EXETERA A Lighter Alternative for Exeter University
Editor Max Benwell Design Nicholas Rowland Copy Tom Murray Illustration Dave Wood Sales & Marketing Alex Chadwick Proofing Chloe Hajnal-Corob
Contributors Mark Izatt Writer, thezemblan.com
Phoebe Whitehouse Writer
Joel Khaw Photographer, joelkhaw.com
Chris Shannon, Raconteur
Billy Wilson Poet
Carla Sosa-Grande Model
exeteramagazine.com facebook.com/exeteramagazine Want to get involved in the next edition or advertise with us? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org Exetera Magazine is a completely independent, student-run magazine. It is no way affiliated with The Studentsâ€™ Guild. Nuh uh. Front Cover: Joel Khaw
CONTENTS 4 Sex Advice 5 Exeter Positions 6 NSFG Photoshoot 14 Exeter University: A Hazy Review 22 Sex Blogging with Slutever 26 The History of Erotic Literature
A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR It’s been a while, but welcome, finally, to the latest edition of Exetera. As you may have already noticed, we have opted for a slightly more risqué theme this time, and combined the relevant (graduation) with the more erotic side of things (sex). This may seem like a strange combination, and I could try and justify it by explaining how both are climactic in nature, sources of great relief, and can sometimes end in tears (boom boom), but this would be disingenuous. The actual reason why we have combined the two is because we received great articles on both topics, and realised that the two themes could actually work well together. (Plus, we only had time to print one more before the end of the year. But that’s not important.) On another note, if you’ve enjoyed reading Exetera this year and don’t have
much to do this Summer then you should definitely check out our brand new, vastly improved website (exeteramagazine.com). As well as original mixes by some of Exeter’s best student DJs, and exclusive online content, it will also provide an archive of all of the articles we’ve published, so all in all it promises to be very exciting. And finally, be sure to look out for us next year! Not only will we still be around, but we are also planning on distributing new editions much more frequently, expanding the team, and organising various social events. Thanks for reading, Max Benwell Editor, Exetera
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SEX PROBLEMS: ASK EXETERA Dear Exetera,
I am a big time player with a stocky build, washboard abs and an obnoxious attitude that the ladies love. But I have a problem. Coming to university was the best decision of my life, as from day one (or should I say night one ;]), I was literally up to my neck in hot Hollister-wearing honeys. And it was great, although I’m now in dire straits. I’m not sure how to put this, but you could say that in the last few months I’ve been involuntarily promoted to the Premier League, or that my sex life has turned into the film Gone in 60 Seconds. It’s really getting me down, to the point where I don’t even have the desire to get topless in The Lemmy any more. What should I do?
I am about to graduate, and I really want to get with all the guys who have eluded me so far throughout my degree. How would I go about doing this?
Anon Dear Anon, As you have quite rightly suggested, what you’ve got is a nasty case of “the prems”. This is a common condition that afflicts many men, and can be dealt with quite easily. All you need to do is be in the right state of mind whilst having sex – when it comes to premming, it really is all in your head. The best way to prevent premature ejaculation is to think of the most disgusting things you can ever imagine during intercourse. Why not pretend, for example, that the woman you are sleeping with is rapidly decaying, or Jodie Marsh? If this doesn’t work then you should probably consult a doctor, (or a psychiatrist). Dear Exetera, Thanks for your great advice! Everything is brilliant now. Anon
Lucy Dear Lucy, What you are talking about here is generally known as “Goldrushing”. In order to get with all the hot guys you’ve always wanted to but haven’t yet during your time at Exeter, time is of the essence: act fast. Start off by poking them all on Facebook, followed by the message: “I hope you can reciprocate that sometime during Grad Week ;]”. If that doesn’t work, then why not just ask them to have sex with you? The only thing guys love more than honesty is blunt, unexpected sexual advances, so go for it.
A Substitution by Billy Wilson Don’t write from your head, but from Your cock, said Auden: thus I’ll bend My will, exploding like a bomb, Towards a more productive end — A substitution for the womb, In order to relieve my chest. Some pretty flowers might then bloom, When I get laid, at last, to rest, Sequestered in a lonely tomb — The ground need not be bare above; And maybe I can yet become Sequestered, likewise, in my love. For though it might not make a home, There’s plenty to be said for sport, So I’ll assign myself this private room Repository for penis thought.
