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

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

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Personal Finance Editor: Cutting out the middle man could spell disaster for employees and consumers alike

Simon Read
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch  

Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes tell you what to think. Don't let them

Memphis Barker
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week