Big and black, Satisfaction guaranteed: Emma Lindsey watches as five performers who claim to be bigger than the Chippendales leave a roomful of women screaming for more

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A bright yellow minibus screeches to a halt on Newmarket's somnolent high street. Aldwin, the driver, is worried about finding the venue, but the town, better known for its racetrack than pulsating night-life, is obligingly small and Celebrities, its only night-club, stands out clearly.

As the five huge members of Satisfaction file into the foyer, packing the small space with taut, bulging muscle, the club's manager fails to conceal his shock, offering a forced smile that doesn't quite reach his eyes. Looking at the proudly placed snaps of previous guests, including Bernard Manning and the Seventies band Showaddywaddy, one wonders whether Newmarket is ready for this.

Leroy, Toky, Colin, Delroy and Aldwin are five members of Satisfaction, Britain's first black male 'erotic dance group'. Two other, Mark and Byron, are on holiday in Jamaica. Their Parisian manager, Christian Jean-Francois, took the lads on two years ago. 'They approached me, and at first I didn't want to have anything to do with them,' he says. 'But I saw them, thought they were very good and voila.'

Voila, indeed. With dates booked nationwide and abroad at pounds 1,500 a throw, and television appearances on Kilroy, The Word and The Chrystal Rose Show under their belts, business is booming.

Tonight's show is for American air force wives and girlfriends, bused in from nearby bases at Mildenhall and Lakenheath. The audience is mostly black, but there is a smattering of white faces. All are immaculately made-up and dressed in Saturday-night best, their hair coiffed into submission. They look ready for one hell of a girls' night out.

Inside, a steady stream of women head to the bar. Lori, ordering a large round of rum and Coke, is unequivocal: 'I ain't here to see it all covered up now. You better believe I'm going up on that stage - if they askin', I'm up there.'

Two blondes, Clare, who is English, and her friend Shauna from Atlanta, Georgia, sit huddled over a bucket of champagne at a back table. Clare is adamant that they are there only to observe and, in any case, must be home by 10pm.

Meanwhile, backstage, Leroy, sporting a heart shape shaved into the back of his head, and Colin, with tree-trunk thighs, are smoothing oil over their bodies. The air is sweet and warm, and in the confined dressing-room the only thing to do is admire and press the flesh.

Toky lifts a weight with one arm to pump up his biceps, while Aldwin and Delroy are engaged in a faintly comical rhythmic tug-of-war with a towel. Back and forth they tug to inflate their already football- sized pecs.

Eartha, their compere, has changed out of her jeans and bomber jacket into a little Lycra number and weaves through the mahogany bodies, tweaking the men's nipples here and there. 'It's my job to make sure their nipples are erect,' she says. Alison, a friend, squeezes Leroy's thigh with a shudder of pleasure and invites me to do the same. A tentative prod of his buttock reveals muscle so dense and hard it's shocking; he smiles indulgently.

The group members met through bodybuilding contests, but it was Colin, a former London Transport bus driver, who had the idea of forming a dance group. 'I knew the Chippendales were making lots of money, and I thought, why not have a dance group for our own people? We were used to performing in front of crowds because of the bodybuilding competitions. Anyway, we're proud of our bodies, so why not flaunt them?'

But having good bodies and lively dance routines aren't the only reasons for their success. Being big and black has brought increasing numbers of white women to their shows, eager for some exotic eroticism. But the lads don't mind in the least.

'The strength of our appeal lies in our blackness,' Colin says. 'I see white women's interest in us as a compliment, and we have to work to keep up the image of being big and strong. At the end of the day we're here to create women's fantasies, we're providing a service.'

Aldwin, the shortest of the group and a former ticket collector and actor, says: 'The last show we did in Bradford was brilliant. There were white, black and Asian women there, all going crazy. They were mesmerised.

'Basically, this is a business,' he says. 'I don't think I'm being exploited. Really, if you want to look at it that way, I'm exploiting white women's myths about us, and if the chance to look at a black man's body means they'll come back for more, I don't care.'

Leroy, who combines Satisfaction with his job as a planning administrator for Haringey council, says: 'It's true the white girls are gobsmacked by us. Coming to see a group of well-built black guys is a novelty for them. People have told us our physiques are much better than, say, the Chippendales - we've got more definition, we're better packaged and our skin looks nicer.

'Our routines are better, too,' he says, 'because we don't just strip and prance around. We get the women in there, too, and they love it. We're here to please the ladies, whatever their colour.' He grins.

At 9pm, a pounding bass line and flashing multi-coloured lights get the show under way. Women stand, clap and yell as Satisfaction, once called 'Dry Sex' because they're the safest sex you can have, stride onstage in mock uniforms for their first routine, 'Officers'. Parting their jackets, they gyrate and thrust, setting the pace for steadily quickening catcalls.

Women leap into the aisles, shrieking between wolf whistles, and start to thrust their hips in rhythm with the performers. Five minutes into the act and the two blondes who are only here to observe creep down to a table nearer the front, clutching their champagne.

'In the Mood', as might be expected, is a slower-paced routine. The fabulous five slink on in baggy, white linen tracksuits. Then, just when it seems to be getting tame, off comes the floaty stuff and it's bare-your-butt time. Facing the audience to show off their black G-strings, the guys stride into a crowd of surging women.

Pat, 42, is hot and bothered merely from watching. 'There has to be a law, there's got to be a law; I'm going to jail, girlfriend,' she says, grabbing Toky from behind.

If it's not half-naked, it's not worth watching. During the intermission, the singer, Don Juan (pronounced Joo-on), is compelled to struggle out of his trousers halfway through his act and perform in his trunks. An English woman in her fifties uses the lull to consume chicken nuggets and chips from the bar. 'I've only ever seen my husband's bum,' she says. 'These are lovely.'

The pace quickens during the second half. During 'Throb', performed in Lycra bodysuits, Delroy plucks a nearly swooning woman from the audience, gently stretches her out on stage and begins to playfully buck and thrust above her.

Pat runs onstage for the second time, wanting to join in, and is led off, but not before she manages a quick squeeze. She and her friends clap their palms together in the air to salute her efforts. Again, during the finale, she has to be carried offstage by a good-natured security guard.

In the corner, five women from Uxbridge remain nonplussed. They're disgruntled because not enough came off. Lesley speaks for them all when she says: 'I came here because I expected to see the works. I might as well have stayed home and looked at my old man.'

It's Leroy's birthday, and after the show his fellow performers break open the champagne. 'We love a crowd like that,' Aldwin says. 'You don't have to work hard to get them into it, they're already there.' Leroy recalls his mother's reaction when he told her about his new job: 'She thought I was on drugs, but then she got used to it and said, 'Mind the girls don't rape you.' '

Judging by tonight's response, Satisfaction would do well to employ some minders.

(Photograph omitted)

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