Wow !
This surely was a project that took a whole nights' sleep from me,
and maybe more.

But being encouraged by the guys of the ToF Foundation,
and only just retrieving and sorting much of the visual art and written thoughts
and correspondence of Martin with this partner-in-crime,
and not in the least urged on by the superhorny
and delightfully smelly scat-explorations by my tenant and his lover,
that recently go on just one floor below my bedroom,
and of which the odors can not possibly be prevented from wafting upwards to my nostrils,
I felt more than inspired to get a move on,
sublimating my desire to get involved in their play and explorations,
trying keep myself from influencing or in any way directing
the surprises that arrived at my doorstep without any intentional plan,
other than always being on the lookout for preferably homosexual tenants,
that are the least likely to irritate or hinder me,
and preferably be just that bit tolerant
towards the most deviant and awkward of my deviations and peculiarities.

and thus I started research on my possible next project,
a tribute book on that other leading art pioneer of extreme queer culture,
I started off with reading the excellent interview he did with Didier Lestrade,
the notorious editor in chief of the legendary French queer magazine Gay Pied
that had in its heydays, the years following the French student revolt of the end sixties,
extra book-type editions, published (bi)annually,
featuring in depth interviews with the worlds best queer artists and inspirations of that era,
and started off the radical French Queer movement, that yielded us our greats,
like Rohr, Logan, Fury 161, Piere et Gilles, and philosophers like Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes
and writers like Sartre, Duras, Gainsbourg, or literairy geniousses like Guy Hocquenghem, Jean Le Bitoux, a.m.o.

As luck would have it, in recent years the still very active Didier
has started to place that wealth of information and inspiration, piled up in those special editions, called "Magazine" online,
and so these gems, filled with the wisdom and experiences of heroes like Divine, Sylvester, Keith Haring, Michael Clarke,
Jean-Paul Gaultier, Bowie, David Hockney, Bill Ward, Rex, Erté, Goh Mishima, Mel Odom, Paul Morrissey, Gilbert & George,
Pierre & Gilles, Erwin Olaf, Tom Of Finland, Erwin Olaf, John Waters, Borroughs, are preserved for prosterity.

Le Marin qui chie, by Pierre et Gilles made for the cover of yet another radical french publication, Projet-X

They can be found on the issue website, starting with the very 1st edition.
Sadly, my French is not up to scratch,
and he only started to include an annex with english translations in the last editions,
so I was 'left to my own devices', and just dived in at the deep end
having a go at translating the Bastille interview of edition nr. 6-7

here goes :

Freedom is a luxury which every society should afford its citizens:
as many languages as there are desires - an Utopian proposition,
that no society is yet ready to admit the plurality of disire.
That language, whatever it be, not repress another;
that the subject may know without remourse, without repression,
the bliss of having at his disposal two kinds of language;
that he may speak this or that, according to his peversions,
not according to the law.

© Roland Barthes, inaugural lecture @ College de France January 1977

translation by Ad@, from Didier Lestrade's Magazine edition 6-7:

Bastille has been drawing for years, and still,
until very recently, nobody in France had heard of him.
That is unquestionably because his work should be "handled with care"
and that is both literally as well as figuatively speaking.
a bit like a bomb package, because you cannot predict what it will do to you.

For instance, when I first saw his work at his exposition at Rob Gallery,
Weteringschans Amsterdam, just under a year ago.
The badly printed promotional package I received in advance
was just as effective and it urged me to react, like:
"Hm, that is a bit too strong, even for Magazine . . . "
But just as immediate, the power of his images did their work to change my mind.
Because the drawings of Bastille are most devious:
they slowly get to you and grab you by the balls,
and succeed to convince you otherwise,
without ever forgetting that first shock of repulsion.
Because they sure are far removed from the positive feelgood factor of Tom of Finland's works:
even his smallest illustrations, mostly on cardboard, elaborately detailed,
similar to historic etchings or religious icons,
weigh heavily under their load of exces, tension but also discreet restraint.
And all his skinhead buddies, experienced, collared, probes inserted into their orifices,
their asses always tensed, are not going to be indoctrinated
or told how to behave by the queens of a fashion-leather or S&M scene.
They have a mind of their own.
A thusfar unknown ingredient forces them further,
somewhere into the realm of science-fiction, like Burroughs' Wild-Boys.
And that's what makes Bastille works, even while they are crafted in traditional techniques,
all the more pressing and confrontational in the here and now.

