As well as the contrasting setting, there's a dramatic change of atmosphere. The jokey Peeping Tom's have turned on the object of their ridicule. They now have tied him hand and foot and are punching him. So what's going on?
This open air shoot Royale used for Part 2, results in a different set of quality issues for us. Helped by bright, natural light, many of the original photos must have been as good as this one. Several other surviving images are equally fine, but the inability to control the direction of light outside has resulted in some localised over-exposure and washing out of the erotically-crucial, all-white, uniform areas. The effect is possibly magnified in some cases by deterioration of the source photograph before it was digitised. In addition, smaller thumbnail images inevitably suffer from blurring and indistinctness as well, but most of them in Part 2 are bigger than those in Part 1 and I have given them bigger displays here. The quality of image 22 here seems to indicate that full size photos as well as catalogue thumbnails were sometimes printed with sequence numbers on them.
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 16(?)|
I believe this image to be the starting point of Part 2. It shows Ted (the vain Romeo) being helped out of a car by Spike. At this point Ted already has a rope around his chest and his hands are behind his back, possibly being restrained by Tom who can be glimpsed, close behind him inside the car. There's a half-decent impression of Ted's bulging crotch and a general sense of muscles and uniforms.
You'll see as we go along that this part of the story is more action oriented and less about artful, erotic posing than Part 1. Having said that, the coal hod* Spike is holding has a certain, phallic quality about it and is suggestively angled upwards between Ted's open legs and just below his mouth, leaving the scene open to the mitchmen-esque interpretation of 'hidden eroticism'! Is Spike's hand pulling his head down?
(*The coal hod, was a commonplace domestic device in the 1950's, used for fetching coal from store and tipping it onto an open fire or into a burner. It's used for a very different purpose here and it pops up again in a later Royale story.)
So what has happened to bring about Ted's captivity? Royale's plot summary from their catalogue is not very helpful. It tells us only that "Later in the car, they stop in a lane, pull out Ted and rough house him.....". This confirms the unnumbered image above as the starting point of Part 2 and also the impression of a conflict, but doesn't explain why it has happened.
I suggested at the end of Part 1 (without any real evidence) that perhaps Ted had spotted the two voyeurs and confronted them about their spying and mockery of his extreme vanity. Sailor Al's conjecture of an 'itching powder' practical joke and my own theory that Ted's secret homosexuality had been discovered (dynamite in the forces then!) might also explain a fight. Whatever the cause, it's clear Spike and Tom have decided Ted needs to 'dealt with' for his offence** and have therefore abducted him to this remote location.
(There's an odd mark on Spike's buttock which looks a bit like a tear, is this evidence of a struggle? Well no, because it can also be seen in picture 03 in Part 1 and it has actually disappeared by No 24, below)
**At the end of this post I recount a real life incident from a Cadet Force camp, when a junior member was subjected to a mock trial for being 'too posh'. This sort of arbitrary bullying of anyone 'different', disguised as laddish, practical joking, was commonplace in the Regular Forces (and elsewhere) in Royale's era and would not need any explanation to their audience. The term 'rough housing' used by Royale had connotations of manly, boisterous toughness rather than plain assault, which is how we would see it today, rightly or wrongly.
I have 19 images altogether from Part 2 of 'Romeo'. The last image in Part 1 that I was able to (tentatively) give a number was No14(?) and according to Royale there were 36 in the set altogether, which implies that there are only 3 missing from the 15 to 36 group, possibly including my conjectured, confrontation scene.
There is a relative scarcity of sequence numbers on the images in Part 2. In many cases, like the one just above, it has been deliberately obliterated, leaving us to rely on continuity and intuition. I have given this picture No 16(?) based on the fit with subsequent numbering. That leaves a gap for a missing No 15 at the end of set 1.
Question marks against sequence numbers signify that they've been assigned that number by me and not explicitly identified by a Royale catalogue source.
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 17(?)|
Ted is bundled off into the wood and this is quite a good image of a confused captive being bossed, off-balanced, by his captors. Ted's physique looks good here and once again his head is interestingly positioned, poised above Spike's crotch as though there is a magnetic attraction there.
Despite the over-exposure and smaller picture size, you can still glimpse interesting groin 'under-shadows' on all three men
(their shapes revealed of course by the clingy, wetted fabric). It creates a sense of simmering sexuality.
You'll notice Tom and Spike have put on civilian-style, dark-coloured belts for Part 2 (they become clearer in the next image). Ted is still wearing his white military belt and gaiters from Part 1. All three men are wearing Royal Navy dress caps for this sequence, which are probably genuine and possibly their own. That detail links this little group of pictures together
Notice the dark mark on Spike's upper thigh, it will gradually become clearer.
