Et Alors? Magazine 2

julianboom

Et Alors? Magazine is an ongoing research project, focused on documenting contemporary queer art and LGBT creativity, solely written and designed by Fleur Pierets & Julian P. Boom. Married and female. By using the conventional magazine format as a creative platform to publish in-depth interviews and positive portraits on musicians, visual artists, writers and performers, they challenge and expand the mainstream understandings on the specific niche of queer art. The project both highlights contemporary artists and the many creative individuals who have put their unique stamp on art history. Et Alors? Magazine is a time document that continually captures the zeitgeist of a changing world, supporting the creation, the research and the development of projects that explore diversity, gender, feminism and queer topics on an optimistic, cultural, artistic and intellectual level.

ET ALORS?

A F L A M B O Y A N T M A G A Z I N E

EUR9,95€ - UK7,65£ - USA12,25$


editorial 02

Dear reader,

‘Where to begin?’ is the first thing that comes to mind when writing this.

Why? It feels like we lived an entire life between the launch of issue 1 last December,

and the birth of number 2. The one you are holding right now.

Et Alors? #1 has been shipped all over the world, to beautiful shops from Barcelona

to Tokyo and from Berlin to New York. Shops, owned by people that are brave

enough to stock a magazine featuring topics out of the ordinary. Reviews have

been very positive, but above all extremely encouraging to continue with what

we’ve started.

Meanwhile we lectured in schools, talked to young people about homophobia,

freedom of sexual preferences and about – so to speak – ‘weird’ things, that

aren’t quite half as weird as they look once you start to talk and think about them.

Consequently we don’t have any intention to settle down for now. We’re giving it a

lot of energy and positive thoughts to start the Et Alors? Foundation. A foundation

based upon open heartedness, an organization that will defend our and your

human right to be whomever you want to be in a positive and glamorous way.

So here it is: our second issue of Et Alors? Magazine in which we give you – amongst

a lot of other interesting stuff – several enlightening interviews; with Michael

Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize winner and writer of The Hours. With John and James,

founders of Fetlife.com, a website like Facebook but for fetishists. Furthermore

we feature articles about Bears and about the first woman who was allowed in

the Lucha Libre ring and who paid her respect by publishing hundreds of pictures

of the masked superstars. We present passionate fashion designers, intriguing

performers, courageous filmmakers and a bunch of artists with a fascinating edge.

And of course we covered all this beauty with a big layer of fun. Just because we

know for sure that life gets more interesting when it is looked at from the bright

side.

Again, words are not adequate enough to say thank you to all the great artists,

photographers and writers who, once again, made this new issue possible. Let’s

just keep going on and spread the word! And let me add a special thank you to a

great artist and one of our best friends whom we always considered being not only

smart and talented, but also extremely good looking. Here he is, looking all fancy

and beautiful on our cover. Thank you ,G.!

So off you go. Enjoy our second ode to diversity, get inspired, keep safe & stay

gorgeous!

Big Love,

Fleur & Julian

ET ALORS? 005


EDITOR IN CHIEF FLEUR PIERETS

ART DIRECTOR JULIAN P. BOOM

text editor NIKKIE VAN LIEROP

COVER

Concept & DESIGN LMDP MEDIA GROUP

PHOTO & RETOUCHE ELLIE VDB AT IC-UC MODEL geoffrey de beer

GARTERBELT ‘SEIN TOILE’ BY LOVE FROM HOLLAND

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

AKIM A.J. WILLEMS BETTY BLACK BrAM MICHIELSEN FLEUR PIERETS

JOSIE PYKE laura coppens NIKKI HEARTACHE sven mes YASHA

YOUNG

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

adrian de giorgio annie bertram anthony lycett bobette

daren brade dirk alexander elliot morgan fanny van poppel

francis ware hugo rourke jan van breda julian p. boom

kristian taylor-wood lourdes grobet maarten willemstein

michiel dierickx natalie j. watts nathan gallagher paul

douglas ramon estrada ron de wildt shannon hansen sin

bozkurt soazig le bozec studio bolster tessa angus

CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS

ANTO CHRIST BETTY BLACK CLARE WHITTINGHAM FELIXE CAROLE

DI CAIRE IDIOTS JEROEN VAN DER KLIS KATE MCCGWIRE MICHAEL

CUNNINGHAM MR. PUSTRA NIELS PEERAER ROSWITHA VAN RIJN

SARAH DYKMANS SIMON EKRELIUS STEPHEN JONES VELDA LAUDER

VIVIAN KRAMER GEZEGD FREHER

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ET ALORS?, CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE

ON WWW.ETALORSMAGAZINE.COM. To BUY OUR FIRST, OUR SECOND

AND FOLLOWING ISSUES, RECEIVE NEWSLETTERS, UPDATES, MORE

INFORMATION ON CONTRIBUTORS, SHOPS AND THE MAKING OF…. YOU

CAN FIND IT ALL THERE!

TO ADVERTISE IN ET ALORS? PLEASE CONTACT

henny@ETALORSMAGAZINE.COM

FOR SUBMISSIONS AND SUBMISSION GUIDELINES CONTACT

SUBMISSION@ETALORSMAGAZINE.COM

FOR GENERAL ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT

GENERAL@ETALORSMAGAZINE.COM

WWW.ETALORSMAGAZINE.COM

WWW.LAMAITRESSEDUPIRATE.COM

ETALORSMAGAZINE.COM

EDITOR IN CHIEF FLEUR PIERETS

WEB DESIGN and layout JULIAN P. BOOM

WEB DEVELOPER JIM CABUS JULIAN P. BOOM

ET ALORS? MAGAZINE IS PUBLISHED BY

LMDP MEDIA GROUP BVBA

2012 - ISSN 2034-5429

T +32 (0) 477881752

T +31 (0) 644297044

ET ALORS? IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK. ALL OF THE ET ALORS?

CONTRIBUTORS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR AND RETAIN THE REPRODUCTION

RIGHTS OF THEIR OWN WORDS AND IMAGES. REPRODUCTIONS OF ANY

KIND ARE PROHIBITED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE EDITOR

AND EACH CONTRIBUTOR.

PRINTED BY GEERS OFFSET

006 ET ALORS?


table of contents

EDITORIAL 003

CONTRIBUTORS 006

NIELS Peeraer 008

betty black 018

la maison champs ELYSÉES 024

lourdes grobet 027

DIRTY MINNIE 036

COLumn by sven mes 044

anto christ 046

michAEl cunningham 052

simon ekrelius 062

column by nikki heartache 068

CLare whittingham 070

FEATHERS 078

column by yasha young 092

FETLIFE 094

BEARS 108

children of srikandi 119

the house of rising 128

wool fetish 131

mr. pustra 136

issue 2 on film 142

Websites 144

SPECIAL THANKS TO

INGE VAN DEN BOSSCHE FOR YOU KNOW WHAt MARIEKE OSSENDRIJVER FOR HELPING TO FIND PEOPLE WILLING TO LEND

US THEIR BEAUTIFUL AND FAMOUS FACES FOR THE ET ALORS? FOUNDATION RICHARD KELDOULIS & ELARD DIEKMAN

FOR BEING GREAT HENNY DE MAN OUR FINE ADVERTISINGWOMAn NIKKIE VAN LIEROP OUR BRAND NEW TEXT EDITOR

the USUAL LOVED ONES INGRID VAN DEN BOSSCHE BART VANDERBIESEN GEOFFREY DE BEER & RENATE BREUER

ALL THOSE GREAT PEOPLE OUT THERE – YES WE ARE TALKING TO YOU! – WHO GOT THEMSELVES A COPY OF THIS second

ISSUE SO WE CAN GO ON AND MAKE A third ONE LAST BUT NOT LEAST A BILLION KISSES TOWARDS THE GREAT

WRITERS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, STYLISTS, MAKE UP ARTISTS, MODELS AND FRIENDS WHO MADE THIS DREAM POSSIBLE!

ET ALORS? 007


JAN VAN BREDA is a freelance photographer who’s well known in the

Amsterdam club scene. He can put his models at ease like no other, with

an always stunning result. No matter which environment, no matter what

clothes they wear, every person on the pictures looks like they’ve known

him for years. Check out the Furball shoot on page 108.

www.janvanbreda.com

Originally from the UK, JOSIE PYKE thoroughly enjoys the research and

analysis that comes with journalism and loves to document and explore

different views within her writing. She likes to create empathy and

debates. As an aspiring lingerie model, she has a great interest in beauty.

She writes an online blog: http://amodelsbeautyblog.wordpress.com.

Josie wrote the article “Bears” on page 108.

FANNY VAN POPPEL is a 26 year-old fashion photographer.

With her studio based in the heart of Tilburg she continues to aim for fashionable,

emotional, striking and sometimes controversial images.

She takes photography very serious but believes that above all... photoshoots

should be fun. Fanny shot “Dirty Minnie” on page 036.

www.fannyvanpoppel.com

An angry ex said AKIM A.J. WILLEMS is “an egocentric borderliner with

an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder”. Akim A.J.Willems, however,

claims “just to be an author, bibliophile, artist & stand-up comedian”.

Akim interviewed Mr. Pustra on page 136.

www.akimwillems.be

YASHA YOUNG shares some of the most beautiful, enticing, stimulating,

darkest art and creations with us. Things which she has encountered

during her career as the owner of Strychnin Gallery Berlin, London, NYC.

She invites you to take a closer look and hopefully be as speechless,

excited or amused as she was. You can read Yasha’s column on page 092.

www.strychnin.com

008 ET ALORS?


CONTRIBUTORS

SVEN MES AKA DJ CHUBBEE BEE introducing Et Alors? to the world

of undiscovered bizarre Japanese choreography tunes, space-age

Turkish kraut rock, Czechoslovakian vampire soundscapes, Welsh rarebeats,

bubblegum folktronica, drugsploitation soundtracks. Collecting.

Inspecting. Injecting tunes from around the globe. For your ears only. You

can read Sven’s column on page 044.

ELLIE VAN DEN BRANDE is a cutie with huge postproduction skills and

the tendency to fall of stairs. Together with Steven Lemmens she’s the

founder of IC-UC. The perfect company when you look for innovative

collaboration and unique concepts. Ellie shot - for the second time - the

Et Alors? Magazine cover and we keep on loving her.

www.ellievdb.be

NIKKI HEARTACHE has toured the globe with bands such as Lords Of

Acid and Praga Khan. A few years ago she decided to collect and share

her memoirs with the world. Draped over a chaise longue she dictates

her wild adventures to her blushing secretary whilst nipping on a trendy

cocktail. You can read Nikki’s column on page 068.

www.darlingnikkie.com

With her company “Slightly-Sarcastic” VIVIAN KRAMER GEZEGD

FREHER provides styling and/or creative directions to create looks that

last. She gets inspired by pin-up’s, (old) movies, music, the people around

her, city’s like London, Berlin and she secretly loves clichés. Her style is to

define as elegant, edgy and fun with a little hint of sarcasm. Vivian styled

“Dirty Minnie” on page 036.

www.slightly-sarcastic.nl

BRAM MICHIELSEN is a pop culture aficionado and a counterculture

enthusiast. Out of a deep-rooted love of storytelling, he writes comic

books, screenplays and articles about whatever sparks his fascination.

Although residing in Antwerp, Belgium, he feels most at home in New York

City. He’s infinitely curious and loves sharing his reflections and discoveries

with equally inquiring minds at HTTP://TWITTER.COM/BRAMMICHIELSEN. Bram

interviewed the funny guys behind Fetlife on page 094.

ET ALORS? 009


NIELS

PEERAER

guess

technology

isn’t

ready

for

pancake

teleportation


“I’m confused, I’m sitting here on the sofa, the heart my boyfriend

drew on the mirror is still there, my heart in a rice cooker. I think

I’ll marry him again at lunch. My cat is sleeping but it’s already

been 4 days. Well, I have to go to the supermarket anyway. Guess

technology isn’t ready for pancake teleportation”.

This is the diary entry from the main character of Niels Peeraer’s

collection. The darling child of the Antwerp Academy’s graduating

class of 2011 presents his graduate work Guess technology isn’t

ready for pancake teleportation, consisting of couture-like tweed

silhouettes, handmade leather armors, accessories, clothes

and Japanese wooden sandals. All in candy-colored pastels. His

concept revolved around the idea of a young boy who has an

imaginary boyfriend and prepares to marry him every day. He

plays video games all day long and goes to the supermarket in

his pyjamas. He wears the armour that his video games-heroes

are clad in, combines this with his grandmothers couture jackets

(they’re actually too small but he’s very attached to them) and

eats nothing but cupcakes and donuts.

Peeraer’s collection blends sophisticated Chanel-esque and a

super-cute look with an ease that makes you curious about what’s

012 ET ALORS?


going to happen next.

Although the pictures show girlish boys wearing soft pink clothes,

and cupcakes and teddy bears are placed just right, Niels is

the only one who will never mention the words “unisex” or

“androgynies” because he wants to achieve the exact opposite.

“I want to create beautiful pieces that stand on their own for

whomever feels related or touched by them”, he says.

Born in a tiny village in Belgium, Niels later moved to Paris:

“Intentionally I wanted to move to Tokyo but plans changed as I

found love in Paris. I just love the possibilities here: good Asian

restaurants, cosmopolitan people. It’s very vibrant. And of course,

residing in such a romantic city with the one you love is the most

wonderful thing ever.” Part from moving out of love, Niels also

thinks that some countries aren’t ready to appreciate his work or

who he is. At least not yet. “I never really intend to shock people

but I really want to wear the feel of the moment. When I wake

up and feel like putting on a tutu, so be it. In Paris I don’t stand

out as much as in Belgium so that’s a good start, but I love Tokyo,

they think I’m super cute.” Influenced and inspired by Geisha’s

and Japanese boys, Niels has always been thrilled by Asia, mainly

ET ALORS? 015


“When I wake up

and feel like putting on

a tutu, so be it. ”


Japan. In interviews he sometimes says he was a Japanese Geisha

in his previous life.

For him that’s the closest description he can give for how this

affection feels. Although not influenced by idols – “I think it limits

you a lot” – he’s inspired by people in his everyday life and if he

would really have to call someone an idol, it would be Terence

Koh, a Canadian Chinese artist. One of his philosophies is “I will

marry marry marry again, till marriage out of love becomes as

common as drinking water”.

His 3rd year Bachelor collection “Kizokusyakai no Dorei, geisha

n°58-65” was granted the “Innovation Award” by Anne Chapelle

(the leading woman behind Ann Deumeulemeester and Haider

Ackerman) and was selected as a finalist for ITS#9 (International

Talent Support, IT). His Master collection Guess technology isn’t

ready for pancake teleportation won 5 awards which included

a limited edition handbag collaboration with Delvaux. He had a

personal gallery exhibition at MOMU (fashion museum, Antwerp),

FFI movex Award for the leather usage and Ra Award (included

showroom in Paris SS 2012). Did I mention Niels just reached his

twenties? What does – let’s call it awardness – do to someone

who only just graduated? “I’m very thankful for the appreciation

of course, but if I learned one thing from my parents it’s to be

humble. I don’t think too highly of myself. To get the highest

grades of your class and to win all these awards frankly doesn’t

mean that much when you compare it to this huge fashion scene.

I’m going to make more than one collection per year but I don’t

want to go crazy in following the madness of making four in the

same amount of time. I think the fashion industry became too

fast - the quality can’t keep up with it. So I want to try to get rid

of that pressure and design beautiful pieces that are slightly more

expensive. I would like people to buy just one beautiful piece

instead of ten pieces of junk at H&M, having to throw them away

after a year.”

At the moment Niels is starting a label for leather accessories in

Paris. “Becoming a designer was always one of my dreams and all I

can hope for is to actually make money by creating the collections

I love so much. And maybe one day my designs will be sold in Asia.

Wouldn’t that be amazing..”

www.notjustalabel.com/nielspeeraer

photos dirk alexander

018 ET ALORS?


BETTY

BLACK

THE DEVIL INSIDE ME

020 ET ALORS?


‘CAN I HAVE A CIGARETTE’


‘IT GIRL’

Betty Black started off as a name, just a made up name. An

alter-ego that I created for myself in an attempt to perfect

one distinctive style of work, rather than end up with a

variety of mediocre crap, after having just coasted through

a pointless Illustration degree back in 2008.

Only four short years ago on paper, but in reality all of the

dimensional shifts and time travel that I’ve experienced

since make it seem like another lifetime completely. I can

vaguely remember some things. A full time job? My own

studio apartment? My Independence?

Yes, back then Betty Black was just a made up name.

But then my life slowly descended into Hell.

And I got to meet her in person.

First of all I lost the job and then of course the apartment

had to go. I was forced to move back home into the

terrible purple bedroom of my teenage self-loathing

and, not content with imprisoning me inside a vile indigo

box, the fates apparently thought I needed to be taught

a much greater lesson in humility, inflicting upon me an

impressively revolting medical anomaly which involved a

number of degrading surgeries and agonisingly dull stints

in beige waiting rooms.

022 ET ALORS?


‘CHAISE LOUNGE’

I could neither believe nor understand what was happening

to my body and so I fled. I absconded deep into my delirious

imagination and firmly locked the door behind me.

All I wanted to do was hide behind my new name. I took

comfort in sadistically drowning paper in the blackest of

black ink, leaving minimal white space for the strange

scenarios and characters that seemed to mysteriously well

up inside of me.

I read stacks of Japanese Ero-guru comics and erotic

novels by Von- Sacher Masoch, Anais Nin and the Marquis

de Sade to name but a few. I buried myself beneath tomes

of folklore, mythology and black magic and I gorged my

eyes upon the tangible darkness of Film Noir, Pulpy sexy

50’s B-movies and grotesque eastern horror films.

But try as I might there was something missing from my

work, some kind of key transcendental factor was lacking.

I couldn’t seem to expand my ideas fully. I was fenced in,

blocked – but by what? What was holding me back?

