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Arts & Culture

“Finally, things were starting to move…”

Photo by Jens Lindner on Unsplash

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Part 8

Finally the lawyers visit was booked for Friday and nothing else had gone wrong so I found myself being led to the end of the wing and then down a flight of stairs into a basement looking room with a number of little offices off a dark, dingy, musty smelling corridor.The Lawyers name was Linsey, and she got straight down to business. First of all she wanted to get an idea of my background, so she asked a lot of questions about where I grew up, where I went to school, my career to date, then she had me tell the story from beginning to end. No one had ever done this before with all the past three lawyers I’d had so far, so I got the feeling she might actually care about the outcome.

I also told her what had happened with Sweeney, my super slick, super expensive barrister, and how he had tried to throw me under the bus, and she seemed to think there would be an investigation about that, and the fact that he had taken cash under the table payments, whilst claiming Legal aid. She handed me a photocopy of the sentencing guidelines for drug convictions, so that I could see what I was facing if convicted. It didn’t look good!

The meeting was over before I knew it,and she promised to book another visit before we went to court in a little under 10 days. She assured me everything was under control, and urged me not to worry. I had been concerned that I would not qualify for Legal aid, as Sweeney had at first mentioned, but she seemed to think that there was no problem with it. I would need to fill out a statement of position but she would bring the paperwork with her for me to sign next week.

I was also concerned that it might look bad for me, having already been through three lawyers in the past, but she promised that because of the poor conduct of the last ones, that wouldn’t be a problem either. She handed me some forms to sign which authorised her to access the notes from Theresa Ryan, with whom I’d had a severe altercation the previous month, but again she saw no problem with that either, saying she had already been in touch with them and it all seemed fine.

She had also been in touch with the police, but as yet there had still been no evidence submitted, so it was really just a waiting game until they gave us something to fight. This was frustrating. I hated being in Prison, and couldn’t wait to get it over with. The court date was set for 5th March and she assured me that this would be largely administrative, and nothing at all would be decided. The guards were calling the movement so I said goodbye and ran upstairs to collect my lunch.

Finally things were starting to move, and I was in a much better frame of mind. Edd had received my letter and sent me a lovely email in return, promising to help in whatever way he could, and sending me his phone number so that I could phone him at last, and Hasan had also sent a rather official sounding email, telling me that he would book a legal visit as soon as possible and come and see me. I knew now that it would only be a matter of time before I had access to money, as the boys would be able to chase my debtors, and I could finally get myself out of this hell hole!

Over the weekend I sent Tom copies of all my lists, and detailed instructions of what needed to be done, and then followed it all up with a phone call. It’s amazing how much information you can transmit over the phone when you know you only have 10 minutes for the call, and we managed to cover quite a bit of ground.

Tom had been trying in vain to book a visit, and it kept being rejected so I filled out another App, but I wasn’t going to hold my breath over the reply to it. To date I’d had no response to the last six or so I had submitted, and on top of that, the money he had sent me over a week ago still wasn’t on my account, meaning I would now have to wait another week before I could order anything on canteen, and two weeks before it was delivered! Something was clearly not right, and whether it was paranoia or not I’m not sure but it seemed that someone was out to make my life a misery. No on else seemed to have had as many problems as me — granted they had all had problems, but I seemed to have hit a brick wall on every possible front!

The following Wednesday I had another legal visit booked. Linsey had received the files from Gunney, Clark, Ryan miraculously, as I’d been sure that Theresa Ryan,The money grubbing lawyer who had teamed up with Sweeney to suck legal aid out of the government with no intention of defending me, would frustrate the process by refusing to hand anything over. Linsey went over some of the evidence contained in the files, but it was almost all circumstantial, and consisted of enquiries and phone texts, however there was no concrete evidence of me having done anything wrong. Some of the texts where they were claiming I had links to Hong Kong and China were in fact enquiries about the purchase of underwear and t-shirts for the store I was planning to open, so they were grasping at straws.

When all the business was over and all the paperwork filled out and signed, she casually mentioned that I must be so pleased to be finally getting out of this place. This caught me completely by surprise… what had she not told me? ‘Well, you know that after court you won’t becoming back here?’ she replied. I had thought that this hearing was largely administrative, so surely I wasn’t being released. We had discussed the possibility of bail, and Edd had offered his address for my application, but the Barrister seemed to think it would be unlikely that it would be granted owing to the fact that I had already committed serious offences whilst on bail last time. He suggested that if I were able to stump up £20K surety, they might look at it a little more favourably, however none of my real friends had that sort of money spare. Had I been able to get access to my betting accounts, or to collect all the monies owed to me even, it would have been a different story, but Tom had drawn a blank on most of those.

