Saturday, March 31, 2012

Anna van Heeswijk 'Really Liked The Idea' of Criminal Damage

Its been a while since I did anything on Object, so I thought I would go through frame grab collection to see what I could find. Found a good one and yes I know that it dates back to 2008, but it does have Anna van Heeswijk posting about how enthused she is about a spot of 'stickering' or put another way, criminal damage.

One way of looking at this would be that if the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust had paid for the stickers, wouldn't that make them accessories to criminal damage? Probably not actually, but its fun to think about...

Lets Close Every Club in Tower Hamlets Part 10 - The White Swan Issue

Cllr Rabina Kahn wrote an interesting piece in The Guardian on 22nd February where she makes the following statement....

"According to the same newspaper, "core supporters" of Rahman and Livingstone have "homophobic impulses". This claim was linked to a proposed ban on a gay strip club in the borough. In fact councillors from all parties had voted to review the licences held by strip clubs in our borough because many of us think strip clubs exploit women. Just because one public house, which hosts a gay strip night, has been caught up in this proposed ban, we are erroneously accused of being homophobic. As it happens we are urgently seeking a legal review as to whether this particular establishment can be exempted. The thinly veiled insinuation that those with "homophobic impulses" are likely to be Muslim and or Asian, is incredibly offensive.".

It makes me wonder if this is the reason behind the delay in announcing the new 'Nil Policy'. I imagine that Tower Hamlets have been advised that they can exempt The White Swan, but that if they do, it will be an open invitation to accusations of double standards and all sorts of other legally expensive consequences.

But there are other points to consider from Rabina Khans article. She is apparently deeply offended by the insinutaions about homophobic behaviour in Tower Hamlets, but only four days before her article was published, Lutfur Rahman announced that was going to call in the police about abuse directed at Cllr Peter Golds. Follow this link to see the article.

There is another point that I want to make, maybe the most important. Do you recall my posting about the map that Tower Hamlets Council used to pinpoint the locations of the clubs for their public consultation? Well here it is again below, with the locations of active clubs marked by a black star. The issue is that The White Swan is not marked on the map. I have marked its location, but if you look closely you will see that there was no orange shaded 'zone of influence' marking. Yet Rabina Kahn admits in her article that The White Swan has 'been caught up' in the proposed ban.

It really makes me wonder if Tower Hamlets thought they slip The White Swan under the radar and ban it without too much fuss, but as we can see that idea has well and truly backfired and now there are larger issues at stake. I say this because how does a venue get 'caught up' in a Nil Policy exercise. Are we to believe that no one in the council knew it was there? Well that's rubbish for a start because the Tower Hamlets Licensing Team knew about it and so therefore must have the councillors.

If they go ahead with a blanket ban, Tower Hamlets Council and Lutfur Rahman will be accused of homophobia and that accusation will undoubtedly reflect badly on Ken Livingstone. I speculate that the decision to implement a nil policy is delayed until after the Mayoral Election on May 3rd, after which time no damage can be done to anyone's election campaign.

Finally, once again I have to make the point that this entire exercise has been undertaken in a manner that is shabby and unprofessional. 

How much money has been spent on the Nil Policy implementation?

What services were sacrificed to pay for it?

When will it end?

Ken Livingstone Wants To Close Clubs in London?

That Ken Livingstone wants to use new licensing powers to close as many clubs as he can in London has been featured on a number of blogs this week. I must admit that I have not been able to find the original quote anywhere on the internet, but maybe someone can help me out and point me in the right direction.

That said, I do find plenty of evidence for Ken Livingstones support for Lutfur Rahman and that makes me interested in him so I spent some time looking around. For readers not based in Britain, Ken Livingstone is a candidate for the London Mayoral election in May and he is an interesting man...

In 2004, when he was mayor of the capital, Ken Livingstone invited radical preacher Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, to speak in London and has frequently defended him and their relationship in the media. Now a number of people worry about Ken and his defence of al-Qaradawi. This is why....

In 2008 al-Qaradawi was refused an entry visa to the Britain and managed to get himself barred from entering France in 2012. Has has quite uncompromising views on a number of issues, for example al-Qaradawi told The Guardian that wife-beating was neither "obligatory nor desirable" but that he "accepts it as a method of last resort – though only lightly". He went onto to state on Channel 4 News that beating up women was justifiable in certain circumstances.

He has views on female genital mutilation as well. He said that female circumcision is "not required" in his book, Modern Fatwas, but added that "whoever finds it serving the interest of his daughters should do it, and I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world."

Perhaps unsurprisingly al-Qaradawis views on homosexuality are uncompromising as well, because he believes that it should be punishable by death.

So actually I can well believe that Ken Livingstone wants to close every club in London, especially if we judge him by the company that he keeps.

Don't forget that Ken supports Lutfur....

Don't forget how friendly Object were towards the Council at The Bancroft Library debate.

Don't forget The White Swan either....

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Eyes Of The World Are Most Definitely on Tower Hamlets

"Culture is not some optional extra for our society; it is central to our personal development. It is also central to promoting social inclusion.Culture tears down challenges and breaks down barriers between people with a power that no politician can match. As the Olympics approach, the eyes of the world will be on London, on the East End and on Tower Hamlets."

Rania Khan wrote a nice piece about the Docklands International Festival and its significance for the borough. She makes some interesting points about social inclusion, but neglects how she is campaigning to ensure that strippers are economically excluded from the borough. 

Rania is of course correct that the 'eyes of the world' are on Tower Hamlets. They absolutely are, just not in a way that would make her very comfortable. Google gives very good stats about the volume of page views that a blog gets and the country of origin for each page view. The countries marked in red on the map below are all locations from where StrippingTheIllusion gets regular page views...

People from all of these countries seem to be interested in Object, Tower Hamlets Council, Lutfur Rahman, Rania Khan, CAPE and Michael Collins as well (although CAPE seem to have gone quiet lately, don't you think?). They keep coming back as well as I average about 50 page views a day.

Obviously Britain is the greatest source of my readership, but America and Russia also provide regular readers and its nice to see Brazil as well. Its an interesting time in London at the moment and there is much anticipation regarding the visitors that we are going to have during the Olympics.

So Rania and Tower Hamlets are getting great exposure, I just wonder what kind of judgements people are making...

01-04-12 - Now we have readers from Bosnia - Herzegovina...
02-04-12 - Just been joined by Poland...
04-04-12 - We now have Switzerland and Belgium...
06-04-12 - Iran and Romania are with us as well.
07-04-12 - Andorra just joined in. 

Lets Close Every Club in Tower Hamlets Part 9 - The Mystery of the Boundary Changes

My mind is focussed on Tower Hamlets at the moment and something that I discussed with a club owner this week slid back into my mind today and I realised that I should blog about it. The public consultation that I wrote about earlier asked some interesting questions, but the most interesting was Question 2.......

"In order to decide whether any part of Tower Hamlets is suitable for location for a sex establishment, we need to define specific areas within a borough based upon their characteristics.

We think Tower Hamlets is made up of 24 areas or localities, as defined on this map".

The participant was then shown a map of the borough, split into areas. The consultation then asked if the participant agreed with the demarcation.

It always struck me as being weird, so I did a little more work on it. I took the map and laid it over another map that clearly shows the current, recognised wards of the borough...