“It’s really not good enough to just start writing new initials

on your pictures and think that that’s all there is to it, you

know?” I heard my own voice whisper in my ear. “I’m afraid

that it all goes much, much deeper than that.”

My heart stopped and my eyes bulged. I reeled around

ET ALORS? 023


‘MARBLEHEAD 04’ ‘MARBLEHEAD 03’

in total shock only to come face to face with myself, my

exact double. Only this version of me was sharply dressed

in a black Chanel suit with her hair perfectly coiffed and

lips the color of dried blood.

“You can’t just call yourself Betty Black. You have to

understand how to be Betty Black.” She tried to smile at

me but all she was capable of was an evil grin. “What’s

wrong? Isn’t this how you pictured yourself as me?!”

“You know it is…” I managed to gasp. She laughed.

“Of course I do. I’ve been around for a lot longer than some

silly nickname has! I am the darkest part of your heart and

The Monster in your mind. I’ve always been here darling,

and tonight I’m going to show you a few things to get you

on the right track.”

She took me by the hand and pulled me straight into

another state of being. She showed me things that I

had only ever caught glimpses of in dreams – there was

Lucifer’s harem, with its jet black Onyx walls and opulent

lacquered torture devices. Giant women with planet sized

heads made of marble skewered human souls with meterlong

stiletto heels, while Opera music played softly in the

background.

We traveled to London in 1856 and stole inside the house

of an infamous coven. We peered into violently chintzy

rooms whilst witches that looked like porcelain dolls –

024 ET ALORS?


lounged by her pool wearing nothing but a mink coat and

blowing rings of opium smoke at a staunch looking Butler.

We giggled as she ordered two maids to simultaneously

fellate him because “He looked as goddamn bored as she

felt.”

Finally, after exhausting ourselves in the black forest with

a bunch of insatiable, orgiastic tree nymphs she took me

to a place called ‘The house at the end of the world’, a

raunchy bar which transcended time and space and that

I would be able to get back home from easily, or so she

said. We ordered whiskey sours and watched an incredibly

oily and voluptuous burlesque dancer twirl two silver

octopuses from her breasts.

“So even though you’ve really only had a tiny peep into the

infinite void of creation tonight, do you see how important

it was even just to visit?” She knocked back her drink and

lit a cigarette.

“It’s the boiling carnal soup of madness where all real

ideas come from and you can’t really expect to create any

kind of decent, honest art without coming here and seeing

it for yourself.

You can’t just guess at this stuff. It’s like I said, you can’t

just call yourself Betty Black, you have to be Betty Black

and now you know how to get here, you know how to do

that. “

“Thank you for showing me…” I began to gush.

‘MARBLEHEAD 01’

“I wouldn’t thank me until you look this good”, she

interrupted, looking at my clothes with a mix of disgust

and confusion. “You need to get a suit like this one, bitch.”

And with that she vanished into thin air!

coldly perfect with long, silken hair – fondly degraded

initiates with blindfolds and birch whips upon layers of

velvet, silk and lace.

She led me into a Japanese summer garden with sweet,

overwhelming fragrances and flurries of peach blossom

spiraling into the air. Courtesans of the Sun Emperor sat

in giant peach halves, partially dressed in heavy, gorgeous

Kimonos which were embroidered with intricate patterns

and flowers. They made love to each other lazily, licking

the dewy peach juice from each other’s golden skin in the

dappled light.

Then we spied on a rich American heiress in 1925 as she

I felt like a well of perfect knowledge and infinite vision.

I had shed my dead skin and finally, truly become Betty

Black in the flesh. A new force of creative will bubbled up

inside of me like a freshly opened bottle of champagne

and I was giddy with inspiration. But, although on some

level I had achieved inner contentment, deep in the back

of my mind – I was indeed still thinking about that bitches

amazing Chanel suit.

www.bettyblackcomics.deviantart.com

text and artwork Betty black

ET ALORS? 025


WE LOVE

LA MAISON – CHAMPS ELYSÉES

WHY

Because there’s something delightfully and

freakishly special about this Parisian town villa,

where the unexpected seems to have become

the rule. We wouldn’t be at all surprised if a

rabbit – clad in a red jacket - would be in charge

of room service here. This magical place was

Designed by Maison Martin Margiela.

WHAT

Located between Avenue Montaigne and the

Grand Palais, La Maison - Champs Elysées

opens its doors to a new world of luxury

and poetry, a relaxed atmosphere in which

minimalism is enhanced by an incredible

attention to detail. It is a place that tells a

story, the interiors of this remarkable hotel

are carefully orchestrated like a playful,

provocative theatrical production.


PHILOSOPHY

Maison Martin Margiela is known for its predilection

for white (wall paint, cotton covers on

furniture, white muslin over the chandeliers),

for playing with contrasting proportions, for

surrealism and Pop culture. Maison Martin

Margiela, precursor and pioneer, opts for

minimalism and anonymity, signs its creations

with a blank white label, sometimes has its

catwalk models wear masks and answers

questions collectively.

Maison Martin Margiela imagined this project

as a direct continuation of its own artistic

history, proposing a place with harmonious

contrasts and a surrealistic slant.

WHERE

La Maison - Champs Elysées

8, rue Jean Goujon - 75008 Paris

www.lamaisonchampselysees.com


masked

superstars

TEXT FLEUR PIERETS

PHOTOS LOURDES GROBET

For thirty years photographer Lourdes Grobet

has penetrated the world of one of the most

popular sports and deep-seated traditions in

Mexico: Lucha Libre-wrestling.

She documented the lives of the fighters

inside and outside of the ring.


Lucha Libre (Spanish: Free wrestling, lit. “free fight”) is a

term used in Mexico for a form of professional wrestling.

Being mostly a regional phenomenon in the early 1900’s,

professional wrestling remained in Mexico until Salvador

Lutteroth founded the Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre

(Mexican Wrestling Enterprise) in 1933, giving the sport a

national foothold for the first time.

Grobets childhood was very different from what it is today.

She was a rich girl from Lomas de Chapultepec, one of the

oldest and most exclusive residential areas of Mexico City.

Her classes were taught by nuns and, wearing a uniform,

she rode to school in a black Cadillac.

She was an athletic girl and her father, a professional

cyclist, obligated her to exercise before going to school.

This was a routine that allowed Grobet to lead a life

without physical setbacks.

As a young woman she was determined to get away from

the upper class lifestyle she was used to. “I was always

rebellious and that saved me from being stuck as a good

girl for the rest of my life”, she recalls. “I never wasted

time trying to make money, or getting my own Cadillac.

The times I watched fights on television were moments of

splendor and leaps of joy but, because I was only a child,

my parents never wanted to take me to the arenas to see

the action for real. It was quite a mystery to me how my

father, being such a lover of sport, would not take me

there. It’s ironic that years later I have devoted so much

into documenting this spectacle.”

In 1942, Lucha Libre would change forever when a

silver-masked wrestler, simply known as El Santo (The

Saint), first stepped into the ring. He made his debut in

Mexico City by winning a battle royal for eight men. The

public became enamored by the mystique and secrecy

of Santo’s personality, and he quickly became the most

popular luchador in Mexico. His wrestling career spanned

nearly five decades, during which he became a folk hero

and a symbol of justice for the common man through his

appearances in comic books and movies, while the sport

received an unparalleled degree of mainstream attention.

“I had promised myself not to take pictures of any folkloric

bias, but in doing portraits of fighters I found something

so deeply Mexican that I was very intrigued. Meeting the

fighters gave me another perspective and the one who

struck me the most was El Santo. His generosity in dealing

with people filled me with joy. I couldn’t believe that the

most famous man in Mexico could be so humble. I hate

power, fame, and money because they corrupt people.

El Santo broke the hold of fame and never had to be the

center of attention, he just didn’t give a damn.” Grobet

took the still photographs for one of El Santo’s films and

confirmed that he wasn’t using tricks. “He didn’t use a

double or strike star poses. When he finished filming there

were endless lines of people waiting for an autograph.

El Santo stood there and patiently signed his name up

to the last person. He gave me a great deal of lessons in

generosity.“

Staying anonymous by wearing a mask is a very

important part of the Lucha Libre. These warriors need

their disguise, because appearance is not only a fine

adornment characteristic in the world of wrestling but

also a weapon with which to disconcert, astonish, and

frighten their opponent. Warriors are transformed by

the sublime pleasure of becoming stoically anonymous.

Their audience knows they may be well-known legends,

but their private lives must remain a secret, for their epic

fantasy plays out confrontation between normal, everyday

environmental design and their particular mystery. The

visual appeal - especially when set in scenarios outside the

ring - was quickly apparent to Grobet. In Lucha Libre: The

Family Portraits, Grobet shows the wrestlers with their

mothers, wives and girlfriends, sitting for what would

almost be a generic family portrait, but for the fantastic

costumes of the luchadores themselves. By this simple

gesture we are brought to the threshold of their identities

- and held there. The ungainly, monstrous and splendidly

defiant stance they convey with this final preservation of

anonymity is of course what gives Grobet’s pictures their

edge.

Despite all these great stories you have to keep in mind

that Grobet is the only woman whose lens has captured

the magic of this exciting sport that is much talked about

but known very little of. The only woman who worked

in the arena for thirty years. She evolved from taking

pictures during fights into a frequent visitor to the private

homes where the wrestlers meet, celebrate their victories

and live their everyday lives. “The fighters are generous

and respectful people. When I started I was young and

pretty. Nobody ever failed me in that regard. We began to

build relationships; we got to know one another. It didn’t

take much to get into dressing rooms even though the

majority of the wrestlers are men. I was spending time in

gyms and eventually it was just another part of the job,

like documenting an office in another profession. Instead

of positioning myself as a woman, I was always more

030 ET ALORS?


‘MATEMÁTICOS’

ET ALORS? 031


‘PEQUENO PIERROTH’

032 ET ALORS?


‘DR. X E HIJA’

ET ALORS? 033


“Grobet is the only woman

whose lens has

captured the magic

of this exciting sport

that is much talked

about but known very little of.”

interested in myself as an independent human being who

doesn’t bow down to anyone. I’ve never been much of a

flag-waver and my attitude has been rather unorthodox,

but I have fought for women’s rights and equality. What

I’ve always rejected is the kind of imported, middleclass

feminism that doesn’t correspond to the reality of

Mexican women.”

Grobets passion for this sporting ritual has led her to

gather not only thousands of photographs, but a vast

collection of wrestling posters and programs, newspaper

clippings, postcards, flyers, magazine covers, movie

posters, stickers, and diverse objects that form part of

wrestling paraphernalia. Still, Grobet says she is a “bad

portraitist” because she shows people as they are and

sometimes people want to be different, better. “I don’t put

anyone in a pose. I was invited to their homes, I arrived,

sometimes we ate - in fact the mother of Los Brazos was

a great cook - and with that feeling of closeness I went to

work. Their homes were wonderful. Sometimes people

think that I composed the pictures but I never did. You

simply enter the house and you don’t know where to look

first. Everything is interesting, it’s a marvel of icons and

objects.”

Grobet promised her fighters that she would make a book,

and she delivered. In 2005 she published Espectacular

de Lucha Libre, an effort that brought together a

vast collection of images. Grobet has done more than

twenty solo shows and, with her transparent and yet

kaleidoscopic reflection of an eclectic, suggestive outlook

on life, she became one of Mexico’s leading contemporary

photographers.

034 ET ALORS?


‘MAXIMO E INDIA XIOUX’

ET ALORS? 035


‘BLUE DEMON JR.’

036 ET ALORS?


‘VILLANO V DENTISTA’

ET ALORS? 037


DIRTy MINNIE

PHOTOS

STYLING

MUA

MODEL

FANNY VAN POPPEL

VIVIAN KRAMER GEZEGD FREHER

NATASJA VAN DER AUWERA

IFHEGEMEIA BERNHEART


SPREAD

LEATHER ARMBINDERS, BIZARRE DESIGN

BY JEROEN VAN DER KLIS

DRESS, H&M

RUBBER CORSET, BIZARRE DESIGN

BY JEROEN VAN DER KLIS

COLLAR VINTAGE STYLISTS OWN


LEFT

RUBBER NECKCORSET, BIZARRE DESIGN

BY JEROEN VAN DER KLIS

WOOL VEST, ZARA

LATEX GLOVES MODELS OWN

RIGHT

FAKE FUR JACKET, H&M

STOCKINGS, H&M

GLAMOUR GIRDLE, WHAT KATIE DID, GLAMROCK

PUMPS MODELS OWN

LEATHER ARMBINDERS, BIZARRE DESIGN

BY JEROEN VAN DER KLIS

DRESS, H&M


MUSICTOMAKESWE

1

PIERRE BACHELET - O’ ET SIR STEPHEN

/from the soundtrack of L’ histoire d’O/

(1975, Barclay, France)

Pierre Bachelet is a well-known producer of spacy

melodies for a whole lot of French softcore erotic movies

troughout the 70s. Especially the blockbusters of director

Just Jaeckin reached millions of fans everywhere. His first

full-length movie score was “Emanuelle”, you know: the

‘bored housewife’ who pushed the boundaries of what was

acceptable on the screen those days. In 1975 Just Jaeckin

directed “Histoire d’O” and again he called upon Pierre

Bachelet’s talent for its stunning soundtrack.

In my mind “O’ et Sir Stephen” is the strongest track on

the album. It successfully combines a perfect a capella

harmony of an utterly sensual melody and a female voice

humming along. The mesmerizing, swelling synth and

swaying guitar create a warm rhythmic foundation for this

tasty aural treat, a melancholic gracious elegance.

The dreamy easy listenable sound of Pierre Bachelet much

later inspired the French duo Air. Very very obviously!

3

THE EROTIC VOICE OF JOE BERLUCK - DON’T CRY LITTLE GIRL

(1970, Palette, Belgium)

Introducing a living legend from Belgium.

Joe Berluck started his career as a radio disc jockey at the underground station Radio

Luxembourg in spirit as well as in location. In the late 50’s his weekly broadcasted show

reached lots and lots of fans in the surrounding countries. It took just a little while to kick

off his deejay career outside the studio and he started touring with his own hand-built

mobile tape recorder disco bar, no joke!

Joe Berluck is widely regarded as one of the most influential radio disc jockeys around. A

local record company noticed his famous deep timbre and kindly asked him to produce a

few singles, introducing his nickname The Erotic Voice Of Joe Berluck. His funny phonetic

pronunciation and crappy accent are even more legendary than his discography.

Two years ago music maniac Mauro Pawlowski and yours truly searched and found this

80-year-old man Jozef aka Joe Berluck and recorded a new single: “Try A Little Love”.

Amen.

2

THE WHITE NOISE - MY GAME OF LOVING

(1969, Island, UK)

We all know the electronic theme music of the

British science fiction television series “Doctor

Who”, composed by Ron Grainer and Delia

Derbyshire. Both gained worldwide fame for their

work with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. This

workshop consisted of a small team of technical

wizards and avant-garde musicians, whose

main function was to create futuristic music

and sound effects for BBC science fiction TV

and radio programs. It generated a whole range

of electronic music pioneers, using a variety of

experimental tape manipulation techniques and

introducing the early use of the synthesizer.

The White Noise is an experimental early electronic

music band from London, formed in 1968

by Delia Derbyshire and David Vorhaus, both

amongst various other members of the BBC

Radiophonic Workshop. Their groundbreaking

debut “An Electric Storm” has over the years

proven to be a cult classic. The White Noise was

one of the earliest electronic bands, featuring

all sorts of analog electronic keyboards, tone

generators, synthesisers, homemade equipment

and odd experiments with techniques of tape

manipulation. “My Game Of Loving” is a typical

example of a cutting, scratching and pasting

composition of groaning and moaning recorded

on tape. My game of loving mos def!

046 ET ALORS?


ETSWEETLOVETO

COMPILED BY SVEN MES AKA DJ CHUBBEE BEE

5

THE CHAKACHAS - JUNGLE FEVER

(1972, Polydor, Belgium)

4

APRIL STEVENS - TEACH ME TIGER

(1959, White Whale, USA)

April Stevens is an American

singer who started recording

at the early age of 15 years old.

She is perhaps best known for

the 1959 song “Teach Me Tiger”,

which was banned from radio

airplay because of its sexually

suggestive content and most

of all for April Stevens’ breathy

vocals that were quite similar to

a respiratory machine. The song

gained more success over the

years due to Marilyn Monroe’s

wink-wink naughty cover of the

song. Touch me tiger and I will

teeease you wa wa wa wah ♥

The Chakachas were a Belgian combo of latin soul studio musicians that consisted

of exotic members such as Gaston, Vic, Christian and Henri. Really. They

started out in de late 1950s and issued numerous recordings in the following

years. They are best remembered as a one-hit wonder for their “Jungle Fever”,

a single that sold millions of copies worldwide and turned to gold. You simple

cannot visit a secondhand record store around the globe without tracing The

Chakachas. Or Les Chakachas. Or Los Chacachas. Funny.

Although everybody knows its famous sounds of female and male orgasmic

moaning, it is the ultra persuasive percussion of maracas, congas and drums

that remain the driving force throughout the song. A funky guitar riff and two

low-key French horns back up the jerky rhythm.

The song is even more characterized by the pauses: the moans get louder and

louder, the horns and guitar switch on hold, the rhythms vanish and finally the

female voice goes “Ah...no...no...I...I...” before the funky stuff kicks back in.

Marvellous! Brand new! Sexy!

Since then It never disappeared from the FM airwaves and in 1997 “Jungle

Fever” featured in the movie “Boogie Nights”. And yes indeed, in a sex scene.

Where else?

