Modigliani’s Reclining Nude has been sold for £113,000,000, supposedly to a Chinese collector (with a Dom Yuan complex?). And so when the ER office syndicate wins the Euromillions jackpot on Friday (almost a dead cert, crack open the Krug for a pre-celebration tipple, Camilla) we won’t even be in the running for a bang up post-Impressionist such as by this doomed, consumptive Italian. They tell us the astronomical price, the second most expensive painting ever to sell at auction, is all about sex. Maybe, but only in the sense of showing a fuck-off picture like this to your peers who, like you, aren’t going to need a Courtauld PhD to see that the girl is smokin’ hot. Call us pretentious, Grayson, but we’d rather have the far sexier Titian’s Venus of Urbino. So ciao, Uffizi Gallery, let us know when you’re thinking of deaccessioning this one…
It makes you proud to be British. Or, as Nicola Sturgeon would possibly have it, English. UK boffin Joseph Perkins has invented a pair of underpants that will protect a chap’s personal sperm bank from the reproductive equivalent of a Black Wednesday crash. Seems that carrying your mobile close to your lunchpack (as in your chinos pocket) could wreck your chances of parenthood. Although this writer sees that as some sort of natural, Darwinian counterbalance, Perkins thinks that his silver mesh, form-hugging boxer briefs will save the world’s population from inevitable and drastic decline. His ultimate undies will shield your testicles from all that nasty electromagnetic radiation that decimates sperm motility and renders the little fellows unable to do their job. So what’s not to like? Well, Sir Richard Branson (VirginMan) has described the invention as ‘underpants for superheroes’. But if that doesn’t put you off, then you can buy them at www.wirelessarmour.co.uk for £24 to £35. (see illustration; dramatic bulge not guaranteed).
It's the last of her Kings Cross uke cabarets before the Summer Break This week she hosts more stars from the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival. The No Direction Hot Boys are a supremely funny bunch from Reading who threaten to bring their Snow Men costumes. Joining them is the co-star of award-winning web drama A Quick Fortune, Erin Hunter. Plus mass ukulele singalongs and the legendary open mic of course. And an inflatable plastic palm tree. Unmissable! TODAY: Tuesday 7 July Lincoln Lounge, 52 York Way, Kings Cross 8pm-11pm Entrance FREE
British conceptual artist Helen Chadwick's early 90's work Piss Flowers – made by casting the space created in frozen snow when she and her partner peed on it – was the most enduringly popular in her canon of work; she often used a combination of materials and subject matter that we usually discard from our thought processes because they are too visceral and disturbing. Yet by focussing upon often provocative combinations of different materials – flowers, flesh, chocolate, fur – she attempted to analyse the nature of desire and the way we look at gender. Chadwick's I Thee Wed (bronze and fur, 1993) [pictured above] is the Work of the Month at the Richard Saltoun Gallery, 111 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 6RY Opening Hours Monday - Friday 10am - 6pm
POLITICS A lot of male politicians who’ve felt the need to stray from the conjugal bedchamber seek comfort in a spot of extramarital sex; indeed David Mellor’s friend, Antonia de Sancha once wrote a column for Erotic Review. But her choice always gave us pause for thought: this must surely be an example of where the aphrodisiac properties of power triumph over distaste. 11. Jeremy Thorpe’s sexuality dogged his political career. Then his secret gay lover complained of being hounded. Things came to a climax in 1979 with a murder trial and Thorpe losing his seat. What was the name of the only fatality in this sordid story? 12. In 1969 Senator Ted Kennedy left a party on Chappaquiddick Island with an attractive young female colleague but drove off Dyke Bridge and into the sea. The car sank and overturned. He swam away and she drowned. What was her name? 13. Which prime minister loved to chop down trees by day and accost sex workers by night, then guiltily wrote up the latter experience in a partially encoded diary? 14. Who was the unfortunate sex worker to whom Jeffrey Archer paid ‘an Archer’, i.e. £2,000, thereby unwittingly taking part in a newspaper sting, a perjury trial and the eternal enshrinement of his wife’s fragrance? 15. What was the name of Lord Prescott’s secretary, with whom Old Two-Jags conducted a two-year affair that started at an office party in 2002? Tomorrow, you'll probably get the answers to all 15 questions. At some stage. If we can wake up the quiz person.