Now please bear with me, as there is a lot going on this map. That said, the more you understand the map, the less you will understand the reality that Tower Hamlets Council are living in.

The first layer is all block colours with red outlines. These are the actual council wards and you can see their names. The second layer with the areas identified by black lines represent the new 'localities' that Tower Hamlets Council defined for the consultation....

Its weird. As you can see the borders are sometimes shared, other times a ward is bisected. I have to say that  I do not understand what criteria were used to define the new localities.

You will also see a key , which marks the locations of 'sensitive areas' as defined by a coloured spot. You will also see a circle with diagonal orange shading. The orange shaded areas of the clubs, sitting within a 200 metre zone of influence. The idea here is of course to demonstrate that their is no area suitable for clubs in Tower Hamlets because all of them have a school or nursery within 200 metres of their location. It is my understanding that 100 metres is the usual zone of sensitivity, but of course if the Council had stuck to the that measurement, none of the clubs would have had any 'sensitive locations', within their 'zone of influence'.

It is interesting to note that the Council do not seem to care if there are any normal bars and clubs close to schools and nurseries. Its only strip clubs that are problem. Doesn't stack up, does it?

There is another point here and that is the map defines 11 clubs. There are not 11 clubs in Tower Hamlets. There are actually 6, 7 if you count The White Swan (which does not appear on this map, but is included in the scope of the proposed Nil Policy anyway). The remaining 5 locations are venues that have striptease licences, but elect not to use them.

I hope you can see why many of us are more disturbed by the Nil Policy Campaign in Tower Hamlets than we have been by one in any other borough. It seems that Tower Hamlets wanted to prepare some kind of surprise for everyone, but I suspect that reality, in the shape of the law has spoiled their plans.

The Council prepared another map, that showed the locations of all of the doctors, dentists and hospitals in the borough. Part of it is presented below for you to examine....

Its cute isn't it? The hospitals are marked with an 'H', the doctors with an cross and the dentists with a tooth. Obviously this is in case someone has some heavy route canal work and and leaves the dentist in a daze and ends up in a strip club and is corrupted somehow.

Once again, that this kind of thing can go on in an Olympic Borough is a deep embarrassment to us all.

Lets Close Every Club in Tower Hamlets Part 8 - Different Consultation Styles

Norwich City Council is undergoing a public consultation regarding the licensing of lapdancing clubs. To do take part you can complete an online survey and as you can see below, it is fairly straightforward....

Nothing really could be simpler. Its a case of 'Yes' or 'No'. Its a nice conceptually transparent survey. Now you would imagine that Tower Hamlets Council, being part of Greater London and an Olympic Borough, would adopt a similar model for their consultation...

Get real, this is Tower Hamlets we are talking about, so the survey will be loaded with as many justifications as possible to justify the decision to close every club and get away with it. The survey form is deeply flawed and may well be illegal....

Question 2 states....

".....In order to decide whether any part of Tower Hamlets is a suitable location for a sex establishment......"

In my mind this implies that a decision is yet to be made and will be made on the basis of the information received back from the various responses. However by Question 4, the council state that...

".....we propose that there should nil sex establishments in Tower Hamlets........"

So in other words between the second and fourth questions, the Council demonstrates that the decision has already been made. This was never a consultation, merely an exercise to give a gloss of respectability to a flawed moral judgement.

This by the way is the consultation that was completed mid October 2011 and to date, we still do not know the results. But we will soon, even if they never tell us the score, which quite frankly is the most likely outcome...

Lets Close Every Club in Tower Hamlets Part 7 - Abyss Postponed Until Monday.

As there have been some comments on this matter, I wish to confirm that the apparently critical (to the career of Rania Khan) Licensing Sub-Committee Meeting has been postponed until Monday 2nd April. It has a very interesting agenda.....

Really interesting item at Point 6. You don't think that they are going to try and revoke the licenses of every club in Tower Hamlets and try in advance to hide the fact.

I mean, they couldn't be that stupid could they?

I am beginning to believe that Tower Hamlets Council are really some kind of front for a barristers retirement fund, given how much money the legal community are going to make out of this absurdity.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

He Wanted To Be A Mayor and For His Sins They Made Him One

"The horror...............the horror......"

Lets Close Every Club in Tower Hamlets Part 6 - Remarkable Intellects

At a recent council meeting, Mayor Lutfur Rahman was aware that a number of councillors planned to ambush him with a barrage of awkward and embarrassing questions. Mayor Lutfur therefore adopted a radical tactic and decided to refuse to answer any question that was put to him. Instead he delegated the job of responding to his loyal cabinet.

Please have a read of the frame grab below......

Its an interesting question about a £850,000 loan to an arts centre. This is not the key issue, its the 'remarkable intellect' comment that I like so much. You see, the clubs have no chance at all now such intellectual prowess is clearly aligned against them.

Do you remember that Rania Khan had a page on a social networking site called Hi5. The story was covered by Andrew Gilligan in The Daily Telegraph. Since this time Rania has removed all trace of her page, so its lucky that I frame grabbed everything I could....

Its interesting to note that Ranias 'remarkable intellect' cannot 'keep data of tings that r unnecessary'. Rania also asks 'wats the point of reading tings dat aint true'? Well she must have read the Lilith Report and I guess that's how she arrived at that conclusion.

I know that this blog is read by people from all around the world and a number of those readers may well be coming to London for the Olympics. Tower Hamlets is an Olympic Borough and Rania Khan is a cabinet member of Tower Hamlets Council. This is a fact that I find incredibly embarrassing.

Lets Close Every Club in Tower Hamlets Part 5 - Nearing the Abyss?

So where are we so far?

Tower Hamlets Council launched their public consultation into the future of lap dancing and strip clubs on 5th September and it closed on 17th October 2011. Since this time, no result has been made public although we did hear about the councils appointment of a 'forensic data analyst' to examine the returns and ensure things went the councils way were all fair and square.

On November 29th 2011, there was a meeting of the council where perhaps unsurprisingly the issue of lapdancing clubs was raised. A concerned member of the public asked the question and naturally it was answered by Rania Khan....

Its good to see how Rania manages to squeeze in the fact that she was deeply involved right from the very beginning and we also see that she confirms that there are no suitable locations for clubs in the borough. Interesting that she also says that the council plans to implement a 'nil policy both going forward and retroactively'.

What can she mean by that? Either she going to be the next Dr Who or she is talking about an ex post facto application of the law, which if I gather correctly is somewhat frowned upon in the United Kingdom. As I have always said, I am no lawyer so I do not quite understand what advantage there may be in retroactively applying the legislation in Tower Hamlets. Clearly someone, somewhere has been whispering in her ear and we can only sit back and watch how much it costs the council in legal fees.

Later in the same meeting, the Labour Group also staked their moral credibility with this item and it is once again really interesting....

Read the second item under 'This Council notes.....' again please....

'......That in the Independant Mayors (Lutfur Rahman) introduction to the consultation on Sex Establishments, he says that "legislation does not allow a ban on sex establishments on moral or equalities reasons".......' 

So if I read this correctly, the council are reminded that to implement a 'Nil Policy' on the basis of equality issues is legally dubious and therefore unlikely to succeed. So if that's the case, why, under 'This Council believes' do we see the following....

