Prince of Darkness Meets Priestess of Porn:
Sexual and Political Identities in Hanif Kureishi's
The Black Album
The politics of sexual and cultural ambivalence or in-betweenness permeates Hanif Kurieshi's work, both in his novels and in his film scripts. His earliest film script, My Beautiful Laundrette explores the convergence of sexual and cultural difference in context of family politics. Sammy and Rosie Get Laid is a film that looks at transcultural coupledom and it compares racial violence in Margaret Thatcher's England with corruption and violence in Colonel Zia's Pakistan. Kureishi's novel The Buddha of Suburbia, carries on with similar themes of growing up in England with cultural complexities, both in the ethnic sense of culture and in the sense of high/low and popular culture, together with a deconstruction of the banality of English suburban culture.
This article is largely based on Hanif Kureishi's novel, The Black Album which parodies another novel, Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and also fictionalises the events that surrounded the furore over the publication of The Satanic Verses. The Black Album extends Kureishi's exploration of the identity of dislocation or fragmented sense of belonging in Shahid's, the main character's, ambivalent sexual and political identity.
The Black Album draws parallels between Shahid and Prince, Shahid and Salman Rushdie, Deedee Osgood (Shaid's teacher and lover) and Madonna, Deedee and Ayesha (the favoured wife of the Prophet who is parodied in many ways in The Satanic Verses). There are also parallels drawn between different versions of 'the book' as absolute truth. The Black Album also refers to Prince's CD known as 'The Black Album' and, indirectly, to the Beatles' album The Beatles, known as the 'White Album'.
The Black Album explores the personal and cultural tug-of-war going on in the main character, Shahid, as he goes from Kent to London to go to university to simultaneously forget and also understand who he is, 'to distance himself from the family and also to think about their lives and why they had come to England'. In his dealings with the white English and the Islamicists who befriend him, Shahid tries to define his own culture. He is attracted to both and is also somewhat sceptical about both. He struggles over how, to use Rushdie's words, 'identity is at once plural and partial.' Kureishi writes that:
Shahid was afraid his ignorance would place him in no man's land. These days everyone was insisting on their identity, coming out as a man, woman, gay, black, Jew - brandishing whichever features they could claim, as if without a tag they wouldn't be human.
Shahid's search is for an identity that can simultaneously embrace Islam and popular Western culture. In The Satanic Verses Saladin Chamcha resolves the two warring halves of himself (Western and Islamic) so that he can live a postcolonial identity. Shahid finally decides to live in the face of risk, change, movement and undecidability. Both Chamcha and Shahid finally open themselves up to the chaos of life, embracing new situations.
The Satanic Verses shows air space as one of the 'defining locations' of this century, and The Black Album show how pop music (air-waves) has been one of the 'defining locations' of postmodernity. The very title of the novel, The Black Album, is the same as Prince's (then) bootleg (repressed) compact disc (CD). The title also reflects Salman Rushdie's title, The Satanic Verses, as a reference to another repressed (bootleg) text. And both Kureishi's and Rushdie's novels are about the repression or denial of doubt, or multiple meanings and interpretations, as that which stops critical thinking, especially in the East/West, Islam/secularism overlap. In the turmoil of trying to work out where he belongs, the narrator comments that Shahid 'believed everything; he believed nothing ... sometimes all crashed into chaos ... How many warring selves were there within him? ... [he was] lost in a room of broken mirrors'.
Broken mirrors further fragment the already fragmented self. He seeks a whole self. He sees bits of himself reflected in his lover, Deedee, and his love of music, literature, drugs and sex. And he sees bits of himself reflected in the Islamic brothers who recognise and resist Western cultural imperialism.
The Black Album and The Satanic Verses are not only intertextual, as they refer to other texts and other genres, but they are also transtextual, as they evoke many texts simultaneously. Rushdie's The Satanic Verses is about the repressed text of Islam (and is itself repressed), and Kureishi's The Black Album about the repressed text of pop music. That is, as will be explained below, each novel discloses its source of inspiration (a previous text that has become canonical in its own genre) and then goes on to undo the conventions by which the previous text is recognised.
