Monday, 17 July 2017

RIP Ludovic Chancel, Maligned By His Pop Star Mother

Ludovic Chancel took his own life two weeks ago. He was just forty-two, and leaves behind a wife and two young children.

He was the son of the French pop songstress Sheila, of whom Marlene Dietrich observed, "She wiggles her backside and sucks on the microphone, and tells everyone she's famous. What she doesn't say is that she doesn't have any talent!"

I might disagree with my friend there. Sheila did have talent, but as a mother she left a great deal to be desired, and she made Ludo's life a living hell. When she found out that he was bisexual, she disowned him and he went through a very bad patch indeed. Only last year she was saying that she would never wish to have anything to do with him again.

Like myself, Ludo fought back. He and I had much in common, almost parallel lives. We knew each other. He detailed his struggles with a bad parent in his book, Fils de... I chose a stronger title: Old Bastard. I was lucky in that my old man curled his toes, not that there is anything in there that I wouldn't have said to his face, and indeed him and his horrendous second wife.

There's a lot more that I could say about Ludo here, and a lot more I could say about Sheila. She's getting all the sympathy, whereas Ludo's wife and children appear to have been overlooked. My son was a fan, but his Sheila records have now gone in the bin. I would define Sheila, and in no way is this litigious, as the second most repulsive female who has entered my world. Karma, though, has a nasty habit of biting you on the bum. Ludo never mentioned his mother while in our company, and though Sheila claims that they made up and put their differences behind them some time ago, others firmly believe...and have stated openly in the press...that there was no contact between them for seven years.

Now, I hope that this dear chap, wherever he is, has found the peace he never managed to find in this life.

RIP, Ludo.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Casey Donovan: Pioneering Gay Porn Legend: Edinburgh Festival 1979

In 1979 we attended the Edinburgh Festival with our friends Marian Montgomery and Richard Rodney Bennett. Sitting at the dinner table, one of thirty people, was this very handsome American man who looked like he had stepped straight out of a fashion catalogue. Marian introduced us, not just to him but to around a dozen others. I never thought about until some years later when I was made aware that the pretty blond was Casey Donovan, in Edinburgh as part of a group to promote the prize-winning film, "Gal Young Un". So we met gay porn's pioneering legend without even knowing who he was! Later on we met Ryan Idol, Karen Dior, and of course Joey Stefano and a few others. All of them absolute legends.

Casey's story is now published:

“I think my greatest accomplishment so far is something that doesn't show up in lights or get reviewed - and that's simply the sexual sanity that I have tried to contribute to over the last twenty years.”
   This was Casey Donovan, speaking in 1983, four years before his untimely death.
   Born John Calvin Culver, he was a pioneer and will eternally remain amongst the elite of the adult film industry. Yet he was more than just a porn star. As a hustler par excellence his clients included movie stars, senators, European royalty, and ordinary fans. The love of his life was the tough-guy actor Tom Tryon, who treated him badly. His other famous lovers included Rock Hudson, Paul Newman, and Superman actor Christopher Reeve.
   Casey scored successes on the legitimate stage—Tubstrip toured for two years and packed theatres across North America. He acted opposite Ingrid Bergman, and played Jesus Christ in an avant-garde production of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. As a “tour guide” he escorted well-heeled clients to exotic locations. As an “agony uncle”, he eloquently responded to fans’ letters for four years in Stallion magazine. It is for his contribution to the cinema, however, that he was revered. He shot to fame in Boys in the Sand in 1971, the very first gay porno feature film as opposed to the tawdry “loops” of the day. He triumphed in Radley Metzger’s Score, made heterosexual porn films, and remained at the top of his profession for fifteen years, a long time in the world of adult film.
   Away from the screen, Casey was the unassuming boy-next-door. On film nothing was too exhibitionist or outrageous for him to tackle. Published to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of his death, this is his amazing story. It includes full details of his twenty-seven films and ten theatrical runs, and more than fifty photographs.