To my readers......


Thanks for visiting mitchmen, home of Mitchell's Gay Art

The Caps and Collars/ Flat Cap Gang story at Google Groups has now resumed. (see Group News for link)

Message updated 2nd Nov 2022

Saturday, 31 July 2021

The Art of Amalaric, Part 9a - White Collar Perks

 In Part 9 of the mitchmen 'Art of Amalaric' series, I review some Amalaric 'bonbons', small, sweet pieces that delight the taste buds for a variety of reasons – the plot, the writing, the images or their pure inventiveness. The slick mass-abduction of the Raytown Softball Team from Modern Slavery (see Part 1) is one of these little gems, so too the ultimate S&M sex toy Amalaric invented for 'The Cube' (Part 8).

White Collar Perks


This amazing torso by itself immediately distinguishes 'White Collar Perks' as a special story and it belongs to one of Amalaric's most memorable victims - Jimmy Ruisdale, who is a landscape gardener at the offices of a large corporation. There he attracts the lustful interest of one of the Company Executives when he innocently shucks off his shirt to work out front in the hot sun. But it's not a dastardly management plot that ultimately delivers him into the arms of his secret admirer, but his own foolishness in wrecking the the company's lawn tractor during a joyride.

Summoned to a disciplinary hearing, Jimmy is forced to put on shackles before it even starts. His guilt is taken for granted and the enquiry is all about how he is going to pay for it and whether he should keep his job. Persuading him to lift his shirt is just the start of the negotiation of one of Amalaric's classic, creeping 'reductions'. Jimmy resigned resentment as he starts to comply (above) shows his bravado is not yet extinguished, but it's contradicted by the sheen of worry juice on his skin.

Amalaric juxtaposes the executive's hand and a (stroking?) finger in the vicinity of Jimmy's crotch. Having got Jimmy by the balls, he is preparing to enjoy them.

I was tempted to include this image in 'The Ritual Of Undress' post (in Part 4a of this mitchmen series on Amalaric's art). It's possibly Amalaric's best example of a 'Stage 3' pose, but I felt this story and Jimmy deserved their own slot in the series.


The simple disciplinary hearing rapidly escalates into a nightmare. Jimmy is badgered into avoiding legal penalties and the loss of his job by accepting instead a summary punishment on the spot plus compensation payments to be paid in instalments out of his wages. It's rather like the open-ended contract Dave McGuiness makes with his Devil to stave off repossession of his parent's house in '24 Hours' (see Part 3). Jimmy's agreement is encouraged by the prods of the intimidating Security Officer posted behind him to prevent trouble, but pretty soon he makes sure Jimmy is in no position to cause it anyway, nor even to protect his modesty for that matter.

Amalaric's underwear moments have rarely seemed quite so exquisitely 'exposing' as this, with the eyes of everyone focussed on that private garment and it's intriguing contents. Jimmy struggles to comprehend how this sudden nudity can happen to him in the formal surroundings of his employer's office. The undisguised interest shown in his white pants by the executive's (female) secretary compounds his embarrassment, it's a red-face treat Amalaric serves up for straight men sometimes.


Jimmy's penance commences immediately with a simple spanking bent over the executive's desk. It is pure, schoolboy humiliation but Jimmy's indignity is a moment of supreme gratification for his long-frustrated admirer. Conventional spanking is a relatively unusual punishment in Amalaric's lexicon (shared only by Todd Sanders, I think, see Part 3). However, as you can see from the picture above, Jimmy experiences more manly torments on top.

Eventually, inevitably, Jimmy's spirit is beaten out of him and he is reduced to begging for the pain to end. Amalaric's picture neatly captures his abject submission, a vision of masculine bulk stripped of everything, including his self-respect. The hunky buck's bowed head acknowledges of the totality of the executive's power over him. His tormentor glories in the moment, he doesn't even need to look at the object of his lust any more, Jimmy is his. He dismissively tells him it is finished.

This is one of Amalaric's 'Oklahoma!' moments, You know, that point where the show finally reaches the glorious title song and you think it's the end, they've done all the big numbers. Then you discover as the stage excitement subsides that there is still another hour to go.


Amalaric's 'Phase 2's are much more exciting than Oklahoma! and usually involve an adjournment to a private, dungeon-like space. Thus it was with Todd Sanders, Part 3 , with Pete Devereux (Academy Thugs, Part 4b) and to some extent with the Raytown Sports Team, whose story seemed to be ending with the abductees progressively disappearing to an unseen fate (like the condemned nuns in 'The Carmelites') but then we do see what happens to the final, 'trophy' member of the team, transferred to a bleak, tiled cell for his rather unpleasant processing (see Part 1).

