I was resigned to the outcome before it was even confirmed. After the somewhat short, but now rather familiar ride to Holborn in the back of the police van and the inevitable procedure that followed, I again found myself locked away in the bleak Met Police Lock-up overnight, awaiting Saturday morning court. Again I’d been provided with a poor peoples solicitor, as I’d kicked my incredibly expensive, incredibly corrupt and incredibly ineffectual one to the curb, so would have to start the entire procedure all over again. The fellow who served me this time was a youngish looking black guy with a shock of dreadlocks, but frankly it didn’t matter what he looked like, or even in fact whether he was there or not, because the advice had been the same — no comment to everything, and by now I could have handled that on my own
At this point I wasn’t frightened at all about the procedure, having been through everything on numerous occasions over the past six months. I was however, petrified at the thought of prison, how I would cope with it, what they would do to me in there, and whether I would even make it out alive! One hears stories from others about what goes on, but generally those who have been inside don’t like to talk too much about it, and anyway, to date, I only knew one other person who had been incarcerated before, and that was Jay, my drug dealer, and he had changed the subject whenever it had been brought up in the past, so I was completely flying blind, not knowing what to expect, and I suspected that many of the tales I had heard in the past had in fact been either bragging or old wives tales, but I guessed I was about to find out either way!
Next day in court played out exactly as I’d expected, and frankly was a complete blur, so overcome with worry was I at the prospect of years behind bars, and in fact almost the only words I managed to remember from the entire hearing was the Judge saying that as this was a second offence, committed whilst on bail, that I would be looking at years, rather than months. By 2pm I was again handcuffed and bundled into the ‘sweat-box’, the name they used to refer to the armoured vans used by Serco and G4S to transport prisoners to and from facilities across the country. So named because each prisoner is detained in a 60cm x 60cm square aluminium cubicle with a hard seat, and no air circulation so as I was to find out on numerous occasions throughout my ordeal, you would soon be sweating like an animal, no matter what time of year it was, on any journey over about quarter of an hour in length. Fortunately the distance to HMP Pentonville was less than five minutes around the corner from Highbury Corner Court where I was remanded, but what I was spared in travel distance, I made up for in worry and anxiety at what was to come, so by the time I arrived the result was the same.
One by one we were led into a bare, grey, gloss painted room with graffiti etched into its walls, dust and grime all over everything, and an old analogue TV mounted on a precarious bracket in the corner, which had obviously not been operable for a good many moons! I know all this because I used the time sitting there to studiously avoid the looks from any of the other inmates lined up along the wall beside me awaiting a similar fate, unsure what the protocol was, and frankly unwilling to find out. About the only person I can recall was an uber tall black guy, clad in shiny blue disco trousers and a full length fur coat, who paced endlessly up and down in front of the wall of reinforced glass windows which looked out into an equally dirty, dull and depressing hallway where we were spasmodically being called from and led down, further into the depths of the prison bowels.
Finally it was my turn to be led away down the corridor to a steel covered desk where all my personal belongings were upended from my bag and displayed for the three prison officers in attendance to see.
‘Oh look! Everything matches!’ one cried out in amazement. I failed to see the relevance. Obviously the police had already removed anything of interest, including the drugs I’d had packaged ready for delivery to a couple of clients on my way to lunch with friends, my mobile phones which I had expected, but I noted with alarm that my wallet was missing too, in fact all that was left were my keys, two sets, my cigarette case, and sunglasses case, all Louis Vuitton, and my SJ Du Pont Gold lighter, along with my Cartier Tank watch, so yes, I guess they did match. These of course were all prohibited items and were therefore going to be sent away to the prison storage facility, and my cigarettes were also not allowed as the packet was already open, so they disappeared as well. Next I was moved into an open fronted cubicle and asked to surrender my clothing one item at a time, which was shaken out and the pockets checked before being handed back to me
‘Drop your underwear and give em a flick’ one of them instructed while the rest looked on. If I was ever under any doubt that my freedom and basic civil liberties had been rescinded, after this exercise I was now under no illusions. Obviously I’d not been shy in dropping my pants in front of a crowd of similarly sexually charged boys continuously over the past twelve months at any of the countless naked, drug fuelled sex orgies I’d conducted in my flat, in my intoxicated state, but now, stone cold sober, having to do it to order was a far different kettle of fish! Humiliated doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt, but I supposed I would have to get used to this treatment from now on! Next they assigned me a bundle of prison issue grey tracksuits, polyester socks and oversized cotton boxer shorts, and I was herded into another holding room, re-united with all the others who had been processed before me, and handed a microwaved box of cardboard chilli and rice — By then the clock on the wall showed that it was 4pm so I guessed this was dinner!
Double Bubble is the third book in The Chemsex Trilogy — a series of books written by Cameron Yorke about his experience with Chemsex, addiction, and imprisonment in the UK.
