In this sequel to Sex, Drugs & Disco, Mark Abramson’s diaries begin on January 1, 1980 with optimism for the new decade. San Francisco was a beacon of freedom for gay men from around the world, and he was there to write down the details of most of his tricks, love affairs, and all the fleeting encounters in between. Like the denizens of pre-war Berlin, we were scarcely aware of how special were the times we lived in, nor that our hedonistic joy in the celebration of gay liberation would soon be cut short by the terrible scourge of AIDS.
Reviews from Amazon:
July 22, 2016: 4 Out of 5 Stars
I liked Mark Abramson’s SEX, DRUGS AND DISCO quite a lot, so I was eager to read his follow-up, MORE SEX, DRUGS AND DISCO, which picks up where the previous book left off. Both volumes are comprised of Abramson’s diary entries. Volume One chronicles his life from Summer 1975 when he arrived in San Francisco from Minnesota and runs through New Year’s Eve 1979. This new volume picks up the following day and runs through early 1981.
The new volume is a good read as well. It might not add too much new to the story that emerged from the first book, but so what? It is a very personal and evocative time piece and a look at a young gay man figuring out his place in the world.
Early on is a brief stretch that gets a bit repetitive: pick-up guy, have sex, rinse, repeat. The parade of men who come into Abramson’s life are mostly identified with first names-only, which is understandable, but when a new entry would mention a guy’s name, I would stop and ask myself, “Should I remember who this guy is? Or is he a new, random guy who won’t appear again?” It was hard to invest in some of these ciphers, but very quickly there were men who stuck around for more than one or two entries, so individuals emerged and something akin to a plot and a coherent narrative emerged, which was very satisfying.
At times I found myself judging Abramson’s younger self’s search for meaning in every facet of his life, especially in relation to the men he encountered. I had to remind myself that Abramson was 27 at the time and still idealistic and hopelessly romantic. And, to be fair, the younger Abramson could also say things that were pretty profound in their simplicity. One quote that stayed with me is “Bill is the man I consider my best friend these days. It seems funny how the term ‘best friend’ had more importance to me as a child. Was it a sense of fraternity or a presaging of homosexuality? I don’t know.”
As he did with the first volume, Abramson interjects commentary written for this volume where he looks back and analyzes his behavior and words from the past. These all-too-brief reflections were some of my favorite parts of the book. I appreciated his honest, self-aware, and astute analyses of his younger self.
The “Afterword” is Abramson’s 1981 interview with James Moore, aka Sister Sleaze Du Jour of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. It does not directly relate to the events in the diaries, other than it took place within the time period covered by the book, but it is a great interview, and I appreciate it being included.
By James Brock September 8, 2016 5 out of 5 Stars
Another true, raw slice-of-life serving of life any big city (this one is San Francisco) pre AIDS. Like Sex. Drugs and Disco this volume places the reader at ground zero during the sexual revolution, pulling no punches, keeping no secrets More Sex, Drugs and Disco is a powerful time capsule of a time before sex became deadly. When the time comes to write the story of gay life for humanity chapters of this volume certainly will need to be included.