Category Archives: pornography

Notes on sex shops

These establishments must show more imagination if they are to stimulate our sated appetites

From time to time, writes Dalrymple,

in far-flung places, I catch a glimpse of pornographic films on cable TV in hotel rooms. These mostly German films are almost as widely exported as Mercedes cars; yet they are about as unerotic as it is possible for pornography to be.

The films appear to consist largely, he says,

of overweight men and women running naked into muddy ponds, where they thrash about naughtily, giggling.

Dalrymple reports that the queen of German pornography, Beate Uhse,

is preparing to open a chain of her sex shops in Britain. Not only are cities such as London and Manchester in her sights, but small country towns. She feels the need to bring leather to Leamington and dildos to Devon.

Will this be the end of civilisation? Dalrymple doubts it, if Uhse’s Berlin sex shop and erotic museum — billed as the largest such establishment — are anything to go by. Both the shop and museum, Dalrymple says,

are as sexually provocative as a C&A store.

The displays

are dusty and unenticing. A plastic mermaid with a blue tail sits in one window, apple-green scallop shells demurely covering her nipples; while in another, a plastic woman in red underwear and white suspenders lies curled up in a Champagne glass, a toucan sitting on its rim. It isn’t so much sex that Miss Uhse peddles as barely titillating kitsch.

In a sex-saturated age, Dalrymple argues, the stores are tame.

We have become so used to the most explicit sexual images that stores dealing in pornography are bound to seem not merely uninteresting, but old-fashioned.

Greetings from Rotherham

Dalrymple spends some time in Rotherham,

a once-industrial town where the interior of the magnificent 15th-century Minster has been improved by the addition of a plywood-partitioned kitchenette to supply old ladies with tea.

He enters

a library in municipal buildings of almost comic hideousness. If I had more money than I have, I would institute an international prize to award to an architect who could design something uglier. I am sure that it would be a prize much competed for by members of the Royal Institute of British Architects, who would win it most years.

The library is

patronised largely by Kurdish refugees, many of whom seem to spend their day looking at the nearest to pornography that the municipal computers permit.

Rotherham public library

Rotherham bus station

Rotherham Minster interior (kitchenette available)

All Saints Church (Rotherham Minster)

Brussels perambulation

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.10.41The capital of Europe combines the greyness of bureaucracy with the gaudiness of modern popular culture’s worst aspects

Finding himself in Brussels, Dalrymple stays in a hotel

among whose amenities was 24-hour access to pornography.

In the room is a hotel copy of The Golden Book, which Dalrymple peruses. It includes an article on the place of women in the Belgian armed forces, illustrated by

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.26.53young female mechanics in overalls clambering over a jet fighter plane

and bringing to mind

the era of Soviet propaganda.

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.41.35Stepping out into the littered, crumbling city, Dalrymple is

invited into several sex shows by men who did not easily take no for an answer. Drunks were sleeping in doorways, and very large numbers of male youths loitered.

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.43.29Belgian beer

is the best (and most varied) in the world.

But

not even this could lend charm to the scene. One had the impression of walking through an updated print by Grosz.

A very large proportion of the loiterers

were Moroccan in origin, dressed in the international uniform of the modern slum. They seemed drawn to this seedy environment as flies to a carcass.

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 23.55.23Not a single woman of Moroccan origin was to be seen.

Where were they, the women of Moroccan origin? The answer was evident after the sun came up. Large numbers of women of Moroccan origin, dressed in a non-European way, were in the streets, as if a nocturnal curse had lifted. Fewer men of Moroccan origin were now in evidence.

Sadistic Murderers Against Famine

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 08.43.04Also

Necrophiliacs Against Infant Mortality

We are a hair’s breadth away from these, says Dalrymple, as he draws our attention to a state-subsidised enterprise called Fuck for Forest:

In a world in which rock stars can set themselves up, and actually have people accept them, as moral authorities, it is hardly surprising that pornography has become a charitable activity.

The cry of one of Fuck for Forest’s creators, Tommy Hol Ellingsen, is: ‘How far are you willing to go to save the planet?’ Dalrymple has this to say:

Hayek wrote that a social conscience might be but a mask for selfishness and licence: one’s personal conduct, after all, can scarcely compete in importance with the fate of the world. Ellingsen turns Hayek’s proposition inside out, complaining that his public sex act worried more people than did the destruction of the rainforest. Either one favours Ellingsen having sex in public, or one favours the destruction of the rainforest: no other possibility exists. By this rhetorical blackmail, it is possible to push back the frontiers of the permissible indefinitely, for once a man has declared himself to be doing something for the sake of a good cause, his actions are beyond criticism. The expression of the right opinions becomes the whole of virtue. The more general and more generous-sounding they are, the better the person uttering them. If his opinions are correct enough, he finds himself exonerated from the need to refrain from doing anything he wishes.

(2005)

Hatred on the side of the downtrodden — there is surely no greater virtue

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 16.16.42Sport, writes Dalrymple, is salt in ancient wounds.

Farouk’s great good sense

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 23.32.23The King of Egypt and the Sudan possessed one of the world’s largest collections of choice pornography, which he had to abandon in his hurried exile. He ‘never tried to do any good, which is the most one can possibly ask of any national leader‘, writes Dalrymple.

The idiot’s lantern

Dalrymple has not had one since 1973

Dalrymple hasn’t had one since 1973, though he is occasionally able to ‘catch a glimpse’ of cable TV in, for instance, German hotel rooms

Cable-TV porn in hotel rooms disappoints

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 03.30.34After conducting a presumably fairly comprehensive fact-finding investigation, and demonstrating a sound grasp of the economics of the industry, Dalrymple bemoans the quality of the (pay-to-view) pornographic movies available on cable TV in Western European hotel rooms, movies which, he says, he ‘catches a glimpse of from time to time’. These ‘mostly German’ films, he writes,

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 03.20.40are almost as widely exported as Mercedes cars; yet they are about as unerotic as it is possible for pornography to be. They seem to consist largely of overweight men and women running naked into muddy ponds, where they thrash about.

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 03.21.01Who could possibly disagree with this? The consensus has been for many years that the quality of Japanese pornographic fare is greatly superior. Certainly it is strongly represented in my own collection.