When we talk about the depiction of sex in Britain before, say, the second World War, the visions are of starched collars coupled with a very prim and prudish morality. In fact, the truth is quite different.
Shields is getting on with the business of being his own bitch, peeling off the layers, nakedly probing, ostensibly to meet his own needs but not without a wink to those of us on the dark side of the glass. It’s a risky performance.
What do women really want in bed? It’s a good question. So good I put it to women and men in a survey and the results were revealing in unexpected and often hilarious ways. Take, for instance, the respondent who insists that what women really want from a sexual encounter is some ‘ooga booga’. No, I still don’t know what it is, but boy do I want some.
What holds the key to desire? In an age of instant gratification and constant communication, with sex virtually at our fingertips, moments of mystery feel hard to come by and easy to bypass. Yet scientists suggest that the most powerful dopamine kick can take place in the anticipatory stages, when the neurochemistry of romantic potential runs high.
Aimed at the more discerning gourmand, Edible Pleasuresis a cultural and culinary romp through the history of aphrodisiacs. Written in three parts the first titled How an Appetite is formed explores how and why universally, culturally and historically food and love have become intertwined.
That season is once again upon us when we find ourselves shivering in the damp embrace of the weather, which sputters over our spectacles and dribbles down our necks like an elderly maiden aunt.
At one point in December, about a month after I had moved to the tiny office run by this black-hearted publishing concern, I had gone for one of my lengthy walks around the pier at midday when I got a call from the Ely office to say that the CEO of the House had turned up unexpectedly at the office in London and wanted to know why I wasn’t there. I gave an excuse and made haste back to my post. Once I arrived on the 33rd floor, I was accosted by a tall, young Indian man dressed in an outrageous polyester suit that was so shiny I could see my face in it, iridescent gold trainers, and was wearing shades that shielded his eyes (even indoors and in December).
It is difficult, and probably unnecessary, to describe the existential panic that descends on you once you are cast loose from university to fend for yourself in the adult world. In my case, the general misery that descends with the realisation that you are going to have to be responsible for your own fuck-ups from now on was compounded with a series of personal crises. In a pinch, I accepted a job offer from a friend to be a housekeeper in Colorado for a couple of months, and then spent the rest of the year Kerouacking about the Americas, taking a sabbatical from reality and generally putting off sorting my life out for a little while. I applied for a few postgrad places but didn’t get close to getting in anywhere thanks to my fluffed Finals results, and returned to the UK in the Summer of ’17 to try and blaze some path as a freelance journalist/editorialist/content writer/lion tamer/any old busybody in the London literary scene, more as a default than a last resort.
Some while past, and putting a novel spin on the phrase ‘green fingered’, a close friend of mine declared a rare passion for vegetables: she informed me that she had adopted the humble courgette as her preferred masturbatory contrivance. I say humble – in truth it was generally a courgette with much to pride itself upon, firm, thick and of a goodly length.
My new show Dr Carnesky’s Incredible Bleeding Woman creates erotically charged bodily rituals as performance activism. Cyclical, monthly rituals that tune into the phases of the moon. In fact, it’s specifically about reinventing menstrual rituals. If you think that’s a bit icky or new age and not sexy or activist please read on, so I can challenge your ideas about women and blood, theatrical spectacle, red lipstick and changing the world.