Prince's 'Black Album' has in fact no title, no name or illustration. It is a chromatic reversal of, and a tribute to, the Beatles' 'White Album'. It was produced when The Beatles had found their new Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whose lectures on Transcendental Meditation had a profound influence on The Beatles' lives. Just as the Beatles were influenced by Eastern philosophy, so too was Shahid, in The Black Album, influenced by Western postmodernism. John Lennon referred to the white album as the first unselfconscious album since Yellow Submarine. Turner writes that 'The Beatles had perhaps laid themselves open to misinterpretation by mixing up the languages of poetry and nonsense'. John Lennon in particular had done this. When interviewed and asked about song writing, 'John replied that the work was done for fun and laughs'. Recurring lyrics on the black album are 'play with me,' which is sexual and also confrontational. The need for fun and laughter while dealing with serious issues runs through Rushdie's and Kureishi's work. Kureishi parodies the revelation of the sacred Koranic verses to the Prophet in that Shahid, plays with, and transforms, Riaz's (the self-styled leader of the Islamic Brothers at the university) 'verses' just for fun.
The transtextuality of The Black Album continues. Just as radical Islamic fundamentalists interpreted The Satanic Verses and the whole Rushdie Affair in such a way that they committed murder and acts of violence and destruction, so too did Charles Manson, the self-appointed leader of the notorious Manson 'family,' interpret the Beatles' 'White Album' in such a way that he felt justified in committing multiple murders. Manson interpreted two of the songs, 'Piggies' and 'Helter Skelter', as warnings of an uprising against the white establishment. 'Piggies' was written in mockery of the middle-classes. However, Manson wrote 'pig,' 'pigs,' or 'piggies' on the victims' walls in their own blood. The Beatles were horrified at Manson's interpretation of the song. When Paul McCartney wrote 'Helter Skelter' he wanted to write something that would 'freak people out' in terms of their musical expectations with strong, innovative music. Manson interpreted the song as a warning to America of racial conflict. According to Steve Turner, Manson saw the Beatles as the four angels of the New Testament book of Revelation who were warning of a holocaust and advising followers to escape into the desert. Manson saw this uprising as 'Helter Skelter,' rather than a spiral fair-ground slide that Turner says most British listeners would see it as. Manson wrote 'Helter Skelter' in blood at another of his murder scenes.
John Lennon wrote 'Revolution' in response to the revolutionary factions that emerged in the 1968 students' and workers' demonstrations. As the most politically conscious of the Beatles, Lennon was a target for Leninist, Trotskyist and Maoist groups who wanted more moral and financial support for their causes. 'Revolution' was Lennon's reply: that the only significant and lasting revolution will come from inner change, not violence. So too does Shahid conclude that the extremist Islamicists' violent revolution against Western imperialism was not the best way to go about changing and improving society. In an open letter published in a Keele University magazine, student John Hoyland said of the Beatles' 'Revolution'
In order to change the world, we've got to understand what's wrong with the world. And then - destroy it. Ruthlessly. This is not cruelty or madness. It is one of the most passionate forms of love. Because what we're fighting is suffering, oppression, humiliation - the immense toll of unhappiness caused by capitalism.
This assumption that the destruction of 'the enemy' is a form of 'love' is reminiscent of Rushdie's description of the Imam in The Satanic Verses who thought that the young soldiers who were willing to kill and die for the new religion, Submission (Islam), were expressing pure love. Repressed eros was turned into deadly violence. There are similar sentiments in The Black Album where Riaz moves his followers to acts of violence against 'the book' and anyone who defends it. Riaz has a 'standard argument about the crimes committed by whites against blacks and Asians in the name of freedom'. This line of argument is closely tied in with the Islamicists' fear and loathing of eros in not only sexuality but also in art: literature, music, style, and so on.
