterstones say “we don’t want to ghettoise them” but have few books with gay content; and the ones there are are hidden in shelves and heterosexualised market-led blurbs , where gayness is “incidental” (ok , perhaps in an ideal world , it SHOULD be, but, even in the UK, we do not live in an ideal, equal world, so the “gay niche” in bookprinting and selling is very necessary, as it is in identity formation; in fact, as  you know, I EMBRACE my gay identity  and and and ). I think (CAVEAT:SOME, not all! ) heterosexuals are SCARED: they do not want to remember their collusion in oppression )
  9. Well, if a gay/queer person wants to emulate non-gay people, that is (I say sans sarcasm) their RIGHT(as it is their right to marry; it is a choice- we do not ALL have to do it; its not {mere} homonormative imitation of heteronormativity); BUT
  10. I do not (mainly) want that: for myself anyway: I would much rather be a gay gay(or, as a gay friend, affectionately, called me and another gay man, “major gays”:P:))
  11. I went off at a major{sic!} tangent there lol; but the political antihegonomic ramifications of a PRO-(yes PRO) gay/queer identity DO mirror a (mainly) unsatisfied need for it, today in the UK, in gay male and queer and lgbt imprints and “marketing” (though Blackwells Liverpool proudly has an LGBT Book Group which ONLY reads lgbt-content books): gay books for gays:P. It sounds like a slogan:)
  12. Finally and (mainly) unconnected with the above:- I have just realized how archiving/cataloguing and bibliomania/philia(lest we psychiatricize it!) are but two sides of the same coin: I buy ; ergo I need to contain, so I archive/catalogue (Veni, vidi, vici). Though I LIKE my books on my pouffe/puff, I do not want to be (wholly) buried in books…….{NEXT: Random RADICAL randomness in archiving}
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Archiving Time (2)

Wolflin’s thoughts, as my archivist!

Attic Fantasist

There were five or six Gay Men’s Press titles waiting for me on arrival that had to be inserted into the list before we went freestyle. We half suspect more may resurface from the depths of the archon’s modular shelving units, but we cannot be deterred by this. The sense of having ‘completed’ the archiving of the GMP titles was overshadowed by the loss of the imprint, and by extension not only that it no longer exists but what has replaced it, in what forms, and if not why not, and what does any of this say about us (‘us’ = queers). A complete archive of GMP titles is possible, but not in our case as the archon is relaxed about acquiring books he thinks he doesn’t possess, happy therefore to pick one up every now and then when he discovers them in secondhand bookshops. And so the archive remains…

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Ackroyd, Peter, Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day (London: Chatto and Windus, 2017). Blackwell’s little Emporium, LGBT Pride stand for Liverpool Pride 2017 🙂


Adair, Gilbert, The Real Tadzio: Thomas Mann’s ‘Death in Venice’ and the Boy Who Inspired It (London: Short Books, 2001) “The Amorous Cat”, quirky Lark Lane, Liverpool, bookshop:RIP


Airey, Stephen, Messer Rondo & Other Stories By Gay Men (London: Gay Men’s Press, 1983) [Bought News from Nowhere, Whitechapel, 1985]


Aitken, Will, Terre Haute (London: Gay Men’s Press, 1990; Reissued in the Gay Men’s Press Collection, 1998)


Alameddine, Rabih, The Angel of History: A Novel (Great Britain: Corsair, 2016). Blackwell’s Sanctuary, 2017


Allan, Jonathan A., Reading from Behind: A Cultural Analysis of the Anus (London: Zed Books, 2016). Waterstones, Liverpool One, quite enterprising literary critical theory section. QUEER THEORY


Arenas, Reinaldo, Before Night Falls, trans. by Dolores M. Koch (London: Serpent’s Tail, 2001) [“Steve, A new addition to the Big Gay Library Z x”]


Arrowsmith, Pat, Jericho (London: Heretic Books, 1983; First published 1965 by The Cresset Press)IMG_7659