I don't know what gave me the courage to go see them.
It's always the same: one expects an artist somehow to resemble his works.
After all, Magazine is not yet a publication that specialises in rubber.
But still his prize works and top mindfucks are dealing with enema's, anal douches, leaking assholes.

3 years ago the works of Bastille were called « SM baroc »
Henceforth we're not allowed to use that definition anymore,
because for many that would be difficult.
His works may likely be locked up securely,
to only be seen by a limited few afficionados for their private worship,
and one would indeed hope those will not be the queer art predators,
who could well consider Bastille as their latest collectors craze conquest.
But on the other hand, by keeping it exclusive,
we can be sure his works will be whispered and rumored about in reverence for ages to come.
Didier Lestrade

Didier :
First I'd like to know what you think about our Tom of Finland interview,
as he was the 1st to tell me about you and considered you the best,
and if you havn't read it, maybe that's what you should do for starters.
That was such a joy to read! But I understand he primairily was talking about the technical quality of my work.
especially as with his work the quality is as good as faultless; as perfect as it gets.
so I think he's mainly considering that aspect.
Didier Lestrade:
How then is it possible that hardly anybody here in France nor abroad has heard about you?
That's because I'm more or less at a starting point. Not in drawing or painting, as I've been doing that for 3 decades,
but working commercially in homo-erotic art,
I did not do before publishing a year ago for Revolt Press (Sweden), before I met RoB.
Didier Lestrade:
What part of the USA are you from?
New York and surroundings, New Jersey as a matter of fact.
Didier Lestrade:
And what did you think of the artwork in those days?
I remember Quaintance, who drew a lot of Cowboys, mostly with somewhat effiminate faces.
I also recolect Batman comics. And then there were the adverts
of Charles Atlas, with slogans like:
"I used to be a podge of 109 kg", next to a guy on a beach, admired by all the ladies.
There also were some avant-garde artists doing naked males, that interested me no end.
I discovered Paul Cadmus, but that was only later on.
Didier Lestrade:
And why did you assume the name 'Bastille' ?
Oh, that's easy: To be honest, I'm not that pleased with it now:
My birthday is 14 Juillet and I live next door to Place Bastille; silly, really.
I wish I had more knowledge about France.
But still, I still feel a bit silly here and French society is rudely unforgiving to foreiners
My stomach still turns when I see a bus with Bastille as destination.
Didier Lestrade:
Funny, as so many erotic artists chose cinematographic names: Rex, Adam, Etienne, Quaintance, Tom, the Hun.
I think they needed to hide. I also have a regular reputation
and society is far less accepting of homosexuality as one would like to think.
Didier Lestrade:
And now you seem to be at about the same junction where Tom was about a decade ago.
I mean, his work is totally accepted nowadays, things move on.
But your work still is much more forbidden and dangerous.
So true, as while Tom is a great artist, he also arrived on the scene
at the right time to cristalize things that now evoke a smile on our faces.
Didier Lestrade:
You think Tom is past it? That he milked it too far and should have explored deeper?
He sure is the strongest to me, and the most convincing to our middle community right now,
NO, I don't want to go that far, I'm also not looking to shock.
It's far more that I try to expresss the fantasies that haunt me.
And the desire to reflect that in even the most minute details.
Now as I make a drawing, it draws me into reflections:
"I want to put that in there as it pleases me and I cannot resist those urges".
I'm looking to reach my own universe, which is not just the leather-scene, nor exclusively sado-masochism.
Didier Lestrade:
So you say to yourself when you draw: "no, that will not be sufficient, I have to go further, deeper" ?
Bastille giggles:
Not yet, but that day is bound to come soon: like on the theme of scat.

