One of the joys of print magazines in the olden days was the letters page, where readers could gush praise (or gush something, as you’ll see), complain or argue amongst themselves. Lacking the immediacy of the online forum, Twitter post or email, the reader’s letter was something unique and special, often being as important a part of any magazine as the rest of the contents. We encourage readers of The Reprobate to write letters for publication. Don’t be shy!
The following are highlights – and lowlights – of the Sheer Filth and Divinity letters pages, ranging from 1987 to 1994. If nothing else, these letters might give an insight into the content of both publications. They include eccentric confessions, unsettling invitations, mad rants and an ongoing argument about Hakim Bey and the AOA. If you have no idea who either of them are, then read on…
we’ve slightly anonymised the more ‘eccentric’ letters, but all are presented as originally written, though you won’t quite get the frenzied intensity of hand-written text in green ink on blue paper here I’m afraid.
Well, I do read a lot of sex magazines because I love it! SHEER FILTH! Sex mag? No! But when I read your magazines my “head is burning”.
These girls in your magazines, they are so horny…
Esa ‘Rainier’ Viitasaari, Finland
Thank you for Sheer Filth 5 – sorry for not corresponding sooner. I am consulting your literary tract between bouts of nappy changing and breast feeding. Am I a typical subscriber to your journal?
J.B. (my husband) thinks your editorial board are the high priests of sleaze.
I would like to see a spoof sex magazine with perhaps a problem page (spoof version of Forum?) and a joke page, for example, why did the pervert cross the road? Because his dick was stuck up a chicken. Could this be your next journalistic venture? Other people I’ve shown your magazine to (male and female) think it’s a very good idea.
Must get back to the bottom wiping and exposing my breasts for the purposes of suckling my young.
Personally, I think you deserve some sort of special commendation for being able to review these films. I rarely get through the whole whole running time of a Traci flick without reaching for a Kleenex or running for the bathroom… a friend suggested the following to me recently… you know the picture, Mother says (having seen the Kleenex) “good film was it, a weepie?” and youm naturally agree. The fact that the fluids had nothing to do with your ocular regions aren’t mentioned of course. So picture this – a film rating system based on numbers of Kleenex used, worth thinking about surely?
Dai Laughing, Cardiff
Yo David Dude,
SHEER FILTH sounds great. If I can’t wank off to it, it ain’t worth shit.
I bet you cum loads. And loads. Masturbation is the most sincere form of worship there is. O holy prick of mine reach into David’s throat; make him moan in my ecstasy. Would I wallow in the moment of yuour orgasm. Rush, with pants down, and photograph your big dick for me and mail it to America where I will enshrine your image and ritual fuck before it.
Join us, David
Naked is as naked does
I’d suck you dry
But I’m miles away
Swillmaster ‘G’, Anchorage
Hello David! That’s me and a friend in a village in Austria. I don’t think life’s much fun there… at least they keep their faith in drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.
Frans Stummer, Burgkirchen, Germany
What kind of thing are you trying to do here, bore us with sad soul-less pornography. Your publication stinks of failed erections and self-indulgent sadness. You are no different from those you think your publication will offend, when in reality, they are as turned on as you by your pathetic death fantasies. This rag offers as much a glimpse into the counter culture as the top shelf publications.
The Association for Ontological Anarchy sees no value in violent pornography, its deadly orgone removes the energy from all beautiful homo-hetero-bi-sexual acts.
“It takes no guts at all to be an art sadist. People who jerk off at atrocity photos, people who like to intellectualise about splatter-art and haighfaulutin hopelessness and groovy ghoulishness and other people’s misery are police without power. We have a black bomb for these aesthetic fascists, it explodes with bright sperm and firecrackers, racous weeds and piracy, weird Shi’ite heresies and bubbling paradise fountains, complex rhythms, pulsations of life, all shapeless and exquisite.
“Wake up ! Breath ! Feel the world’s breath against your skin ! Seize the day ! Breathe !” – Hakim Bey 1988.