Barlow, Clare, Queer British Art 1861-1967 (London: Tate Publishing, 2017)


Beaumont, Sebastian, The Linguist (London: Millivres Ltd, part of the Millivres Prowler Group, Gay Men’s Press, 2000)


Beavers, David Patrick, Jackal in the Dark (Brighton: Millivres, 1994; 1st edn)


Bram, Christopher, In Memory of Angel Clare (London: GMP, 1991; English 1st edn) [Purchased 1993]


Bram, Christopher, Father of Frankenstein (Published by Plume, an imprint of Dutton Signet, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc.; previously published in a Dutton edition: 1996)


Burton, Peter, ed., Bend Sinister: The Gay Times Book of Disturbing Stories (London: GMP, an imprint of Millivres Prowler Limited, part of the Millivres Prowler Group, 2002)


Bram, Christopher, Surprising Myself (London: GMP, 1990; First published in the USA in 1987 by Donald I. Fine, Inc)


Brown, Laurence, Addictions (London: Millivres Ltd, part of the Millivres Prowler Group, Gay Men’s Press, 2000)


Caldwell, Joseph, In Such Dark Places (Boston: Alyson Publications, Inc., 1978)


Carlson, Kim, Breakfast in Bedlam (London: GMP, 1991) {bought Summer, 1996}


Carson, Michael, The Knight of the Flaming Heart (London: Doubleday, 1995) [Signed by the author, ‘for Steve Benson!! 6 June 2000′. Uncannily, my surname is Benson, I am gay and studied English at University College of Wales, Aberyswyth: the “hero” of Carson’s earlier series is called Benson, is gay , AND studied English at Aberystwyth!!!!! I met Carson in 2000 and do not know if he quite believed all this, though it is, disturbingly, all true; he did, anyway, give me free signed copies of most of his books! “Stripping Penguins Bare” is the volume where the similarities are most acute as it is set in “Aber”!]


Clewes, Colin, Gay in the 80s: From Fighting for Our Rights to Fighting for Our Lives (Leicestershire: Matador, 2017). Remarkable for an account of the seminal, intersectional campaign “Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners” and the anti Section 28 campaign, of which I was part.


Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity (Liverpool: National Museums Liverpool, 2017). The Merseyside LGBT hub of groups, of which I am (co) founder and Organiser, was utilized by NML as the consultation group for another(net-based) LGBT exhibition/archive:”Pride and Prejudice”. So archives upon archives of lgbt/gay/queer history.


Cooper, Dennis, ed., Discontents: New Queer Writers (New York: Amethyst Press, 1992) [“Liverpool reclaimed and revisited 1992”]


Cunningham, Michael, A Home at the End of the World (London: Penguin, 1991) [“Liverpool July 1995 and April 2004. Read on the train to, and at, Pwllhelli, and Abersoch; and on the way to, and back from, Robin’s, Sussex. And a bit at Porthmadog: caravan with Pie and Pat, April 2004, and back from creative arts week at Hebden Bridge, via John’s 19 April 2004; for book group (me facilitating!) April 2004”.] This would go in the gay canon: a classic of gay men’s writing.


Dipple, Richard, ed., Cracks in the Image: Stories by Gay Men (London: GMP, 1981) [Bought February 1985, News from Nowhere; November 2016: used for ‘community’ theme in Merseyside LGBT book group]


Duberman, Martin, Jews Queers Germans: A Novel/History (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2017)


Everton, Ian, Alienation (London: GMP, 1982) [“From Pie, 10/13; Started at Whitby 10/13; Finished Liverpool 11/13”]. Striking for its  daring useage of the overarching “the heterosexual” to describe the (perceived?) enemy early Gay Lib groups were fighting


Feinberg, David B., Spontaneous Combustion (London: GMP, 1992)


Fisher, Peter, The Gay Mystique: The Myth and Reality of Male Homosexuality (New York: Day Books, 1978). Yeah, let’s keep that gay mystique, baby.


Fitzroy, A. T., Despised and Rejected (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1988; First published in 1918 by C. W. Daniel Ltd.)


