How Did we get from 120 Days of Sodom to 50 Shades of Grey?

Radical Desire £9.99 from

How Did we get from 120 Days of Sodom to 50 Shades of Grey?

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Renowned occult and rock music writer Gavin Baddely, an ordained priest in the Church of Satan, was kind enough to interview me for his site. Where this interview looks much better with his dark background and graphics plus Ruth Ramsden’s illustrations.

GB So, Mark, how did we get from 120 Days in Sodom to 50 Shades of Grey?

MR Maybe it would have been better if more people had remembered Sacher-Masoch’s woman-worshiping consensual vision rather than the transgressive cruelty of de Sade, but Krafft-Ebing put them together and unfortunately it stuck. At least the recent mainstream acceptability has finally wrenched public perception away from horrific tortures. All you need now is a skyscraper, a fortune and a helicopter…

GB Have you read 50 Shades of Grey? Do you think it represents a new level of tolerance for fetishism or a new nadir in S&M’s descent into mainstream banality?

MR I can’t read a book with 86 repetitions of ‘Holy crap!’ – some of which are the more elegant ‘crap!’ – London expressions such as ‘Laters’ transposed to Seattle, plus numerous other false notes, even before we get to the very weak mash up of Kink and Mills and Boon. It may be true that there’s no such thing as bad chilli but it seems you can actually make spanking boring. But then I can’t get turned on by improbable Masters of the Universe or shy virgins. It’s amusing that a fan fic based on Twilight has succeeded, when that book was written by a woman hoping to promote chastity among teenagers.
The secret may well be a lot of unresolved sexual tension then gradually escalating intimacy towards eventual marriage – oh dear have I defused the explosive surprise? – which has been a popular template for centuries. Like The Da Vinci Code it doesn’t say much for a lot of our fellow humans but then the film – also like The Da Vinci Code – will be much better. The upside is that a lot of toys that were once unthinkable are now mainstream plus a lot of people are having a lot more sex, indeed much more varied sex. Plus the man as hero has been restored. (Are you listening misandrist television advertisers?)

GB As a Satanist, but not a fetishist, I attended the memorial held by the Torture Garden club for Anton LaVey of the Church of Satan several years back. I remember being struck by the countless ‘official’ film crews and photographers. It all seemed rather crass and commercial somehow… Though there was at least one room where they weren’t playing terrible techno… In general has the increasing slickness and fashion chic involved in the fetish scene been a boon or a disaster?

MR It remains a struggle if we’re talking about clubs. Plus there was this insane court case recently where a barrister nearly lost his career over some fisting videos. Venues and organisers have more and more legal problems, the recession has been hard. The struggle is by no means over even if you can watch what you like in your own home. Twenty years of heavy public involvement was enough for me but there will always be another generation. I was in any case always more interested in real people not conforming to stereotypical roles of Sub or Dom, and I was never really part of the rubber haute couture scene, although I wrote for the upmarket scene magazine Skin Two.

GB Is a hint of the forbidden a crucial element in fetishism’s appeal?

MR Yes. Naughty but nice, if we may reference the old cream-cake advert…

GB I get the impression that you’ve come more acquainted with the darker side of
the occult-fetish axis over the years. Is this true and how common is an interest in Satanism and such among fetish folk?

MR  If you’ve already broken the taboo that sex can only happen in the context of a loving heterosexual relationship and indeed expanded what constitutes sex then it’s not much of a step to embrace Left Hand path spirituality, confronting the darkness within us all. Scourging and bondage crossed over from fetishism into magic, as defined by Gerald Gardener mid-20th Century, but as practised by folk since time immemorial.
GB I’ve always thought that there’s a lot more black humour in Sade than generally
recognised, and your book Radical Desire is frequently very funny. Yet fetishism overall appears kind of humourless. How do you see the relationship between comedy and kinky sex?

MR Fetishism is full of crashing bores arguing like trainspotters or DIY enthusiasts as to correct practice, indeed arguing extremely abusively as many of these people have personality disorders and some are playing their role as ultimate Dom or Domme too faithfully. Many are seeking revenge for old wounds by attacking other people using the privilege of a Top. It’s best just to meet like-minded individuals online or at a munch then abandon the herd as quickly as possible.

GB Could you say a little about the illustrations in Radical Desire? I gather they’re taken from a tarot deck…

MR Some are from our Dark Tantra Tarot pack, the only fetish pack as far as I know, Ruth Ramsden has more of her fetish illustrations in her new Cutting Edge Press novel Blue Murder at the Pink Parrot and a wider selection of work on her website.

GB Do they still play terrible dance music at fetish clubs?

