Making the argument that leather archives and certain strands of contemporary
queer artistic practice are bound up with one another, and that each gives
the other meanings that enrich and deepen their respective significance to
their own times, communities, and even, to culture at large, the
introduction sets out to define the book’s critical terms—chiefly, leather
and archives. Leather, for the purposes of this text, is proposed as a
diverse sexual ecology that privileges fucking and improvisatory play,
genital and non-genital pleasure, rules and their effacement—all under the
rubric of a seemingly static visual iconography, which in actuality is
always in the process of being amended, shored, repurposed, and obliterated.
Eschewing the metonymic linguistic figuration of ‘the archive,’ the
introduction argues for taking a more on-the-ground approach to assessing
and working with archives. A work by queer/non-binary artist Roy A.
Martinez, a comic strip by leather artist Bill Ward, and the online archive
‘The Colors of Leather’ are discussed as brief case studies.
In this chapter, the author, through a family history, speaks of how forced exile persists through generations. He narrates the series of events that took place after he left England and moved to United States, including the catastrophic failures of nuclear reactors. The discussion largely focuses on the incidence of cancers caused by exposure to radioactivity in England, and the impact it had on Anglo-American relations. The author also showcases the differences between English and American cultures.
In this chapter, the author discusses the cultural life in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s. The city of the 1920s is often referred to as 'Mr Eastman's town'. Economically, the first three decades of the twentieth century had been described as Rochester's golden age, and the centrality of Eastman-Kodak to the city's prosperity had important cultural consequences. The establishment by George Eastman of the Eastman School of Music and the Eastman Theatre in 1922 was the single most important event marking the 'end of provincialism'. The 'Rochester Renaissance' owed a lot to Eastman's wealth and philanthropy .
In this chapter, the author explains the internment of aliens in Britain during the Second World War. The 'internment of aliens' is a peculiar and rather hysterical measure taken by the British government after Dunkirk. The author describes his father as an alien. He is alien to Britain and to English culture. He came to Britain from Germany in February 1938, was a class C 'enemy alien' (recognised as a genuine refugee, and officially designated a 'friendly' enemy alien). The classifications were made by wartime tribunals set up in Britain in 1939.