Janus is a British spanking magazine published between 1971 and 2007. The magazine was named after the Roman god Janus who has two faces, one looking to the future, and the other to the past. A small depiction of the two-faced god appeared on the cover as a logo.
Running to a total of 275 regular issues (plus a number of special editions), Janus is the most influential British title in the history of the genre. It was published in two series: the first (1971-1980) was numbered in yearly volumes of twelve issues each, ending with Vol. 9, No. 12; the second series (1981-2007) was numbered in simple sequence, starting from No. 1.
The publishers of Janus have latterly claimed that it was established by a spanking enthusiast named Gordon Sergeant, although whether he ever really existed is doubtful. The name may simply have served as an editorial pseudonym; it appeared in the masthead of later spin-off magazines such as Gordon Sergeant's Privilege Plus.
The magazine was launched in a 76-page pocket-sized format in 1971 under the title Mentor by Janus Publications of 164 North Gower Street, London. Initially priced at 50p and illustrated in black and white, it was sub-titled A Journal for the Modern Discerning Adult and covered a wide range of fetishes, of which spanking was only one. After the fourth issue, the title was altered to Janus to prevent confusion with another periodical called Mentor. Until 1975, its editor was named as Keith Drabble, which may have been an alias for Peter Brewer.
In 1973, Janus published three special editions. The first focused on bondage, rubber and leather fetishism, the second on spanking and the third on lingerie. The editorial team were overwhelmed with the response to the spanking special and published a further three spanking specials that same year. Such evidence of strong demand led to a greater concentration on erotic spanking in the monthly magazine, and this gradually became its exclusive theme.
The magazine was printed by Arbrose Press (40 Danbury Street, London) and distributed by Aesop Magazine Distribution to Sweden, Holland, Amsterdam, Denmark, Australia, and, via Parliament News, to the U.S. and Canada. In 1973, the editor and publishers were prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act and acquitted.
The publisher changed from Janus Publications to Woodheath Ltd. in 1975. Soon after, from the fiftieth issue (Vol. 5, No. 3), Janus switched to a full-size format and altered its sub-title to A Journal of Fetishism and C.P. The magazine simultaneously shrank from 76 to 64 pages, with eight of them printed in colour. The length was later cut to 56 pages in 1986, when Janus stopped carrying advertisements for spanking videos.
After a spell in offices at 187, Victoria Street, Janus was headquartered at a succession of adult bookshops in central London: 10 Irving Street until 1977, then 4 Greens Court, and finally 40 Old Compton Street from 1979. This became a familiar address to a generation of British spanking enthusiasts, as the shop catered for them expressly, also selling spanking videos, canes, and tawses. The magazine advertised its location as 'Slap in the heart of Soho'. The front and interior of the shop may be seen in the spanking video Warden's End (1981).
In 1980, Janus established a private members’ club, The Privilege Club, with a subscription of £10 per year. Its secretary was Gordon Sergeant, the first use of the name. Members received discounts on Janus products and a bi-monthly publication entitled Privilege, unillustrated but containing contact advertisements.
Under the editorship of Alan Van Okker (1913-80), Janus gained recognition as the leading British spanking magazine on account of the quality of its artwork and the literacy of its fiction. Publication was briefly interrupted in 1981, due to a commercial dispute among the proprietors. While rights to the title were being contested, the editorial team produced six issues of a magazine called New Derriere , which was Janus in all but name.
Following resolution of the legal dispute, the magazine returned as New Janus (although 'New' was dropped from the masthead after No.7). Its price was now £3. The first seven editions of the new series were edited by the photographer George Harrison Marks, who left in 1982 to establish his own corporal punishment magazine Kane. Alan Bell of Roue edited Nos.8-10 and was succeeded by Peter French (1982-94).
Janus was later published by Gatisle Ltd. (1980), Mistlime Ltd. (1981-82), Gatisle Ltd. again (1982-96), Pale Horse Ltd. (1996-2004), and Gatisle Ltd. a third time (2005-7). Its principal owner during these decades was William O’Connor, known in Soho as ‘Bookshop Billy’. In the mid-1980s, the police several times seized stocks of the magazine from the shop in Old Compton Street and applied for their destruction, but magistrates decided that the material was not obscene. The editors of Janus, while carefully seeking to stay within the law, found it hard to ascertain exactly what was and what was not acceptable. Because of legal uncertainty, a leading British magazine distributor stopped handling spanking magazines in 1989. This caused a sudden drop in circulation, and the cover price was increased from £8 to £10 in 1990 in order to keep the title viable.
Janus spawned three spin-off magazines during the 1990s: Februs, Privilege Plus and Obey. Its own publication dates meanwhile became irregular. Between four and six issues appeared each year. A Janus website, launched in 1999, amounted to little more than a catalogue for the purchase of hard copies; the brand failed to establish a significant presence on the internet, soon to become the most popular medium for spanking erotica. In 2005, the magazine adopted a new lay-out with colour printing throughout, but the print market by then was shrinking. The final issue was No. 167 in 2007.
The shop in Soho closed when Janus made the transition to a website-only company in 2011. Back numbers of the magazine remain available as electronic downloads.
Style and content
First Series 1971-80
The covers of the first twenty-six issues (Mentor Vol. 1, No. 1 to Janus Vol. 3, No. 2) carried erotic drawings, usually by Rex, of young women in more or less fetishistic clothing. The first issue with a colour photograph on the cover was Vol.3 No.1, the 1973 Christmas special; this became standard from Vol. 3, No. 9. For several years, the cover photographs were mainstream glamour shots, usually of bare-bottomed women. The first issue to show an actual spanking on the front was Vol. 8, No. 1 in 1978.
The content comprised articles, stories, drawings, photographs, and letters on corporal punishment and fetishism: chiefly spanking and caning, but also bondage, rubber and leather-wear, voyeurism, and lingerie. The primary focus was always on adult female spankees – in other words, woman spanking art and stories (F/F and M/F) – but some of the written content in this period also considered [F/M] spanking, although this was not shown in photographs.
An editorial in Vol. 2, No. 7 declared that Janus eschewed the lurid and crude, ‘preferring instead to make full use of the subtleties of the English language to convey erotic stimuli’. Among the regular contributors of short stories were John Hereford, Mark Howarth, James Kenway, John Read, and Howard Tanner. Readers were invited to send letters to Miranda, supposedly a young Australian woman assisting the editor. Recurrent features included ‘Dateline USA’ by Al Green, reporting on spanking in American culture, and ‘Collector’s Corner’ by Murray Roberts, examining spankings in mainstream cinema and literature. A distinctive feature of the early volumes was a high proportion of non-fiction articles on such subjects as freedom of expression, the psychology of fetishes, and the desirability of greater tolerance of minority sexual tastes. As late as the fifth volume, Janus marketed itself as a monthly magazine ‘for the connoisseur of spanking & sexual deviations’ and offered a ‘Readers’ Confidential Consultation Service’ for obtaining the advice of doctors and psychiatrists.
Janus appears to have commissioned very little original photography in its early years, even after the introduction of colour pages. Although it contained many pictures, most were single photos extracted from mainstream glamour shoots, typically (but not always) focusing on bottoms. The models were unnamed and difficult to identify. The popular Mary Millington appeared on the covers of Vol. 4, Nos. 7 & 8. Sequential photo sets (styled ‘picture stories’) gradually became more common from 1977 onwards, most of them the work of Harrison Marks.
Artwork was more subject-specific and often anonymous, although G.E. Wheels, Sylvia, and Dave Carney were prominent contributors to later volumes. Janus ran a number of short-lived cartoon strips: ‘The Bells of Whipstock’ in Vol. 3, ‘Dr Pilgrim says…’ in Vol. 5, ‘Tales of Spankers End’ in Vol.8, and ‘Always in Trouble’ in Vol. 9.
Second Series 1981-2007
The second series of Janus rapidly acquired its distinctive and enduring character after No. 11. Central to this was the development of the ‘picture story’ into the extended and often elaborate ‘photo fantasy’, produced by the editor and photographer in close collaboration. Usually filling about a third of each issue, the main photo fantasy illustrated a short story with a sequence of 40-50 photographs, posed and selected so as to create a strong sense of mood and character. Janus paid attention to detail, favoured spanking models who could act, directed their facial expressions and body language, and chose venues with some care. It often hired an eighteenth-century house in Greenwich with ornate period furnishings, first shown in No. 14. Working as the magazine’s photographer from 1982 until 2000, Vic Barnes played a major role in turning spanking photography into a creative specialisation. His most celebrated innovation was the ‘impact shot’, precisely timed to show the rippling of a fleshy bottom after a hand or cane has struck it.
The art of Lynn Paula Russell, known to Janus readers as Paula Meadows, also helped differentiate the title in the 1980s, appearing in every issue from No. 14 to No. 39. Janus tended to showcase one artist at a time; next it was Hardcastle and then Anton. Selected illustrations by Paula Meadows and Hardcastle formed the contents of two special publications in 1997 entitled The Janus Collection. Baldur Grimm drew the cartoon strip ‘Poor Julie’.