Point One - '.......the campaign for this legislation was clearly driven by a gender equality campaign.......'

So what are the Labour Group saying? That Lutfur's desire to close the clubs is right, but his reason for doing so is wrong? Or are they saying he is completely wrong?

Point Two - ' a responsibility on us to promote equality between women and men. The operation of sex establishments is clearly gendered.......'

Well in Tower Hamlets it is. There are clubs that have women stripping and there is one club that has men stripping as well. Are they saying they want more clubs with male strippers or are they laying the ground for banning everything?

Point Three - '....that sex establishments are only a symptom of a structural gender inequality in our society....' 

And its Tower Hamlets Councils responsibility to put it right? Are they legally empowered to do so?

Point Four - '.......any sex establishment in any area will have an impact on women.........'

What impact? Furthermore, if Tower Hamlets Council were genuinely worried about the impact of clubs on women, why did they permit a bus stop to be placed outside The Nags Head?

It gets better under 'This Council resolves', where apparently the entire Council resolved that every club is going to be closed as an expression of their commitment to gender equality. But that might not stand up in court. This could also be problematic if they allow The White Swan to continue their Wednesday night amateur gay strip session. Mind you, it could also be problematic if they stop the amateur night as well, because then they would be open to all sorts of accusations of homophobia.

The final resolution is the best, where the Council states its commitment to projects that support women exiting the sex industry (I hope they don't mean The Living Project) and furthermore their desire to tackle 'causes and symptoms of gender inequality such as domestic violence, sexual abuse and body image'.

With what do they plan to tackle these issues, I really hope they don't need any cash because Tower Hamlets are fast running out of it. Especially with what they must have been reserving against any court challenges from club owners...

I sense from the minutes of this meeting a massive amount of internal conflict and juvenile point scoring between Labour and Independent Councillors and as a result the Council seem unable to present a lucid and coherent argument in support of their (almost certainly doomed) attempt to close every club in Tower Hamlets.

Do you notice that Object seem to be taking a back seat here, which implies that Tower Hamlets is almost too crazy even for them to become too deeply involved.

There is apparently a meeting of the Licensing Sub Committee on 27th March 2012 and I cannot imagine what they are going to come out with, but I will let you know as soon as I find out.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Guardian and its Hypocrisy

The Guardian revealed today that an anti-choice group had been making unfounded claims in support of its reactionary viewpoints. Quite amazing The Guardian has finally caught on that single issue groups are happy to lie in order to achieve their objectives. The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, spent some time in a school claiming abortion could lead to the later development of breast cancer and maybe even death soon after the procedure..

The Cambridge Feminist Network were up in arms about the whole affair and their spokesperson, Emma-Rose Cornwall, said: "SPUC's supposed concern for zygotes is a poorly concealed desire to see women forced back into their 'god-given' roles as mothers and housewives, and simultaneously to punish what they perceive as promiscuous sexuality."

Both The Guardian and Cambridge Feminist Network are completely correct, when a single issue, anti choice group starts spreading propaganda, they must be tackled. But there is a problem here, at least for The Guardian and that is the fact that while condemning one anti-choice group, it supports another – Object.

Pro-life groups like 40 Days of Life and SPUC want to remove a womens right choose to terminate their pregnancy and The Guardian quite rightly condemns them.....

Object want to remove a womens right to choose to work in a lap dancing club and The Guardian loves them.

The Guardian is a huge Object supporter and columnist Polly Toynbee is now named as Objects ‘Patron’ and she seems to take any opportunity to write about them and UK Feminista in glowing terms.

There has been in recent years an increasing number of groups that spend their time trying to tell women what to do. There is no real difference between Object and 40 Days of Life, they are just two sides of the same coin. Self righteous bigots that are trying to institutionalise the erosion of womens choices about what to do with their bodies.

The modus operandi for these groups is identical, especially when it comes to the ‘facts’ that they produce to support their campaigns…

For Object it is that lap dancing clubs send men on rape sprees…

For SPUC et al, it is that abortion causes breast cancer and maybe even premature death…

Both of the above views are unfounded and untrue.

In recent weeks, the Guardian has been focussing on pro-life groups, yet it apparently fails to see the utter hypocrisy in supporting a group that is just as dangerous, on the basis that their campaign is morally more palatable.

In some respects The Guardian reminds me of Chris Morris on Brass Eye when his character, a Jeremy Kyle like TV host differentiated between ‘good Aids’ and ‘bad Aids’ on the basis of how the disease was caught. Anti choice groups that resort to lies and intimidation are all bad and must be tackled, there is no acceptable stance that allows anyone to support one and deride another.

I close with this comment from The Guardians Zoe Williams…

'It's a useful reminder, if one were needed, that there's no technique too mendacious, too meddlesome or too unpleasant for people who think other woman's reproductive organs are de facto their business. Ignoring them, as tempting as it is, probably won't make them go away'.

Zoe, if these are the kind of people that you are talking about...... 

40 Days for Life protest outside BPAS in London...
......then so are these.
Object protest outside 'For Your Eyes Only'.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Its May be Your Life But It Will Be Their Choices

I think it might be a good idea to understand what we are fighting....

The enemy is not gay or straight, not black or white, not christian, islamic or atheist, not male or female or transgender, not stripper, office worker or banker or feminist activist. The enemy is not any of these things...

The enemy is the person that spreads hate and lies and spends their time trying to destroy other peoples lives while hiding behind a cause of convenience. They do this because it makes them feel better about themselves. When they have kicked over their first target, they will find another, because that's the way they are driven. The urge can never be satiated because its internally driven, so the only thing that will make them change their mind is their minds being changed, not society because society can and never will be able to change enough to satisfy them. That's the attitude that we are fighting and we must never forget, because if we do we are all lost.

Two years ago I expressed the opinion that the Object agenda would be abused and used as a precedent against any other group or activity that anyone else disapproves of. We have seen in Hackney that 'Expectations', a gay bookshop was targeted. We see in Tower Hamlets that The White Swans amateur gay strip night has been targeted. People really need to understand that if the prohibitionists succeed in closing lapdancing and strip clubs, they will go after burlesque. Homophobic groups will then see the example and be inspired to attack gay venues, maybe because 'they are in the wrong location' or 'close to schools or places of worship'. Pro life groups will become emboldened and use the methodology to try and close abortion clinics...

It will never end and the freedoms that our descendants fought for and that we now take for granted will be eroded and disappear. 

The day the last club is closed will be the day that placard wielding bigots start turning up outside 'Heaven', or the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and for the BPAS, that's already happening.....

Lets Close Every Club in Tower Hamlets Part 4 - Tom Copley

'No one has the right to judge anyone in this world'. 
Cllr Rania Kahn on Twitter on 13th November 2011

'Unless the judgement is about strippers'. 
Chasmal on 18th March 2012

The focus of StrippingTheIllusion will for a while at least be on Tower Hamlets because we seem to be close to the time when Rania Khan and Lutfur Rahman will try and close every club in the borough.

Once or twice a week I undertake a Google Search to see if there have been any developments about the Tower Hamlets campaign and today I stumbled upon something that I found somewhat upsetting.