I have just recently met Martin of Holland, and what he does is ultimately fascinating.
Some people may say his works are badly drawn, but for me they evoque the most extreme inner anxieties.
Didier Lestrade:
Scat-art, it cannot be stressed enough, and the ritual in actually realising it,
secretly remains the most erotically exiting to many.
Yes indeed, naive drawings, done by guys with such intense fantasies,
have so much more strength, than technically perfect works without soul.
It's like graffiti: Martin has ideas, that I would never dare to enact or even envision.
He takes everyday situations and transposes them squarely into shit (laughs).
I find that sooo powerful!

Didier Lestrade:
I feel he's created his own universe, meaning something stretching much further than a design,
something that sets ablaze when guys start to imagine where they could end up at the end of that image.
Tom, for examle, has sparked a community where guys really started to act out the fantasies of his Kake cartoons
That's like when I discovered the works of Jean Genet in 1954.
Didier Lestrade:
Have you met him?
No, I'm just talking about his books, but indeed, in a way I did meet him there.
And until six years ago he's said to have lived in a guesthouse in my neighbourhood.
He almost every day went to a café across the street with an Arab mate.
One day I was behind them in line at the tabacconist. And I felt obliged to say hello.
He was very gentile, but that was it.
To get back to what you say about the universe, when I discovered his,
I totally dived in at the deep end and I even believed that all that was absolutely true,
wishing me to be witness to reality instead of his creation.
But I've since learnt that an artist may let us see his reality,
but beyond that lets us see another image, or link hit to his own fantasies or desires.
For example, Genet succeeded in changing how we perceived the convicts.
I remember a jailbird thug who pissed on me and I built an entire romance around that guy
as one does with an unreachable prince.
The joy of garcons impossible, but it may be just that minute moment, when everyting becomes a brilliant reality.
For me that immediately makes it worthwhile.
Didier Lestrade:
I think that Genet, like Burroughs, they both created something that floats freely in the air.
Somebody who I discovered only recently is Pierre Guyotat, who is the strongest to me, right now.
I read "tombeau pour 500 000 soldats", but what I loved most is "Eden, Eden, Eden"
and right now I'm reading "Prostitution" which is practically unreadable.
It's like a never-endinbg masturbation . . .
Didier Lestrade:
Why did you come to Paris, in this day and age?
There are so many Americans that completely lost themselves here.
I ran that risk too, I'm afraid. I've always been attracted by France.
There were 2 or 3 pretty banale reasons from my childhood.
Like books on people you learnt about in history class or Frenchmen I met, their dialect.
And since 1954, I got a scolarship to study painting and I did a 9 month internship in France.
I went to the 'cité Universitaire' and got classes with Johnny Friedlander.
Didier Lestrade:
How was Paris back then?
a Bit grey . . . I never really met up with Americans because I wanted to be 'on my own' in Paris (laughs).
After that money ran out I went back to the USA and then my mum died and left me quite some money,
which enabled me to re-install over here.
Didier Lestrade:
you go out a lot? Are you part of the leather community?
No, I'm not a leatherman, really. And not terribly outgoing either.
For some years I was a regular at Keller's in the early years, the era of Jaques Fritz.
That has always attractred me a lot, but I'm notstrong enough to keep it up,
besides, I quite like my neighbourhoud life.
Didier Lestrade:
That's right, leathermen always need their release of tension,
down to earth life, everyday people you meet when you get your bread.
