INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Creem DECEMBER 1974 - by Kathy Miller
ENO: NAKED AND NEUROTIC
Twelve years of convent schooling with the Sisters of Mercy had not prepared the intrepid Creem photog for her first plunge into the realm of hi-gloss soft porn snap shooting. Following the "hello-how-a'yas," Eno's publicist Simon Puxley hopefully queried, "Would you like to take some nude photos of Eno as test shots for Viva?
Not that Eno will drop his bottoms for everyone. But since Viva expressed a great desire to see him au naturel, flashed in fleshy colour gloss across their centrefold, Eno decided to comply. Being a leader in the avant garde (and in this case, garde derriere), after conceptual art, musique concrete and Roxy, there was no new world left for the irrepressible Eno to conquer save Beefcake.
Magazine history could not be denied Eno chic to cheek. "I could never do this for a male photographer - I'd be too embarrassed. Don't be coy, thousands have seen me naked."
As Ian Hunter says in Diary Of A Rock And Roll Star, the human bod, undraped, by light of sun is a pretty mundane shell, downright grotty and un-erotic. There was something R. Crumbian comic in seeing Eno traipse the length and breadth of the room, wearing naught but a Registered Cult Figure tee shirt, his manhood flouncing jauntily in the breeze, wondering what poses he could effect that "aren't neurotic."
The session hit a crescendo of surrealistica as Eno began twisting like a pretzel, saying, straight-faced: "Get a bun shot." After suggesting that he be photographed spread-eagle "with all my rudeness showing," Simon reminded Eno, who seemed a trifle hurt, that Viva didn't care about his genitalia, just his supple Grecian bod. He ran the gamut of tease poses: Eno teething fetchingly on a sheet, Eno fingering a glass of white wine "decadently," Eno calling some girl on the phone whilst naked. After sprawling on his tummy, Eno was in a mild state of arousal. "Forgive me if I have a hard-on; it is certainly the way of nature. I can't sit up," he moaned.
"Yes, Viva doesn't like erections," Simon thoughtfully mulled, "but they're only test shots."
"I'll cover it with a book," which Eno did unil he was once again discreet.
How was he coming up to snuff? Would he make the grade and join Fabian and Lyle Waggoner and even, fer chrissakes, John Davidson? "I have lovely shoulders in rock and roll, and quite a nice face..." scanning down the expanse of his fleshoid buff. "I'm quite pleased with myself... except for my knees; I have knobbly knees. They won't reject me for my knees, will they? Yes, my knees and my FEET. I hate my feet; they're always cold. The only time my feet aren't cold is when I make love, which I do all the time. I only make love to keep my feet warm."
Unless Viva picks up on a good thing, all the Eno anyone will ever see, celluloid speaking, is the contact sheet under the photog's mattress. Eno'd like to keep it that way. He had an unpleasant run-in with a male groupie ("They're of even less use than female ones"), and threatened, with a crack of doom, "If these pictures ever find their way into any gay magazines" (mustering bile and bluster and pointing at the photog) "I'll break your glasses!" Eno's a man of his word, and you can never tell into whose hands Creem will fall, can you?