The AOA Sheffield
I have not yet had time to read all the latest issue but some strange guy sat behind me on the bus liked it (page 23 “fuckin’ hell…”, page 27 “fuckin’ shit, Christ, fuck…”). As for the behaviour of total wankers towards Jorg Buttgereit at the Scala – when I saw Marion Eaton there, some dick head started shouting at her because Thundercrack didn’t have a safe sex warning with it, culminating with him storming out screaminhg that we all have a dreadful “blood lust”! Christ, we are not idiots; just because we see folk swallowing a mouthful of cum in a 1976 film does not mean we all run out to Kings Cross toilets to do the same! What a complete dick he was.
David Greenall, Burnley
My friend and I were drinking in a Soho den poring over a copy of your superlative magazine. We got talking to some guys (as you do) and they took a look at your publication.
They commented that it was the “most depraved and obscene piece of literature they had ever encountered and should it not be banned?”
Are we drinking in the wrong pubs or reading the wrong kind of literature? Pleas advise.
Two confused females
Congratulations on another fascinating issue of Divinity. Bloodcurdling, bloody funny and above all well written, and that was just the James Havoc interview.
I was perturbed, however, to see in your letters page a communication ostensibly written by the AOA in Sheffield. It was indeed a cretinous palimpsest of cranially necrotic crap, but do you know the background? The quote in the second part of the letter was merely an excerpt from a rant by American Hakim Bey (aka Peter Lamborn Wilson) and also included bits left out by the (snigger) “Sheffield AOA” such as
We support artists who use terrifying material in some “higher cause” – who use loving/sexual material of any kind, however shocking and illegal – who use their anger and distrust and their true desires to lurch toward self-realization and beauty and adventure (emphasis Bey’s)
The essay as a whole is from a specifically de-copyrighted book and is therefore fair game for anyone to misquote, place utterly out of context, and otherwise misrepresent, which is what’s happened here. Bey himself doesn’t appreciate the finer sophistications of SM, as y’ll know if yove ever seen copies of his chaos magick magazine (imaginatively called KAOS), where he got into several tediously long-winded arguments trying to persuade various chaos magicians that they really shouldn’t be into B&D. That’s his loss if you ask me. Instead he goes for youngish boys. But whatever his personal sexual likes/dislikes/kinks – he’s still a good writer, in no way remotely conservative (unlike some of those who follow him), and it is achingly tedious to see him misrepresented by somebody trying desperately to feel important by using his writing. What was really bad about that letter was the evident inability of its writers to think for themselves, as shown in the first part, where they just feebly copied Bey’s writing style before actually quoting him.
The rant that the Sheffield Association of Arseholes sent to you is worth reading in its entirety. It could be construed as an appeal not to over-intellectualise about primal, irrational drives in order to appear cool and trendy. In which case real fetishists are entirely let off the hook, as it were. Bey lives in close proximity to too many trendy overmonied Americans and this is more the context he’s writing in, I think… maybe…
Paul Condon, London
We read that James Havoc has “a big urge to shoot people” and would “kill without qualms” if he could get away with it. Perhaps he might shoot himself and do the whole world a favour. His crappy ramblings and sad self pity would not be missed. To rank him alongside De Sade and Anger is a slur on both their talents.
Also, you seem to have mistaken us for someone else. Our semiliterate and incoherent style is part of our trademark and we love it that way.
The Association of Ontological Anarchy (Welsh Div)
I think Divinity and its like are going to gain in popularity due to the boredom of modern society. People are turning to deviant interests. Things must be going downhill, a tattoo shop has just opened here in my boring, slummy town of Blandford.
Nine months ago, some bright spark thought it would brighten up the town centre by painting pictures on the boarded up shops. We’ve now got a town centre with Santa Claus bearing gifts, and various other festive scenes. It was pretty surreal in the middle of summer. Probably the town council’s idea. Being a smallish rural type town, most of the town council are farmers and the like. Not too much upstairs. Can’t think ahead more than a couple of weeks.
Paul Kevern, Dorset
I thought Mr Lake’s article on sex with animals was a little condescending: the most cursory glance at surveys of sexual habits (Forum and Nancy Friday) show that lots of people hanker after this kind of thing! Why do you think the female genitalia are so often called “PUSSIES”?