The X-rated hip hop group 2 Live Crew sampled the song on “Put Her in the

Buck” and for educational purposes gently added raps something like “A big

stinking pussy can’t do it all, so we try really hard to bust the walls straight to

the ceiling, feel the feeling, when I bust a nut, your ass’ll be creaming”. Nuff

said. You gotta love ‘em ‘-))

6

MITTLAND OCH LEO - JUPITER FESTIVAL

(2011, Ultra Excema, Belgium)

Mittland Och Leo is an Antwerp based dreamy synth pop

duo, out on the underground cult label Ultra Excema

owned by visual artist Dennis Tyfus. “Jupiter Festival” is a

2:38 minute short synthesized piece of art, accomplished

with the simplicity of a repeating electronic beat and static

string effects, slowly playing at first but picking up steam

as a diverse assortment of mystifying keys swirl around.

The more up-tempo feel of the beat and the slightly

distorted and pitched down synths blend really well

together and make a seductive and intense impression of

traumatic beauty. Sit down and dedicate yourself to their

brilliant handling of sound as mood. Enjoy the gloom.

Embrace the melancholy. FAN!

ET ALORS? 047


ANTO

CHrist

Her calling card in life is to explore and to experiment

with different mediums in order to create something

new. Creating is her obsession and passion and she

refuses to put herself in a bubble by sticking to one thing

only. Next to being a designer, artist and performer,

she’s also the leading lady of one of the happiest parades

in the world. The Sydney Colour Parade.

048 ET ALORS?

PHOTO HUGO ROURKE


PHOTO kristian taylor-wood


ON DREAMS.

My mother taught me how to crochet when I was eight but

everything started when I saw work by the The Icelandic Love

Corporation. The crocheted work they did for Björk was so

amazing and mind blowing that I knew what I was heading for. I

believe that you can be whatever you want to be in this world as

long as you do it every day. Let’s say practice makes perfect!

ON INSPIRATION.

I get my inspiration from plants, insects and the ocean. The ocean

is the main place I draw from. My world situates underwater, in

the depths of the sea that has not yet been explored. I would like

to create an entire world of fluorescent beauty and inspire future

creatives to go along with their own endeavors. I want to remind

the world that there are no limits.

ON FASHION.

There’s definitely a niche market out there that would be up

for some wardrobe jazz-up. Once a year I do a solo exhibition,

and I have displayed in galleries in Berlin. I’ve been involved

in collaborative fashion shows such as the ‘Being Born Again’

couture show in Sydney. Along with my partner in crime, Casio

Ono, we have done commissioned work for a label called Emerald

Couture but we’re not really into the commercial fashion industry.

Our pieces take so long to assemble that it would be impossible

to mass produce. Also, I see myself as more of an artist than as

someone who’s working for a giant monster. But don’t get me

wrong, we are always open for collaborations. If it means that

fashion would be more inspiring to look at, then everyone should

have a pair of pom pom gloves!

ON CHANGING MOVEMENTS.

I can’t deny the other amazing people out there who create,

evolve and constantly push their boundaries. Throughout history

there have been collectives of artists who pop up simultaneously

and inspire the world into evolving. It’s like they’re launching

themselves into the future. Groups like Bauhaus, Dadaists and the

Surrealists, they created work that’s timeless. Like I said, creativity

has no boundaries and these people keep reminding us of that.

ET ALORS? 051


PHOTOs adrian de giorgio

ON THE COLOUR PARADE.

ON MISSION STATEMENTS.

The Colour Parade is an artistic statement that celebrates

creativity, self-expression and freedom. It’s an opportunity to

meet like-minded characters. We created the parade to show

people that you don’t need money to have a good time. It’s a

reminder that the human spirit is still very optimistic, even in

this day and age. For four years now we have lit up Sydney’s

streets with a cacophony of colour and music.

The people who are part of the parade express themselves in

whatever craziness they like. They bring music makers, hoops,

glitter, streamers, flowers and signs they created themselves.

Not to mention the incredible outfits. It’s just plain celebration.

The Colour Parade is not a political parade but the more

“closed” our society becomes, the more “controversy” we

create. The setting around us is so grey and confirmative that

we want to inspire everybody to be whom they want to be.

It’s about bringing together like-minded people so you can

certainly expect to expand your circle of friends with all the

activated, inspired, explosive and expressive individuals you

will encounter.

052 ET ALORS?


ON SYDNEY.

ON THE FUTURE.

The Colour Parade is about opening Sydney’s vision and to

let its beautiful, open-minded people out on the streets to

connect and make some noise. Sydney is very commercial and

mundane and that automatically influences some artists to the

extreme. The public always reacts different when they see the

parade. Some people are confused, some are scared, but some

get inspired and even join us. And why not, because at the end

of the day, we are just a bunch of people walking down the

streets expressing ourselves with colour and adornment.

Casio Ono and I are moving to Berlin. We went there for seven

months last year and met some amazing people I’m excited

to work with. I want to be able to travel and show my work

around the world, perhaps even Japan. That place is like

another planet! And who knows, at the end that might be the

place where I belong.

you can find anto christ on facebook.

ET ALORS? 053


In conversation with

MICHAEL

CUNNINGHAM


We meet Michael Cunningham in Brussels

where he is invited as an Artist in Residence

by literary organisation Het Beschrijf.

Coffee, Belgian chocolates and a

conversation with the Pulitzer Prizewinning

author of The Hours.

INTERVIEW FLEUR PIERETS PHOTOS JULIAN P. BOOM

And, how’s Brussels?

For my purposes now Brussels’s perfect. Alive and tame

enough to be the perfect backdrop for a reclusive month

of work. I’m not reclusive by nature so it’s a good thing

because in NYC I go out more than I should. By the way,

are there some great gay bars you know of?

Coming to my next question: I heard you less mind

being called a gay writer these days. What happened?

I may be overly optimistic but I feel like that’s happening

less and less in the States. Nowadays it’s only at certain

occasions that I’m presented as a gay writer. I even get

invited to real writer things. I’m on the shelves with all the

rest of the writers. My audience is all over the place and I

can only conclude – certainly when it comes to literature

- we’re moving out of that categorisation. We’re moving

into a world in which the books are just the books. But

that’s been my experience.

When I started out it was much more so. I’ve actually seen

it change. When my first novel came out I got invited to

either gay panels or as the gay voice in straight panels.

That’s not happening anymore. And it’s complicated

because on one hand I don’t want anyone to be able to

imagine that I am covering up my sexuality in any way.

As a matter of fact, I probably make it very clear that I’m

not covering it up. So far that sometimes it feels like an

invasion of privacy. So on one hand I’m going to be public

about it and on the other hand, the fact that I’m a gay

writer is only one thing about me. I’m also a white writer,

an American writer and a male writer and all those things

matter.

Again - and this might be absurdly optimistic - but it

seems like often a sort of invisible or semi visible cohort of

the writing population has to get so to speak poled out of

the limelight, so as to move on to the ‘just another writer’

period.

There were a lot of African American writers for a long

time and less so now. A new book by an African American

writer is simply received as a new book. But there may be

056 ET ALORS?


a period in which any group that has been ignored, has

to be shoved down everybody’s throats so it can become

normal after a while.

But you did feel a certain pressure from the queer

community.

I think one of the tricky things about the fact that there

finally is a significant body of queer literature is that books

by and about gay people are like books by any kind of

person. It isn’t just about that this is not how novels work,

that’s not a novel you want to read and less so now, but I did

feel a certain pressure from the queer community to write

about happy queers who are doing fine. But then I never

wanted to read a book about any happy people who are

doing fine. That’s not what novels are about. That’s why

we love Anna Karenina, I just can’t name a significant book

about happy people for whom everything turns out fine.

You really cannot aim your queer expectations in those

directions or we just end up with crappy books that don’t

feel true. There are many ways to spread a social message

but a novel is a human message. It’s about the difficulty

of being human. And the complexity of being human. And

it almost always involves real striving and conflict. And I

think our queer novelists have to keep that in mind and

present gay characters that are not stereotyped but also

not impossible paragons.

Those are two ways of making gay people inhuman.

People are sexually complex and I think that has not

really been adequately portrayed in a lot of fiction. In

part because for a long time you couldn’t write about it

at all. And now that we are more able to write about our

characters sexuality, I certainly find a lot of it a little too

simple.

Certainly by 2011 queer lives were so various that the

appellations straight, gay, bisexual and transgender as

categories– even if we keep expanding the list – just prove

inadequate. And those are things I want to write about.

There’s always one word that comes to mind when I

think about the way your write and that’s ‘effortless’.

ET ALORS? 057


“I wish Madonna,

would age better. I think

she’s misusing her

power by continuing to

insist she’s 37.”

It takes a great deal of effort to make it look effortless.

But that’s pretty much my aim. Don’t be dull and give

something back to the people who buy your books. I’m

thinking of my readers as people with no time to waste.

You write a lot about beauty. Seems quite important in

your everyday life.

I’m a whore for beauty. And yes, it’s always a little

autobiographical. The kind of novelist you are inevitably

reflects the kind of person you are. And I love all kinds of

beauty, not just the standard issued beauty, but more the

unorthodox ones like a Lucian Freud painting or Leigh

Bowery. But yes I am as a man, and therefore as a writer,

interested in beauty. But not in the 18 year old girl on the

cover of Vogue. Not the obvious. We’re so bombarded

with a particular verified kind of official beauty that is

actually presented by 001% of the whole population.

My last book Nighthawks contains my first and last

technically officially beautiful character. It had to be

for the story to work. But all my other books and all the

books I plan for the future involve love and sex between

people who are not 22 and perfectly formed. I’m really

adamant about that. I’m very much about the particular

idiosyncratic beauty of my characters that are not hired by

Calvin Klein for the next underwear campaign.

First and foremost you have to write what you feel most

passionate about. I suppose when I was one of those

guys whose idea of the ultimate manifestation of human

beauty was a Calvin Klein underwear model, I would write

about those guys. But I’m not especially interested in that

sort of Prozac obvious beauty. I’m interested in the more

subtle and magical kinds of beauty that isn’t on billboards.

Does it have anything to do with aging?

No, I’ve always felt this way. For one thing, I’m sceptical

about the modification of beauty because if we are

sufficiently convinced that only that 22 year old Ukrainian

girl on the cover of Vogue is beautiful and we would spend

a billion dollars looking as much as possible like that

058 ET ALORS?


person. It’s economic. Since I was young I didn’t like that, I

don’t buy that. It’s like we’re being hoodwinked.

I feel like underneath that singularly beautiful young

person is someone’s desire for us to buy a 200 dollar jar of

moisturiser and I don’t like that.

But people love the illusion that they can stay young

forever.

wish Madonna would age better. I think she’s misusing her

power by continuing to insist she’s 37.

So let’s focus on Julie Christie. She had no work done and

looks amazing.

Talking about Hollywood, you are into movies since The

Hours.

It would be disingenuous to say that I don’t care, but

staying young forever is not in fact an option and there

are times when I imagine going back in time and saying

to myself at 25: “you should have more fun, lap it up,

be less worried. You are 25. This is even better than you

know.” But whenever I think about that I see myself

sitting next to it at 58, saying the same thing. I’ve always

had certain political and cultural convictions and part of

me says: fuck people who say sex at 59 is over. For men

and women. Women get it much worse. And if anybody

is going to change that it’s going to be the people who

are getting older. By not lying about your age, by looking

good without desperately wanting to be 30. You know, I

Yes, and I never have to pursue anybody. They just call me.

Unfortunately, most movies I wrote didn’t make it to the

screen but that’s how it works. You initiate many more

products than the ones that do end up on the screen.

The big companies are always very nervous that it’s not

commercial enough. Sometimes that breaks my heart.

For example I was doing the Dusty Springfield story with

Nicole Kidman for a big movie company. Turned out they

had not really done their research. During the meeting

I did say she was a lesbian and they didn’t expect us to

change that, but I had no idea they where unaware of

the fact she took a pound of cocaine a day and flushed it

away with a quarter of vodka. She was in and out of rehab,

ET ALORS? 059


hallucinated and got beaten up by her girlfriends.

Seemed that the studio wanted a singing leprechaun.

They thought lesbian is edgy enough, let’s leave it to

that. A happy preppy Dusty with just that little thing

about her, didn’t quite cover the story because both

Nicole and I wanted to do the real thing.

It’s a pity, but that’s the way things go in the movie

business. They only care about if it makes a hundred

million dollars. Even the involvement of Kidman

doesn’t make a difference.

The whole star-thing is breaking down in Hollywood. It’s

a kind of shift in Zeitgeist that nobody understands. A

big star is no guarantee anymore for a box-office hit. All

I can think about is that the audience has had enough of

shitty movies that accidentally have a star in it.

What about the stardom that comes with winning a

prestigious prize?

Winning the Pulitzer Prize made writing less fun. I

pretty much gotten over that too much expectationsthing

but in the beginning I thought: “fuck, what I am

going to do now?”

It was frustrating but also very freeing to write books

that nobody paid attention to. And it turns out both the

good news and the bad news is that people are going

to pay a lot more attention now. And yes, it freaked

me out at first but then after a while I thought: “what

if you would just get over a streak of good fortune that

other people would kill for. What if you’d just get the

fuck over it and go on.”

But it is still in the back of my mind. Whatever your

stature is in the world as a writer or any other kind

of artist, you have to maintain a certain kind of

recklessness. A certain kind of disregard for how a book

will go over, a certain willingness to write in a different

way that may not please the people who loved The

Hours so much. And I have to hold on to that. And it

can be a little more work to hold on to it when another

book has been so successful. And you have to remind

yourself: “it’s fine! Do not write that book again.”

Sometimes I would love to be one of those people who

are truly indifferent to public opinion. I can convince

myself I’m indifferent to public opinion but there’s

something in many of us that -once you’ve gotten

prizes and were on best seller lists – makes us want that

again and you have to slap yourself sometimes and say:

ET ALORS? 061


“There’s this famous

curse of the Nobel Prize meaning

that you are fucked forever.”

“you may never get that again”. So you have to cultivate as

much of indifference to that as you can. Be grateful for the

fact it happened once.

Is there an amount of luck involved?

And publishers have not figured out how to guarantee

success for a book.

But you don’t have the feeling you’ve already written THE

book, the headlight of you career?

Any artist who’s successful has to acknowledge that there is

some luck involved. I’m really good at what I do, I’ve worked

really hard for a long time and as it turned out the world was

interested in this short book about three women. No-one

expected that, nobody looked at that book and said: I smell a

hit. Especially me because I always wrote what I wanted and

every time I told myself: “I promise, after this one I’m going

to write my bestseller.”

There aren’t that many good writers in the world. I’m a very

good writer and I’m one of the few who are successful. And

yes, there are other writers who are really good but didn’t

get a break. Who didn’t write the right book at the right time.

Something just didn’t happen, their number didn’t come up

yet. Mine did.

Working hard and being good at what you do doesn’t

necessarily lead to celebrity and success. You never know.

I feel like every book is a little better than the last one. I think

that’s how it’s supposed to work. That you spend your life

learning how to write novels by writing them and you die still

learning how to write a novel. Ideally you live a long productive

life in which each book increases your powers slightly and you

are better able to summon complex emotions, you’re better

able to render a scene, you know what’s too much, what’s too

little. But almost inevitably the world picks one book out of

the continuant – saying this is THE book.

There’s this famous curse of the Nobel Prize meaning that

you are fucked forever.

But it does give you that immortal glance.

Immortality is such a dead end because no-one knows and if

we could summon a well-read person from 100 years ago and

show that person a list of the books from his or her time to us

062 ET ALORS?


now, I think there would be some pretty surprising titles. Like

Virginia Woolf in her time, she had some recognition but she

was no Hugh Walpole. He was the Don Delilo of those days.

Nobody knows him now. You see, everybody gets forgotten.

There’s a tiny, tiny fraction of people who are actually

remembered just through their work.

One more thing about The Hours. Laura Brown, one of your

characters, is abandoning her child which is considered

being one of the last taboos. Do you have some taboos

yourself?

My only taboo as a writer is stereotypes. I couldn’t write

about a woman whose husband beat her up because she kind

of deserves it. I wouldn’t write about a gay man who arranges

flowers and hasn’t got a thought in his head except getting

laid and going to a party. Even though I think that man exists.

But you’re right, an ambivalent mother is just one of the last

taboos and I can’t tell you how many women came up to

me after reading The Hours and said: “that was my life and I

never read about it before. Thank you for finally writing about

a mother who actually has some mixed feelings about her

child.” Because there are more than you think.

Leaves us nothing but to ask about your Big Dreams for

the future.

At the risk of sounding insipid, I would love more of what I

already got. I do work I really care about. I guess if I would

pray, I prayed for continuance rather than some kind of big

change. I think that’s an indication of living the life you want.

If you hope for enormous changes maybe you should be

making them, maybe you should be out there doing something

about that. But I like my life, I feel challenged, engaged

by my work and I have great friends. But if you would ask me

to choose one thing, than I would love to be able to.. well…

come three times in a row.

Thanks to Het Beschrijf for arranging this meeting.

Thanks to Passa Porta bookshop – Brussels for letting us use

their basement.

WWW.MICHAELCUNNINGHAMWRITER.COM

WWW.BESCHRIJF.BE

WWW.PASSAPORTA.BE

ET ALORS? 063


simon ekrelius

“The Meeting” is inspired by DNA’s evolving double

helix and notorious femmes-brigandes like Bonnie

Parker and Patty Hearst – dramatic revolutionaries

with savvy style. In modern times, crime and genetics

have become intertwined. This girl doesn’t rob for

money nor kill. She steals feelings and lures victims into

confusion.

Fingerprints, hair, even the egg - this collection

translates history’s voleuses into the future, where

money has gone and only life credits are left. The

options become more limited. This way requires very

special skills to survive.

London based Ekrelius, has won plaudits for his own

unique style - a signature fusing sharp, forwardthinking

tailoring with futuristic and boldly graphic

custom-designed silk/cotton prints, and material

accents including PVC, leatherette and plastic. As

well as modern and post-modern architecture, the

designer is influenced by femmes-fatales such as

Bianca Jagger, Grace Jones and Rossy di Palma, art

by Russian constructivists Rodchenko, Malevich and

Kandinsky, alternative / electronic music, and films by

Pedro Almodovar.

