But even an English parsnip takes time to stiffen, out there on the roof in the first unseasonable snow (why is it that nothing you buy in an English greengrocer's is ready to eat?), and in the meantime, we have some serious work to do. How about this:
"He took her top off and felt her bosoms. Then he got his thing out. It had gone stiff. Then put it in her. 'Oh! Oh!' she said. 'It is so big, like a frost-hardened parsnip.' Then he grunted and stuff came out. He got out of bed and got dressed."
What do you think? No, really; it's important, and I need your help. The thing is, I have just under a year to write a truly appalling sex scene, and it's harder than it seems. Hey! "Harder than it seems." Ha ha ha! But it is. I mean, gosh, I've had plenty of Bad Sex in my time, and not just the can't-get-it-up sort, or, worse, the can't-get-it-down- again version. I mean the hallucinating sort where you keep thinking it's Thursday or Cyprus or something, and the queasy hashish sort where you know that if you stop, you'll throw up. I mean the conspiracy-of-deception sort, where you suddenly realise that you're both faking it; not just orgasm but the whole damned thing, the whole damned evening, you were even faking dinner. I mean the scratchy sort and the marshy sort, the what's-that-funny-smell? sort and the sort where someone's dotty great- aunt wafts into the bedroom and starts reminiscing about Ajaccio. Permutations? Done those, too: three-in-a-bed, four-in-a-bed, round-about-a-dozen-in- a-damp-basement-off-Holland-Park-Avenue-and-who's-that-fat-man-on-the- stairs-eating-ham?, not to mention all the gear, the clobber, ropes and leather and pulleys and latex and Why doesn't the projector work? and Oh God, that bitch has run off with my Mister Sheen, and That'll be fifty, plus something for the maid, and Feel better now, dearie?
And how about this one; you'll like this one. Scene: the inevitable bed. (Good title for my autobiography, what?) Me at my honeyed endeavours, taking the weight on my elbows like a little gentleman but otherwise transported; this is not just sex, this is astral projection, heart and soul, pulchra ut luna, electa ut sol, cue brass section for the descending E minor tutti and, as the heavens open and my eyes fill with tears of joy, she looks up at me and says: "Um... are you actually enjoying this?"
Bad sex; the worst; but having it is one thing, writing about it another, and that's the bit we have to sort out. Let me explain why.
I have in my pocket a cheque for pounds 250, presented to me by a terribly nice man called Adrian Rowbotham - the Adrian Rowbotham, of Adrian Rowbotham Films. If you need any films directing, Rowbotham's your man, although you'll have to join the queue which, let me tell you, stretches all the way down Poland Street, drawn, no doubt, by Rowbotham's distinguished appearance, affable manner, magnetic personality and immense professional distinction, and the fact that he just gave me pounds 250 has nothing to do with it. That was just my prize, for spotting the winner of this year's Literary Review Bad Sex Award, presented last week at a glittering West End soiree graced by all kinds of exciting luminaries: Willy Rushton, Harry Enfield (who told rather a good joke about Lenin), Dr Germaine Greer (who said "fuck" a lot), Clive Anderson, Auberon Waugh and, not to put too fine a point on it, me.
In the normal run of things, I would have told you who wrote the winning entry so that you could all rush out and buy his book. I would have pointed out that his trilogy of detective novels set in Berlin is a masterpiece of the genre, and that even Homer nods. I would have explained that the winning passage was not so much bad as incomprehensible due to metaphorical overload.
But this is not the normal run of things, because the chap concerned showed a sad lack of form. Stood up and made an interminable speech attacking everyone from the evening's sponsors - Hamlet cigars, yum yum - to the lovely and benevolent Naim Atallah. Pers-pired. Pouted. Snarled. Probably expected everyone to shout "Get off" so that he could accuse them of being a coterie of snobs and rotters, but was thwarted because everyone just ignored it. Bad show, you might think, and you might go on to think that a chap who has just been paid a million bucks, cash, for the film rights, could afford to show a touch more style.
Well; if you want style, you know where to look. Here. Me, sod it: urbane, witty, gracious under pressure, and anyone who doesn't think so can bugger off and read something else. I don't care. You're all a coterie of snobs and rotters, jealous of my worldly success and my custom-made spectacles ground to my own optical prescription so you can stick your - SMACK!
Sorry. Hysteria. Flu. Better now. Here's the plan. During the coming year I scatter sex scenes at random throughout this column, with luck getting worse as the year drags on. You select the worst and send them into the Bad Sex Award 1996. You get the pounds 250, I make the graceful, wry acceptance speech, Britain's reputation for a Sense of Humour is restored, and everything turns out absolutely throbbing, palpitating, moist, and how was it for you? !