Category Archives: London

Fragments of Peter de Rome

A trailer for Ethan Reid’s film Fragments: The Incomplete Films of Peter de Rome.

Finally! I have managed to upload a film clip to my blog. I wanted to add this to the de Rome piece that I published last month but couldn’t work out how to do so. But, seemingly, I have managed to do so tonight. Phew.

So please enjoy this trailer to Ethan Reid’s film.

For more information about Peter de Rome, Ethan Reid and this film, why not follow Fragmentsderome on Twitter

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December 3, 2012 · 11:59 pm

The ecstatic peace of Peter de Rome

Last week my interview with director Ethan Reid discussing his recent film, Fragments: The Incomplete Films of Peter de Rome, was published online by Glass magazine so I thought I’d add a link to it here and write a little more about him here as, in my opinion, at least, Peter de Rome is one of the most fascinating figures in film-making whose output (which is vast and remarkable) has recently been rediscovered and, only now, gaining the acclaim and exposure it deserves. And also Ethan Reid’s film about him is an accomplished and affectionate piece that is a valuable documentary providing a fascinating overview and exploration of de Rome’s life and times.

Sometimes referred to as the “Grandfather of Gay Porn”, de Rome is a prolific film-maker and a pioneer, having made around 100 films (some finished, some not … hence the “Fragments” in the title of Reid’s film), de Rome, now aged 88,  is finally being recognised as one of the most important gay film-makers of all time. British-born, but having moved to the US in the late 1950s to work on a film project for David O Selznick that stalled, de Rome took up directing for his own amusement and pleasure and then his friends’, making short films, beneath the censor’s radar, throughout the ’60s until the ’70s.

And despite winning awards, (Best Short in the 1971 Wet Dream Film Festival in Amsterdam for Hot Pants) and being reviewed (bizarrely) in the Financial Times and the Times, and his collection, The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome (released in 1973 and comprising six short films) which opened at the Lincoln Art Theatre in New York, and which was subsequently screened in all the major cities in the US and influencing film-makers such as Jack Deveau (who he was to collaborate with) and porn-legend Kristen Bjorn,  until recently, de Rome’s film career and output had drifted into obscurity, with many of his films having never been seen. This situation was reversed this year when he was re-discovered by the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival and all his output is now all included in the BFI archive.

His films, which centre around hardcore and explicit imagery, explore his sexual and erotic fascinations with an unabashed aplomb and confidence and yet which also have a dreamy, experimental wry and witty quality which lends them a transcendental quality rather than being purely material to be used to arouse (although, of course, this function is not to be derided or belittled). De Rome claims to have been uninfluenced by any other films, does, however admit to being impressed by Jean Genet’s Chant d’Amour and there is a strong Maya Deren-esque quality to some of his work – especially Daydreams from a Crosstown Train (1972) and Double Exposure (1969).

I am posting some more images from his films that Glass couldn’t use below. All images are courtesy of the BFI who have produced a DVD The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome which also contains Ethan Reid’s Fragments.

Hot Pants. (US 1971, Peter de Rome).

Hot Pants. (US 1971, Peter de Rome).

Daydreams from a Crosstown Bus. (US, 1972, Peter de Rome).

Scopo. (US, 1966, Peter de Rome).

The Fire Island Kids. (1970, US, Peter de Rome).

Peter de Rome in London this year.

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Filed under BFI, Ethan Reid, FIlm, Gay Film-makers, Jack Deveau, London, New York, Peter de Rome, Peter de Rome

Shearsman Books poetry reading tonight

I realise it’s short notice, but tonight (Wednesday November 14)  there is a reading by some poets on the Shearsman imprint: Andrew Jordan, John Welch and Michael Zand which should be really worthwhile attending.

The event starts at 7.30 pm at Swedenborg Hall, Swedenborg House, 20/21 Bloomsbury Way London WC1A 2TH and is free


Shearsman reading at Swedenborg Hall, Bloomsbury, London.

