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Clive Barker: Revelations

On Sex & Sexuality...(continued)

Nine Genital Forms

"I think there is a gay sensibility - It's shaped by social circumstances, by how different our lives are from the lives of straight people. I don't have the constraints of a family or children to educate and bring up. I am released from social imperatives that are laid down by society, by our parents. I'm free, if you will, to invent myself - freer, anyway, I have more time to dream. And I maybe have more necessity to dream as well. Because in that liberation, that freedom from structure, lies the possibility of nothing happening: being in a void that you have to fill with parties and poppers, which is a trap that some gay men fall into. If we have nothing to do but service our own pleasure - because society has taught us that's all we're worth and we're exiled from positions of authority from which we could actually shape society - then we just become hedonists. Eventually, despite how great it may look on Saturday night, come Monday morning there's just purposelessness.
"I've tried to get two gay-themed projects off the ground in Hollywood They were both genre pieces - I wasn't asking to make art films. But I couldn't get them off the ground for the life of me. It was very obvious what the objection was. A couple of producers actually said, 'If you make the hero heterosexual...' Then they'd say, 'The plot doesn't hinge on his being gay' and I'd say, 'That's the point!' But they weren't comfortable with that idea at all.
"The immaculate, pumped planes of muscle or face or coifed hair - the Jeff Stryker ideal - that's rather dull. As you can see by my paintings, I'm much more interested in beauty that is won out of something. I'm much more interested in the guy who has something strange or quirky about him - naked or dressed - than the guy who's picked up a copy of Men's Health and said to his trainer, 'I wanna look like that!'
"The drama of S/M is fascinating to me. It's certainly part of my life. Does that mean there's a dungeon in this house? No. It enters my private life but doesn't dominate it. The more formalised elements of the S/M fraternity have never really drawn me, but I'm very interested in the power struggles in sexual relationships, the dramas of sexuality. I love sex as drama."
Lord Of Illusion
By Charles Isherwood, The Advocate, 21 February 1995

"I was never really in. I've been signing at gay bookstores for many years (I think my first signing at A Different Light in N.Y. was in 1988) and I've featured gay men and women in my fiction since the first short stories. I've never really felt it was an issue. I am delighted, however that the new novel - which features a gay hero - has been so warmly received.
"I have had plenty of girlfriends in my life, so it doesn't limit my vision of heterosexual experience that I now identify myself as a gay man. The constants in our lives are the same whatever our sexual orientation. We feel desire and desperation, we feel love and rejection, we feel possessed by those we love and feel a need to be, in our turn, possessed. Whoever we sleep with, whoever we feel love for, these feelings are universal. That said, I am immensely gratified that my straight readers have no problem identifying with a gay character. We are all human. Well, most of us."
AOL Appearance
Transcript of on-line appearance 16 July 1996

"Hellraiser asked whether SM could be pleasure and pain, long before today's mainstream obsession with tattoos and piercing which were then taboo. Sexuality's like religion - it's there in all my work."
Clive Barker
By Tim Teeman, Attitude, No 66, October 1999

"I have done readings at gay bookstores throughout the world since my first book was published. And I never considered my homosexuality an issue. Not until last year however did I get myself a publicist, which is when the 'gay thing happened.' I appeared in The Advocate, OUT, 10% and Genre all practically at the same time, which kind of made the whole issue noteworthy.
"[I remember] interviews where people would come to my house, and see my boyfriend, pictures of male nudes hanging on the walls and gay paraphernalia lying about…
"My work is behind the camera. The movie-going audience doesn't have to relate to me. And the same thing goes for the writers. I can write about gay characters and people won't see me as they might a male homosexual movie star who chooses to stay in the closet because of the negative effect coming out may have on his box office draw. It really would be inappropriate for me to proscribe what others should or should not do.
[interviewed by Elizabeth Vargas on Good Morning America, whose first question was, 'So you have a gay main character in Sacrament. Why are you doing that?'] "That's cool. She didn't know I was gay. That's why I'm on tour. To answer people's questions and enlighten them in areas they are ill-informed about."
Clive Barker
By Timothy Nasson, In Step Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 14, 25 July - 6 August 1996 (online at the Midian site - see links)

"[In the Hills, the Cities begins with two Englishmen having sex in a wheat field.] "Everybody said, 'Don't publish it'. But a lot of gay readers wrote to me to say, 'This is very cool.'
"It's easy for someone in my postion to be gay. My books have always been full of sex . . . gay sex, lesbian sex, heterosexual sex. I'm interested in sex in all of its expressions. I don't feel like an Angelino. But I like the extremes - the beauty, the muscle boys, the New Age and occult. L.A.'s trendiness doesn't interest me, though. I've never been hip or cool."
Clive Barker Raises Hell
By Gregg Kilday, Out Magazine, March 1995 (note : online at the Lost Souls site and at the Midian site - see links)