“The Lemon Groove”
EXETER SEX (AND SEDUCTION) POSITIONS by Dave Wood
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YOUR TONGUE IN MY CHEEK Sexy doesn’t always have to be serious
Photographer: Joel Khaw
VAGUE RECOLLECTIONS FROM A SELECTIVE MEMORY by Chris Shannon
Photos: Joel Khaw
Recognise this riddle? Some acres of this Middle Earth are handsomely attired with the hardest, sharpest, most bitter of man’s fine belongings... A quickening delight lies in this treasure, lingers and lasts for men who, from experience, indulge their inclinations and don’t rail against them; and then after death it begins to gab, to gossip, wrecklessly... Most people won’t be aware of it, let alone know the answer1, and yet, if you’ve spent three years living and studying in Exeter, you will have inadvertently wandered past it hundreds of times, possibly while gazing at your own contorted reflection in the six metre steel pyramid sculpture on the high street (the one with the impressive shiny balls at its base), a gleaming priapic tribute to the city’s heritage, engraved with cryptic poems written in the 11th century. And how many of you have seen the small rusted sign on Blackall road, which reads : “I don’t like text in art, but walking along this road holding the hand of a girl I loved was the happiest I’ve ever been”? You’d have to look a little, because it’s hidden behind a parking meter, which is either an indication that the local traffic council don’t particularly care for art, or that the poet lacked
confidence in his romantic gesture. What is perhaps a little more widely known is that in 1684, the ‘Devon Witches’ were tried at Exeter castle and executed in Heavitree, the last people in England to be put to death for witchcraft. Fitting, then, that just over four hundred years later, many of Exeter’s historical sites would gain some level of notoriety as the inspiration behind J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. And the link to that world-famous wizard is the sole reason most of us came here in the first place, right? Suffice to say, for such a small town Exeter has a great deal of personality, a bizarre concoction of old and modern, the strange and the wonderful. And like a twisted tour guide, I have been asked to give a brief, and therefore utterly incoherent, impression of my time here, a Pollock of scattered, colourful memories...
Accommodation I spent the year before my arrival here working in shabby hostels, immersed in a world of bed bugs, questionable food, and girls funding their travels through casual prostitution. So I was well prepared for the experience of living in halls. Ever with a thrifty eye, I chose Kilmorie — a high ceilinged Victorian building on Pennsylvania Road with labyrinthine
corridors, rusting balconies which swayed precariously in strong winds, and an ancient library-cum-games room with a torn up pool table. It was a pauper’s paradise. The place was in such a state of disrepair that the University didn’t
I stepped up with my large black cowboy boots, and after a great deal of hesitation, stamped my heel down onto the bird’s head seem to care what damage we added, so we set about doing our worst, and by the end of the year we were informed that the building had been condemned as ‘unfit for human habitation’, with the discovery of asbestos the final nail in the coffin. Despite this, by the following year the University had chosen to house the overspill of Chinese students in that majestic crack den, seemingly without having done anything to ameliorate the condition it was in, a prime example of their steadfast dedication to profits over conscience. You couldn’t help feeling sorry for those new arrivals — coming from one place with questionable human rights only to arrive in another. They must have had quite a shock. As a side note, I like to think that in my own way I contributed to the early cultural experiences of
a number of those same foreign visitors during fresher’s week of my second year. Walking past my old halls one afternoon, I noticed a pigeon struggling frantically in the grass, its neck broken. Seeing the poor creature in horrendous pain and feeling duty- bound to put it out of its misery, I stepped up with my large black cowboy boots, and after a great deal of hesitation, stamped my heel down onto the bird’s head. I took my foot away, content that the deed had been done well, yet the pigeon began flapping manically once again, entrails protruding like macabre sarcoid silly-string. With a final warrior-like howl (for ‘warrior’ read squeamish dandy) I slammed my boot down again and crushed the bird’s skull. Having completed my task as inept executioner, I turned to meet the petrified stares of four newly arrived girls who had been unloading their bags from a taxi. Welcome to England, ladies.
