Tag Archives: ModCon

ModCon CD-ROM 1999

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 4.22.32 PMBefore the first ModCon book, which covered the first and second events, there was a limited run ModCon 1999 Event CD available on CD-Rom. It was basic HTML formatted with three size gallery options for the photographs that included printable resolution images of Toronto’s Philip Barbosa amazing black and white portraits.

Other ModCon media includes two books, a vcd and a dvd of procedural footage.

 

 

The new renaissance

Patrick Bartholomew (and his cat, Dog)

Patrick Bartholomew (and his cat, Dog)

In 2001, Patrick Bartholomew wrote the back cover blurb for Shannon Larratt and Philip Barbosa’s long out of print ‘ModCon- the secret world of extreme body modification’. When Shannon circulated a .pdf version of the book, the back cover was curiously missing, so I’ve included it here along with Patrick’s contact information for those of you who would like to send him a little love.

Patrick was far too humble to include his own name in the pantheon of Body Mod heroes- a mistake that I’ll proudly correct.

Patrick’s paypal address is: [email protected]

ModCon- the secret world of underground body modification back cover text:

As the new millennium gets underway we are seeing the maturity of the second renaissance in the world of body modification and it’s offshoots.

The first renaissance started with the coming together of Doug Malloy and the first group of interested parties including Jim Ward, Viking Navarro, Sailor Sid Diller, Fakir Musafar, Jim A. and later Mr. Sebastian and Jack Yount and several others. It was the wealth of Doug Malloy that allowed the founding of this movement to get off the ground, and for the coming of the first professional body modification studio- Gauntlet– to start under Jim Ward. Fakir introduced the term ‘Modern Primitive’, and this was in turn given impetus by the publishing of the book with this title by Juno & Vale in the 1980s.

Flawed as the book Modern Primitives may have been, it was an electrifying start to the world of body modification for many, myself included. There were attempts to ban it around the world, many successful, which to a larger extent helped to publicize it, and consequently, the body modification movement. (I remember re-binding copies of the book in the covers of children’s books and shipping them successfully to friend behind the ‘moral curtain’ in some of the countries that banned them.)

The first great leap forward of the ‘mods’ we take for granted began back in the 60s and continued through the 80s. It was in the realms of the gay leather and SM secene that the true work began. There were other individuals with their own agenda who had also contributed but no doubt we will never know about, but those who did become known went into the folklore of this fast growing group who were lumped under this ‘Modern Primitive’ umbrella.

Next came the ‘scientists’ of the mod scene. We experimented and tried new methods and materials, and gained the experience that laid the groundwork for the next new renaissance.

This blossomed with the coming of the Internet. Early web site brought to people’s private worlds and the reality of what was going on out there, and helped them come to terms with their own ‘scary desires’. The general media publicity generated by Jean Paul Gualtier’s amazing clothing collection with it’s pierced navel models, the piercings of film stars and pop icons also went hand in hand to give the mainstream a push into the daring world of body modification.

But if was the coming of Body Modification Ezine (BME) that really established what we have today. Shannon Larratt- by his own admission- was the right person at the right place at the right time. He has engineered to bring the truth of body modification to all of us. It has cost him dearly over the years that he has been bringing us the images, the stories, the facts, the contacts and the ‘big picture’ as we have it now. This labor of love has at last begun to pay off, and with the publication of this new book he has certainly set himself amongst the great heroes of body modification history. I do not believe that any one person has done more than Shannon to popularize our scene. None of it could have been done though without the massive contributions of the BME readers with their input of experiences and photographs.

Like Doug Malloy before him, Shannon, through the amazing ModCons, has brought together the greats of the bodymod world. And from these meetings has emerged this book that I believe will rightfully take over where Juno & Vale’s left off. This book is not an end in its self, it rather marks the end of our beginning.

-Patrick Bartholomew London August 2001

Patrick Bartholomew

Patrick31

Patrick Bartholomew, 1978.

Update:
Patrick passed away on 12th January 2015.
He will be missed.