Thanks to Amalaric's deceptive words, Jimmy's Phase 2 comes as a surprise to us and it's a terrible shock to him of course. The unexpected treat of a bondage/abduction sequence acts as a transition into one of Amalaric's best X-frame scenes. It's tightly structured, economically written and features some truly evil villains who for once go all the way. The eventual ending is slightly predictable but has a thought-provoking, exotic twist.

Read 'White Collar Perks' @Telemachus
(it includes more servings of Jimmy's delectable torso!).

This post continues in Part 9b (Abducted)

Read the whole 'Art of Amalaric' series from Part 1 - A Slave To Passion

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Royale Studio 01c - Sailor, Tight Shorts, Rigging

Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 03

(For an explanation of the image sizing and blurring, please see my footnote below).

This Royale Studio, 'Sailor in the Rigging' group is an example where the model is not tied to the ropes to simulate a full blown flogging, but simply poses with the rigging net, having first dressed in the flimsy, tight, Royale, gym shorts and belt as their flogging ritual demanded. Not a wow physique, some Royale models were beefcake body-builders but many were ordinary guys. His footwear is quite interesting, not Royal Navy standard I think. Other models in the Rigging series are bare footed. Perhaps this one jibbed at climbing the ropes in bare feet.

Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 04

Standing at attention before the rigging, he has all the appearance of a condemned serviceman preparing to meet his fate. His curled fingers certainly suggest some tension (and would attract a rebuke and maybe more from a superior - they should be straight). This detail and his longish hair makes me wonder whether he really was a serving member of the armed forces at the time of the shoot.

 Seen from behind in this picture, the outfit seems better balanced and more sexy, although the RN cap looks slightly incongruous. Despite the blurring we get a reasonable impression of a shapely back and bottom

Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 07

This is a better view. He has climbed onto the ropes and is standing with feet apart and shoulders opened which gives a better impression of his physique. We have jumped to picture No7 here, the intermediate shots probably showed him stepping up. The half-turn position with hips twisted was a favourite Royale Studio device for accentuating body shape in a teasing way.

Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 08

This is probably my favourite picture in the set, it's such a shame that I don't have a better copy. The arms-raised pose coupled with a slightly upward looking viewpoint seems to magically produce a much better balance to the sailor's physique. His shorts and cap seem smaller and more in proportion. In fact the shorts seem to have almost disappeared, producing a most alluring sight to any would-be spanker. Imagine being the photographer who watched and directed the model as he took up these positions! I wonder what 9 and 10 showed, but we're missing them!

Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 11

In the frontal position the sailor looks up at his wrists almost as though they are tied, perhaps he wishes they were! The old half turn trick and clever lighting brings out an impression of excitement within those groaning shorts. They seem to have a short fly and button close like the old style rugby shorts, I'd have liked to have seen a better view - button open even - and with the belt removed. 

This is the thumbnail version of the same picture. It's the only image in this set which comes to us in both sizes. The difference in image quality is very obvious and for that reason the big version is usually the only one that's ever posted from this set, but I think it works much seen better alongside the others. The thumbnails have the benefit of numbering which enables us to visualise the progression of what must have been a very sexy shoot.

Royale Studio - Sailor in Shorts in The Rigging 12

The sailor gazes down at his incriminating bulge. Even if it's mostly padding, it must have felt sexy, particularly with an audience watching closely and possibly the photographer's fingers making adjustments down below.

Since first publishing this post I have discovered the identity of the model in this series, it's Alan Adair, a name that's new to me. This discovery is described in a separate article in the Rigging series.


Although I refer to the photos in Royale Studio 01 as 'The Rigging Series', it actually brings together fragments from several different series which happen to feature the Royale rigging prop. The set in this article is the nearest we get to a complete series - 6 out of a minimum of 12 images. We don't know if 12 is the last picture in this set, but I have seen an example of a 12 image Royale thumbnail sheet. We can speculate about what might have followed, but the 'phantom snipper' (see footnote below) must have had the full set and it's reasonable to suppose that those which have survived were probably the best of the bunch.


Continued in Royale Studio 01d (link pending, but see below for other articles)

This completely new article has been inserted into the original mitchmen Royale series (2010) which is currently being extensively revised and extended (July 2021) and as an adjunct to that I am gradually creating an archive housing my entire collection of Royale images. There is now (Oct 2021) a 4th post in the Rigging Series, 'Sailors in the Rigging 01d' and I have provided a link to the latest updated 'Rigging' archive in that post.
To see which articles have been revised to date, please check the 'Come and Get It!' post
You can access them all (old and new) by clicking on the 'GIU/Royale' label at the foot of this post

Read the new series of Royale Studio articles at mitchmen from the start:-
Royale 1 - Sailors Flogged in the Rigging

The Royale Open Archive link will appear in the next post


A Note from the mitchmen Curator

All but one of this vintage, military 'Sailor in the Rigging' set are 'thumbnails' from a Royale Studio catalogue sheet. They seem to have been literally cut out from the original paper sheet with scissors - but not very carefully. As a result none of these images were square and they had all sorts of odd borders with splinters or strips of the white surround included on some of the sides but not all. Visually the effect was quite confusing and scruffy so I have mounted them all on a plain white surround which makes it easier to look at them. I haven't changed them in any other way, no cropping, no straightening. If you look carefully you can see the original boundaries.

