This is NOT for the faint-hearted, but I knew that before I decided to read it. I wasn't keen at first but that was because I didn't get the writing or the layout the author used, but I am so glad I stuck with it, because this is an utterly authentic novel, true, dirty, gritty, smelly. If you want it to be a sexy romance with a happy ending, I can tell you right now, it isn't, and anyone reading the blurb will know that instantly. It's a capsule of time that will never be the same again. Sexy, yes, but raw and moving too.
It's 1979 in London, and the leather scene is alive and kicking. The occupants of Lutterworth House are a disparate group, and their stories are interwoven in this grimy, dirty, erotic tale of gay culture in the days before anyone realised AIDS existed. Halycon days, devoid of condoms, never to be repeated.
First we meet Tom and Jon, who live in the basement. They seem okay but hardcore, until they decide to hit the Common (Clapham) and rape a homophobe, They also rub shoulders with a seedy MP who seems to be into snuff movies.
Yeah. Not for the faint_hearted.
Neil is the young accountancy student, a virgin who is enlightened by kind friends-with-benefits, Martin and Lee and introduced to the leather scene. Suzy is the art student, who reminded me so much of a friend of mine. She teaches Neil how to dress and gives him confidence. She's a great character. And Ricky, the young black bartender Neil meets at a club where a lot of the characters socialise, is a welcome addition too. His presence serves to remind us what attitudes were like back then (and persist today.) The name-calling and racism he encounters are not easy to read, but it shouldn't be. It felt entirely authentic, as did his loving relationship with Neil, which grew stronger as the book progressed.
The straight couple upstairs, always arguing, and the firm but fair landlady make up the characters in this savagely beautiful and sometimes sad story. We don't get to know a lot about these characters, but clues are there, in the way Neil's parents react when he goes back home with new clothes and hair, and his mother's cold reaction when he brings Ricky home as his "friend."
There is no plot as such, for a slice of life in the London leather scene, pre-AIDS. There's a great scene in Brompton Cemetery, where they narrowly escape a police raid, and in the clubs, anything goes down and everyone does.
It was like travelling back in time: the music, the political landscape, the attitudes, happening in plain site in London: men being lascivious and ravenous and insatiable, grabbing at each other for a moment's pleasure. The bodily fluids, the smells, the feel of leather against naked skin. There is a lot of sex. It makes up about two thirds of the book, but the book wouldn't be the same without it.
The research the author did on the time was spot-on, but the book is in serious need of an editor and a proof-read. If it had those things, it would be outstanding.
Even so, that last line of the last chapter was heartbreaking. I did like the Epilogue as well, 30 years into the future. It was a good reminder of what was lost.
(Gay Erotic Fiction - Not for the easily offended. Strong BDSM) It’s the Spring of 1979 in London, Great Britain. Having just gone through the ‘Winter of Discontent,' the nation and politics are at breaking point. Strikes and unemployment are a real problem. London, however, is still vibrant, throbbing with an abundance of interesting people. Punk has nearly killed disco, the new romantic music scene is just starting to emerge from the ashes, along with a new woman leader of the Conservative Party and a General Election looming. Great Britain is on the brink of a new dawn, for better or worse. Lutterworth House, situated in Primrose Hill, North London, is a tired, three-storey Georgian house, home to a mix of freaks and creatures from London’s straight and gay scene, each bringing their own story to the building. Innocent young gay lad, Neil Richards, an accountancy student, is arriving to take a ground floor bedsit. How is he going to get along with the other residents of Lutterworth House? All he knew was that he was leaving home, horny and desperate for new adventures. Fortunately, he’d moved to just the right address. © 2021 a Guy called Nick Check out the Spotify and YouTube music playlists that accompany this novel. The story features a number of musical references from the time period. Links to the playlists can be found at the back of the book. Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. The content contains graphic sexual scenes and violence. Racism and homophobia feature in this story, based around the time in history it is set, none of which are the author’s personal beliefs. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
470 pages, Kindle Edition Published August 26, 2021