The whole Rushdie Affair has highlighted issues around the power of popular culture, or the political effects of the popularisation of cultural icons that are considered sacred. In response to Shahid's love of novels, Chad says 'There's more to life than entertaining ourselves!' He refuses to see the connection between art and life. However, it is precisely through Shahid's interest in pop culture that he and Deedee Osgood, his teacher, meet and seduce each other. They share the same musical and cultural taste. She has pictures of Prince, Madonna and Oscar Wilde pinned over her desk, and she encourages Shahid to talk about Prince. He says Prince is
half black and half white, half man, half woman, half size, feminine but macho too. His work contains and extends the history of black American music, Little Richard, James Brown, Sly Stone, Hendrix.
It is through their mutual interpretations of such cultural icons as emblematic of the practice of explicit liberation politics that Shahid and Deedee begin their affair. The Islamic brothers, especially Chad, insist that Shahid's lack of commitment to Islam is the result of his listening to too much pop music, especially Prince, and his desire for Deedee Osgood and indulgence in all forms of Western popular culture. The brothers try to steer Shahid away from Deedee, and Chad says 'Get clean! Gimme those Prince records'.
Some of the characteristics of, and people's reactions to, both Prince and Madonna can be mapped onto Shahid and Deedee. All four perform and politicise their sexuality. Like Prince, Shahid identifies as 'half black and half white ... feminine but macho too.' He enjoys Deedee making-up his face. She does this to the sound of Madonna's song 'What are you looking at?' from her CD, Vogue. They have sex and simulate pornography. Like Madonna, Deedee, in the narrator's words, turns herself into pornography for Shahid. However, she does so 'without losing her soul.' It is a sublime combination of mimicry of pornography and eros. She represents herself as pure representation. They both mimic the patriarchal ideal of woman, thus mocking what Tania Modleski refers to as the law of gender itself. Just as Madonna has a large female following in the male-dominated musical press, so too does Deedee have a large female following in male-dominated academia. Deedee's 'groupies' are devoted, 'dressing as she did and studying her as if she were Madonna,' continuing this chain of simulation. In representing herself as male desire, Deedee also performs representation and sex as politics. Shahid sees Deedee as a street-wise woman who turns both academic and bedroom culture into exciting popular culture. This parallels the way Shahid eventually finds his identity reflected in popular culture as fragmented.
Shahid and Deedee interpret and celebrate pornography as part of pop culture. It is part of the whole culture of simulation. Even though the tropes of pornography circulate publicly, they are performed or consumed privately. The Islamicists also interpret pornography as part of pop culture. And they denounce all pop culture as equivalent to pornography. For them to describe something as pornographic is a profound insult. However, it is in between these two positions that The Black Album explores fragmented, multiple identities.
While Shahid admires Deedee, the Islamicists feel threatened by her overt liberation politics. Chad says 'One of our girls was twisted against the truth by the post-modernists.' The Islamicists accuse Deedee of 'taking lovers among the Afro-Caribbean and Asian students.... The college knows she is having it away with two Rastamen. For political reasons she selects only black or Asian lovers now.' Deedee, like Madonna, does not perform modesty the way the Islamicists at university do. Tahira, one of the group of Islamicists, adjusts her scarf and says 'Our people have always been sexual objects for the whites. No wonder they hate our modesty.' It is useful to read the Islamicists' interpretation of Deedee Osgood through bell hooks' interpretation of the politics of Madonna.  Hooks explains how Madonna appropriates black culture as a sign of radical chic and then repressively exploits it. Hooks says that Madonna's envy of blackness is part of her imitation of, fascination for, flirtation with, and envy of phallic power, specifically white phallic power. To put it simply, she is seen to dominate people of colour and white working-class women. She portrays marginalised groups as 'defective' and then proceeds to dominate them. Arguing against claims that Madonna performs a strong feminist message of sexual liberation, hooks says that Madonna's work 'was not a display of feminist power, this was the same old phallic nonsense, with white pussy at the centre'.