It was an article written by Tom Copley (London Assembly candidate and member of LGBT Labour) for Pink News that defends Ken Livingstone against an attack by Ivan Massow over the issue of The White Swan. Read Tom Copleys article here and Ivan Massows here.

I have views about Ken Livingstone that are based upon his alliance with Lutfur Rahman, but what really upset me about Toms article was the way that it attacked the strip and lapdancing scene.

I wonder if Tom has ever heard of the Wolfenden Report and if so, can he quote one of its most striking passages?

‘……It is not, in our view, the function of the law to intervene in the private life of citizens, or to seek to enforce any particular pattern of behaviour……."

The Wolfenden Report essentially recommended the decriminalisation of homosexual acts and John Wolfenden was later voted 45th in a list of the top 500 lesbian and gay heroes as published in the Pink Paper in September 1997.

Tom may be able to quote the passage, but does he believe it? Apparently not it seems, because his article is full of the usual bigoted rhetoric that we tend associate with Object members.

According to Tom there are problems with lapdancing clubs, particularly….

‘…..Groups of drunk, sexually charged men piling onto the streets does not just intimidate women but can also lead to an increase in rapes and sexual assault in the nearby area….;

Tom is a Camden resident and must have read The Lilith Report, which I discussed in a recent posting. I wonder if Toms view of the clubs extends to The Candy Bar? Anyway, he takes the view that The White Swan is perfectly safe…

‘……..It is simply inaccurate to say that anyone is proposing to close the White Swan. Its closure has never been proposed. What is happening is that Tower Hamlets is bringing forward a plan to deal with lap-dancing clubs. That means putting a framework in place…..’

Tom is being slightly slippery here. It is true that no-one has ever proposed closing The White Swan, but it does seem that someone wants to see and end to the Wednesday night amateur strip night. If this night closes, then the financial viability of the venue is at risk.

‘……The White Swan will be able to apply for an exemption that allows it to continue with its entertainment, but within a framework that means local people will have to put up with less of the sleazy, seedy, anti-social lap-dancing clubs that residents all over the capital are complaining about….’

An exemption Tom? I hope so, I really hope so and I want to see it succeed. And Tom, the people that are complaining all over the capital, do you mean Object activists? Maybe you better read my posting on that issue here and here.

Tom refers to lap dancing clubs as being ‘seedy’. Have you ever been to one? Is that not a value judgement you made then? I hate value judgements because they are the mark of lazy and shallow thought and most of all, I hate value judgements because they are just so Daily Mail territory.

I find it really sad when someone from the LGBT community publicly supports repressive local legislation and denigrates the choices that dancers and customers have made. The Woldenden Report stated that there was no place for legislation in terms of peoples behaviour and choices.

Tom clearly believes this to be the case, unless of course its about strippers because they clearly do not count.

Tom is rightly proud of the fact that he works for a charity that fights racism, fascism and hatred, but he overlooks the kind of things that Object and its allies are saying about strippers. Maybe it’s the wrong kind of hatred…

Tom is member of The Labour Party because he believes that it can bring about ‘major, progressive social change’ country. That must be why he supports the criminalisation of striptease.

Fundraising Idea That Object Overlooked

Last weekend we saw how focussed Object are on fundraising. In an effort to be helpful, I wondered if there any routes that Anna and the gang had overlooked. I was stumped until I became inspired when I was going through my in-box and found some great opportunities to make big money...

Obviously this deal was offered to me and me alone, but maybe its only fair that Object get a chance first. Its credible, its from the CFO of Hang Seng Bank Ltd...

I am sure that Chantal Diarrah is for real as well and maybe she shares Objects feminist stance. I even left in the e-mail addresses so what have you got to lose Object?

Please let me know how you get on.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

You're No Sister Of Mine

I like to post over the weekend and I thought this would make a good subject to finish off with. As you know Object are vehemently opposed to the objectification of women, but lapdancing clubs are not the only channel that they attack. Many things concern Object, chief among them being Lynx under arm deodorant . But it seems that one day, one of the activists went too far and felt the wrath of one of her sisters in struggle...

I leave it to you to read the frame grab, I suppose the best bit is the part where the aggrieved poster makes the point that she is upset that the Yahoo Groups is being used to 'spread such hatred and aggression toward other women'. So after considering the key points, we have a message for the person that made the posting...

Firstly stop being a child, the comment that you found so offensive is nothing to worry about.

Secondly, you are one hell of a hypocrite, because you don't complain when the Yahoo Board is used to spread hatred and aggression toward strippers, which lets face it, has been happening since it was first started.

Thirdly, women that are attracted to men are not fallen, they are just women that are attracted to men. I find the fact that you can rationalise things in this manner to be deeply disturbing.

Fourth, there is no causal link between Lynx deodorant and incidents of rape. I could be wrong though and maybe we should get Isabel Eden (author of The Lilith Report) to look at it. The results could be fantastic.

Fifth, you are out of your fucking mind.

We Need To Talk About Holsopple

Just a quick post. Kat Banyard must have spent some time actually reading The Lilith Report and went 'WTF!!!' and decided to file it away under 'Liability'. Later Kat found what she hoped was another asset - The Holsopple Report. Written by Kelly Holsopple, hence its title and it makes quite horrible reading.

Just a couple of issues. First it was written almost twenty years ago and secondly, all of the clubs that featured in the report were in America.

No one in their right mind would base a judgement about the UK strip and lapdance scene, based upon what happened 6000 miles away, 2O years ago. looks like someone does ....

Hey did you know that Kat Banyard works as a full time activist and is unpaid for her work?

Love to know how she manages that.

We Need To Talk About Lilith

‘Of course it would be wonderful if strip clubs could be eradicated tomorrow’.  
Isabel Eden, author of The Lilith Report

The Lilith Report has been the cornerstone of prohibitionist campaigns since its was published in 2003. Many quote from it, particularly its claim that incidents of rape in Camden doubled after a number of lap dancing clubs opened in the borough. The report was wrong of course…

Dr Brook Magnati wrote a comprehensive refutation of Lilith which can be downloaded here and it is well worth reading. This posting will make reference to Dr Magnatis article and will also look at some other aspects of Lilith.

I suppose the first thing to consider is the title. Its not really an report, although it dresses itself as one. In reality its an opinion piece written from a unashamedly prohibitionist perspective. The author, Isabel Eden makes it clear from almost the very beginning that she is a prohibitionist, when she states that the activities of dancers are ‘demeaning and insulting to women’,

The report focuses on three London boroughs, Westminster, Camden and Islington, all of which have a number of clubs in operation. Lilith then examines the impact of the clubs operation in terms of environmental health, crime and rape and other sexual offences. The main drive if the article seems to be to shame Camden Council into changing its licensing stance to its clubs in the hope that other boroughs in London will follow suit.

However, I am not really sure what Isabel Eden was really trying to achieve with her report. If her intention was to unequivocally demonstrate that the lapdancing and strip clubs have a negative impact on their neighbourhoods, then she was sadly misguided, because the report itself demonstrates the opposite, as we shall see later.

The scene is set by telling the reader the number of clubs in each borough…

Camden with 7 clubs

Westminster with 17 clubs

Islington with 2 clubs

The argument is flawed from this point onwards. If I wanted to prove that factor X was influencing location Y, I would present a comparison between two locations, one with factor X and one without and let the reader make their own judgement.

