So, let’s get down to the meat and potatoes. On second thought, who needs potatoes?!
meat, the titillatingly described “cult UK pinup zine”, is celebrating ten years of satisfying our carnivorous desires– one page at a time! The popular zine has been published quarterly since 2010, with each issue offering a generous serving of unretouched photos of “real” men. Yep! “Real” men, as in: NOT professional models. Admirers of the male form have indeed shown their love of all things meat-y through the years: The zine has garnered a universal following beyond its native England. On www.meatzine.com, fans worldwide can satisfy their carnal cravings with everything from digital and print versions of each issue, to meat T-shirts, to calendars, to limited edition 8X10 prints.
Hot off the press for 2021 comes meat: the book, a hardcover retrospective featuring previously unpublished photos, the best selections from the last 10 years, and some brand new pics. At 260 pages, that’s a lot of meat for your money! And, for those of you like me lost in the ’90’s, isn’t it time to find something to replace Madonna’s dusty old Sex as your coffee table book? Madge may not forgive you, but trust me, your friends will love it!
The man behind meat is Adrian Lourie, a London-based freelance photographer. He has been photographing men in their underpants (and many times WITHOUT their underpants…) and publishing meat single-handedly –with some occasional help from his friends– since 2010. Adrian took the time to speak to me about meat: the book, what makes a man hot, and the return of those famous meat parties!
JR: Hello Adrian! Thank you for speaking with me.
AL: Hello from London. I’m completely stoked to be talking to you Jed.
JR: Same here. Greetings from New York City! In my town, you can buy meat at The Museum of Sex, which is always a fun place for both natives and visitors! Have you ever been to New York? You’d find lots of potential model material here!
AL: Sadly at the moment you can’t buy it there, I’m not sure why. I’ve had a bit of trouble keeping hold of my NYC stockists. I do believe there are some magazines though in Quimby’s Bookstore in New York now, and hopefully I can get the book in there too. I ADORE New York. I’ve been on two extended visits and I cannot wait to go back. You know what, I’ve never shot any guys in the city and I feel rubbish about that. I need to come back and do a special edition there. It’s a cliché to say it, but it really is one of my favourite cities and yeah……the men!!!!
JR: Indeed! (Laughs) You had mentioned once in a previous interview that back when you first started meat in 2010, the shift had already begun from paper to digital. Now, in 2021, do we still have a need for printed erotica? Sometimes I feel like I’m the last guy on earth who still buys physical magazines, erotic or otherwise!
AL: Oh my god, I feel like that guy too! I think there is a sea change happening and it has been for a while. Especially around self-publishing and small batch publishers. Look, we are never going to turn back time but I honestly think print is still so relevant and there is nothing like it. I can’t imagine not producing printed works and also wanting to buy them. My zine shelves are full to near collapse and I get such a kick out of exploring print. It’s HOT!
JR: I always thought so! So, congratulations on meat: the book! I can’t wait to unwrap my copy once it arrives. It is going to replace Salvador Dali’s Les Diners de Gala as my coffee table book! How has the response been to meat the book been so far?
AL: Well thank you, I’m in good company (I love that book too!). It’s been quite a journey to get the book to this stage. At first I felt really miserable because I couldn’t find a publisher who would touch the project. However, self-publishing the book felt like absolutely the right thing to do and it’s been such a learning process and I have got to say, I am so proud of the book and the way it turned out. Now it’s finally getting out there to people and the response has been amazing. There is a lot of love for the project and seeing and hearing people’s responses to the book never gets old.
JR: That’s great to hear! One of the reasons I find the meat men so sexy is because, as you have pointed out before, they are REAL men, not models! A lot of the guys encompass what we would call “traditional” masculinity: tattoos, facial hair, body hair… I know that the term “masculine” is always changing. What does the term mean to you as an artist? Has the definition changed or evolved through the years?
AL: They are all ‘real’ men, absolutely. There’s definitely an aesthetic there too, which has sometimes been called ‘hipster’ and sometimes ‘beary’ but I honestly think the project encompasses so many different tribes and I have always strived to represent as many kinds of men queer people as possible. I don’t think, over the years, I’ve ever really thought in terms of masculinity when I’m shooting guys, or at least it’s the last thing that occurs to me. However, it has been interesting in recent years seeing the changes in how we look at gender identity and I have definitely been curious about representing that. I absolutely shoot more none-binary people and I have had a trans cover star last year. That’s exciting to me as a photographer.
JR: That’s so wonderful! Now, through the years, have you ever randomly approached a guy on the street about being in meat?
AL: I haven’t, but honest to god, I see guys all the time that I SHOULD approach. I’m really lucky that I have a constant stream of guys who approach me, usually via social media and I will photograph anyone who wants to put themselves out there for the project. It’s the biggest compliment that anyone at all wants to be featured.
JR: I can totally understand that! Part of your job has been to go through hundreds (thousands?) of pictures of hot men through the years. As the song goes, “Nice work if you can get it!” As a true connoisseur of male sexiness, what do you personally find sexy in a guy?
AL: This is true. I’ve photographed around 600 guys for 46 issues of the zine and I went through every image preparing for the book. There’s definitely enough images for Vol II. What do I find sexy? Oh gosh, so many things. It’s a cliche but it’s usually how someone presents themselves, confidence and humour are the sexiest thing. Physically, it’s pretty wide and varied (Laughs). I like good legs, hairy chests, and beautiful eyes. Honestly though, I kinda fancy everyone I’ve ever photographed for meat. They are all totally gorgeous and sexy in their own ways.
JR: I agree! Now, New York City has finally been opening up. I would imagine London is as well. Does this mean the famous meat parties are coming back?
AL: The meat party actually came back in May and we’ve done two parties that were both socially distanced and with limited capacity. Strangely it worked though. I’m excited we’ll be back with a regular party in September and that will be fun. I’ve also gone back to the Kings Arms in Soho, DJ-ing on Friday nights. It’s London’s only (and oldest) Bear Bar and honestly going back after 16 months away has been the biggest joy.
JR: Well, I have my passport! (Laughs) What would be the perfect music for the Official meat Book Release Party?
AL: Disco Funk without a doubt. George McCrae, I Get Lifted, anything by Crown Heights Affair, Gladys Knight, Teena Marie….the list goes on.
JR: Nice! So, if you could only pick one famous American guy for a meat spread, who would it be?
AL: William R. Moses, when he was about 30. (Laughs)
JR: (Laughs) Lastly, I have to ask: The holidays will be here before we know it. Is meat a suitable gift for vegetarians?
AL: (Laughs) Absolutely. We cater for ALL appetites.
JR: I’m getting a little hungry now, actually! Thank you for speaking with me, Adrian!