# 21295

BESCHI, David; USOW, Volka; TRUE, Robert

[S & M] The Link : catalogue.

  • Sold

Cover: Adult Material Only. East Sydney, NSW : The Link Leather Shop, 91 Crown Street, [c.1980]. Quarto (305 x 225 mm), original illustrated wrappers (foxed), staple bound, [22] pp (including covers), photographic and line-drawn illustrations throughout, with descriptions of approximately 100 bondage and discipline products and an introductory essay by The Link co-owner, David Beschi; light foxing to outer leaves and occasionally to margins, else very good.

‘This is the first catalog to be put out by THE LINK since its opening nine months ago and contains but a small portion of the many items that are available thru the shop which is situated at 91 Crown Street East Sydney. This first catalog places its heaviest emphasis on those commercial items and custom made goods which will best serve our customers in attaining the truest satisfaction in pursuit of his sexual desires …’ (rear cover).

‘By ’78, Sydney’s CBD, Kings Cross, Bondi and Darlinghurst had bathhouses. Most of them were shy of Campaign’s survey. But backroom bars were complementing and competing with them. Club 80 opened in late ’77 as “Sindney’s” (sic) first fuck bar. It was “a real wild scene. Lots of leather and denim” (Camp January 1978). The Signal (at Oxford and Riley Streets) had also opened in late ’77 (ibid). By March ’79, it had moved to Crown Street and had imposed a “be a man” dress code for those who wanted to be “dirty with an open mind” (OWN November 1982). And by ’80, its American-born owners had opened The Link leather shop and were promoting Sydney’s first Mr Leather contest. They wanted to create a community spirit for men who wanted to support each other’s S/M fantasies (Camp April 1980).’ (Harris, Gavin. Heteronormativity & its Discontents. Towards a cultural history of metropolitan gender & sexual dissidence. A thesis submitted to fulfil the requirements of the degree Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Fine Arts, University of Sydney, November 1999, p. 206).

The Link Gallery, which opened at the same Crown Street address in 1983, was Sydney’s first gay art gallery.

Apparently unrecorded in Australian collections, this trade catalogue is clearly a very scarce ephemeral publication from the pre-HIV/AIDS era in Sydney. It was produced within two or so years of the first gay Mardi Gras march, by a business enterprise whose co-owners made a highly significant contribution to Sydney’s gay scene in the early 1980s.