Lilith fails to present any comparative analysis from a borough with no clubs at all. Instead it gives a side by side comparison of three boroughs all of which have clubs and proceeds to assign responsibility for everything that is bad at the feet of Secrets, Spearmint Rhino etc etc .

Lets look at things in more detail…

The report indulges in the usual feminists trigger phrases in the section that covers licensing conditions that gleefully informs the reader that a ‘sex establishment’ has ‘performances in which the breasts, genitalia and excretory organs are exposed’. Quite why this explicit language is necessary is beyond me, but it certainly creates some unpleasant images and fires the imagination of ardent anti-sex feminists. 

You see? I told you it mentioned 'excretory organs'. I know....its hilarious....later....later....
Another theme that runs through the report is that the proliferation of clubs thoughout London offering ‘full nudity’ and ‘lap-dancing’ is essentially the fault of Camden Councils Licensing Team. In fact the report claims that.....

‘Camdens relaxed stance on full nudity has made life difficult in other boroughs’ it details various court actions and failed attempts by certain councillors to impose no nudity conditions on club owners.

Environmental impact is discussed and Eden states that ‘we believe that the advent of the ‘strip club’ and its encouragement toward late licensing is also having a detrimental effect on the welfare of local (Camden) residents’. Apparently Camden Council.....

‘recorded 2730 noise complaints between April 2000 and March 2001’

......and the report goes onto to state that.....

‘a quarter of these complaints related to commercial noise coming from pubs, clubs and bars at night’.

Now well into their stride, they hit us with the killer proposition…

‘……It can be no coincidence that Bloomsbury and Holborn, the areas that had the most complaints, also have the greatest number of striptease and lapdancing clubs in the borough…’

The above assertions deserve closer analysis…..

The Lilith Report states that Camden has 1200 licensed premises, with 130 licensed for entertainment and 7 lapdancing clubs. Bloomsbury and Holborn are laced with bars and pubs and have 2 and 3 lapdancing clubs respectively.

Lets say that there are 365 days between April 2000 and March 2001. That means that on average, Camden Council received about eight complaints a day. Lilith also states that only 25% related to commercial noise from pubs, clubs and bars. So in other words 2 complaints a day. Lets factor in that the borough as a whole has 1200 licensed premises, yet Lilith wants us to believe that the greater bulk of these complaints are caused by just 7 strip tease venues, or .5% of their total licensed premises portfolio.

People get drunk in bars and get loud when they leave them, yet Lilith paints a picture of a quiet Camden now rent asunder by the clients of just seven venues. I am sorry but that just doesn’t stack up

We are told that residents of Finchley Road were concerned that the presence of a lap dancing club would push noise levels to unacceptable levels especially as the area also had the O2 Centre…

I am sorry that doesn’t make sense either. The O2 Centre is an enormous shopping and cinema complex that closes at 1.00am. The extra noise generated by one club would go unnoticed and if its noise that is the concern, then every fast food venue in the area needs to close before midnight.

The problem is that its not noise that’s the issue. Its what goes in clubs that is the problem and Lilith are prohibitionists and therefore feel free and able to use every angle they they can to justify their position. 2730 noise complaints sounds good, it certainly sounds better than 2 complaints a night over 1200 bars, half a percent of which have lap dancing or entertainment where ‘excretory organs’ are visible.

Camden Council themselves published a comment about 18 guys leaving Spearmint Rhino ‘at 00.20am’ making a lot of noise and ‘singing and shouting’. Its unfortunate, but its reality for anyone that lives near a pub or a bar, but Lilith makes great capital of it and I wonder if late night noise is only an issue if it’s a lapdancing club that people are leaving. Furthermore, if you live in a flat that over looks Tottenham Court Road and is a stones throw from Euston Road and two tube stations, it is unrealistic to expect a quiet, peaceful time.

Lilith also places great stress on how residents are fearful of violence. To be frank, that is probably not a bad thing. I feel wary when I am walking around anywhere at night and it is the fact that I am wary means that I take no chances and have never been assaulted or mugged. The days when you could wander around Soho in a day dream are long over and have been since before WW2. Being fearful keeps you sharp and being sharp means you don’t get mugged.

It is however when rape and sexual crime are discussed that Lilith loses the plot entirely. I found it suspicious when the way the data was presented switched from numbers (as it was presented when dealing with noise complaints) to straight percentages, but that is only the beginning…

Initially we are told that overall crime rates have fallen for all three boroughs, so that really doesn’t support the argument that clubs are responsible for crime. Westminsters crime rate reduced by 12.6%, Islingtons by 13.2% and Camdens by 5.6% . Then Lilith goes onto to inform us that crime in Camden experienced the lowest reduction overall, implying that it is the presence of clubs in Camden that are causing the low reduction.

No sorry that doesn’t work…

So Westminster with 17 clubs enjoys a 12.6% reduction in crime…great.

Islington with only 2 crimes sees crime reduce by

Camden with 7 clubs sees the rate reduce by only 5.6% and the reason for this is the presence of the clubs.

To be honest, I could if I was stupid try and pitch you the idea that lap dancing clubs prevent crime. Just look at it, the borough with the most clubs, enjoyed a real reduction in crime, but poor old Camden doesn’t clearly doesn’t have enough clubs at all, its only got 7 and that must be the reason for the low reduction in crime rates. Camden needs more clubs, lets get them open now...

But I wouldn’t try and pitch that idea because its stupid. But remember what Lilith did try and pitch was essentially an inverted version of the same idea.

Then Lilith digs itself in even further by stating that Islington has enjoyed a real reduction in rape (4%) and other sexual assault (24%) and anyway virtually all of the incidents were centred around Holloway and Pentonville Prisons.

But Islington has two venues. So once again Lilith pulls the rug from underneath its own argument and the only thing it really proves is that prisons are bad things to live near or be inside.

Then we have the killer quote….

‘Since 1999 rape of women in Camden has increased by 50%’

'Since 1999 indecent assault of women has increased by 57%’

The above statements are still being quoted and they are wrong….

Dr Brooke Magnati undertook a detailed analysis of the data that Lilith used to reach its conclusions and discovered that the author of Lilith cannot use a calculator and furthermore has no understanding of statistical analysis.

Firstly the basic calculation was wrong,

By accessing Metropolitan Police data which is freely available on the internet, we can see the raw data was as follows….

Camden Rape Statistics

1999 – 72
2000 – 88
2001 – 91
2002 – 96

So the increase between 1999 and 2000 is an extra 24 rapes. So in terms of raw numbers we can see that the change is actually a 31% increase. But to hold things at that point is dangerous, because there is another factor that must be considered.

Lets play a game…

I want you to imagine that you have a choice of living in one of two cities. The only criteria that informs your decision is that in City A there 100 murders last year and in City B there were 50 murders. 

Which City is safest?

Well on the face of it is it is City B, with only 50 murders.

But there is a problem though, the population of the cities is different….

City A with a 100 murders has a population of 100,000 people.

City B with 50 murders has a population of 10,000 people.

When things are considered from this angle, the picture starts to look very different. City A has a murder rate of 1 in a 1000, City B has a murder rate of 1 in 200. So you have 5 times the chance of being murdered in City B.