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Filed under Andrew Jordan, John Welch, Literature, London, Michael Zand, Performance, Poetry, Publishers, Reading, Shearsman

Dream, baby, dream

I spoke to Doran Edwards, the front man of the London-based band Weird Dreams, a while ago for Glass Magazine. Sometimes referred to as psych-pop core, or melodious melancholics (I particularly like that, being inclined to melancholy myself) and also labelled, or stereotyped, as “jangly power pop” –  journalists have always loved a snappy handle for ease of reference.

But I’m always wary of an off-hand, throwaway categorisation, no matter how much wit it’s served with.  I think it’s hard to describe good things in a few words, pithy though they may be. It diminishes somehow. But, ahh, but that’s why we have literature

Sorry, I’ve drifted.

Weird Dreams are good.

The interview was published yesterday here

Weird Dreams play at Birthdays, Stoke Newington Road, N16 London on Friday, October 26.

Craig Bower (left) and Doran Edwards (right)  from Weird Dreams

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Filed under Gig, London, Music, Tough Love record label, Weird Dreams

Spiral scratch – Heliacal revisited

Today I caught up with the curator of Heliacal, Rachel Thomson of Imbroglio magazine, (whose work is also included) the show taking place at the 13th century St Augustine’s Tower  (Hackney’s oldest building) to find out how the show has gone and how it has been received, just before it closes this week. “We have had about 900 visitors over the two weeks that the show has been on which I am very happy about,” Rachel told me. “It’s really good and far in excess of the number of visitors that I have had for other shows I have curated in Vyner Street, for instance. The show has had a great amount of interest from very different kinds of people, not only those purely interested in the arts. We have also had a great mixture of people attending. Everyone thinks the location and the work sits really well together and is hugely impressed by both. ‘Breathtaking’, a ‘fantastic experience’ are just a few of the comments we have had.”

Rachel has also uncovered an intriguing resonance between the title of the exhibition and its location itself. “I originally called the show ‘Heliacal’ as the word means ‘belonging to or relying on the sun’ as I like to work just using sunlight and the other photographers in the show use sunlight in the same way to create their images. An artist creates something from nothing. The artists in this exhibition choose to create their work with inexpensive found materials, such as leaves, twigs, insects and discarded rubbish and by exploiting direct photographic (cameraless) processes that rely purely on sunlight.

However, Rachel has since discovered that the word can refer to a spiral as well, which is very appropriate as St Augustine’s Tower, where the show is held has a spiral staircase connecting the floors to each other.

Rachel also has plans for a new show at the tower, provisionally entitled, Come Up and See My Etchings.


Here are some images from the Heliacal show.

The Hunters by Tessa Farmer. Photograph by Avalon Hale-Thomson

Warumpi Tryptich by Miriam Nabarro. Photograph by Rachel Thomson

Living Echoe III by Rachel Sokal. Photograph by Dawn Craig

Living Echo by Rachel Sokal. Photograph by Dawn Craig

Plastic Bags by Rachel Thomson. Photograph by Dawn Craig

Heliacal I by Rachel Thomson. Photograph by Rachel Thomson

Heliacal II by Rachel Thomson. Photograph by Rachel Thomson

The exhibition closes tomorrow (Thursday, October 18).and is at  St Augustine’s Tower, The Narroway, Hackney E8 1HR

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Filed under Art, Art exhibition, Artist, Hackney, Imbroglio magazine, London, Miriam Nabarro, Photography, Rachel Sokal, Rachel Thomson, Screenprinting, St Augustine's Tower i, Tessa Farmer

I love Chatsworth Road! Magazine launch and photo exhibition

I love Chatsworth Road magazine front cover

Tomorrow night (Friday) sees the launch of photographer Jorn Tomter‘s magazine, I love Chatsworth Road. It is at the Dentist, 33 Chatsworth Road E5 from 6pm-9pm.

The exhibition is on Wed-Sun, 12pm-6pm until October 28.

