Monday, 20 August 2012

The concelebration of pure, raw, priapic manhood

At a recent book launch, I feel into conversation with somebody who asked if I was familiar with the work of Jack Fritscher.  I confessed that whilst the name sounded vaguely familiar, I wasn't.  Fritscher is an influential novelist and the founding editor-in-chief of the landmark publication, Drummer magazine.  He has been described as a queer theorist, decades before queer theory was conceived and congregated around by activists and academics in the 1990s.  His memoir-novel 'Some Dance to Remember' chronicles the years 1970 - 1982 in San Francisco, and can be downloaded for free here or if you prefer (as I did), you can purchase an old fashioned hard-copy here.  I'm hoping to finish the text by the end of the week, but I'm already incredibly moved and inspired by the text.  At times, it's a challenging read with a chaotic style that itself summons a previous age.  Yet, it's also a remarkable time-portal to a period of queer history sometimes forgotten and frequently edited.

Here's one wonderful passage that I just read and want to share:

'I have no father, no brother, no son more than these men gathered here in this time, in this flesh, in tis space more auspiciously than any of us realized at first.  Never on this planet have so many men of such similar mind gathered together to fuck in the concelebration of pure, raw, priapic manhood.  If the mythic Saint Priapus has never been canonised by the Catholic Church, then he has been made a saint in  San Francisco in these halls, in the temples of our conjoined bodies, tangled in passion, slick with sweat, and glazed with seed'.

Priapus is a fertility god from Greek mythology, blessed with an exceptionally large penis.  Saint Priapus (and I had to Google this) was a North American religion founded in the 1980s (and strong in San Francisco) which worships the phallus.  Worship takes the form of a variety of sexual acts.

For me, the extract above is a passage of raw desire, evoking not only that spirt of the 70s, now constructed as 'dangerous', as a congregation of men inevitably cruising towards the vengeful iceberg of AIDS, but also of contemporary queer theory, and radical sexuality.  Amazing stuff.

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