Settling In My own culture shock upon arrival in this curious tardis of a city was less dramatic, but equally eye-opening. Call me naïve, but having grown up in a city in the Midlands which at one point boasted the highest gun crime and teenage pregnancy rates
in Europe, and whose most famous icon was a thief who ran a medieval terrorist network named the ‘Merry Men’, I hadn’t ever come across public school folk, or indeed heard of the species known as ‘Rah’. Some things will remain a mystery to me no matter how long I’ve been here. Firstly it’s that label. Like the Loch Ness monster, Jesus, and Osama bin Laden before he got shot in the face, rahs are seemingly intangible creations constructed around speculation, and a tough stereotype to pin down. The myth surrounding ‘Rah’ culture appears to have been built upon hyperbole, sweeping generalisations and a tautology resting on resentment for
Getting upset about people acting within the trammels of their upbringing is as useful as going into your garden and telling the tulips they’re whores those who are products of the middle class public school system dressing and behaving like products of the middle class public school system. Not to suggest that there isn’t a general air of smug, bourgeois entitlement amongst some members of the student population, a number of oxygen thieves with more money than charm. But getting upset about
people acting within the trammels of their upbringing is as useful as going into your garden and telling the tulips they’re whores. As Aldous Huxley wrote, ‘We are at once the beneficiaries of our culture and its victims’. Even I’ve had to come to terms with becoming increasingly middle class; my once decidedly northern accent has changed, I’ve developed a taste for brie, olives and Earl Grey tea, and I’ll happily reference Aldous Huxley to support a throwaway argument. One event that punctuated the end of my first year was the patently horrific Exeter Bombing. Horrific thankfully not for the loss of life that could have potentially ensued, but because of the pitiable incompetence of the perpetrator. A twenty-two year old British convert to radical Islam, reportedly with the mental age of a ten year old, went into the Giraffe restaurant in Princesshay with the intention of sticking it to the infidel (and long necked mammals), only to detonate the homemade nail bomb in his own face with a blast of such ferocity that customers in the restaurant described the sound as being “like a lightbulb exploding”. He would have caused more havoc if he had simply gone ahead and smashed a few lightbulbs, they’re a nuisance to clean up. Nonetheless, it was a dramatic afternoon. The city was on
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lockdown, with armed police guarding every possible route, ambulances rushing to the scene to treat casualties complaining of mild tinnitus, and everyone questioning why the bomber didn’t target JD Sports.
‘Meow Meow’ Certain things remain ubiquitous in accounts of student life, and there will always be obligatory references to crazy drunken nights and the hangovers that inevitably follow. But those stories pale in comparison to the decadent epidemic created by a chemical called Mephedrone. Perhaps you’ve met.
Because of Mephedrone’s legal status at that point, and its availability online, people who would never before have considered taking drugs leapt nose first into the frenzy Mephedrone radically changed the social habits of a staggeringly large number of the student population in 2009, on account of being very cheap and extremely addictive, and during that year, life for many became a cross between Fear & Loathing and Night of the Living Dead. No longer was it necessary to go home at 3am on a Wednesday: you could carry on partying until Sunday without the inconvenience of sleep or food. Each night, debauched
soirées were being held in houses all over town, each a firework display of button-black pupils and bruxic grins, with greasy amphibious wretches chattering endlessly. Everyone knew each other, without any idea how or when they had met before, and it was possible to be regaled with a person’s whole life story without remembering their name. Because of its legal status at that point, and its availability online, people who would never before have considered taking drugs leapt nose first into the frenzy, delighted with the benefit of the postman being their unwitting drug dealer. Even when the media became awash with outlandish horror stories warning of the terrible danger of ‘Meow Meow’2 after a number of deaths were linked to the drug, the general response among users was “They took a couple of grams and dropped dead? Hell, we’re super human! On we go...” Despite all the fun, it becomes difficult to formulate constructive or rational thoughts in a brain which you are mainly using as a chemical sewage system, and as ‘real life’ slowly became something certain people visited only occasionally, the romance wore off and was replaced by shivering paranoia, not a feeling you want to have to deal with when you’re supposed to be giving a presentation in a 9am seminar after five days awake. Grades undoubtedly suffered
dramatically, and people dropped out like lemmings off a cliff.
Academia If details of my academic experiences are conspicuously absent, it is because my relationship with the faculty has inconsistently ranged between hesitant flirtation and mutual antipathy (and that’s just with Philip Hensher). During my undergraduate studies I was one of those pricks in glass houses who complained about the fees and the lack of contact hours with teachers, and as an indignant counter-intuitive protest, failed to turn up to the majority of lectures. I also landed on the wrong side of the dreaded BART system all too often, having just put the finishing touches to another world-changing essay mere minutes before the deadline. Remonstrations that the staff are “all slaves, time is an illusion, this is not ten past four on a Friday, this is the ever changing now!” do not, as I painfully discovered, prevent you from being capped at 40. The miscellany of grades from my creative writing studies, an area that is notoriously subjective, has been so varied that I really don’t know whether I’m an under appreciated creative prodigy or simply an articulate imbecile, and the marker’s comments I’ve received
don’t necessarily give any clues... Here are some of my favourites: “You have managed to create a character who, though witty, is even more monstrous and detestable than Humbert Humbert” (in response to a story in which I based the protagonist on myself) “You write with a rich and poetic vocabulary... but all too often I was left asking myself ‘what on earth is going on?’” And finally... “In aiming for greatness, you all too often come across as pretentious, which I found intensely annoying.” That I will use as my epitaph. Endnotes 1. Ale 2. No one actually called it that (naming it after something sounding like cat food somewhat undermined its potency).
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Sex Blogging w/Slutever
by Mark Izatt
he remarkable popularity of E.L. James’ kinky novel, 50 Shades of Grey, left me with a lot of questions regarding the marginalised world of the fetish, and particularly BDSM (an overlapping acronym combining Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism). Like many, I had been quick to dismiss it with the sort of mild disapproval that seems appropriate in the suburbs of Surrey. However, my friend recently introduced me to a sex blog which has become daily reading, and was quick to dispel my Surrey-born conservatism on the topic of kinky sex. Slutever.com is a sex blog written by twenty-something New Yorker called Karley Sciortino. Though wildly popular, the blog is not for the faint-hearted, with detailed accounts of bondage and domination posted alongside a selection of more approachable sex advice columns, interviews and short films. Sciortino has experienced huge success as a result of the website; she writes for Dazed and Confused, makes regular videos for the magazines Vice and Purple, and has appeared in several high-end publications.
Her blogging journey began in a London squat (brilliantly titled ‘Squallyoaks’) and continues from an apartment in Williamsburg. Her candid writing about sex quickly attracted the attention of the blogosphere’s underbelly, and soon there were men begging her to let them be her slaves. One of these men, a so-called Cash Pig, got off by spending money on other people. He earned the name “Book Bitch” by buying Karley any book that she wanted off Amazon, and loved spending his money on her so much that he even paid her rent for a while in return for nothing but degrading emails. Win win, no?
she journeyed deeper into the world of domination and subordination, and her unflinching accounts of Dee’s BDSM sessions make it clear that there really is an art to sex work There have been a host of similar cases, such as an Australian who “paid $75 for a piece of paper with spit and cum on it”, and a man who was turned on by cleaning Slutever’s flat whilst being told how shit a job he was doing. When writing about these slaves, Sciortino has developed an interesting
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tone. On the one hand she is presenting them to the world without judgement, but at the same time she mocks them with occasional jabs of LOL and WTF, because ultimately it’s humiliation, not sympathy, that they desire. Left fascinated by her ‘trainingbra-level’ encounters with the BDSM world, the blogger took things further. Spending a few days working with a professional Dominatrix, or Domme, who goes by the alias Mistress Dee, she journeyed deeper into the world of domination and subordination, and her unflinching accounts of Dee’s BDSM sessions make it clear that there really is an art to sex work. There’s so much to master, like conveying the perfect balance of disinterest and occasional engagement through your face, chugging the right amount of water to warrant urination precisely when it’s needed, administering pain (but not too much pain) and looking smouldering hot the whole time. The first session is an eye-opening one. There are ‘humbling’ contraptions, unfamiliar rituals, some pretty strange goings on involving a rainbow-striped lollipop, and the slave is taken to a fetish shop to sing this little ditty to the unfazed, seen-it-all-before shopkeeper: “I’ve got all holes available Tell all your friends I’m salable I want to be used, abused, bent over your dinner table A faggy slut with all holes available.”
