With society increasingly turning to the internet to share photographs of their body parts, themselves or others, it's made it all the more easier for unsolicited 'dick pics' to appear for no reason whatsoever. SHOWstudio contributor Dominic Myatt's new book, however, Penile Papers, has taken the phallic form into its own hands, reverting back to the old fashioned way of using a pen and paper to interpret phalluses in their own unique (and warranted) way.
Amongst its 62 contributors (Vivienne Westwood, SHOWstudio's very own Nick Knight, Matty Bovan, an IT consultant, a retail assistant, a pub landlady, and a friend's grandmother all included) the bawdy collection of illustrative penis drawings range in style and size, from the oh-so-simple elegance of Nick Knight's line drawing to the even more risky cloth sculpture courtesy of fashion's beloved eccentric, Matty Bovan.
For those thinking this is just a book of willies to giggle at for the sake of giggling, think again. Published by MNK Press, 100% of the zine's profits will be equally split between the HIV and sexual health awareness organisation Terrence Higgins Trust and racial equality organisation Runnymede Trust. Dick drawings are also accompanied by snippets of text scattered throughout the book, all taken from different contributors' answers to a few penis-related questions posed by Myatt and some of the 'no thanks' emails he received in response to his original request for drawings.
All silliness aside, the intimate book serves as a somewhat serious reminder of the near-forgotten days where we could safely hug, kiss and enjoy our sexual freedoms without the government posing bans of single people's sex lives. Its press release sensitively states, 'Conceived pre-Covid 19, Penile Papers is a reminder of an era when we could engage in many acts of human affection with relative abandon. Now that we can no longer safely hug, kiss or even shake hands, let alone be sexually intimate with new partners, this publication might well be the closest many of its readers get to an unfamiliar penis for a little while longer.'
In true zine tradition, the book is just as childish and light-hearted as it is serious about raising money for two important charities. When rolled up, Myatt has cleverly measured the dimensions of his book to match that of the average penis size in the UK - length and girth checked - all you have to do is 'Roll it up, and you'll create a crude, sculptural phallus all your own' writes Helena Haimes in the introduction.