The leading Janus writers of this era were arguably Andrew Grantham and Richard Manton. Other regular contributors of fiction included R.T. Mason, Julie Holmes, John Undermeyer, Gerald Sinclair, Stephen Sims, Christopher James, Laurence Piper, Michael Bryant, Colin Weaver, and S.T. Rogers. Non-fiction was now relatively rare, despite occasional historical articles. ‘News Wire’ summarised spanking-related press reports from around the world.
Although it featured female nudity, Janus did not depict explicit sex acts, so it could be stocked by newsagents as well as sex shops. Distributors grew nervous about its content, however, and this led to considerable self-censorship. Covers became very discreet in the mid-1980s, nothing indicating the nature of the contents beyond ‘Adult Reading Only’. No photo fantasy between 1987 and 1999 featured a model dressed in school uniform. In 1989, a consortium of national distributors informed publishers of spanking magazines that their wares would not be handled unless they conformed to certain rules. Photographs were to show no marks on bodies of any kind (including blushing as caused by spanking) and to depict no physical contact by blurred arm action or impact squashing of bottoms. All punishments, in text or pictures, had to be expressly consensual. Janus observed these guidelines closely for many years, although impact shots tentatively re-appeared from the mid-1990s.
While the distributors’ restrictions sent some well-known magazines into terminal decline (e.g., Roué), Janus survived and even flourished thanks to the ingenuity and imagination of its creators and a high level of customer loyalty. Each issue included a correspondence section headed "Readers' Letters: All Janus readers' letters are edited versions of genuine letters received at our editorial offices - we don't make them up!" Unusually in the world of spanking magazines, this was very largely true. Readers offered recollections of their personal spanking experiences and voiced praise and criticism of the magazine's contents. In this way, reader feedback could sometimes be seen to influence editorial policy. This rare element of authenticity enhanced the appeal of Janus.
Styling itself ‘The Original CP Journal’ from 1997, Janus grew prone to self-congratulation and flattery of its readers. Through much of the second series, the back cover declared its enterprise ‘The Supreme Bookshop – By Appointment to the Elite’. In reality, it was not a great deal smarter or friendlier than the norm for Soho sex shops at the time (which was very low). Unlike many others, however, it did not cheat its customers.
Many spanking models appeared in Janus over the years, along with a considerable number of mainstream glamour models (especially during the time when punishment marks were not shown and the 'spankings' were essentially faked). Identification can be difficult, as the magazine liked to employ its own pseudonyms rather than use the names under which the models normally worked. The Janus roster includes Linzi Drew (No.6), Vicki Scott (No.7), Lynn Paula Russell (No.13), Anne Proto (Nos.13 & 14), Liza Lane (No.27), Wendy Collings (No.58), Solange Hop (No.71), Julie Verena (No.82), Vida Garman (Nos.83 & 103), Amber Scott aka Suzi Sleaze (Nos.86 & 87), Luna Winter (Nos.87 & 109), Suzi Martell (No.88), Jenny Close (Nos.89, 90 & 100), Lucy Bailey (Nos.95, 129 & 132), Emma Caesari (No.96), Sonja van Kemenade (No.97), Louise Hodges (No.99), Amanda King (Nos.101 & 102), Lana Cox (No.102), Robyn Dare (Nos.103 & 104), Claudia Casali (Nos.104 & 121), Heather Chittenden (No.105), Mel Penny (No.106), Nicky Maybanks (No.107), Jenna Hill (No.107), Lucy Gresty (No.108), Amanda Long (No.110), Tara Bardot (No.111), Tiffany Walker (No.112), Claire Graham (No.113), Jo Bache (No.114), Cindy Read (No.116), Sammi Walker (Nos.119 & 156), Claire Margarson (No.122), Kelly Sanger (No.123), Rachel Travers (No.124), Rebecca Coleman (No.125), Goldie McHawn (No.125), Amanda Dawkins (No.128), Andrea Spinks aka Pixie (Nos.132, 133, & 138), Chanta Rose (No.132), Lisa Bangert (No.134), Karina Currie (No.137), Suzi Jarman (Nos. 137 & 138), Kelle-Marie Farmer (No.139), Rosaleen Young (No.153), Leia-Ann Woods (No.157), Amelia Jane Rutherford (Nos.164, 165, & 166), and Niki Flynn (No.167).
Certain other models who seem to have worked exclusively for Janus became particular favourites of the readers, often recalled in letters long after their original appearances. In this category are Antonia Du Bois (Nos.20 & 24), Wendy East (Nos.39 & 45), Sophie Fennington (Nos.53, 54, & 60), and Nicola Redway (Nos.23, 46, & 68). Awareness of them was maintained by a regular ‘Encore Janus’ feature (1998-2003) that republished photographs from earlier issues. Models with an interest in erotic spanking were interviewed for an occasional column called ‘The Punishment Series’.