We are serialising Double Bubble on Mainly Male. This is the first instalment in the serialisation.
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Beach Boys in the Buff
I caught up with artist Marc DeBauch to look at his series of work titled Beach Boys.
When did you discover and start to explore your passion for art?
I started drawing and painting when I was three years old. Before I was five, I remember creating a crayon drawing of the Sinking of the Titanic on the rough plaster of the living-room wall of my parents’ house. It was impossible to remove — my parents weren’t happy with me, but after that they provided me with enough art materials to pursue my creative interests without destroying their home.
When did you start specialising in painting naked men and creating erotic art?
It was 36 years ago when I started painting male nudes and selling them in a local gay book store. Then, in 1995, I entered two paintings in the Tom of Finland Foundation’s Emerging Erotic Artists Contest. I was won first place, which opened the door for my art career, as I was immediately approached by galleries and magazines that wanted to feature my art.
This gave me the confidence and notoriety to exhibit and sell my work at erotic art fairs and gay events. At that time, the internet was just emerging, so my friend Andrew created a website for me, which was a fantastic tool to get my art out to people around the world.
You’ve written that Tom of Finland is one of the major influences on your work — when did you first encounter the work of Tom of Finland?
I remember seeing Tom of Finland’s art in a porno magazine my friend had in high school. I was just amazed at the sexual tension, outrageous anatomy, and attention to detail in Tom’s art.
This was back in the early 1970s, so gay porn was just emerging legally in magazines and films. At the time, I wasn’t talented enough to draw the human figure accurately. But, I was fascinated enough to want to try. My sister’s boyfriend was a photographer, and he gave me his dark room equipment — back then you actually had to develop film, as there were no digital cameras.
I talked a friend into posing naked for me while jacking off, and I developed the film and made some prints. I was 14 years old, photographing another 14-year-old boy. It was very exciting creating my own porn! Unfortunately, my dad — being supportive of my art — wanted to see the photos, and of course I couldn’t show him. Not only did he not approve of gays, he didn’t want his son to be gay. He would have probably hit me if he knew I was a homosexual creating gay porn! So, I destroyed the photos almost in front of him, while saying — “The photos didn’t turn out and I would show him better work at another time.”
I was scared and freaked out. I knew I was self-censoring. But I also realised that if I was going to create erotic art that I would have to do it in secret. When Tom of Finland began drawing naked men, he also had to make his art in secret. I think most erotic artists learn to be very careful about choosing the right audience to exhibit their work to.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from people I know. I’ve been fortunate to see and meet many beautiful men in my life. Capturing their beauty and illustrating them in a unique way, is my goal.
What’s your creative process?
My creative process is different every time I paint. Sometimes an idea for a painting just pops in my head and I try to find model to pose for a photo to match my vision — that’s often the easiest route.
I rarely work from a live model. My paintings take so long to create — I often work all night on a painting — so, finding a model to sit for that long of a period and whenever I want them, is impossible. I use the photos of my models as reference.
Often, I look through hundreds of images and piece things together in a collage. It’s more like a jigsaw puzzle — lots of pieces missing, and my mind fills in those missing pieces with an arm from this model, the chest from another, the dick from another, the face from another, and so on, until I have the entire figure. But then I have to decide how the light and setting will pull all of those puzzle pieces together.
I have dozens of photos that are my references for every detail of plants, animals, rocks, furnishings. I sort through a constant mess of photos — gradually eliminating those references as my brain digests the information and my brush puts it on the canvas or paper.
The paintings that form the Beach Boys series are beautiful — what are some of the challenges in creating beach scenes like this?
Trying to find a balance between the setting and the model is always a challenge. I don’t want the model to overpower the beach, or the beach to feel more important than the model. I want my paintings to have a natural feeling, like you could be at the beach with my models.
Who are the men featured in the paintings of the Beach Boys series?
The men in my Beach Boy series are mostly friends that have modelled for me. Sometimes I find a photograph of a model that someone else has taken, that inspires me to use it as a reference pose to work from, then I find one of the photos of a beach that I’ve visited and I try to recreate a similar pose in a drawing that will eventually become a painting.
What do you hope that people feel when they look at your work?
I don’t want to just give the viewer of my art an erection, I want them to feel like they’re part of the painting, that they want to invite the men in my paintings into their homes, their beds, their dungeon, their car, their locker room, or the bushes for a hot fuck, butt licking, cock sucking, ass spanking good time.
I hope to excite the viewer visually, emotionally as well as spiritually. It’s my goal as an artist and sexually active gay man to paint erotica that continually challenges the views of people who oppose sexual freedom. If my paintings assist the viewer in discovering where they are in the spectrum of human sexuality, then my aim is reaching its target.
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