So we can see that if the analysis of the incidences of rate is to have any value, background population must be taken into account and Camden population increased between 1999 and 2002. When this population increase is taken into account, the actual increase is actually 26.9%.

Now any increase in the incidence of rape is unacceptable. But the author of Lilith chose to omit or didn’t have access to the statistics that showed that from 2002 onwards the incidences of rape started to reduce significantly.

But before we go onto to examining credible data that was analysed by someone without a prohibitionist agenda, lets look at Lilith again.

The report makes no sense. It focuses on Camden and seems to try and promote the idea that lapdancing in Camden is a bad idea. It overlooks the inconsistencies in its own arguments, especially when Westminster is brought into the argument as we saw earlier. Lilith sets out to prove a link between clubs and crime and almost ends up proving the opposite.

I would get a better argument and more robust analysis from someone that was at school. Maybe this is the issue, Lilith is immature in outlook, lacks coherency and is ultimately unfit for purpose. 

Dr Brooke Magnati undertook a more rigorous analysis and compared Islington and Camden with  Lambeth which has no clubs at all. To save writing, I have taken a graph produced by Dr Magnati and enhanced it with some extra data and nice colours...

So we can see that during the Litlith analysis period, incidences of rape in Camden actually started to fall. In Islington they were increasing and later reduced. Lambeth with no clubs at all, had a higher level of rape than Camden throughout the 1999 to 2002 period. We can also see that in 2008, Camden with 7 clubs had a lower rate than the England & Wales national average.

What does all of this prove?

It proves that there is no causal link between the presence and number of clubs in area and the occurrence of rape and other crime. But what makes me angry is that Object and Lilith and anyone with even the remotest connection to the prohibitionist campaign must already know this. There is enough information in the Lilith Report itself to make anyone with a sound mind question the basic premise of the paper. There is also another question that was never asked and it was the most important question of all. 

What made the rape occurrence figure fall so dramatically across the three boroughs?

Surely its important to know the answer? 

Surely anyone with even the slightest degree of concern about rape would want to know what changed? 

If we could identify what factor reduced occurrence of rape in Camden to below the national average, we can reproduce it across the country and then everyone benefits. That would be a great piece of research and surely Object are superbly placed to find the answer. But they won't do it because (and this is just so sad), rape occurrence is the most potent argument in their prohibition campaign. Object are just so certain that lapdancing clubs lead to rape and that is all they want to know. This in itself is horrible betrayal of every victim of sexual assault, sacrificed on the altar of Objects self righteousness.

The best bit is of course that designer feminists reject Dr Magnatis paper. There is of course a problem, because Dr Magnati is also Belle du Jour and as such is an 'apologist for rape culture'. This attitude also shows how extreme designer feminists can be. Numbers add up irrespective of who is doing the calculation. So to discount the Magnati paper on the basis of who wrote it is absurd. The fact is that the papers conclusions would have to create doubt in the mind of anyone who genuinely thought there was a causal link between crime, rape and lapdancing clubs.  

The above sentence alone makes me ask what the true, hidden agenda really is. We know Object and their allies hate clubs and dancers, but why? What is it that lies at the core of their argument that they desperately do not want us to see?

Ok. Lets finish on a lighter note...

'Excretory Organs'.

Hmmh. Yes.

Well in my twenty years of visiting strip and lapdancing clubs, I have to say that I have never seen a dancers lungs, kidneys or liver. Looks like Isabel Eden missed maths and biology when she was at school.

And people still take this report seriously?

Performance Art and the Sex Industry

Edie LaMort recently assisted a Phd student with a Q&A session that explored the crossover between performance art and the sex industry. Edie thought it would make an interesting article for this blog and it raises a number of very important issues about the work, dancers motivations and perhaps most importantly the motivations and behaviour of those that wish to destroy the strip and lap dance club scene.

Is there a fine line between what we consider to be performance art and the sex industry or are they one in the same?

Anything can be art, it all depends on how it's done. (What is art? Discuss. That debate could go on for hours!) In terms of stripping it varies and I do consider it an art form. Some performances are better than others and there are a variety of styles. I perform on stage and a lot of that is about audience connection. I started stripping to have time and money to do other forms of performance such as dance and music. So for me it has always been art, simply because that is how I approach stage performance in general. I found stripping every week very useful in terms of the other performances as it is a way of learning stage craft. How to work with space and how to adapt to different venues and stages. It is a very improvised art form but that can be great.

A good example is when I had my rock band. I sing and play guitar and we had a gig at Dublin Castle in Camden, on a Saturday. I had done the Friday late the night before at Browns which is one hell of a shift! Great money but you have to deal with 300 pissed and arrogant city boys. When I got on the stage the next night in Camden a few indie boys in the crowd started to heckle me. (Have a go at the pretty girl who dares to play boys rock music type of thing.) The other girl in the band was getting upset but I had just dealt with a 300 strong rowdy crowd at Browns. I was like 'Mwahahahaha! I'm going to rip you to pieces!' It was great fun for me and the rest of the crowd loved it.

Anyway, pole dancing is definitely and art form and incredibly hard to do well. You need so much strength, flexibility and stamina. Sue (the owner of the White Horse pub in Shoreditch) will open up the pub early to let her dancers practice. It's a really good 'share the knowledge' session and where I've learnt most of my pole tricks. It's one of the things that makes the job interesting. I have recently been training and trying out new tricks and moves. It's also not just doing pole tricks it's putting it all together with style and grace that makes it flow. Feeling the music and engaging the audience - in fact all the elements of traditional theatre and drama are involved. Go on youtube and watch some of the finals for Miss Pole Dance UK or search Elena Gibson.

However it's not all gymnastics and leaping around! Some girls don't use the pole but have a charisma and a stage presence that captivates the audience. A couple of girls come to mind. They are so comfortable with themselves (despite not being the best looking girls around) and so into their own sexuality that they are magnetic on stage. All it is, is that they are radiating confidence and it is magnetic.

As Tango was developed in the brothels of Buenos Aires, so pole dance is an amazing art form, that has been developed over the past two decades in the western world. I am very proud to have been a part of this.

What elements do you consider to be solely used within one trade or the other?

All of the trades are about connecting with people but I suppose the dance side is a different skill. I remember a male sex worker doing a demonstration about how to put a condom on with his mouth! I was impressed and thought, 'that's a fantastic skill that should be learnt by everyone!' It would encourage safe sex so much! It was really erotic.

To what extent do the workers in the sex industry create performances and characters to carry out their work?

Dancing has fashions and trends like any other. Mine's old style pub stripping so it's very much an individual and improvised performance. If you are doing lots of private dances it's better to have a simple outfit - on off on off - maximize earning potential. If you are doing a stage show then it is more creative. I've seen some fantastic caricatures and outfits. Chiqui has a cheerleader outfit and routine but she has also sewn a little pocket into the knickers. She fills it with sweets so she can delve about in her crotch and pull out goodies for the audience.

I have an insane asylum outfit with I think is quite funny, burlesque stuff and the favourite - the bespectacled office worker. Men go crazy for this! They must all fantasize about fucking their PA! 

Is there a costume involved and what does this represent?