These thumbnails are also quite small, so to aid appreciation, I have blown some of them up here using the blogger re-sizing function, it produces blurry results, but better than my primitive, photo manipulation skills. The others are all in original size. You can view them all in the original sizing by clicking on the image or retrieving them from the archive (link in next article).


Sunday, 25 July 2021

Beautifully Bound - The Look of Betrayal

All the boys in the gang borrowed money from their leader Nico. They were under no illusions about how nasty he could be if it wasn't paid back on time, but it was common knowledge that he would usually accept payment 'in kind'. The sexual kind. With kinks. That didn't faze the boys, they were tough and streetwise and took rough treatment in their stride. Nico might be a harsh master but he looked after them, he protected them from the police and rival gangs.

So when Lucio went to pay his debts, empty handed as usual, he submitted without complaint to the ritual humiliation of being taken into Nico's damp cellar, stripped of all his clothes (another fine jacket ruined but you didn't come to these appointments dressed in rags) and then tied up with rope. He knew that what would follow wouldn't be pleasant and he would probably be out of action for a few days, nursing bruises and violated orifices, but he would be able to stop worrying about the money he owed. It was a large sum this time, well into four figures, the most he'd ever owed. Nico was angrier than he'd ever seen him before and it had been a huge relief when he had started unbuttoning Lucio's shirt, sliding a hand inside and nuzzling his neck, gently chiding him for his weakness for gambling. "What am I to do with you, Lucio?" he said (like he always did) and Lucio hung his head in shame (like he always did) and submitted to his usual fate.

The punishment would be harsher than usual, he knew that and he wasn't disappointed. In his anxiety to get it over with, he didn't notice that this time Nico used methods that left few marks, nor that the refrain of "What am I to do with you, Lucio?" continued well into the session which was one far longer, far more varied and humiliating than he had ever suffered before.

Lucio bore it all like the tough guy he was, but his stoicism was sorely tested when Nico took him upstairs and drew him into his bed for the sexual denouement. Sex was expected, yes, but chained to a wall or tied over as bench, not in the soft sheets and opulent surroundings of Nico's inner sanctum. That had never happened before to him, nor anyone else in the gang, to his knowledge - though which of them would want to admit to it, even if it had? Nico's gentleness evolved into  animal passion between the crisp white sheets. He  devoured Lucio's helplessly bound body and that was much more testing than the manly appreciation he normally bestowed on them as he delivered his seed at the conclusion of their punishment. Lucio had never doubted Nico's love for him but it wasn't supposed to be like this and when Nico, finally sated, drifted off to sleep, Lucio lay awake for hours, fidgeting in the uncomfortable restraints and wondering what this all meant.

Well, that was last night but this morning, his torment had resumed in the cellar where it had left off. This time though it was as if both men were trying to expunge the memory of what had just happened between them, eagerly collaborating in a ritual cleansing until eventually Nico, plainly exhausted, had left him there, hog-tied, helpless and racked by pain on the bare stone floor. Finally then, Lucio slept.

He awoke to find Nico releasing his hog tie. He was coaxed into a standing position, arms still pinned to his sides. Lucio was trembling with fear now, as well he might, as Nico delivered his final verdict. This time Lucio's debts would not be forgiven, but by a happy chance the amount owed was very close to the going rate for ginger slaves, so he was being sent to the auction where he might even realise a modest extra profit for Nico, if the right buyers were alerted. Nico's parting words were coldly cruel.

Lucio felt betrayed. This wasn't how these punishments were supposed to end. He belonged to Nico! What about last night? Did that mean nothing? Then he realised the truth. That was it. Nico loved him too much. Suddenly, feet grated on the cellar steps and he looked up. Two men stood there, faces hidden in shadow, but their buff-coloured uniforms confirmed what Nico had said. They began to descend and Nico pushed him, stumbling towards them. 

After they had gone, Nico wept.

Luke Riley is a captive of Nick Moretti

 This image is taken from the Bound Gods video Slicked Master and the Golden Boy (2009) which has a plot utterly different to my story!

Luke Riley's 'bad boy' looks earned him many appearances at Bound Gods on both sides of the S&M fence including the (for me) classic, 'Hicksville' where he kidnaps Phenix Saint, (a video which for some strange reason never made it into my mitchmen Tribute to Bound Gods). What is unexpected about this picture is how big he is, when standing next to Nick Moretti. Ideal material for the gang - and for the slave market then! Nick's suave, Italian, good looks create a more mysterious but equally intimidating presence which suits the mobster role I cast him in here.

