I began reading this book on the train home from Clapham to Eastbourne, and let me tell you, people noticed it. If it wasn’t the very obvious title ‘THIS IS NOT A SEX BOOK’ leaping right out at you, it was the fluorescent orange cover that caught people’s attention. Such was the idea of the famous Spanish YouTuber Chisuta Fashion Fever (real name: Maria Jesus Cama). This self-described ‘manual’ makes no apologies for its honest and realistic views on sex. At the beginning of the book, she warns people ‘who don’t like calling things by their name’ not to read it, but for others ‘who want to know everything about sex’, she ensures all topics are covered in an inclusive and sensitive way.
The hospital administrator’s door was open, I knocked anyway. “Come in, sit down,” she said. Marion hired me as a junior radiologist at Atlanta General Hospital almost twelve years ago. She'd been a guest at my wedding. About once a week, when the hospital cafeteria was too crowded, we walked across the street to the Fresh' n' Crisp and traded gossip from the hospital grapevine. I sat down and waited. When she looked up from her computer she wasn't smiling.
Joseph could not touch one so young. She was a child, a daughter. Wedding her, he was almost ashamed – an old man with grey in his beard and she a dark-crowned girl. Yet he trusted God, and he knew that to be ashamed would be a dishonour upon Him.
When you let go of your expectation of how another person should act towards you when they’re flipping their lids, not only will you diffuse a ratcheting up of the tension, you will experience the utter jaw-dropping joy of keeping your shit together. And that, my friends, is grace.
On the morning of her 49th birthday, Carol Jessop stood naked in front of her full-length mirror and took stock of the situation. As a devoted gym goer, she was generally pleased by what she saw. She’d never had children so her belly was flat and her breasts, though not as round as they once were, resisted hanging on her chest like sacks of sand. Through no effort of her own, her breasts were marvellous. She had won the boob lottery, plain and simple. From the time they began to swell when she was ten to now, they were two in a million. Just last month, after speaking at the city’s literary festival, she was asked by a bearded academic, that if it weren't too much trouble, he’d like to bury his face in her cleavage for a few long seconds. She took him to her room that night, though it tickled, she let him have all the time he wanted there. Carol turned and bent over. Definitely one of her best features. Hard to tell someone's age from this angle. Then she straightened and evaluated her bum. The genes of her father meant her buttocks were a bit flat, and in the centre of her left cheek she sported an unflattering dimple. But squats and lunges meant she still had the cheeks most women her age envied and men admired.
It’s a cold, crisp Friday night. Hordes of people swarm the streets of London, wrapped in woollen scarves and thick coats. But in a discreet corner, on a dimly lit road, is a sweaty cocoon of sex, booze and wealth. Behind a set of glass doors, down a sticky dark staircase, I’m standing at a bar in a black lace mask, thigh high black suede boots and nothing else. I’m over dressed.
Catullus is not current or sexy. And he not only wrote – he wrote poems, which is a bit naff. Plus, he’s dead. Thankfully, Daisy Dunn is here to save the day. She adores this ancient verse-maker, and now, since reading her first books – published concurrently – so do I.
Remember the fairytale about the girl and the penis bush? No, me neither. But the premises of the nine and a half “fairytales” in Grow A Pair are swollen with surreal eroticism and a weird, lavish imagination. As well as harking back to horny early puberty fantasies, the stories in Joanna Walsh’s collection also resound with tender-hearted humour, aimed at adults whose sexual flights of fancy has been curtailed to the “most private thing I’m willing to admit” field on an internet dating site. Grow A Pair is a short story collection a little like The Bloody Chamber after a couple of gins. ‘A girl passed a penis-bush growing in someone else’s garden, and picked a ripe dick because she couldn’t resist it’ – it grins at you from page one.
Surveillance and censorship were much on the agenda at The Old Doom Bar this week. This was partly inspired by the presence of a London-based Barrister in our midst. As with so many of his trade he was a fund of anecdote. Much of it either reassuring to those seeking to avoid justice or depressing to those who sought it. It is the same with medicine. Both sorts of practitioners of these professions, once drink has been taken, are apt to cast off their normal considered demeanour and treat their audience to the comic version of their work.