Ooh there's so much costume! We are all Divas and fashion junkies! I have corsets and bikinis and theme costumes and dresses and fetish stuff and I love it! I have hats, fascinators, gloves, false eyelashes etc.....

Some of the girls are really good at making or customising stuff (Chiqui and Faye) and will bring in cheap Primark sets but that have been Candy Kaned (hot fix crystals) or adorned with tassels and ribbons and sell them, around the changing rooms but also on ebay and folksy. I have a few things I have customised.

Do you have a script or regular phrases that you use within your work?

Quite a lot. It's a lot of interaction with different groups of people so it's about knowing people. Although sometimes you can't be bothered! I get asked, 'where are you from?' all the time. When I say I'm British I'm met with a chorus of 'NAAA!!!' so I hate that conversation now. It seems to be quite common; lots of the girls get this.

Do you feel exploited?

Not in the hysterical way that the media and prohibitionists think. I am well looked after at work by management and security. In fact much better than in a 'normal' office job. The only element of exploitation in the stripping business is financial; as in stage fees that are too high and some places putting too many girls on shift. I have always worked the traditional pubs where there will be a maximum of 12 girls on a Friday night shift and then 4 or 5 on a Monday. There is the jug and the stage fees are reasonable. This means you never leave without some money, even on a quiet shift.

Tax - for a few years running several of us asked if we could get receipts for the stage fees so we could put them through on our tax self-assessment. Hahaha! That was met with a very stern NO.

How do you see your work?

Fun, entertainment and to a certain extent social work! A regular customer said to me a few weeks ago, 'I hope you don't mind me coming in and talking to you. It's just, I have no one else I can talk to.' Some of them have no one. We all have friends, family etc but some of these guys are so lonely I sometimes wonder if we are the only thing keeping them from the noose.

Would you consider yourself to be an artist/ performer/ sex worker/ other?

I consider myself a performer with an element of social worker! Lots of dancers go on to be therapists. A friend of mine graduated last year and announced 'I'm now a therapist!' Everyone replied, 'You've been a therapist for the last 10 years already!'

I am also a member of Equity as they also recognise us as performers and support us. 

What skills are involved in your work and is there a regular routine that you must follow to ensure that you are fit and able to carry it out?

Keeping a general level of fitness and flexibility. Grooming, doing your roots, shaving. When you do pole it's important to keep healthy. If you are looking a mess or like you have drug problems you will be fired or sent home. The managers have to be careful that their dancers are not perceived as junkies.

When you go on stage you wipe down the pole with glass cleaner or vodka. This is because if you try to do tricks on a greasy pole it's dangerous. You go into a hangback and then find yourself slipping you need to come out of it quickly. It's also a good idea to use chalk in the way that gymnasts do. It's one of the things you have in your work bag along with, a spare tampon and superglue - to glue those crappy stripper shoes together - etc.... 

Do you enjoy your work?

Overall yes. Of course you get boring shifts and sometimes you get idiots in the crowd. But it's wonderful to have a job where you can choose your hours, earn decent money, have flexibility and creativity. Isn't that the kind of thing everyone wants?

Do you feel that your work is a form of abuse?

Not at all. Work is work and if you want to be technical or Marxist about it we are all exploited to a certain extent. We exchange our time and labour for money in order to survive. Everyone strives to find a job that won't make them hate their life and give them enough cash. We are all caught up in this. I feel like I am lucky to have the stripping option.

The people I find the scariest and the most abusive are the fanatical fright groups like Object and UK Feminista. I have never felt scared by the punters but these groups frighten me. They whip up hatred towards us and the customers and I worry that someone will end up getting attacked. One of the girls I work with has received threatening texts and emails from Object. It may not be endorsed by the top tier but that is the inevitable consequence of demonising a minority group or subculture. Her family also received threatening texts. They are described by some as hate groups and that is really how it feels. 

What are the biggest problems that you face in your work?

The stigma and the misunderstanding of the wider world. I've often wished I could put stripping on my CV but there's no way people would understand what skills that entails or what it means. Dealing with people, managing your time, organising your schedule and tax, rehearsing your routines, styling costume and sourcing music.

But in reality there is no way I could tell 99% of 'straight world' people. They would think 'prostitute' and 'junkie' rather than 'people skills, sales technique, managing of crowds, probably quite good at public speaking due to having been in front of a crowd for so long'. When I have done 'normal' jobs I have to keep this part of me hidden and be the quiet one. It's very uncomfortable and annoying! I also feel that the 'normal' job is missing out on what I have to offer.

Who do you believe to be the persons that categorises your work and why?

Most people don't really think about it. It's very much a subculture and not on most people's list of priorities. Sometimes if I tell people I'm a pole dancer they go 'wow!' and give me a high five and ask for lessons. Others say, 'oh that must be terrible for you'. 

If you are an extroverted personality you will understand the appeal of pole dancing and go 'Whoop!'. If you are fearful or introverted you will not be able to understand it and blame strippers for societies ills.  

What are the intentions of your work?

Earning full time wages for part time hours is a big plus! That was the draw anyway, to have time and money for other artistic projects. A lot of people did that, especially a few years ago.

Finding the job that suits your personality type is hard. If you are introverted you may want to be an accountant etc. If you have an extroverted personality you will want to do something that involves connection with other people. Essentially I am a creative, physical and ideas based person so stripping fulfills a lot of that. Not all but more than most other jobs.

Does your work make a statement about women?

I have honestly met the most amazing, strong and witty women doing this job and consider myself lucky to be able to do it. There is a massive disconnect between the way it is perceived and the way that it really is. In my opinion my work makes a positive statement about women due to the fact that it is stage performance. To get up on stage and command an audience, it is necessary to be confident and to have an ego. No one can get on stage without this, whether you are an actor, singer, presenter or dancer.

I think it's great that women have a space where they are allowed to be sexually expressive and this is a very important step forward. For centuries women were denied any sexual expression at all and exhibiting it was dangerous. It could lead to incarceration or worse. One of the most important aspects in the liberation of women, over the past few decades, has been the fact that we are now allowed to be sexual. This in turn has opened the doors for men to have a more diverse sexuality and of course for LGBT people to gain freedoms. It is now accepted that all kinds of people have sexual needs and that basic right to form an intimate bond with someone else. This is what baffles me about the prohibitionist 'feminist' movement. They want to wind back the decades and re-establish sexual repression. That means strippers and sex workers will bank! But overall I don't think it's a good idea for society. Also I have been a stripper for 15 years and have seen a positive change in the way people deal with it. To me these new 'feminists' are like old style Witch Finders. Stoke that bonfire! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Object - How They Spend Their Spare Time

So you buy copy of Cosmopolitan or Closer or maybe a bridal magazine and as you flick through the pages a flyer unlike any other falls out. In fact if you were in the Bristol area a few years back, the flyer would have been the one below...
So how did it get there? Well I think we can guess the was placed there by an Object activist. We know this because of the posting below...

There are a number of issues to discuss here and all of them are really quite amusing, especially if you have my sense of humour...

'.......Anna (van Heeswijk) has okayed the flyer but asked that the Object logo be taken off...........'

