Torture By Roses
Biography Performances Artwork Links


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 Gnostic kozmology.

How Good To See The Moon

The Sebastian~Salome 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.



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.

Sebastian~Salome: Two lengthy tracts written to accompany the Torture By Roses work Sebastian~Salome. Available here as a pdf download.

IMAGERY: A gallery of images created to accompany the Sebastian ~ Salome release, with each using one of the tracks from the album as its theme.









Barakei Gydja The Magdalene