In the mid-1970s, Janus intermittently advertised short corporal punishment films made by other producers, e.g. Spanking for Two, Perils of Penny, and Drenched and Spanked from Harmony Films in 1976 and Home Late from School from Adventura Films in 1977. That year, George Harrison Marks made four silent Super 8mm spanking film-loops to be sold by mail order through Janus and London Life Magazine; these were Bottoms Up, Hot Ass, Whiplash, and Flagellation. Within a few months, Marks was engaged to create films expressly for Janus, priced between £12 and £25 each. Titles in approximate order of release:
- Six of the Best (1977)
- A young headmistress punishes a student and her boyfriend; the first film said to be ‘specially made for Janus’.
- Rear Attack (1977) 2½ mins.
- Sequel to Six of the Best; an angry father spanks the headmistress after seeing his daughter’s striped bottom.
- Late for School (1977) 10 mins.
- Susan is sent to the headmistress two days running; illustrated in Janus Vol.7 No. 9 and Martinet Spanking Special Vol.1 No.2; a scene can be seen online at Spanking Tube.
- The Riding Lesson (1978) 6½ mins.
- Jack Illsley disapproves of lesbian antics in the stable; featured in Janus Vol.8. No.3.
- Victorian Derriere (1978)
- The Gym Lesson (1979) 5 mins.
- Miss Christopher punishes Julie and Lisa for defacing the seat of her shorts; featured in Janus Vol.8 No.7.
- The School Lesson (1979) 5½ mins.
- The headmaster (Ken Parry) is furious to discover two girls in lesbian embraces; featured in Janus Vol.8 No.12; later sold with The Riding Lesson and The Gym Lesson on a single video cassette.
- Art of Caning, Part 1 (1979)
- Jean punishes her niece Christine for stealing at college; illustrated in Janus Vol.9 No.1
- Art of Caning, Part 2 (1979)
- June spanks and canes her daughter for drinking and smoking; illustrated in Janus Vol.9 No.1.
- The Nurse's Lesson (1980) 8½ mins.
- Two disrespectful nurses get their comeuppance from a spotty patient (Gordon Hickman); featured in Janus Vol.9 No.7.
- Bend over Bunty (1981)
- Linda’s Choice (1981)
- Later sold with Bend over Bunty on a video cassette entitled Linda and Bunty.
The first spanking video sold by Janus was simply a transfer of three silent films, The Riding Lesson, The Gym Lesson and The School Lesson, released on a single cassette in 1980 at a price of £60.
In 1981, Janus produced its first spanking film with (dubbed) sound, The Prefect's Lesson, priced at £34.50. This was soon afterwards also made available on video (VHS and Betamax), the tape costing £46. Subsequent Janus productions were released only on video, soon with live sound. These could be viewed in private booths at the rear of the Janus shop or purchased by mail order at prices ranging from £40 to £60 each. ‘Delicious girls…delightfully punished bottoms…a must for the dedicated collector of visual spanking art!’ stated an advertisement in Janus No.8. ‘We can guarantee you the experience of a life time’.
Titles in approximate order of release:
- The Prefect's Lesson (1981) 7½ mins.
- Lucy and Jane are sent to the headmaster for bullying; featured in The New Derriere Vol.1 No.3.
- Air Hostess (1981)
- An early stewardess film with Cindy Flapper.
- Warden's End (1981) 9 mins.
- A traffic warden (Linzi Drew) does an impromptu audition as a spanking model; made on film with dubbed sound, but released on video; featured in New Janus No.6.
- Maid for Spanking (1981)
- A mistress is dissatisfied with her maid’s work.
- Strict Uncle (1981), uncle story
- Real Tears (1981)
- Disciplined Daughter (1981)
- Domestic Discipline (1981)
- Fighting in School, or Full Marks for Jenny (1981) 9 mins., fighting
- Thoughts of Girlhood Chastisements (1982) 9 mins.
- A doctor prescribes a spanking in school uniform to cure a young wife (Vicki Scott) of her waywardness; subject of a feature in New Janus No.7.
- Night (H)Owls (1982) 10 mins.
- A barman spanks an air hostess who cannot pay for her drinks.
- Prefect's Punishment (1982)
- In the absence of the headmistress, Mr Maitland, a school governor, takes Debbie and Fiona in hand.
- Cane for Jane (1982) 10 mins.
