You don't often get a chance to meet "the Fetish-a-go-go chick", so I positively jumped at an invitation to swing by Glamourcon, LA's annual "celebration and marketplace of the glamour arts".
Held at the appropriately glamorous Hilton Hotel near LAX airport this week, the jamboree provided an opportunity to meet, photograph, and get autographs from the stars of America's vibrant pin-up industry.
Dozens of Playboy playmates (the US version of Page 3 girls) had trade stands there, along with models including Kristi Curiali ("the Latin Goddess of Lust") and Fetish-a-go-go, whose real name is Stacy Burke and whose signature item of clothing turned out to be a leather strap securing a pool ball in her mouth.
They were all lovely, of course, yet despite its remit, Glamourcon felt a touch sterile. Eventually, I worked out why: to apparently comply with local licensing requirements, the event had been declared "nudity-free".
America's public morality laws are strange like that. In LA, for example, strip clubs are banned from serving alcohol if the dancers are nude, but allowed if they go topless. No one's ever offered me an adequate explanation as to why.
In the San Fernando Valley a $5bn-a-year hardcore-porn industry flourishes. Yet local TV networks are still being dragged through courts because Janet Jackson exposed half a nipple on live TV in 2004.
Now, at a convention devoted to soft-core smut, nudity turns out to be verboten. I don't understand the reasoning behind this, either. Perhaps Fetish-a-go-go could enlighten me, if she ever gets that pool ball out her gob.
America, you're fired!
Sir Alan Sugar is currently wowing US TV audiences, as BBC America debuts the British version of The Apprentice.
Watching this week, I discovered that the entrepreneur's speeches in the show have been given subtitles, presumably to help Americans understand his accent.
The US and UK are, as they say, divided by a common language, but this seems a bit excessive. Or, as Sir Alan might say, it's a blaaady disgrace.
Beyond the pale
Speaking of cultural divides, LA Times columnist Chris Erskine this week described a trip to the UK, managing in a single sentence to sum up the differences between the British and Californian outlook on life. "You have never seen so many sickly-looking people as here in London," it read. "They have, like, 3,000 pubs here and evidently not a single tanning salon, which is a little warped."Reuse content