“40 years ago today Gauntlet came into existence. It’s sometimes hard to believe all that has transpired in the world of body mod in that time.”- Jim Ward, 11.17.2015
Happy anniversary to Jim Ward and The Gauntlet!
“When I opened Gauntlet in 1975, virtually no one but hardcore fetishists and sadomasochism (S/M) enthusiasts were piercing themselves below the neck. People in the mundane world failed to realize that a little piece of metal strategically inserted in certain locations of the body can significantly amplify erotic sensations in those areas and make sex even more enjoyable. It seemed so clear to me that this was something that could benefit anyone. Why should piercing be limited to a select few? With that in mind, it became my mission to let the world at large in on this amazing secret and to let it know I had the ability to make it a reality.”
Jim has been an amazing resource for piercing fans for the last four decades; The Gauntlet, PFIQ, his APP classes- read the uncensored history of the roots of the modern body piercing revival in his memoir Running the Gauntlet available here: http://www.runningthegauntlet-book.com/
Piercer: Jack Yount.
Piercing: Prince Albert.
Original Source: Polaroid Positive print.
The doctor does house calls. When this photograph was taken there were only a few piercing shops in the world; for clients unable to visit a piercer it was often on the piercer to visit them. I have fond memories of Jack Yount putting on his reading glasses before a procedure; in this case a Prince Albert which Jack performed from the urethra out, and telling stories as he worked to take the client’s mind off of what was happening.
This photograph was taken before universal precautions were widely practices in the piercing community and is presented for documentation and should not be considered best practice.
My impression of Alan was of a rather private man who was a bit difficult to get to know. Not that he was particularly shy. He would casually disrobe and allow himself to be photographed, but there was always a reserved quality about his actions. He could converse with intelligence and ease, but to access the man behind the mask was a challenge. – Jim Ward, A visit to London.
Tattooist and body piercer Alan Oversby- better known in the modification world as Mr. Sebastian- photographing a client at his London studio. March 1978.
Scanned from a 3″x 5″ print originally from Sailor Sid Diller’s collection.
Alan is generally considered to be the godfather of the European body piercing revival, but he was also an accomplished and respected tattoo artist.
For more information about Sid, Alan and the roots of the western piercing scene, visit http://www.runningthegauntlet-book.com/ to pick up Jim Ward’s indispensable book Running the Gauntlet. It features the uncensored story of the piercing community and the creation of the piercing industry and is a must own.
Living up to my promise to always post septum tusk photos when I come across them-
This photograph features Sailor Sid Diller (right) and friend from one of Sid’s UK visits. It was taken at Alan “Mr. Sebastian” Oversby’s apartment. There was no code on the back of the print, so this could have come from Sid’s late 1970s visit or a later trip.
Original Source: 35mm 3×5 print.
Jack Yount is mostly remembered for his extreme modifications; silicone and surgeries helped reshape him physically and it’s very easy to forget that before his collaborations with Dr. Ronald Brown, Jack was a piercing and tattoo devotee. This photograph dates back to the late 1980s and finds Jack putting a few pens into his stretched nipple piercings.
In 1995, my spcOnline was a fledgling body modification site hosted on America Online. AOL. As an ISP, they seemingly had no problem with the body modification content I was posting but I was TOS’d and my site removed over a topless photo of adult film star Nina Hartley that was part of an article I had written on my personal diary page.
Shannon Larratt graciously offered unlimited server space on the BME servers, with no prohibition on content, where my site remained for a decade before I finally retired it in 2005. My time with BME, Shannon and his wife Rachel helped spawn BME/Extreme, ModCon, and Scarwars and directly influenced Occult Vibrations and Sacred Debris.
Fifteen years after first meeting her, I still rely on Rachel for an ear to bend when I’ve got a new idea for a project or just a funny, snarky story to tell at three in the morning. She’s been through a lot over the last few years and she still does her best to keep things going. Recently her home and the majority of her belongings were damaged in a natural disaster in South Carolina.
In the 1980s, the concept of a professional body piercer was a bit of a rarity. The Gauntlet had introduced the idea in the late 70s, but outside of a very small handful of lucky folks who had worked for Jim Ward, making a living solely on piercing/body jewelry was a true rarity.
When Jack Yount made the decision to start piercing more formally- as a resident at D.C. Leather shops as opposed to at T&P parties on the east coast- he was still working as an executive at a major plumbing supply company and protecting his identity was a concern. Taking his initials- J.A.Y. he christened himself “Mr. Jay” (sometimes shortened to Mr. J) and was able to live discretely in both worlds until his retirement from corporate life.
This photograph- which is uncredited- was taken in the early 1990s and features Jack’s signature septum tusk (two piece threaded) from Ed Fenster’s Silver Anchor Body Jewelry.
It must have been about 1991 when I first met Mike Natali; two decades later and we’ve taken to calling our first meeting ‘guiche day’ as both of us were at Jack Yount’s Zephyrhills Florida house to have ours pierced when were introduced and became fast friends, with Mike becoming an older brother/uncle figure to my brother and I. Under his leadership, Ed Fenster’s SILVER ANCHOR body jewelry company experienced massive growth and his own Bravo! Body Jewelry set a high bar for the companies that followed.
In late August I traveled down to Tampa to reconnect with Mike and to record an oral history with him about his introduction to Jack and Ed Fenster, his time at SA and Bravo and his career as a body piercer. The videos need to be edited and a transcript made, but it was really great to spend the afternoon with him and get his story told.
While in Florida I was also lucky enough to spend the afternoon with retired tattoo artist and legendary gay porn author JD, who proved to be a really nice gent who was full of stories which he was gracious enough to allow me to record. JD was a friend of Sailor Sid Diller and would often tattoo at Sid’s South Florida shop. I archived video a few months back and put a call out for SD/OV readers to help me identify the artist in the tape. Through my new friend Brian I found out that the tattooer was none other than John Daigon, who was not only still around, but was willing to talk to us body modification nerds about the glory days. The audio on that recording is pretty beat due to some technical/location issues, but once I get Mike’s history transcribed I’ll put the footage into Final Cut and see if I can clean it up enough to make a transcript.
Late summer 2015 has been super busy for me and I’ve been ignoring Sacred and OV but as fall approaches I have some really amazing content for you folks. Thanks to everyone who’s supported the site and restorations over the last few months- you’re keeping the wheels moving and I appreciate it.
Detail from a letter sent to Jack Yount from Sailor Sid Diller circa 1986 with hand colored nipple ring. I’m not sure if Sid drew the design or not (I’m betting not) but it appears in several correspondences of his that I’ve seen.