Monday, 1 October 2012
I'm Curious Yellow
Bit like "Lady Chatterley's Lover" didn't read that either or "Fanny Hill". Not flicked a page of "Tropic of Cancer", although I have read "Ulysses", during an intellectual interlude in my late teens.
"LCL" is memorable for me because of the extracts read out by a much older school chum as we munched on our Marmite and watercress sandwiches. We couldn't be bothered with the prose, we wanted smut and lots of it.
By the time "Fanny Hill" hoved into view I was more interested in the real thing than it being described between the pages of some excessively long novel. (Not that I had any of the real thing at the time mind you; I was just interested in it).
It was a huge grind ploughing through Joyce's masterpiece to get to the saucy bit at the end. However, as an intellectual it was my holy duty to read the thing from cover to cover and feel up lifted in doing so.
Then there's "The Joy of Sex", not read but heavily thumbed. It's the 40th anniversary of its publication.
What sticks in my mind is the pictures of the long haired, hairy men, masses of pube hair and a real feeling of being mislead by the publicity and comments people had made about the book. It wouldn't have raised an eye-brow of Mary Whitehouse, it was that innocent. Frankly, it gave sex a bad name - wholesome.
It was about this time- the early 1970's that Soho hit rock bottom. Smutty, badly lit dives, smutty, badly lit book shops and smutty badly lit "young" women of a certain profession. I'd go there to experience the artistic pulse of the area, to sample the authentic gritty grime of the Sin Den of London. Well it was my intellectual phase and I was extremely naive. Three years at London University had taught me nothing about life, love or London.
Enough of the reminiscences. The re-publication of "The Joy of Sex" , now with full colour and explicit pics, just shows how far we've come since the dreary days of Ted Heath and Barber Budgets. No more miners, no more Raymond's Revue Bar. No more Joe Gormley or Vic Feather, no more deals fixed in smoke filled rooms with union leaders. No more London Weekend or Thames TV, no more Jim'll Fix It - although that now appears to mean much more than back then.
I don't miss those dreary days, in the same way I don't miss the Age of Maggie or the Empire of Tony. You can't live in the past, and it's foolish trying to forecast your future. So I stuck here in the middle; in the present and it's o.k.