It is with great sadness that I pass this on; legendary UK Body Modification artist Patrick Bartholomew contacted me earlier tonight to let me know that the cancer he’s been battling has spread to his brain and that his time left with us is being measured in days/weeks. Patrick has been fighting this fight with an inspiring positivity and there were times where I felt that despite the prognosis he’d outlive us all just to prove that he could.

8/6/2011
I have renal cancer that has spread from my kidney to both lungs. I was diagnosed as being terminal in January 2010. I was not expected to live for more than 6 and definitely no more than 12 months. I had my ‘baggage packed’ ready to go. I had no problems getting my head around it, I have had a good life, and at 64 was quite accepting of the situation. However I have had amazing results from my Sunitinib targeted cancer therapy drugs, and the tumours have shrunk significantly, and I am feeling better now than I did 18 months ago. That is not to say I am feeling well, just that I am in no pain, and I can make plans for periods of more than a few weeks ahead. I feel incredibly lucky, and compared to many other terminal sufferers I truly am! 😉

Life sometimes has other plans.

Patrick stepped away from the Professional Body Modification scene in 2005 when his health began to worsen and without a heavy online presence (and having been based in the UK) is often an overlooked figure in the community despite being an early innovator of “extreme” piercing techniques- including transscrotals, deep chest piercings and possibly the first known uvula piercing. 1 At times Patrick’s techniques were considered shocking- he believed in ‘the right tool for the job’ and was known as an early adopter of freehand technique as well as using sterilized leather punches for septum and guiche piercings which occasionally put him at odds with more conservative members of the piercing industry.

To me a Master Piercer is one who can do any piercing! And I do mean any piercing. I was accused some years ago of riding on Alan’s reputation. I put out a challenge that I would do any piercing named by any other piercer in public, provided that they would do the same. I went further and promised that whatever they claimed was their best piercing I could do as well, and probably better. Needless to say I received no takers. When I see super work from the likes of Jon Cobb, I know a master when I see one. I don’t think I would like to have to compete with him… (laughing) but I would if I had to.BME Interview with Shannon Larratt. 

 

While he remains under-appreciated here in the US, he was a fixture in the development of the UK Piercing Scene, the logical heir to his mentor Mr. Sebastian’s legacy and a regular contributor to Pauline Clarke’s PIERCING WORLD MAGAZINE. In the two and a half decades that I’ve known Pat I’ve always playfully called him Uncle Patrick; whether it was watching him perform modifications at a ModCon event or sitting around in our hotel room while he smoked his pipe and shared stories from the old days he was always a total charmer. A gruff old curmudgeon with a heart of gold who’s commitment to our community was always apparent.

In 1988 I was asked by a Gay Magazine where piercing would take me by the turn of the century, and my flippant reply was “God knows, I am more interested in where I will take Piercing!” That has been my philosophy throughout, and I only hope that it has been along a true and righteous path. I always believed that I would have an influence, and now that I look back I feel proud of what I have done and achieved, and Like Mr Sebastian before me:

I hope I will be remembered not mainly for my piercings – my art, but for my ethics, for my refusal to compromise on my standards and beliefs, for my methods and my concern, and for my sincere empathy for my clients.
– Patrick Bartholomew

 

 

Notes:

  1. This claim is hard to substantiate; Jon Cobb is commonly thought to be the originator of the Uvula piercing, first performing it on himself in 1994 and documenting it on video. Patrick is reported to have attempted it on a client named Crudelia several years prior, but removed the jewelry when her gag reflex wouldn’t calm down. He considered the procedure a failure. As far as I’m aware there is no documentation of the attempt.

ModCon4 Video recovered (NSFW)

mc4labiaI received a message on tumblr a few weeks ago asking if I could answer a few questions about Photographic Preservation and Collection Management, a topic that’s obviously germane to an ad hoc historian like myself.

If a real archivist were to see my organizational system they’d be horrified. Getting everything in order, however, would take some of the fun out of my randomly discovering forgotten treasures, unlabeled and just waiting to be found.

