Only the Visible Can Vanish, Anna Maconochie’s debut collection of short fiction, crackles with an electric energy. It’s extremely present and the humour is trenchant. Eleven stories, dealing with big city themes: urban alienation to the point of wanting to vanish; internet romances; pressure-cooker media jobs; trying to connect with the opposite sex; encounters that could succeed and bloom into fuller, more permanent relationships only to be destroyed by their creaky foundations.
This is the somewhat predictable story of Melanie, a young woman working hard to gain credits in the banking world and doing her best to be taken seriously for her brain, rather than her body: a seemingly simple, but obviously unrealistic, goal.
Here at Erotic Review we are nothing if not champions of good sex: the expression of it, the reading of it, the writing of it and indeed the having of it. So when an erotic novel takes the world by storm, well: we want a piece of the action. Hell, we’ve been wanting a piece of the action since 1995, and Belinda Blinked; 1 A modern story of sex, erotica and passion. How the sexiest sales girl in business earns her huge bonus by being the best at removing her high heels.does the job very nicely indeed. Welcome to the Steeles Pots and Pans industry, where women always come first, and where a humble charity tombola can end in a horsebox.
As a topic, Hygge has been trending for some while. With several books on the market I wondered: had we not reached peak Hygge?
Recently divorced (thank god), Charles is now a richer, possibly fatter – and certainly happier – man overall. His journey back to this childhood holiday destination promises to be a relaxing few days for him to clear his mind, while enjoying his favourite food and drinks, sitting in his favourite bars and restaurants and indulging in his favourite haunts, without that stupid bitch around to burden him as she had done for the past two decades.
It’s been 31 years since the publication of Riders, Jilly Cooper’s first novel in the infamous Rutshire Chronicles and one which, before the age of backed-up hard drives, was very nearly lost forever. It was 1970, and the number 22 bus was about to become the final resting place of the bestselling novel’s first draft and only copy. Mount!, published earlier this month, gives the occasional flirty nod to new millennial readers: Rupert Campbell-Black (a sort of sex-crazed Uncle Matthew from The Pursuit of Love) is back, he’s 59 and he has an iPhone. There’s a website called Skypegoat, a gorilla onesie and a horse called Trans Jennifer in this latest offering, but don’t be fooled: the throbbing heart of Cooper’s earlier works beats as lustily as the wagging tail of Banquo the black lab.
If, as filmmaker Nick Zebb comments, today’s smut is indeed tomorrow’s fine art, then Toby Mott’s soon-to-be-released celebration of punk and sex is set to fly off shelves (and, more to the point, it means we really are onto something here at Erotic Review, where we’ve been peddling both for 21 steamy years). Showboat is published later this month and brings to the market a visually led smorgasbord of punk culture from 1972 onwards, examining the historical relationship between punk and sex.
Amongst the myriad layers of theatre, comedy, performance and pure madness that fills the streets of Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival every year, it can be hard to find productions that resonate. Spill Your Guts Here, written and performed by Sophie Lakely, is one such show that not only captures the filthy, embarrassing parts of being an intelligent young woman in 2016, but the desolation of heartbreak and the dangers of allowing yourself to fall into a void.
How do you tell a story in just one frame? Do it the way Helmut Newton did. I saw his big retrospective in Rome in 2013 and again last weekend in Amsterdam’s Foam. The major exhibition features more than 200 photographs, ranging from the monumental, life-size nudes to some of his early prints that are rarely shown.
Wendy Jones’s recently published work, The Sex Lives of English Women, showcases a collection of 24 interviews that aim to transcend age, class, upbringing and religion, and focus on what women actually want. It’s an incredibly ambitious project, the initial script of which ran to half a million words.