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Haggling over the Price

Over the weekend an Australian film maker went stratospheric when the culmination of an online auction of two virgins raised almost a million euros. Actually, it was only the girl who attracted the large bidding, with more than $700,000 pledged by a Japanese business man. The male virgin had to settle for a mere $3000. The auction and the proposed documentary has excited a lot of people, not least of which are law makers and the director may yet end up with a visit to his local penitentiary. Justin Sisely, director of Thomas Williams Productions, appears to have been limited to filming weddings prior to his big break. In what he claims is a search for the change that happens when virginity is sold, he advertised across campuses in his native Australia for virgins to enter the experiment and his documentary. The creative urge was to explore human sexuality and our views on virginity, but the posters looking for participants said they would be paid $20,000 and win fame and fortune; a somewhat incongruous and conflicting message. Initially he was seeking local virgins but the campaign went viral and global. The female virgin, Catarini Migliorini from Brazil was set to […]

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I don’t need my toilet rolls any more…

No, I haven’t dispensed with my bottom, given up eating for good or undergone radical colonic surgery – it’s the empty ones I don’t need. I looked at the collection of empty toilet rolls loitering sadly beside the bin in my bathroom and waiting patiently to be moved into the recycling bin, when it suddenly hit me. I don’t need them any more. Time was I collected them faithfully for activities which involved my children. I don’t believe there was ever a ‘make-and-do’ slot on Blue Peter that did not call for the obligatory brown cardboard roll, never a crafty evening in Girls Friendly Society that did not insist on empty toilet rolls, or a school’s art day that didn’t need the cylinders, especially for making doll people in the naivety scenes or fat sausage dogs on leads. Over the years I got used to hoarding the empty rolls, sometimes adding an elongated tube or two from kitchen-film or tin-foil dispensers, and they travelled into school or were used in playtime at home. We never had stick-thin people; no our cardboard people were always lovely and fat, chubby as Santa Claus himself, even baby Jesus was a roly-poly in the crib. So, when […]

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Cindy Gallop – if she ran the world…

Aspire Magazine ran my article on Cindy Gallop on the cover of September magazine.   It was probably the hand action that secured the success of the micro talk at TED2009, that or the fact that Cindy Gallop had broken TED’s porn cherry with the description of her own sex life, the merits of hardcore porn and a personal preference not to watch sex films that resembled open heart surgery. In just ten minutes, a global sensation was born and a Cindy Gallop’s fame washed out of advertising circles and into mainstream social consciousness. Her diminutive frame and well-articulated vocabulary were at direct odds with her subject matter: the creeping ubiquity of porn and its damaging effect on society. However, Gallop is not anti porn, on the contrary she is a discerning consumer of it, but she worries about the effect that male dominated porn has on an impressionable younger generation, both male and female. Gallop explained her problem and how she encountered at first hand the direct impact of porn on Generation Y, or GenY. In short, she dates GenY men and has sex with them. This point is only of interest as Gallop would be considered a cougar, and […]

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Credit Cards have a way with Words

Credit cards have a way with words. Some of the best lines have centred round their use. From the ‘No charge’ slogan in the 80s, to the Not the Nine O’clock News sketch with Pamela Stephenson where she invited her credit card customer to stroke her boob (ok, it was a location joke, a vintage location joke playing on the fact that America Express took an exalted view of its own brand of commerce) to the most recent Mastercard line, There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s Mastercard. Of course, the ultimate irony with credit cards is that while they are selling you a way of life, in reality they are just helping you spend money more easily and costing everyone a percentage into the bargain. Credit cards take their cut, like Shylock’s pound of flesh, and usury is a dirty business after all. Being a credit card is a bit like being a parent. Or is that being a parent is just like being a credit card. It’s all spend, spend, spend on one’s progeny. Unlike credit cards, however, there is not a fixed expiry date. It just keeps bobbing along until the parent expires. […]

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Censorship – Write Like your Parents are Dead!

Censorship is alive and well and living inside every writer’s head. It comes to fore when the topics get tough and every word matters. A clever observer once said the key to finding your true voice was to write as if your parents were dead. As writers, we have to grow up, to mature, to throw off our exhibitions, ignore the urge to self censor and just write (as if our parents were dead). My first act of rebellion was to include bad language. Somehow writing the f word seems much stronger than saying it. For one thing, it remains on the page in full view long after it is written. There is no denying its presence. A spoken curse on the other hand can be an accident or an ephemeral explosion of sound. It may not even be heard. My next was to discover that a central character, the mother, was as horrible as you might even have the misfortune to meet. My third was to include sex, lots of it. In desperation my sister suggested I publish this terrible book under my ex husband’s name; and bring shame on my in-laws instead! My mother politely suggested I write […]

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