Ekrelius’s work display aspects of society in a new way,

including textile prints, knitted patterns and statement

pieces that clearly reflect his inspirations, also involving

key pieces that refine the ideas into more subtle

forms. Wearing Simon Ekrelius is expressing a definite

awareness of individuality and the new.

WWW.SIMONEKRELIUS.COM

064 ET ALORS?


PHOTOS ELLIOT MORGAN

FASHION VICKI CARR

MUA CHRISTINE ZEMURA

MODEL SARA SEMIC / NEXT

HAIR SEPEHR SABR / HOXTON SALON


BRACELET COOEE SHOES I.D. SARIERI

066 ET ALORS?


BRACELET COOEE SHOES I.D. SARIERI

ET ALORS? 067


SHOES I.D. SARIERI

068 ET ALORS?


COLUMN

NIKKI

HEARTACHE

Nikki Heartache (aka Cornelia van Lierop, Jade 4u, Darling Nikkie) has

toured the globe with bands such as Lords Of Acid and Praga Khan.

Leaving the dance scene behind as a thing of the past, this singer/

producer is back in the studio working on new material. A few years

ago she decided to collect and share her memoirs with the world.

Draped over a chaise longue she dictates her wild adventures to her

blushing secretary whilst nipping on a trendy cocktail. This is one of

her stories.

‘Tour-fuck

Virgin’

I used to be the lead singer for Lords of Acid, a sexy, racy,

loud techno-rock band. Darling Nikkie was my stage name,

given to me by the road manager whom we all lovingly

referred to as the “Evil Elf”. He always had a grin on his face

and we were all a little scared of him.

Touring with them is something I’ll always remember

as if it were yesterday. I was the only girl amidst twelve

men on a bus we lovingly named Ol’ Ethel, because of the

way she coughed and rattled and made us all sick with a

horrible illness called “walking pneumonia”. A rickety air

conditioner was the cause of that. It’s a bit of a miracle that

she managed to get us where we needed to go without

ever breaking down completely.

One thing is for certain: when on the road long enough,

everybody gets horny at some point. Yes, I saw them all

write love letters home and yes, they all genuinely loved

and missed their girlfriends but, sooner or later, the itching

was going to need some scratching.

Although touring can be fun I have to admit that I’ve seen

ugly things happen between band members and technical

crew. Just for you I put together a short list of things that

are likely bound to happen if you’re planning to become a

popular rock star.

The first week is alright. Then some glitches appear.

1: The sound guy picks up a girl in the morning, hoping to

get laid that night. He’s very polite and courteous, brings

her drinks, asks if she needs anything and even feeds her.

She hangs around him, acting all shy, cooing “awesome!”

and “thanks, you’re so sweet”, until he finally introduces

her to us, the band. Not the best move, sound guy: after

a few seconds she’s already batting her eyelashes at the

guitar player, who is too high to know what’s what, and

when the show is done and we’re all getting on Ol’ Ethel

to go to the next town, the battle is fought and we have a

winner. You know what they say: all is fair in love and war…

The girl who was going to be the sound guy’s treat ends

up having sex with the drummer, who slyly stole her from

under the sound guy’s nose while he was busy working

hard, making sure the drummer would sound nice during

the show. The drummer is from now on known as “the back

stabbing snake” by the entire backline crew and is watched

carefully.

2: The keyboard guy and the guitar player are having a

070 ET ALORS?


nice chat with two young females who are very eager to

please. Both musicians are very nice to the ladies, never

pushy or impolite, but they discuss who gets to fuck who in

a language the girls don’t understand. Small problem: the

boys both want the same one. The guitar man quickly gives

in because he’s too high to know what’s what anyway, he

conks out in his bunk and won’t remember a thing in the

morning. His friendship with Mr. Keys remains intact, the

left over girl doesn’t mind sharing and the keyboard guy

has a lot of love to give.

3: The light guy is British, thus clever in these matters.

Keeping in mind that drummer boy is a slithering snake,

he keeps his gorgeous Asian find close. The man plays

his cards right and treats her like a queen: he shows her

around town in a rented limousine, buys her a nice dinner

et cetera. She’s not farting in anyone else’s direction

because “this could be love”. None of the band members

dare to come close although they all want some of her. The

next morning she eats breakfast with us but we don’t see

her again after that. Ever.

4: “Evil Elf” roams the room as soon as the doors open.

He spots girls that look like strippers and lures them

backstage. He will have them agree to dance naked on

stage some time during the show. Let’s get this straight:

he picks them up AFTER they pay full entry fee for their

tickets. They will miss most of the gig they’ve been raving

over for so long, because they have to wait in some room

until it’s their turn to shine. He makes sure we all come

in to say “hi” to make them feel happy and special. After

all: they are fans. The drummer will have sex with one of

them on the bus after the gig. Evil Elf paints some “art” on

the girls’ boobs to cover their erect nipples (we wouldn’t

want anything illegal going on now, would we?). He also

smears the stuff over their derrières after he spanks them

some. The girls let him, con mucho gusto. The man makes

all this look easy, unbothered by any form of guilt on his

conscience.

5: Some goth girl comes to me after a show and kneels

before me. I’m sweaty. I’m tired. I want to be left alone,

especially because I call people on stage during my shows,

and they’re all too eager for me to tie them up, whip them,

spank them and sit on their faces. And yes, during all this I

have to sing as well. I work hard to please my fans, believe

me.

So when this goth chick asks more of me, I look around for

help and – hurrah! – it’s there in front of me, in the form of

a shower and a very sweaty drummer stepping in.

“Slave girl”, I say with my most commanding voice, “my

drummer stinks. He needs a proper wash. Go!”

She thanks me, kisses my boots and rushes into the shower

without undressing and my unsuspecting drummer is over

the moon. I’ll be his friend forever, but I see that guitar

man really wants this one. He will soon roam the desolate

and sometimes dangerous streets to look for the stuff that

makes him too high to know what’s what and forget the

whole thing.

So if you’re looking to get famous, thinking you’ll get lots

of punanee, don’t become the lead singer. In the end every

single soul on that bus got laid but yours truly. Even the guy

that nobody wanted got some! I was left alone, adored and

revered but untouched. The temple Goddess was I. This

Whore of Babylon will remain a tour-fuck virgin forever.

ET ALORS? 071


CLARE

whittingham


Some describe her work as being “darkly

comic, satirical and empowering” but since she

commissioned a piece for Lady Gaga, her work has

become metalwork must-haves.

In between art and fashion, she transforms scrap

metal into wearable sculptures influenced by

anything dark, weird and controversial.

How would you describe what you do?

A part of me wants to say I have no idea what I’m doing.

Keeping busy, testing, proving and bettering myself comes

to mind when I really think about it. I want to create lasting

pieces of art that capture peoples’ attention, something to be

remembered for after I’m gone, especially by family & friends.

In terms of work I think one word comes to mind on how I

want to vision my creations and that’s “bad-ass”.

I don’t want things to look cute. That’s why my sculptures, art

and fashion pieces reflect what I feel.

When did you start doing this?

I didn’t plan or train to be an artist of any medium. I was

working as a welder. Welders minds wander while they’re

stuck in a helmet of darkness, staring at a little green glow

for 8 hours a day, creating nuts and bolts. Robots are a little

novelty among that trade and in general the many welders

I’ve known are very creative people. My boredom led me to

the scrap bin and I started collecting and making sculptures

out of multiple bits of scrap off cuts in my break times.

First I made things like flowers and butterflies; I was somewhat

conformed by the idea that you had to go with what’ s socially

accepted. In 2009 I went to an exhibition in London called

Mutate Britain - Behind The Shutters - where I discovered the

Mastoid Waste Company. Metal madness. Everything and

more of what was lurking in my own imagination came to life.

Suddenly I didn’t feel so odd anymore and from that point on

I decided to create whatever the hell I wanted, however mad

it sounded or looked.

When he grew up, my brother read 2000AD Magazine as

though it were the bible and I was fascinated by it too. It

always frustrated me that I couldn’t illustrate like that. Those

costumes, settings and the utter mayhem that comes to life

074 ET ALORS?


cover photo NATALIE J. WATTs STYLING CYRA ALCOCK MODEl PAULINA KLIMEK for premier-hair mua oscar alexander lundberg

right clare whittingham i.c.w. rachel freire SS12 collection photo nathan gallagher MODEL honey manko suicide mua oscar alexander lundberg


photos paul douglas


“I wish we still lived in an age where

masked balls were regular

celebrations so an over-thetop

metal mask wouldn’t be

looked at as a mere fetish indulgence.”


clare whittingham i.c.w. rachel freire SS12 collection photo nathan gallagher MODEL honey manko suicide mua oscar alexander lundberg


in your imagination is amazing, so I thought I’d try fashioning

my own costumes. I’m talking about 3 years ago now and it’s

been an exciting time of learning, meeting people who share

the vision of just creating, and not conforming.

How do people react to your collections?

Ha! Well, it’s mixed, which I think is good. The amount of times

I’ve been told I’m mad or there is something wrong with me is

so frightening that sometimes I start to wonder myself. Being

asked for an interview like this makes me think I must be doing

something right in the creative process of making a collection

of industrial wearable garments.

Can we call it wearable art?

I’d like to believe so. When the pieces aren’t being worn

they’re sculptures, erected at the studio. The metal shoes for

example have either been worn on shoots or were exhibited

at galleries.

Do you have the ambition to be part of the fashion industry?

The last 2 years I’ve worked so hard on the fashion pieces that

I can’t say it is not my ambition to be a part of it, or that I am

not already. One of my last commissions was for Vidal Sassoon

and I’ve collaborated with designer Rachel Freire for her ss/12

at the London Fashion Week in the past year. I don’t have the

ambition to become a designer who makes collections and

is sold in fashion houses or to be a massive brand. I did start

to make smaller items that can be purchased online but I’ve

shied away from making seasonal collections. I have an ever

expanding collection called Girls Metal Shop tips 101- How

to wear scrap metal. I’m sticking to collaborating with other

designers and their collections.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Renaissance, mythology, World War 2, 1930’s, ‘40s; comic

books like 200AD, post apocalyptic worlds. Films like Mad

Max, Blade Runner, Total Recall, Star Wars, Flash Gordon

(however cheesy that film is, the costumes are brilliant!).

Danilo Donati inspired me a lot through that film. In general

I’m more inspired by costume designers than fashion

designers, that’s for sure.

Do you feel like you’re part of a movement?

No, but there should be a movement called “kicking ass while

taking names”!

I’m sure that if you rounded up all the people who are classing

themselves as “individual”, there would be a huge movement.

You live in Kent, how does that small town influence your

work?

It is quiet and not a place where you’d go shopping. It has a

lot of history and there are still WWII bunkers off the docks

which inspired me to explore them thoroughly while growing

up. It has a ship wreck, the SS Richard Montgomery, about 2.5

km from town. It still holds 3,173 tons of munitions, containing

approximately 1,400 tons of TNT high explosives. The doom

and gloom of living on an island that could potentially blow

up, is a clear influence on my apocalyptic manic nature.

My new favourite place right now is London. Hackney Wicks

is a creative hub and I spend a lot of time there. Nevertheless

it’s always nice to come home and get away from the scene.

I could imagine living in London but with today’s economical

climate it’s not justifiable to move there. Let’s not forget that

I’ve got a nice little set up here in Kent.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I’m not sure. I wanted to become a welder and became one at

16, then I wanted to be an artist and a designer.

Now, at 27, I would like to get involved in film. Working in films

has always been a big ambition of mine. I’d love to be a part of

the art department. Working on props, costumes, set design

and effects.

But my first aim is to quit my job in the factory and solely do

my own thing. That would be great.

www.clarewhitt.com

INTERVIEW FLEUR PIERETS

ET ALORS? 079


FEATHERS

ET ALORS? 081



Erotica is using a feather, pornography

is using the whole chicken.

Isabel Allende


082 ET ALORS?

cover idiots www.idiots.nl ‘egg i ’ (2008)

right dita von teese photo ramon estrada


Left-Righ t Polly van der Glas www.pollyvanderglas.com.au


(Pteronophobia): An exaggerated or

irrational fear of feathers. The origin of the

word ptero is Greek (meaning feather) and phobia

is Greek (meaning fear).

photo tessa angus ‘sluice’ www.katemccgwire.com COURTESY Of all visual arts

084 ET ALORS?


The classic burlesque feather

fan dance belongs to burlesque like

high heels belong to beautiful legs.

Among all the different show elements

that a burlesque performance has to

offer, the feather fan dance is one of

the most impressive.

photo Francis ware ‘heave’ www.katemccgwire.com

ET ALORS? 085


Feathers are one of the epidermal

growths that form the distinctive outer

covering, or plumage, on birds and some

non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are

considered the most complex integumentary

structures found in vertebrates, and

indeed a premier example of a complex

evolutionary novelty.

PHOTO Shannon Hansen ‘plume cheveux’ www.felixecaroledicaire.com

The well-known thief Robin Hood, hero of

the famous English ballad, was said to

have worn a feathered cap. And so he did

in most of the films dedicated to this

legend. Today the Anglo-Saxon´s clothes

are favorite carnival costumes not only

worn by children. Robin Hood must have

also used feathered arrows. Many arrows

in the Middle Ages had feathers attached

to their ends. It was said that this

custom ensured a lucky hunt.

Traditional head-dresses - also

called feather bonnets - can be found

anywhere in Mexico, Brazil and in Nothern

America. This tradition reaches back into

the 16th. century and in some countries

even longer. Those colourful works of

art were and still are worn in religious

ceremonies, ritual dances and as a

representative of social status.

ET ALORS? 087


The Egyptians have used many feather

symbols in their cultural life. The

newly died person´s soul had to be as

light as a feather to pass the judgement

of Ma´at. Ma’at (Maet, Mayet) is the

Egyptian goddess of truth, justice and

the underworld. She is often portrayed

as wearing a feather, symbol of truth,

on her head. She passed judgment over

the souls of the dead in the Judgment

Hall of Osiris. She also weighted up

the soul against a feather. The “Law

of Ma’at” was the basis of civil laws

in ancient Egypt. If it failed the soul

was sent into the underworld. Ma´at´s

symbol, an ostrich feather, used to

stand for order and truth.

088 ET ALORS?

Photo Maarten Willemstein ‘Pheasant Boot’ www.roswithavanrijn.nl


Stephen Jones www.stephenjonesmillinery.com ‘smainbocher’ SS10 abc collection


Invest in a feather duster - the possibilities are

endless.

Anne Rice


One of the great costume traditions

are Mardi Gras Style Feather

Masks. Put on a mask and you can

get away with “anything.” Almost.

090 ET ALORS?


photo BOBETTE www.veldalauder.co.uk model chrys columbine


Birds of a Feather was a British

sitcom that was broadcasted on BBC1 from

1989 until 1998. Starring Pauline Quirke,

Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph.


idiots www.idiots.nl ‘Head Phones (Stilte!!) ‘ (2009)


asha

COLUMN

YYoung

“ I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way -

things I had no words for “ Georgia O‘Keefe

I remember when I first started working in the art world and all of a sudden was

asked to have a “representative” portrait of myself available for publications. I

really up to this day do not know what exactly that means. A photo of me as I

want to be represented would immediately mean a mohawk and some super

amazing kinky boots and probably a latex outfit from one of my favorites in

London. However, we all know that one can not do as one pleases in the

corporate world or the ART and so I started looking around for a photographer

away from all the boring headshot-like images with personality and an edge.

I first met Annie Bertram when I was invited to join a music festival in Leipzig. She

had her work hung in the VIP Lounge and it was hauntingly dark, but with such poise

and beauty that I asked around until I was introduced to a small skinny pale blond

girl with the brightest red lips I had ever seen. We started chatting and of course

became BFF’s right away. A few weeks later I met up with her in Berlin, where she

took me to an old abandoned psychiatric hospital about an hour outside of the city.

094 ET ALORS?


photos annie bertram

That’s where she took one of the most beautiful and fitting

portraits of yours truly. Since then I have done more projects

with Annie than I could possibly recall. We shot rock stars

backstage on tour, we produced images for Vogue, we have

been showing all over the world and the more I traveled and

got to know her, the more she revealed her dreams and ideas.

Annie is obsessed with fairytales and the human secrets we

all carry in our hearts, the Hearts of Darkness. She managed

to pull together over 12 international authors to write “new”

fairytales for her publication “Wahre Maerchen” which this

year goes into its massive second edition. She directed music

videos, shot over a dozen covers for large music magazines

and international publications, produces a calendar of

modern pin ups every year and has - which I especially adore

- an unbelievable eye for locations. In her little old car she

travels all over Europe or flies as far as Iceland or the US to

hunt down old buildings and lost places as she calls them. She

risks her life for a good image which almost cost her a hand

and left her in the hospital for weeks but after that I got a

phone call. “Hey Yasha … I am better let’s do a shot” and of

course I couldn’t resist. Annie B.’s images make me believe

in angels and ghosts, and take me on a dark yet beautiful

journey through the beauty of pain, desire and despair.

Never loud or with the stench of harsh or cheesy undertones,

she manages to go undercover in the human mind and her

models. The set creations are her stage, the people in her

pictures her willing subjects, exposing themselves willingly

through her eye for details.

…follow me ..

SIN-cerely yours

Yasha Young

ET ALORS? 095


Fetlife

INTERVIEW BRAM MICHIELSEN

John Baku on a T-shirt. In screaming pink letters, asking

anyone who sees it: “DO YOU KNOW JOHN BAKU?” If

you do, your sexual preference probably veers away from

vanilla. The phrase has jokingly become a sort of kinkster

litmus test and can be found on a number of online profiles

as a shortcut to sniffing out likeminded individuals.

