Sunday, March 31, 2013

Some Great Photos From Past Times

Hi, its Chasmal here and I didn't mean to post anything today but you know what it's like...

I was looking around the blog and had an idea to see if there were any interesting photos of dancers from maybe the 1960s or earlier and I found quite a few. That said not many were really compelling, but I found three that I think merit inclusion in the blog.

I never set out to find a photo of The Beatles in a strip club, but here it is. Hard to say where it was taken, but from the dress style I guess sometime around 1966 or 67 because after that time they were barely on speaking terms. If anyone out there can shed some light on this delightful scene, please feel free to do so.

The second shot I found just goes to prove that some things never change...

Note the drums and cymbals, the photo being taken before the days of DJs when dancers used live music to dance to. My best guess is that this photo was taken in America in the 1960s, but really I haven't a clue. Now onto the third and final photograph of this posting. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and the shot below is no exception, its almost perfect.

When and where is irrelevant, it's what is going on in the shot that I think makes it so priceless. Immediately we see the dancer in body glitter, wearing a ring and having a well earned drink. What appeals to me is the chap with his groceries that is shielding his face. My guess is that maybe a photographer (student maybe) was working the club that night and the dancer was posing just inside the changing room just as Mr Married-With-Kids arrived for an early evening session.

It strikes me that the moments captured in the photos above are lost deep in the past (40-50 years anyone?). Who the dancers were and where they worked is a mystery that we are unlikely to ever solve and it strikes me that one day, everything we do, every customer we know, every dancer we watch and every club we go to now will one day be as lost.

Out of interest, what do you see in the photos above? Everyone sees things differently and I would like to know what you saw and what it meant to you....

Reports and 50,000 hits! Who would have guessed?

Well as everyone knows we have hit the 50,000 hit landmark. Something I am sure Chasmal wasn't expecting when he set out on this journey and I just hope I can keep up his standards in producing material that challenges perceptions and hopefully keep a lot of people in jobs. For fools to triumph it just takes knowledgeable people to do nothing. Paraphrasing but under the circumstances I thought I could get away with it.

Professor Phil Hubbard has produce a chapter suburban sexscapes and although not the final product by any means (book due out 2014?) it does discuss the issue that seems to be the one that generates the widest reaction. He has also done presentations to various organisations and I want to look at one thing that was standard across them.

Children, yes those innocents that shouldn't be wandering city centres late at night or be able to look through closed doors. Considering the layout of clubs and security outside kids are not going to see naked women. So the difficulty is? It is stated in the chapter the dominant consensus of the study is removing clubs from the sight of children is a sensible precautionary step to take. The question then arises in my mind what a closed door and passive signage would do to a child? My guess is nothing, we are saddling children with our own hang ups. If a person dislikes clubs their perception is it will affect kids.

And yet in the study people walked past clubs without even noticing them. Clubs are perceived as less of a nuisance than bars and restaurants  Only 3% of people were of the opinion clubs had no place in the boroughs. So with so much saying okay NIMBY but okay elsewhere what do you do? Obviously if your a feminist you shut the lot? Actually no, not every feminist is against the clubs it is just a small and very vocal minority. The problem has been and is that they are darlings of the press, those white middle class female journalists with university education who want to impose their will on everyone else.

So we move on to the gendered exploitation, of the clubs on the dancers and the dancers on the customers and the customers on the dancers. There has been a work on finance modelling of the clubs by Tyke of the strip community. It is well thought out and does show that the clubs are maximising their money with the dancers being self employed. Perhaps if unionisation expands the model may change or if the clubs standardise the charges and fines so everyone is on a level footing? This is something that needs to be done at some point. However gendered exploitation? Is this by customers who (according to that vocal minority) see dancers as lumps of meat? Actually I will offer you odds customers do not see dancers as anything other than people.

I think the key point in the chapter is about the clubs, council and locals working to make sure that the licensing conditions are sensible like naming clubs and use on external advertising (signage). Maybe stopping overt advertising before 9pm (tv watershed) would be sensible?

As Professor Hubbard points out the challenges to clubs suggest that although moral judgements are not suppose to be passed there in are and those people against the clubs are stereotyping the customers to be loud, obnoxious, sexually violent men (gender stereotyping of the highest order without any proof). I personally am not noisy, violent although one or two people might see me as obnoxious. There is the good, the bad and stag groups. But seriously this belief that seeing a dancer perform will turn us into sex beasts that will rape constantly? If that was so my study last year would have shown a much greater incidence of violence around venues remembering all sexual crimes show as violence on the police web database. And those venues that had "violence" issues all seemed to be located close to nightclubs. And night clubs have been identified as much more likely to be a nuisance than strip clubs. When the 1413 objection letters made against strip clubs reveals the way that moralistic view infuse the letters and yet the councils accepted them as legitimate. Now we know councils shouldn't allow moral views to affect judgements and yet it has been cleared identified that they do.

