Johnny Would You Love Me If My Dick Were Bigger?
Brontez Purnell, 200 pgs, Feminist Press, feministpress.org, $17.95
As a teenager, I was constantly hungry for any taste queer content from outside the mainstream media. So of course, discovering queer zines was a lifeline to me. Among them was Brontez Purnell’s legendary Fag School. Purnell’s total allergy to societal norms was enthralling, and his unapologetic sexuality inspired me to explored my burgeoning admiration for sleaziness.
Johnny follows that same strain that Purnell elaborated in those zines (get a taste of it at the back of this issue in our Zine Philosophy column, which Purnell has guest written). It brings together a smattering of writings, including Fag School, wherein Purnell talks about: hate -loving his therapist , being extremely wasted much of the time, working up the street from a bathhouse, having hundreds of sketchy and highly intoxicated encounters with men in the far reaches of whatever suburb, and his complex relationship with ambition despite his obvious talent. And more.
Even when writing about heavy topics like child abuse, Purnell refuses to get sentimental. Purnell is one of a kind, a mildly deranged rock star whose book could make respectable gays and hoity toity gallerists alike squirm in their seats, but refuse to look away.