Sunday, 29 July 2012

50 Shades of Grey - Routine

This is a routine I performed recently at Working Title Comedy at the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, North London. It went down rather well, so I thought I'd put it up here for anyone that would be interested.

Bookshops are now becoming known as "Purveyors of FILTH". All because of 50 Shades of Grey. Which everyone's reading. And I mean everyone. There's something slightly odd about a woman in a full burqa reading pornography on the tube.

Even my Mum's reading it. This is my Mum, who writes period Irish romantic fiction, and whose had a few novels published. After her first one, I read it, doing the sonly duty, told her how much I enjoyed it, and then I engaged wind-up mode, and I referenced the (mild) sex scenes she'd written, and I said "Well, obviously, the characters and plot are really good, but I have to ask, what's all this about heaving bosoms and straining erections?

And she says to me “Christopher…watch your language!”

Well, she’s tried to read it, but she ended up giving up. Not because of the sex, but because it’s really badly written. And I mean really badly written. Here’s an example.

"Oh my... He wants me. Christian Grey, Greek God, wants me, and I want him, In the elevator."

Now, I’m not saying that everyone should be reading Anais Nin, but this is just not good writing. It’s a bit like… wait, there’s more.

"Why won't he kiss me again? I pout at the thought. I don't understand. Honestly, his surname should be Cryptic, not Grey."

That’s not even real human dialogue. That’s fucking Dougal from Father Ted.

“Why won’t he kiss me again, Ted? I don’t understand. Honestly, his surname should be Cryptic, not Grey!”

Look, I’m not one of these people that thinks you should only read erotic poetry. This isn’t for erotic self-exploration in the bath with candles going on, this is for doing the kit-kat shuffle quickly before you go to bed, I get it. But it’s just….it’s….

There’s a girl at work who described it as “It’s really powerfully erotic. She’s created the perfect man.”

What are his perfect qualities? Well….he’s a billionaire and…no, that’s basically it. All his other qualities are loathsome.

Wait, we have more writing from this fucking book.

"This is the only sort of relationship I'm interested in."
He shrugs.
"It's the way I am."
"How did you become this way?"
"Why is anyone the way they are? That's kind of hard to answer. Why do some people like cheese and other people hate it? Do you like cheese? Mrs. Jones - my housekeeper - has left this for supper." He takes some large, white plates from a cupboard and places one in front of me.

In the name of holy Garth Marenghi, what the actual fuck?

There’s this weird thing going throughout where he keeps buying her food. It’s really weird. But she’s fine with it, because it’s always exactly what she wants.

And it’s appealing to people because you’ve got this idea of someone who always knows exactly what you want, even if you don’t know it’s what you want. He goes “I have ordered you food”, and she goes “Oh God, this is my favourite food!” Every. Fucking. Time.

That doesn’t work in real life. Here’s how it goes in real life with my girlfiend.

“Hello, sit. I have ordered you food.”
“Oh. What did you order?”
“Omelette and tea. And some cheese.”
“I hate omelettes.”
“Why would you do that?”
“I thought it would be sexy.”
I thought it would be sexy to… order you omelette.”
"You thought it would be sexy to order me omelette?"
"And cheese. Baby."

I’ve not even got to the sex, by the way. The sex is crap as well, not least because…okay, I can get the cold aloof thing that’s going on. He only refers to her by her full first name or Miss Steele. That’s fine. But the SECOND they start fucking? “Oh baby, yeah baby, I’m going to fuck you now, baby.” Turning into Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing all of a second, while he JACKHAMMERS HIS WAY THROUGH THAT HYMEN.

There are presumably some women in the audience, and I don’t know if any of you have ever been a virgin, but if you were, would you recommend that you treat the girl slowly and tenderly, since it may really fucking hurt, or do you recommend punching your way through that shit like it’s a plank of wood at a karate exhibition?

Oh, and when she wakes up the next morning, she’s all “There was a mild throbbing, but it was pleasurable remembering”, and not doing what she should be doing which is going “FUCKING OUCH! SOMEONE GET ME SOME GERMALINE. I’VE MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE.”

Someone on facebook suggested that maybe I’m just not comfortable with sex that’s not totally vanilla. That maybe I’m scared of experimenting.  Because the book has some fisting and anal. Oh *please*.

I’m a 32 year old man with access to the internet. My sexual tastes have grown so cynical, jaded and downright bizarre that I can’t even masturbate to regular porn anymore. It has to involve a Nun, at least three Brazilian transsexuals, a gas mask and a Shetland pony.

There’s also the fact that this whole idea just doesn’t work in Britain. First of all, if you want to fantasise about a famous businessman, you’re basically on at best, Richard Branson, and at worst, Alan Sugar… “he ground on top of me like a sexy shaved gnome”.

One final thing you may have heard is that the main character in 50 Shades of Grey keeps saying the same stuff. “Oh my. Oh wow.” Stuff like that, but the weirdest one is “Holy hell. Holy crap. Holy God.” She says “Holy something” 157 times in this fucking book.