When I was looking for my Social Security card today I came across a CD case filled with unorganized DVD+r and CDr, including one that was labeled MC4 in tidy block Sharpie letters. I popped it into my Macbook and was surprised to find some raw video of a few of the female genital modification procedures performed at the 2003 ModCon4 event.

There were a few cameras recording at the event that I never had access to, so it was great recovering some of the footage I had thought lost.

 

 

Versatility

sdIMG154

Out of the five and a half ModCon events held between 1999 and 2004, ModCon3 holds the title for most guests invited and most modifications performed. When we finally closed the doors on the last day our practitioners and staff were exhausted and in need of some down-time, so we headed to Shannon Larratt’s Bathurst Street house for a night of tellin’ stories and last minute suspension.

I did my first that night, along with my friends Sean and Andy who is seen here getting pierced by Blair Mclean and Steve Haworth. I’ve been to a lot of suspension events since that night but the simplicity of a bunch of friends goofing around in that back yard after a hellish, stressful weekend sticks with me as one of the best.


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Forty One

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 “Memory is what we are. Your very soul and your very reason to be alive are tied up in memory.”- Nick Cave

In the nearly 20 years that I knew Shannon Larratt we found ourselves in plenty of situations that became fodder for epic stories; drunken nights doing vinegar shots and stumbling to Pizza Pizza to sober us up, planning out the marketing on ModCock sex toys and even arguing the ethics of starting an event for cannibalism fetishists that was something straight out of Gaiman’s the Doll’s House storyline….

Very few of my best memories of him have anything to do with what brought us together in the first place; as our friendship went on we talked less and less about body modification and more about the dorky pursuits and hobbies that occupied our time.

When this photo was taken in early 1998 in Detroit Michigan- and apologies for using the original 1998 72dpi scan- we were eating candy, planning the first ModCon and arguing whether mutual masturbation before a hockey game was necessary for a win. When my copy of the second Modcon book arrived in the mail the inscription read “Shawn- my next book is about hockey- on so many levels.” I’m still not sure what he meant by that, but I’m sure we would have won the game.

Today would have been Shannon’s 41st birthday; he’s very dearly missed.

 

Subincision Fun

JVHS

One of the fun things about updating the SD site (or our tumblr) is the chain effect; one photo leading me to think about something else and seeing where that takes me. The header photo for the ‘ModCocks‘ article, for example, featured plaster molds of my friend J’s subincision progress, which led me to see if I could find the first VHS tape he sent me somewhere between 1996-1998.

J and I met through the UNIQUE club and began corresponding through letters and eventually video tape exchanges. He was charming; a true Gent and adventurer who was in the process of subincising himself; and thankfully he was documenting his progress with photographs, video tapes and plaster molds.

I introduced him to Shannon Larratt, who featured him several times on BME 1 2 who invited him with my recommendation to speak at the inaugural ModCon event in 1999. (his speech was on tens units as pain management during genital modification. He infamously referred to penises as ‘doodlehangers’ to avoid offending our female guests)

I believe this tape was at one time available for purchase on the old BME/Video site. I look forward to seeing if my copy is salvageable.

From his BME Interview:

J: I’d say that just because some people who cut themselves are seriously emotionally disturbed does not mean that everyone who appreciates the artistry or eroticism of genital mods is crazy. Our society is heavily oriented towards machines, and machines work great when they deal with a uniform, predictable product, including us . . . to quote a bright young Harvard graduate (whom I shall identify in just a moment),

" . . . our society tends to regard as a 'sickness' any mode of thought or behavior that is inconvenient for the system, and this is plausible because when an individual doesn't fit into the system it causes pain to the individual as well as problems for the system. Thus the manipulation of an individual to adjust him to the system is seen as a 'cure' for a 'sickness' and therefore as good."

