Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ely Psychedelia

Sanctity: or, There's No Such Thing as a Naked Sailor was published in the United States in 1969. With its oddball mixture of psychedelia and explicit homosexuality it has become something of a cult work in the canon of gay American fiction. Its author Dennis Selby came from Ely (Phyllis Crescent to be exact) - one of Cardiff's more robust districts.

A former pupil of Canton High School Dennis became interested in American culture after holidaying with an aunt on Long Island. After completing his national service he relocated to America.

Here's how Publishers Weekly summed up his debut novel:

"From the central figure, Shelley Skull .... and his quest for a mysterious hustler named Rocco Sabine, through assorted homosexuals, hopheads, transvestites and youthful hippies, everyone has a collection of hang-ups. There are sex and drug orgies, tales of Sabine's fantastic adventures, abductions and attempted abductions, a murder or two, a curious Pepsi heiress called Miss B, who's set her failing sights on securing the uncooperative Shelley's eyes for a transplant.

The sex is explicit and varied and often very funny; the plot sufficiently far out to get even the turned-on generation zapped! Under it all, Shelley is looking for his identity (sort of) and eventually finds it... and Rocco too."

Sounds like an average afternoon in Ely. Far out man.