I'm not the type who will change his entire life to fit into the leather image. Surely not at my age.
Didier Lestrade:
Why are at this time drawing mostly guys that after being fucked silly or after taking drugs,
when they are miserable haggards, because you're about the only one doing that?
Because it exites me. The state of a lost soul, no longer in control of himself, it's so strong.
When he's drunk as well, that's the kind of beastlyness I seek; the eyes almost closed, pupils turned away.
Didier Lestrade:
Many of your portrays are of bald shaved or mohawked guys. Are those the rejects of punk or skinheads?
Those are recent influences, yes. I adore the filthier types and neonazi skins.
In Amsterdam I was somewhat introoduced in that world and it's something I would not reject beforehand.
Didier Lestrade:
They say that leatherqueens are starting to realise that the skinheads are much tougher then they are,
and not only when they go out, but 24/7 and leather is dying while they are the ideal-image of the future.
Right, leathermen are getting older, and it's a construct anyway.
It has to find new forms to move with the times.
Didier Lestrade:
And why shaved, and why is so many drawings?
It's really a question of sensuality for me; of nudity.
I just love the glimmer and shine. I adore the obscenity of an oiled and greased body,
especially in unglamorous unsanatised or perfumed way. It obviously has to do with humiliation, of surrender.
Being shaved is part of that initiation ritual.
One's virility is taken away, like with Samson and Delilah.
Besides that I love a shaved body because it shows more. When one observes a cock that rises from some kind of shrubbery,
one cannot see where it comes from or where it's attached. And also, a shaved head for me resembles the gland, eh, dickhead.
Didier Lestrade:
It sure is phallic . . . There's also the problem with haircuts that they also show some sort of social background
and when it's gone you're completely cut off from that safety / security: completely scoured, purged.
It's like with Buddists: being shaved bald is a sign of being detached from your earlier personality.
Didier Lestrade:
Many of your characters are also quit possible, I mean realistic and not idealised and exaggerated,
like the men on Tom or Rex's works. Is that enough for you?
Is that's a trick question? No, I spend a lot of times in cafés, as I'm pretty lazy and just love to observe,
and more often then not, it's just that type of guys, that you come across in those places
are the sexiest and my eyes just cannot detach from them. Well, maybe not each and every day;
they roll in with the seasons, the weather and your mood.
There are good and bad days, sometimes you are just more receptive.
I believe that that first glance is what fixes it. It may just depend on your mental state.
Didier Lestrade:
But you have models ?
Didier Lestrade:
Then how do you find your images.
With difficulty (smiles) but if you know your anatomy, after you've done over 500 backsides,
you do get to know how to depict them.
And then: observation, always keep observing. Lots and lots,
and never get tired of it and never feel bad about the fact that it is an obsession and an addiction.
I do treasure my narrow focus.
Didier Lestrade:
Returning to the earlier question: you are most interested in the ordinairy, the common people
Yesss, contrairy to Tom's men, who are idealised and gorgeous, and don't get me wrong:
I admire them immensely, but they rarely get me hard. They are too far detached from my world; unreachable.
Too far detached on the other side of my fantasies.
While on the other hand the personages in Rex's work, despite their deformations,
always remain soiled, they smoke, you can smell their bad breath, their sweaty armpits,
shitty arses, dirty feet and fingernails. Unwashed underpants, skidmarks, piss.
Something real is happening with them.