This is 'The Look' No 24, for others click on the label below.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Royale Studio 1b - More Sailors in the Rigging

Royale Studio - Solo Sailor in the Rigging 1

 A solo rigging image featuring a different model. Like his other Royale comrades he is tied into the rigging by ropes at wrist and ankles. The device of subjecting different models to the same, well-defined ritual or theme is commonly used by modern studios too (e.g. First Auditions, Bait Buddies) and it is an intriguing 'hook' for many fans. Obliging these men to don a 'military' uniform as part of the ritual conveys an added sense of control over them and since the clothing is contrived to fit tightly and highlight their assets, it gives the process a distinctive erotic twist. 
In the Royal Navy of old, flogging on the back and on the ass were standard punishments for men but it's fairly obvious in these images that the place of interest is the lower option. In the GIU flogging ritual shown in Part 1a the punishment implement was a sort of Cat-O-Nine-Tails fashioned from unravelled rope, but this man's buttocks seem to cry out for something firmer. He turns his head towards us as if wondering what it will be and that action produces a great, sexy pose that has not dimmed with the passage of decades.
Royale Studio - Solo Sailor in the Rigging 2
In this rarely-seen variant he seems to brace himself for the blows to come. The rope restraints are clearly visible (if not entirely convincing). This image has been cleaned up, there's a more authentic version in the Open Archive (see link below) but the ties are not fully visible in it. 
The tight fit of the trousers around the model's backside is a delight, especially if you are a spanking fan or like touching. The creases around his upper thighs suggests there's also something substantial inside his trousers at the front. He seems to be looking down at it - or perhaps it's the thick rope rising between his legs that's attracting his attention.
Royale Studio - Solo Sailor in the Rigging 3

This coloured, frontal view comes from the Colville Collection mentioned in Part 1a. They named it 'The Brig' for some reason. The restraining ropes can be seen even more clearly here and there's more sense of restraint and struggle than we saw in the equivalent duo shot in Part 1a. Erotically though the pickings are frugal, quite a nice torso and a suggestion of something tucked down his left leg, but the frontal pants area is largely spoiled by a billowing 'flap'. Also Royale had a practice of tucking the belt under this flap, I don't know why. It doesn't really work for me.

The model's face is clearly visible but I've not ID'd him conclusively yet.
Royale Sailor in Punishment Shorts

A different series in which the Sailor-model has been ordered to don PT shorts to receive his punishment. This wasn't standard practice in the Navy (officially) but real offenders were forced to wear ducks (white trousers) that had worn thin at the seat of the pants and with no underwear allowed either. The shirt here is the standard Royal Navy design with square neck trimmed in blue. Royale didn't generally use real uniforms but used authentic copies made from thinner, more sensual material. By contrast, 'Guys in Uniform' Studio tend to stick to PT kit or mix and match uniform elements with fetish gear.
The Royale belt jars again for me in this context, I'd rather get a glimpse of midriff flesh. However, part of the point of Royale imagery was to take military men, manly representatives of a powerful national institution and subject them to humiliating situations. Retention of elements of the formal uniform is essential for this construct to work. Belts, gaiters and boots were Royale's favoured fetish items.

Royale Sailor Punished in Shorts 1

With his wrists tied into the rigging the model looks back in anxious anticipation as though suspecting that this job involves more than just looking sexy, his briefing having omitted a crucial detail. That mischievous rope between his legs looks even more suggestive here, being truncated (ouch!) by shadow. It's capable of multiple erotic interpretations with different degrees of filth according to taste!
Sadly, the passage of time and/or original over-exposure has pretty much washed out the detail of the captive's back, but we can see the nearer man's assets quite well, suggestively cloaked by obviously wet fabric. His weapon of choice looks a bit more weighty than the 'Cat O'Nine Tails' in the pictures of Part 1a (the previous post), and he's wagging it purposefully.
You can probably see what I mean about the belt here. The sailor's shirt has pulled out of it as he stretches upwards and is now concealing most of it except a gap where skin would otherwise be visible. Still, it's a nicely-designed, dramatic image overall with the upward viewpoint and overlapping poses indicating a photographer with a creative artistic eye.
Royale Sailor Punished in Shorts 2

This image is better preserved than the last and that's true in more than one sense, because this is the only Royale image I can think of that shows a punishment blow actually being delivered. There probably were more produced but they don't seem to have survived, perhaps because they were too realistic. 
Thus the knotted rope is blurred but we get a better view of those tight shorts. The model's upright pose indicates that he had braced himself to receive a genuine blow - compare it with the more relaxed receiving position just above. Sadly that adjustment in position means his bottom shaping is less attractive than it might be. The high waist-line of these shorts had an eroticism all it's own in those days with connections to feminine wear that persist today, but it is less appealing to modern eyes accustomed to squarer-shaped brevity for men. 
The modest (real?) bulge of the spanker here offers some compensation, it's notable for it's tightness as much as it's size. His smile suggests he might be exploiting the model's restraint to add realism.

