I bump into Friend en route to the tube and she can see I’m wearing my date outfit: skinny jeans in high boots and a sort of rock chick top that reveals little, but taken as a whole conjures three words: smart, sensuous, sassy. I hope.
“Funny how we all wanted to be nurses when we were little girls,” she smiles looking at the headline on my Evening Standard: ‘The Medical Director of NHS England says “system is creaking under pressure”’.
“So,” says Friend, “another date? Why this particular guy?”
“Profile reads well enough – at least he can punctuate his prose.”
Much merriment in the Old Doom Bar over the judges caught watching porn on the judicial network. The spin-doctors showed subtlety and kindliness in their description of the culprits as ‘junior’ judges and the porn in question as ‘not of the illegal or child porn sort’.
Life out here doesn’t mean isolation from the Überkultur of the metropolis. It is true that great ballet or world class orchestras don’t seem to make it (for fairly obvious reasons) but ‘alternative comedy’ certainly does. So it was that in one week we have been treated to visits from Simon Amstell and Stewart Lee: both on tour, the latter ostensibly to try out new material on a grateful but suitably unpredictable audience as we ‘edgies’ tend to be. It is also worth noting that the rail service enables access to interesting events such as Grayson Perry’s recent appearance at the Royal Institution on the topic of What is Art Best At?
He's out there. That’s what your friends and family will tell you. And who am I to disagree? We’re all here today because men and women have been pairing off for sex, love and the whole nine yards quite a while before Blind Date hit our screens 25 years ago.
I’m sitting in my Friend’s house overlooking the river and we’re drinking large glasses of Merlot. Light fading, there’s a lapping tranquillity beyond the picture window as trunk-thighed rowers carry long boats on their heads. Friend pushes the olive bowl towards me and touches my arm.
“If I was in your position, I’d make a list of what I’m looking for in a man, and find him through online dating.”
The frozen bison grass vodka was flowing on Tuesday, and as Ognisko's stylish restaurant started to fill up we, the speakers, had a great time ensuring a little Dutch courage was present. The Editor at Large (Copstick), The Political Editor (Ian Dunt), the International Editor (Ali May, who compèred brilliantly) and the Editor (Jamie Maclean), that is. And it seemed our guest speakers, Sarah-Jane Lovett, Nichi Hodgson and Jonathon Green (aka Bob Logic, aka Mr Slang) weren't feeling much pain either.
When did you develop a taste for reading – where and what would you read?
I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, spending hours lying on my stomach on the grass or my bed depending on the weather. My parents are amongst the best read people I know (barring erotica) and our house was full of books. Once I was too old for Beatrix Potter I used to read alien tales such as Heidi and Little House on the Prairie, aspirational stories such as Ballet Shoes, the plain silly St Clare's series (banned by my own convent boarding school) and the thoughtful Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, and then I'd pretend to be one of the heroines, drifting round the garden talking to myself.
We may hate Disney for many things: the xenophobic racism of old Walt’s hiring policies, the ‘family-orientated’ banality of its cartoons, the destruction-cum-dumbing down of as any children’s classics as its millions can buy, but, for those whose reading matter requires but a single hand, its greatest sin is the destruction of 42nd Street, New York City and especially the blocks between 6th and 8th Avenues. Prior to their gelding by the Mouse, what a cornucopia of delight those seedy blocks offered the pornophile.
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Fans of Bridget Jones and Girls, rejoice: there's a new kid on the block. Melissa Pimentel's Age, Sex, Location is a wonderfully fresh romp through the modern dating scene, where one wrong left swipe could throw all chances of happiness down the pan.
Lauren is 28 and is emphatically not looking for love. Recently divorced from her college sweetheart, she's moved from Portland to the Big Smoke and into a dingy room in Old Street.
Paula Vogel's How I Learned To Drive explores dangerous liaisons, gender relations and aspiration – and excels in its presentation of all three.
We need to decide how the 50 Shades drinking game will work…
As one of many women who went to see the new 50 Shades of Grey film in its first few days of screening, I think there’s an important conversation we all need to have. No, not about the merits of bringing erotica to a mass market, not even about the sexual politics highlighted by Anastasia and Christian’s relationship, or whether the flagrantly capitalist fantasy holds up a mirror to something dark in our society.
No, we need to decide what the 50 Shades drinking game will be. How will it work?
This is a film to be savoured in the communal atmosphere of a darkened cinema. The solidarity of those eager, giggling bodies around you, some women dragging along sheepish male partners, most tripping in with a shoal of girlie mates, all bearing glasses or even bottles of wine and/or champagne, made the experience enjoyable from the off.
What good is sitting alone in your room, I’m wondering, as I pull on some tights to go out. On a Sunday. When Poirot is on, there’s leftover spagbol in the fridge and my enormous old sofa (courtesy of Erotic Towers, no less) has developed a pleasing groove from where I’ve been lying on it all day. Life is indeed a cabaret, I think, as I walk to Elephant and Castle station and stumble on a rolling can of Special Brew.
We’re off to Balham for Suburbaret, a new smorgasbord of singing, dancing and lip-syncing talent in the beating heart of Zone Three. Things are already looking up as it’s being held in the dark underbelly of an old favourite pub, The Bedford, and within minutes of arriving we’ve got pineapple and Red Leicester on sticks, “to get you into that Abigail’s Party, late 70s mood”.
The legalised brothel issue has long been a favourite British media topic; and one to which our legislators and moralists of all stripes frequently return. In recent times it has been given added momentum by the trafficking problem. Early in 2014, egged on by commercial interests eager to turn the area into more luxury apartments and sheltered by Articles 52 and 53 of The Sexual Offences Act, police raided a number of the modest Soho flats used by prostitutes and their maids. These sex workers were abused, turned out of their places of business and, it is alleged, had their money confiscated.
I am sitting on a late Friday afternoon staring disconsolately at a pile of books recently sent to Erotic Towers for review. All, pretty much, have restrained grey covers and strap lines like ‘An erotic series so steamy, it sparkles!’
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JOSHUA HAYES PHOTOGRAPHER
is a London-based freelance photo-journalist with a passion for Social documentary and political unrest. Working towards developing not only our understanding of what is around us but the wisdom and passion that is within us all.
Joshua’s work can be seen here
and he can be contacted at
Eve Made A Wish
Eve Made a Wish
has a wonderful selection of high quality erotic toys and lingerie for women at our boutique. We’re not burlesque and we’re not soft-porn – we’re here for positive, sensual erotic pleasure and contemporary design. Be seduced by us!
We stock fabulous products from Shiri Zinn, Je Joue, Rianne S, What Katie Did, Kiss Me Deadly and JimmyJane.
is a friendly, independent cycle shop in Battersea, London SW11. Established in 1992, our bike range isn’t huge but it is considered. British favourites and classics, Brompton, Pashley and Moulton rub handlebars with our favoured hybrid brand, Giant. Come and visit and see for yourself.
OPEN Tuesday – Saturday;
59A Battersea Bridge Road
London SW11 3AU
Tel: 020 7738 2766
Did Johann Salvadorus kill the Homecoming Queen? No, he did far worse…
Why not treat your Kindle (or other eReader) to a first-class read? Now available from ER BOOKS, Heart Killer is a dark, erotic, time-tripping crime thriller by Andy Nowicki.
Heart Killer is Nowicki’s fifth novel, with close thematic links to his controversial 2011 novella, The Columbine Pilgrim
eBook price: £4.30
Erotic Review Books
The web has a new home for creative erotica. An independent online publishing house, ER Books publishes carefully selected digital books, often beautifully illustrated with contemporary and classic erotic art. Browse our catalogue. Explore our website HERE