The 'Snow White' sex fair not for us, say Geordies

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The Independent Online

The Christian Institute won the right yesterday to a judicial review in the High Court of a plan to hold an "erotica fair" in Newcastle upon Tyne. The city council had issued a licence to a company called Xsensual, to stage the three-day event next month in the Telewest Arena.

The Christian Institute won the right yesterday to a judicial review in the High Court of a plan to hold an "erotica fair" in Newcastle upon Tyne. The city council had issued a licence to a company called Xsensual, to stage the three-day event next month in the Telewest Arena.

Company spokesmen described the show as "something you could take your granny to" and claimed it "doesn't do obscenity". But many residents of "the Toon" - famed for the central square mile that supports 160 pubs, 25 restaurants and 16 nightclubs that attract 80,000 revellers each weekend - back the local Christian charity.

Mr Justice Elias agreed to allow the review, to be held next week, and said his decision did not reflect his views on the strength of the case.

Visitors to the Xsensual 2000 event, the first of its kind in Newcastle, would be invited to visit a lap-dancing area for £5, meet "Tara and Rebecka the Daily Star's page three girls" and see rubber, chainmail and stainless steel outfits for sale in a "fetish fair". Jack Frere, the organiser, said it would be "like Snow White compared to some shows on the Continent".

But Mickey Mouse, who appears on ice at the same venue later in the month, is of more concern to the Christian Institute. "Supposing a family turned up to buy tickets for Disney... when this sex exhibition was on," said Colin Hart, of the institute. "It would be terrible for them. We don't want Newcastle turned into another Soho."

At the hearing, it will argue that a licence should have been sought by each of 90 stallholders at the event and the council was wrong to have granted a single sex establishment licence to Xsensual. Similar events are planned for Sheffield and Cardiff later this year.

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