Hooks claims that while Madonna apparently aligns herself with the repressed, her subject position is always constructed as that of the 'quintessential "white girl".' The Islamicists see Deedee as quintessentially white and repressive. Hooks asks if Madonna is plantation mistress or soul sister. Although Deedee presents herself as soul sister, the Islamicists clearly see her as plantation mistress. While Shahid is impressed with Deedee's knowledge and experience of 'what his mother called 'wrong things,' pop music and drugs,' the Islamicists see her in much the same way that hooks sees Madonna. Hooks says that Madonna perceives male stars like Prince to be the standard against which she measures herself and hopes to transcend. However The Black Album subverts this assumption, as it is Shahid who sees Deedee as a strong, liberated, exciting woman, against which he measures himself. The Islamicists refer to her as a 'pornographic priestess.' By referring to her as pornographic, they are exposing their own masturbatory fantasies. But when she offers herself explicitly as pornography to Shahid it is a simulation, like Madonna's public simulation of sex, that makes their own private sex exciting.
Kureishi represents this Islamic rejection of pop culture and postmodernity as something that is founded on a rejection of Western imperialism. Shahid is inside and outside both worlds. The story implies that those worlds are so incommensurate that they cannot converge. Each has radically different social and political agendas. The Black Album is ambivalent about the tensions between competing ideologies. It shows that although fundamentalist sloganeering and postmodern theorising seem to expose imperialism, neither offers a political practice that might negotiate those differences. Chad asks, 'Has she said why our beliefs are always inferior to hers and yet she lectures everyone about equality?' After describing why they are offended by Deedee and her insistence on discussing 'the book,' the group becomes violent. That is the only solution offered. At that point Shahid decides to leave them. The brotherhood's reaction to Deedee's attitude to The Satanic Verses is very much like Akbar S. Ahmed's defence of the aggressive responses to 'the book' and its author. Ahmed writes that 'No Muslim could condone or be comfortable with the insulting manner in which the Prophet, his family and some of the holiest names in early Islam were depicted.' Chad says 'that book been around too long without action. He insulted us all - the prophet, the prophet's wives, his whole family. It's sacrilege and blasphemy. Punishment is death.' This discussion of 'the book' and what Deedee Osgood represents to Muslims occurs on the day of the demonstrations against, and the public burning of, 'the book.' That morning she holds up a copy of 'the book' in class and wants to discuss it. Desks are thumped until she can no longer conduct the class. The Islamicists see it as 'Democracy in action ... we have to be listened to. Our voices suppressed by Osgood types with the colonial mentality. To her we coolies, not cool.' When Deedee tries shouting Riaz down at a public gathering, he says, 'Are the white supremacists going to lecture us on democracy this afternoon? Or will they permit us, for once, to practice it?' They expose what they perceive as her dominance.
Kureishi explores these problems, of the apparently irreconcilable differences between Islam and postmodernity, through Shahid's dilemma: 'He wanted to appear neutral but knew that wasn't possible.... He was someone who couldn't join in, couldn't let himself go.' Shahid is unable to remain neutral in this increasingly polarised world. Akbar S. Ahmed writes of his own position, as perceived by Muslims through the mass media, that 'in this atmosphere, even to hint a dispassionate analysis of the situation was to risk being labelled disloyal to the cause, a traitor to the community.' When Shahid sees them burn the book, 'He wanted to crawl back to his room, slam the door and sit down with a pen; that was how he would reclaim himself. This destruction of a book - a book which was a question - had embodied an attitude to life which he had to consider.' That question, the central question in The Satanic Verses, is 'What is the opposite of faith? Not disbelief. Too final, certain, closed. Itself a kind of belief. Doubt.' And that question is integral to the question that punctuates The Satanic Verses: What kind of idea are you? How do you treat your enemies when you win? It was then that it began to occur to Shahid,
How could anyone confine themselves to one system or creed? Why should they feel they had to? There was no fixed self; surely our several selves melted and mutated daily? There had to be innumerable ways of being in the world. He would spread himself out, in his work and in love, following his curiosity.