Freeman, Gillian, The Leather Boys (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1985; First published in 1961 by Anthony Blond) [bought News from Nowhere, Whitechapel site, November, 1985]


Ford, Charles, and Parker Tyler, The Young and Evil (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1989; First published by The Obelisk Press, 1933)


Foreman, Martin, A Sense of Loss (London: GMP, 1993)


Fournier-Alain, Le Grand Meaulnes, trans. by Frank Davison (Penguin Modern Classics: 1966; first published in France 1913). A queer classic, where the gay male subtext has had the heterosexist hegemonic literary establishment try and write it out of history. But Seurel loves Meaulnes like crazy and it is overt!! One of the main purposes of my collection, and, thus, this recording and marking of it, is the de-invisibilzation and re-integration of such gay/queer texts into their rightful place in OUR gay/queer canon


Gide, Andre, Corydon (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1985; Original French edition first published in 1925 by Editions Gallimard)


Gluck, Robert, Jack the Modernist (London: GMP, 1986) [“bought Liverpool, summer 1997”]IMG_7657


Goldstein, Ben, ed., More Like Minds (London: GMP, 1991)


Guibert, Hervé, To the Friend Who Did Not Save my Life, trans. by Linda Coverdale (London: Quartet Books, 1995)


Hamburger, Michael, String of Beginnings: Intermittent Memoirs 1924-1954 (London: Skoob Books Publishing, —-; published by Carcanet Press, 1973) [Lover of the narrator in The Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald]


Hanscombe, Gillian E., and Martin Humphries, eds, Heterosexuality (London: GMP, 1987). Am I heterosexual because I was too much under my mum’s tutelage?!:P TURN THOSE TABLES


Hartnett, P-P, ed., Gay Times Book of Short Stories (Gay Times Books, Millivres Ltd, part of Millivres Prowler Group, 2000)


Hayes, Bill, Insomniac City: New York, Olive, and Me (London: Bloomsbury, 2017)


Ingham, Anthea, Sebastian’s Tangibles (London: GMP, an imprint of Millivres Prowler Limited, part of the Millivres Prowler Group, 2003)


Ireland, Timothy, The Novice (London: GMP, 1988)


Ireland, Timothy, A Time to Burn (London: GMP, 1992)


Ireland, Timothy, Who Lies Inside (London: GMP, 1984) [bought old News from Nowhere, May 1985]


James, Richard, Red (Brighton: GMP, imprint of Millivres Prowler, 2002)


Jivani, Alkarim, It’s Not Unusual: A History of Lesbian and Gay Britain in the Twentieth Century (London: Michael O’Mara Books Limited, 1997)


King, Francis, A Domestic Animal (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1984) [First published 1970 by Longman] [“July 1985, News from Nowhere”]


King, Francis, The Firewalkers (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1985) [First published 1956 by John Murray (Publishers) Ltd.] [“Grassroots, Manchester, August 1985”]


Laing, Olivia, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone (London: Canongate, 2017). Blackwell’s den of surprises!


Le Gallienne, Richard, The Romantic ‘90s (London: Robin Clark Limited, 1993) [after Le Gallienne, Hopkins, etc., symposium. 11/16]


Lehmann, John, In the Purely Pagan Sense (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1985; First published 1976 by Blond and Briggs Ltd.) [“January 1986, News from Nowhere”]


Lehmann, John, In the Purely Pagan Sense (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, Second Impression June 1989) [“10/11 Liberating but, as a stylist, mediocre”]


Lord, James, My Queer War (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011). The queerest queer book; knowingly camp(ersatz Proust) or just rubbish?


