John Willie and Bizarre Magazine, aka John Alexander Scott Coutts

Drop your long Johns and play with your Willie

Guest Post by Elana Kluner

Classic John Willie

John Willie, formally known as John Alexander Scott Coutts, lived a life full of fetishes and bondage. He was an accomplished illustrator and photographer who published his own magazine in New York. The title of it, Bizarre, accurately described his images, as they were mostly about a fictional woman named Sweet Gwendoline who had wild interactions with a depiction of himself; Sir Dystic d’Arcy. His magazine grew while catering to his fan’s suggestion letters. They covered topics spreading from high heels, corsets and body modifications to sadomasochism and transvestism. Willie was an innovative man with a complex imagination. No one can describe him better then himself, and he did so wonderfully when he said “I’ve tried a corset on myself and it was nothing else but damned uncomfortable. It gives a woman a beautiful shape, which I like, but I shall get double pleasure out of using it as an ‘instrument of correction’. I don’t like extreme cruelty. I simply apply as much as is needed to correct disobedience”, but if his own disobedience was corrected, his success would have never flourished.

On December 9th, 1902, the fourth child of the Coutts family, John Alexander Scott, was born. The family moved to England years later to settle and raise their children. At age 18, John Alexander Scott Coutts went to train for the army at Sandhurts and was given the title of Second Lieutenant in The Royal Scotts two years later. Soon after, without permission, he married a woman by the name of Eveline Fisher who worked as a hostess at a nightclub. He was forced to resign and moved to Australia, where he filed for divorce in 1929. This allowed him the freedom to begin his work as an illustrator and photographer for a Sydney based fetish club. This lasted him for twelve years, but it wasn’t long until his desire for women lead him to fall in love and marry one of his models, Holly Faram. A few years later, Coutts followed his heart to New York, changed his name to John Willie, and published his fetish and bondage magazine, Bizarre.

Bizarre sold unstably to private clients throughout the late ‘40s and ‘50s. When the magazine started, it consisted of photographs of his wife and drawings of costume designs. Willie published 20 issues of Bizarre and the graphics within them became more dramatic with each one. In a few of the publications, he popularized a famous bondage method called the G-String tie. He was ask to sensor some of his pieces since his publicist, Irving Klaw, felt that some people wouldn’t be able to handle the truths of such a severe lifestyle. Most of Willie’s images were quite twisted, but his studio space kept a happy vibe. He influenced many illustrators to come because of his perfected skills and intricate detailing that gave off such strong emotions. Bizarre turned into a successful mail order business, but started to take a wrong turn when Willie handed it down to his secretary and moved to California. After retirement, he developed a brain tumor and returned home to England where he passed away in 1962. John Willie’s legacy will forever remain as a man who played with the dark side and was never afraid to follow his heart or his hand.

John Willie - The Whipping Fence

John Willie - The Whipping Fence

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