It's just like the office, except for the bare breasts

Related Topics
THE NIGHTCLUB owner Peter Stringfellow is about to import from America something that he intends to make a vital element of British business culture. So exciting is it that Mr Stringfellow likens himself to the man who brought the first potato; but, unlike the potato, Mr Stringfellow's thing is staggeringly beautiful, but must not on any account be tasted, or similar. His thing is girls, performing in dance clubs. ('Dance clubs' being a euphemism for places where women take their clothes off for a fiver and dance on shiny black tables.)

You may think that this doesn't sound so new. But you would be wrong: punters in these clubs Do Not Touch. They get thrown out if they so much as try. This imaginative departure has turned the clubs into a billion dollar business, according to a Channel 4 film to be shown about them tomorrow night. As one client says: 'It's a nice, jolly atmosphere. It's not like sex, where you go behind a door.' No indeed, it's like the office. The men explain earnestly that they go there to network, to conclude deals and to ease those executive stresses. One club even thoughtfully provides a boardroom. Just like life in accountancy, except that some woman keeps waving her breasts in your face.

I am not, in theory, against women with good muscle tone and implants dancing on tables. But this film made me squirm with discomfort, and I don't think it was just the astonishingly high number of women without their tops on, or the refusal of the film-maker, Reggie Nadelson, to be even slightly judgemental. I think it was that the men simply couldn't see the difference between this and the rest of their executive activities. They talked about how friendly it was, and how the girls were ladies and made them feel like gents. They weren't honest saddies, skulking in doorways in raincoats; they were deluded saddies who thought this was what it meant to be confident and successful. Whereas the truth is altogether more painful. As Peter Stringfellow promises of his Shaftesbury Avenue venture: 'In this club, there will be no rejection.' If these sorry creatures are the future of the business world, no wonder all those Planet Earthers are taking to living in trees.

THE WEIRD world of Peter Lilley has long fascinated me. Peter Lilley is one of those Tory ministers who last year led the attack on single mothers, implying that they alone were responsible for the national debt, strikes, and probably, the failure of England to reach the World Cup. But then last week, he mysteriously dropped his fat-cat, Bruce Wayne disguise and revealed himself as Batman, hurtling to the rescue of single mothers, by pointing out that not everything is their fault, after all; there are simply no men for a lot of them to marry because the men are all such yobs. Then he admitted that the pay for unskilled jobs had fallen so low that even if the yobs could get one, it would hardly be worth their while taking it.

I intend to watch Peter Lilley closely from now on because I think there's every chance that the next time he speaks, it will be to announce he's joining the Labour Party. His transformation is all the more interesting because his opponents have recently conceded quite a lot of ground to him and his friends - accepting, for example, that people on benefits can't just slob around, but have responsibilities. (What these are is never entirely clear.) So I am waiting excitedly to see whether Peter Lilley will pursue his recent epiphany to its logical conclusion: that unemployment, and men who are useless around wives and babies, aren't the fault of anyone we can punish. I think we could yet hear Peter Lilley talking about emotional literacy for men, and ways to full employment. He could yet run the National Council For One-Parent Families.

IF YOU have been worried that men might start copying Andre Agassi's designer leg-stubble, you have had every reason. Inquiries this week have revealed that large numbers of men are already waxing, shaving and tweezing their body hair - not, of course, merely in the name of beauty, which would be altogether too trivial, but to prevent water from getting trapped in their hairs (this is a serious problem), and to reduce the 'drag factor'.

The vogue started with triathletes, who for some reason like to go cycling, swimming and running without stopping in between. They do not like to be dragged, or soggy, while doing it. John Taylor, who is 22 and one of them, waxes the top of his legs, his underarms and his chest, and shaves his calves. He says it makes him feel more streamlined. I think he gives the game away by adding that he doesn't know if it improves his performance, but it makes him feel more streamlined. I think it's a bit of a fad, verging on vanity. Taylor certainly seems anxious to rationalise it: he says he gets better massages without hair and, er, his scratches heal sooner. Spokesmen for the Espree Club and Broadgate Health Club in the City warn that this is no minority pursuit. More and more men are getting their chests and backs waxed, purely for reasons of vanity. It's a natural development, they explain, from using moisturisers, having facials and getting your nails done regularly.

AFTER Death Cigarettes, which promise they'll kill you, Golden Virginia appears to be marketing itself as the tobacco that sends you to prison. The latest GV poster features a cuddly looking convict, and the words: 'Shirt from HM Clothing Co. Trousers from HM Clothing Co. Baccy from Golden Virginia.' The idea, the advertising agency's account director explained, is to 'represent more closely a set of values that hand- rollers can relate to'. I'm not sure, myself, that I'd want to be associated with a product that implied I was a criminal, but maybe I'm stuffy. This week's prize for aversion advertising goes to the Touchpaper agency for its campaign to improve the image of Gloucester, following the Cromwell Street murders. It came up with the slogan: 'Gloucester - easy to get to, hard to leave.'

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

John Noakes was everyone’s favourite presenter in the 1970s. It’s a shock to realise the eternal boy scout is now an octogenarian suffering from dementia  

How remarkable that John Noakes still has the power to affect me so

Matthew Norman
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy