A for Adult

It seems a long time ago, but I remember being a member of The Guardian cricket team touring California in the seventies and, being the film critic of the paper at the time, was constantly pressed to take the team to an adult movie in LA. This was when porn movies were shown freely In cinemas with an XXX certificate blazoned across the posters outside. I took them to a double bill of Deep Throat and Behind The Green Door, which I thought would either cure them once and for all of their erotic urges or just possibly make them addicts.

In fact, both things happened. I was cursed for taking them to such filthy films by some of the primmer cricketers despite the fact that I had warned them that they were not about to see The Sound of Music or some such entertainment. Others, clearly avid for experience, abjured me to take them to further delectations. So I did. And the next was in 3D which had us all ducking when the usual climaxes, designed to prove this was the real thing, were reached. Can’t remember what the film was called but I think it was Hot Ice.

After the screening, there was an announcement that those who had enjoyed the experience might like to “come upstairs and meet the cast”. Believe me, I had to drag some of them away since there was a match on the morrow and we had to keep fit and go to bed early, preferably alone.

There were often ladies of the night outside these theatres, and one member of the team, now well-known, approached one of them with six dollars in his pocket. This was not exactly the rate the lady had in mind but she said kindly: “Well, I suppose I could manage a French”. “What’s that?” said the naive fellow. At that point, I made an excuse and left the boardwalk. Goodness know what happened. But the gentleman concerned made 57 good runs on the following day.

Nowadays, of course, anyone can access porn on the net, though I have to say it is a good deal less approachable than the films that once made it into the cinema. For one thing, you have to be a perverted gynaecologist to appreciate them. There’s no attempt at a storyline, little character play and hardly any imagination on display. Dismal in fact.

Very different from the first time I encountered theatrical erotica as a young theatre critic working for a provincial paper. I can’t recall what the touring show I was supposed to be reviewing was called. It was either The Nine O’Clock Nudes or Yes, We Have No Pyjamas, and it starred a glamorous model called Irina Poliakova. Not  exactly glamorously attired, since she appeared nude throughout, generally on a precariously revolving plinth and draped patriotically in a Union Jack. In those days, nudes were not allowed to move for fear of generating a riot of sexual desire.

She was, though, a sight to behold, and probably, I thought, a refugee from an ace Russian ballet company. So, gathering up my courage, I asked for an interview. To my surprise, the message came that I could go backstage after the show. Knocking tremulously on her dressing room door, I entered. “Hullo, duckie,” she said in a decidedly Cockney accent,”Would you care for a cup of tea?” She was charming but not quite the erotic creature I had imagined her to be. Irina Poliakova, I discovered was Mavis Hopkins from Walworth. ” That bloody plinth” she said, “It makes you wobble!”. I’ll say it did.

Posted in A critic's ABC