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 18(?)|
Ted's captors free him from the lasso round his chest. It seems from this picture that his hands were were probably not tied in 16 and 17 despite appearances. Royale provide us with another trio of crotch bulges which seem to dance suggestively in close proximity to each other. They resemble the famous, enhanced 'Scott Studios' shapes discussed in the second 'Rigging' article (Royale 1b) and most notably displayed there by Brian Cross in his classic, tight shorts picture.
Spike's chest here provides another nice shape which must have looked good in the proper photo and am I imagining a hint of nipple there? Yes, I know it's childish, but simple pleasures amuse - as they must have done back then!
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 19(?)|
If you're missing the views of succulent bottoms that dominated Part 1 of this series, this would have been the perfect
antidote, were it not for the fact that the left side has been over-enthusiastically
cropped by an earlier benefactor, removing half of what looks to have been the best bum of the three, Tom's (the truncated shape
of the thumbnail 'box', bottom left, is incontestable, incriminating evidence!). As it is, Ted's peach-like ass undoubtedly seems to have grabbed Spike's full attention, he seems a lot bulkier in this image. The choice of sloping ground has helped accentuate the men's bottoms.
At first sight Ted is being escorted off into the undergrowth here and seems to be almost collaborating with his captors and leading the way (as though they are seeking a place for some kinky homosexuality). In fact I think that, having been freed, he is actually making an attempt to escape. The abandoned coal hod at Spike's feet supports this interpretation which then leads naturally into the next image. The technical necessity of depicting this moment using a static pose (with no rapid-fire snapping being available in the 60's) is largely responsible for the ambiguity.
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 20(?)|
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 21|
They roll Ted over and tie his hands behind his back. His backside is over-exposed in this otherwise crisp
picture but his two tormentors are very nicely captured by the camera lens, thanks to some fortuitous tree shade. We see them holding him down and tying the knots. This double act is quite an usual take on what is one of the most erotic moments of bondage, when the victim's freedom ebbs away from him leaving him totally at the mercy of his captors. This moment is more believable and intense if there are two assailants.
The intimate collaboration between Tom and Spike, kneeling with their heads together, makes a nice image in anyone's language and there are some appealing details: Tom's crotch and neck (left) and Spike's shoulders and tight shirt.
The 'mark' on Spike's left thigh, is finally revealed as a small tear. Is this then tangible evidence of a struggle earlier on? Unfortunately no again, because it's also visible in the Peeping Tom pictures 09 and 10 in Part 1. It must simply be wear and tear in the thin fabric Royale used for these tight-fitting replica uniforms.
21 is the first picture with a number box in Part 2 and this allows us to infer the number 20 for the previous picture. It is clearly the same scene - the plants just below the number 21 are almost identical those to the left of Tom's leg in 20. The preceding 'hatted' image sequence must therefore be Nos 16-19.
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 22|
Ted is pulled to his feet and Spike's punches the defenceless man in the ribs, vividly demonstrating his anger. His clenched ass draws our attention to the tension in his body as he delivers the punch, tension that is mirrored in Ted's scrunched-up torso. These elements are all connected visually by the line of Spike's muscular arm and although this is a static pose, it seems to create a convincing sense of effort and impact.
There is a particularly suggestive juxtaposition here of Ted and Tom's crotch bulges which seem to be touching, or about to. In the context of Spike's violence and the bondage restraint, this gives the scene a truly S&M edge.
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 23(?)|
Having violently subdued Ted, the two voyeurs tie him
to a tree, Cowboy & Indian style. It's almost as though they intend to burn him at the stake (but that doesn't really work with a tree!). Although the 50's and 60's were the heyday of Cowboy comics and movies this scene would still have seemed almost comic in character to it's audience at the time. It revives the sense of all this being just a playful, prank, despite the darker tone injected in No 22.
the original, full size photograph Ted's cock area must have been graphically displayed at this point. Once again Tom seems to be
rubbing himself against his thigh and Spike's eyeline suggests he is studying them. There seems to be an apple hanging on the tree behind Tom, a coincidental erotic hint?
This scaled-down image was used to advertise NARO 2 in Royale's catalogue, unfortunately I don't have a better version
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 24(?)|
The role of the coal hod is revealed as Spike uses it to throw water over Ted's bell bottoms, almost as though he's dousing those imaginary flames. That's small compensation for a soggy Ted! You might wonder where this water came from since any they brought with them in the hod (picture 16) must have been spilled in picture 19.
If you were wondering why they didn't use a simply bucket, the subtle, phallic qualities of the hod come to the fore here:- it's shape, especially the tip, it's angling, which originates from just above Spike's scrotum bulge and, not least, it's use to deliver a stream of water onto the helpless captive's leg, which I hope I need not translate erotically.
Spike comes out looking good in this image apart from bedraggled-looking trousers, but we can only sigh for the tantalisingly washed out detail of Ted's torso (how slim he looks here!). The restraint of his head is a nice touch underlining his defencelessness.
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 25(?)|
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 28|
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 29 (?)|
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 31 (?)|
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 32 (?)|
|Royale Studio - Navy Romeo 35 (?)|