* *


My Russian publisher Alex Kervey of Tough Press sent me the following message on 3 November 2006 about the translation of my novel "Come Before Christ & Murder Love":

"As you possibly heard... my company & I personally have faced criminal charges concerning old publication of `Come Before Christ & Murder Love` as well as Tony White's `Road Rage!/Satan! Satan Satan!`. They have incriminated me the publication of pornography and insulting Christian values, according to the Russian new law against extremism. This happened as soon as I have returned to Moscow from London Book Fair and April & May were very tough months for us, as even my father was questioned in General Attorney of Moscow department concerning this releases despite the fact he wasn't having any connection with it. I wasn't in the position to bother you on that case because you are miles away and I have accustomed to sort my problems by myself. There was also a huge scandal for AST as commercial distributors of your books and their lawyers were working very hard to drop this charges and although the case isn't closed yet, the situation became more tolerable for me. There was an open letter by Melvin Burgess concerning this book scandal to Moscow Times as his books were charged as well and his publishers Ultra Culture have suffered also because of that case (they are almost closed!). In the end of May our office was fire-bombed by some Nazis and there was a huge damage to the building & although the fire stopped twenty metres right before our storage and computer room because of the repair works it was closed for the whole summer."

Kervey informs me this should all be viewed in the context of ongoing agitation for the suppression of my books by the Russian far-right. Various so called 'intellectual' fascist currents in Russia began a campaign of vilification against me and my books after the publication in translation of my novel 'Blow Job'; I'm told the Russian National Bolsheviks - in particular - were offended by this book.

UPDATE from Alex Kervey email of 11 April 2007: "Slow Death and Tainted Love are not released yet - they are still in printing house waiting their turn, because... AST artificially put off the publication due to continuous scandal with your books... One sad news - the translator of Come Before Christ and co-editor of Blow Job, Ilya Kormiltsev died this February in London in Royal Marsden Hospital because of backbone cancer and was buried few days after in Moscow. Russian fascist Christian organization `Russian Temple (Sobor)` made a statement that he was punished by God for taking part in publication of God-hatred books of Stewart Home..."

UPDATE from Alex Kervey email of 18 June 2007: "Just write to inform you that despite all legal difficulties concerning publications of your works in Russia, I have published a week ago yours long-awaited by fans `Slow Death` and prolonged my risk further as Orthodox Nazis are promising to kill me in the net if they `see new god-hatred book of Stewart Home in shops`..... The edition of `Tainted Love` is also now in print."

COME BEFORE CHRIST & MURDER LOVE: Video by Nick Abrahams and Mikey Tompkins, Trash 2000, 1997, 6 min 50 seconds

The struggle for human emancipation from the commodity economy - which must necessarily include women's liberation - attacks the sexual fetishisation of oppression and its master profit.1

The video Come Before Christ and Murder Love was originally produced as a promo-video for the book of the same name by Stewart Home. The book is perhaps hard to categorise as there is no distinction made between a fictionalised reality and a fictionalised fantasy. Thus it could all be the fantasy of a mental patient who falls in love with his psychiatrist's 'real' or 'imaginary' daughter, and sets out to save her from ritual murder by the 'mad' psychiatrist. However other themes are interwoven with this; mind control, magic, occult groups and the machinations of the secret services. The book contains many scenes of graphic sex and violence, and it is one of these which was selected as the ur-text for the Abrahams/Tompkins collaboration.

However in the Abraham/Tompkins version an explicit scene of the dismemberment of a woman's body is untimely plucked from the matrix of Home's original text. Here the narrator describes how he felt "a deadly hostile current pass through me. I was conscious, completely conscious, I was in tune with a higher reality that told me some frightful peril was assailing Vanessa. I did not know what it was, but I did know it was something altogether awful of which merely to think was to shudder." The narrator returns home to discover his lover's corpse laying on the bed. It had been ritually disembowelled after the fashion of the Jack the Ripper murders. The narrator concludes that his lover had been murdered by the intelligence services and that he was to be the patsy for this as well as other murders. He then starts to cut up the body, so as to conceal it. It is at this point that Abraham and Tompkins choose to start the voice over for their video. Those unfamiliar with the book are unaware of the compassion the narrator has for the murder victim, and indeed that he is not the murderer. This is underlined when the dismemberment is eroticised through a sex scene involving the narrator and Glenda Gore "the famous murder groupie" who knocks on the door to complain about the noise only to discover the narrator axe in hand dripping blood. She exclaims that this was the first time she had met a murderer who hadn't been nailed by the cops and initiates a fuck in the muck which was once Vanessa, the narrator's lover. As her assumption is not contested in the text, the viewer is left with impression that she is correct. The Abraham/Tompkins extract ends before the narrator and Glenda Gore get into a discussion of sacred Druidic sites in London.

