“The frank, revealing story of a male prostitute.”
By far the best home-grown Australian pulp produced in the sixties and seventies came from a little known publishing house called Scripts Publications.
I’ve long wondered about the nature of this low rent operation and their bizarre roster of pulp paperbacks.
The mystery has now been solved thanks to John Harrison’s marvellous history of vintage adult paperbacks, Hip Pocket Sleaze. According to Harrison, Scripts was the in-print Horwitz used for is racier pulp titles. Key themes included crime, bikies, black magic, Japanese prison camp exploitation, and a voyeuristic fascination with the exploits of drug users and sex workers in Kings Cross, Sydney’s notorious red light district.
According to Hip Pocket Sleaze, “a total of sixteen paperback titled [were] published per month at the height of their popularity in the mid to late 1960s, with each title having an initial print run of 20,000 copies.”
For these titles Horwitz mostly used most cheap photographs for covers, something which gives the books a wonderful fly on the wall expose feeling.
Today’s Pulp Friday offering is a classic example, Rick Francis’s, Nero, published in 1971.
I don’t know who Rick Francis is, if indeed that’s his real name. But, if the other titles listed at the beginning of Nero are anything to go by, he did a damn fine line in paperback sleaze – The Butch Girls, The Sex Life of a Model, Innocents Behind Bars and The Bikies.
The back cover blurb of Nero is speaks for itself:
“He would do anything for $100.
Nero was a male prostitute who enjoyed his work.
Men, women or neuter… he gave the maximum sexual satisfaction to any client with the money to pay. Sydney’s top male stud and he was heading for international fame. In the peculiar world of prostitution Nero was a star, different a gentleman, but with a pleasure gift that made women scream with pleasure, delirious with excitement.”
And check out Hip Pocket Sleaze, available here. It’s a must have resource for any serious pulp fiction fan.