Gay Sunshine Press, $9.95, ISBN 1-890834-27-0
Contemporary Erotica, 1984
This review originally appeared on The Naughty Bits, which is sadly no longer around. It’s now here with Teddypig’s permission.
Jack Fritscher is probably one of the biggest larger than life characters of gay BDSM Leather. He was editor of one of the long standing touch stones of the Leather community Drummer, lover to the very famous photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and best buddies with Larry Townsend. Shit, if there was a place to be or a person to know in the Leather scene in any given era, he was usually involved.
What some people might not know, with all the biographies and such he has written, is he started out as a writer and author of erotica – and some really wild erotica at that. Now I have to warn you the gay BDSM sexuality found in Leather Blues is NOT anything like John Preston’s Mr. Benson – all cleaned up with it’s good manners and that gentle introduction of BDSM that it does so well, all done up in romantic undertones and even given an HEA.
Leather Blues on the other hand is an extremely short story that was written in 1968 and it is about Leather with a capital L. It’s about danger and risk with violent, bloody, piss-covered, in your face sexual images and at its core it’s about, that term Jack coined, exploring “homomasculinity”. Several guys I know in the Leather community today have mentioned this particular story when we have talked about what lead them into the scene and I can see why.
This story is about motorcycles and men in Leather sharing sexual experiences and sharing danger and sharing risk and in the end it’s about earning that feeling of brotherhood with other men. It’s hard core and chaotic and rebellious, and it describes all those dark nasty things that draw guys into putting on a leather jacket and walking into a Leather bar where no one is wearing a stupid colored hanky or memorizing their safe word.
So IF, and only IF, you can step out of your comfort zone and want to see gay BDSM erotica outside the typical texture-less, safety-first, politically correct, bland as hell latex wrapper it gets stuck in these days take a step back in time where all the raw ingredients of present day Leather got their start. It might shock you but I think people just might need to be shocked to really come to understand the difference between what people say “should be” good gay BDSM erotica and what is actually “read and loved”, because I think there is a big difference. If I was a writer I would much rather write something that is edgy and loved than what is consider acceptable and politically correct.