Now one thing I will challenge on the information produced by Professor Hubbard is the constant quoting of the Eden report. We know that the Eden report was a second generation of Lilith and in fact is not a report it is a subjective point of view with no empirical data to back it up. Lets look at a couple of the issues I have with Eden 2007

Talks about trafficking even though there has never been any links to clubs.
Talks about dancers being prostitutes, whilst in the past some clubs had these issues due to the licensing changes I don't believe it is true any more  I wouldn't say that it will never happen just that any club with an ounce of sense will not let it happen.
Refers to Bindel 2004 and the Lilith report 2003. Makes it trustworthy doesn't it ;)
The hyperbole and constant discussion is about violence against women. BUT we have seen Lilith was wrong and research of crime around all venues in the UK (TonyN 2012) shows no links between sexual violence and clubs.

So lets be honest about Eden it was the follow up to Lilith but does not provide any real data. What it does do is make the authors money as to pad out the report the authors cleverly put in pieces about each borough and what their position is. Also includes suggestions on how to challenge strip clubs under the 2003 legislation. So out of date as well. And as a former consultant I see a lovely amount of padding to make the report look good. I once produced a report that was 5 pages long and got told by business partners to make it longer as the customer wants to feel they are getting value for money. That is exactly what Eden feels like except is was a waste of money in my humble opinion.

So my Easter has been spent reading reports, reviews and trying to get an understanding of what has been put out and what is likely.

Now this bit is for the clubs, your objectors are going to constantly raise issues around children. Use discreet naming and signage. Ensure you highlight to the council that you understand the risks to peoples perceptions and will work with the council to minimise and mitigate risk. Shutters, neon siganage only after 10pm it is small but sensible precautions like this that will show you have an understanding of the risks in peoples minds.

So I did mention a challenge and it is one I would have liked to have done but I have issues getting enough data to make the report fair. Wandsworth had striptease up to the late 90s', is roughly the same size as Camden and the population isn't too different. So did the end of striptease in Wandsworth reduce sexual crime? No matter what the data says one way or the other it will not prove a point as it is a single sample but I would be interested in the result.

Okay this is TonyN wondering what he did today, signing off.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

ReBranding Required

There I was thinking about having a nice quiet relaxing do nothing Easter and.... well I am sure I will get some rest at some point. I am working on a bigger piece that should co-inside with the 50,000 hit on the site but want to discuss imagery and branding. And here is where I am hoping the clubs read this as it is important.

The industry is shooting itself in the foot (and those people who actually know me yes delibrate wording).... we have to stop using the word lapdance and get back to striptease!!!! Okay why you might ask? Well the word lapdance conjures up an image and that image is a boon and a bane. Boon as the marketing is down to selling an image of something that will not take place in a licensed venue in the UK. Bane for exactly the same reason.

A lot is to do with how the industry was and what was brought over from the USA. Pole dancing, table dancing neither of these are as evocative as the words lap dance. The image of bump and grind that people take as the truth because it was in some american film and that must be how it is world wide. The problem is it isn't like that but that is how the public perceive to be. Imagine the term action packed thriller, the film might well be a couple of fights, a gun battle and a car chase but the term action packed sells the image of explosions every 30 seconds.

So we have evocative branding that sells the fantasy to the customers BUT and this is a really big BUT (okay hands up those people who are humming that song) the marketing fantasy is fuelling some of the opposition and giving credence to images that exist in the mind only. Yes if you go to the states totally different but we are not talking about the good ole us of a. We are talking striptease and erotic dancing. To all the dancers out there please when talking about what you do don't ever use the word lap dance. Having been told by Edie that she calls herself a stripper we need dancers to re-assess how they describe themselves.

To the clubs you are not Lap Dancing venues, the brand image is doing more harm than good as it is fuelling beliefs in something that doesn't exist. Your marketing people may want to shoot me but they need to get off their collective backsides and work on the image. Striptease always has been the big sister of burlesque please find a way to work with that or any other ploy that does not play into the hands of the likes of Object.

So now will be spending the day catching up with TV but in the next couple of days I will be putting out a piece on the work of Phil Hubbard including positives and negatives and even a challenge.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Tower Hamlet The Council Strikes Back

Sometimes you just sit there and wonder what the **** is going on. I was reading the web for Sexual Entertainment Venues and our old friends at Tower Hamlets re-appeared. I was like WTAF we went through this sometime back why are we having another consultation?