The Muslim brothers find all art dangerous, especially fiction and popular music, claiming that it corrupts and thus leads to amorality and to drugs, and so to complete destruction. But they also fear the flattening, or deculturing effect of Western imperialism. And this is where more ambivalence surfaces. They fully understand what is going on but will not admit any criticism of or deviation from their own orthodoxy. In his argument against the Western mass media, Ahmed says that many Muslims react to self-styled radical scholars in a paranoid and hysterical way, seeing the West as a force whose sole purpose is to dominate, subvert, and subjugate them. This sort of occidentalism derives almost entirely from movies, television, and the tabloid press which portray stereotypes. One such stereotype is of 'western women as characterized with their legs wide open, waiting for sex on car bonnets.' This is the sort of stereotype through which Deedee is interpreted by the Islamic brotherhood. Kureishi does not shy away from or merely react to such stereotypes. For example, Deedee tells Shahid that she likes to masturbate while reading Crash, James Ballard's novel that depicts precisely the above. However, Deedee's performance of pornography is, like Ballard's, a simulation, so that is both is and is not pornography.
Kureishi (like Ballard) probes the meanings and experiences of pornography as an expression of postmodernity. It is in the blurring of the boundaries between fact and fiction, eros and the sacred, that desire is located. So too in The Black Album is it in the blurring of the boundaries between the 'fact' of the sexual encounter between Shahid and Deedee, and the 'fictions' of pop culture that their desire is located. The sexual relationship between Shahid and Deedee is very political. They both push experience until it overflows, like popular culture itself, with its promise of 'something more,' especially in context of 'gender-benders' like Prince and the explicit iconography of Madonna. By scrutinising the furore around The Satanic Verses in context of these two icons of pop, The Black Album explores power and pornography. However, it does not represent pornography as always already phallic power, but rather as a mode of playing with and thus subverting that power. It shows that deadly violence, as in the fatwa and the mood for violence it invited, is part of legitimate violence (like 'good sex'). The Black Album shows how attitudes to violence and attitudes to sex are not unrelated. The Islamic Bothers in The Black Album seek to repress sexuality by repressing pop music, and they seek to control politics by controlling what is studied, read, and discussed. The Islamic Brothers in The Black Album are anti-intellectual, and Shahid is an aspiring intellectual. It is Shahid's relationship with Deedee which embodies the sort of powerful sexual politics also found in The Satanic Verses.
The close relationship between eros and power is explored in Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses through the many guises of Ayesha. Ayesha, the butterfly prophetess in The Satanic Verses, says that revelation comes to her as 'The archangel sings to me ... to the tunes of popular hit songs.' Ayesha, in all her manifestations in The Satanic Verses, is comfortable with eros and is prepared to surrender everything to what she believes in. So too does Deedee. And just as the Imam in The Satanic Verses fears and loathes female sexuality, as epitomised in Ayesha, so too do the Islamic brothers fear and loathe Western liberalism, popular culture, and feminist, postmodernist ideologies, as epitomised in Deedee Osgood. They see Shahid's relationship with Deedee as his moral and political downfall.
Not only can Shahid and Deedee be mapped onto Prince and Madonna, they can also be mapped onto Salman Rushdie's collection of Prophets and anti-Prophets, and Ayeshas as saints, goddesses and whores. Shahid begins his career in versifying when he teaches himself to typewrite at the age of fifteen:
To increase his speed, he copied passages from his favourite writers: Chandler, Dostoevsky, Hunter S. Thompson. When he grew weary of keeping the place, he altered their words and had their characters do what he required. On Papa's notepaper he began writing stories.