Chris W., Co. Durham
Some suggestions – erotic facets of mainstream culture which receive little acknowledgement:
The voyeuristic element in athletics (and even ice dance), i.e. the impractical and clinging nature of today’s sprinters’ leotards, ice dance costumes etc. More well developed ladies buttocks are calmly presented by the BBC than by many an “under the counter” magazine. Someone should point out the contradiction there.
Likewise underwear – a staple of Fifties and Sixties magazines, now an over the counter item. The bizarre thing is that young women in minimal underwear are commonplace and boring, and found in every publication, however it is mature women who buy the extreme, complicated corsetry etc which practically amounts to bondage – an assignment for an enterprising photographer there, I fancy.
Regarding Paul Condon’s letter about “Hakim Bey” (really Peter L. Wilson): he never did have a magazine out called KOAS, that was a London-based mag, edited by Joel Biroco from 1986-1989, which folded after eleven issues. The first five (actually numbered #’s three – seven = there was no # one and two; confusing, eh?) featured an instalment reprinting of Hakim Bey’s book of essays Chaos: The Broadsheets of Ontological Anarchism (now reprinted in T.A.Z, Autonomedia Books 1991). Mr Condon, who seems to have a liking for “Bey” will perhaps be disappointed to learn that he would indeed include Divinity and its readers in his derisive attack on the “sleaze-culture” community, if his response to letters of mine in KAOS # nine and ten are anything to go by… and I think they are! The debate was about De sade and SM culture, if I remember correctly, and “Bey” was more than dismissive, he was attacking! This, coupled with his tirade about Adam Parfrey who used “Bey”s Kali Yuga and Chaos Theory in Apocalypse Culture, about which “Bey” wrote to Biroco that he disgusted to see an essay he had authored collected along with “Nazi death-worshipping shit”, leaves me in no doubt that “Bey” has no interest in, or sympathy with, views and subject matter covered by Divinity and similar publications, and would probably be in agreement with the “Sheffield A.O.A. (by the way, I live near Sheffield. Where are these people?).
Stephen Sennitt, South Yorkshire
I hope your magazine is better than the ones in the mag I found your add in
Hope Divinity gets into SILK BITCH WANKING TORTURE, petticoat WANKing Punishment
R.E. Knight, Glos.
I’m writing to you because I Am interested in leather Whips And Ropes.
I do wish this GOVERNMENT Would Bring Back the BIRCH it Would Stop All the VIOLENCE that’s going on in our COUNTRY these FILMS that you Show Are they interesting to Watch they Still us It At the Ilse of Man, they last time I went there my mate got the BIRCH 12 lashes on his back.
He was only aged 13 I see him now and then So that is Why I Would like to see it brouht BACK please can you fix me UP with A Woman that’s interested in leather ASK her to call for me Im aged 42 i prefer A Very Slim Woman With long HAIR not FUSSy of the COLOUR I hope she has A CAR for A Weekend Stay Well that’s All FOR now Please Write BACK AS Soon AS POSSIBLE
I Would like to join your place how MUCH Would I have to paY IVE Been interested in leather ALL my life. I Would like to be PHOTOGRAPHED in leather gear if its OK By You. Please let me KNOW.