MR Well, it would be a shame to waste all that MDMA… If you don’t fancy the usual ‘50 shades of dance’ – generally Hard House rather than Techno these days – then the Rock/Industrial/Gothic music at Club Antichrist is a splendid alternative, plenty of depravity, fashion and startling performance art. Well established and very popular. They also have a good comprehensive forum the Alterium where you will find lots of interest to yourself. Books, movies, Dark Culture however it is manifest can be accessed there. Also highly recommended is the Gate a much smaller club run by scene legends Master Keith and Mistress Demonic where one can actually hear any indecent proposals. They’re hosting a Vampire Fascination night on October 22nd at the Resistance Gallery in London for everyone from beginners to serious players.

GB Radical Desire is available from all the regular book outlets, particularly Mandrake of Oxford. For more on Mark’s other books, plus his music and other endeavours, check out his site

The Legendary Gate Club is now at The Flying Dutchman, next events are Sept 22nd and Oct 27th
Radical Desire £9.99 from

Written by prospero13

August 31, 2012 at 12:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with 50 Shades of Grey, Fetishism, GavinBaddeley, MarkRamsden, Satanism
The Journals of John Fowles vol 2 Amis, grass and bare breasts

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The Journals: Volume II: 1966-1990The Journals: Volume II: 1966-1990 by John Fowles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘She hates the country, she hates the house, she hates me, she hates my life as a writer and, of course, she hates herself into the bargain.’

John Fowles on his wife Elizabeth, diary entry December 18, 1965.

Craig Brown put this in the Mail the other day which inspired me to dig out the Journals once more, very well written diaries from a great writer who had an interesting life.

Despite seeming unassailable critically and commercially some of his work didn’t get published, his wife wasn’t always a fan and a lot of his fortune eventually vanished through some tax avoiding scheme which went wrong. (Tax was nineteen shillings in the pound for high earners at one point.) He was refreshingly humble, for a successful guy who had once been head boy of his Public School.

“He also agrees that his second novel to be published, “The Magus” (1966), was not very good. He even goes so far as to call it a failure. “I hadn’t the technique. The form is inadequate for the content.”…

I particularly enjoyed the one sentence verdict on Martin Amis, (p271) ‘voguishly bitter (if not actually sick) Martin Amis, who makes his father seem like a warm hearted humanist by comparison.’

He didn’t like the rest of the 83 Granta promising writers, ‘waspish’ etc but MA was the only one summoned to his study by name. Amis was needlessly nasty about Fowles’s work and, despite the glorious soul music of Money, he is unlikely now to achieve anything which speaks to as many high, low and nobrow readers as The Collector, The Magus and The French Lieutenant’s Woman. He hasn’t even come close.

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Written by prospero13

August 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with Bare Breasts, John Fowles, Marijuana, Martin Amis, The Magus

Serenity – Fighting Addiction – Card 14 The Fetish Tarot (Temperance) Mark and Ruth Ramsden

Artist, writer and occultist Charlotte Rogers, I hope she doesn’t mind if I claim her as a soul sister, once referred to addiction as a form of possession. Aha! I thought, I can use that. Never mind sitting in draughty church halls with misguided, arm-gnawing-off dullards, and their endless list of rules and much shorter list of upbeat slogans…let’s beat addiction the Magickal way! Someone EXORCISE me. Restraints, scourges and Lilith’s own big shiny strap-on, please, by the light of a full moon, Belladonna optional.

Well, as it happens, not a phrase to conjure with in the light of the extremely distressing revelations about the child abuser, Jimmy Savile, plenty of shrinks have their misgivings about AA. It’s not for everyone. I would never discuss what I saw as its failings because, let’s join hands, “Keep Coming Back, It Works It Works. It works.” It really does. Especially after you’ve been in jail, or spent twelve hours watching grinning dancing gnomes that weren’t there (in withdrawal, my ‘pink elephants’). Or if you were convinced the neighbours were having a rave all night next door, (auditory hallucinations in withdrawal). This was terrifying once I found out there had been no party. I very nearly went round and asked them to pack it in. They call it hitting bottom after which you’ll put up with people who are share junkies, talking or ‘sharing’ too long, or people who become Christian Evangelists.
Why complain? You get free cake and coffee. Kurt Vonnegut thought 12 Step was one of the best anarchic organisations (in a good way, no leaders, self help). Should I check that quote? Nah, he had enough dumb luck with Slaughterhouse 5. Making all that money out of Dresden. So I’d recommend AA or NA even if you grow out of it. It kept me sober for eight and half years once. Miracles can happen.

