Deep Sniff - A History of Poppers and Queer Futures by Adam Zmith
3, 2, 1... sniff deep. A quick rush from sniffing poppers comes to you from the nineteenth century, via ruthless business practices, police raids and a booming online sex subculture. The story of poppers starts with experiments on frogs legs and the Victorian doctor who first found a use for amyl nitrite in relieving angina pain. It moves through the development of the pharmaceutical industry in the twentieth century, the capitalist creation of the "ideal" gay male, a raid on the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in 1986, and the porn supercuts that encourage viewers to "goon out" online. This book is not just a history. It is a collection of fresh and provocative ideas about identity, sex, capitalism, law, freedom and the bodies that we use to experience the world. And it explores the startling connections between Victorian infirmaries, Studio 54 and cam sex subcultures. Deep Sniff: A History of Poppers and Queer Futures tells the tale of a drug and uncovers the queer potential inside us all.
Adam Zmith was the recipient of the London Writers Award 2019-20, and is the author of several shortlisted and published short stories. He is also one of the producers of The Log Books podcast, winner of Gold in the Best New Podcast category at the British Podcast Awards 2020.
“A fascinating, joyful social and personal history... Zmith manages to capture not just the intriguing story of poppers and their role in queer life, but also something of their ineffable chemical pleasure.” – Huw Lemmey, author of Unknown Language
“Absorbing, riotous, keenly-researched and utterly celebratory, Deep Sniff is exactly the kind of queer history we need right now! Through the heady prism of poppers, Zmith explores the queer body with such curiosity and nuance – and explodes just how very political and ongoing the search for autonomous pleasure really is.” – Richard Scott, author of Soho
"A pharmacornucopia of sensory pleasures, Adam Zmith’s Deep Sniff is an entire queer curriculum opened up by poppers." – So Mayer, author of A Nazi Word For A Nazi Thing