Sunday, 15 April 2012

Poly put the kettle on

Just catching up with the Guardian... The colour supp of a few days ago had a long article about polyamory, about those who are involved in multiple relationships. This subject appears pretty regularly in the press. I notice this because, in 1995, the book Breaking the Barriers to Desire: new approaches to multiple relationships appeared from Five Leaves. The firm grew out of the old Mushroom Bookshop Publications - the publishing imprint of the radical bookshop in Nottingham. Mushroom had a strong interest in sexual politics, so when Five Leaves took over the shop's advance publications list this, and one or two other sexual politics titles came out, before the new imprint moved away, or possibly to safer ground. Barriers - which had probably the worst cover design ever (I plead guilty) - sold reasonably, then stopped selling, and the remaining stock was eventually sold at a big discount to the American magazine Loving More. We should have held on to some copies as it is a book referenced in many articles on "polyamory, polyfidelity and non-monogamy". But the real interest is within the press. We know this because towards the end of the book's life Angela Neustatter wrote an article in a newspaper about polyamory, citing the book. I'd been away for a couple of days and returned to find my answering machine entirely full of messages from journalists wanting review copies or to interview the editors, Kevin Lano and Claire Parry, with whom I'd lost touch. Journalists continued to ring for days (admittedly, I never returned the calls from the Sun). I could not contact the editors. I had nothing to say on the subject personally as I know more about Polyfilla than polyamory, but assumed that Angela's article would see off the remaining stock. Well, we sold a couple more copies, maybe half a dozen, and gave out many more review copies than that. I think there was a subsequent big feature in the Sunday Mirror, which resulted in maybe another sale or two. For years aftewards we'd get excited calls from journalists desperate to write on this subject and in need of source material. In other words, the public in general is not that interested in polyamory, but journalists are. Including from the Guardian, obviously. Tidying my office recently, I found one forgotten copy of the book. I only need the existing file copy, so a single copy of Breaking the Barriers to Desire is available from us at, with a cover price of £5.99. If anyone buys it I'll send the £5.99 to a suitable charity - Relate maybe, or the journalists' benevolent society.

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