"I'm a gay man who to some extent has always felt like an Outsider to a culture which is not particularly fond of gay sexuality, even though it's much more liberal than the culture I was born into in the '50's. So, right off the bat, I feel like I don't belong in the status quo, but I also see that the status quo lets people down constantly, people who want to live ordinary, straight lives end up being let down by the very system which they are supporting. I don't think that the despiritualised, dehumanised culture in which we live, the McDonalds and Disney culture, does our internal lives, our mythological lives, any favours at all. In other words, to be an Outsider in this culture now is to be looking inside at a plastic world, and I think it's easier to critique that world if I don't belong to it… In Hollywood where I live now, there's a lot of having lunches, a lot of going to parties… and I will have no part of that. I'm certainly not very good at it, I don't like it and I feel a little weird about it. I don't want to be part of the problem, I want to be a part of the solution, and the only way I can help solve the problem of the plasticity of our world is by writing, by painting and by making my work, so I stay where I can do that, which is at my desk, in my studio. I will venture out when I need to sell a book or exhibit my paintings, but the rest of the time my job is to be here and imagine."
Addicted To Creativity (Part 1)
By Bill Babouris, Samhain, No 70, November 1998

[re. Nicole, David's daughter] "She's aware of our relationship. She holds our hands as we walk down streets. David's black, I'm white and she's mixed-blood. You can see people puzzling over it."
Horror Stories With A Walk-On Part For Jesus
By Frances Welch, Sunday Telegraph, 13 December 1998

"I define myself as a gay man who's had relationships with women. And considers women as a central part of who I am as a being, my relationships with women are very important to me. And my sexual relationships with women, in the past, have been very important to me. It's not now how I define myself. I think the terminology is kind of a worthlessness...
"I think you can be physically homosexual and spiritually bisexual. I am completely devoted to women in my life, there are certain women who I am completely devoted to. Would I sleep with them now? No. Might I sleep with them in the future? Possibly. Have I slept with someone in the past? Yes. In other words, we live in a culture which is concerned with pigeon-holing, specialization, 'give me your description in three words', who are you in three words or less... well, I'm not three words and neither are you. And so much of that is living in a sound-byte culture. I've been on the road now, for five weeks, doing chat shows, tv shows, stuff between the cookery and the mother-daughter-make-over segment, getting three minutes to talk about AIDS, the environment, and my new novel which is only fourteen months of my life. And, so, we have that thing, constantly, about getting the information in the short tight little time now. I did "Good Morning America" and somebody says: 'You have a gay hero.' I am bound, by political reasons much than anything else, say, well, I'm a gay author. And, I'm very happy to be identified that way. Proud to be identified that way. Is it a simplification? Yes. Is it a politically useful simplification right now? I suspect it is. I suspect it's important to say that right now. Not because I have a boyfriend and he'd be really pissed off if I didn't... but, I also think it's important to say, get over it.
"When the character in Imajica finds, who is very much identified as a heterosexual character in the beginning, that 'normal' passionate heterosexual finds himself increasingly drawn into the physical and spiritual embrace of a creature which is neither male or female, which defies his definition of gender. I feel that's a pretty cool place to be. I think he would be a pretty cool person to be in a relationship with."
By Amber Black and Tim Trautmann, Review(?), 1996

"I know I was certainly drawn in as a child by books with illustrations - like the Bible. My grandmother had a huge old family Bible which had monochrome reproductions of paintings. Renaissance paintings, actually, which were clearly chosen by homosexuals. You could open the Bible up anywhere and it was adorned with these paintings... and there was a very kind of languishing body effect to the whole thing. I remember being fascinated by this book at the age of six and going to it, you know, and finding... I think the Bible and religious illustrations are the place where we first find the possibility of sexuality. Then later on you see the movies of these things - of course the movies were a lot more self-concious about this. You have Cecil B. DeMille movies or some terrible God-awful epic, but these are very sexual movies. What's interesting is that they've patterned themselves as being very innocent and righteous - which I always love because it proves you can be morally self-righteous and show a lot of flesh... absolutely justified by the scriptures!"
Then You Look Closely And You Go, 'Oh My God!'
By Paula Guran, Horror Garage, No. 5, Summer 2002

"Being gay does provide an interesting tension. Part of me wants to say that I am just a regular guy, but another part of me says that there is a gay sensibility. This isn't just about acts performed in the bedroom - it alters your point of view, your aesthetic. Part of me wants to blend in, but part of me wants to stay separate, because there are things about both worlds that are admirable... The nurturing of homosexuals for one! My mother and father, passionate heterosexuals that they are, managed to produce a passionate homosexual, and more power to them."
Mining The Dark Side
By Jane Ganahl, San Francisco Examiner, 21 August 1995

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