Don’t stop reading just yet; I’m about to get to the meaningful stuff, promise. Dee explains that she had to go through a short but intense period of desensitization in order to become good at her job. So, whilst the Domme works to strip away all sense of shame that is pushed upon her by society, her client thrives on it and the resultant humiliation. In fact, the reason that Sciortino managed to get in on Dee’s sessions was because having a ‘civilian’ (no leather, no whip) watching allows the slave’s feeling of humiliation to be enhanced. There’s certainly more to this relationship than meets the eye. Whilst snacking from a box of Godiva chocolates and using a hunchbacked man as a foot rest, Mistress Dee reflects: “The thing is, all of this — BDSM, humiliation, degradation, sensory deprivation — it’s about getting outside yourself. And when it’s good it can be an out-of-body experience. For some people it’s about separating themselves from reality so much that they cease to exist.” Maybe the Dominatrix is a sort of latex-clad therapist. She indulges the deepest desires of otherwise normal people, helping them to deal with an integral part of themselves which they often have to hide from their closest friends, family members and even partners. Though it can be hard for a ‘vanilla’ — what the world of kink has christened those who lead fetish-free
sex lives — to understand the appeal of some of BDSM’s grittier practices, it is easy to admire the bravery of people who recognise and act upon their desires, however unconventional. The Domme session is a time of unadulterated fantasy, where the real world is left behind and power is instantly transferable. Men who are powerful by profession are reduced to helpless slaves at the mercy of women who would ultimately find it harder to gain power in the real world. Slutever points out that the dominatrix isn’t sexually aroused during her sessions. Instead, in a temporary reversal of patriarchy, she experiences an‘arousal of the ego’. Maybe I’m speaking as your run-ofthe-mill, feminism-peddling Literature student here, but reading about this sort of subversion is pretty interesting to me. The hugely successful 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James, in contrast, presents a patriarchal male-dominant
in an intense sexual relationship with a female slave. Of course there’s nothing wrong with a woman who enjoys sexual subordination, just the same as men, but when I put my feminist hat on and see the widespread assertion that the novel is fulfilling some deep female desire to be servile, I can’t help but sense that there is misogynistic ideology at play. Gender concerns aside however, the increasing popularisation of the BDSM world highlights the fact that ‘vanilla’ sex isn’t entirely natural, and it isn’t what we all want. Personally, I would suggest that we all add a bit of sexually deviant literature to our reading lists, and live a little. Glossary Cash Pig A money slave; someone who hands over money to his or her dominant as a form of financial subservience Dominatrix, Domme, or Domina A dominating woman who takes the sadistic role in sadomasochistic sexual activities. Also known as a “mistress”. Pro-Domme A dominatrix who earns money by dominating her clients, as opposed to a lifestyle domme, who willingly serves his or her dominant free of charge. Submissive or Sub A person who occupies a role of consensual powerlessness, allowing another person to take control over him or her.
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FILTHY CLASSICS A Brief History of Erotic Literature
Words: Phoebe Whitehouse Illustrations: Dave Wood
o indulge in erotic literature, one no longer has to wait red-faced in the queue at their local Waterstones with a copy of Agent Provocateur: 69 in hand, enduring the ensuing small talk as the cashier timidly scans the text and avoids any eye contact. Instead, from the privacy of a computer one may peruse Amazon for the latest erotic releases, or pore over “Kink for Kindle”, an online library full of free e-books ranging from the works of Marquis de Sade (the creator of sadism) to the latest erotica and audio books. All it takes is a discreet download onto an e-reader and your fellow passengers on the morning commute are none the wiser. E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey, a novel that began as erotic Twilight fan fiction (in which necks aren’t the only things characters are sucking), has been the latest e-book to create a stir when this year it reached the top of USA Today’s Best Selling Book List. This has only ever been bettered by electronicised version of The Hunger Games trilogy, which is a remarkable feat for an e-book with a non-existent marketing budget. And just recently, upon the physical
release of 50 Shades of Grey, the novel has become the fastest-selling paperback of all time, beating both Dan Brown and J.K Rowling. The 30% rise in the sales of erotic literature has not gone unnoticed. It seems that society may turn a blind eye to the predominantly male domain of visual pornography on the internet yet when women whip out their Kindles on the Tube and clandestinely engage in a kinky tale, a critical and damning backlash erupts. If anything, it proves how our society is uncomfortable with a woman’s sexual needs. Widely labelled as “Mommy Porn”, there seems to be an instinctive response of belittlement and mockery on behalf of society towards a married mother’s sexual needs and desires. However, this is nothing new. It dates back to far beyond the creation of the e-reader in 1998, the pornography on the Internet today, or even the first French pleasure films of the late 1800s. Just take a look at some of the following poets and novelists who have made brave forays into erotic literature across our history, and the various legal battles over censorship that have ensued.