From the introduction to the magazine, Jorn: “Once there were green fields and big detached houses all over our neighbourhood in Clapton. Glorious days! Then came the purpose-built market street Chatsworth Road with all its surrounding streets and houses. Clapton became part of the city. It changed, and it hasn’t stopped changing since. A couple of wars came and went. Some of the buildings were bombed and became playgrounds for kids while gradually being replaced by estates and tower blocks. Many moved to Essex to get a tan after sunbeds were invented, and new people moved in to the Chats area. Tasty jerk chicken became the new smell of Sunday.

When everyone started to shop at supermarkets, the market suffered and eventually closed down a couple of decades ago. Squatters came and went. The mafia came and went. The Murder Mile came and went. Elizabeth Taylor came and went. The cheap houses attracted low-income families, dreamers and creative people. Today the cheap houses are not so cheap any more and the coffee is probably as good as in Sydney. The market is back to please rather than as a necessity.

Who knows what will happen. Some will praise it. Others will complain and say it was much better before. It’s part of human nature to long for what once was. One remembers the good bits and neglects the bad experiences. I suspect that not all the owners of the farms and mansions welcomed the growth during the 19th century.
I love the community here and the majority of the people I talk to seem to like it too – simply because they feel it is a strong sense of community. I also love photography as a medium to record and as a reason to approach strangers. I started to document the area the first time I came here – it was like entering a timewarp and I knew it was going to change – plus I also fell in love with the people. I have learned that who I once thought were dodgy guys in hoodies coming out of the Pedro club can be sweet daddies and have a keen interest in what I am doing.

I don’t represent any shops or individuals, but I only have a strong curiosity to explore. What you find in this paper is a taster of what contains – the website I use as a platform for all the stories I come across and the photos I take. If it is well received and I don’t lose too much money, I will make another one. The aim is to publish it once a year or biannually and include some local young people in the process. Hopefully some of them might like to help out with producing this paper.

Thanks for all the support and to those who said “Yes” to being in front of my camera!”

Jørn Tomter
Photographer and Creative Director

Do you want to be photographed or do you have a story to
suggest? Please email:

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Filed under Art, Art exhibition, Hackney, I love Chatsworth Road, Jorn Tomter, London, Photography, Private view, Shops, The Dentist Chatsworth Road, The Dentist Chatsworth Road, Uncategorized

Heliacal – a group show at St Augustine’s Tower, Hackney

Heliacal – a group show at St Augustine’s Tower, Hackney from October 6-18

A  fascinating show of intriguing new artworks by a group of highly talented artists is opening in an equally intriguing location, Hackney’s oldest building, dating back to 1275, the Tudor St Augustine’s Tower in the Narroway, Hackney. The private view is tomorrow from 6 pm onwards. See you there?

Presented and curated by Imbroglio magazine,  Heliacal, a group exhibition of new work by Rachel Sokal, Tessa Farmer, Miriam Nabarro and Rachel Thomson.

In this exhibition, a series of delicate and ephemeral artworks are shown that reveal an artistic fascination with the power of the sun, concerns about our part in it’s environmental impact and the parasitical order inherent in natural systems.

A hunt for the miniscule, bewitching ‘fairy’ sculptures of Tessa Farmer, constructed from roots, leaves and dead insects, invites a journey up a spiral staircase through the cobwebbed rooms of Hackneys’ medieval clock tower.
In the Bell room Rachel Sokals’ chlorophyll prints, made using the leafs natural chemistry and sunlight, hang under ghostly shrouds, each unveiling leading to the works ultimate destruction.

In the lower rooms the earliest form of cyanotype ‘sun’ photography is exploited by Rachel Thomson who makes photogram impressions of floating entities out of discarded plastic bags, whilst Miriam Nabarro’s triptych captures the eerie shadow of a Mulga tree, collected on Warumpi Hill, the most sacred Honey Ant Dreaming (Tjupi Dreaming) site in Central Australia.

The private view is tomorrow, Thursday October 4, 6-9pm where you can meet the artists.

The show is on from Saturday October 6 until October 18 and is part of East London Festival of Photography 2012. The gallery is closed on Mondays.

For more information, follow @imbroglio_mag on Twitter

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Filed under London, Photography, Private view, Rachel Thomson, Screenprinting, Tessa Farmer, Uncategorized