What is an “expert tip on erotic spanking “? (See Sex Box, Channel 4) Is there an inexpert way to sexually spank, so that person who is supposed to be excited falls off the bed asleep with boredom or says he or she is just going downstairs to load the washing machine or check the tax return…. Why is “tip” a word that immediately produces recoil in me? The soft end of the superior wedge …
Gardening tips? I won’t understand them.
Ten top tips for your summer holiday? I’m not going.
Sex tips? Why? Why do I want to approach something that is fun and exciting as if it were an exam? Along with Maurice Chevalier I too can warble “Oh yes, I remember it well.” But I don’t want to watch somebody telling me how to do it. Not with tips, still less with expert ones. Expert is a word you have to be very careful about in the context of something as variable and personal as sex.
The best television coverage of sexual matters is usually very serious and intelligent. It is not a medium that lends itself well to theory. You can say that I have vested interest in this because in the beginning of my enduring relationship with radio, the show I did was trailed as dealing with “personal sexual and emotional problems”. And for lots of people once you have mentioned sex, that is all they hear. I don’t remember anything about tips or sexual spanking though we heard a lot from a wide range of people over many years so I venture to suggest, we got something right.
I didn’t set out to do a lot of work for BBC Radio Scotland but it came about and I was grateful, mostly because they used me for the widest range of things, often more lighthearted than other people gave me. Which is how I came to play Mrs. Darling in an on air version of Peter Pan, to Katie Boyle’s Tinkerbell. I remember going up the stairs to the studio with her laughing about it. I was to play the mother, short square and reasonable while Katie who was curvaceous and grand and built to last was to play a sulky sexy airy puff of a sprite. God bless radio, we were perfectly cast to play into the biggest erogenous zone of the body – the mind.
It was a Radio Scotland presenter who announced in my ear one morning that they’d decided I had a rather sexy voice. I was taken aback into Miss Piggy “Moi?” But they had rivals and they were going to ask the public to judge. So five of us were given the most turgid page from a plumbing manual and instructed to make it sound seductive. I won, I won – it was such fun!
And it was Radio Scotland who turned me loose on the symbolism of handbags. I had said with perfect seriousness that purses and handbags were vaginally representative in Freudian symbolism. I don’t know whether the very smart young man (now that’s a name I wish I could recall) who was asking the questions believed me or not. All I know is he set me up and let me go. I tell you this not only out of unbridled giggling pleasant recall but because it was unscripted, unrehearsed, very fast and what we thought radio was all about.
And thanks will always be due to Peter Deeley who had a drive time show on Talk Radio when it was a radio station. He asked me to go in and see him, so I followed him to some corner where he played the opening bars of a piece of music. Did I recognise it? Sure I did. Strippers special. Could I do a strip on radio ie talk my way though it? “I think I can” I said. And I did. We got a great deal of laughter, wonderful calls which was in those days the barometer of success and then we were very firmly dressed down by the director of the company, for bringing the station into disrepute. We managed to stay straight faced till we left the room and then we grinned and went back to work.
I have been given a great deal of sexual material to read in my life ranging through the highfalutin’ to the inaccessible and the tiresome self-consciously hip – and I admit I can’t read it. I am not even sure that’s the way. I know there are people with sexual difficulty and there were, when I was working, a wide range of wonderful people who could help in all sorts of ways from those with disability (I once found through an outfit called Sexual Problems of the Disabled (SPOD) a sexual counsellor to work in sign with a young deaf couple who hadn’t consummated their relationship) to those whose undefined difficulties had adversely impacted what Alex Comfort famously called The Joy of Sex. But we accepted we had a journey to make and most of us would rather learn on the job. You can’t be a Grand Master before the opening move.