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John Wilmot (1647-80) “And may no woman better thrive That dares prophane the cunt I swive” “In liquid raptures I dissolve all o’er,/ Melt into sperm, and spend at every pore./ A touch from any part of her had done’t:/ Her hand, her foot, her very look’s a cunt.”
ohn Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, was an original libertine and member of the Court Wits, a social group close to Charles II. Renowned for exploiting the amorality of the court and the newfound sexual freedom under Charles’ rule, Wilmot’s collection of poems is an inherently sexualised representation of both men and women as mere objects of desire. However, Wilmot appears to use his work to also promote sexual comportment and etiquette, and it is clear that beneath the shock value present throughout many of his works there is an inherent conflict between
Wilmot’s tender, personal emotion and his position as a skilled raconteur. In 1680, at the age of thirty-three and debilitated by the effects of alcoholism, syphilis and gonorrhoea, Wilmot made a deathbed renunciation of libertinism and turned to religion in an effort to ‘save’ himself from the hedonistic, bawdy and obscene work he penned during his lifetime. However, this was to no avail, and having (as Samuel Johnson described) “blazed out his youth and health in lavish voluptuousness”, he died shortly after.
Fanny Hill John Cleland (1749) “I saw...not the play-thing of a boy, not the weapon of a man, but a maypole of so enormous a standard, that had proportions been observ’d, it must have belong’d to a young giant.”
etailing lesbian encounters, heterosexual romps, mutual masturbation and masochism, it is unsurprising that the sordid memoirs of Fanny Hill’s brothel experiences became synonymous with the obscene. Published in its entirety in 1749, the bawdy display of female hedonism resulted in Cleland and publisher Ralph Griffiths being charged with corrupting the King’s subjects. Its prohibition spurred underground activity until 1963, when following the Lady Chatterley Trial Mayflower Books decided to re-publish the text in all its former, unexpurgated glory.
Again the text was banned under Section 3 of the Obscenity Act, but by then 82,000 copies had been circulated and the archaic disparity between publishing laws and the social realities of the 1960s was ever apparent. Following the announcement of the Miller Test, a three-pronged approach to measuring artistic obscenity, the ban was lifted in the 1970s .
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Lady Chatterley’s Lover D.H. Lawrence (1928) “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, that the king of glory may come in. Ay, th’ cheek on thee! Cunt, that’s what tha’re after. Tell lady Jane tha wants cunt. John Thomas, an’ th’ cunt O’ lady Jane!”
ailed as an “unprecedentedly unconstrained celebration of sexuality”, Lawrence’s novel focuses on Lady Constance Chatterley’s search for fulfilment as her desires lead her away from her paralysed husband and into the arms of her gardener. The story is both beautiful and notorious; the tender portrayal of Connie’s love for Mellors is contrasted against the expletiveladen sex scenes Lawrence creates. Such was the explosive response to Lady Chatterley’s Lover that one contemporary critic claimed Lawrence to have so “diseased [a] brain and a soul so dark that it’d
obscure even the darkness of hell”. Embroiled in the famous Penguin Obscenity Trial in the 1960s, the novel was attacked for its frequent use of “fuck” and ten mentions of “cunt”, the prosecution deeming that these words devalued the literary merit of the novel. However, the landmark ruling on November 2nd 1960 was returned as “not guilty”, prompting Penguin to re-publish the text with a dedication to the twelve jurors in the trial who allowed Lawrence’s work to become one of the most commonly known pieces of erotic literature in our contemporary canon.
50 Shades of Grey E.L. James (2011) “Let me ask you something first. Do you want a regular vanilla relationship with no kinky fuckery at all?” My mouth drops open. “Kinky fuckery?” I squeak. “Kinky fuckery.”
his now notorious trilogy focuses on the antics of Anastasia Steele, a twenty-one year old student who engages in a relationship with a bondage loving billionaire called Christian Grey. Critics have slammed James’ quality of writing but the plot and themes of her novel (though somewhat lost in a fantasy realm somewhere between the Twilight and Harry Potter series) have triggered great debate. Indeed, just recently Newsnight’s economics editor Paul Mason found himself discussing ‘genital clamps’ and ‘fisting’ live on air after somehow digressing away from
his original topic of the financial double dips. It too has added further fuel to the great feminist debate, with critics questioning James’ unabashed portrayal of Anastasia as weakly submissive at the hands of the powerful businessman. Regardless of the critical storm that James appears to have conjured however, one thing is for certain — as one of the biggest selling e-books and the fastest-selling paperback ever, no matter what anyone says about 50 Shades of Grey, its status as the nation’s favourite bonkbuster is already cemented.
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