Thursday, September 22, 2011

Larry Townsend's "Leatherman's Handbook"

Hi blog! I haven't forgotten you. As I've mentioned in many previous entries, life's just been crazy. Anyway, here I am.

While I do have a lot I could talk about, it's all pretty much not-quite-formed in my head and there's a lot going on, so I thought I'd talk about my birthday, or more specifically, a birthday gift I received.

I received a copy of "Leatherman's Handbook" by Larry Townsend, the silver jubilee edition. Having now read through it like a starving person let loose on a buffet, I thought I'd blog a few of my thoughts.

The first thing I feel people should know about this book is that it isn't really a 'how to' book. I'm sure it was, back in the day, but if you're looking for instructions, this isn't the book to go to.

What this book is, is a beautiful snapshot of history and culture, wrapped up in memories that will get your cock hard.

I didn't really know what to expect from this book, I must admit. I knew that it was one of the first books of its kind and I knew that it was originally published in the early 70s, when things were very different both in Leather and for queers. Other than that, I didn't really know much about it, and I'm kind of glad of that because it means I had no expectations to either be met or let down.

It's such a rich book, with so much atmosphere. It makes me feel like a time traveller, catching glimmers of my past and my cultural history through the words on the page.

I didn't expect so much of the book to be true erotic stories of people's encounters, but I can't say that it was an unpleasant surprise. In a sense I feel like maybe it's better than a 'how to' book on that matter, because it shows you what a scene should feel like, shows you what can be accomplished in a Leather session, without getting bogged down in the details of how the mechanics should work.

What's really interesting in the book is reading the notes that the author has put in, 25 years later, about what's changed in comparison to what he had originally written. Some of these notes give a sense of scale to the book that it might not otherwise have.

While I did find some of the author's attitudes, especially towards women, queens, and nelly fags, a little bit offputting, I can chalk it up to a different culture and move on without it impacting my enjoyment of the book too much.

It's hard to write a review of this book, because it's such a personal book, if that makes sense. People will get out of it what they put into it. It's certainly, if nothing else, an incredibly important historical text for people like us. If you're a bit of a nerd like me, then it's an absolute must buy for your library. If you like hot Leather man porn, you could do a lot worse than having this on your bookshelf. If you're looking for a dry instruction manual on Leather culture and practises, however, this isn't it, and you should keep looking - perhaps consider the Leatherboy Handbook instead, which I'll write about sometime soon and you can compare.

An important piece of history that I get to keep close to me. I'm really, very glad I own this book.

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