When I sit down to do our interview, one of the first

things John Baku tells me is that I have great hair. It’s

hard not to take an instant liking to the buoyant, bearded

founder of Fetlife.com—the biggest BDSM community on

the internet. The soft-spoken, bespectacled young man

sitting next to him is James Golick, whose responsibility

it is to keep Fetlife up and running in spite of its mammoth

daily visitor count. Both men finish each other’s

sentences with astounding regularity, riff off of each

other’s answers and continue to crack (oftentimes selfdeprecating)

jokes all throughout the talk.


I share with them my theory of how John is the professor

Charles Xavier of the online BDSM community—having

provided a group of people who often have to hide their true

selves from society with a safe haven where they can discover

that they’re not alone and educate themselves about the

things that set them apart. We discuss whether that would

make James either Beast or Wolverine (“Wolverine for sure!”)

and the specific defects of John’s body (“He can’t turn his

wrists.”) Eventually James tries passing off Jay-Z’s life story as

his own. But seriously--

What’s with the funny last name, John?

John Baku: I grew up in Montréal to a Greek father and a

mother who spoke Greek. My father is a famous hairstylist

and at the time he had the largest hairdressing salon in the

city. From the age of 10, I started working for my dad, trying to

save up for my first remote-controlled car but it’s also where

I learned everything about human sexuality and acceptance.

The majority of my dad’s employees was gay or at the very

least eccentric and they all used to take care of me, because I

was a little kid running around and helping out. Then one day,

one of my dad’s best friends who worked for him, said to me

“There’s no such thing as normal”. And at ten years old, I was

like “Oh.” That’s the one saying that I can never forget and

that kind of made me realize that everybody’s different. And

that’s okay because there is no normal. That’s what makes the

world beautiful.

James Golick: I come from a very different, really unorthodox

type of family. Both my parents are artists—Well, my mom

and my stepdad are artists. I grew up without having my

biological father around. My stepdad has been there pretty

much my whole life and I consider him my father for sure.

Was sex something that could easily be discussed growing

up?

John: No. Until this day I still don’t talk about sex with my

family. I’m convinced that my parents have only had sex

twice: once for me and once for my sister, and that’s the only

thing I want to know. Each family is different, after all. We

never talked about the birds and the bees or anything like

that. The closest we ever got to talking about sex was when

I came home one day and found a book in my room: ‘Where

babies come from’.

James: My parents are really, really open about sex. I was in

a long-term relationship for most of my adult life until about

six months ago and when I meet up with my mom now, she’ll

ask me “So. How many girls are you banging?” and I’ll say “I

really don’t want to have this conversation with you right now,

Mom” and she just keeps going “Just tell me about a couple of

them, are they hot?” My mom’s a screenwriter and her niche

for the last few years has been about writing sex scenes. She

gets flown around all over the world to give lectures about

how to write a good sex scene.

John: That’s the difference between your mom and mine,

because my mom called me a year or two ago, shouting “Oh

my god John! I just went to a sex shop for the first time in my

life!” I was like “Oh fuck.” She said “You know what?” I wasn’t

sure if I wanted to know but then she stated “It’s not just

freaks that visit those, it’s for couples and housewives too!”

I said “Thanks for calling, BYE!” She didn’t even go to that

shop because she wanted a sex toy… she’s a real estate agent,

and she was selling the building the sex store was in. She

was meeting the owner to give him some papers to sign or

whatever. Or at least that’s the story I believe. My godfather

owned a corner store with a porn section and once in a blue

moon, I’d see him take a couple videos and put them up. They

were in the closet and my friends would come over and watch

them.

James: My step dad’s family actually owns this convenience

store in Winnipeg, which is like the biggest convenience store

in Winnipeg, historically. It’s now my uncle’s, but it used to be

their father’s business, and in the 50’s and 60’s, it made all of

its money basically from selling illegal BDSM pornography.

When he was a kid he wasn’t the hugest fan of his dad’s

business but now he’s cool with it. My dad’s absolutely and

definitely not kinky and he didn’t influence me at all into doing

what I’m doing now, but I think it’s kind of funny how that

used to be his family business back in those days.

John: We look at our history and it all makes sense, but we

would never have known growing up. Both of us had these

huge influences in our lives but we didn’t realize it brought

us to where we are today. Although I’m sure anybody in our

position would say the same thing.

So how do your parents feel about your jobs right now?

James: Awesome. My folks think it’s really awesome, to the

point where my mom will call me when we launch something

and she’ll say “I just logged into my Fetlife account and I saw

that you guys launched this feature. That’s fucking awesome,

you guys did a really good job!” and I’m like “Get off the site,

mom! Please don’t ever log in again!” It’s to the point where I

don’t put real sexual information on my Fetlife profile because

I’m scared my mom is reading it. She knows who I am and what

I do, I just don’t really want her to know the details of those

098 ET ALORS?


things. I really need to make a second profile or something.

But my parents are ultra-supportive. It’s cool.

When you guys were five years old, you probably didn’t

picture yourselves running the biggest online BDSM &

kink community. What were your childhood dreams and

aspirations?

James: I have a funny picture of me at my family’s cottage,

which is maybe an hour and a half outside of Montréal. I’m

probably three or four, sitting in my cottage and it’s a beautiful

day outside. I’m at a computer, writing code. I’ve been playing

with computers since I was very young. I’ve always had two

passions in my life: music and computers. My whole life I

wanted to be a drummer but when I was five, all I wanted to

do was play with computers. I wanted to write code, not play

videogames. From the ages of about eight until eleven or so I

spent all my time playing with Linux. That’s all I did. And that’s

why I’m fat. (laughs)

John: There’s a difference between dreams and practice. Like

James I was always on a computer, but I was programming

for different things. I didn’t care how things worked behind

the scenes. I would just go onto a BBS [ed. an online message

board] and say “These menus don’t make sense, they’re too

complicated” and then I’d go home and redesign them. At the

end of the day though, I’m like my mother and my father: we

just want to make people happy, so when I was working for my

dad at the hair salon, I’d bring people coffee and Danishes. I’d

remember what Danish the clients chose the week before, so

I’d bring it to them again the next week. This is what my father

always taught me from when I was very young, “Always take

care of people.” My mother made sure that the house was

always perfect, she was basically at it day and night to keep it

that way. The kids were taken care of and only at ten o’clock

at night she’d sit down for ten seconds. They lived their lives

for us. Ever since I was a little kid my dad put me to bed every

single night. He wouldn’t go out with his friends or nothing.

He would come home after work, we’d play with my Lego

together, he’d tuck me in after and he’d always say these other

words that still stick with me now, “Don’t ever be a follower,

always be a leader.” Since then, every decision I made was

with my dad’s words in mind… I needed to be a leader because

I wanted my father to be proud. Now I live for my parents. At

first I really wanted to be a pediatrician because I love kids and

I love taking care of people. When I was in high school and

Patch Adams came out or whatever that movie was called,

all my closest friends were like “Holy fuck, that’s you!” I was

always someone that bridged gaps between groups: I was

best friends with the coolest people, I was best friends with

the nerds and losers, I was best friends with everybody and

I’d always go over between one group and another. I just love

people and I just wanted to make sure people laughed and

were happy.

It seems like high school was a pretty carefree environment?

John: I was very fortunate. I loved high school. The one I went

to was amazing. It wasn’t that I was carefree… I went to a

prime high school so I had to perform to a certain standard but

our grade was just amazing. There were no drugs or alcohol.

I’m really lucky; all the people I came across in my life have

guided me to where I am today because I could’ve easily been

dead or in gangs or selling drugs or owning a restaurant or… .

James: (bursts out laughing) I like how you put being in a gang

beside selling drugs beside owning a restaurant. Those things

are all equivalent clearly!

John: (unfazed) So I always had amazing girlfriends, amazing

best friends that always kept me on the straight and narrow.

They had high expectations for me and that pushed me.

James: (ironic) Exactly like my high school experience..

John: Your four high school experiences!

James: I went to a few high schools.

Did you switch high schools because you moved or did--

John: (almost dies laughing)

James: So… From the age that I started--

John: (still laughing) I’ll stop laughing.

James: Shut the fuck up, John. No, school and I have never

really gotten along. My teachers hated me and I hated them. I

just didn’t find it interesting. It drove me nuts, I couldn’t handle

sitting still all day during class. I can’t sit still, that’s just one

very prominent feature of my personality. Around probably

the seventh grade is when things kind of started getting

bad. I did a lot of drugs all through high school and… ok, I’ll

be honest: I started doing drugs in seventh grade somewhat

heavily and then just kind of got progressively worse, so when

I got to high school, I just didn’t really go to school at all, which

is why I kept getting kicked out.

What was it that lead to that behavior?

James: I wanted to try drugs. It’s just something I wanted

to do. I was really interested in exploring different states of

mind, to be honest. I wanted to feel different. I wanted to

see what it was like to feel different. And then when I actually

felt what it was like to feel different, I wanted to try different

ways of feeling different, so I’ve tried almost everything and

ET ALORS? 099


a lot of them a lot more than once. It was a big phase I went

through in my life. I mean, you know, a lot of people have a lot

of problems with drugs, John being one of them, but--

John: ..WHAT!? (laughs)

James: (hurried) No, I don’t mean a drugs problem, I mean he

doesn’t like drugs; he has a problem with drugs.

John: I’ve never done drugs in my life.

James: Right, he’s never done drugs in his life, he thinks

they’re bad, for me it was like a really important thing I went

through in my life, to explore that and to explore the people

that came along with it and the world that came along with it,

but it also led to me getting kicked out of three high schools.

So you do feel like you got something out of it?

James: I feel like I got a tremendous amount out of it. I--

John: A bunch of money.

James: It’s true that selling drugs at a pretty high level was the

first business I ran. I left that part out just now, but I can always

count on John to point these things out (laughs). I basically

supplied the entire Toronto rave scene with drugs in those

days. And it was a really big business. It was one of the biggest

ones I’ve ever run in my life, even now that I’ve had a couple

of legitimate ventures before Bitlove [ed. their design firm]. I

learned a lot about people and life and commerce, especially

in that kind of environment where you might be selling things

to people who are addicted to those things you are selling. I

learned a lot about the limits that people can be pushed to

and what people act like under pressure. When you’re doing

all kinds of drugs and you’re around those kinds of people all

the time, it’s every man for himself in a lot of ways because

people are really addicted to those drugs and they do all kinds

of crazy shit, and you end up learning a lot about yourself.

John: Just to be clear, it wasn’t recent; this is when you were

around…15?

James: Yeah, this was more than 10 years ago.

Around that age, people usually start getting into sex. How

did that go?

James: I didn’t have sex until I was eighteen, because I was

just too fucking high. I know that sounds weird, because you

think drugs and sex go together, but if you start getting high

before the age where--

John: James, you were fat and ugly.

James: No, I wasn’t in those days, I was chubby, not fat. I had

lots of opportunities to have sex, I just didn’t know how to

capitalize on them. I have this really crazy ex-girlfriend from

back in those days when I was doing drugs, and one time she

ET ALORS? 101


called me up and she told me “Come over and fuck me right

now!” Keep in mind that I was fucked up at the time plus I was

in the middle of doing a drug deal so I told her I had to finish

this deal first, although in retrospect I could’ve just gone to

see her. At the end of the day, that’s how I am. Like right now,

if some girl called me up and wanted to fuck and I was in the

middle of writing code, I don’t know if I… it depends on the

girl, but there’s a good chance I wouldn’t go until I was finished

doing what I was doing.

That’s commitment!

John: Yeah but we’re both like that, we’re very serious about

our work.

James: That’s the thing. So, by the time I got over to my

crazy ex’s house, there were other people there and we just

didn’t end up fucking. It was for the best. I just happened to

be more focused on other things, even though I was a highly

sexual person. I was always the most sexual guy in my circle of

friends. For some reason I just never got laid that much.

John: I guess some things don’t change! (laughs) We were

losers when it came to sex, weren’t we? This story’s not even

funny, man. I had sex once when I was fourteen, the next time

I was twenty-five! When I was fourteen it was with my first

girlfriend. I wasn’t dating at the time. She called me up and

said “Hey, I want to lose my virginity but I want to lose it to

you, what time’s good for you?” (laughs) I was like “O-kay…”

We had sex and I was convinced she was having an asthma

attack, I stopped every six seconds, asking “DO YOU HAVE

ASTHMA? I THINK YOU’RE HAVING AN ASTHMA ATTACK!”

(high-pitched voice:) “I don’t have asthma, shut up!” Then I

dated another girl for eight years and we were going to wait

until we were married to have kids. To me, if you’re spending

your life with the girl of your dreams, what’s waiting ten years?

You’re going to have sex for the next fifty! There’s something

beautiful about taking your time. I have to admit part of me

says that there’s a problem right now with teenagers who

are having threesomes at fifteen years old. If you’re having a

threesome at fifteen years old and you’re fisting at sixteen,

what the hell are you going to do when you’re twenty-five?

Do you feel you have to constantly keep upping the ante in

your sex life?

James: Part of why I’m so fidgety is because I can’t stay with

one thing for very long. My whole life has been like this series

of bizarre phases. I’ve done everything and tried everything,

not just drugs but different hobbies and activities and sports

and different clothing styles. The same thing over and over

again just doesn’t work for me. It lasts for a year. I can eat the

same thing every day for a year, but after that I never want to

see it again. And that’s basically how I am with everything in

my life.

John: It’s the same for me. I have a severe case of ADD; the

diagnosis is moderately severe so doing the same thing for

me is very boring. Not just with sex but in general. I’m really

surprised that I’ve been working on this project for four years;

this is the only thing that I’ve been doing consistently. For me,

sex needs to change for it to be exciting again. There’s nothing

more exciting than the high of trying something new for the

first time. And you’re always chasing that high.

James: Sounds like drugs.

John: It is drugs. In the same way that sports are.

Being sexually active, when did you guys make contact

with kink and how did you first get involved with it?

John: When I was a kid, for some odd reason I’d have fantasies

about a girl doing what I told her to do, more like a boot camp

style thing. And I’d say “Hey, do jumping jacks!” (laughs) And

girls would be doing jumping jacks. “Do push-ups!” At first

they’d be fully dressed, and then it involved into them being

topless. It’s hard to tell how old I must’ve been. It’s pretty

much the same time as ‘Cold Hearted Snake’ by Paula Abdul

came out.

James: (dies laughing)

John: For some odd reason I place that music video at exactly

that time, so look up when that music video was released [ed.

1989, directed by David Fincher!]. That was the first music

video I ever jerked off to. Man, that was my porn. (singing)

“Cold Hearted Snaaaake, Loook into my eeeeyees”… I had

those fantasies but I would never really do that to a girl

because I was brought up to respect and take care of women.

To me these fantasies were really abnormal and wrong, and

the fact that I wanted to do those things made me want to

cut off my penis. That’s not a joke, I really thought there was

something wrong with me, so I reasoned: you know what, my

life would be normal if I’d just cut off my penis because it was

causing me to do things that were against my code of ethics!

When I was eighteen or twenty, we’d be downtown and we’d

notice a fetish event and people would be wearing all black or

spikes and I definitely didn’t feel like I was attracted to that

community whatsoever. My favorite color is pink. If I was to

define how I dressed and how I thought, it’s preppy. I always

loved the preppy thing. Or rap. Those are the two cultures that

I’m most attracted to. So when I was looking at those people

or at the kinky community I didn’t feel like I belonged there

102 ET ALORS?


and I didn’t think they thought I belonged there. Then I met a

girl in Toronto who was part of the kinky community. I didn’t

meet her because of that, we just met, that’s all. She was

friends with all the top dogs in the kinky scene and she took

me to an event. I had to go shopping for clothing beforehand. I

told her I was scared going to my first event, because I thought

everyone was going see right through me. I wasn’t like that. To

which she replied “No, people are not going to see through

you. People will like you!” To be honest though I’m not sure

I’ve really ever felt comfortable because I just felt that this

wasn’t me.” I was kinky as fuck, I loved sex, I loved kink, I had

my fetishes but, you know, I wear pink belts.

So the so-called scene never really appealed to you?

John: Oh, this is going to go into print, huh? I guess the black

leather, all black everything, the dark music… that was not my

scene. That was not my music. I wanted to listen to house, I

wanted to listen to Will Smith…

James: “Parents just don’t understand!”

John: They just don’t. (laughs) So because of those things it

was difficult for me. But that also put us in a great position

because we don’t want to make Fetlife for people who fit into

that category only. It’s for kinksters in general. I’m kinky. James

is kinky. There are people who wear all black that are kinky.

On the team we have all different types of people: people who

go to events twice a week, do three different munches a week

[ed.: A low-pressure, social gathering at a public place for

people who are into BDSM. Particularly for people new to the

scene who might be intimidated by a play party] and we have

people like myself. I go to an event every so often because

it’s fun, I love doing rigging because I think it’s beautiful. It’s

something to do with my hands. It’s one of those things that’s

sexual but I’m literally doing something and being creative;

my mind’s working so it’s not boring. Rigging is something

that doesn’t get boring at all for me.

James: I don’t think I ever felt really that abnormal because

my parents were just so open and relaxed. Okay, I should

say it’s really my mom who’s open. My dad is really relaxed

and nothing bothers him per se, he’s just a less open person

than my mom. I was a kid who spent his entire life on the

internet. I looked at a lot of porn when I was younger and I

had magazines, I had fucking VHS tapes, I had everything. It

was to the point where other kids at school who had never

seen porn before would ask “Oh I heard you have porn, can I

come over?” So my first exposure to kink was just porn on the

internet but it’s the same for me: there’s certain things that

appeal to me for sure but all the black and latex was just never

really my thing. I mean I’d be doing all the fetishes and stuff

but it wasn’t until I started hanging around John that I kind

of understood how everything fit together, that you could

be kinky without being in that world. So that part was a bit

confusing, like I didn’t feel like I’d really plugged into this-“

John: Into the brand that is fetish.

