Erotic, explicit and cool (heh heh)

The Red Light Zone is not just chicks with big bazonkas. Well, that's what Channel 4 say. Gerard Gilbert sneaks a preview with Beavis and Butthead
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The Independent Culture
B: What's this that's come all over my doormat - you know, like, come - all over my doormat? Some postman, or motorcycle messenger more like...

B: Those guys suck - they're always talking into their jacket lapels, like Feds or something...

B: Yeah, motorcycle messengers suck. Anyhow, one of them tried to push one of those big white Jiffy bags through my six-inch (heh, heh, heh) by twelve-inch letter-box. Physics sucks, but even I know that a big white Jiffy bag full of video cassettes isn't going to fit safely through a letterbox.

B: Jiffy bags are cool. Have you ever tried putting one on your head?

B: Yeah, cool. Anyhow, this Jiffy bag of video cassettes has burst all over my hallway - and they've got titles like Blue, and Fetish, and Strippers and Finishing School.

B: Cool.

B: And they're from Channel 4.

B: Cool. I like Channel 4. I like The Word and all those chicks cavorting with skimpy clothes on. I like Eurotrash with those funny French guys and all those reports about Euro-porno chicks - usually ones with big bazonkas.

B: Yeah, big bazonkas. And I like all those documentaries about chicks who sleep with dead bodies and - and, like, hookers who masturbate their clients with sandpaper. Ouch!

B: Anyhow, these cassettes, they're all to do with this new late-night season of programmes about - where's the blurb - "sex, the sex industries and sexual tourism".

B: I like the idea of sex tourism. It's got to be better than going round old churches with your parents and getting ripped off by taxi drivers.

B: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Anyhow, this season of programmes is called The Red Light Zone and it's going out in the early morning - like when all the grown-ups are asleep - over eight Saturdays from tomorrow. They're taking a break for Easter Saturday, though, because apparently Christians don't dig sex. I know all this because I went to the launch. It took place in Soho, in an old brothel - except it wasn't a brothel anymore, but a kinda club where guys in leather trousers and moustaches dance with each other. There were chicks here tonight, though, chicks with tape-recorders and notepads.

B: Cool.

B: Our host was called Stuart Cosgroove or something, and he was cool. Some wuss in the audience kept asking Stuart whether he thought this was all a come-on - like, tits and bums dressed up with a load of pretentious crap. I prefer tits and bums without pretentious crap, but Stuart kept saying no, it was the first attempt to create a zone of underground factual programming that meets the needs and tastes of Channel 4's late-night cosmopolitan audience. The aim was to explore the public's fascination with red-light zone culture, a magnetism and a voyeurism by no means confined to men.

B: Voyeurism's cool.

B: Still the wuss in the audience didn't shut up. He kept saying it was a cynical attempt to boost ratings, or something. What's wrong with boosting ratings anyway?

B: Good ratings are cool.

B: Anyhow, here I am with my Channel 4 cassettes. There's NYPD Nude which is about this New York cop chick, right, who thinks she's kind of great looking, and her daddy used to read Playboy, so she sends some photos to Playboy and they print them. Sounds cool, but another chick, who hasn't got such a great body, says that this other chick has put the cause of chicks back a hundred years. It goes on round and round like this for quite a bit.

B: Cool.

B: Then there's The Finishing School, which I think stars the guys in Monty Python, you know, when they dress up as chicks and put on those funny voices - except these people are for real and they are called transvestibules or something. Anyhow, there's this school in Wales that helps them walk like a chick and talk like a chick. I like these guys, they're cool.

B: Why would anyone want to walk like a chick?

B: There's more transvestibules in Fetish, 'cos dressing up like a chick is apparently a fetish - as is getting turned on by boots, panties, gas masks, plucked chickens...

B: Yeugh! Plucked chickens suck.

B: Apparently they remind some men of bums. Anyhow, I'm getting a bit bored by all this. If I see another guy in high heels, I'm reaching for my remote control.

B: Remote control? Remote control?

B: Hey, no, hey, I didn't mean it like that. Anyhow, there's even a couple of dramas. Blue stars this movie director called David Cronenberg. Did you see The Fly? That was cool. Anyhow, he's this boss of a carpet company, or something, and is crazy about porno magazines. So crazy, in fact, that he doesn't notice his sexy secretary who's crazy about him.

B: That's dumb.

B: Another one's called Scarborough Ahoy! and is about this sex-starved nightclub bartender and her gay friend - and it's kind of a road movie - you know, like Easy Rider, except it takes place in the North East of England. In winter.

B: So where's the hard action?

B: Wait. wait. Strippers is cool. You know how they kept saying that when we got satellite TV in this country our screens would be full of Italian strippers? Well, now it is. There's a pregnant stripper (I guess that's a fetish too; you see the season is educational) and one who spits grapes from you know where.

B: Do you see her spitting grapes?

B: No, she just talks about it.

B: Cool. Cool.

B: Go Go Archipelago is pretty cool too. It's about these Russian girls who have run away from Russia because they're so poor, and now work in the strip clubs of Brighton Beach. Their agents rip them off, so now they're poor in America.

B: What does Stuart say about it all?

B: "The Red Light Zone is an attempt to view social tensions through the prism of sex, and for this reason alone it is not the biggest turn- on you'll have on telly."

B: Cool. But I saw the ad. This really cool chick's voice says: "Erotic... explicit... prepare to enter The Red Light Zone."

Sats 11 Mar-29 Apr