- Punishment for Penny (1982)
- Penny’s uncle is a firm believer in corporal punishment.
- Naughty Jan (1982), with Jane Griffiths
- Punishment on Reflection (1982)
- Glenda is caned in front of a mirror by her elder sister.
- Released by Cal-Star in the US as Sister’s Mistake.
- The Piano Lesson (1982)
- House of Discipline (1982)
- A young governess is excited by discipline.
- Schoolboy (Headmistress) (1982)
- An irate wife makes her husband dress in his old school uniform for punishment.
- Drastic Measures (1982)
- Auntie Gets Angry (1982), aunt tale
- The untidiness of Elizabeth (Evelyn Simmonds) provokes her aunt (Jane Griffiths) to use hand, belt, and cane on her bottom.
- Released by Cal-Star in the US as Elizabeth and her Aunty.
- Disciplined Daughter 2 (1982)
- Jenny is punished for coming home late.
- Domestic Discipline 2 (1982)
- The Dressing Lesson (1982) 20 mins.
- Hot Seat (1982)
- An offender is spanked by her probation officer (Jane Griffiths).
- Low Marks (1982) 15 mins.
- The Swimming Pool (1982) 10 mins.
- Magnificent Monique (F/M)
- Spelling Lesson, 18 mins.
- Jane infuriates her headmaster.
- Naughty Au Pair, 20 mins.
- A wife spanks her au pair for sleeping with her husband.
- Truant (Absent from School) 18 mins.
- Vicky is caned in wet panties.
- The St Winifred's Trilogy, Part 1: The Athletes' Lesson (1982) 13 mins.
- Blisset and Beddowes (Cindy Flapper) are spanked and caned for wearing erotic underwear.
- The St Winifred's Trilogy, Part 2: The Sixth Formers' Lesson (1982) 12 mins.
- Lovett and Green (Anne Proto) are tawsed and caned for reading Playboy.
- The St Winifred's Trilogy, Part 3: The Head Girl's Lesson (1982) 20 mins.
- Slocombe is slippered and Norton strapped for cavorting with boys in the woods.
- The trilogy is featured in Janus No.15.
- The Disciplinarian (1983) 16 mins.
- Dr Weltscheim’s ‘aversion therapy’ for a masochistic student (Antonia Du Bois); featured in Janus No.20.
- Moral Welfare, Parts 1 & 2 (1984) 25 mins. & 15 mins.
- A shoplifter, a British-Asian girl, and a punk attend a reformatory; featured in Janus No.26.
Janus ceased to produce videos as a result of the Video Recordings Act 1984, which required that all videos offered for sale in Britain carry a classification by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). This effectively banned spanking videos, though the magazine continued to advertise them until 1986. There evidently remained a link, moreover, between Janus and the spanking video producers Paradox and Spanking for Pleasure, which distributed films abroad, often featuring spanking actors who had appeared in the magazine.
Janus also published several illustrated novels and collections of short stories in the 1970s:
- Janus Collection No.1 (1971) 254pp.
- A compendium containing Mentor Vol.1 Nos.1-4.
- An Anthology of Spanking Literature (1975) 166pp.
- A Janus Collection of Spanking Stories (1975) 186pp.
- The Chastisement of Gina by John Saxon (1975) 190pp.
- A young woman discovers her desire to be spanked.
- The Second Anthology of Spanking Literature (1975) 189pp.
- Miss by Sadie Blackeyes (1975) 192pp.
- Lucette relates her spanking experiences; a 1920 French novel translated.
- Paulette Betrayed by Jacques d’Icy (1975)
- Translation of Paulette Trahie (1922), illustrated by Louis Malteste.
- A Second Collection of Spanking Stories (1976) 130pp.
- School for Spanking by John Saxon (1976) 175pp.
- A Frenchman studies the disciplinary procedures of a girls’ finishing school.
- A Spanking Good Life by Homericus (1977) 194pp.
- A memoir by the editor of Janus, recalling his exploits in the 1940s.
- True Spanking Stories edited by John Saxon (1977) 192pp.
- Three illustrated novelettes in one volume.
- A Spanking for Valerie by John Saxon (1977) 146pp.
- A young couple re-invigorate their marriage with spankings.
- The Spanking Adventures of Johnny Muldoon (1977)
- A British secret agent spanks female spies.
- I’m Jane, Spank Me (1977) 160pp.
- The Tribulations of Charity Bell by Dave Carney (1978) 198pp.
- The Master by Dave Carney (1979)
In 1977, Janus produced a 40-minute cassette tape entitled Spanking Daughters (£3.50). More often it marketed audio-tapes (and later CDs) made by other producers.