ARCHIVAL PEREGRINATIONS:META AND TANGENTS.BY STEVEN BENSON.

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 https://digitalragandbone.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/archiving-time-2/ ) 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 https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/my-gayqueer-aesthetic-a-phototext-constellationpsychogeography-part-1-the-living-room-lives-by-steven-benson/  and https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/you-are-always-going-on-about-being-gayit-a-cathartic-not-verycontrolled-p-rant-by-steven-benson/ and https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/gayqueer-tracearchiveconstellation-a-photo-mimesis-by-steven-benson/ and https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/first-principleswhat-is-gay-and-what-is-a-gayqueer-family-by-steven-benson/ ). I think (CAVEAT:SOME, not all! ) heterosexuals are SCARED: they do not want to remember their collusion in oppression https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/institutions-for-merseyside-lgbt-creative-writing-group-mixed-genre-by-steven-benson/ )
  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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Posted in "Pride", a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, alterity, Birth of reader, camp, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay archive, gay literature, life mirrors art, psychogeography, queer, Queer archive, queer constellations rememberances straightqueer, queer geography, Queer wrting, Rant, Re-envisionning, reader response theory, Rememberances, revolution, safer spaces(guidelines), Self-actualisation, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, Stream-of-consciousness, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | 1 Comment

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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QUEEROGRAPHY.PART 3. EXPANDED GAY/QUEER BOOK ARCHIVE OF STEVEN BENSON. THIS TIME, RANDOM INCLUSION OF ALL BOOKS. ARCHIVIST:CHRIS MADDEN

QUEEROGRAPHYIMG_7661

 

 

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. https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/section-28-the-fight-against-it-in-merseyside-reportagelgbt-archiveunwritten-histories-by-steven-benson/

 

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. https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/the-role-of-gay-mens-fiction-in-identity-formation-of-a-gay-man-by-steven-benson/

 

Out in Art (London: GMP, 1986) [May 1998]. {Rare, overtly homo-erotic art book} Captures from it here: https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/gaylgbtqueer-archive-part-2-may-1988-out-in-artgmp-1986-by-steven-benson/

 

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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THE LGBT DIASPORA.BY STEVEN BENSON

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

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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 2.it 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.

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

 

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Archiving Time

Wolflin’s beautiful, thoughtful comments on our joint gay archiving project xx

Attic Fantasist

Some time ago Steve gave me a copy of a curious novel by a largely unknown writer: Robert Gluck’s Jack the Modernist (1986). The author’s surname was intriguing, the word ‘modernist’ even more so, and its juxtaposition alongside the proper name ‘Jack’ kickstarted before I even prised open its covers a desire to read this text. While the working class of Northern England would like to claim ‘Jack’ as archetypally theirs, it translates just as well into other national cultures, primarily as a signifier of familiarity: Jack is someone you’d like to know, there’s something about Jack, and so on. Once I ventured inside I found not so much a modernist text (had I been fooled?) but a playfully postmodernist one, with its inclusion of images and variegated approach to narrative form. Steve and I resolved to read it together and formulate some kind of joint response. Life intervened, though, and…

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GAY/LGBT/QUEER ARCHIVE. PART 2. “MAY 1988”. “OUT IN ART”(GMP, 1986).BY STEVEN BENSON.

IMG_7641Some(gay male)homo-erotic art here!

I shall just curate it and (mainly!)let it speak for itself

IMG_7643ChristopherBrown

IMG_7644

Chris Corr; gay man reading “A Single Man”(Isherwood), to re-affirm his identity/sense of self; me in 1985?

IMG_7645ChrisCorr again;steamy:P

IMG_7647Chris Corrs still: that’s me

IMG_7648Wander-lust lol;is that flaneurie of cocks?!:P

IMG_7649“Norman”: something emblematic going on here; is the “broken door” AIDS/internalised homophobia?

IMG_7650Graham Ward:grim

IMG_7652Graham Ward again:eerie take on “We two boys together clinging”(Whitman)?