Royale Sailor Punished in Shorts 3

He's got a more business-like expression here and the hapless victim appears to have collapsed onto the ropes under the weight of his blows which seem to be targeting his back. If the bulge seen previously seemed less than amazing, the victim's one here is a cracker and once again that centre rope seems to be directly involved. In the olden days, if anything was worse than depicting man-on-man spanking, it was the idea that the victim might actually be aroused by it. Imagine the embarrassment of those bullying, sadists on learning what disgusting body function they were encouraging down below!

My original copy of this picture is very small and I've done my best to enhance it but only have crude skills in that department. The original bulge detail must have been quite interesting but the ravages of time have not been entirely destructive and it's still very striking. I'm also attracted by the sensual sheen on the captive's thigh. You'll find the original picture in the archive (link below). 
The bulge in this picture gives a clue to who staged it..........

Brian Cross by Scott of London
Tight, white shorts like this with bewildering bulges were the trademark of one photographer in particular in this era, Scott of London. Some of his images (like that of Brian Cross above) are inspirational classics and are still regularly reposted by admirers today, including me - two more samples here. I've seen statements linking him with Royale and the glimpse of improbable man-tackle in the preceding image is characteristic of his style and artifice, and it's not the only one in this post (see below).
Royale - Sailor In The Rigging (with bulge)
 A different model again, (possibly Don Avard) shown wearing a shirt, ducks and standard webbing white belt for his punishment session. I like to think the shirt was ripped off him for later pictures in the series, but sadly I've never found any of them! Straps have replaced ropes round his wrists here. 
His image offers another graphic explanation for tightness of pants round the buttocks (and possibly the billowing effect after removal as seen in the coloured image above). You can decide for yourself whether it's real. The ropes that are framing this area are contrived to highlight the effect. In an era where such displays were totally illegal, obvious non-realism might have conceivably been a ploy to get round the prohibition, but I can't imagine it would have worked.
This series continues with another scantily clad Sailor in Royale Studio 1c
Information about the mitchmen Open Archive of Royale images is below 

Sailor Al
You may have noticed that the last of the shorts set above is marked 'from Sailor Al's Collection'. Sailor Al used to have a web-site of sorts where he offered paid views of his collection of Royale images. Some were identical to freely circulating images but this one is unique I believe. Others of his pictures were top quality images. I was in touch with him at one time and he told me how he had come by them and how he had unintentionally donated them to the internet by sharing them with a member of a spanking group. That group and it's archive has since declined and  perished with the creeping destruction of Yahoo! Groups. Any Royale images included here or found on the internet which have the word 'Originals' in the file name all came from Sailor Al's collection and we are all in his debt for saving and sharing them (unwittingly or not). I may tell that story one day.
The 'mitchmen' Open Archive of Royale Images
 These images come from 1950's Britain, a time when military service was compulsory for young men and opening up opportunities to see the world and meet new people. But it was also a time when gay men were being ruthlessly persecuted in the UK and often put in prison. The very creation of these photos with a not very subtle eroticism was brave statement of defiance, an underground resistance if you like. The recruitment of serving soldiers and sailors to pose for them was a delicious sabotage of institutional 'respectability'. It's effectiveness as propaganda must have been considerable. It asserted the existence in every walk of life of a sizeable minority the Government wanted to make invisible. An important gesture even if it did attract ruthless reprisals and ultimately the closure of the Studio.
The surviving Royale Studio images are part of gay history and deserve to be preserved and cherished by us as a community. Many of them (like the first in this post) still hold their own as erotica in the modern era. However it's become increasingly difficult to find coherent collections in recent years, thanks to the creeping sanitisation of internet hosting services and search engines. The best way of preserving them and celebrating them, I believe, is by sharing them as widely as possible and that torch picked up by younger generations. To that end I am making my whole collection available as a new, open archive here at mitchmen in the hope that they will inspire other gay men and encourage them to help preserve this piece of our heritage.
These 'Sailor in the Rigging' images form the first album of the new Open Archive. It also includes a few other sailor pictures, a number of variants of those presented here and some interesting cropped details. I have tried to label them using the original Royale numbers but some photos have different numbers on different copies so the result has not been entirely satisfactory.
You can access them as a zip file via this link: Royale Open Archive
 Please tell me via my profile link if you have difficulty downloading 


This article was originally published on 31/7/2010 but extensively revised and extended in July 2021, a process that I hope to apply to the rest of the series in due course and as an adjunct to that creating an archive housing my entire collection of GIU and Royale images. I have provided a link to the 'Rigging' album just above.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Art by Remi

Remi - Vice & Groans

Remi is an artist who has wide-ranging interests including occult and fem-dom imagery but his pictures featuring bondage and threat will be of most interest to readers of the mitchmen blog. This striking and rather stylish, fake magazine cover image showing a young man suspended upside down in a web of chains is a powerful expression of the Mystery that is S&M. 