Daniel Beckman, the little weasel, was claiming he didn’t owe me anything, when in fact the figure was around £400. Other friends Robbie and Gary had already paid the money they owed, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough for what I needed, but Scottish David was the worst of all. He was married, with two small children, but at the age of 42, had decided he was gay. In fact he had always known he was gay but had married for the social acceptance factor. Now, independently wealthy, and not having to work, he spent his days trolling for boys in Hampstead Heath, or on Grindr, promising free drugs in return for sex. He had been caught a couple of times in threesomes when his wife had come home from work unexpectedly and had practically lived at my house each time she kicked him out.

The last time, he had rung me at midnight, in a state of panic. She’d had the locks changed and cancelled all his credit cards, so he was penniless and had no money to pay for a hotel. I had lent him £420, part of which included a gram of Meth to keep him occupied and now he was claiming he didn’t owe me anything. It wasn’t as if he couldn’t afford it, and in fact, if he had felt like being generous, could very easily have put up the surety for me, but clearly that was not going to happen! Jay still owed me £2,500, and Ali, who used to work for me, had stolen another £2,500, plus a phone and a couple of other accessories, and then there was another couple of thousand in miscellaneous amounts all over town, not to mention the £7,500 that black prick Harrison had stolen from me, along with my Prada Wallet, but there was no chance that I would ever see that again, unless I engaged a ‘collector’!

Linsey was referring to the fact that since my case was being heard at Blackfriars Crown Court, I would not be transferred back to HMP Pentonville, and instead would be shipped out to HMP Thameside, all the way out in the Southeast, near Woolwich Arsenal. She assured me it was much better there than here — newer and with much better facilities, but I had mixed feelings about this. I had never ventured much further east than Shoreditch in the past, and neither had any of my friends, in fact we used to joke that every time we went south of the river, we caught a nasty rash! I knew that I would have very little chance of receiving any visitors, once they finally sorted out the problem with my visit orders, if I was stuck all the way out there.

HMP Pentonville was almost walking distance for most of my friends, and a short taxi ride for all the others. On the other hand, I was still battling with the tail end of a stinking cold or flu which I’d had for almost 10 days, and I was eternally cold because of the drafts from the broken windows, and the food was disgusting, so perhaps I might be better off moving! I felt extremely sorry for myself, and constantly cursed my stupidity in allowing myself to get into this situation, but I didn’t see how a move to the arse end of the country could make life any better psychologically!

Once again I kicked myself for not acting while I had a chance and absconding with a fake, or even a genuine replacement passport. I had stayed and done the right thing legally, but in the end I would have been far better off to have avoided all this and escaped. That of course would also have had the added benefit of leaving those sanctimonious pigs with egg on their faces — they thought they were so clever, when actually they had just been lucky, and I had been naive and gullible. Anyway, it was no use speculating over what might have been, or indeed, what I wanted, because in reality I didn’t have a choice. I would be packed off to Blackfriars Crown Court whether I liked it or not on Friday morning, and thereafter contained for the foreseeable future at HMP Thameside, on the borders of Essex. Jesus, what had my life become?

Both Tom and Edd were still having trouble booking a visit, and both had been automatically rejected without reason, and I had little choice but to fill in another fucking App, now knowing full well that they weren’t worth the paper they were written on. Finally after 12 days my money had been credited to my account, and I had been able to place an order on the canteen for some tobacco,and food supplements, as the crap they served here was inedible, however no one had told me, until now that I wouldn’t be staying here after court, so all had been for nothing, because the canteen delivery would be arriving whilst I was in the dock, and therefore I would not receive it. When I asked one of the officers what to do about it, they seemed to think that I would in fact be coming back, so they would hold my canteen until I returned. Now I was really confused.

By the time we were locked up after dinner, I still had no clue whether to pack everything up, or not to bother. At 6 am though when another officer came to wake me up, he bought me some heavy duty clear plastic bags,and assured me that I would not be coming back. The day before,I had still not had word from the Phoenix Futures people about my in-cell packs and I had been really worried about this also, because the case worker had said it would be a major deciding factor in my case, and having completed all the packs, I wanted the certificates to take to court.

