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My latest marketing venture has not been the most orthodox.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been spreading positive vibes about the latest and greatest event to hit London: ‘Porn – The Musical.’

It’s no easy feat targeting an audience that loves musicals but also happens to have a penchant for pornography – but I have tried my very best. The efforts obviously paid off, for when I finally saw the show at the tiny ‘Theatre 503‘ (situated above a grimy pub in Battersea), I had to fight for my seat.

The story starts on the island of Malta, where a heartbroken Stefan emigrates to LA, with hopes of making it big “like Harrison Ford or Jesus”. Mugged on arrival, Stefan is rescued by a porn princess who, looking and sounding like Dolly Parton, announces: “My name is Sanddy with a double D.”

The seemingly wholesome Sanddy initiates Stefan into the adult-movie business, where, under the direction of one Martin Scoresleazy he proves an unexpected  success.

The depiction of the sordid world of pornography is perhaps a little predictable, but with appearances from the likes of Dr Johnny Long, with his PHD (Particularly Huge Dick) it’s hard to complain.

After such a promising start for the young lothario, events take a turn for the worse. Sanddy and Stefan’s blossoming romance is put on hold as Martin’s studio faces bankruptcy and a potent STD spreads amongst the actors…

Prudes need not be scared, this performance is warm rather than racing hot.

Offensive? No. Faintly ridiculous? Yes. Belly achingly funny? Definitely! Whatever the critics say, this is a musical not to be missed.


Easter Monday was the last day of Polish artist Miroslaw Balka’s extraordinary installation at the Tate Modern. I only stumbled across it last week, but I’m delighted to have had the chance to experience such an unnerving piece of art.

To accommodate the Turbine Hall’s monumental space, Balka constructed a giant grey steel structure that hovers somewhere between architecture and sculpture.
The vast work stands 13 metres high and 30 metres long and is suspended on 2 metre stilts. It is an incredible feat of engineering. Visitors walking beneath the structure look as insignificant as a colony of ants. Eerie sounds of echoing voices and footsteps on steel only add to the sense of disquiet.

The greatest sense of unease however comes upon entering the vast dark chamber. As you enter via a ramp into a pitch-black interior, all sound is muted, and all visibility denied.

At first I panicked. A terrible, shivering sensation crept up my spine. I could not even see or hear my friend next to me. I felt dizzy and vulnerable. After a moment or two however, I became accustomed to the surroundings and could not help but appreciate the velvety richness of the chamber. What’s more, as I left the chamber and walked down the ramp, the welcoming natural light provided an overwhelming sense of relief and encouragement.

According to The Tate blurb, the work alludes to a number of events in recent Polish history. The ramp could be an allusion to the Ghetto entrance in Warsaw, or from one of the trucks that transported Jews to Auschwitz. By entering the dark space, visitors place considerable trust in The Tate, something that could also be seen in relation to the risks often taken by immigrants travelling.

Never before has a piece of art touched every one of my senses in such a dramatic way.
I shall never forget the experience.

One of my office’s accounts is with the Arts Theatre in Leicester Square. This small, musty venue has none of the sparkling glamour of other West End theatres, but in my humble opinion, it’s a hidden gem.

For the past few months, the Arts Theatre has been running a wildly successful ‘Late Night’ programme. When the innocent performances finish at ten, the raunchier acts hit the stage. In the second week of my internship I naively agreed to see one of these late night shows. Nothing could have prepared me for the evening that lay ahead.

I suppose the show’s title should have given it all away. “Naked Boys Singing” does not need much explanation. The musical takes the form of 16 songs performed by a troupe of jobless actors auditiong for the ‘naked’ event we’re about to see. The lyrics are crude, the language is blue, and the nakedness leaves little to the imagination. The (very) gay humour never lets up with songs entitled “The bliss of a Bris” and “Perky Little Porn Star.”

The audience was a bizarre combination of aging gays, Japanese tourists and glamorous Russians. The night was quite literally hysterical. It may be outrageous, but if the spectator cares to look beyond the blatant nakedness, then they are sure to enjoy a handful of catchy songs and some genuine acting talent.

In direct contradiction to the self-deprecating, opening song title, this really isn’t all about ‘Gratuitous Nudity’.

Whilst jogging around Hyde Park the other day, I took a much-needed pause and poked my nose into the Serpentine Gallery. Its current exhibition – Design Real – is fresh, minimal and exuding in nonchalant style.

‘Design Real’ touches on new ground for the Serpentine. It’s the first show that the gallery has dedicated entirely to contemporary design. The show consists of 43 examples of tangible products that have all been created within the last 10 years. Everyday objects are displayed throughout the gallery and are given a one-word generic description such as: table, chair, robot or computer.

It’s a curious thing to show everyday items in a gallery but it forces you to reflect upon the nature of objects that are designed for our use. The show had such a profound effect on me that I started to speculate whether each object was good, bad or ergonomically sound. I’m not quite sure where my fountain of Design knowledge sprouted, but I felt like I knew what I was talking about.

It’s not just a chair, it’s a feat of ergonomic engineering!

