Sebastian~Salome is perhaps the defining work created
by Torture By Roses, with the themes it explores also giving
the project its name. Originally recorded in a basic form in
1999, the piece was elaborated upon in 2000 and 2001. Divided
into two parts respectively exploring the characters from the
title, Sebastian-Salome looks at the way in which the
legends that have built up around certain biblical stories have
provided queer people with a reference point to their identity.
The first four tracks
(La Cour, Martyrdom, Passion, and I Trembled
With Joy) tell the story of the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian,
concluding centuries later with the veneration of the pierced
saint by the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima.
The final six tracks (How Good it is to see the
Moon, To Dance With Naked Feet, The First Veil, Danse Diabolique,
The Final Veil, and I Have Kissed Thy Mouth) explore
the legend of Salome, with the dancer as a priestess of the
dark goddess, who seeks the head of John the Baptist as part
of a ceremonial sacrifice. Her dance of seven veils is paralleled
with the descent of the Sumerian goddess Inanna into the underworld,
and with the journey of the soul through the astral layers of
album was released on CD by Mediatrix Publishing in September,
2001. A complete performance based around the Sebastian and Salome
cycle of songs was created by Abby and The Magdalene, but the
performance of the piece was cancelled due to a number of factors,
including threats from Christian groups.
|FURTHER INFORMATION (INTERNAL LINKS):
QUEER POETRY: The following
two poems, written centuries apart, are significant examples
of the queer undercurrents in Christian mysticism. The
first tells of a night-time tryst between the saint and
Christ, with a distinctly erotic tone. The second puts
the relationship between the recently-crucified Jesus
and the Roman centurion Longinus, and was the subject
of a blasphemy trial in the United Kingdom.
*The Dark Night of the
Soul by the 16th century Spanish Carmelite mystic
San Juan de la Cruz (St. John of the Cross)
*The Love That Dares to Speak
its Name by the 20th century poet James Kirkup.
Two lengthy tracts written to accompany the Torture By
Roses work Sebastian~Salome. Available here as
a pdf download.
created to accompany the Sebastian ~ Salome
release, with each using one of the tracks from the album
as its theme.