In a world that seems bent on packing us all into conformist crypts because a nonconformist is a thorn in the side of educators, consumerist capitalism, and the not-really-two-party political system, a strong natural drive for individuality must find an outlet or risk madness. I believe body art provides one such outlet. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a great American philosopher born nearly 200 years ago, said, “The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” Too much of a good thing. Body art is nonconformist and it gives people a relatively safe way of acting out. The Harvard grad, by the way, was Ted Kaczynski.

ModCocks

modcocks

This post originally ran as a diary entry on my personal blog on 03.28.2013 and has been slightly edited for content.

ModCocks.
This is a true story. I haven’t thought about it in years, but a conversation earlier with my friend Christy brought it back, and I figured since I’m still in a ‘those were the days!’ kind of mood I’d get this one down for posterity even though it’s a quickie.

For me, Body Modification has always had a root in sexuality. I don’t really talk about sexuality that much here on SD, which is odd given how important it is to my life. I think that there’s still that feeling that I have to limit or censure what I say here because it’s so ‘public’ but for today we’ll just pretend that we’re all adults and that a dirty anecdote is perfectly acceptable.

It was either at ModCon2 or ModCon3 in Toronto Ontario (which would have been 2000 or 2002) when Shannon an I first started joking about the idea of ModCocks. The plan was to get a handful of DIY penis molding kits, send them out to our practitioner friends and have them send the molds back for us to go into production on dildos based on our penises. Subincised dildos, dildos with implants- very niche items for the modification community.

In the middle of trying to orchestrate a full scale underground surgical modification event, we found ourselves laughing hysterically on the phone to friends who couldn’t make it up for the convention, asking if they’d consent to being turned into a sex object. You’d be surprised at how many people readily agreed to do it; then again, probably not.

Like a lot of our hairbrained schemes, we had a full marketing plan laid out- which included sending a few samples to more active contributors of BME/HARD for field testing and documentation- but sadly it never went anywhere.

From the SPC: School of Funny Walks (NSFW 1997)

SDFingrcut

To: ****@***.com (shawn porter)
From: ***********@*****.com (RK)
Subject: thumb and big toe amputation. October 1997

Recently I heard of a fellow who decided to amputate his big toe. There have always been warnings. There is an artery there. You could end up in the emergency room of the hospital. It will affect your balance. You will join the school of funny walks from the Monty Python Flying Circus. Don’t do it!!! BE CAREFUL!!!!

Curiosity killed the cat and Satisfaction brought him/her back. Well, when one experiments with amputating a big toe or thumb, there is little room for experimentation OR if you are alone you could get in big trouble! I heard that fellow one did not end up in the ER and fellow two did. Fellow three ended up in the ER without even amputating a thumb or big toe. He only did a regular finger.

What is the problem. Foolhardy me- I decided to go the route and do my own experiment. My only minor goof was that I did not have the number of a car service in case I got into trouble. WHAT IS THE TROUBLE??? Excessive arterial blood that is probably the major problem. I was a boy scout and their motto is be prepared so that is what I did- I got prepared, at least that is what I was TRYING to do.

How can one cut off a portion of big toe and not bleed to death?? Here is a list of my preparations and what I was going to do:

The farther out on the thumb or big toe one amputates, the smaller the arteries get so I decided to only amputate to the first joint. The further back you go the bigger the artery. By allowing for that short stump I was allowing room for my next secret weapon of caution and preparedness. In case there really would be excessive bleeding I decided to have light rubber tourniquettes. I placed a wide rubber band on my thigh, two narror rubber bands (postal size) on the intep arch, and a wide rubber band on my two middle two stumps and the big toe back of the first joint.

I got all my bandages, and tools ready, and ate my yogurt 30 minutes before operation. I took my two pain killing pills 30 minutes before operation. I got a bucket of Ice Water ready, because I numb the big toe. Of course I scrubbed and used alcohol on me and my tools.

The moment of decision came, and I started to numb the big toe. It took longer than the smaller toes. Finally, I positioned my 25mm chisel, and hammer and discovered that I could have used a wider chisel, which I didn’t have. Thunk, thunk, thunk, it took a couple more but I did go through with it, but it did take gathering up some courage, after all, I have never dealt with an artery. Would all my preparations work??

