Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sherbet and Sodomy

The gay novels I collect are mostly all about the covers. The more lurid the better. I've even tried to read a few, but never succeed in getting beyond a page or two. From a literary perspective their merits are lacking. As porn, they tend to leave me, uh, flat.

So it was a surprise to come across Sherbet and Sodomy written by I.V. Ebbing and published in 1971. Smart, sexy, funny, and of course, a period piece from the early days of gay liberation.

Read the first page... see if you aren't intrigued.

My name is Jud. I am eighteen and a half. I was born from the felicitous conjunction of an anthropologist and an ethnologist under the sign of Capricorn. I have been called cute, handsome, pretty, and good-looking; actually, I am beautiful... my nose is classically English, along the line of Reynolds, maybe with a little Caravaggio thrown in around the nostrils. My athletic adolescence on the swimming team at Sterling High has given me a slender muscular body... my eyes are South Pacific blue. I have read Hesiod. I masturbate regularly. I have no concept of money or its value. I try to keep my farts silent. I have juvenile down on my ass. I have read the minor Elizabethan poets and I have looked at my anal sphincter in the mirror. Until last week I considered myself heterosexual...

Find Sherbet and Sodomy at

Two More: Vintage Muscle Men

These pretty much speak for themselves. Or is it that they leave me speechless?

From the album of real photo postcards collected by Albert Edward Pritchard, they were taken by P. W. Luton and date from the 1920s.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More from Albert's photo album

Back in Carlton Studios. Luton has found a better angle to photograph our friend Albert Edward Pritchard. From the side and slightly behind. This time he's printed the card in a deep rich sepia-tone.

Albert's (he doesn't seem like an "Al." Maybe he went by his middle name-- Edward-- he seems more like an Eddie) Albert's blond hair is combed back, his face in profile against the drapery. Chest out, stomach in, butt cheeks concealed.

Is it my imagination or does he seem to be more at ease? A little more self-confident.

Still, there's that same slightly quizzical expression as he turns to look back at the photographer, that same gentleness about him. Bodybuilder, model, and a collector of physique photos. You add it up.

Sadly there are no other photos of him in the album. And it is unlikely we'll ever find another.

So turning the page to gaze at the next photo, the new mystery.

A series of three pretty racy pictures of an extremely well-defined young strongman.

Not quite so shy as Eddie, this anonymous athlete stands naked (not nude) in front of Luton's camera. The position of his hands conveniently eliminates any need for fig leaf or posing strap.

But stay tuned, there are more revealing photos to come....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Muscle Daddy

From an album of real photo postcards collected by one Albert Edward Pritchard come an assortment of 43 strongmen, both famous and anonymous. We know little about Mr. Pritchard. His address in New Cross, Southeast of Central London, is little over half a mile from Carlton Studios, where most of the photos were taken by P. W. Luton.

One card is identified as A. Pritchard.

For a muscleman it is a strange, almost non-pose. Palms up, fingers cupped slightly. Perhaps he's flexing his biceps but it seems more like he's approaching-- slowly, timidly, as a supplicant. Which brings us to that face. Sweet. Almost pretty. His slightly furrowed brow seems to ask: "Is this OK?" On his lips the barest hint of a Mona Lisa smile.

If this photo was taken around 1920 and he was maybe 20 years old, Mr. Pritchard is now, according to my calculations, 108 years of age. How strange to see him frozen in time, in his youth, in his prime. To hold these photos as he once held them. To gaze at the images of male beauty that he assembled in his album more than 80 years ago. Makes me wonder.

More photos to come...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fathers and Sons

Found these two photos over the weekend and now I have a new category for my collecting: Fathers and Sons. Strange that I didn't start collecting these long ago... maybe not enough years of therapy under my belt.

Anyway, these two pictures seem to suggest two very different kinds of father/son relationships. There's the classic "he-man" Dad teaching son to make a muscle. Little Billy is literally imitating his papa, learning how to be "manly." Now there's no need to go into the obvious homoerotic overtones.

The other kind of relationship (the one I had) is captured in this photo. These two people may be occupying the same planet but they sure aren't relating to each other.

And call me crazy, but there's something about the pose of the little boy to suggest he would grow up to be... well, somebody like me. Love the pleated trousers too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cross Dressing the Line: Meet Princess Wolffe

The ceremony of Crossing the Line is an initiation rite commemorating a sailor's first crossing of the equator. The tradition was created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough voyages.

Sailors who have already crossed the equator are nicknamed (Trusty) Shellbacks, often referred to as Sons of Neptune; those who have not are nicknamed (Slimy) Pollywogs.

This great photo is one of "Neptune's daughters," a cigar-chomping sailor named Wolffe. It's hard to look at this picture and not smile.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Two Unusual Photos from Homobilia

We came across this amazing photo of a four young men entering a burning swimming pool. One man has just jumped in, naked, while three others watch/wait. Personally, I would be at the back of the line.

Why is the pool on fire? Why is the guy jumping in? Why is he naked? Why are the two guys in the background sitting casually by the pool while all this is going on? The pool is on fire!

There are just a few of the things we wonder about when we look at this photo. It is undated, unsigned and 8" x 10". You can find it on the site.

This is another anonymous vintage photo of a male nude who has been blindfolded. And then some. Not sure what to call that: it isn't a mask, it isn't a hood...

Is this image more disturbing than it is sexy? Or the other way around? The one thing we can be sure of is the model has been working up a sweat.

It measures 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" and we're told it was "from LA," probably early 60s.