James: Right, the brand that is fetish. Again, I wear a lot of

pink, I like to wear ties. That’s just who I am. I’ve always been

interested in fashion. I like clothes, I like shopping, I’m like a

girl, basically.

John: The first thing he showed me today were his new shoes!

James: But he was really into it, so we’re the same in that way.

He smelled them!

John: I love the smell of new shoes.

When the internet really started to take off, John, you were

in your early twenties, James you must have been in your

teens—how did that shape you?

James: It completely shaped me. I mean in every way. That’s

where I got my music, that’s where I learned about sex. I have

a lot of friends in real life too, but one of my big features is that

I have a lot of friends all over the world and when I was on the

internet as a kid, that’s when I learned how to make friends

who didn’t live near me. My buddy Jo from San Francisco,

who’s one of my very best friends, is visiting right now, he’s

just in the other room. I had a lot of really close friends who

never lived in the same city as I did. And that’s a big thing. I

learned how to make friends online and that’s a huge part of

my personality.

I think we’re the first generation ever to form these really

global friendships with people we’ve never met. I suppose

it’s also a really good thing for the fetish community

because it’s a way to get people together who otherwise

never would have met someone on the corner of the street

or in a bar, but they can get in touch thanks to the creation

of Fetlife. What led up to that creation?

John: After high school I kept on going between starting

companies and working for other people. By the time I was

23 or 24, I knew that I didn’t feel comfortable with whom

I was sexually. I knew there had to be other people just like

me so what I wanted to do was create sexual documentaries

that allowed you to be able to look at other people in these

documentaries and say “Holy shit this person’s just like me,

I’m not alone!” At that time we’d get a chalet in a different

city every single week, invite people there and videotape

everything that went on. So from making supper to waking

ET ALORS? 103


up to hanging out and talking about life, to having sex;

every single thing was videotaped. And we’d make a reallife

documentary out of that; half of it was about the person

and the other half was about having sex and the objective

was to be able to connect with the people that were in these

documentaries. So I did that and I did another site called

FriendsWithFetishes, which was kind of a first iteration of

Fetlife. I also did The Dating Guy; I was convinced that the way

online dating worked was broken, so I wanted to re-invent

that. Basically everything that I’ve done before Fetlife, all of it

kind of has a life of its own in Fetlife. It’s a culmination of work

that led up to it.

What was the first year of Fetlife like? And at what point did

James come into the picture?

John: It was exciting. It was beautiful because it was simple,

I’d have to answer emails, do design, write the code and

there’s something beautiful about the simplicity of that. Each

person who joined the site was welcomed and greeted by

me personally. I was excited with every single member who

joined “Oh, we’re at two members… three… four!” Over time

other people volunteered and joined the team so I stopped

greeting every member when we reached about 7000 and

then we set up the Greeting Team. I stopped doing support

tickets full-time and we created a caretaking team. We got

to 5 million page views per month. It couldn’t go further and

we needed somebody who was much more technically savvy

than I was, to complement me. I started the largest software

engineer conference in Canada for university students when

I was in University and James was one of the presenters. As

the president of the non-profit organization, I was there at the

speaker dinners and for some odd reason, that conference we

sat next to each other at every single one of the lunches and

suppers.

James: We’d had actually met briefly in the past, just shaking

hands. I am actually one of the few people who thinks John is

funny; I thought he was a funny guy when I met him. He had

just MC’d this event and he was really on fire, making people

laugh and I figured he seemed like a cool guy but I never ran

into him again until we ended up sitting next to each other a

year later. Only I didn’t recognize him because he was a lot...

heavier.

John: (laughs)

James: It’s true! This is a true story! We were sitting next to

each other at this breakfast thing and I had lost fifty pounds

and he had gained fifty, and he turned to me, he patted me on

the stomach and the first thing he said to me was “You know

104 ET ALORS?


what I’m talking about right there, big boy?” I looked at him

and I just said “You know, I just lost fifty pounds. Did you do

anything good this year?” He said “Oh... I gained fifty pounds”

and lowered his head. We never really spoke again until we

ran into each other at this conference where I was speaking.

He was around because he started the event and he’s the

president of the organization. We were at all the speakers

lunches and dinners and we just had an instant mutual respect

for each other. I knew a lot of people who’d talked a lot of shit

about making things happen but I didn’t really know anyone

like John who’d had previous success, so I told him we should

find a way to work together. I had this consulting firm with

employees, clients, an office and I really wanted us to work

together. At some point we were talking - I think it was on IRC

- and John wanted us to get together for coffee. So we did and

he told me he didn’t really want to work with a consultant but

he wanted us to join forces somehow. When we left the coffee

place we walked to our cars and to our complete surprise we

noticed that we both had the exact same cars, same year,

same everything. They were different colors, but everything

else was identical and at that point I felt like-

Like it was meant to be.

James: Right.

Having assembled an all-star team, what then set Fetlife

apart from the rest? What made you successful and did you

expect this success?

John: I don’t think we expected any success… I never expect

anything. We have about 1800 people a day sign up and I’m

convinced that tomorrow I will wake up and not one person

will join. I keep asking myself why people still do. I don’t

understand. I think we also keep ourselves in check, because

the second you let it get to you, you stop having that drive

to constantly improve. Deep down inside I don’t ever want

to be happy with what I have achieved. Happiness breeds

mediocrity. I look at the site and I say that It’s shit. It sucks.

What the fuck. This is embarrassing.

James: That’s how we both feel. We have our critics but we’re

probably our own worst analysts in that we’re never happy

with anything. Everything can always be improved. We didn’t

even celebrate when we reached a million members. We had

to be pushed by our designer - who we just hired at the time

- to go out and celebrate. It’s not in our nature to celebrate

something. It’s in our nature to say “Okay we got to a million,

when’s ten million and can we get there sooner?” Then when

we get to ten million, we’ll be thinking of a 100 million. I don’t

mean that we’re obsessed with user numbers, I just mean that

we’re never happy. That’s just who we are. I think Fetlife is

successful in a large part because John is so hardheaded in his

philosophies. There’s certain things that he will never budge

on and those turn out to be really important things like making

people happy and making sure people feel comfortable. And

really being focused on that and optimizing for those things I

think is what makes all the difference. We don’t sell our users.

We’re there to make people happy, that’s what we stand for.

There’s a lot of other sites in this area that are really sleazy and

they’re trying to fill their pockets rather than make their users

happy and do good things for them.

John: I think what it boils down to is that we don’t compromise.

We have our ethics, we have our standards. When I was

younger I read a book called ‘Secrets of consulting’. It was the

story of how this baker made bread and thought “You know

what, all the bread that’s being sold out there is garbage, I

don’t want to give this to my kids, I’m going to start my own

bread baking company”. She put all the best ingredients in her

bread and it was beautiful. Then - as she got bigger - she said

“I can save a penny here, half a penny there and none will be

the wiser” and then a year later she was just like everybody

else. And we know that can happen so we’re very strict. The

day that we don’t want to use Fetlife is the day that we either

walk away or shoot ourselves or something, so we make sure

that we stick to our standards. I mean, we could make a couple

extra pennies if we did bigger ads for sure. But I FUCKING

HATE ADS!

James:I hate most ads but I think the ads we have are great.

We’re obsessed with doing things in the right way or not doing

them at all. We have stuff that we worked on for months but

never shipped [ed. implemented into the website] because

we just couldn’t find a way to do it the right way. We always

ask ourselves “How is this going to affect x, y and z?” and if

the answer is: “Probably negatively” then - even though we

worked on something for months at a time - we’re not going

to ship it because we’re not going to compromise our values

or compromise our users. We don’t do what we do just for the

sake of a dollar.

John: Yeah and another thing that I think makes us who we are,

is the fact that we’re not two guys with huge ego’s. We might

have ego’s in other things. For me, I know I’m exceptionally

good looking (laughs) but say we ship something because

it made sense to us and then we get a bunch of negative

feedback. Yes, that hurts but you just take the pain and say to

yourself “You know what, we thought it’d work, it didn’t work,

the community doesn’t like it, let’s take it off” and go back to

106 ET ALORS?


the drawing board.

James: Remember the first activity feed?

John: Oh my god--

James: We deployed this activity feed once that I was working

on for 18 hours a day for 3 months. It was our favorite project

and we shipped it and the community said it was just fucking

horrible and I took that kind of personal. I couldn’t work for

at least 3 weeks, I just couldn’t write code, I couldn’t do it.

It was the only time in my life where I would sit down at the

computer and just be like-(he shrugs). We learned from it and

we rolled it back and we moved on.

How do you strike the balance between setting your own

course and letting the community commandeer the ship?

John: It’s about understanding why people want something.

James: Exactly. A lot of people who make products will say

that people don’t know what they want and that’s actually

not true. People know exactly what they want, they just don’t

always know how to express it properly. So one of the big jobs

that we have to do, is read people’s feedback and understand

what they’re actually asking for and then give that to them.

And see if that’s best for the community.

John: Right. A lot of people want things that aren’t good for

them. If somebody says “I want to be able to e-mail every

single girl on the entire site in 5 seconds and get laid tonight”,

I understand why you want to do that. I want to do that too.

But it’s not in the best interest long-term for you OR for the

community. So even though you pay us x amount of dollars to

do that - as a premium or whatever - it’s just not worth it. So

it’s about understanding what people want, what they need,

how to strike the balance between the two, how to protect

each different group from others and from themselves. Fetlife

probably has the largest concentration of women on any adult

social network or dating site; the largest percentage by far.

We almost have a 50-50 split between women and men and

I think it’s because what we do, is we put women first. Men

come to Fetlife because there are women, but if we all gave

them what they want, there wouldn’t be any women. So like

my father always told me: take care of the woman first and

everything will be good. That’s what we do.

How much has Fetlife changed since its inception? Did it

become what you envisioned it to be?

John: I wish it could do more. I wish it did a better job at

educating and I wish it set more people free. There are so

many people like me out there who are joining Fetlife and

they’re probably saying Fetlife is not for them, they have no

friends there, they don’t know anybody. The threshold is too

high. That’s probably our biggest problem.

James: It’s hard when you log into the site for the first time.

We do our best to say what groups you can join and such but

at the end of the day, until you have friends, you kind of have

nothing in Fetlife. It’s funny because I don’t know if the site is

really that effective for people like us. I don’t have any fetish

world friends. Actually I do have quite a few friends who are

on Fetlife, but I didn’t know they were there until I told them

what I’m working on. A lot of people wonder what we do…

sure, I’ve been to lots of events, but if I wasn’t involved in

Fetlife, would I have ever gone to one? Probably not, so how

would I ever make friends on the site?

John: Basically what we’re saying is that we think we should

do a much better job at making it more accessible to more

people. Fetlife is extremely accessible to those who are in the

kinky scene, but not as accessible to kinky people who could

easily be part of the scene if we gave them the path there.

Has either of you guys ever tried getting a date out of this

site?

(pregnant pause)

James: ..I have once.

John: (laughs) It states on my profile that I’ve never got laid

via Fetlife. If you look at the community guidelines it will say

on the last line: ‘One percent of all your action belongs to us.’

We don’t know how we’re going to collect it or whatever, but

just so you remember: one percent belongs to us. I’ve never

met anybody through the site, but then again, I’ve been in a

relationship for almost three years. Although I did meet her at

a fetish event and she was a member of Fetlife beforehand.

How does she feel about you commenting on naked girls

for a living?

John: You know, it’s easier in theory than in practice. We’re

still human beings and we still have jealousies and our own

personal issues. On most days she’s the most supporting

person that I could ever imagine being with but she’s also

normal, so if I comment on 50 titty pics during the day and I

come home at night and I don’t comment on hers she might

be disappointed and think to herself: “What do they have that

I don’t?” (chuckles)

On one hand the BDSM community wants to be accepted

and not looked at as freaks, but on the other hand you’re

creating a completely separate social network. Isn’t that

contradictory?

ET ALORS? 107


James: Jazz is one of the top three things in my life. Jazz is

accepted in mainstream society. I would join a jazz social

network in a second, to meet other people who’re into jazz.

So I don’t think it’s contradictory at all. It’s just a place for

likeminded people to hang around with each other and to

keep in touch.

Right but there are jazz groups or jazz communities as part

of other social networks, but usually BDSM communities

tend to branch off or--

John: The more important question is “Why?” does Facebook

allow people to express themselves sexually? They don’t at all

- to a large extent because there are kids there. So one side of

the thing is that the rules at a lot of these places don’t make

people feel accepted and the flipside of it is that we’re still a

society where a lot of people judge and a lot of people have

a lot to lose. Not everybody wants to be a martyr. Everybody

wants to feel normal. And accepted. I mean that’s one of the

basic needs, right? That and McDonalds! (laughs)

So are you saying that in a perfect world there wouldn’t be

a need for a community like yours?

John: No, I don’t think that’s a perfect world. I just don’t want

to watch my parents having sex.

James: My parents know that I’m kinky but do I want them to

know the details of that? Would I want to put it on Facebook

even if I was allowed to? No. I’m perfectly comfortable

with them knowing and they’re perfectly comfortable with

knowing, but that doesn’t mean that they need to know the

details of it and that doesn’t mean that they need to have

access to that information. They just don’t.

John: And I think that’s something beautiful because it’s

almost like role playing. Knowing that you can go somewhere

and then put on that outfit or that personality and not

be confused about whether you’re speaking to your kids’

teachers or you being Baby Girl. You just know. You come

through those doors, leave everything behind, you relax and

just be this person.

Being two heterosexual males running a community as

diverse as Fetlife, do you ever get called out on that: “What

do you know about my lifestyle?”

John: Not often at all but yes, for sure. There are some people

who will say things like that. We can’t be everything, but it’s

our job to be really understanding and listen to them.

So how do you cope with staying in touch with such an

incredibly diverse user base?

John: It comes back to loving people and wanting to make

them happy and comfortable with who they are, so when

somebody comes up to me and says they’re not comfortable

or they need this or that, I ask questions. I’ll let them know I

totally understand where they’re coming from. Then we look

for a solution to their problem.

James: It sounds kind of clichéd but we really do care. That’s

the thing. We really, really care. And sometimes it’s really

painful to care. That’s the honest truth, but we make an effort

and when someone doesn’t really listen to people then we go

and seek out that d-bag.

John: There are not many people who criticize us, but if those

who do stopped for two seconds, just approached us and told

us their ideas, or things they’d like to have changed they’d

find out that they’d probably be ten times more successful. It

would be much more productive if they’d just come to us and

have a conversation with us. At the end we love learning, we

love people, we love making people happy. We have all the

qualities that we feel it takes to do this. We don’t do this only

because we have the qualities; we do this because it comes

natural to us. We started Fetlife for a reason. And that hasn’t

changed. I always said I just want to make one person feel

comfortable about their sexuality and not want to cut off

their penis. If we can make a difference in just one person’s

life, we’ve been successful. Sure, we’ve made people feel

comfortable with their sexuality, but we’re always looking for

that one. That one more. That one more. To us, people are not

numbers, I really care. I’ve gotten on the phone with people

that hated us. I just said “Hey call me, here’s my number”, or

“What’s your number, let me call you”. I’d speak to them and

have a conversation with them and try to understand where

they’re coming from. We’re all perfect.

www.fetlife.com

John about the organizations they support: The LA&M and the NCSF.

“Those are the two organizations that we chose to support. We give them a certain

amount of free advertisement a year as well as feature them on our site. These are

two organizations that we feel have had a huge impact in society. Unfortunately

the NCSF, The National Coalition of Sexual Freedom, is a primarily American based

organization, but the Leather Archives & Museum maintains a history of the

leather community. It’s something that’s really important to our community which

means it’s really important to us, so we’d do anything we can to help them out. We

wish we could support more people, but it’s best to support two people really well

than to support minimally a bunch of people. “

108 ET ALORS?


Bears

TEXT JOSIE PYKE PHOTOS JAN VAN BREDA

ET ALORS? 111


Heavily set, rugged

and fiercely hypermasculine,

these

are males who

convey strength,

identity and are an

ever-growing subculture

of the lesbian,

gay, bisexual

and transgender

(lgbt) population.

Welcome to the

“bear” community.


Evolving in the 1980’s, with a carefree effervescence, this

social movement of homosexual males has increasingly

become an influence and a symbol of many things, from selfexpression

to self-identity, from literature to fashion.

Literally taken from the English noun “Bear”, these hairy,

thick-set males gained this status due to their acceptance of

their masculinity.

How one defines a Bear is ambiguous. Some refer to it as a

way of life, a social movement. Others see it as an image or

a perception, more based around aesthetics. Yes, bears have

grown in society because of their image, but it’s an image of

free-will. There is no rule book within the Bear community

that says you have to look thin, well groomed and effeminate,

to be classed as a homosexual male.

Even though the Bears on the surface seem a positively

unpretentious community, there are several subcultures,

sometimes known to be quite strict. There have been

debates as to what actually constitutes these subcultures.

Younger or aspiring bears are labelled cubs or otters. Otters

are the slimmest type of Bear with finer hair, cubs can be

as hairy as they like, but are typically younger looking: a

baby bear. The wolves exhibit maturity and masculinity and

are usually the older and more dominant males. Bearded,

larger male covered with a blanket of hair? You’re a definite

grizzly. Muscle Bears speak for themselves and have created

a successful separate culture to the rest. Their muscular,

body builder status has become a demand within gay culture

and events such as Mr Muscle Bear pageants are a growing

demand. These muscle Bears are known to shun the idea of

cubs or the otters being part of the community. Adversely,

the muscle Bears have the same idea of Bears with higher

body fat, often referred to as “Chubs”. Muscle Bears and

their culture have been known to exclude males who do not

conform to their standards of a “real Bear”.