At a certain point of going through with the chisel was a spray of blood a little like a little water pistol. Immediately after going through and lifting my foot and noticing that my big toe was now seperated, I started pressure with 75mmx75mm bandages. If I would have not used the rubber tourniquettes, I might have excessive bleeding, but I didn’t. The blood was about the same as my other toes. Eventually I rested, although I did not sleep well. There was more shock than other toes.

The next morning I went to work and while at work, after 12 hours since the amputation, I noticed that after all my bandage changing, the bleeding had stopped. I hardly limped when I came home from work. It will probably take 4 weeks to stop completely limping and 8 weeks to heal over the scab. It may take even longer due to the larger size of the big toe. Would I do the other big toe?? I probably would because I know that the bleeding can be controlled. I had been walking up to one mile, (1-1/2 km) not using the ball of the big toe and I don’t think I will be limping, but my gait will lose it’s spring.

In order to control the bleeding, I stopped taking aspirin and other anti-inflamatory medicines which thin the blood. I eat a lot of beets, tomatoes, and drink grape juice to aid the blood, so I did quickly coagulate.

If any of you have further questions, feel free to email me and I will answer any questions you have. Right now I just have three stumps on my left foot and the big toe and 3 stumps on the right foot.

Yours in more and better stumps,

ToeCutter


This article ran in 1997 on the spcOnline site. Toecutter’s emails were always presented as-is, with the grammar/spelling errors intact. In 1998 he allowed BME’s Shannon Larratt to visit his NYC apartment and document a self-done fingertip amputation procedure. The video is wonderfully surreal, a perfect video portrait of Toecutter.

Still Staying Calm

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As I get older- 40 this year- mortality is becoming much more of a real thing for me. I sometimes reference Indiana Jones IV when talking about getting older and seeing the people I love leaving me: “We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away” and it’s true. I look at the people in our community who have moved on to whatever comes next- Jack Yount, Keith Alexander, Shannon Larratt, Josh Burdette and countless other amazing personalities I’ve been lucky to have known over the years and I try my best to be thankful for the time I was given with them instead of dwelling on the sadness of losing them. The nights where we’d stay up till five am just bullshitting about everything and nothing, all for the satisfaction of seeing how far we could take it- whatever it was. Body Modification, movies, art, some joke that as the years have passed I can’t even remember but the memory of telling it on Shannon’s couch on Bathurst street, drunk out of our minds doing shots of aged vinegar and being total goobers. Even the bad times still bring a smile to my face.

I’m  sad that Shannon will be remembered ‘just’ because of Body Modification; he was so much more than that. An artist. A father. A husband. A writer. Someone who’s contributions to social networking will go largely unmentioned in an age of Tom Anderson and Mark Zuckerberg, but Shannon’s contributions to the field- not just the ability to communicate with people all over the world, but to really connect with them- has made an incredible mark in the lives of those of us who were part of the BME community of sites. It wasn’t just a place to share what you had for dinner or funny pictures of your cat; we communicated, man. We talked. When we were having a bad time- the whole community had our back.

A year ago today… It was rough. It’s still rough from time to time, but… the photo above? Those people, people I met through Shannon and his work with BME? We still have each other’s backs.  A month after Shannon passed away we got together and instead of mourning- we celebrated. People came from all over. We played in the park. Told stories. Met children that were born as a result of their parents meeting on BME and falling in love. Jewelry companies and modification artists donated products and services that we raffled off during a bacchanal at the bar my family owns, raising $3600 for Shannon and Rachel’s daughter Ari. In the year that’s followed I’m more connected with my ‘BME friends’ than I had been in years.

I would rather have a world with Shannon Larratt in it- even when we were spatting- than one without. But I’m glad to have had him in my life for as long as I did.

For the post I wrote when Shannon passed- and the eulogy I delivered at the 2013 APP Conference:
Discarded Reliquaries/Stay Calm. 

For photos from the Stay Calm Philadelphia Event: Stay Calm Philadelphia