Louis, Edouard, The End of Eddy, trans. by Michael Lucey (London: Harvill Secker, 2017). Blackwell’s 2017 “Pride”  display


Lovat, Simon, Attrition (London: Millivres Ltd, part of the Millivres Prowler Group, 2000)


Lovat, Simon, Disorder and Chaos (Brighton: Millivres Books, 1996)


Lucas, Ian, Impertinent Decorum: Gay Theoretical Manoeuvres (London: Cassell, 1994) [“April 2017, Oxfam, Allerton Road”]


Mann, Klaus, The Pious Dance: The Adventure Story of a Young Man, trans. by Laurence Senelick (London: GMP, 1988) [Original German publication in 1925 under the title Der Fromme Tanz] Klaus, openly gay son of closeted gay/bisexual Thomas, killed himself. An exquisitely beautiful novel of Weimar gay Berlin. Buy it!


McDonald, Anthony, Orange Bitter, Orange Sweet (London: GMP, part of the Millivres Prowler Group, 2001)


Martland, Arthur, E. M. Forster: Passion and Prose (London: GMP, 1999). The first text on Forster to FULLY acknowledge the importance of his sexual orientation to his oeuvre.


Martin, Kenneth, Billy’s Brother (London: GMP, 1989) [“From Pie, Christmas 2012, Finished 17/1/13”]. One of the darkest books I have EVER read!


Martin, Kenneth, The Tin Islands (Brighton: Millivres Books [Publishers], 1996)IMG_7662


Maugham, Robin, Enemy! (Brighton: Millivres Books, 1994) [Gay lit top 20! Very Moving]


Maugham, Robin, The Wrong People (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1986) [Original version published in the USA in 1967; Revised edition first published in 1970]

Niles, Blair, Strange Brother (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1991) [First published in 1931 by Horace Liveright]


Nonweiler, Barry, That Other Realm of Freedom (London: GMP, 1983) [“Steve on your birthday 2001 Caroline x”; Reread November 2016 -after original reading c. 1985/6 – for Merseyside LGBT book group. Theme: hope & self re-invention (with Nora Webster, Colm Toibin)] This book helped mould my coming out.


Out in Art (London: GMP, 1986) [May 1998]. {Rare, overtly homo-erotic art book} Captures from it here:


Paterson, James-Hamilton, Rancid Pansies (London: Faber and Faber, 2008). Grasmere(bookshop), August, 2009IMG_7656


Payne, Simon, The Beat (London: GMP, 1985) [June 1985]


Powell, Neil, Unreal City (Brighton: Millivres Books [Publishers], 1992)


Purdy, James, Eustace Chisholm and the Works (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1984) [First published 1967 in the USA Farrar Straus Giroux] [“July 1985, News from Nowhere, 10 months after starting to come out” – for the second time: I actually first attempted it in 1981 in Aberystwyth at uni but went back in the closet on returning to Liverpool]


Purdy, James, I Am Elijah Thrush (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1986) [First published in 1972 by Doubleday]


Reed, Jeremy, Red Hot Lipstick: Erotic Stories (London: Peter Owen Publishers, 1996)


Rees, David, Words and Music (Brighton: Millivres Books [Publishers], 1993). David Rees died, of AIDS, in 1993.


Reid, Forrest, Uncle Stephen (London: GMP, 1988) [First published 1931 by Faber and Faber]


Reid, John, The Best Little Boy in the World (New York: Ballantine Books, 1977)


Round, Jeffrey, A Cage of Bones (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1997)


Sam Jones, John, With Angels and Furies (London: GMP, an imprint of Millivres Prowler Limited, part of the Millivres Prowler Group, 2005) [“Aberystwyth revisited, and Devil’s Bridge, with Angus; July 2005 (and Porthmadog etc.)”]. I went to uni with this author:)


Smith, Hazel, Hyperscapes in the Poetry of Frank O’Hara: Difference / Homosexuality / Topography (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000)


Smith, Rupert, Fly on the Wall (London: GMP, an imprint of Millivres Prowler Limited, part of the Millivres Prowler Group, 2002)


Spencer, Colin, Asylum (London: Panther, 1970; first published in Great Britain by Anthony Blond Limited, 1966)


Tate, Tim, with LGSM [Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners], Pride (London: John Blake Books, 2017) [8/17; Ongoing {self} pride; I met Dai Donovan]


Toíbín, Colm, The Master (London: Picador, 2004) [“Read 3/15 with some compassion for H. J.!”]