My first point is that placing your own flyers in other peoples magazines at the point of sale is almost certainly illegal and that's why Anna wanted the logo removed. Companies pay money to enclose their marketing materials in magazines and I do not imagine its cheap. So basically Object have broken the law by doing this, its either fraud or theft or something, but the best part is that Anna okayed it.

'.........(Anna, I left Stripping The Illusion on - hope that's ok).....'

Well probably not actually. What's the point of removing the Object logo if you leave the name of the Object campaign on the flyer? So best not to do crime for a living if this a good example of you covering your tracks...

'........I chopped them down so they weren't A4 size........'

Smart move lady, very smart move, made the flyer smaller than the magazine so it remained undetected by the staff. Real spy world stuff, Stella Rimington would be proud of you.

There is another point to consider. Is it just me or is all of this kind of stuff a bit........strange?

Lets re-frame it...

"Hi. How did you spend your weekend?"

"Well Chasmal I mowed the lawn on Saturday, went to the pub for the football and spent Sunday with my parents".

Now lets go to Planet Object.

"Hi Object Activist? How did you spend your weekend?"

"Fighting the patriachy, Chasmal".

"Oh did you fight them".

"I spent the weekend hanging round newsagents, placing flyers that explain the evils of lap-dancing inside magazines when the staff weren't looking".

"Is that strictly legal?"

"Well Anna said it was OK".

Do you see where I am coming from? There are better ways to spend your time than conspiring to get people made redundant because of some imagined, inner directed issue. What worries me is Object activists spend all of their time plotting planning and hanging round paper shops on secret missions and the government took them seriously and worse still, so do Licensing Committees...

Do you know what the worst thing is? She actually invited people to join her. Now how was that going to work? Thirty women all walk into a newsagents at the same time, start flicking through the magazines and then leave all at the same time without buying anything. It's like something out of 'Four Lions'.

I knew someone once that really, really thought the moon landings were faked. Putting flyers into magazines is the kind of thing that he would have done, but hang he wouldn't have because despite being a loon he had an ounce of common sense.

I think I have the answer though.

Its a conspiracy. I spend more time writing about Object trying to close clubs, than I do in clubs. Is this their evil plan? Get every customer worked up about defending lap dancing and strip clubs so that they spend every minute they can blogging about it and as result, they don't have the time to go to clubs anymore, therefore the clubs go bust.

Its incredible. You have to admire the mind that thought that up. All of the postings were faked. They must have been designed to provoke a reaction, because let's fact it, no one in their right mind would really do the stuff that we are meant to believe Object do.

I won't let them win. No postings tomorrow, I am going to see the strippers!

Monday, March 12, 2012

2012 Erotic Awards Nomination

At almost 3000 page views, I thought it would be a good moment to announce that StrippingTheIllusion has been nominated in the 'Blog of the Year' category for the 2012 Erotic Awards.

Being nominated is honour enough and if I am very lucky, maybe we'll make it through to the finals. You can find out more about the awards here . So thanks to everyone that visits the blog, thanks for the comments and thanks to TonyN, Brute, Paul Davies and Edie LaMort for helpful comments, support and blog material.

Also thanks to my readers from the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Israel, The Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil....

When I started this blog I thought I might get a few viewings from in and around London and I never imagined that our struggle would attract worldwide attention. As I said someone the other night, I enjoy writing the blog, just not the reasons that motivated me to write it.

Many thanks,


Sunday, March 11, 2012

OBJECT - What You Have Achieved So Far...

Object, we understand that you are fighting against 'objectification' and 'pornified' culture. But since your inception in 2003, I have to ask you what do you think you have achieved? Lets think about some issues...

Walking home from a night out, I saw this giant artwork and its wording really struck me as being representative of the core of the issue. Its in Shoreditch, so even its location is relevant...

Object, strippers and your activists were hardly ever going to see eye to eye, but nonetheless there was scope for common ground, the possibility existed for dialogue and better understanding and mutual respect. We would have listened. We could have 'adored and endured each other', but now I think its too late for that.

You managed to change the licensing law and since that time have had the satisfaction of seeing some clubs denied licences, their staff having lost their jobs as a result. It was mostly women that lost their jobs. That must be a problem for a group that claims that it is fighting on behalf of women.

You see, what you have achieved is to make some women angry, but many more you have made very frightened. They are frightened that they are going to lose their jobs, have their lives uprooted and their futures threatened. Some are frightened about the threatening text messages that some of your extreme members like to send. I don't think your management board sanctioned that, they don't even know about it, but it happened.

In their view, the strippers have done nothing to deserve this treatment.

I genuinely do not believe that many of your members fully understand what they are doing to the women that they are victimising with their campaign.

Strippers never campaigned against you, they were content for everyone to live their lives peacefully and yet they find themselves the target of a campaign that seems to consider that any slander, any libel, any insult and any act to be justifiable.

Object, the uncomfortable truth is that the things that you say about dancers and their work are far, far worse than what even the most unpleasant customer would say (shortly before being removed from the venue I might add). If there is abuse in connection with being a stripper, the abusers are those that sit behind a computer and vent their rage against strippers, a group of people that have never harmed them or wished them any harm.

Object, do you find it empowering to frighten women? Because a number of us are genuinely concerned that you cannot control your activists.

You have met a number of strippers that have left the job. Did you ever try to meet with any that are still dancing? Did you ever try to explain to them, face to face why they should be forced to give up what it is they do? I really don't think you did, its easier that way because you don't have to justify what it is you write and say and do.

I hate to say this, Object but you are the abusers and that makes me very sad.

We are here to hold you to account.

The Muffia Want Your Money As Well

Closing this weekends theme of Object and Your Money, I present this lovely frame grab from the Object Yahoo Group. I love the title 'Guerilla Activity planned for........' because it gives the activists the sense that they are involved in something cutting edge and radical.

So what was the plan? Well 'The Muffia' planned to protest against the idea that sex is a commodity that can be bought. Why not? Its a free country, but if they were really serious it they could undertaken the protest outside a massage parlour and had some real impact. Instead they chose the soft option and decided to protest outside a club in the East End.

Notice how they kept the location secret, probably in the fear that the Super Secret Object Yahoo Message Board is crawling with sex positive activists, which of course it is.

The best bit about all of this was they wanted money....

"The event will engaging with the members of the public, in exchange for money. The body will be covered in the money, the public's money and any pre-donations".

Wow, they must have been optimistic when they made their donation projections....

"The money donated will act as a petition against paying for sex and/or sexual interactions".

Sorry, I don't quite get that....the money donated will as a petition?

A petition to buy a few rounds afterwards maybe...

Anyway as you can see their Paypal details were available for anyone to donate money to them.

Do you see what this is all about?


Attacking dancers and clubs is now a good business to be in, its about book deals, websites, Paypal donations, will bequests, cake sales, t-shirts and anything else that can squeezed for a few pennies of revenue. I went to Spearmint Rhino a few times and I thought they were commercially astute and income focussed, but believe me they have nothing on Object and their pals...

'The Muffia' are performance artists, much loved of The Guardian and I do seem to recall them being involved in the protests in Harley Street that compared labiaplasty to Female Genital Mutilation.

If you want to know more about 'The Muffia', maybe you can follow this link and see the photoshoot they did for FHM. Yes of course FHM is a lads mag, but don't worry its all ironic.