Last night we hosted an event that will live long in my memory.
My very good friend Mark Farley suggested to me some time ago that we may like to host an evening of erotic stories and performance to coincide with the publication of Ultimate Burlesque. Not only is this a marvellous collection of short saucy stories (published by Xcite press), but also 15% of the cover price goes to the charity Burlesque Against Breast Cancer. I said yes, as you can imagine I would.
So last night, with the shop shutters down and an expectant audience, the Big Green Bookshop got filthy.
Mark was the compere for the evening, and introduced us to our first act. You could hear a pin drop as Carmen Ali walked out from behind the curtains (our kids section had been turned into a changing room for the evening. Sorry Maisy, sorry Spot).
She read from her short story about domination of her boyfriend, and we also learnt what figging was. Maybe that's why Geri Halliwell was called ginger spice. As if her story wasn't enough, she then turned into the wonderful Aurelia Dare to perform a wonderful tassel spinning burlesque act, for which this is a safe for work picture. Our sofa will never be the same again.
After the cheers and things had begun to die down we heard a shout from the crowd
'Are all book readings like this?'
No they aren't. Good old us.
Mark then read us his story from the point of view of a 19th century american lesbian.. I have to say that from my point of view, it's a strange experience listening to your friend read an erotic story, but it seemed to go down very well.
Then it was the turn of the birthday girl Sarah Berry to read her story for the first time. A virgin you could say. Until you heard her that is...
Her story involved two strings of pearls, of which only one was worn around the neck. It was performed marvellously and brought a huge round of applause from appreciative crowd.
Richar Bardsley then read a story of the sexual delights of tazering. Yes, tazering. It was shocking....
Then it was the turn of Maxim Jakubowski to read his science fiction/erotic story based on time travel, burlesque and the rotten core of today's sex industry.
It was dark, seedy and very very well written. Maxim is a bit of a legend in the world of books. He opened the Murder One bookshop in Charing Cross Road in 1988, and it continues to thrive and survive when other bookshops...um...don't. He's also a lovely chap.
Finally it was the turn of (birthday girl) Sister Berry Rogers to remind us of the evils of onanism.
We sang along as she reminded us how sacred and great our sperm was, and finished off (it's very difficult writing this without feeling like a Carry On film) by getting out of the habit.
Whoops and cheers followed, and the night came to a wonderful climax. The audience was spent, and purchased their copies of Ultimate Burlesque, which the performers happily signed.
It was a really fun night, and everyone had a great time (I think). We want to say thanks to everybody who made the night so memorable.
Same time next week then Mark?