`And you must remember, porn is the empowerment of women,' explains my neighbour's cleaner, who `dabbles in the industry' when she's not dusting.

I went to see the film last night that's got this whole town in a frenzy. People talk about movies here in the way that they talk about politics anywhere else, so you have to keep up or you never get invited to dinner parties.

Boogie Nights is the new full-frontal movie about LA's porn industry with Burt Reynolds playing the director who can spot natural talent even when it's tucked inside a pair of bell bottoms. Across a crowded nightclub, he knows that Dirk Diggler's jeans, like Lana Turner's sweater, hold the promise of a legend.

Set among the partying poolsides of LA's San Fernando Valley, the movie traces the rise of Diggler's "13 inches" to stardom through the Seventies in a head-long rush of drugs, bright lights and fast cars.

It's actually an extremely clever film, which inevitably spirals to his cocaine-induced demise and has, not surprisingly, hit a nerve here. This is, after all, the town that turns out an astonishing 150 porn films each week and in the past decade has become the world's porn capital.

And, like everyone else here, I find myself now scrutinising those who I have met who work in that world. Carrie tells me she thinks the film has suitably captured the "glamour" of porn. "And you must remember, porn is the empowerment of women," explains my neighbour's cleaner, who "dabbles in the industry" when she's not dusting.

"You can earn a lot of money quickly and then put it aside to launch any career you want."

"Everybody watches porn now," chimes Candy, a 20 year old wannabe. "It's respectable. I'm doing it so that I can launch my mainstream acting career."

I couldn't get hold of Kitten to ask her what she thought of the film. Now in her fifties, living alone in a run-down bed-sit in one of the poorest districts of Los Angeles, she was one of the first people I ever interviewed when I moved here.

I interviewed her on the subject of breast implants. She had been forced to have them done in order to keep her job as a porn actress in the Sixties. She had been crucial to my article because she was the only person I could find who would say how much she now regretted the inconvenience of a 46- inch bust, which she couldn't even get a car's seat belt comfortably around.

Doubtless, she might have other advice to the girls on the subject of delusion too.