Friday 16 January 1998
It was however, a major annual award ceremony at which movie stars sparkled in sequined gowns, fans screamed outside, presenters fumbled for winners' names from golden envelopes up on stage, and 2,200 people sat down to dinner in the vast ballroom in Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas.
These were the awards that Hollywood doesn't really like to mention. Dubbed the "Porn Oscars", it was the prize-giving event of the Adult Entertainment industry, in which, just like the mainstream Academy Awards, the creative efforts of its stars are recognised and presented with a golden statuette to put on the mantlepiece.
A girl who once helped me with an article I was writing about the "industry" called last week and asked me if I wanted to go with her. So I did. And I shall never look at a prawn cocktail without thinking of her ever again.
For just as we were about to tuck into our dinner, the giant video screen above our table sprang into life to reveal the parts of a girl's anatomy that most of us like to reserve for the gynaecologist. I tried not to look shocked. It was, I suppose, only natural that they would be showing clips from some of the films, but somehow my appetite left me.
Otherwise it was a very glamorous event - just like the Oscars. There was a cocktail party beforehand, dancers up on stage and lots of teary acceptance speeches. But the starlets were rather better endowed in the bosom department than your average Oscar nominee. Their gowns were more daring, their shoes had higher platforms and their escorts looked a little rougher.
The nominations also were different. As well as the usual categories like "Best Actress" and "Best Cinematograpy", they also have nominations for "Best Gang Bang Scene", "Best Solo Sex Performance", "Most Outrageous Sex Scene". My favourite was "Best Ethnic Themed Video" with such titles as My Black Ass 2 and Black Street Hookers as contenders.
The fact is that the porn industry turns out more films than mainstream Hollywood - an astonishing 150 titles a week; it makes double the money, and in the last 10 years has turned LA into the world's porn capital.
"Whether people approve of it or not, porn is a big part of life in LA," said my neighbour. "Isn't it funny that our local paper doesn't even acknowledge it."
Life & Style blogs
City traders pay £200 for a quick hangover cure
Stephen Hawking: NHS is Britain's finest public service and must be preserved from commercial interests
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
The Pirate Bay is back — but key staff have left to start a rival site
Eight-year-old girl Camilla Lisant suggests possible cancer treatment to her scientist father over the dinner table
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
President Putin is a dangerous psychopath - reason is not going to work with him
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign
- 1 Three-year-old boy shoots pregnant mother and father in New Mexico
- 2 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...
£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...
£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...