Actually we are not, it seems that the council wants to use the amended schedule 3 from the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. They want to use the version affected by Policing and Crime Act 2009. Now having dug through all the mess within the act I have found one clause that has me a little bit worried (para 12(3)(c)) "that the number of sex establishments, or of sex establishments of a particular kind, in the relevant locality at the time the application is determined is equal to or exceeds the number which the authority consider is appropriate for that locality;”.

That has been playing on my mind a bit. I was speaking to Chasmal last night and hadn't found this so we were assuming that the previous consultation went against the council and this gives them a chance of closing venues. Of course with the situation in Leicester and the current ongoing situation in Oxford the council stands little chance of winning but is does seem like the council wants to be in a train wreck.

Why do I think the previous consultation went against the council? Well if it had of been what they wanted they would have been dancing for joy as they tried to close the tower hamlets 11 (or is that 7?). So as the clubs are still open and operating under licenses this new measure may be paving the way for the council to try and close the clubs. I find it interesting nothing had been announced and wonder why the council would want a tiny response? Guessing after the last debacle they are trying desperately to avoid another slap in the face. Noticeable that this time residents are being asked to provide their full post code. Obviously it is every possible step they can think of to pass this act in the council without a challenge.

So if you have a Tower Hamlets post code and you want to complete the survey the information is linked from hHERE

And if Tower Hamlets councillors get to read this having had a consultation which has been hidden for over a year is this the right thing to do? Or is it the act of someone trying to ruin the borough?

TonyN heading back to bed on a miserable Monday morning

Lady Godiva will hang her head in Shame

A thank you to a regular reader and commentator of the blog John for pointing out the result in Coventry (press article here). What I find so disappointing is that 53% were against the clubs but considering that the council recognised that the majority of people objecting were doing so on moral grounds it leaves the whole consultation open to challenge in my humble opinion.

Regular readers of the blog will know that objections on moral grounds are discounted by guidelines around the act that allows the nil policy. So the council is acting on just over half the people who took part, but a lot of them were mentioning moral grounds which I think leaves the whole thing standing on very shaky ground.

That said the owner of Club Heat must be rubbing his hands with glee knowing there will be no competition locally. So where do people who want to open a club in Coventry go? Well I am sure the councillor with the legal firm would be a good place to start.

So this is another Nil Policy that has no teeth. Every council knows that trying to close clubs will end up in court and that the laws are behind existing clubs! So at best for them they have stopped any more clubs, at least till someone is forced into going for a judicial review, at which point the wind may change (did it, got a passing reference to the scorpions). On a serious note I really do wonder why these consultations take place when councils must be realising to try and close an existing club that has no history of major issues is just asking for court action.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easy Like Sunday Morning

So sitting gazing into the snowy skies and thought I would put a short piece about a couple of things going on and also want to go over the misconceptions that seem to occur all the time.

Firstly I thought it would be useful to be be in the twittershphere and therefore we now have @StriptheIllusio so I can engage in debate and discussions on line. Also if people get hold of information about issues it is a quick way of alerting me. Until Chasmal comes back I am going to try to be as busy as he was.

Secondly the Source Vodka Bar has been running once a month evening under TENs (temporary event notices) but is now wanting to hold striptease as a weekly event. The sub committee is meeting on the 10th of April and we wish them luck getting their license.

We have also heard of a Lap and pole dancing club trying to open in Canterbury, this is being heard on the 7th April and residents can write into with your opinion. Seems that some people are trying to portray the LAP aspect of the club.

So once again the whole issue comes up that it is LAP dancing. Sorry hate to spoil the party about what people perceive but there is no LAP dancing any more. Council guidelines state the dancer can not come closer than 3 feet to a customer and no physical contact can take place. People seem to have this image of bumping and grinding, which is true in the US but does NOT take place in the UK. So why this continually barrage from the antis about LAP dancing? Easier enough they are trying to create a mental image to those people who have no idea about the reality.

And whilst we are talking emotive comments designed to try and make people feel uncomfortable lets talk about a claim you will hear about the men buying the the dancers. The whole play behind this claim is the antis want people to feel like human trafficking is taking place. Obviously it doesn't but it is a case of trying to make people believe. What actual happens is the customer pays the performer for a PERFORMANCE. Of course saying that wouldn't upset people and create an emotive response so lets create a false perception to try and make people believe all these dancers have no agency.... ooops sounds like objectification to me.

Anyway just thought that a wet, miserable and cold Sunday morning was a good time to do something other than watch sports. See everyone out in the twitterverse.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Off to Sunny Hounslow?

Well so much for a quick blog about Leeds and sitting back and doing nothing else for a while.

So it seems there is another consultation going on. This time on the borders of London, in sunny Hounslow. Having seen the council in "action" a few years ago I am surprised they are managing to do anything but guess at some point someone would have their partner nag at them to close those dens of scandal.