Turner, Mark W., Backward Glances: Cruising the Queer Streets of New York and London (London: Reaktion Books, 2003) [November 2006]


Virga, Vincent, Gaywick (London: GMP, 1987) [First published in 1980 by Avon Books] [December 1987]. A camp satire on the Gothic novel.


Vogel, Bruno, Alf, trans. by Samuel B. Johnson (London: GMP/Gay Modern Classics, 1992) [Originally published in 1929]


Wakefield, Tom, The Discus Throwers (London: GMP, 1985) [“Christmas 1985, News from Nowhere”]


Wakefield, Tom, Drifters (London: GMP, 1984)


Weldon, John Lee, Memory Touches Memory (London: GMP, 1989; 1st edn)


White, Edmund, Our Young Man (London: Bloomsbury, 2016)


Woods, Gregory, Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World (New Haven and London: Harvard University Press, 2016)


Woolaston, Graeme, Stranger Than Love (London: GMP, 1985)IMG_7663


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Diaspora-“the dispersion of any group of people from their original homeland”


AS lgbt people, QUA us being lgbt people, we ARE dispersed, we are scattered;especially internally/psychologically/emotionally scattered. In our entities and selfhoods, embracing(but NOT confined to) our sexual orientation and/or gender identity,we are displaced: from each other and from parts of our individual selves. We are fragments, and split, BLOWN through hetero/cis-normative society; we are, repeatedly, trying to mediate, withdraw from or confront a world which at best tolerates us, occasionally supports us, sometimes wants to kill us. As individual lgbt people we reach our own, societally mediated, accomodations/compromises( be they closetedness or chameleonic or brave “outness”)i.e ,ways of coping in a straight/cis world. Once a year, we get to be together in public spaces in a big way:in Liverpool (and other cities and, recently, towns) it is Pride(which, here, stubbornly omits “LGBT” from its title). Wow! BIG DEAL; great fun, a mammoth effort by the Organisers and a great two days; but 2 out of 365 days!!! Ok, we have thriving, INformal friendship networks and groups, all the year round (but they are not so public).

These (LGBT) Pride days are when we most realise, conversely, our recent freedoms (hard fought for, mainly by lgbt people themselves) AND our LACK of freedoms, by contrast, in everyday life. This is how our world COULD be but is not.

Examples of self-diaspora:

As lgbt people, we try and hold different psychological positionalities simultaneously: being lgbt is “not an issue” but I shall attend an lgbt safe space (eg group), I need it, I organise it; of course, this polarity is cause by societal pressures and discrimination; these lgbt-specific safe spaces would not be necessary in an equal social landscape. I know that; that is the aporia. We can not (often?) emotionally afford to see this process of  being a self-nomad, putting on a face for hetero/cis normative groupings: we adapt SUB-consciously because 1. we know nothing else is too painful to realise (more than occasionally/at all?). So we are scattered/diasporic WITHIN ourselves. Our only hope, it seems to me, is the continued and growing formation of non-competitive(to each other) social and friendship groups, and, of course individual strong friendship groups, organised around, YES, lgbt: book groups, sports groups, creative writing groups et al. This will hold us together against the perfect hetero/cis normative storm,whatever is (luckily) now enshrined in law; it is our only hope. I am very proud of creating 3/4 such groups, with some help from other lgbt people. They ARE safe spaces, viz refuges and sanctuaries, because, living AMIDST this predominantly heterosexual world, that is what- at least, sometimes- we need. People attend in quite large numbers, seeking and , I hope, ATTAINING (at least some degree of) wholeness.


That is a large part of my Utopia, a “no place”, which I and others have made a “some place”.



Posted in "Pride", alterity, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, queer, queer geography, Queer wrting, Re-envisionning, safer spaces(guidelines), safety for marginalised groups, Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | Leave a comment