His first story was 'Paki Wog Fuck Off Home' which was about his experiences at school. His mother was outraged and 'Papa asked why he had started writing "such damn bloody things".' Thus Shahid reminisces as he starts work on transcribing Riaz's verses, 'A Heretical Artist.' When Shahid first met Riaz, he asked Shahid to type out his poetry, saying 'It's God's work.' Shahid comments: 'With your name on the title-page.' To which Riaz beams 'Yes ... I am entirely to blame.' Later, when Shahid 'began to type Riaz's words ... staring at the screen [he] couldn't avoid falling into a dream-like state.' It was in a dream-like state that the Prophet heard God's words, or verses, through the Angel Gabriel. Thus Kureishi parodies (just as Salman Rushdie does in The Satanic Verses) how some of the verses the Prophet heard were apparently from Satan, rather than God. The authority of Islam depends on the authority of 'the book,' the Koran, the sacred verses, and the Prophet. And any attempt to doubt, question, or tamper with the text itself is seen as a serious transgression. Shahid's tampering with Riaz's verses is seen as a transgression against the author as a godlike figure. One of Shahid's gravest sins was to vulgarise the holy man's verses. Shahid agrees to and at first does not have time to type Riaz's poetry, as he meets and spends time with Deedee. However, when he does begin, he plays with it, allowing the voices of popular culture and his new passion for Deedee to become part of his transcription of Riaz's verses.
He had begun typing Raiz's work in good faith. But there were certain words, then phrases and verses, he couldn't bring himself to transcribe. Once he'd begun not-transcribing, he'd got carried away. He'd been enjoying himself with Deedee; it seemed natural to express the puzzle of this wonder.
Chad, who is sent to collect the poetry, is outraged at this discovery. Shahid says 'I was playing - playing with words and ideas.' Chad replies 'some things ain't funny.' And Shahid says 'Usually they're the funniest.' That is why Salman Rushdie got into so much trouble with The Satanic Verses, for doubting everything and playing with ideas, especially those that are deemed to be sacred. Gibreel Farishta, in The Satanic Verses, dreams and listens, waiting for revelation, and ends up wondering: What kind of idea am I? As Shahid toils over Riaz's verses he reflects that
writing could be as easy as dreaming ... When it dried up, he found it best to wait, and it would begin again. ... How come, when he read the words over, they were only a muffled echo of what he wanted to make sharp and clear? Would it ever improve? Was he fooling himself; should he give up? Surely Prince, from whom music gushed without respite, never felt like this?
Gibreel does not know if he is sleeping, dreaming, or hallucinating, and Shahid dreams, writes, fantasises, creates. For a break, Shahid looks at New Directions, a pornographic magazine, and while masturbating he wonders why 'the ironically bawdy Thousand and One Nights, full of farts, impotence and trickiness, such banal tales were riveting. Maybe pornography presented a complete and uplifting adventure, like the world in children's books.' Rushdie also uses The Thousand and One Nights (which is the same collection of stories as The Arabian Nights) as an example of the terrible seriousness of story-telling; just like Sheherazade, one must get it right each time. But Rushdie also tells stories for pleasure and fun. Shahid realises why Riaz would not find his prank funny: 'his laughter was always astringent and sardonic ... Like pornography, religion couldn't admit the comic.' The Imam in The Satanic Verses also has no sense of humour, and mistakes hate for love.
Kureishi and Rushdie, criticise repression that is carried out in the name of any single, narrow, exclusionary practice. Both Rushdie and Kureishi defend religious practices that enhance positive social values. One of Deedee's fears of the Islamic brotherhood is that 'They're devoid of doubt.' Yet Shahid reminds her that they, the Pakistanis, are the victims and the brotherhood is just trying to protect them.
