Category Archives: guilty pleasures

Gratuitous nudity #12

Strip-tease en erotiek

Dutch translation cover

Huguette Delorme

French original cover

Yesterday, I went to Tuf Tuf, a not-so-reputed second hand book store on the South of Antwerp, my neighbourhood. It’s a real drag to hunt for books there: not enough space, books not arranged alphabetially, battered copies. But sometimes gems are to be found, I picked up a copy of Midnight Movies there once. Aside from this, they specialize in erotica. I spotted two Georges Pichard books yesterday priced at €86 each. I don’t think I’ve mentioned the canonical Pichard here before, his work is super-relevant today, as the good people at have brought his ultra-pornographic vision to life.

Back to the subject at hand, me at Tuf Tuf yesterday. I bought Moderne Liefde, an anthology of short stories which previously appeared in Playboy Magazine (with a story by Borges, whose only hint at eroticism I’ve yet seen has been in his story Ulrica), Striptease en Erotiek[1] (a Dutch language translation of Strip-tease et érotisme[2]), De Leidraad (Le Lien) by Vanessa Duriès, and Erotiek by Francesco Alberoni.

Above, I’ve shown you the covers (above the translation I bought, below its original) of Strip-tease et érotisme, the actual object of this post.

Histoire et philosophie du strip-tease : Essai sur l’ érotisme au music-hall, as its full title reads,  was written by François des Aulnoyes, to my knowledge one of the very few books he’s written. The book deals with striptease, what makes it interesting is that it was published in 1957, strictly speaking a couple of years before the sexual revolution. The text is hogwash and very briefly invokes Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, Émile Durkheim, Vilfredo Pareto and Freud, these are the only sources mentioned. Its historic overview also mentions Janine Jan and Anne Bruneau as 19th century predecessors to French striptease.

What makes the book interesting are the photographs by Roland Carré, see the cover shot of Huguette Delorme above. Like I said, the pre-sexual revolution mode, with all reference for example to pubic hair airbrushed away (this was the pre-Photoshop-age).

Following models are featured: Melody Bubbles, Clara Saint-Honoré, Sheiba Scott (very sexy), Vera Bell, Japanese model Yoko Tani, Flora Balmoral, Ketty Rogers, Luce Aubertin, Rita Renoir, Tony Teaser, Lola Stromboli, Sidonie Patin, Dodo d’Hambourg, Dora Bell, Magda (of the Concert Mayol), Kitty Tam-Tam, and Rita Cadillac.

Who was Roland Carré?  The only person I know who can answer that question is Au carrefour étrange.

Gratuitous nudity #11 and Icon of Erotic Art #32

sophie dahl by modelvancouver

Sophie Dahl, i-D, 1997

Sophie Dahl first came to my attention with her Opium (perfume) ad[1].

Today, following a link that started[2] at Trevor Brown‘s blog, which celebrated Takashi Itsuki‘s acrotomophiliac eroticism, which backlinked[3] to the new magazine Coilhouse (amazing new magazine, started as a blog in Aug 2007), I arrived at the photography of Nick Knight. On his site, one finds this image[4] (first published in i-D, 1997), which frankly, leaves me sick with desire. Just what is it that brings on this sickness? It’s the softness of her skin, the presumed quality of her fatty tissue, the pot belly and the pear-shaped breasts. And the nails. Amen.

This is a first for my series, where an image is both an instance of gratuitous nudity and an Icon of Erotic Art.

The golden age of television


27 years ago today was the day of the first video clip every broadcast on MTV. The clip was “Video Killed the Radio Star,” directed by Russell Mulcahy, and it marked the debut of the channel on 1 August 1981, at 12:10 A.M. The single, a Trevor Horn (Frankie Goes to Hollywood) production, was already two years old, released in September 1979. The song celebrated the golden days of radio, talking of a singer whose career is cut short by television. Group member Trevor Horn has said that his lyrics were inspired by the J.G. Ballard short story The Sound-Sweep, in which the title character, a mute boy vacuuming up stray music in a world without it, comes upon an opera singer hiding in a sewer.

Up until today, MTV remains my favorite television station, along with Arte.

See Golden Age of Television and Ode to MTV and the contemporary grotesque

Anecdotal nightlife histories and erotic dictionaries

Histoire anecdotique des Cafés & Cabarets de Paris (1862) Alfred Delvau

Histoire anecdotique des Cafés & Cabarets de Paris is a book on Parisian cafés by Alfred Delvau with illustrations by Gustave Courbet, Félicien Rops and Léopold Flameng.

Delvau also wrote Dictionnaire érotique moderne (1864):

This edition printed by Gay et Doucé in 1876 for the members of the “Biblio-Aphrodiphile Société” with an engraved frontispiece by Chauvet after Félicien Rops. With a “Glossaire érotique” by Louis de Landers (= August Scheler). The volume was also published by Editions 10/18.

Introducing French Book Covers

French blog Au carrefour étrange has ceased its activities for the time being and started a new blog called French book covers [1] which is illustrated with a chic cover photo [2] by the Italian designer and photographer Carlo Mollino. Its author, who goes by the pseudo of Losfeld, has a very extensive collection of books, running the gamut from surrealist theory to sleazy paperbacks, what I like to call nobrow.

A recent post[3] at this new blog featured cover art by French publishing house La Brigandine, for which Jahsonic regular Jean-Pierre Bouyxou has written novels under the pseudonym Georges Le Gloupier before that name was appropriated by the entarteur Noël Godin, a highschool buddy of Bouyxou. One particular of those novels is called Les Accidents de l’amer (Eng: Accidents of the Sea, or accidents of Bitterness, depending on where you place the apostrophe or blank space) and has one of the sexiest covers[4] I’ve seen in some time, due to the particular areola shape of the woman depicted.

