Hartnett’s controversial album banned as book released

Adam Lowe

TW: Article deals with allegations of abuse.

It seems there are differing publication standards in the publishing world when it comes to books and music. Acclaimed gay author Peter Paul Hartnett – known for his photography of the LGBT community and his hard-hitting books published by St Martin’s Press and Gay Times – has released his highly controversial book, Child R*** Photos, a month early on Lulu.com, while Tunecore has apparently banned the spin-off album for its unflinching lyrics and difficult subject matter.

As we discovered in our recent chat with Hartnett, his book deals with allegations of historic child abuse at a fictional Ealing school. The author draws upon his own experiences, and presents them as a transcript from a fictional documentary – again apparently based on a real-life documentary that was allegedly pulled by producers before being broadcast because of the revelations it contained.

According to Hartnett, Tunecore was set to distribute the album by punk band Child R*** Photos, named after the book, but pulled it at the 11th hour because of the title of the band, the titles of the songs, and the lyrics. The same lyrics, however, are published in the back of the book.

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‘The book is only available as a PDF at the moment. It’s an early Easter egg,’ Hartnett says, adding that additional formats will be available at a range of online retailers from 30 March 2015.

It is unknown whether the book will be rejected by ebook distributors too, although Hartnett thinks this is likely. ‘The book is all about censorship in one form or another,’ he explains.

In a conversation with Bent Magazine, Hartnett said, ‘My new work is a punk protest upon decades of blind eyes, deaf ears. Negligence, from Diocese of Westminster to Vatican City State. One Pope after another … decades of skilled denial, strategic evasion, cunning concealment. Will Pope Francis and his newly-appointed “red hats” do anything more than put a PR spin upon the legacy of abuse? Broken vows, betrayals of trust. Such a way of life makes a religious order appear to be an unholy disorder.’

The book’s cover has already caused a stir on social media. It is, as Hartnett says, ‘a moral work about immoral acts’ that lays the blame at the feet of men and women of God. Hartnett has dedicated it to Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols, for his punk energy, and Pope Francis, for his more open stance on the topic of Catholic abuse allegations.

Hartnett’s new Tumblr has a range of alternate covers for the book, plus the cover of the banned album in question.

Visit Lulu.com to buy an advance copy of the book. (Additional formats will be available elsewhere from 30 March 2015.)

About Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people. He sometimes performs as Beyonce Holes.