When you go into a bedroom, a bed is just a bed, but when a bed is hanging on the white wall of a gallery space, you can’t help but see it differently. There I was, standing in my SweatyBetty Lycra, and I was admiring the springs on a double bed. It was ridiculous yet wonderful.

I started to admire the most banal of objects, loving them for their functionality of design and even for their beauty. If you’re prepared to look past the ordinary you’re guaranteed to see the extraordinary. Even a book-end can be cool.

It really is quite an achievement that an exhibition can make a double bed, a pen and a pop-up tent visually inspiring. But the exhibition’s greatest achievement is that it makes you realise that when a good designer gets it right, our lives are improved.

The result of last year’s Turner Prize winner came as quite a surprise. In the past, winners of the coveted prize have impressed the judges by elephant dung and erotic ceramics, but it seems that 2009’s winner changed the record.

Richard Wright ‘s winning gold leaf mural can only be described as beautiful. It didn’t try and make a comment about society nor did it have an underlying political or moralistic message. Wright’s golden masterpiece was purely intended to provide the onlooker with a pleasurable visual experience. And it did. Quite spectacularly.

The tragedy or perhaps the brilliance of the work is its temporality. The ethereal beauty of Wright’s wall mural no longer exists – a great big roller brush, laden with white glossy paint, has covered it forever.

Art has nearly always been commercial. As human beings we are obsessed by placing value on objects and experiences, but Richard Wright, in his stubborn, Glaswegian way has tried to break this consumer mould.

Damien Hirt may have sold his work at auction for a sharp $125 million, in August 2008, but Richard Wright’s work can never make it to auction. Each example of his work has such a short life span, that it will have already disappeared before some art dealer can give it a price tag. In a sense his work is priceless.

Wright wants his art to be compared to a musical performance, something that will exist in the memory of the creator and the audience, but something that cannot be owned, sold of moved. The winning mural is like a sparkling jewel, a thing so precious that it will never get the chance to fade.

Despite competing against a strong shortlist, there was never any doubt in mind that Wright would be the winner. His subtle and inoffensive gestures remind us that we don’t have to buy something to enjoy it – a vivid, beautiful memory will serve us just as well.

As I’ve lamented at length… I’ve been unemployed for a good few months now. Whilst it’s all very good moaning on, I sometime loose sight of the luxury of being in control of one’s own time.

In the months before Christmas, I attended a veritable orgy of art exhibitions. Many of the shows have closed to make way for the new Spring ones, so I thought it should remember the highlights:


My first encounter with Sophie Calle happened when I read Paul Auster’s novel Leviathan.

On the first page of his book Auster inserts a personal note: “The author extends special thanks to Sophie Calle for permission to mingle fact with fiction.”

It took a little bit of detective work on my side, but I eventually discovered that Paul Auster was thanking Sohpie Calle for allowing him to ‘steal’ her personality. Calle’s character is applied to one of the pivotal characters in his book – to the weird and wonderful Maria Turner.

“Maria was an artist but the work she did had nothing to do with creating objects commonly defined as art. Some people called her a photographer, others referred to her as a conceptualist, still others considered her a writer, but … in the end I don’t think she could be pigeonholed in any way. Her work was too nutty for that…”

On finishing Leviathan, my curiosity concerning Sophie Calle had not been fully satisfied. When I discovered that Sophie Calle was exhibiting in London, I practically knocked down the doors of the White Chapel Gallery in my eager anticipation.

The exhibition Talking to Strangers was an impressive one-woman show that not only exhibited the highlights of Calle’s thirty year career, but it premiered the English language version of Prenez soin de vous (Take care of yourself), a highlight of the 2007 Venice Biennale.

The idea behind Prenez soin de vous was initiated when Calle received an email from a lover ending their relationship. Instead of lamenting her loss, Calle set about making copies of the email. She then invited 107 women, from a ballerina to a lawyer, to use their professional skills to interpret the email. The poignant, amusing and at times poetic results form an enormous muti-media installation.

Interpretations of the email include photographs, videos, songs, letters, essays and even fashion designs. It’s hard to believe that one email was such an explosive catalyst of talent.

It would be easy to label Calle’s ambitious project as an aggressive act of feminism fuelled by bitterness and revenge, but the beauty of Prenez soin de vous was that it transcended the personal to provide a statuesque monument to the numerous women involved.

I’ve just finished reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Wow.

I picked up the raunchy read for 20p in a little charity shop in Northampton, but nothing could have prepared me for the rampant sauce that it provided.

D.H.Lawrence wrote the novel in 1928, and he was certainly not afraid of breaking boundaries. It took England a good thirty years to accept the author’s more liberal approach to discussing sex. The book was finally published in 1960, and even then it caused outrage.

If you’re like me and you read over people’s shoulders on the tube – then you would have been in for a few sexy surprises if you were standing next to me. On more than one occasion I felt obliged to close the book. Certain scenes were just not appropriate for a packed tube.

Fight the prude within you and get a copy. It’s quite a read.

Thumbs down to Clifford. Thumbs up to Mellors.