Tom is just a bit to clean and laughable. I do hope you don't get me wrong:
it's not a judgement but a question of personal preference.
I once made love to a black African. A really extraorinairy and intelligent guy,
and we had sex in such an incredibly joyous way, that I did not want to meet him ever again, because it was so positive,
not bizarre, not twisted enough. It just was too healthy and clean and idealistic for me.
I know there are guys who really come close to the Tom of Finland model, but . . .
Didier Lestrade:
It's quite incredible that Tom right now is beginning to get a bad reputation as people start to find his guys too clean,
that they don't go far enough. That he has found a recipe.
And indeed, as Tom himself is a real leatherman, his drawn men are turning into clones, the exact opposite.
Tom may be a god, and I feel we truely are living in a space in time where he directs the lives of our communities.
Bastille (laughs again)
Maybe what still keeps me from cumming on his images is the fact that he draws so incredibly well.
That can become an obstacle I don't have with Martin.
I'm too aware of the perfection and not being able to compete with guys that perfect
and believe they may just as much want to ejaculate in my ass or mouth. I don't know.
I'm probably even more twisted than he is. You may say that I don't exaggerate,
but I already hardly find guys that look as tasty as they show up in my drawings or paintings.
Didier Lestrade:
I'm under the impression that your work is more geared towards exhibiting it,
while some others are more intent on getting it published in print. Could that be the case?
Hmmm, maybe . . . because right now I actually have problems with commercialising my work and strategies.
I certainly am just as focussed on getting it published. I adore well made reproductions.
The first time I made a commercial work was for l'Esquire Magazine in the fifties. That was their heydays.
I remember vividly that the first time I saw the work in print was some sort of consecration for me.
It's like the ultimate one can reach in painting. The moment it is framed and on a wall at an exhibition,
then it really becomes something in the world, a kind of canonisation.
Didier Lestrade:
It's some sort of chemistry, before and after the reaction.
As soon as it's published on paper the composition of a work changes.
exactly. That's what gives the work its distinction.
Didier Lestrade:
We also have to talk about your colors:
I was so amazed with the maroon that one often finds in your backgrounds or underlayer.
Its has such a depth and warmth. Is that a consciously chosen symbol ? As very few others use it in that abundance.
It's something unexpected. Some things just turn up and then they turn out to work really well.
Sometimes you cannot lay ytour finger on why that is. I suppse it has to do with "down to earth",
possibly also an unconxious curiosity and love of shit. I just love maroon and green . . .
In the press right now there's a lot of this left-over fifties art-critique I suppose, and that annoys me no end.
All those triangles and diagnals they find in a work, all these arbitrairy details, they mean nothing to me.
Not in my, nor in others' work. I don't fit in that world, nor do I aspire any of it. I just wait untill it blows over.
Didier Lestrade:
I think that is already happening. There is just one more question I'm dying to ask:
We have not talked about the assesories, which are of such importance in your work.
They really are part of your universe. What do they represent ?
I'm much more aware of that since I delved in the commercial leathertrade in Amsterdam, thanks to RoB mostly.
Didier Lestrade:
Rob gave you recommendations? (laugh)
Oh sure, he sometimes gives me little encouragements and objects as present too.
There may be a few haphazzard objects I'm particularly fond of and love to include them in works,
preferably after they have served their purpose, but that can be just about anything.
I remember once finding a pair of left behind jeans used by a construction worker or plasterer.
And also, when I was 15 years old, behind our house in Jersey, there were abandoned streets,
that we used to call 'lover's lanes', where our youths came to make out and kiss-in-da-car.
I found used condoms there. That was extraordinairy to me. That still is one of my favorite acessories.
Also in real life, I'm soo tempted to pick them up, take them along and smell or taste them, inside and outside,
to see if there's shit on them. But I also love to invent things, and just as easy include
what is now commercially available in sex shops, like ropes, masks, clamps, gags, faucets, plungers, what have you.
The options are limitless.
Didier Lestrade:
I so love the idea that one first starts with objects of others:
if they like it, then, surely, you might also try it out and make it part of your own scene
to in turn pass on to others once again.
But then you first have to acquire loads of them, especially if you want to introduce them to a group session.
This starts to happen to me as I get to know more and more leatherguys
who see the assecories that I assembled on my promotional travels recently.
I felt a bit embarrassed, because sometimes they are just objects that I assembled from household stuff, etc.
I've known some guy from Montreuil, a real bully, but he made his own cockrings.
He'd never thought of getting them in a sex shop, and it also is insanely expensive there,
while you can also get almost anything in rubber almost for free at car repair shops or garden centers.
There are also loads of surprises to be found at department store sales or at Carrefour Centres here.
They may not fit your needs exactly but adapting them or your needs can be far more fun then expected.
And then I also have my secret pair of miracle glasses, that transform anything into the most exiting gadgets.
Really !

interview Didier Lestrade for GayPied Magazine 6-7, 1982.

don't hesitate to suck it to me with questions or suggestions / submissions.
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