I had submitted an app a week or so earlier, advising them of my court date, but had not heard a word. I’d also told them that there was a good chance that I was getting bail, so I was really cross that they hadn’t bothered to even reply to me. So much for being concerned and wanting to assist in rehabilitation. On the slim chance that I was successful in my application for bail, they were clearly not interested in my rehabilitation or welfare in any way shape or form whatsoever, in fact, once I was off the list, they could forget about me because they would no longer be able to use my name to claim further funds. Fascinating.

I was however rather surprised when just after 6 pm the night before my court case, an envelope was stuffed under my door, and on closer examination it bore the Phoenix Futures logo. Once opened I couldn’t help contain my mirth at the banality of the contents. Not only were there signed certificates for every in-cell pack I had completed, despite them having not even glanced at them, but there was also a 36 page photocopy file containing a list of names and addresses of every needle exchange chemist in the London area. In other words, they didn’t care about the contents of the work I’d done, or whether I was on the road to recovery, their main issue was that I knew where to collect free needles!

The court hearing, as predicted was really all about logistics, and another hearing date was set down for the 4th April. It was all over within about five minutes and actually I didn’t even need to be there, apart from to meet with the barrister, and that could have been accomplished in a legal visit. They came to collect me at 7 am, and repeated the same boring procedure as I’d experienced in going to the hospital, except that this time all my valuables were out and ready for inventory before I got on the sweat box, signalling in case I still had doubts, that I was indeed leaving for the last time.

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I was allowed to wear my own clothes this time though, although it didn’t really matter,as I was completely superfluous to the proceedings, and as for the certificates I had worked so hard to complete and then worried so much about not having in time for court? Not recognisable as an approved rehabilitation course, and in short, not worth the paper they were written on! Afterwards, I had a private meeting with my barrister, Allistair Poulsen, a tall, statuesque Scotsman. He was concerned that the prosecution were trying to add all the charges together into one case, and was not entirely sure whether this was the right track to take.

There would be a total of nine charges, and because I had committed the last four whilst on bail, things may go very badly for me indeed if we lost! He did however inform me that The prosecution were also trying to paint me as a Category three, leading role according to the sentencing guidelines, which was utter garbage! This implied that I had been responsible for importing, or that I had good ties with those who were,and it was simply not true. I had been charged with Possession with intent to supply class A drugs, but actually for some of the charges, and some of the substances I had been caught with, I didn’t even know that they were class A. Some of the other substances such as Marijuana, Hashish and Mephedone were class B and I had not known that either.

The starting point for sentencing was 6 years 6 months by their reckoning, if found guilty, but both Alistair and I had reckoned that the worst I could be considered was category 3 significant role and in all likelihood, he thought he might be able to talk it down to a lesser role. The police of course had put their two cents worth in with statements of evidence which said they had never seen anything so sophisticated and such a professional operation, but this was either grandstanding to make themselves look good, or else they were extremely incompetent because let me tell you, if my operation was as well oiled as they made out it was, I wouldn’t have been standing in the court dock at all!

The guidelines stated that I could get up to a third off for pleading guilty at the first available opportunity, whatever level the judge finally decided I was. There were also other factors which would suggest further leniency, such as genuine remorse, duress from others in being forced to sell against my will, Being addicted to the substances, and countless other ideas, of which no one had informed me or even asked me about.

I firmly believed, and still do to this day that I wasn’t addicted to any of them as I’d had no withdrawal symptoms, no cravings, no shakes, paranoia or nerves over them, in fact I had scarcely given them a thought over the past four weeks of my incarceration, however all the do-gooder drug rehabilitation case workers had nodded sagely and promised me that I was, so if they wanted me to be, and it would help get me off this bloody nightmare merry-go-round, I could very easily be whatever they wanted. The only thing I was sure of was that I could not possibly cope with six years and six months of prison!

Double Bubble

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.

Read our interview with the author.

We are serialising Double Bubble on Mainly Male. This is the eighth instalment in the serialisation. Go back to read earlier instalments.

The Chemsex Trilogy

Visit Cameron Yorke’s website

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Artists

Beach Boys in the Buff

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Antonio En La Playa by Marc DeBauch (image supplied)
Antonio En La Playa by Marc DeBauch (image supplied)

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.

Lonnel on the Beach by Marc DeBauch (image supplied)

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.

Aussie Boy by Marc DeBauch (image supplied)

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.

Trevor on the Beach by Marc DeBauch (image supplied)

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.

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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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After the Swim by Marc DeBauch (image supplied)

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