Actually forget that there are no existing clubs in Hounslow, so the council feels it can push through its Nil Policy and no one will really notice. Oooops there are wide eyed boys and girls out there that are not going to let you have things that easy Hounslow council. I find it amazing that the council has decided to go with the title sex clubs not welcome says Hounslow (here).

Now I am not sure about this guy Hounslow who doesn't like sex clubs but you have to assume it is not the whole borough so it is someone with a loud voice. So who is driving this puritanical approach to local government? Councillor Ed Mayne who works for Stagecoach/SouthWest Trains, is a member of the local Fabian Society and connected with Compass a group acts as the regulators of sport and activity providers. He is also a member of Unite and a couple of other transport related unions.

So the council had 912 signatures of protest that could not stop a club from opening and yet they managed to close the club when it asked for extended hours. The whole sensitive locations children roaming the streets at night to get to schools comes around again. People in the know are realising this is just an excuse to close clubs without having to think. So why do councils harp on about it? Simplez really, most councillors would like to do as little work as possible so avoiding the issue of clubs will save them time which can be spent doing other councillory things.

We have seen what about the kids, it demeans women and it encourages rape trotted out every time. We know kids are not roaming the street at night (or at least shouldn't be). We have seen the figures around Lilith made a joke of and the demans women well I have always respected women for who they are. I am sure most of the guys I have met through drinking in bars that offer entertainment are the same that we respect women. I think once you get past the first couple of visits you realise that these women are charming, intelligent and on the whole positive examples. The demeaning comes from the minds of people who want to control sexuality and as we have seen on this blog before they tend to be small minded and moralistic. The sort of don't let women choose as that would mean they have free will. Which when you think about what feminists claim to want is the exact opposite.

So how is this consultation taking place I hear you ask.... (very good hearing I got eh) well no forms, no webpage just the e-mail address of the licensing department ( now if you do mail in do not expect a reply acknowledging your mail, nor one stating the obvious that your details will be protected under the data protection act. Should you mail in? Up to the individual but really councillors have this bad habit of making broad sweeping statements that are not always based in reality.

Ok tried a little humour that time. Next time might go for a picture or 3.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Leeds Once Again, no surprise really!

This is TonyN writing for the blog as we finally have something worth discussing.

Well nothing has been written recently as councils are facing up to the worry they may end up in court. Already in Leicester a club has won the legal right to continue trading. In Oxford the Thirst Lodge has continued trading while the owners take the council to court and you would think any sensible council would wait until the results are in before risking tax payers money.

Well any city that didn't have Rachel Reeves as a MP or a Chrlwood as a councillor. As discussed on this blog previously there are people striving to close clubs, put dancers out of work and turn the night time economy into a wreck.

There is a public consultation being run by Leeds City Council with all the details being on ( and the actual consultation page on ( that is open to the public. Apart from the requirement to actually write something there are no mandatory fields. I would say if people do decide to make comments please be clear in your opinion. We don't want anyone saying you are for closures of legal businesses if you are not.

So how did we get to this stage? It seems by the miracle of a citizen panel, which of course tends to be full of people who have agendas. The average citizen will probably find more enjoyable ways of spending their time. As the questionnaire is on the Leeds website I read through it, several times, and to me it seemed structured to get one result. Any proper questionnaire would make sure that you can't go through just ticking one box, Leeds however made everything against the clubs be the first box including the number of clubs being zero. Laziness or people who want others to fill in the questionnaire in a certain way had it very easy.

We also have the wonderful new section on the Child Friendly City and the comments on site with sensitive uses. So how many young children are in the city centre at 10pm? How many schools are open at 10pm? How many churches are having services at 10pm? As far as I can tell the child friendly sensitive council thinks parents don't control their kids and they will be going to church and school in the middle of the night.

The council is suggesting that the appropriate number of clubs is 4, the city currently has 7. So what will happen to reduce the number of clubs? Refusing to renew a license? Well the council have stated on the new policy that under the human rights act Article 1 of the first Protocol states everyone is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his or her property and this will include licenses. Any decent lawyer will be able to use that in court is my guess so why go about the process in the first place? To me it seems the council wants to make sure no more clubs open and that the selling of an existing club would be difficult in the extreme.

Also within the suggested council policy is reference to violence against women. If people do decide to either mail the council or fill in the questionnaire it would be worth pointing out there is no causal link between clubs and sexual violence. This idiocy stems from the failed Lilith report and certain members of the police looking to score brownie points.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, comedy and other Chasmal standards, if I need to write again I will try to include more to make it fun. Chasmal himself has a lot going on in his life but there is a need to communicate this as the council has asked on their website that people spread the word. If anyone needs to follow up you can use to contact me.