IMG_7653Richard RoyleIMG_7655

The item; catalogued

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THE PURPOSES OF A GAY/LGBT/QUEER ARCHIVE AND THE RECORDING THEREOF. BY STEVEN BENSON

1.Avoiding the double annihilation of gay/lgbt/queer invisibilisation over the centuries by allowing records to wage war on time, in a stab against mortality: written/listed in the internet ether.

2.To battle against the vagaries of the fickle and self-devouring marketplace, which, currently, sees no marketplace value, in the UK at least, in a dedicated Gay Mens’ publishing imprint; {and, yes, there IS still need, pace legal improvements: social inequality and attitudes dictate, sadly, but(in outcome) gloriously, that we yet have/need our radiant subcultural texts and reflexions of our real, NON-PRETEND lives and loves and lusts, in literature as in the media and arts generally}. The marketplace, even of books, will always hegemonicise, move towards the lowest common denominator, smooth out our wonderful diversity and difference

3. the idea of the Derridean/Munozian trace: of thrusting forth into the FUTURE the garnered remains of the past, lest we forget (or do not learn from) our often troubled, sometimes joyful, inheritance as gay/queer men. An archive gives hope for, and informs, the future, as well as being (an attempt at) preserving the past

Posted in a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, alterity, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay archive, gay literature, life mirrors art, psychogeography, queer, Queer archive, queer constellations rememberances straightqueer, queer geography, Queer wrting, revolution, self-reflection haiku poem Illuminated cafe psychogeography, Uncategorized, working outside hegemonies | Leave a comment

RE-VIVIFYING THE GAY MALE CORPUS OF WRITING/LITERATURE.FIRST STAGE/POST OF AN EMBRYO, LONG PROJECT:ITEMISATION, WITH MARGINALIA, OF MY GAY/LGBT/QUEER LIBRARY AND ARCHIVE. CAVEAT: THIS PROJECT MAY TAKE SOME TIME! 1 .GAY MENS PRESS, AKA GMP(ORIGINAL IMPRINT AND MILLIVRES’ LATER IMPRINT),INCUDING CLASSICS SERIES AND DERIVATIVE IMPRINTS. BY STEVEN BENSON AND CHRIS MADDEN

IMG_7639

Here we go!

A dear friend and I are collaborating on our several archives/collections of gay male/lgbt and queer theory texts. 80s+ GMP books, so important to my own identity formation, seem a good place to make a tentative start! https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/the-role-of-gay-mens-fiction-in-identity-formation-of-a-gay-man-by-steven-benson/

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)

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

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

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}

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]

Everton, Ian, Alienation (London: GMP, 1982) [“From Pie, 10/13; Started at Whitby 10/13; Finished Liverpool 11/13”]

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

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)

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″]

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

Hanscombe, Gillian E., and Martin Humphries, eds, Heterosexuality (London: GMP, 1987)

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

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]

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″]

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”]

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

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]

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 oevre.

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)

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)]

Out in Art (London: GMP, 1986) [May 1998]. Rare, overtly homo-erotic art book: pictures to follow!

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]

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]

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)”]

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

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)

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


Where next?… {to be continued, sometime}

Posted in "Pride", a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay archive, gay literature, life mirrors art, psychogeography, queer, Queer archive, Queer art epedemiology AIDS HIV Alien Sex Club, queer geography, Queer wrting, Re-envisionning, Self-actualisation, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | 1 Comment

INSTITUTIONS (FOR MERSEYSIDE LGBT CREATIVE WRITING GROUP).MIXED GENRE. BY STEVEN BENSON.

{poetry}Institutional

Ised homo

Phobia

Jaggedly,

Like bad en

Jambe

ment, BUILT into the

Fabric

Essence of our
Society and,

Thus,

Our LIVES.