Michael M., Burnley
No doubt the “debate” about Mr Bey will drag on and on but before I forget about it altogether I must give my thanks to Mr Sennitt for putting me right on my muddled thinking regarding Mr Bey. The reasons I said Bey edited KAOS are (a) Like the Islamic carpet weavers who always put an imperfection in their patterns to avoid offending Allah, I deliberately made a mistake in order not to look too perfect, and (b) on a more mundane level in 1990 I purged myself of various crap occult magazines like KAOS, NOX, Chaos International etc by, well, throwing them in the bin basically. This may have affected my memory recall somewhat. Also I should mention that somewhere in Mr Sennitt’s oh-so-interesting listings of magazine numbers and letters received, he’s missed the point. It’s a simple point, really, and it goes like this. If I want to indulge my interests in unorthodox Eastern philosophy I don’t want Hakim Bey “telling” me that I shouldn’t be into SM. And if I want to indulge in SM I don’t want somebody from the, ahem, “Esoteric Order of Dagon” (i.e. Mr Sennitt) “telling” me that Hakim Bey wouldn’t approve! Frankly both Messrs Bey and Sennitt need their heads knocking together when they start making authoritarian announcements based on their own personal taste. Indeed that’s why I enjoy por(n)ing over the pages of Divinity – it seems to me to have a celebratory attitude to sex and weirdness in general that doesn’t drag in quasi-moralistic overblown occult ideas. And finally could I deliver a small, consensual of course, slap on the wrist to Mr Flint. If all You’ve got is the demented ramblings of myself and Mr sennitt to go on, it’s not too surprising you think Hakim Bey’s a tosser – but without having made the effort to read anything by him it’s a faintly daft thing to say. As my mate Wittgenstein said, we must get rid of our “craving for generality”, i.e. searching for some kind of simplified rule book to let us know what things are about. It’s a complicated world out there. The only authority is yourself, and when you look into that, it’s obvious that even that doesn’t exist.
Love, licking and lubrication.
Paul Condon on behalf of the OOO (who are these people? They are whoever you say they are.)
Never one to pass up an opportunity to be seen splitting hairs in public, I would like to point out to Paul Condon that my letter in Divinity #4 regarding “Hakim Bey” was not meant as some sort of reprimand; I merely wanted to direct Mr Condon’s attention to “Bey”’s view of S&M culture – I don’t see how he can interpret this as an “authoritarian announcement” by, or on behalf of the, ahem, Esoteric Order of Dagon, or whoever.
I would like to thank him for mentioning NOX (a “crap occult journal” that I edit and produce) in such an exalted mag as Divinity. Espeially as a relaunch is imminent due to the success of my mega-serious new book, Monstrous Cults. In this regard, I’d like to mention that part of the fun in occultism is taking it far too seriously. I don’t mind playing “straight man” to Mr Condon’s “comedian” if life is more comfortable for him that way.
Stephen Sennitt, South Yorkshire
I’ve just finished reading the fifth issue of Divinity and just felt compelled to write.
I’m extremely impressed, you’ll be pleased to know, it gets my seal of approval. One thing I’m not 100% happy with is the title, think you could have done with something with more bite. Here’s a couple of suggestions if you ever consider a change: ORIENTAL NUN EXPLOITATION (Swedish Erotica shots don’t have any Swedes in do they?), AUTOEROTIC ACTIVITY and (my favourite, this one) GIRLS SWALLOW SEMEN!
The Sleaze Kid
Hello? Hello? It’s come to my attention that people are arguing about my work, as if I were some obscure figure of Classical Antiquity whose books have all been lost, surviving only as a few mangled half-lines cited (incorrectly) by some ill-intentioned Church father, or something. There’s no need for this “debate”, as my book is still in print (T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Poetic Terrorism, Ontological Anarchy). T.A.Z. contains the text of Chaos: The Broadsheets of Ontological Anarchism – but I did not edit KAOS. That was Joel Birocco.
As for Mr Condon, I don’t remember ever “telling” him that he shouldn’t indulge in S/M. Perhaps it happened in the sometimes overheated LetterCol of KAOS. But I doubt it, because I seldom proffer unsolicited advice, especially to perfect strangers. Mr Condon appears to be twitting other correspondents for not reading my work; apparently he has not done so himself (or perhaps his “memory recall” is faulty) – I make no “authoritarian” pronouncements about sex based on my “personal taste”. What I denounced in T.A.Z. (I a piece printed by A. Parfrey and B. Black in the first ed. of Rants) was NON-consenual S/M, and the kind of PoMo morbidity and conceptual “transgressiveness” that amounts simply to fascism without power.
And, as I agree with Mr Condon that “the only authority is yourself, I will strenuously resist his “knocking” my head together with anyone else’s, on the grounds that he does not have my consent.