I cannot pinpoint (or haven’t tried) the date of these publications, but I would gather mid to late 1970s.

Three redeeming elements in Sex and the City: the Movie

Love letters from great men

I seem to have developed a strange predilection for women’s fiction over the last few years, and have become a regular viewer – that is, once or twice a month – of the Belgian women’s channel VijfTV since they started airing De Co-assistent . Part of my attraction to women’s fiction is due to the fact that I like to cry (remember, tearjerkers are one of the body genres). Last Friday that station broadcast Linda Hamilton and Jacqueline Bisset in Sex & Mrs. X and I fell asleep afterwards during Cruel Intentions, an interesting update to Les Liaisons dangereuses.

The thing that started my proclivity to chick flicks and women’s fiction was my viewing last summer with my girls of the series Sex and the City during our vacation at Le Crotoy. But even before that, there was my liking of Bridget Jones’s Diaries when it came out and more recently the riveting zipless fuck read by Erica Jong during the summer of 2006.

So it came to pass that I saw Sex and the City: The Movie over the weekend. Since I only do appreciative criticism on these pages I want to focus on three redeeming elements of this film, of which I can say that it lasts 142 minutes, which are 120 minutes too many.

  • Redeeming element number one:

Love Letters of Great Men. A fictional book, which will soon enough become a real one. Quotes from Beethoven‘s letter to his Immortal Beloved: “Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved.” The letter ends in the unforgettable lines

ever thine

ever mine

ever ours

  • Redeeming element number two:

The love story between Miranda and Steve. Miranda is the only woman in Sex … whose acting moves me. I’ve always liked Steven.

  • Redeeming element number three:

Louise, the asistent to Carrie Bradshaw is quite endearing. She is played by Jennifer Hudson.

Finally, trying to stay clear of negative criticism, does not mean I cannot use somebody else’s words to lambast this film: Manohla Dargis of The New York Times found Sex and the City: The Movie “a vulgar, shrill, deeply shallow — and, at 2 hours and 22 turgid minutes, overlong — addendum to a show.”

Mad love

On double coding, guilty pleasures and Roland Kaiser‘s “Santa Maria.”YouTube

Guilty pleasures is about liking things you shouldn’t be liking,  Roland Kaiser‘s “Santa Maria.”YouTube for example.

You shouldn’t like “Santa Maria” because it is in “poor taste”.

Another example of guilty pleasure would be a man who watches television shows marketed towards women such as Sex and the City. This is considered a guilty pleasure because it violates most western ideas what society views as masculine. For this reason the man in question may watch this show in secret because other members of the society may react negatively to a man watching a feminine television show.

The postmodern age is gentle towards guilty pleasures.

Double coding

Yet, I don’t agree with Umberto Eco when he says that in a postmodern world you can no longer say: “I love you madly”.

It’s is too Barbara Cartland-ish, say Eco. I don’t agree. Long live mad love. Although I don’t agree, Eco formulated his point beautifully, in a way that captures the voice of compatriot Alberto Moravia. Here is the quote:

“I think of the postmodern attitude as that of a man who loves a very cultivated woman and knows that he cannot say to her “I love you madly”, because he knows that she knows (and that she knows he knows) that these words have already been written by Barbara Cartland. Still there is a solution. He can say “As Barbara Cartland would put it, I love you madly”. At this point, having avoided false innocence, having said clearly it is no longer possible to talk innocently, he will nevertheless say what he wanted to say to the woman: that he loves her in an age of lost innocence.” —Umberto Eco

If Hitler Had Been a Hippy

If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy we Would Be[1][2] is a 2008 series of paintings by Jake and Dinos Chapman which deface orginal paintings by Adolf Hitler. The Chapmans previously used a similar ploy on work by Goya (Insult to Injury).

At the end of May 2008 the White Cube Gallery exhibited the 20 authenticated watercolours and oils painted by Adolf Hitler, which the brothers have defaced with hippie motifs. Jake Chapman described most of the dictator’s works as ‘awful landscapes‘ which they had ‘prettified‘.

On a general level, if Rome was the art world capital from the Renaissance to the 1850s, Paris from the 1850s until WWII, a title which Paris lost to New York after the war; could it possibly be that London, with artists such as Emin, Hirst and the Chapmans, is the current art world capital? I don’t see any other country but the UK coming with consistently exciting work.

WMC#42: To shake memories into the air

This post rhymes with air

She threw back her hair
Like I wasn’t there
And she sipped on a julep.
Her shoulders were bare
And I tried not to stare


“Summer (The First Time)” (1973) by Bobby Goldsboro

A Hemisphere in Your Hair (French: Un hémisphère dans une chevelure) is a poem by Baudelaire collected in Paris Spleen.

Laisse-moi respirer longtemps, longtemps, l’odeur de tes cheveux, y plonger tout mon visage, comme un homme altéré dans l’eau d’une source, et les agiter avec ma main comme un mouchoir odorant, pour secouer des souvenirs dans l’air.
Long let me inhale, the odour of your hair,
into it plunge the whole of my face, like a thirsty man
into the waters of a spring and wave it in my fingers like a scented handkerchief,
to shake memories into the air.

In the film Withnail & I Richard Griffith’s character recites the line “Laisse-moi respirer longtemps, longtemps, l’odeur de tes cheveux” (Eng: Long let me inhale, the odour of your hair).