Cliche spotting

He collected ceramics and for many years had a house in Tangiers.

Oh aye?

Although West never stopped indulging in what he called the “rough trade” and had a fondness for S&M and threesomes,

North Africa was, for a time, something of a cliche among that set.

19 thoughts on “Cliche spotting”

  1. So he was fond of buggering young Moroccan boys. The playwright who got murdered by his jealous lover in the 60’s also liked to holiday in Algeria/Morocco.

  2. Isn’t the start of Earthly Powers set in North Africa? “I was in bed with my catamite when the Archbishop came for tea” or something like that? Collecting ceramics whilst engaging in bondage threesomes sounds very 1930s.

  3. Earthly Powers

    Now, there was a big novel, in every sense. And yes, Burgess really let himself go. I understand people not liking it, but I enjoyed it immensely, several times..

  4. The picture in the obit makes him look a wrong ‘ un.
    I bet that “colleague” Betty was a right go-er as well.

  5. Of the so-called liberal reforms of the 1960s, stopping the persecution of the poofs was the only one that was unambiguously both liberal and a Good Thing.

    HIV/AIDS reminds us that even a Good Thing can have some bad results. Life involves trade-offs.

  6. Presented as a dispassionate discussion and written in a very distant style, its real purpose, he later said, “was a plea for tolerance from a member of a despised group”.

    Good heavens, anyone would think science has been buggered like a small Moroccan boy by activists with agendas.

  7. “West … a research officer for the Society for Psychical Research … accepted extrasensory perception as proven”

    “West was a member of the Parole Board in its first years … and worked as a Mental Health Act commissioner 1992-7”

    Man’s a loon, so we make him responsible for the treatment of loonies?

  8. Tangiers (and Morocco more widely) was always the favoured place for wealthy homosexuals to “cruise” – Saint-Saens, André Gide, Somerset Maugham, Cole Porter, Oscar Wilde, Bosie, Burroughs, Paul Bowles. Oddly enough Field-Marshall Sir Claude Auchinleck retired there for a number of years and died in Marrakech. I wouldn’t be surprised if WLS Churchill also spent a lot of time there

  9. Diogenes are you suggesting that the Casablanca conference was cover for some sort of gay orgy ?
    I wonder if FDR was up for chemsex ? It was probably why he blurted out the demand for unconditional surrender, he was off his tits at the time.

  10. Richard T: Malta! Earthly Powers, a great romp through the twentieth century.
    Burgess’ Enderby series of novels ends in North Africa.
    The drunken son of Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited lived on remittences in Tangiers.

  11. Kenneth Williams records a fair few trips to north Africa in his diaries, with various similarly minded companions.

  12. Of the so-called liberal reforms of the 1960s, stopping the persecution of the poofs was the only one that was unambiguously both liberal and a Good Thing.

    Having lived through those years, I’m not convinced that there was widespread ‘persecution’. Society had for centuries largely operated on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis – hypocritical perhaps, but it seemed to work. Cottaging could and did get people into trouble, but two blokes living together, or the odd bloke wearing a dress on Friday evenings, rarely caused a fuss. If Oscar Wilde hadn’t engaged in ill-advised litigation, or Alan Turing hadn’t gone into a cop shop and told them he was a homosexual, they could have avoided trouble with the law.

  13. North Africa was a hotbed for gay sex tourism. Male prostitutes in the UK were likely to be police sting operations, so far safer to conduct such business abroad.

    We might conclude that Prof West’s goal of decriminalisation of gay sex in the UK was driven by the desire for male prostitutes, not Elton & David style gay relationships.

  14. Muslim countries as a whole are, of course, notorious for the industrial-scale sexual abuse and rape of boys; a practice readily converted to the industrial-scale sexual abuse and rape of white girls when the cultists arrive in Britain.

  15. Chris Miller,

    “Having lived through those years, I’m not convinced that there was widespread ‘persecution’. Society had for centuries largely operated on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis – hypocritical perhaps, but it seemed to work. Cottaging could and did get people into trouble, but two blokes living together, or the odd bloke wearing a dress on Friday evenings, rarely caused a fuss. If Oscar Wilde hadn’t engaged in ill-advised litigation, or Alan Turing hadn’t gone into a cop shop and told them he was a homosexual, they could have avoided trouble with the law.”

    I’m fairly convinced that government people really don’t give a crap about moral panics. It’s an easy vote winner, or at least, something you have to do to stop people voting for someone else, but no-one really cares. What government mostly does is a lot of theatre, like getting the press along when they do an annual raid of a couple of whores working together, or for a drug bust. You get a few arrests but almost no disruption to the trade. If people see this stuff in their local papers, they think the police are doing something about it.

    Turing’s problem is that he forced the police’s hand. Once you tell a copper you broke the law, even if he doesn’t give a shit, he can’t really ignore it.

  16. If people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, perhaps people who collect (fragile and expensive) ceramics shouldn’t go in for rough trade? Just saying …

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