Now, here’s where I destroy it for you. Every time you read her say “Holy” something, just think of Burt Ward playing Robin in the 1960s Batman with Adam West. Because there are parallels. Anastasia is younger, Christian is a billionaire…he’s training her. They put on costumes and fight crime…oh, like anyone’s read the third book. But maybe that’s what she should have written. 50 Shades of Batman.

And depressingly, if she had written that, this blog post would be saying  “You know, it’s actually pretty good".

Thursday, 5 July 2012

50 Shades of Sugar - Chapter One

It's a quarter to two when I arrive at the Amsprop centre, a huge five story office building,  all grey and brick. I am greatly relieved I'm not late as I walk into the glass, steel lobby, past the fleet of taxis outside.

Behind the bland desk, a strict looking woman stares at me, looking unimpressed. She is dressed immaculately and raises an eyebrow at me.

"I'm here to see - "

"Yes, I know." she says, cutting me off. "I suppose you think you're dressed appropriately?" She lowers her eyebrow before raising it again and tutting.

I am beginning to wish I had dressed more appropriately. I have made an effort, though.

"I thought so, yes", I reply.

"Hmm." she snips.

She hands me a security pass. I can't help my smirk. Surely it's obvious I'm just visiting. I don't fit in here at all.

She picks up the phone. "It's Karen, My Lord. She's here." She then nods primly as if there were a camera watching her.

"You'll want the last elevator on the right. Press for the fourth floor."

The elevator whisks me with terminal velocity to the fourth floor. The doors slide open, and I'm in a tiny lobby with two sofas and pictures of cityscapes. There is a white haired man standing there to greet me.

"Hello, I'm Ana", I say.

"Ugh," he says, rolling his eyes dramatically.

"I'm here to see - "

"Yes," he says, shaking his head in a disappointed manner. "He's through there."

I push open the door and stumble through, tripping over my own feet, and falling head first into the office.

Double crap - me and my two left feet. I am on my hands and knees in the office doorway and rough hands are around me helping me to stand. I glance up. Holy cow - he's so short.

"Miss Kavanagh," he extends a stubby-fingered hand to me once I'm upright. "I'm Alan Sugar. Are you all right? Coming in here, falling over. Why don't you sit down. It's why chairs were invented." He gives a little smile and looks around awkwardly, as if he's just made a joke.

He's attractive, very attractive. He's short, dressed in a suit, with grey hair and strange, gnarled features. He looks like a sexy shaved gnome. It takes me a moment to find my voice.

"Um...." In a daze, I place my hand in his and we shake. As our fingers touch, I feel an odd exhilerating shiver run through me.  "Miss Kavanagh is indisposed, so she sent me. I hope you don't mind, Lord Sugar."

"And you are?"  His voice is gravelly, and he emphasises words in an odd manner, but it's difficult to tell from his eyebrows, which are bunched together like a seductive scrotum.

"Anastasia Steele. I'm studying with Kate, Kavanagh at Royal Holloway."

"I see," he says simply. I think I see the ghost of a smile in his expression, but it could be acid reflux.

I look at the room while I get ready for the interview. It is one enormous table, set up in front of huge frosted sliding doors for no reason. I set up the mini-disc recorder, and inexplicably slice off one of my fingers. I hope he doesn't notice the blood spurting out of the bloody stump. Damn my clumsiness. I'd blush, except for the blood-loss.

"Sorry," I stutter. "I'm not used to this."

"It's a shame. I had plans for that finger."

He's teasing me? I hope. I blink at him, unsure what to say, and I think he takes pity on me. "No, I don't mind."

He takes a seat. It's a large throne with a booster seat. He hops up onto it in a lithe, athletic manner that belies his aged appearance.

He sits there like a hotter version of Yoda. I cannot help but feel a little shaky just looking at him.

"So, to what do you owe your success?"

"Well, I grew up in a rough area, a part of London where you didn't have your fancy mini-discs, or lifts, or cars, or... or paths."

"I see."

He juts his neck out to emphasise when he talks, like an erotic turtle. "And you know, I've just been around for long enough. You buy, you sell. It's simple."

“You sound like a control freak.” The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them.

“Oh, I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele,” he says. “Like when I owned Tottenham Hotspurs. I flogged my way through seven managers, but they would have had it easier if they’d believed that Les Ferdinand would play better with nipple clamps.”

“Do you feel that you have immense power?”

“I employ dozens of people, Miss Steele. That gives me a certain amount of responsibility. Besides, immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret, masturbatory, reveries that you were born to control things.”

I cannot help but think about that image. It’s like a sexy walnut lying on a bed playing with itself.

“I’m sorry, but I really should go,” I say. “I have a long drive back to Enfield.”

“No,” he says gesturing towards a bed that I noticed in the corner. “I think you’ll stay. We have some very good benefits here, and – “ he says, beginning to unbutton his shirt, revealing the wrinkled, leathery skin underneath “ – I can be a very….generous and attentive teacher.”

I can’t help myself. His sexy stony  eyes look into my soul and locate my inner goddess.

“You mean….”

“Yes,” he says, licking his lips like a lecherous lizard. “You’re fucked.”