The man we see is young enough to be a novice. The ritualistic leather briefs he was given to wear were sexy to put on and provided a temporary illusion of protection and modesty. A symbol of his initiation. The binding with cold chains and handling thrilled him. Now, blindfolded, gagged and totally disoriented, he can only wonder what is going to happen to him next. How much will they hurt him? Will he have to beg them to stop - and will they stop if he does? Will his darkest and most intimate feelings and longings be exposed and fulfilled when they come to open that symbolic zip? Will he beg them for more?


Remi - Chained

There's a similar sense of brooding mystery in this image as two chained prisoners reflect tearfully on their predicament. They might be buddies or they might be strangers who had never met before they were thrown into this cell together. Now they are simply captives, stored together without clothes or obvious identities, not even differentiated by the colour of their hair.

The winding chains, seemingly loose and almost random, allow them a degree of movement, but that only seems to underline the sense of their entrapment, by showing a residual glimpse of the freedom they used to have. 

The stylised and nicely toned technique is slightly misty and suggestive of a dark, damp and murky dungeon. I am much reminded here of Amalaric's story of the kidnapping of the entire Raytown Softball Team who are snatched from a carefree, sight-seeing ride and incarcerated in a matter of minutes, left to prepare themselves for a lifetime of captivity and naked slavery (see image 8 and description in Art of Amalaic-1).


Remi - The Mansion

In this image the same two characters are joined by a third whose despair seems even deeper. The waiting group are set against the satirical image of champagne-guzzling, rich man who presumably is the master of their fates from now on. His flamboyant taste in clothes and lifestyle suggests these boys may have a lively time in his hands. In the background we glimpse a man in pain under a spotlight.

Remi - Sketch

I'm not usually a fan of face-masks because they hide too much of the face, but I love this picture which does not simply depict captivity but total subjugation and control. Far from submitting despairingly, this muscular man strains angrily at his restraints. It's an adaption of the hackneyed, beefcake, biceps flexing  pose but now, rather than showing the usual, casual exhibitionism, it oozes testosterone, struggle and resistance. 

The mask he has been forced to wear has echoes of Hannibal Lector of course and suggests that even if he is not an animal by nature, he's going to be treated like one, like it or not. A glimpse of ropes overhead gives a further clue as to what lies in store for him.

I don't know if the window-like diamond shape behind him has any particular narrative meaning or is simply a design device. You could see it as expressive of boxed-in anger and fractured frustration. The design has echoes in the wallpaper below, where it's symbolism seems overtly erotic to me, reflecting what has happened in the picture. I'm sure mitchmen readers can work that bit out!

Remy - Submit

'Submit' explores a very different emotional palette. It actually seems to depict the consequences of not submitting gracefully (two words which seem utterly inappropriate in an S&M context and yet are the essence of real life 'plays'). I don't have to spell out what has happened to this man. His face registers shock and humiliation, verging on tears. Perhaps too, the growing realisation that he may be facing more of the same. With his arms tightly bound in a shibari-style rope body-harness and body clothed only in a jockstrap designed to promote lust, he has no way of preventing it and is literally wide open. In Remi's world captivity is not a glamorous, self-indulgence.

Remi - Saul and Nathaniel (Play Nice)

Whilst this appears to be a conventional, leather-play image given a stylish design treatment, there also seems to be an attempt to bring out something of the anguished nature of such desires. That's epitomised by the unusual, arm restraint position which imitates a traditional, melodramatic expression of woe and despair and also of simply not wanting to look at what is happening. The captive's body is bathed in a harsh, uncompromising light with a pink tinge that's suggestive of danger, pain or some other extreme sensation. The plug which is the immediate source of his discomfort is highlighted in steely blue, implying a hard, inorganic nature but with an inner light that hints at properties that are significant - challenging, transforming or perhaps altogether other-worldly. 
The captive's lover crouches submissively at his crotch, pulling him closer and tentatively leaning forward to lick his bulbous pouch in a most respectful, worshipful manner whilst simultaneously stoking it with the dildo/plug. The pink light casts diabolical highlights onto his eyes and turns his hair into fire as though he's concealing (or temporarily controlling) a raging passion capable of devilish extremes. The draped chains around them seem to express their entrapment in this dangerous and unpredictable coming together of deep, dark desires that are different in each of them, but need and yearn for each others.