Whether you’re a cub, a grizzly, or simply just an admirer,

BEAR Magazine caters for all varieties of Bear lovers. 1985 saw

the beginning of the Magazine. Published by Richard Bulger

in 1987, it was released as an alternative to the mainstream

gay men’s mags. It featured erotic content including stories,

photos and even dating ads which allowed the readers

to meet other likeminded males, making BEAR magazine

a successful network. Men would also submit photos of

themselves to be featured in the magazine. Although under

new direction, BEAR Magazine is still growingly popular in the

USA and gracing the top shelves, it’s also available digitally.

Two years after Bear Magazine came the Lone Star Saloon,

also known as “Bear Bar USA”. Set in San Francisco, the Saloon

is known as a defining point in Bear history. It infamously

provided Bears and bikers with a source of familiarity and

welcoming. Now known as the world’s most famous bear

bar, the Lone Star Saloon is still in full swing today. The bar

holds an annual “International Bear Rendezvous” as well

ET ALORS? 115


“The diversity on

Furball is immense. It

doesn’t matter if you’re big, small,

young or old. It’s a very

fascinating scene.”

jan van breda

as monthly “Cubcake” parties for fans of the younger less

masculine bears known as the Cubs.

The late eighties became the rise of The Bear Hugs Group

and private “play parties”. Described as inhibited and

erotic, these private liaisons provided bears with a safe,

intimate environment to meet, play and often result in

orgies. Spreading the love of the bear community overseas,

these groups and parties reached Great Britain and soon

after, steamy hot tub parties known as “Bear Soups” were

introduced.

Flemish fashion designer and self proclaimed Bear, Walter Van

Beirendonck, known for his powerful colour combinations

and unconventional context, brought Bears to the catwalk.

In preparation for his summer 2010 fashion show, bored of

casting for regular male models, Beirendonck held an open

casting call for “Muscle Bears”. Understanding the shock

element he would be giving to the public, Beirendonck says

for him, although there’s a sexual attraction, he simply likes

to see different body types on the catwalk. He describes the

Bear scene as a “nice vibe” not caught up in drugs or heavily

focused on sex, a “positive scene”.

Continuing to excel Bears as symbols of vanity and fashion,

International Mr Bear contests are now a global event. This

wonderfully masculine beauty pageant, in which the winner

becomes the symbol and representation for bears in their

hometown, first started in Bear birthplace San Francisco

1992, but has now spread to Germany and the UK. The

categories for Mr Bear are Grizzly, Cub, and Daddy, with one

winning the overall title.

There are various Bear comics by Jeff Jacklin, contributing to

Bears recognition in the media. These fantasy bear worlds

have been known to excite Bear readers with their stories of

powerful muscle Bears teamed with fabulous comic book art.

Today, Bears are role models of self belief and confidence,

a fierce display of all types of masculinity in this fabulous,

rapidly expanding sub culture of the LGBT community. Bears

are considered symbols of sex, fashion and lifestyle and have

created a whole new category within the LGBT community. If

that’s not impressive enough… .

What I love most about the Bear community is their desire to

break the enclosed stereotype of homosexuality. Right from

the beginning, they said no to generalisation. In the 21st

century, there are enough problems with generalising as it is,

but the Bears questioned the fixed idea that a man had to be

thin, hairless and young to be accepted as part of gay culture.

What’s wrong with being homosexual but still loving yourself

as a man? According to the Bears, absolutely nothing.

ET ALORS? 117


www.nonon.de


CHILDREN OF

SRIKANDI

Children of Srikandi is the first film about queer women

in Indonesia, the country with the worlds largest Muslim

population. Eight authentic and poetic stories are interwoven

with beautiful shadow theater scenes that tell the story of

Srikandi, one of the characters of the Indian Mahabharata.

This collective anthology transcends the borders between

documentary, fiction and experimental film.


‘DECONSTRUCTION’ DIRECTOR STEA LIM

Touching on many stereotypes about Asian women and how they are expected to dress or act in certain ways,

the director shot a short video playing with gender stereotypes which portrays the many layers of Asian women,

especially queer women in Indonesia.


A little girl wants to be a boy. A bench becomes a home

and a witness to life. A house does not feel like home

anymore. A veil makes you reflect on religion and sexuality.

A verse of a poem is like a day in your life. A love can be

in between. A female stereotype can be deconstructed. A

label can be changed.

In Children of Srikandi, participants collectively worked

as crew members or actresses in each other’s film,

with individual stories ranging from observational

documentary and concept art to personal essay. We see

that change is possible on all levels of the film: personal,

political and formal. Transformation is always inscribed in

the narrative; form and identity are fluid; perspectives are

shifted.

The moving individual stories are interwoven with the

tale of Srikandi, an ancient mythological character of

the Mahabharata, a well-known Indian epic, which is still

frequently used in the traditional Javanese shadow puppet

theatre plays (wayangkulit) throughout Indonesia.

Srikandi is neither man nor woman, moving fluidly

between both genders. When she falls in love with a

woman, she has to understand that the only way to

survive is to become a “female warrior”. She is one of

the few prominent wayang women figures, and while

other women in the tales are devoted mothers and

wives, Srikandi is the ultimate model of independent

womanhood; strong and brave, heroic and active. She is

a female warrior. This explains her popularity with many

Indonesian queer and feminist women.

The puppeteer Soleh gives his voice to Srikandi, while

the singer Anik expresses the character’s emotions. As

transgender queens they reinvent themselves within the

classic Indonesian perception of women, while the short

films deconstruct the classic picture. It is the opposed

representation of gender that creates an impression of a

fluid, oscillating advancement of the film. A spectacular

linguistic and religious diversity is revealed: the original

languages are Indonesian, Javanese, high-Javanese and

Sundanese. The religions involved are Muslim, Christian

and Buddhist.

Children of Srikandi brings this tale back to the screen and

reminds viewers that homosexuality and gender variety

wasn’t imported from the West, but in fact forms a deep

and ancient aspect of Indonesian society.

When did you come up with this idea?

Laura Coppens: Since 5 years I am programming

ET ALORS? 123


Indonesian films for film festivals and in that function

John Badalu invited me to attend the Q! Film Festival

- the Indonesian queer film festival - in 2009. I talked to

many people there and especially to queer women. Many

were complaining that there are not enough lesbian

movies, especially no Indonesian productions. This gave

me the idea to organize a film workshop and teach basic

filmmaking skills, so they have the means to tell their

own stories. But of course I could not do it on my own.

I am not a trained filmmaker and I knew that I had to

find professional help. This is when Angelika came into

play. I asked her to join the project and from the start

she was very engaged and did a wonderful job teaching

others and editing the film. On the Indonesian part I

approached in-docs, a Jakarta based organization that

arranges documentary workshops to support the local

film industry. They helped us to set up the workshop in

Jakarta.

Angelika Levi: At the beginning of 2010, Laura Coppens

asked me if I would like to direct a film workshop for

young Indonesian lesbians in Jakarta over the summer.

Her idea was to make an omnibus film with six to ten

women presenting their personal experiences by means

of autobiographic short films. Our first joint meeting

took place in Jakarta. Some of the women came from

Yogyakarta or Bandung. All of them brought different

social and religious backgrounds. Most of them had never

met before.

We spent the first weeks of the workshop watching handpicked

documentaries and short films. We discussed

different topics: gender, ideology, religion, memory and

class. The women began to develop their proper ideas. We

worked on the dramaturgic emphasis and narrative style

of each tale and developed different narrative strategies.

Why Indonesia?

Stea Lim: There is not a lot of visibility of queer women.

I feel that it’s a lot better than many years ago but there

are still issues in this society when talking about LGBT, or

overall sexuality actually. In recent years there have been

some violent incidents from ‘religious’ mass organizations

against the LGBT community. One of them attacked an

LGBT conference and the Queer Film Festival in Jakarta,

2010.

124 ET ALORS?


‘HELLO WORLD!’ DIRECTOR IMELDA TAURINAMANDALA

Shot with her neighborhood as an evolving background, this project is a reflection on the director’s childhood

experience and her vivid memory of a dream about a little girl who wants to be a boy.


‘JLAMPRONG’ DIRECTOR EGGIE DIAN

Life on the streets of Yogyakarta is no bed of roses. A bench becomes your home and a witness to your life. The director

shares her difficult early years when family, police and fundamentalist religious groups all turn against her because of

her sexuality. In the end, it’s the street kids who she first fought with that become her family.


Yulia Dwi Andriyanti: Indonesia is a country that

considers itself to be an archipelago consisting of different

races, ethnicities, religions, social statuses and economic

backgrounds, but sexual orientation and gender identity

still hasn’t become part of its concern. After the Soeharto

dictatorship collapsed, the political situation encouraged

people to reclaim their rights and identities. It invoked a

sexual identity movement that started with the health

issue regarding HIV/AIDS, making gay, transgender and

MSM become its main concern. However, it didn’t make

queer women more visible within the movement itself.

That’s why this film workshop became an opportunity

for them to reclaim their voices as lesbian, bisexual,

transgender and heterosexual alike. This film could

contribute as a way to reconstruct women’s identities in

Indonesia that tend to be perceived in a binary gender

role and that are stereotyped within the social, economic,

political and religious structures in society.

How do you see this film in the context of Indonesia as

a country with high Muslim population?

Yulia Dwi Andriyanti: I see it as an opportunity to

challenge all the norms and the structure that has existed

within the society, not only due to religious stereotypical

thought on heterosexual and queer women, but also as

a way to reflect the whole “inheritance” idea about faith

identity so that people won’t put stereotype on faith that

is often perceived as conservative.

Did it take a lot of conviction for the people to

collaborate?

Angelika Levi: No it didn’t. There was a huge interest in

the workshop from the start, and after short time everyone

wanted to tell a story. It was amazing for me to see social

and religious boundaries vanish right from the beginning,

while commitment and true interest in the other women’s

experiences arose. Although most of them had never

worked with film before, it was quite easy for everybody

to get used to the technique, do the acting and transform

personal experience into the medium. We developed a

way of working which I had never experienced before and

which you might call a non-hierarchical pulling-together

beyond all difficulties.

Yulia Dwi Andriyanti: I found that the film workshop

ET ALORS? 127


process was a great way to hear and understand

different experiences of diverse queer women. It stated

that everyone’s story was very unique and showed the

different layers on how queer women struggled for their

identity and also its conflict towards society, not only in

the level of state, friends, and families, but also inside

the queer community itself. Those different experiences

became the basic thing for me to collaborate with other

queer women. It’s a learning process to hear, support and

criticize both as a group and as a subculture.

What do you hope to achieve?

Stea Lim: I really hope the film will help people, especially

Indonesian women, to be inspired to make more films.

We have such talented people here. Hopefully having this

film play out in international festivals will inspire some

people to go and do it too.

Laura Coppens: When we started the workshop I did

not have any expectations about the result. Most of the

women had never worked with film before. It was an

experiment and it also could have failed easily. But within

a very short time the group developed a very amazing

dynamic, even though most of them did not know each

other before and came from very different religious

and social backgrounds. Everybody was eager to learn

the technique and they all helped each other, from the

development of the script to the actual production of

the film. So it is this collective effort that made our film

possible despite many obstacles. This makes our film very

special in a way. I think it’s both aesthetically engaging and

politically empowering. Hopefully popular stereotypes

about Muslims and LGBT-people are deconstructed and

challenged.

CHILDREN OF SRIKANDI started with a workshop which

lead to a collaborative film project reflecting the directors’

lived experiences as queer women in Indonesia and at the

same time provides them with the means for filmic selfrepresentation.

Over a period of two years and under the

guidance of filmmakers Angelika Levi and Laura Coppens,

the filmmaking became a truly collective act.

Anak-AnakSrikandi | Indonesia/ Germany/ Switzerland

2012 | 73 min | 16:9 | HDCAM

WWW.CHILDRENOFSRIKANDI.COM

128 ET ALORS?


‘SOLEH AND ANIK: THE WAYANG KULIT PERFORMER’

Soleh (25), the puppeteer and Anik (59), the singer, are both male to female trans-gendered individuals that have

worked for many years as wayangkulit performers in Surabaya, East Java. In the film, Srikandi is embodied and

represented by them as an inverted mirror image where the narrative of the wayangkulit moves from fiction to documentary

and from the past into the present.


WE LOVE

THE HOUSE OF RISING

WHY

A cultural and inspiring place where they

welcome all sizes, all colors, all ages, all

cultures, all sexes, all beliefs, all religions, all

types, all people.. Safe Here!

WHAT

The House of Rising is more than just a hip bar

and savvy nightlife venue. The House is an open

minded shared space. We share our space with

the culture that is testament to Amsterdam.

We offer local artists, musicians and designers

the chance to play and display their creations

to our patrons and public, in a natural fusion of

expression, music and good times.

The Houses’ galleria hosts Amsterdam’s

newest, brightest and boldest artists by

volunteering the ground floor as their very

own showroom and canvas. The House and

style are synonymous, because style never

goes out of fashion. Our staircase is a catwalk

to an exclusive collection of dernier cri with an

Amsterdam twist. We host classics and rarities

with the verve and suave of the cities finest


designers, labels and stores. Music is good.

Music is better when it’s loud. Loud music is

best when it’s live. The House of Rising falls

off the hook when it comes to music, we love

it and we know you love it, so we love it even

more. The House turns into a stage for aspiring

and established musicians of all genres and

creeds, opening the curtains for bands, solo

performances, DJ sets and everything in

between.

PHILOSOPHY

Natasja Pelgrom (owner): “The House of Rising

is more than just a place where a designer,

an artist, a photographer, a bartender, a

musician, – name them – gay or not, can

exhibit their talents and creative gifts. It is

a home where you are welcome and your

needs are supported, whether it’ll be the need

for good and practical advice, for emotional

understanding and encouragement.”

WHERE

The House of Rising

Reguliersdwarsstraat 41 – Amsterdam

www.thehouseofrising.com


WOOLFETISH

Let’s be honest here: the moment Johnny Depp draped the cutest,

soft pink mohair sweater on his gorgeous body in the biopic on the

American director, producer, writer and actor Ed Wood, many of us

developed a delicious vision on wool fetish. Using the alias Daniel

Davis, Wood both directed and played the titular character in ‘Glen or

Glenda’, expressing his fetish for cross-dressing and angora jumpers.

Although he regularly featured angora in his films, his wife recalls that

Woods’ transvestism was not a sexual inclination, but rather a neomaternal

comfort derived mainly from angora fabric (Ann Gora also

happened to be one of Wood’s pen names).

ET ALORS? 133


studio BOLSTER I.C.W. SARAH DYKMANS www.studiobolster.be photos GEOFFREY TOLARO & THOMAS VAN DE WATER STYLING & COSTUME SARAH DYKMANS

But what is wool fetish all about? When turning to Wikipedia,

information on this subject is very scarse. We do find plenty

of articles on leather, spandex, latex and whatnot, but

wool seems to mainly stay in the closet. Google however

brings us closer to what we’re looking for. This is what we

stumbled upon: “A wool fetish is not ‘weird’ to me, but just

another expression of human sexuality. People get turned

on by all sorts of things, from rubber to latex to fantasies

of a dominant giantess or being covered in food. It may not

fit the ‘classic’, almost clichéd picture of BD/SM gear and

play, but ‘soft’ fetishes like this one are often equally about

ideas of enclosure, bondage, control and the tactile/textural

experiences of a particular material. We should celebrate this

sort of stuff, instead of mindlessly reacting to its difference’.”

Needless to say that we at Et Alors? were overjoyed to have

found the perfect guy to lead us out of the dark! Some research

tells us that he goes by the name of ‘Jumbuck’(this is Australian

slang for a sheep). Besides running wool-related web forums

and sites he is also a published author. We’re delighted about

his willingness to talk to us about this uncommon fetish.

When did this fetish start?

My first conscious recognition of enjoying the look and feel

of wool happened when I was four years old. It soon turned

into a fetish that still moves my thoughts and emotions now,

at forty nine.

The Australia of the mid-sixties was a time when many

people – particularly women - frequently wore cardigans and

jumpers. Essentially they were fashion staples during the

cooler months of the year, as they had been for a long time.

Anyway there I was playing with my sister and my cousin -

who is a few years older - and they both wore cardigans. They

dressed me up as a girl and made me wear a soft, fluffy white

one. I loved it!

That act alone may not have resonated so far inside me if it

weren’t for a series of experiences over the next couple of

years. Starting school when I was four, I found myself strongly

attracted to the girls wearing their navy blue school cardigans.

In fact I can still remember the full name of the first girl I had a

“cardigan” crush on! I couldn’t exactly articulate the reasons. I

just had a feeling they looked delightful and beautiful wearing

their lovely buttoned-up woolly vests. At the Catholic school

I went to, all the teachers were women and any time one of

them wore a cardigan I found myself responding similarly.

Seated in front of these ladies I was a very attentive pupil. I

found myself loving the look of cardigans and sweaters on

girls and women around me: my sister’s friends, an aunty and

her fluffy mohair garments, et cetera. For some reason my

mum never wore jumpers or cardigans so there’s no Oedipal

element involved.

Perhaps, if certain events hadn’t occurred then, my responses

might have remained benign forever. But - when one day

a new jumper found its way into my wardrobe - my love of

wool developed a decidedly darker tone. Even though I

hated wearing it - it was so scratchy! - I obediently put it over

my head whenever it was handed to me. I can still vividly

remember how dreadful it felt against my skin as it itched and

tormented my neck, arms and chest. Being a “good little boy”

I never rebelled, suffering the torment in misery and silence - a

rather classic Catholic response of its times, masochistic for all

intents and purposes. But in those days young Catholic boys

(and girls) did what they were told and from that point on I

began associating wearing wool on my body with pain and

discomfort. I didn’t see that women suffered wearing wool in

the same way though – theirs seemed so soft and lovely!

Age eight, year four. My masochistic associations with wool

came to me in full blown colour! Red to be exact. That year my

teacher, Mrs Maxwell, could only be described as a very firm,

strict disciplinarian who freely administered the cane and

strap to any pupil who failed to meet her exacting standards.

And yes, she happened to have a penchant for cardigans.

