Monday, February 22, 2010

For the retroporn fan

One of the more interesting new additions to German publisher Taschen's book catalogue is this special mini-size box set of compiler Dian Hanson's selection from the Swedish Private magazine during the 1970s. The magazine was established in 1965 and steered for the next 25 years by Stockholmer Berth Milton (1926-2005), called the father of modern hard-core pornography. The first seven issues featured girls displaying their parts (even that was daring at the time), but issue 8 in 1967 heralded a spread of a copulating couple, introduced by an editorial with 3 gruesome scenes from the then current Vietnam war, asking what was obscene - war violence on the nightly TV news or lovemaking? Competitors soon appeared, particularly the Theander Brothers of Denmark with their Color Climax Corporation, and modern porn was in full steam.

Never content, Berth Milton continued to push the envelope and although he stayed mainstream (unlike the Theanders who had no qualms about catering for every perversion), as the seventies progressed Private became less exotic and more debauched. In 1990 his son Berth Milton Junior took control, and sensing that Swedes were not that comfortable with the reputation they had, moved the operation to Barcelona.

In Patricia Bartlett land, of course, it was all banned until the 1990s, so Private and the like were largely unknown. This little set of five books in a box is a nicely produced and presented selection of Dian Hanson's choosing from the original transparencies, swapping some photos that weren't used for some that were, and - given the subject - reasonably tasteful. Apparently the original magazines from the time now change hands on the Internet for significant sums. For those who were denied it all at the time, here is a solid sampling of that era's licentiousness.

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