It is in-

Eluctable

In

Escapable, it

Breaks us

Up, like

Fractured lines and

Words———————————————–

{Prose} I meet them… the are, usually, taxi-drivers. I say taxi-drivers NOT because all of them are homo/bi/trans phobic; but because they are really my sole contact point outside my liberal bohemia of lgbt groups, friends, Lark Lane and Bold Street (Oh, and Mann Island is pretty… err GAY:P). I take cabs about ten times per week, so I notice… {poetry}I am

Worn down… I am

Internally

Raging

{prose- read the stage direction!}The woman(unusually, it was a woman) who said;”I am fine with it {the gays} as long as they don’t announce it”{sic! “Here is the news on Friday 25th August 2017 and I am a homosexual”:P}; another (a man this time, who-irony of ironies, took me to Liverpool LGBT Pride{yes, I put the “political” LGBT back in}):”I am fine with with {the ubiquitous “it”/ “them”}, except the camp ones who put it on and mince”. That is just the cabbies I told or who, rarely, ask; or come out to me as bisexual; they think they are being “accepting”: MY GAY ARSE. Oh, I forgot the classic:”Why isn’t there straight Pride?”: errr{can’t think…}

So, institutions are not just overt BUILT manifestations of state power /vested interests(government buildings/ the Police) but they are  insidious, threatening-to-overwhelm-and-embattle processes of mind-control and hegemony.


{chatty}

Do you know … I have watched most of the programmes in the BBC and Channel 4s’ 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences (1967) Act, slightly decriminalizing male homosexuality ( and continuing to uphold lesbian invisibiliztion), “Gay Britannia”(and the other one!). They DO, sadly, reflect lgbt life (in the UK anyway) since then and the shifts in law and attitude: they did not portray some partisan it was all bleak and they are all still a bit odd 80s type landscape; it was balanced(occasionally joyful, eg the birth/activism of the at Liberation Front); its OUR narrative, we have to KNOW it; not sure about embrace it, but never forget our VERY hard battles for rights. But{nasty sarcasm, if ironic, coming up!}: they thrust it down our throats. I can cope with the history; I am an lgbt (it was only l nd g then) activist, starting from the 80s: I read lgbt history, especially around literature; but I {capitals} shall decide if I want it thrust down my throat or not… (Ok, this is a tad bolshie; never mind…).

Thinking on my feet, perhaps there IS some subtle well-meaning heterosexism going on: this was /is the narrative (generally) portrayed: illegal…(or invisible)….prison…lose your job.. you were a “sickness/morally repugnant”{said Lord Woolfenden; sorry this is difficult}… so, aversion therapy/chemical castration… a brief period of liberation {GLF and lots of sex}… AIDS…. moral panics and casing of more blame…Thatcher (and her “inalienable right” that we, purportedly, thought we had to be gay).. Section 28 (we were now “pretend families”, simalcra of ourselves, spectres).. then we rise up again and fight the Section and re-build community,DERACINATED by AIDS… then(thankfully it gets better), thank goodness for Tony Blair {putting on one side, for a minute, a war he started illegally}; one by one, we got legal, HUMAN rights, from 1999. WE have only had (even approaching) FULL HUMAN{sic, I said HUMAN} rights since about 2005, and, arguably, since being given the choice to marry or not under the Equal Marriage Act 2014 (Jeremy Corbyn, quite rightly, was big enough to thank Cameron, on his departure, for that ONE thing!). We have only been perceived, except for gradually growing sections of the liberal left and centre, as full HUMAN BEINGS for a HANDFUL of years. .. COLLUSION… THERE is a heavy, laden, connotative word; however, I use it advisedly/carefully: after the  liberation of the death camps, when Germany surrendered at the end of World War 2,  Jewish people were freed, the travelling people and communists were freed- the ones that weren’t exterminated/murdered that is… lgbt people were NOT freed; they were sent, by the Four Powers, to LABOUR CAMPS; and only THREE books have been written on the subject, EVER (and one is anonymous). So, I am not making a tasteless, false hierarchy of “we are more oppressed” : I am pointing out that the institutions of the post second war settlement sent the lgbt people -those still alive-from the death camps to Labour camps…

I am obviously very angry.. But, also, our response as individual lgbt people, is varied and complex.. layers of anger…layers of self-protection (“mankind cannot bear too much reality”): just wanting to get on with our lives,hopefully with our share of happiness and fulfilment as HUMANS. “Escape”/Escape is not, ipso facto, wrong: it is sometimes necessary: that is one (of many) reasons we have such a rich subculture of polari, camp, disco, opera {heaven forfend I stereotype: I shall be mincing next!!:P}, a subculture often fought for against the odds. This is all WHY I am STILL an lgbt activist; why I got annoyed when someone close to me said “No, you are a COMMUNITY{sic} Activist”; no my MAIN-not only- political concern is creating safe spaces (because we still sure do need them) for lgbt people (even if we say, “there is no need nowadays”, we still flock to these temporary but real spaces). That is why a whole room and a half of  my flat is an lgbt/queer literature/art/history archive.

____________________________________________________________

So, let us break down our externally and INternally imposed institution(alised) walls.. and create our own, whole, happy, self-actualized world, a parallel(at times linking the main one)world…the gays are running the institution….

 

_________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Posted in "Pride", ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, Jeremy Corbyn, queer, Re-envisionning, safety for marginalised groups, Section 28 protest traces memory reportage, Self-actualisation, Stream-of-consciousness, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies | 5 Comments

IN DEFENCE OF CAMP MELANCHOLIA. BY STEVEN BENSON.

There are many tropes around the homosexual(man): the abject subject (“subject” as in subjected to/controlled/put upon; we are the Queen’s subjects), so we are perceived as (and internalise and live upto this figure) as powerless, flailing around in hopeless “stereotypes”: for instance, camp mannerisms and formulae and interest in obscure and dead for obscure and dead’s own sake, some sort of contorted (spectral)psychogeographical sublimation. Of course, hegemonies of heterosexist control  aside (very hard to put aside!), we are all-but lgbt people are especially vulnerable to it-open to typification and reduction (as camp/rarified/arcane/archaic, in taste and otherwise); but we have TWO POSITIVE CHOICES:

  1. As lgbt people(I speak as a-mainly-openly gay man), we DO have agency, though it is not always safe to exercise that agency(that is the aporia). So, in the respect of this post, we CAN reclaim/re-appropriate/go hell for leather on what MAY be percieved as tropes of death or anti-reproductiveness or sublimation and make passionate love to them!:) PERCEPTION is the key word here. I care little how I am perceived; I quite often get “you are too gay/too camp/too many big words”; sometimes, subtly linked together in a string of fear of difference/the externalised inner other. So, as I (predominantly!) do not care (much) how I am perceived as a “trope”/”stereotype”/receptacle for trope or stereotype  or not, I can inhabit a reverie of vinyl 60s bargain label dreams or Joan Sutherland’s camply swoony top range; and be at peace (with myself)

2. I think, with Halberstam’s “Queer Art of Failure” very vaguely in mind, it is about:

self-definition

(at least) TRYING not to care how, as lgbt people, we are perceived by the heteronormative establishment of fear and control

and, therefore, setting up our own modi vivendae{is that the plural:P?}: Halperin “How to be Gay” (2012)-again, I distantly recall- tackles this multi-layered subject. The title /content is part serious, part ironic(camp). If you KNOWINGLY (and lovingly) adopt what heterosexual society regards as gay stereotypes (though they have many many of their own norms and often fake standards;THEY don’t worry about being inside a “stereotype”!), then , ultimately YOU/I are/am in control:) see also my earlier post: https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/yes-we-have-a-culture-and-history-and-future-an-lgbtq-manifesto-by-steven-benson/

To summarise this queer rambling-in itself a “failure”/Triumph” whichever way you regard it!-Be yourself: {furnishing your room a la Des Esseintes, with a tortoise collapsing beneath its own weight of studded embattlement-or buried in your own 60s classical vinyls:P-}, no matter what they say.

Posted in a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, alterity, Benjamin a la recherche spectral psychogeography bargain LPs Hatto Barrington-Coupe Assemblage Constellation, camp, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, life mirrors art, opera, parlous loftiness, psychogeography, queer, queer constellations rememberances straightqueer, queer geography, Queer wrting, Re-envisionning, Rememberances, Self-actualisation, tropes, Uncategorized, working outside hegemonies | 4 Comments