Right now I’m ‘white knuckle’ (except I’m over booze, just an expensive way of being fat and stupid.) or 13th step. (A two day drug binge every month or so.) That’s ‘Reduced Harm’ is some therapeutic systems. Sorry, Bill and Dr whoever, AA pioneers. It’s the best I can do right now. Some of 12 Step is marvellous. The Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the Serenity to accept what I cannot change the courage to change what I can and the wisdom to know the difference

Or Elmore Leonard’s Jailhouse version: If you can handle it do it. If you can’t FUCK IT…(my capitals. I do like proper swearing)

Here’s Laurel Owen’s excellent Odinist 9 step plan, for prisoners at a Texas jail

A 9-Step Recovery for Odinists

| January 10, 2009 | 1 Comment

A 9-Step Recovery for Odinists

A 9-Step Recovery for Odinists

I came up with the nine steps several years ago. I noticed that many of our people struggle with addiction but had a problem with the deeply Christian 12-steps, where the message is to give up your power to God. Our theology doesn’t resonate with that idea. You will see in the 9-steps the emphasis is more about looking honestly at yourself and using your personal power wisely, not destructively. The point is to be in line with the Gods and with the tapestry of Wyrd, not to be powerless before their will…

Today there is an Odinist AA group at the Ramsey Unit in Texas. The 9-step program has been officially recognized there. The men in this group came up with the embellishments on each step.

Many thanks to Lt. Geist and the substance abuse counselor at Ramsey.

We are all proud to present this program.

Laurel Owen

Coordinator, Prison Affairs Bureau of the Odinic Rite

1) Admit we have a problem with addiction and that we have used our personal power unwisely and destructively. Noble Virtue: TRUTH.

I stand at the Well of Wyrd, and peering within, I see that addiction is poisoning my fate.

2) Make a decision to align ourselves with the Gods and to contribute constructively to the Tapestry of Wyrd. Noble Virtue: COURAGE.

I call out to the Gods for need-fire, and wisdom, to overcome that which is destroying me.

3) Inventory our behavior patterns in a searching and fearless way. Noble Virtue: HONOR.

Guided by the might and main of the Gods, I drink deep from the well of my deeds, and take responsibility for what I find there.

4) Admit to the Gods, to another human being, and to ourselves the exact nature of our wrong choices. Noble Virtue: FIDELITY.

Holding honesty as my honor, I stand before the Gods, my ancestors, and a trusted companion, and lay forth the poison I found within.

5) Ask the Gods to help us change our destructive behavior. Noble Virtue: INDUSTRIOUSNESS.

Having awakened to who I have been, I choose to lay healthy actions into the Well of Wyrd, with the Gods at my side, so I may live with honor and luck in the future.

6) Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all. Noble Virtue: DISCIPLINE.

Having honestly and completely shared the poison of my past, I choose to attempt to make right what I have made wrong in the past.

7) Make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Noble Virtue: HOSPITALITY.

Realizing that I must let go of who I have been, I hang myself from Yggdrassil, dying to who I was, and beseech the Gods for the Runes of victory. I reach out a hand to people I have hurt, if it’s appropriate.

8) Continue on a daily basis to take personal inventory and when we are wrong admit it. Noble Virtue: PERSEVERENCE.

Having gained the Runes over addiction, I continue to live with meaning, as genuinely as I can, day to day, always remembering that wisdom not lived is a sword not drawn.

9) With the spiritual awakening as a result of the steps, we try to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Noble Virtue: SELF-RELIANCE.

Having awakened to the rich heritage of the Gods of my ancestors, and my own constructive power, I go forward in my life to share this spiritual awakening with others, knowing that to gift (Gebo) this awakening is the best way to retain it.

-Laurel Owen, and the Odinist AA Group at the Ramsey Unit in Texas.


National Coming Out Day. Did any Bi people bother? Moonchild Crowley Crimson Today is the feast of the Beast

Bisexuality, blown out of the water by the pink pound, equally detested by gay and straight. Why do we bother? “I didn’t know you did, Major.” Basil Fawlty. That’s true. I don’t.

But if I did, I’d say that the boring, predictable ‘they’re REALLY gay’ balloon juice coming from both sides fixed that for me, better than any pop eyed, cigar toting child predator could have done.

Enjoy your civil marriages, gay lads and lasses. You’ve been far too happy for far too long…

THE FETISH TAROT: A dreamscape for lovers and players

I’ve decided to stop pussying about and call this the Fetish Tarot. Now all we need is a backer who realises that perverts, sorry, seekers, all over the globe are gagging to have a full 78 card pack and shiny book, not just an admittedly charming limited edition Major Arcana and booklet in black velvet bag. Which have sold out.