Remi - Seat of Anguish 3 (detail)

Remi's 'Seat of Anguish' is a more substantial work, a short narrative in the form of a rather stylish comic. It shows an unconscious captive being brought from his place of captivity and seated on an anal plug by strangely-garbed minions. The place of punishment is a raised dais, bathed in light by a downward-pointing, overhead beam reminiscent of sci-fi transporter technology. It creates an ominous mood of vast power directed with malign, sexual intent at this man who is being put on display and presented it seems like some bizarre, unpleasant entertainment. 

Remi's palette and block colouring, shading style in these images is rather like Picked-A-Peck , although the content couldn't be more different.

Remi - Seat Of Anguish 6 (detail, censored)

Once secured, the captive is tormented by an unseen sadist. The detail of this image is more extreme than I like to show at mitchmen so I've obscured it, but that doesn't detract from the impact of the image. The simple restraint arrangement focusses attention on the plug even though it cannot be seen. The tension in the captive's body as he is punished via a remote controller is remarkably concentrated and graphic.
These two extracts  don't do justice to the gently-paced story-telling. The punishment scenario is intense and satisfyingly structured but ultimately perplexing which is an appropriate reflection of the underlying, forbidden feelings it seeks to express.  On a technical level there's a tasteful economy of style.

Read the whole thing: Seat of Anguish

Remi - To Steal A Soul (detail)

This is a detail of a much larger and very ambitious picture dealing with an occult ceremony and a swathe of associated supernatural activity. The mitchmen blog interest lies in the rather more prosaic sight of a captive tied to chair with his hands behind his back. It's almost as if he's been abducted and then transported here from a seedy place of captivity to become the unwilling centrepiece of tonight's 'happening'. The illumination of his body from below is rather interesting, a slightly show-bizzy touch that seems to point up his helplessness and vulnerability as the star of the show in a situation that is beyond his imagining. 

You can see the full image at Deviant art


Remi's exploration of bondage and S&M scenarios goes beyond the simple illustration of processes and manly 'fun'. His characters express emotions too as they grapple with desires that are not necessarily pleasant experiences and with situations they have not sought out and cannot control or understand. There's a rawness about his scenarios that doesn't pull punches or paper over consequences to fit in with modern notions of acceptability and that will strike a chord with many mitchmen readers.


More galleries - Remi @Telemachus12

plus Remi @Deviant Art has a wider-ranging collection 

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Royale Studio 1a - Sailors in the Rigging

Royale Studio in the 1950's was one of the first British producers of overtly gay erotica with a bias towards military themes and corporal punishment. The 1970's Guys In Uniform Studio (which I covered in a previous series of articles) covered very similar subject matter, they were quite separate enterprises but closely connected. For information on the personalities that made that connection, I refer you to the milism article by Squaddie John. 
In this article I make some comments on the stylistic crossover.

Royale - Sailor Flogged In The Rigging

I'm going to start where I left off the GIU series, with images featuring sailors and rigging. This one is fairly well-known and the dramatic quality is striking. Compare it with Physique Pictorial imagery which was a contemporary. The technical quality is also surprisingly good.
 The flogger here is Ron Wiltshire, I think. He has a striking face and build, and his bell bottom trousers add solidity to the forceful pose as well as enhancing his thighs. Those creases would earn him a punishment of his own in real life though! Royale reputedly made its models sit in a bath of cold water to wet their trousers so they would cling in sexy places like buttocks and thighs. You can also see the effect of cold water on the man at the right making a record of the punishment, since he clearly isn't wearing any underpants. I believe this might be Tom Harding, who we will see much of.
The anchoring effect of their bell-bottoms contrasts with the 'flying' pose of the victim. His rolled-up legs mark him as a 'worker', who would normally be scrubbing decks or climbing in the rigging, hence that nice, muscular back.  His legs are spread very wide creating an exaggerated sense of helplessness and stress and also helping those wet pants to highlight a delicious bubble butt. His leg pose matches the arrow-like shape of the soaring rigging ropes and there's a sense of upward thrust which finds erotic significance in the thick central rope which rises exactly in the middle between his thighs.

There's a theatrical quality to this staging, reflecting a highly creative mind at work.
Compare it now with the similar GIU image below (taken from my GIU set 9 review). You'll notice a gulf in impact and authenticity, however, the styling and sailor-flogging subject matter itself suggests there must be a close connection between these images. It looks like GIU are using the same rigging prop and the same combination of black belts and button-front, white trousers, both rolled-up. No wonder these studios are commonly confused with each other. The question becomes not what are the similarities between them, but rather how can you tell them apart?

