THE ASHLEYFICATION OF SMUT
by Shaun Costello
The actual “Deuce” way back when.
(Below is a link to a Village Voice story that describes how Ashley and April Spicer helped David Simon and George Pelecanos research their new cable TV Series, The Deuce.)
So, rather than researching the era with people who actually lived it, David Simon and George Pelecanos, the producers of the new Cable TV series, The Deuce, chose Ashley and April Spicer, neither of whom were born when all of this happened. Amazing. Now I understand why neither Simon nor Pelecanos responded to my offer to help. Ashley obviously told them not to. I stood up to Ashley’s Nazification, or is it Ashleyfication, of the history of the adult film world of the Sixties and Seventies. Ashley Spicer actually thinks he owns the rights to any people or events that he chronicles from those days. My publicly expressed disdain for Mr. and Mrs. Spicer has gotten me banished from the pages of their web site, a fate I relish. Mr. Spicer is an investment banker with a hobby – the yesteryear of smut. He has used and abused many in his efforts to become the Ayatollah of smut history.
Mr. Spicer has left many victims in his wake.
No matter how many people Mr. Spicer interviews, no matter how many pieces of archival material he collects, the fact remains that he wasn’t there. His connection to that era is second hand. He never lived it. He is a revisionist historian on a mission. I am amazed at how easily people can be fooled. The porn people he digs up are flattered by his interest and seduced by his persistence. He demands exclusivity from his discoveries, like a real estate broker with a fresh new listing. He has hoodwinked almost the entire population of an era, with his adorable British accent, and his attentive manner. And when he has milked his victims out of every ounce of information, farmed their memories, sometimes painful, until they have exhausted their use to him, he simply discards them, like yesterday’s news; with the understanding that he now owns the rights to their memories, in perpetuity. Mr. Spicer is a charming con man, who has left a long string of victims in his quest to become the curator of an era that has fascinated him since adolescence. And, I suppose, he has succeeded. When Simon and Pelecanos needed to research the smutified world of The Deuce, who better to call on, then the undisputed Nabobs of Seventies 42nd Street, Ashley and April Spicer. So Mr. Spicer’s dream has been realized. His expertise in sleaze is recognized by those who don’t, unfortunately, know any better. He sits atop his collected mountain of memorabilia like a Pasha with his harem. But the fact remains that all he has collected is hearsay. His encyclopedia of erotica is strictly second hand. He has no direct memory of any person or event he has so painstakingly chronicled. He speaks the words of those who lived them. Those words are not his own. He will never really know the smell of the Times Square subway station in 1971. He was never there.
Ashley and April Spicer, the Nabobs of smut history.
© 2017 Shaun Costello
September 13, 2017 | Categories: Fiction and non-fiction from Shaun Costello, Uncategorized | Tags: 1970's porn, April Spicer, Ashley Spicer, David Simon, George Pelecanos, Porn, Smut, The Deuce, The history of Smut. | 3 Comments
REVISIONIST HISTORIANS CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO HISTORY
By Shaun Costello
Historians sometimes become so involved in the events they are chronicling, that they begin to feel they were participants in, rather than chroniclers of those events.
Mr. Bowen will endlessly insist that his version of events is correct, regardless of challenges from people who actually experienced the era he’s revising.
Revisionism is a dangerous commodity. I speak from experience, having had my life turned into fiction by numerous writers whose motives and sources were questionable at best. Those who call themselves historians are a dangerous breed, who often become so involved in chronicling an era that they begin to think they were actually part of it. Busy attempting to reassemble the characters and events of the Adult Film Industry in the 1960’s and 1970″s, I can think of two so-called historians who fit this category. One is Michael Bowen, and the other is Ashley Spicer. The former, who has some oblique connection to NYU, will endlessly insist that his version of history is correct, regardless of challenges from people who actually experienced the era he’s revising.
Ashley Spicer behaves like he’s filed for patent rights on his revelations.
The latter, who, in addition to his day job as an investment banker, operates, along with his wife April, a web site called The Rialto Report, which offers articles about, and interviews with adult film stars from the Sixties and Seventies, the decades that are often called porn’s “Golden Age’. Mr. Spicer seems to have filed for patent rights to the chronicle of these decades, suggesting his ownership of the whole story, and woe be unto those who dare to challenge the authenticity of his revelations. Like Evangelical Christians, who believe the Bible is the word of God and should be taken literally, Mr. Spicer seems to suggest that, not only should his version of history be taken as Verbum Dei, but that he owns the book and film rights as well.
Ashley and April Spicer would have you believe that, not only should their version of history be taken as Verbum Dei. but that they own the book and film rights as well.
© 2014 Shaun Costello
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June 26, 2014 | Categories: Fiction and non-fiction from Shaun Costello, Uncategorized | Tags: 1960's, 1970's, 42nd Street, Adult Films, April Hall, April Spicer, Ashley Spicer, Ashley West, Benson Hurst, Bullying, Historians, History, History of Sex Films, Investment bankers and porn, LOOPS, Porn's Golden Age, Pornography, Revisionism, Revisionist History, Sex Films, Stag Films, The Adult Film Industry, The Rialto Report, The Seventies, The Sixties, Times Square | Leave a comment