Actually just one and it was red. My crush on women and girls

took on a completely different turn. From then on - and for

many years to come - all I craved was to be “firmly disciplined”

by women in cardigans, all the while imagining myself dressed

in an itchy, scratchy, high necked jumper or cardigan.

Puberty was hell to me! I felt different and all too aware that

my responses to my budding sexuality were far from “normal”,

so much so that all I could focus on were dreams and thoughts

of wool-clad women dominating me while I suffered under the

torment of wool bondage. I hated myself for it.

But I’m perfectly well adjusted now.

Do you think you would have had this fetish if it hadn’t

been triggered at an early age?

That’s an impossible question to answer definitively. I suspect

it highly unlikely. In my opinion it’s all about associations,

so if they didn’t exist from an early age I think they wouldn’t

have emerged at all. My life might have been very different if

I hadn’t developed this passion for wool when I was a child.

Mind you, with a Catholic school upbringing like mine, I might

still have developed some type of “appreciation” for firmly

applied Femdom discipline. But we can never know.

ET ALORS? 135


What is it that exactly arouses you?

Both the look and feel of wool… specific types and styles of

wool and woollen garments.

I adore the sight of soft wool such as lamb, angora and mohair

on women. I think it enhances their femininity. The way the

soft fabric and texture encloses their bodies is something that

I truly love. Soft, fluffy cardigans and twin sets as well as turtle

necks and bonnets are styles that appeal to me as well.

A high, tight turtle neck can look fabulous on certain women,

as can a ribbed black one (think “Kill Bill”). Some colours and

colour combinations attract me more than others.

Soft wool tantalises me as it brushes against my skin. The

thousands of tiny claws in the scratchy kind bring my body to

life and are a constant reminder of the darkish delights that

thrill me so. A turtle neck - preferably one with a high and tight

neck line - wraps me up and encloses me (bondage); a weighty

sweater reminds me of my predicament (bondage). Picture

two, three or even four layers of jumpers on me: closest to

my skin a scratchy, tight fitting crew neck mohair, then a high,

tight turtle neck and - to top it all off – followed by a velvety,

fluffy angora. Soft on the outside and a visual delight, but

enclosed and uncomfortable on the inside (hidden “delight”

/ “torment”).

There’s yet another element of arousal: I sometimes enjoy

cross-dressing in (adult) women’s jumpers and sweaters, but

dressing as a “girl”, complete with a soft fluffy cardigan worn

with a knitted skirt, matching woollen tights et cetera, is my

favourite and definitely evokes memories and associations

with those mid-to-late sixties girls I had crushes on.

have to in my view.

On what level does this fetish have an influence on your

daily life?

It’s been – and still is - a major influence on my life. I can

honestly say that it has shaped my life, my personality,

my journey. An early love of wool introduced me to B&D,

Domination/submission before I reached puberty. While my

teenage years were chaotic and often traumatic because of

these associations, they pushed me into questioning the basis

of socially-acceptable, “normal” sexuality and from there,

a questioning of how society was and is constructed. This

in turn led me to a broad libertarian - leftist political/social

perspective.

Am I wrong to think you could never live in a warm country?

Doesn’t this fetish put limits to your whereabouts?

I could never live in a warm or hot climate. It’s coolness I

love, it makes me feel very much alive. My face all rosy and

flushed, wrapped in a sweater, a coat, perhaps a scarf and

beanie, tights under my pants, armoured against the chill...

feels wonderful.

But this doesn’t mean I want to be cold – anything but! Besides,

hypothermia isn’t very pleasant, haha! It’s about feeling

warm, snug, enclosed. “Warm as toast” as one Australian /

English aphorism puts it. Hot weather doesn’t answer my

needs, it just makes me enervated, drained, lifeless...and

sweaty for the wrong reasons!

Is there always a bondage association or is it personal?

There’s a strong association with bondage but the fetish is not

solely focused on that element. Some of this association is

overt – this includes sexual play and sexualised feelings and

responses. And some is covert, and simply focused on liking

the look or feel of wool on my body.

When I wear a sweater - a turtleneck in particular - I feel

warm, snug and enclosed. This is strongly bondage-related in

the sense that I’m “locked in” to the object that encloses my

body, especially when the neck line is tight and/or high. But I

don’t go to work, shopping or a concert wearing a turtle neck

for overtly sexual pleasure. I don’t necessarily consciously

feel ‘in bondage’, I just enjoy the sensation of being snug and

comfortable. Of course there are times when sexual feelings

may emerge from a day spent at work whilst wearing a

sweater, but certainly not as a matter of course, nor does it

I don’t feel any sense of being limited by my whereabouts,

nor do I feel that I’m missing out on something because I love

living in cooler climes. We all have to live somewhere, and with

a preference for cooler climates, this is my choice. Thankfully

my profession allows me to live in a few locations throughout

the cooler, South-East parts of Australia. If I chose to do so

I could live in warmer, drier, hotter parts of the country. But

why would I want to? However, it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy

or appreciate the time when the weather warms up and the

jumpers go in the closet. Longer days, lots of sunshine to

enjoy...whatever!

Do you feel it with all sorts of wool?

I like all types. My favourites are lambs wool, mohair and

angora: the “soft and fluffy” ends of the wool spectrum.

Possum “fur” or “wool” is starting to become more common

in Australia and New Zealand. It’s as soft , fluffy and delightful

136 ET ALORS?


as angora. I love it a lot and on my last trip to New Zealand I

picked up a possum wool turtle neck sweater, it’s wonderfully

salving against the skin. That said, I also appreciate and like

“non-fluffy” varieties and styles of sweaters. Interestingly,

many turtle necks are made of cotton and other non-wool

materials, yet I still like these too. Probably because of the

look, that “enclosure” element.

Like I said before I also like scratchy wool on myself. The

contrast between the external softness and internal torment

really plays with my mind and body!

Can we conclude yours is a very sexual fetish?

Not in the normal course of a day. Not all my responses to

wearing wool is overtly or necessarily fetishist. I love the

style of a turtle neck and know it looks good on me when I

wear it with the right clothes. However, I do like the feeling of

being wrapped up, enclosed, armoured against the cold. No

doubt that response does have bondage associations at some

subconscious level. I have strong associations with wool and

sex. Wool bondage holds great appeal. I love being enclosed

and wrapped in layers of wool. It puts a completely different

slant on what balaclavas, thick knitted gloves and knitted

stockings can offer as clothing items. Dom/sub fantasies as

well: the woman doesn’t necessarily have to be dressed in

wool but it strongly enhances the experience, as it does when

I’m dressed in some wool garment.

Do you have your clothes custom made?

I don’t have any custom-made items of wool clothing. It’s

amazing what you – or a partner/lover - can do with layers

of sweaters, balaclavas, knitted gloves, woollen tights and

woollen blankets in the bedroom. They are available from so

many “vanilla” sources! Among some other things, just add

kink-standard cuffs, collars, belts, restraints and voilà!

If I’m cross-dressing though, the emphasis is on looking

more traditionally “femme”. I’m largely into the “prim and

proper” look. Very conservative even. It’s quite a contrast to

my “other” self! It includes a classic, soft and fluffy cardigan or

sweater, perhaps a blouse, woollen tights and skirt, et cetera.

Does it make a difference to you if it’s a woman or a man

who wears it?

Men in wool are not interesting to me. The only times for me

to have fetishist feelings is when women wear it, or when I do.

I see women as inherently stronger and more sensible than

men, especially when they are dressed in a nice turtle neck or

cowl. My view on women formed at a very young age.

Does she have to be beautiful or is that of secondary

importance?

No, the woman does not have to be beautiful. It doesn’t

influence my initial responses towards her sweater or

cardigan. However, a beautiful, intriguing or interesting face

or body shape may make the experience more enriching. This

could keep my attention - or memories! - for longer. But I’m

completely biased: I think women look adorable and more

beautiful when dressed in a sweater or cardigan.

Do you have a partner?

Yes I do and she is fully aware of my love for wool and woolrelated

kink. It’s been like that since the day we got serious

with each other. She completely accepts it and knows it’s an

integral part of my make-up, personality and sexuality. We

regularly played sexual, wool-related games, but in recent

years there have been health- and other issues, so we rarely

play now.

That’s okay, she at least recognises my fetishist interests and

accepts them fully. We could be watching a movie and a lady

comes on the screen wearing a nice, high turtle neck and she’ll

playfully nudge me or make some amusing comment to me.

In other words: by her acknowledging it, she “normalises” it

in our relationship so it ends up being just another part of the

mix that comes with sharing a life together. Fortunately she

enjoys wearing woolly garb and loves cool climates as much

as I do.

But one has to be realistic: there might be seven billion

people on this planet but very, very few are into wool as a

sexual object. I’ve never sought out a partner on the basis

that they should love this fabric too. Instead, I’ve identified

as a kinkster who has a particular bend towards wool and

wool B&D, Domination / submission. They can relate to the

bondage and discipline elements. The associations I have with

wool becomes easier for them to comprehend, accept and

understand.

Over the years I’ve seen many men on wool-related web

forums hankering for a woman who will love wool like they

do. I feel sorry for them. They need to think more broadly

about the fetish. Seek a partner who is sexually open, loves

kink games and fantasies. Inevitably, the wool games will flow

as part of a mutually complementary sexual expression by

two lovers.

INTERVIEW FLEUR PIERETS

ET ALORS? 137


mr. pustra

138 ET ALORS?

“I wouldn’t mind appearing on the cover of Vogue.”

Mr. Pustra aims for no less than the sky when he is

asked about his goal for 2012.

Knowing one should never run before one can walk, he

tests the waters with an interview for Et Alors?

We caught up with the UK based performer, artist, musical

saw player & video editor after a trip to Rome where he

taught a “vaudeville & variety masterclass”, which can

only mean that he’s good at what he does. No wonder our

curiosity was aroused: who is this Mr. Pustra?

“I was always shy and insecure. I just day dreamed most

of my time and pretended to be someone else, be it no

one in particular though. Gradually, my confidence grew

during my 20’s so I was a late bloomer as they say. I feel

more assured with the person I am today and I owe it to

performing. Being Mr. Pustra has made me more at ease

and people seem to respond well to him. Or me? I get confused.

Mr Pustra “is” me. But he just looks better.”

PHOTO ANTHONY LYCETT MUA MR. PUSTRA BREECHES BY LENKA PADYSAKOVA


Mr. Pustra discovered cabaret and vaudeville by chance. “I

always liked comedy, and vaudeville was an unknown term

on the neo-burlesque scene in London circa 2006. On a side

note: nowadays everyone and their goats refer to their

acts as “vaudeville”; no bitterness here as you can tell. But

anyway: in those days “Pustra/Vile-een” was born, a double

act that quickly established itself as a refreshing, strange

and highly talented duo with a twist of a sideshow. We split

in late 2009. Later on I reinvented myself as Mr Pustra,

Vaudeville’s Darkest Muse.”

A “dark” muse? Is he angry, evil, melancholic or perhaps

depressed?

“Mr. Pustra started out as an “evil sideshow character”

with a background in the circus which we used in my show

“Villains”. And yes, he also has a melancholic or tragic side

to him. He has developed into an almost real person rather

than a fantasy.”

PHOTO SOAZIG LE BOZEC TAKEN AT LE BALAJO, PARIS

Although his family was absolutely not into music or theatre

– “Not at all!” – Mr. Pustra has a background in theatre and

fine arts.

“I studied ‘Theatre’ and had a few years of education in

the “Fine Arts”; that helped me all the way. I learned to do

everything myself and hone my various skills. It’s bloody

exhausting, I can reveal that much.”

That background is also noticeable in his influences.

There are, of course, the obvious instigations for cabaret/

vaudeville artists: circus side shows, American vaudeville,

German countertenor Klaus Nomi, German dancer, actress,

writer and prostitute Anita Berber, movie stars Marlene

Dietrich and Charlie Chaplin or the Berlin Weimar “kabarett”

scene of the 1920’s and 1930’s. But Pustra also lists painters

such as Otto Dix, Edgar Dégas or Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

“I used to be a painter myself; the images that these artists

created represent dreamlike scenes I often experience. Their

work has style and story that I greatly admire and draw

from.”

“If I could ask any of my “heroes” - dead or alive - a question,

I would ask Dietrich to give me make-up tips and Nomi to

give me singing lessons. Dietrich’s make-up was flawless.

She also was fearless and a very strong female role model

for women and men alike. I admire Nomi for his incredible

falsetto vocal range. To top it all off his stage persona was

fiercely enigmatic and original.”

ET ALORS? 141


PHOTO MICHIEL DIERICKX MUA ANITA BRULEE

PHOTO DAREN BRADE TAKEN AT LONDON FASHION WEEK FOR ZIAD GHANEM’S SS/12 SHOW

PHOTO SIN BOZKURT LIVE SHOT TAKEN AT DIE-FECHE MUSE, LONDON

Mr. Pustra has performed in New York, Frankfurt, Rome,

Berlin, Basel, Dublin, Strasbourg, Rotterdam, Amsterdam,

Paris and in many more cities.

“But London is ‘the’ place to be for cabaret. It is vibrant

although somewhat jaded. I have a love/hate relationship

with London. It’s like an ex-lover you can’t stand but still want.

Know what I mean? Paris and Berlin have smaller scenes, but

offer different delights and treats.”

His newest show is called Kabarett der Namenlosen (i.e.

Cabaret of the Nameless).

“It’s a work in progress and inspired by the Berlin cabaret of

the Weimar Republic. This is a show about Beauty, Glamour,

Depravity and Melancholy. Sounds nice, non? It is not a solo

project. I would want to include performer Vicky Butterfly

and actor Benjamin Louche for different reasons. For now, I

perform at various other shows with smaller acts and cameos.”

To round up we end with a similar question as we started:

what are his long term goals?

“A house in the south of France. Or maybe in Los Angeles, but I

certainly would have lots of cats. And a naked butler!”

Don’t forget to call us when you’ve moved there. We will come

and visit.

text akim a.J. willems

www.mrpustra.com

ET ALORS? 143


“Feast your

Xtra interviews author Micheal Cunningham

Xtra chats with author Micheal Cunningham, author of By Nightfall, an homage to Thomas

Mann’s Death in Venice.

by xtraonline 1 year ago 465 views

7:20

Pierre Bachelet - O’ et Sir Stephen

from soundtrack of “Histoire d’O”, a 1975 film by Justin Jaeckin.

by strugatsky 1 year ago 19,869 views

3:09

Virgin wool / Pure laine vierge

Real : Emmanuel Malherbe www.emmanuelmalherbe.com

by MrEmmanuelMalherbe 1 year ago 15,488 views

14:58

Acciones espectaculares de Lucha Libre Mexica...

Espectaculares luchas realizadas en la Arena Mexico.

by VideosOficialesCMLL 5 months ago 16,126 views

4:04

The Hoopaholics and The Colour Parade DO Mardi Gras

Sydney March 2009

by bunnyhoopstar 2 years ago 1,459 views

4:59


eyes!”

“Glot your soul on my accursed ugliness!”

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Wonderfu® Walther van Beirendonck Spring & Summer 2010...

Wonderfu® Walther van Beirendonck Spring & Summer 2010 collection

by arnoouwejan 2 years ago 43,777 views

10:23

Mr Pustra: Vaudeville’s Darkest Muse

Mr Pustra - Vaudeville’s Darkest Muse Top Hat by Amy Jansen-Leen Edited by Mr Pustra Filmed

by Leo Baker mrpustra.com twitter.com/mrpustra

by mrpustra 1 year ago 3,168 views

1:05

How to do FEATHER HAIR EXTENSIONS

where to get it: kandeethemakeupartist.blogspot.com come visit kandeeland: www.kandeeland.com

FACEBOOK ME www.facebook.com SWEET TWEETS: www...

by kandeejohnson 1 year ago 997,114 views

5:49

“Children of Srikandi/ Anak-Anak Srikandi Official” Trailer

Anak-Anak Srikandi Indonesia/ Germany/ Switzerland 2012 75 min 16:9 HDCam CHILDREN

OF SRIKANDI is the first film about queer women in ...

by ChildrenofSrikandi 1 month ago 1,838 views

1:44

So You Want to Join Fetlife?

This movie has been entered by TheDaisyHarris into the Xtranormal February 2011 “Make A Movie,

Win $1000!” Contest. The Xtranormal movie with the...

by XtranormalContest 1 year ago 3,881 views

1:24


www.anthonylycett.com

www.bettyblackcomics.blogspot.com

www.bizarredesign.nl

www.clarewhitt.com

www.darkview.de

www.darrenbrade.COM

www.dirkalexander.tumblr.com

www.elliott-morgan.com

www.facebook.com/adrian.giorgio

www.facebook.com/anto.christ1

www.facebook.com/Hugo-Rourke

www.facebook.com/KristianTaylorWood

www.facebook.com/michiel.dierickx

www.fannyvanpoppel.com

www.felixecaroledicaire.com

www.fware.co.uk

www.ic-uc.be

www.idiots.NL

www.janvanbreda.com

www.katemccgwire.com

www.lamaisonchampselysees.com

www.lauracoppens.COM

www.maartenwillemstein.com

www.michaelcunninghamwriter.com

www.micheldierickx.com

www.modelmayhem.com/311337

www.modelmayhem.com/601049

www.mrpustra.com

www.nataliejwatts.com

www.nathangallagher.com

www.notjustalabel.com/nielspeeraer

www.pauldouglasphoto.com

www.ramonestrada.com

www.roswithavanrijn.nl

www.saradykmans.be

www.shannon-hansen.com

www.simonekrelius.com

www.sinbozkurt.com

www.slightly-sarcastic.nl

www.soazig-le-bozec.com

www.stephenjonesmillinery.com

www.strychnin.com

www.studiobolster.be

www.tessaangus.com

www.thehouseofrising.com

www.veldalauder.co.uk

www

ET ALORS?

146


WWW.IC-UC.BE

CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines