The BFI’s recent DVD release of Peter de Rome’s gay porn films has been mentioned here a couple of times already but I only bought a copy this week. It’s a remarkable release for a number of reasons, not least for showing how much attitudes towards pornography in Britain have changed in recent years. De Rome’s films are explicit enough to ensure that in the 1970s and 1980s anyone caught selling them in the UK might have been imprisoned. That you can now buy them uncut from a high street shop on a disc packaged with the usual care by the British Film Institute means another small part of our iniquitous past has gone for good. Among the extras there’s a documentary with the 88-year-old director discussing his work. This week he talked to BUTT magazine who also have one of his shorter films from the DVD, Hot Pants, on their site.
• “Reading this book, it is hard not to feel that the largest mental health problem – the really crazy thing – is society’s attitude to drugs in general and LSD in particular…” Phil Baker reviews Albion Dreaming: A Popular History of LSD in Britain by Andy Roberts.
• “Loved by aristocrats and immortalized in literature, Denham Fouts remains virtually unknown in his own hometown.” Richard Wall on The World’s Most Expensive Male Prostitute.
The very etiology of rabies is mythic: once the bite heals and the virus has traveled to the brain, “the wound will usually return, as if by magic, with some odd sensation occurring at the site.” Then there’s the fact that no definitive diagnosis can be made without taking a biopsy of the sick animal’s brain, leaving only one gory solution: decapitation.
Rabies is horror’s muse. In almost all iterations of the genre, those we most trust suddenly turn strange: a boyfriend morphs into a wolf at midnight, a fiancé turns out to be harboring a mad first wife in the attic, a friend is bit by a zombie and goes berserk.
Alice Gregory reviews Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy.
• The Horror of Philosophy: Erik Davis talks to Eugene Thacker about Lovecraft, medieval mysticism, and thinking the world-without-us.
• Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges: A Tumblr for those protesting the current anti-gay stance of the Boy Scouts of America.
• His Father’s Best Translator: Lila Azam Zanganeh on the late Dmitri Nabokov.
• Les Liaisons dangereuses: illustrations by Alastair (Hans Henning Voigt).
• Andrea Scrima looks at Robert Walser’s Der Spaziergang (The Walk).
• Jesse Bering in Scientific American asks “Is Your Child Gay?”