I am enclosing a cutting from the Daily Telegraph of the 8th September.
This indicated the flogging of a bishop.
There are no details and I would be very interested to know more about it, there is no doubt that it was a severe thrashing, but the culprit did not need to have hospital treatment afterwards, and he was fit to sit and walk the next day, therefore no real injury.
I think that many of us would like to have details, such as how he was dressed for the flogging, did he have pants and shirt on? Was he standing or laying down?
It would also be interesting to know the conditions for flogging in other countries like Pakistan, Arabia and Turkey, with descriptions of the faults for which one can be flogged.
A photo or two would be interesting or better still a video of an actual flogging in public or in private.
This being an item suitable for the Daily telegraph, and the true record of a news event I would think that a video or photos would be quite OK and legal imports, am I right?
As ou are in touch and a publisher, I would like to hear from yo on this subject, yo may already have information or know of videos available.
Douglas F., Essex
I Am iNTeReSTed iN DIVINITY I WOULD LiKe TO COMe To One of Your venues if You HAD One in NOTTINgHAM. We’LL my name is Charlie I go AND see A Stripper EVERY Tuesday night I love to Touch There NAKED BODies one girl CALLED TRACY is Blue she lets people Touch her INTIMATE PLACES LAST TiMe she came DOWN. She WALKED AMONGST us I COULD NOT keep MY HANDS off her I felt her tits her BOTTOM then MY finger slid up her FANNY VAGINA she HAD her BACK TO Me BUT ThaT was LOVELY.
IAM Very BROADMINDED ABOUT sex I often go for A SAUNA + MASSAge I love to STAND OUTSIDe The SHOWer + TO HAVe The girLs se me NAKED, Like theres USUALY A girl IN A SWINSUIT sitting On The SiDe of The JAQUIZI I LOVe TO Take MY TOWEL OFF + HAVe her LOOK AT MY peNis. Their TAME there They ONLY ASK for A TIP AFTer A WANK handreLief.
I HAVE NEVER BeeN To ANY of These Venues Before, BUT I WOULD LOVe To Go To One I BeLieve iN COMPLeTe SEXUAL FreeDOM I WOULD LOVe TO DANCe IN JUST A G STRiNG AND TO Be TouchiNg A girl up iN her INTIMATE PArTS of her BODY WHiLe People Are WhaTching TO HAVe girls TOUCHiNG Over MY Bare BODY WOULD Be LOVeLY. I HoPe I SOON Hear From You.
In response to some of David Flint’s understandable concerns as voiced in Sexy Girls and Sexy Guns, I would like to draw the following news item to your attention: “… even weirder were the romantic urges of wayne Horrabin of Texas. According to his wife, when Wayne got sexually aroused he would seize his gun and try to blast himself in the stomach, moaning ‘I need that juicy bullet’ over and over. Although she usually managed to stop him before he went too far, on one occasion he shot himself in the thigh. Mr Horrabin has been in therapy for some months now. He started by wearing a bullet proof jacket during sex, and has now progressed to firing blanks at a teddy bear strategically placed in a corner of the room.”
Several years ago I read a newspaper or magazine article about an office party at which women donned blindfolds, got on their knees, and had to identify male co-workers who were wewaring stockings, by feeling the men’s legs. Apparently some feminists objected, claiming this was demeaning to women. For a while I thought that was a fair point, but then I reconsidered after reflecting on the issue more. Suppose the positions had been reversed, and blindfolded, kneeling me were having to identify women by feeling their stockinged legs? I realised the feminists would still have objected that it was degrading to women. The fact of the matter is that some situations are just degrading to everyone involved (and what’s wrong with that, cries the Divinity readership). The reason I’m dredging this obscure little anecdote out of memory is that I believe it supplies the answer to Adam Parfrey’s question about how Andrea Dworkin would address the existence of the Chippendales. On the grounds that given the sexist society in which we live, any sort of contact which involves sexuality (even mimed) is degrading to women, I’m sure she would find a way to interpret their show as being degrading to women.
Mikel Norwitz, London