Thus the text of the video negates the key elements which run through the novel. The narrator becomes identified with the murderer, and his actions are then sanctioned by another female character who initiates sex amongst the entrails. This section of Home's text is embedded in a complex discussion of politics, the self and occultism. Moving on from his previous work where his characters play out roles in front of the backdrop of political groupsucles, he now deals with occult groupuscles. This is marked by the narrator who responds to Bakunin's scientistic remark that "No revolt is possible against universal nature" with the marginalia that "The only revolt must be against nature's law of death which the alchemist regards as an unnecessary snuffing out of light. The secret of the philosopher's stone provides the means by which we may make our souls immortal." The narrator slips through a number or personalities including that of K.L.Callan the Magus, a career occultist who runs the Order of the Black Veil and White Light. Home uses this character to satirise post-crowleyite spiritual bolshevism (much of this based on Yaj Nomolos's The Magic circle: Its Successful Organization and Leadership, Toluca Lake, USA, 1987). The action is carried out across a mythic landscape of Deptford, Mortlake and London's East End. Whilst it would be hard to convey all of this in a short extract, Abrahams and Tompkins trouble themselves to specifically exclude this material.

One feature of the book is that the narrator changes personality each time he has sex. Abrahams and Tompkins remove a paragraph relating to this from the text. This paragraph specifically links the narrator to the shamanic process, in which dismemberment plays such a strong role. This shows deliberation in their bowdlerisation of the text, a bowdlerisation which reduces the textual residue to a misogynist account of the brutalisation of a woman's body salaciously eroticised by the complicity of a murder-groupie. The irony of the murder-groupie's false assumption that the narrator is the murder is erased. Instead of a narrative structure that gives a subjective depiction of a person becoming aware of how they undergo a series of personality changes and which undercuts the bourgeois individualism of the centred narrative self, the centred narrative self is valourised and even becomes heroic in the hands of Abrahams and Tompkins. They trash the original narrative stripping it of any critical power and making it more readily acceptable to a market place which already functions as a conduit for patriarchal values. To what extent these cultural entrepreneurs consciously seek to do this or merely half-consciously reproduce these values is of secondary importance. (The banality of the images used to accompany the text do not merit attention.) Stewart Home has distanced himself from the video suggesting that it has nothing to do with him.

1. "The struggle for human emancipation from the commodity economy - which must necessarily include gay liberation - attacks the sexual fetishisation of oppression and its master profit." Stewart Home in 'We mean it man: Punk Rock and Anti-racism - or Death In June Not Mysterious', Anamorphosis p.29, available for £3.75 from Sabotage Editions, BM Senior, London WC1N 3XX.

This review appeared in Transgressions.No 5

Another secret file

More on Stewart Home Society

Come Before Christ & Murder Love by Stewart Home cover
UK edition of book.

Russian edition of Come Before Christ & Murder Love by Stewart Home
In Russian.

Come Before Christ & Murder Love by Stewart Home in Russian translation
In Russian, 2nd edition.

Nautilus wanted to do a German edition of Come Before Christ And Murder Love but Home's translator there - Wolfgang Bortlik - refused the work because the archaic English used in parts of the novel made it impossible for him to translate. Home's translator in Finland - Jussi Ahokas - said he could render the book into Finnish but it would take three times longer to do than the average English or American novel due to the difficult and obscure language, which meant he required to be paid more than usual, but unfortunately was unable to come to an agreement with the publisher Like about increased payment.

Stewart Home in Hackney London 2011
Stewart Home in London, 2011. Photo Chris Dorley Brown.

Stewart Home topless photo by Chris Dorley-Borwn

Stewart Home distanced himself from promo video for Come Before Christ & Murder Love... Photo 2004 Chris Dorley Brown.