Erotic: a Memoir, a Gallery, a Web site
were novelty devices called "French Ticklers" which came in lurid colors
and had these scary looking knobs on the head. Looked more like they belonged
in a cartoon than on a cock. The only thing that belonged on a cock was
warm wet flesh— hers or his, depending upon your preference. Rock’n’roll
trash were brazenly straight and secretly bi. Heroin was only just becoming
fashionable. Every night seemed hot and humid and smelled like sweaty flesh,
stale beer and cigarettes. We were young and indestructible. We were also
cynically, merrily convinced that the world was shit and none of us would
live to see 30. Punk was nihilistic Dada, post-punk was waiting for the
apocalypse and trying to squeeze out every bit of life before it hit; no
vestigial ‘70’s peace/love/free-sex hippie bullshit, just speed, dope,
Southern Comfort, Schaeffer beer, careless fucking, the funk of sweat,
cum, bodily fluids. We were cheap.
trailer-park fetish: Midnight Cowboy on Santa Monica Blvd circa 1981. Studded
punk rockers shirtless sullen male hustlers parachute pants Oki Dog stand
1:00 AM. New Wave/Hair metal summer-time smut: trashy, tragic, big-hair,
Lee Press-on nails, stone-washed denim, camel-toe, visible panty lines,
guys with mullets in too short cut-offs and Scorpions t-shirts trying to
get some action on Hollywood Blvd at dusk on a humid summer week-night.
Pat Benatar 8-track tape blaring in the Pontiac Firebird. Underage aspiring
high-school Dominatrixes from the Inland Empire dressed like Alien Sex
Fiend glassy-eyed on illicit beer at the Scream downtown 3:00 AM looking
to take charge of their statutory rape.
were much more innocent times, or maybe less innocent times, if only because
we hadn’t yet realized the consequences of our actions. AIDS wasn’t in
our landscape, and the only straight person who seemed worried about it
was that Linda chick from Dynasty who was freaking out because Rock Hudson
had kissed her on the show.
downtown 3:30 AM little goth girl in black fishnet everything, huge eyes,
a can of Aquanet in her jet black hair has me walk her to her car, gives
me a chaste peck on the cheek while she squeezes my crotch. We go to Canter’s
and then to my place. She’s from Ontario, or Pomona, or someplace out there,
she’s still in high school, she says she always has to be on top, says
she likes oral, says she wants to tie someone up but the high school boys
are too afraid to let her, afraid she might just leave them there, says
they might be right. Rubs her foot on my crotch, she still has her shoes
on, says not to try and seduce her, she’ll seduce me instead, slowly, at
which point she already has, says she likes the power. She’s still wearing
a fucking retainer.
up around noon drenched in sweat lying in bed with someone I don’t remember
meeting, head throbbing, hoping I’m still in the same city, not exactly
sure what’s the last thing I remember but pretty sure it isn’t her, get
up, take a piss, quietly rummage through her purse for some ID ‘cause I
was raised polite, and good manners demand I should at least know her name,
hoping I’d somehow managed to drive there otherwise I’d need to try and
retrace my steps so I could find my car, not always easy, not sure what
day it was or how long this run had lasted. What’s the point of having
a good time if you can’t remember any of it?
romantic memory #1: Weimer Republic gothic gamine Audrey Hepburn. We’ve
known each other from around. I’ve had a crush on her for years. We’ve
never exchanged ten meaningful sentences. Tentative and late night, we're
finally sitting on the edge of her bed, chain smoking, talking, listening
to Kurt Weill on a cheap boom box, thinking “so are we gonna fuck or commit
suicide?” It’s dismal and tender, depressing and romantic, and most of
all it’s pure. She’s thin and she’s sharp and her hip bones hurt me. She
remains the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. We never see each other
brought a bottle of champagne and an original pressing Dinah Washington
album. We listen to the record, we drink champagne, we stand at opposite
ends of the window saying nothing, looking out at the rain through the
blinds because we don’t dare look at each other, until eventually we do.
Soon enough we’re up on Mulholland, rolling around in the rain and the
mud, 2:00 AM, Los Angeles sprawled out below us. Bar crawling handcuffed
to each other long before there was any fetish scene, we thought we were
so fucking discreet. She tasted like sweat and cigarettes.
romantic memory #2: I’m at Raji’s propped against the wall watching a band,
lighting a Camel, and she takes it from my mouth, stamps it out, reaches
into a silver case, pulls out two fancy European colored cigarettes, lights
them both in her mouth, puts one between my lips and says “Here, try these.