ENTERTAINMENT Sex entertaining? Well, not for everybody, and not all of the time. Some of us at Erotic Towers (but then they are very old) remember when the government and the judiciary wanted to ban just about everything. This forms the second third of our 15-question quiz. 6. Which UK film, screened in 2004, showed fellatio, cunnilingus, penetration and ejaculation – the first to contain all these explicit elements? 7. In 1972, Sir Cliff Richards imposed self-censorship when he discovered that Honky Tonk Angel was, in fact, about a hooker. The Rolling Stones, however, were banned from radio and TV when they brought out a record, which apparently promoted promiscuity: what was its title? 8. In porn movie parlance, what is the name of a person who helps get male stars hard before they go on camera to do their duty? 9. In 1954, The Story of O appeared under the name of Pauline Réage. This wasn’t her real name. So what was it? 10. Who wrote literary porn with Henry Miller in the 1940s for a cent a word, or a dollar a page? Did we promise that you'd get the answers to Part 1 today? Well, we lied. You'll have to wait until Monday, when you'll get the answers to all 15 questions. Tomorrow? our quiz’s last section, Politics.
HISTORY Sex pervades every aspect of culture and human endeavour. So it is a theme that runs through our history, which forms the first third of our 15-question quiz. 1. Which French philosopher who, having enjoyed his first orgy, was asked if he wanted to take part in another the next evening, succinctly declined, saying: "Once a philosopher, twice a pervert." 2. The Japanese are famous for their elaborate manners and rigid social structures. They also have a reputation for being the most perverted country on earth. From the 17th century onwards, they have practiced a highly intricate form of bondage, and over time, developed this into a sexual aesthetic. Knotty, but nice. But what is its name in Japanese? 3. Polygamous Brigham Young, the man who took over from the Mormons founder, Joseph Smith, had quite a few wives, though not quite as many as King Solomon, who was reputed to have had 700. Most of us can only deal with one wife at a time (just ask Fiona Shackleton why). So how many did Brigham actually have? 4. History’s had its fair share of Bad Girls. Cleopatra, Messalina, Empress Wu. So what was the name of the Hungarian countess who kidnapped local virgins wholesale, tied them by their feet to the bathroom rafters, slit their throats and bathed in their blood? All because she thought she’d discovered a sixteenth century version of Botox. And because she thought she was worth it. 5. The man with the largest penis in Britain is about 2,000 years old. The Cerne Abbas Giant is a depiction of Hercules, sporting a 26-foot erection. In which English county does he reside? Answers tomorrow, with our quiz's next section, Entertainment
Anonymous Anonymous: Tweets. Tumblrs. LinkedIns. Yahoos and Googles. Hashtags. Wikipedias. Porn, obviously. 8,469,395 YouTube views. Scouring Facebook photos of yourself from 2007 and wondering where that super-directional velour miniskirt got to. Internet obsessions: young and old, rich and poor – we’re all guilty. And unlike addiction to booze or drugs, slavery to the web isn’t unanimously regarded as a vice in the same league; only very slowly is it being recognised as the serious problem it can become. So would you consider a support group? Anonymous Anonymous is the Tressillian company’s debut production, and uses this novel idea as the basis for “exploring the moment where our offline and online lives collide”. Playing out in real time in a church hall, the characters must perform a series of exercises translating online behaviour into flesh and blood. Director Grace Gummer says: “We’ve created a play which deals with the Internet in a way I haven’t ever seen. It forces the audience to look at their own relationship with the Internet – how do we modify our behaviour from the physical world? Does it affect our offline identity, subconsciously or otherwise? Is the Internet a want or a need? Would this be a problem? And importantly, who decides?” We’ll be reviewing the show later this month, so watch this space – and in the meantime nab your tickets here. Tickets are now on sale for £10 / £8 concession (includes under 25s).
Erotic Review is off to Hay Festival, and we're excited about it. Bell-tents and burgers aside, we're looking forward to some very interesting chatter indeed. This year we'll be reporting on moral philosopher Susan Neiman talking about sex and culture, John Mullan celebrating the bicentenary of the ever-wily Emma, award-winning comedian Jo Caulfield on her favourite books, Simon Armitage's personal Odyssey of the southwest, Stephen Fry in conversation with Peter Florence, Germaine Greer on being a liberation feminist, campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez on doing it like a woman, and Sally Wainwright and Sarah Lancashire on the relationship between writer and lead actor. Hay – "The Woodstock of the mind" – runs from May 21-31 and spills into the surrounding countryside. We'll be swimming in the River Wye, scouring the variety of unanimously bonkers vintage shops on the hill and researching some lovely pub gardens. Come say hello to us, Tweet us questions and watch this space for a full low-down of all things sex at Hay. www.hayfestival.com/wales