Guys in Uniform - Sailors in the Rigging
One useful differentiator is the reference number or set ID which appears in the bottom corner of some Royale pictures inside square boxes (see below). These occasional numbers enable whole image groups to be firmly identified as Royale rather than GIU. They are there because in those days photographs were bought from a catalogue by mail order, not downloaded from the internet! 

Royale Catalogue - Key List 8
Fortunately some of these catalogue pages are also available to us (above) and can help with set identification. This one has an image you probably recognise (middle row, far left) labelled 1-UNAP, whuch was short hand for 'Unapproved' (a suggestive play on the term 'Approved School' which was a UK euphemism for youth detention centres in the 1950's). There are 3 more UNAP's on the bottom line which you probably don't recognise but wish you did! 
These pages also guide you to model identities (abbreviated in their labels, HEB = Henri Barjac). Being able to recognise models and place them in their correct era (Royale 50's, Guys In Uniform 70's) is probably the best differentiator of all 

Royale - Nude Sailor Flogged In The Rigging

 I used to think all Royale photos were in black and white, but the masters were coloured apparently and some coloured originals did surface recently (see below). This picture is a black and white one which has been subtly coloured and altered using Photo-shop type software. In general, coloured images are from GIU. There are nevertheless lots of black and white examples in my GIU series of posts, but they are reprints from 1970's magazines, which in those days always had limited colour content for cost reasons. 
The photo-shopper of this variant has bestowed a more substantial backside on the victim and it's a result I imagine Royale would have approved of. The cropping here brings out a subtle, erotic feature of the original picture - the suggestive shaping of the flogger's free hand which seems to be reaching towards his captive's groin. Not accidental methinks, but an example of the art of 'hidden eroticism' (see label at foot of this post for links to more).

Royale - Sailors in the Rigging 1
 This is another well known Royale composition which combines 2 different viewpoints. Put together they are both atmospheric and sensual. There's no illusion of this being a real ship or a real flogging but the close juxtaposition of two shapely, male bottoms is erotic and enticing. 
Royale - Sailors in the Rigging 2

 This image is a subtle variation of the last picture and the shift in far man's backside position is very sexy if they are viewed close together. The nearer man turns his backside towards us and they both bow their heads submissively in acknowledgement of the restraint and punishment scenario that unites them and, indeed, all these images. 
As you can see above, GIU pictures featured nudes but Royale men usually remain clothed below the waist in accordance with the sanitised constraints of the times. Nude studies do appear in solo sets and there's a rear nude flash in Navy Gash, but I've never seen a frontal one. Even so, with trousers as tight as this a comparable effect to nudity is achieved and is arguably more erotic. The dramatic lighting exploits the black and white mode, it brings out the men's slender muscularity and curvaceous bottoms - compensating for the lack of bare flesh.
Royale - Sailors in the Rigging 3 coloured

 Royale lovers were given a surprise present in 2019 when a small collection of coloured images, including the one above, surfaced in the Colville Exhibition. Apparently they were the photographer's masters, which were only sold on in black and white copies. 
The far man's physique is a delight in colour, it makes you realise what treasures have been lost. The change doesn't enhance their bottoms very much which is some compensation. This slightly altered viewpoint makes the sexy, bottom-brushing effect even more pronounced. 

Royale - Sailors in the Rigging 4 (Frontal)

The frontal variant is less daring but there's still plenty visible below the waist for the sharp-eyed. Exaggerated organs were left to artists like Tom of Finland in this era. This pose doesn't have quite the same sense of struggle and sexy vulnerability as the reverse views above. The models look as though they are relaxing rather than being restrained against their will. However, it does nicely showcase once again the physique of the far model. I haven't identified him yet but the boyish man on the left is Peter George.
Royale - Sailor Stripped for Flogging

There was another surprise with this image from the Colville exhibition. Forcible stripping is portrayed in some Royale 'sets' but not quite as vividly or near the knuckle as this. The colour finish and model's faces (which look familiar to me, Frank Lampard?) would have made me guess it to be by GIU, but apparently not. The victim's lack of underwear suggests there may even have been a nude sequel. That wouldn't be too surprising, plain envelope and under-the-counter explicitness was a feature of this market place and solo, nude, model studies have survived, but if frontal nude images formed part of Royale's storyettes they all seem to have been lost.

This picture seems to be thematically linked to the first image in this post but the models look different to me. The white gym shorts are also a difference, they are an accessory we haven't seen before but were a Royale staple and will return in other sets.


Rigging Punishments continue in Royale Part 1b
You can view all my articles featuring GIU and Royale Studio by clicking on the label at the foot of this post. 
This article was originally published in July 2010 but extensively revised and extended for republication in July 2021, a process that I hope to apply to the rest of the series in due course. As an adjunct to that I am creating an archive housing my entire collection of GIU and Royale images. I have provided a link to the 'Rigging' album in Part 1b.
Also updated 7th October 2022 with corrections and clarifications