My husband buys them for me.” She looks just like Lauren Bacall. Halloween
night 1986 in an old office on Hollywood Blvd, the only light coming from
the street neon filtered through the Venetian blinds, slow drizzle outside
and she still looks just like Lauren Bacall.
beginning of the end. Late September 1987, I think, and I was kind of contemplating
maybe I should try another six months clean up. Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling
had just debuted. A friend called said they were filming a video for his
song “New Tattoo” so I went down to the Whiskey and saw just about every
tattooed rocker chick I knew back then--there weren’t so many as there
are now-- none of us looked as good as we had maybe four years earlier.
I recognized enough girls I had dim and not so dim “intimate” memories
of, and the first two sentences of every conversation I overheard were
“So— you auditioned for G.L.O.W. yet? So— you had your AIDS test yet?”
just a few years shy of thirty. I wasn’t dead yet, and I saw that I wasn’
t likely to go out with a glorious bang but rather a slow painful fade
if I kept it up much longer. Self preservation instincts kicked in and
slowly forced me out of blissfully debauched ignorance and into uncomfortable
denial. I got my first of many tests the next week. A year later, the one
of those girls I knew best was dead.
to tie men up, not to hurt them, but so that she could tease them and mostly
so that they would leave her alone and maybe there wouldn’t be so many
bruises. But I wasn’t going to let myself be tied up by someone who had
all that anger and might make me a tweaker project despite her insistence
to the contrary. I already knew she regularly went days without sleep.
Anyhow, it would’ve never happened even if we’d wanted it because neither
of us had enough ambition. She didn’t taste like salt or smell like sex.
She tasted bitter, and smelled like ammonia. Her skin burned my tongue
and left a bad, chemical aftertaste.
was pretty pathetic in the end. Summer 1996. I went out with a stripper
from Jumbo’s Clown Room, except that we never actually went out because
I refused to leave the house. She would show up at 3:00 AM and wake me
up. We would attempt sex because this is what we thought couples should
do. We never succeeded, but that didn’t really matter— it was all for appearance
sake, and once we got finished with the couple stuff we got down to the
business at hand, which was getting loaded. People were following her.
Her neighbors had drilled a hole in the wall so that they could watch her
dance naked to her Berlioz CD (which I still have— one day she just never
came back). People were trying to rob her, steal her money, steal her drugs,
steal her soul, and all those same people were accusing her of robbing
them, so she never lived in the same place for long. She had bruises and
sores and her makeup was always smeared from crying and she didn’t look
so great in the sunlight but she looked beautiful in the spotlight.
2001: I met a self-proclaimed psychic vampire who I very willingly allowed
to seduce me. She did it exceptionally well. She stared long and hard into
my eyes to allow her to drink from whatever it is she drinks from, perhaps
unaware that it allowed me to do the same. She liked to dominate. She liked
to be raped. She claimed no respect for limits, her's or anyone else’s.
She took me back to the old days, before I knew any better, but with one
important difference: neither of us were drunk, neither of us were high.
She tasted sweet, she smelled clean.
is loud and distant and vulgar. It has no subtlety. It has no cruelty.
A knife is intimate. I couldn’t be stabbed from a distance. I had to be
2001: Used to be I liked sharp angles, hipbones I could shave off of, bodies
that were razor sharp, even if it hurt to press against them. Especially
if it hurt to press against them. I thought pain was sexiest if it came
as a matter of course, and not a matter of act. I wanted a woman’s body
to represent my philosophy on life. I thought gaunt was sexy; I liked the
look of deprivation— it seemed spiritual. There was a danger in that apparent
frailty— the danger of a woman whose body was built like a knife, and I
always thought a knife was far sexier than a gun.
life is no longer about sharp edges and hard angles. More than anything
I appreciate grace, and I’m not talking about elegance and fluidity, but
rather the gift. Acquired grace is no more true grace than silicon is a
real breast. No amount of finishing school will teach it, no amount of
tattered clothes and punk rock aggression will hide it. And grace doesn’t
cut like a knife.
and Article Copyright © 2001 Geoffrey Cordner. All Rights Reserved.
Do not copy or post.
article made the Top Weekly 40 at the Adult BackWash Internet Community.
visit Geoff Cordner's photography work online at his Web sites Geoff
Cordner and Punk Erotic to
learn more about the artist and to view his art. Email
Cordner was born in 1960 in Tripoli, Libya to a French mother and an American
father. He was raised in Libya, Canada and Egypt before moving to the United
States in 1978. He began taking photos in the late 7's and early 80s, initially
for use in silk-screened posters for Austin, Texas punk bands and later
for various punk fanzines. He lived and worked in Los Angeles from 1985-1988,
and from 1989 through 1994 was based in Milan, Italy. He returned to Los
Angeles in 1994 and took a three year hiatus before returning to photography
in 1997. He currently resides in Los Angeles.