Throughout the novel Shahid looks for a sense of cultural belonging, to ultimately find that he belongs with pop culture where fragmentation, change, undecidability are the norm. Saladin Chamcha and Shahid are ultimately able to live with partial objects. By the end of The Black Album, the narrative is just beginning, as it were. It ends with a very cinematic moment, as Shahid imagines that he and Deedee would be together, visiting the places where he had grown up, then returning to London to go to a Prince concert. They would stay together 'Until it stops being fun.'
 My Beautiful Laundrette, dir. Stephen Frears, UK: Roadshow, 1985.
 Sammy and Rosy Get Laid, dir. Stephen Frears, UK: Roadshow, 1987.
 Hanif Kureishi, The Bhuddha of Suburbia, London: Faber & Faber, 1990. Made into a film in 1996 (The Buddha of Suburbia, dir. Roger Mitchell. UK: BBC).
 Kureishi, The Black Album, London: Faber & Faber, 1995.
 Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses, London: Penguin, 1988. It is interesting to note that The Black Album does not mention Salman Rushdie or The Satanic Verses by name. Instead, The Satanic Verses is referred to as 'the book' and Salman Rushdie is referred to as the same author as that of Midnight's Children.
 Or, if you prefer, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince.
 Prince, 'The Black Album,' U.S.: Warner Brothers, 1995.
 The Beatles, The Beatles, U.K.: E.M.I Records Ltd., 1968; CD release: EMD/Capitol, 1998.
 Stacia, 'The Black Album,' in Borders Staff Review, December 5, 1995, Novi, Michigan, http://borders.com/review/num/0022.html, downloaded 6 March 1997.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 7.
 Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands, London: Penguin, 1992.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 76.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 147.
 This information on the Beatles and Charles Manson is taken from Steve Turner's A Hard Day's Write, London: Little Brown, 1996, and Vincent Bugliosi's, Helter Skelter, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977.
 The Beatles, The Yellow Submarine, U.K.: EMI Records Ltd., 1967; CD release: Cema/Capitol, 1998.
 Turner, A Hard Day's Write.
 Turner, A Hard Day's Write, p. 152.
 Details of radical responses to the publication of The Satanic Verses are available in Appignanesi & Maitland's book, The Rushdie File, London: Fourth Estate, 1989.
 The Beatles, The Beatles.
 Turner, A Hard Day's Write, p. 167.
 Turner, A Hard Day's Write, p.169.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 224.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 21.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 25.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 80.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 25.
 Madonna, Vogue, U.S.: WEA/Warner Brothers, 1990.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 119.
 Tania Modleski, Feminism Without Women, New York: Routledge, 1991, p. 155.
 Iain Chambers, The Metropolitan Experience, London: Methuen, 1986, p. 176.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 167.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 29.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 228.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 228.
 bell hooks: Black Looks: Race and Representation, Boston: South End Press, 1992.
 hooks, Black Looks, pp. 163-164.
 hooks, Black Looks, p. 159
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 56.
 hooks, Black Looks, p. 161.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 228.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 229.
 Akbar S Ahmed, Postmodernism and Islam, London: Routledge, 1992, p. 169.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 169.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 217.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 224.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 225.
 Stacia (1997) 'The Black Album,' in Borders Staff Review.
 Ahmed, Postmodernism and Islam, p. 171.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 227.
 Rushdie, The Satanic Verses, p. 92.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 274.
 Ahmed, Postmodernism and Islam, p. 178.
 James Ballard, Crash, New York: Random House, 1973. Crash was made into a film of the same name, directed by David Cronenberg, in 1996 (Alliance, USA).
 Chambers, The Metropolitan Experience, London and New York: Methuen, 1986, p. 177.
 Lesley Stern, 'The body as evidence: a critical review of the pornography problematic,' in Screen, vol. 23, no. 5, (1982):38-60.
 Rushdie, The Satanic Verses, p. 497.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 72.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 75.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 34.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 35.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 148.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 149.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 150.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 110.
 Kureishi, The Black Album, p. 276.