Clever Bastard
London's grubby answer to Bret Easton Ellis

Skinhead intellectual Stewart Home writes with a level of depravity that makes American Psycho read like Little Women. Black magick, tranny gang-bangs, and a delicate understanding of philosophy mingle with tales of beatings, mutilation, and slayings repeated over and over until the reader feels physically sick.

See also...
... by Iain Aitch
... in the Scope section
... from November 9, 1999

Simply calling Home a novelist, a theorist, a journalist, or an artist undersells the work. Calling him a highly intelligent wind-up merchant is much nearer to the truth -- whatever truth there is to be had. He recently cemented his reputation as a sexually deviant troublemaker with the distribution of 50,000 "Necrocards" -- donor cards for those who don't mind their body being used for sexual gratification after death. Home claims that it was a genuine attempt to help out necrophiles, one of the most neglected of sexual minorities, though he does admit that "it was also a way to meet lots of foxy goth chicks."

With a new book of essays (Confusion Incorporated) and a spoken word CD (Stewart Home Comes in Your Face), Home's been a busy boy, but it's his new novel Cuntthat's brought on the controversy. The story of "a cunt in search of cunt," as he puts it, follows a novelist so tired of the business that he can't be bothered to make up stories, basing his work on real-life experiences. This means he has to find and fuck his first one thousand sexual conquests in order to complete a job and keep himself in whisky. Of course, he has to murder a few along the way.

Cunt's name alone left a nasty taste in the mouths of women's groups. His usual publisher (Serpent's Tail) rejected the book -- probably because Home's own main interests are avowedly "twenty-year-old girls and ten-year-old single malts (make sure you get those the right way 'round)" -- and no fewer than 43 printers refused to handle it. So why bother with such a problematic project?

"It was necessary in order to see what you can get away with," he told me over dinner in his favorite Bengali restaurant in the East End of London. "People were saying 'now's the time to make your career.' I thought, no, now's the time to shoot myself in the foot and just to throw up all the contradictions in the industry -- the way that everyone believes in free speech, but you do a book called Cunt and they're horrified."

Home also claims there was another pressing reason behind using the title: "I had a bet with these two twenty-year-old girl Finnish pop stars who I can't name. They bet me that I couldn't get a book called Cunt published in English and that they'd have group sex with me if I did."

Home divulged to me that he is now working on a novel about the Jack the Ripper murders, committed just yards from where we were dining. As we ate our curry, Home slid a red velvet-covered case across the table towards me. I flipped it open. Inside was a shiny silver-colored, very lethal looking surgeon's scalpel. He informed me it was a period replica of the type of knife the Ripper was believed to have used, "just for luck." Right. He became animated as he talked about the project and wolfed down his dessert so that we could dash off into the cold night where he could whisk me around the sites where the killings took place.

"This area has been used by whores for over four hundred years," he said. "They'll do it on an actual Ripper site for an extra ten quid," he told me gleefully as he pointed out a couple of skinny young women standing by the side of the road.

Obviously Home is a man who takes his research very seriously. Let's just hope he doesn't take it too seriously.

Iain Aitch has not used any prostitutes this week.