Man About Town: It's no surprise that Thatcher bestowed 'The Look of Love' on the King of Soho

Paul Raymond's way of life is the perfect metaphor for not only Thatcher’s boom period of the 1980s, but also our own society (if there is such a thing...) today

Share
Related Topics

After all the anecdotes about the late Lady Thatcher this week, allow me to recount one more from Steve Coogan. At the premiere of The Look of Love, the biopic of Paul Raymond porn baron and “the King of Soho” in which Coogan stars, he told of the relationship between the Raymond and Thatcher.

“She was a fan of his as an entrepreneur,” he said. “I think she wanted to invite him to Downing Street for a business dinner, but it was vetoed by Michael Howard, who felt he was a moral degenerate.”

Moral degenerate or not, Raymond became, after making a fortune from nightclubs, pornography and buying up swathes of central London real estate, Britain's richest individual and a celebrity figure. Having inhabited him for the film, Coogan describes Raymond's way of life as “very avaricious, consumptive, materialistic [and] indulgent.”

Which is, as it happens, how many view not only Thatcher’s boom period of the 1980s, but our own society (if there is such a thing...) today. Just as Thatcher changed the country enormously during her time in office, Raymond in his own small (but brash) way left an indelible mark on the London nightlife scene. If you have ever been out in Soho, it’s likely you have been in a building owned by his estate. And today even the most risqué of mainstream nightclubs don’t push the boundaries much further than he did.

The film itself – dubbed “a labour of lust” on the night – is gently risqué but focuses more on those age-old imbalances: that sex doesn’t equal love, just like wealth doesn’t mean happiness (although looking for all four is understandable).

Part of Raymond’s image and notoriety came from his pushing cultural boundaries, and part from simply pushing at the right time. His legacy is due to be explored further with another film in the pipeline - The King of Soho, backed by his son Howard.

Although when Raymond died in 2008, part of an era died with him, when we look at people's current relationship to things such as pornography, celebrity and property – and how in the portrayal of the media, all three are a route to money and success –  he’s a character and it's an epoch perhaps worth re-examining.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
Queen Elizabeth II with members of the Order of Merit  

Either the Queen thinks that only one in 24 Britons are women, or her Order of Merit is appallingly backward

Janet Street-Porter
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...